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4. Fertile Crescent

Table of Contents | 1. Earth | 2. The Origin of Life and Evolution of Man | 3. Civilisation | 4. Fertile Crescent | 5. Egypt | 6. Indus Valley | 7. Yellow River (Haung He/Huang Ho) | 8. Hittites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Assyrians | 9. New World (B. C./Pre-Columban) | 10. Greeks and Persians | 11. Rome ( - B. C. - A. D. 96) | 12. Saul of Tarsus | 13. Rome ( - A. D. 275) | 14. Rome and Byzantium (Nova Roma) | 15. Islam | 16. Charlemagne | 17. Vikings | 18. Turks, Crusaders, Mongols, Moors, Explorers and Conquistadors | 19. Reformation, Enlightenment (1300s -1700s) | 20. Mid-1700s - early 1900s | 21. The Great War | 22. Inter-War Years | 23. The War in Europe and Africa | 24. Second World War | 25. War in the Pacific | 26. Defeating the Axis in Europe and Africa | 27. End of Japanese Imperialism | 28. Ending the War | 29. Conquest of Space | 30. Averting Nuclear War | 31. End of Empire | 32. Man on the Moon | 33. Arms Race and Limitation | 34. Lifting the Iron Curtain | 35. Outer Space | 37. | 42.

Continued from previous page, 3. Civilisation




The Fertile Crescent


Cradle of Western Civilisation





Mesopotamia - The Invention of the City by Gwendolyn Leick, 2001. The book presents ten cities




Prehistoric Periods


Middle Palaeolithic  c. 78,000 – 28,000 BC

Upper Palaeolithic  c. 28,000 – 10,000 BC

Neolithic  c. 10,000 – 6000 BC

Calcolithic (Copper Age) c. 6000 – 5000 BC

   Hassuna  c. 5500 – 5000 BC

   Halaf/Ubaid  c. 5000 – 4000 BC

   Uruk  c. 4000 – 3200 BC

   Jemdir Nasir  c. 3200 – 3000 BC


Early Bronze Age (3500 – 2000 BC)

Middle Bronze Age (2000 – 1500 BC)

Early Iron Age (1000 – 500 BC)


Historical Periods


1. Southern Mesopotamia


Early Dynastic I  c. 3000 - 2750

Early Dynastic II  c. 2750 – 2600 BC

Early Dynastic III (Fara)  c. 2600 – 2350 BC

Dynasty of Akkad  c. 2350 – 2000 BC

  Sargon I King of Sumer and Akkad (2334 – 2279 BC) location of the city of Akkad unknown, sacked by Gutians from Iran after 100 years

Dynasties of Ur   -   Ur III  c. 2150 – 2000 BC     

Old Babylonian  c. 2000 – 1600 BC

   Isin Larsa Dynasties  c. 2000 – 1600 BC         

   First Dynasty of Babylon  c. 1800 – 1600 BC

          Hammurabi, King of Babylon 1792 – 1750

Kassite Dynasty  c. 1600 - 1155 BC

Second Dynasty of Isin 1155 – 1027 BC

Second Dynasty of Sealand 1026 – 1006 BC

Dynasty of E  979 – 732 BC

Assyrian Domination  732 – 626 BC

Neo-Babylonian Dynasty  626 – 539 BC


2. Northern Mesopotamia


Old Assyrian Period  c. 1900 – 1400 BC

Middle Assyrian Period  c. 1400 - 1050 BC

Neo-Assyrian Period Empire  c. 934 – 610 BC




Achaemenid Empire  539 – 331 BC

Hellenistic Period  331 – 126 BC

   Seleucid Dynasty  311 – 126 BC

Parthian Period  126 BC – AD 227

Sassanian Period  AD 224 - 642


Islamic Era (AD 642 - )


Abbasid Dynasty  750 - 1258

Ottoman Period  1516 - 1914

British Occupation 1914 - 1921

Kingdom of Iraq  1921 - 1958

Republic of Iraq  1958 - 2005




The Fertile Crescent is the area from the Persian Gulf between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, to the Levant on the Mediterranean Sea coast, to the Nile Delta on the 

northeastern African coast



The British Museum website about Mesopotamia:








See also:

















Mesopotamia and the Bible


Was there a Garden of Eden, a paradise as described in the Old Testament of the Bible?


This would have been a small area on the Persian Gulf between two rivers, the Tigris in the west and the Euphrates in the east. 


Several small cities appeared in the region between 4,500 and 3,500 B. C.


This civilisation was known as Sumer. Its culture gradually spread northward between the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, 

and more cities developed.


