Mesopotamia is one of the most historically influential civilizations in ancient history. At its time of existence, Mesopotamia held several of the most developed and complex regions. Examples of its influence today are writing, taxes and the presumption of innocence.
Mesopotamia was one of the four riverine civilizations where the Cuneiform script was invented1. This was one of the earliest forms of writing, marking the transition from prehistoric times to ancient history. This introduction created a class structure that was new to the Mesopotamians. If someone was able to read and write, they were considered an elite. The Summer, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires all occurred during the Bronze Age in Mesopotamia. They are native to modern-day Iraq.
One of the most famous figures in Mesopotamian history today is Hammurabi, the leader responsible for establishing the Babylonian empire. He introduced Hammurabi’s Law Code which is infamous for its severity and the introduction of presumption of innocence.1
The Neo-Assyrian empire took place during the Iron Age in Mesopotamia. This empire grew to include all of Mesopotamia and was undoubtedly the most brutal army the world had ever seen until that point.
Similar to its other river valley civilization counterparts, a huge factor in Mesopotamia’s worldview was its geography. The region was in the middle of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Unlike its river valley civilization counterparts though, these rivers flooded violently and unpredictably, making them difficult to navigate and irrigate.1
Mesopotamia had a form of proto-socialism for many years until it was replaced by something very similar to private enterprise with the new city state period. A Mesopotamian could produce as much as they liked as long as they gave a percentage to the government.1This was one of the first examples of something equivalent to the modern-day tax system.
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