CLAA01 Sept 21
Agricultural Revolution 5500 BCE
Ability to irrigate from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers gave the Mesopotamians
the chance to begin farming throughout their land.
They needed this type of irrigation because it does not rain often.
Urban Revolution 3100 BCE
Towns to cities.
This meant trade for not readily available products.
What products were produced were stored in a central storehouse.
o Tokens for these products showed what individuals could access from the
storehouse. This was an early form of money.
o These tokens could be pressed into clay to form an early type of bank
This eventually changed to a form of writing called cuneiform: this was made of
triangular wedge-shaped marks in stone to indicate objects.
o This was one of the first examples of literacy.
War between Uma and Lagash 2500 BCE
Trade meant bigger, more condensed populations. This eventually led to war.
The war between Uma and Lagash (these are two are ancient Mesopotamian
cities) is the first recorded historical events
The accounts of this battle showed that the cities were theocratic that they didn’t
seem to have a set leader. The accounts wrote of divine authority, with gods
seeming to make all the decisions.
Researchers have a tablet (text) and art (Stele of the Vulture) describing the war.
o Panels often use prolepsis (showing events before they occur) because
artists often only have one panel to work with.
The Standard of Ur, another example of Mesopotamian art, depicts life in the city
of Ur, Mesopotamia.
o One side depicts war, with a god-like leader who is larger than the
humans on the standard.
o The other side depicts peace, showing trade, agriculture, and banqueting.
Sargon of Akkad unites Mesopotamia 2240 BCE
Sargon is potentially the first historical person. CLAA01 Sept 21
o His story is very mythical and draws comparisons to other mythical heros.
Name ‘Sargon’ means ‘Just Ruler’, which seems a little too apt.
Parents were royalty but did not want him. They placed him in a
basket and sent him down a river, where he was rescued. (This
draws comparisons to the story of Moses)
Sargon started as the cupbearer to the king and then became king himself.
He began first empire, Mesopotamia.
o He also founded Akkad, though we can find no archeological evidence of
He began a dynasty.
Sargon wanted to align himself with divine control, by becoming an intermediary
to the gods instead of becoming a god himself.
o He restored the ‘homes’ of the gods, the ziggurats.
They are easily destroyed by rains so restoration was necessary.
o Sargon also appointed his daughter, Enheduanna (2285-2250) to be a
priestess/princess, carried a lot of power.
She is the first woman that we know of.
Priestess of the goddess of An and Urac.
She wrote over 150 prayers to the gods.
She was exiled by her brother after her father’s death.
Mesopotamians followed the belief that life is awful and is driven by chaos. The
afterlife is just as bad, if not worse. A very pessimistic outlook on life.
o If bad things occurred to a person, it is because gods do it. To fix things,
the person must make amends to the gods.
o He was the grandson of Sargon.
o He did not think of himself as intermediary to the gods but a god himself.
The ‘Sin’ in his name was in reference to the moon god.
Naram-Sin thought he was the living personification of the moon
Reign of Hammurabi 1792-1750 BCE
Babylonia becomes the seat of the empire.
o Conquest of neighbours by 1763.
Hammurabi was most famous for his law code.
o It is not the first law code, as many think. Others exist before it. This