The ancient Greeks called this region 'Mesopotamia' ('between the rivers').


This area is in Iraq today.


Many scholars believe Mesopotamia was the Garden of Eden, the 'cradle of civilisation', from which civilisation spread to the West.




Sumer and the Garden of Eden



What was the Garden of Eden? 


Brief cartoon description (2 parts)


1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQEPxpWpjv8&feature=relmfu


2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GWgHvnufxIil




Mysteries of the Garden of Eden


Episode from the BBC documentary series Decoding the Past






Mesopotamia   -   Return to Eden


Episode from the documentary series Lost Civilisations narrated by Sam Waterston










The Garden of Eden


Documentary comparing the biblical story with a scientific study of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden





Eden and Eridu

Excerpt from 1991 BBC documentary Legacy: The Origins of Civilisation with Michael Wood










The Appearance of Writing

Writing first appeared in the Fertile Crescent - the geographical region between the Tigris River in the east and the Nile River in the west.
But which came first?
Mesopotamian Cuneiform or Egyptian Heiroglyphs?
Scholars disagree.
Many believe both first appeared at the same time.

Early Mesopotamian Cuneiform
Cuneiform writing
Late Mesopotamian Cuneiform


The Birth of Writing





Excerpt about ancient writing from a documentary






Ancient Mesopatamia


A Coronet film presentation (1953, 1976)






The First Civilizations


Programs # 2 and # 3 of the 1989 lecture series The Western Tradition by Eugen Weber at UCLA


2. The Ancient Egyptians



3. Mesopotamia





The Cradle of Civilisation 


1991 BBC documentary with Michael Wood 

about the ancient region of modern Iraq from the Legacy series on civilisation






The Gardens of Babel

Episode about Mesopotamia from the documentary series Civilisations (English and French)






Ziggurat of Ur Tour


Nasiriyah, Iraq


Regular Friday tour by Dhiaf Muhsen (2007)






Sumerians et Babylonians










Documentary about Nebuchadnezzar II (reigned c. 605  -  c. 562 BC 




or in 5 clips:


1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQIWDPTIYGk


2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvT56PJHPfQ&feature=relmfu


3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yEPWGUCQYE&feature=relmfu


4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMV6tbnNGHc&feature=relmfu


5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwGZ6XRIRis&feature=relmfu




The Hanging Gardens of Babylon








The Kings 


From Babylon to Baghdad




Part 1 ends with Cyrus; Part 2 begins with WW1; the history in between is not available


Part 1. 









Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations


Three-lecture survey of Mesopotamia


Lecture 2, 3 and 4 of the 12-lecture course

Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations by Kenneth W. Harl from The Great Courses


1. First Cities of Sumer


- Trade and Writing

- The Uruk Period (3100 - 2500 B. C.), Ur

- The Proto-Literate Period (3100 - 2800 B. C.)

- Early Dynastic Period (2800 - 2300 B. C.)




2. Mesopotamian Kings, Scribes and Soldiers

From city-states to regional kingdoms to territorial empires in the Early and Middle Bronze Age

- Sargon of Akkad and the first empire



3. Hammurabi’s Babylon 

1792 - 1750 BC

Middle Bronze Age




Hammurabi's Law Code


Basalt stele with the code

of Hammurabi (1792 - 1750

BC) in the Akkadian language

in cuneiform script excavated

in Susa, Iran in 1901.



Law Code Stele of King Hammurabi


(1792 - 1750 B. C.)


Beth Harris and Steven Zucker visiting Le Louvre, Paris






Hammurabi and the Earliest Written Laws


Excerpt from a lecture by Gregory Aldrete from The Great Courses






The Code of Hammurabi


Audio (75:06)




Hammurabi's Babylon


Lecture # 4 of 12 by Kenneth W. Harl from the course Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations (from The Great Courses)


Hammurabi's Code of Law; Ziusudra, Atrahasis, Gilgamesh; Babylon









From out of the Mesopotamian Mud


Lecture # 2 by Gregory Aldrete from the course History of the Ancient World (Removed from You Tube)





Cultures of the Ancient Near East 


Lecture # 3 by Gregory Aldrete from History of the Ancient World (Removed from You Tube)






File:Metal production in Ancient Middle East.svg

Metal production in Ancient Middle East   


Source: Regs productoras de metales en la Edad Antigua en Oriente Medio.svg with modifications by Phirosiberia




Bronze Age Transformations of the Mediterranean World


A Perspective from the Countryside 

Lecture from Steven R. Falconer at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia in 2013 





