Ancient Iraq: Third Edition by Georges Roux

By Georges Roux

Newly revised and containing details from contemporary excavations and chanced on artifacts, Ancient Iraq covers the political, cultural, and socio-economic background from Mesopotamia days of prehistory to the Christian period.

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The Tigris-Euphrates valley – the region once called Mesopotamia and now mostly in Iraqi territory – forms a large, coherent, well-defined geographical, historical and cultural unit. Throughout antiquity, its inhabitants – Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians – shared the same brilliant civilization and played the leading role in Near Eastern politics, art, science, philosophy, religion and literature. During the last hundred years an enormous amount of archaeological research has been carried out in Iraq proper and in the eastern provinces of Syria.

This fertile plain forms a natural ‘corridor’, a transit area between the Upper Tigris valley and the plains of northern Syria, and the amazing constellation of ‘tells’ representing buried cities and villages testifies that it was heavily populated in antiquity. 18 There the annual rainfall varies between 30 and 60 centimetres. From a rolling plain alongside the river the ground rises through a series of parallel folds of gradually increasing height to the rugged, snow-covered peaks of the Zagros range (altitude 2,500 to 3,600 metres) which separates Iraq from Iran.

Examples of decorated pottery from the Neolithic to Jemat Nasr period. 4. Diagrammatic section through the archaic levels of Uruk. 5. Cylinder-seals from the Uruk period. 6. Cuneiform signs through the ages. 7. Investiture of Zimri-Lim as King of Mari by the goddess Ishtar. 8. The world as seen by the Sumerians. 9. The oval temple of Khafaje. 10. The ‘helmet’ of Meskalamdug, King of Ur. 11. The ziqqurat of Ur in the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur. 12. The temple of Ishtar-kititum at Ischâli. 13.

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