The area once known as the cradle of civilization gave birth to the wheel, writing, irrigation and even the 60-second minute. Take the quiz and see what you know about the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia.
In what current country is most of ancient Mesopotamia located?
The ancient region known as Mesopotamia was in the eastern Mediterranean flanked in the northeast by the Zagros mountains and in the southeast by the Arabian plateau. It corresponds closely to today's Iraq, but also parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey.
Archaeological excavations starting in the 1840s revealed human settlements dating as far as when in Mesopotamia?
Excavations indicate humans lived and settled in Mesopotamia as far back as 10,000 B.C.E., settling in the land, domesticating animals and perfecting the agriculture.
What river(s) were important to the civilizations of Mesopotamia?
Mesopotamia actually means "two rivers" and refers to the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.
What was Mesopotamia known as?
Mesopotamia was known as the cradle of civilization.
Where did people go to learn reading, writing, religion, law, medicine and even astrology in Mesopotamia?
Intellect was very important, and the schools, which were primarily for the priestly class, were said to be numerous.
The Mesopotamians believed that they were what with the gods?
They believed they were co-workers with the gods, and the land was full of spirits.
Many different societies emerged in Mesopotamia and organized cities, states and empires. Which people created the first?
The Sumerians created the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C.E.
True or false? The principal occupations in Mesopotamia were growing crops and raising livestock.
Ancient Mesopotamia was basically an agrarian society, so the principal jobs were maintaining farmland and crops.
Were men or women the primary brewers of beer and wine?
Women were the original brewers of beer and wine, as well as the healers in the community, but these trades were eventually later taken over by men, when it became obvious they were lucrative.
What was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia?
Sumer was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia.
What two significant developments are credited to the Sumerians around 3000 B.C.E., which helped solidify Mesopotamia as the cradle of civilization?
The Sumerians were the first to create the city as we know it and to establish writing.
Why was Mesopotamia such a good area for growing crops?
Mesopotamia was situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which regularly flooded, depositing rich soil ideal for farming.
True or false? Women enjoyed nearly equal rights as men in Sumeria.
Men actually hold most power in Sumeria, but women do have power in their families.
Why did Sumerians build ziggurats?
Ziggurats -- tiered, pyramid-like temples -- were built to honor the gods and goddesses.
What is the name of the style of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians?
In cuneiform, Sumerians used a writing implement known as a stylus to press into soft clay to produce wedge-like impressions that represented word-signs.
What civilization took power away from the Sumerians in 2350 B.C.E.?
The Akkadians took power of Mesopotamia around 2350 B.C.E.
Who was the founder of the Akkadian Empire?
Sargon the Great, founder of the Akkadian Empire, conquered all of Mesopotamia and created the first multinational empire in history.
What famous ancient Mesopotamian city's ruins are in modern day Iraq, just south of Baghdad?
The ancient city of Babylon is one of the most famous cities of the ancient world and today can be found near the town of Al-Hillah in modern-day Iraq.
What king ruled Babylon between 1792 and 1750 B.C.E. after the abdication of his father, King Sin-Muballit?
Hammurabi was the sixth king in the Babylonian dynasty, which ruled in central Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) from 1894 to 1595 B.C.E.
Hammurabi's Code, which included 282 laws of conduct and justice for his empire in ancient Mesopotamia, is the oldest example of written laws on record.
Although it's often cited as the oldest, it's predated by at least two others from the Middle East: one created by the Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu of the city of Ur, which dates back to the 21st century B.C.E., and the Sumerian Code of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin, which was written nearly 200 years before Hammurabi came to power.
True or false? Hammurabi's Code includes one of the first examples of innocent until proven guilty.
Hammurabi's Code places the burden of proof on the accuser.
After Hummarabi's death, Babylon fell apart and was ruled by who (in order)?
The Hittites, Kassites and Assyrians all ruled Babylon between 1595 and 681 B.C.E.
Under what Chaldean's reign of Babylon are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon said to have been constructed?
Nebuchadnezzar II is said to have ruled while the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and famous Ishtar Gate were built.
True or false? The Euphrates River was located on the eastern side of Mesopotamia.
The Euphrates River was located on the western side of Mesopotamia. The Tigris was located on the eastern side.
In 539 B.C.E., the Babylonian Empire fell to:
The empire fell to the Persians under Cyrus the Great, effectively ending Babylonian culture.
After Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, most of Mesopotamia became part of what empire?
After Cyrus defeated Babylon, most of Mesopotamia fell under the Persian Empire, and this period saw a rapid cultural decline.
What other great warrior took control of Mesopotamia from the Persians?
The Persian Empire fell to Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.E.
True or false? By the time the Romans came to the area in 116 C.E., few signs of Mesopotamia were left.
Mesopotamia was largely Hellenized and lacked any signs of the old gods and ways of Mesopotamia.
When did the final blow to the region of Mesopotamia come?
The entire culture of Mesopotamia was dealt its final blow when Muslim Arabs overtook the area in the 7th century C.E., which resulted in the Islamic law, language, religion and culture.
True or false? We still recognize the contributions of Mesopotamia today.
The wheel, writing, astronomy, mathematics, wind power, irrigation, agricultural and even the 60-second minute can all be attributed to the land of Mesopotamia.
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