Enuma Elish


The Sumerian/Mesopotamian/Babylonian Story of the Creation



The Parts of the Whole


Lecture # 1. of a 24-lecture course, Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), by Christine Hayes, Yale U.,  Fall 2006


- Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and Its radical ideas

- Common myths about the Bible

- An overview of the structure of the Bible


You Tube:




Yale U.:









Entire text of the seven tablets










The Epic of Gilgamesh


A tablet with the Epic of Gilgamesh written in cuneiform



Tablet V of the epic




(2 clips)


1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2TYgCytbLY&feature=related


2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI7hR3HghIs&feature=relmfu






(12 clips)






1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHInCYIGq3E


2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxauXl43eG4&feature=relmfu


3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT1OufYJnoU&feature=relmfu


4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zwVo-sZXig&feature=relmfu


5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN3GztjYfQc&feature=relmfu


6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R00X_Tdacw&feature=relmfu 


7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CRbFzV8kdM&feature=relmfu 


8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cGKm7maHgw&feature=relmfu 


9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxy_SJ6RCFw&feature=relmfu 


10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHJvM36RvIs&feature=relmfu 


11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSxHO_RUjT8&feature=relmfu



Le fantôme d'Uruk


À la recherche du roi Gilgamesh


Terra X Doku (2007)










Journeys to the End of the World


Lecture by Steve Tinney at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, January 8, 2014 


Great Voyages Lecture Series



Epic of Gilgamesh


Discussion on the weekly Thursday BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg


With guests Andrew George, Frances Reynolds and Martin Worthington

3 November 2016



You Tube:






Entire text of the Epic of Gilgamesh








Online audio reading of Tablet V in Old Akkadian:




About the recently discovered Tablet V in Kurdistan:  





From the latest published page of the Wikipedia entry (021116):


'The earliest Sumerian poems are distinct stories, rather than parts of a single epic, dating from circa 2100 BC.


'The Old Babylonian tablets (circa 1800 BC) are the earliest surviving tablets for a single Epic of Gilgamesh narrative.


'The older Old Babylonian tablets and later Akkadian version are important sources for modern translations, with the earlier texts mainly used to fill in gaps (lacunae) in the later texts.


'Although several revised versions based on new discoveries have been published, the epic remains incomplete.


'Analysis of the Old Babylonian text has been used to reconstruct possible earlier forms of the Epic of Gilgamesh.


'The most recent Akkadian version (circa 1200 BC), also referred to as the 'standard' version, consisting of twelve tablets, was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni and was found in the Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.'


Note: Wikipedia is a public Online encyclopaedia; anyone can add or remove details from an entry. The accuracy of the details posted cannot be taken for granted and must be thoroughly checked.








Cyrus the Great



The Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus Cylinder (front side shown in the above photo) is a barrel-shaped cylinder made from baked clay and measures a maximum 8.9 inches by a maximum 3.9 inches. Photo Source: Prioryman


The cylinder is covered with a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script on behalf of the Persian ruler Cyrus II the Great (ruled 559 - 530 BC), founder of the Achaemenid Empire (559 - 330 BC), and dates from Cyrus' conquest of the Neo- (New) Babylonian Empire c. 539 BC.


It was discovered in Babylon in 1871 and is today in the British Museum.

The Cyrus Cylinder

The Discovery and Creation of an Icon


A Lecture by John E. Curtis at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.


12 April 2012






The Cyrus Cylinder from Ancient Babylon and the Beginning of the Persian Empire


Lecture by John E. Curtis at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York


20 June 2013




Full text:


Full text read aloud (audio):






Achaemenid Empire of Cyrus the Great spread from the Aegean Sea to Central Asia








The Bisotun (Behistun) Inscription


The Bisotun (Behistun) Inscription - texts and low reliefs carved from a cliff face of Mount Bisotun (Behistun) in present-day Iran.


The three separate inscriptions, each in a different languages - Old Persian, Elamite and Late Babylonian Akkadian - were written in cuneiform script and recount the conquests of King Darius I (the Great) of Persia (ruled 522 BC - 486 BC).


The eventual decipherment of Old Persian in the mid-1800s simplified the translation of the Late Babylonian Akkadian.



Cracking the Code


An excerpt from a lecture by David Neiman from the course Cradles of Civilization, Los Angeles, California (2000)









A 7,000-year-old city in northern Mesopotamia
Hamoukar is located in Syria
An archeolgical site in the Jazira in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border contemporary with the Ubaid and the early Uruk civilisations
Redrawing the map of the World's Earliest Cities
Clemens Reichel, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago (2007)

Continued on next page, 5, Egypt

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