Iraq: Mysterious Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient Origins Iraq tour

Monday October 30, 2023 12:00pm EST
Dr Micki Pistorius
Iraq: Mysterious Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient Origins’ Dr Micki Pistorius takes you on a virtual preview of the sites of Iraq. Starting at the ancient Marshland settlements in the south where the Euphrates and the Tigris fused , bordering the Persian gulf, we travel up along the two rivers, crisscrossing the Fertile Crescent, until we reach the citadel of Erbil in the north, incorporating several epochs dating from 8,000 years ago, up to modern Baghdad.

Between the Tigris and the Euphrates, memories of mysterious Mesopotamia, envelop the sun-baked ruins of ziggurats, temples, palaces, cities, and irrigation canals, where gods took the hands of kings, to rule, to make war, to worship, to love and eventually to ruin.  Called the Cradle of Civilization, this is the land of the Sumerians, the Akkadians and the Babylonians, which today is called Iraq. The Ubaid period, starting around 5000 BC, marked the earliest known settlements in the region, characterized by villages and the development of agriculture and draining of marshes in the fertile crescent.

The Sumerian civilization emerged around 3500 BC and brought significant advancements in agriculture, governance, urbanization, and the creation of the world's first writing system, cuneiform. They built ziggurats as dwellings for their tutelary gods and elaborate palaces. This era is renowned for city-states such as Eridu, Larsa, Ur, Uruk, Lagash, Nippur, Nimrud and Kish.

The Old Akkadian Empire, led by Sargon the Great during the 24th century BC, united Mesopotamia under one rule, subjugating the entire Fertile Crescent, marking a critical shift in the region's history. It laid the foundation for the Akkadian language's dominance and the spread of cuneiform script. He is regarded as the first Emperor and was succeeded by his grandson Naram Sin. We visit Ashur and Nineveh, two of the Old Akkadian cities.

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