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MESOPOTAMIA The area is a difficult environment for agriculture because it doesn't have a warm climate, good soil and has little rainfall. Farmers used cattle plows to cultivate barley. In 3000ce they began constructing irrigation canals to bring water to fields farther away from the rivers. Other crops and natural resources included date palms, vegetables, reeds and fish, and fallow land for grazing goats and sheep. Draft animals included cattle and donkeys and, later camels and horses. The area has no significant wood, stone, or metal resources. Early Mesopotamian society was a society of villages and cities linked together in a system of mutual interdependence. Cities depended on villages to produce surplus food to feed the non-producing urban elite and craftsmen. ...read more.


Eventually some of the city-states became powerful enough to absorb others and thus create larger territorial states. A territorial state was established by Hammurabi and is known to historians as the "Old Babylonian" state. The states of Mesopotamia needed resources and obtained them not only by territorial expansion, but also through a flourishing long-distance trade. Merchants were employed by temples and palaces Mesopotamia had a stratified society in which kings and priests controlled much of the wealth. There were three classes of Mesopotamian society: (1) the free landowning class, (2) dependent farmers and artisans, (3) slaves. Slavery was not a fundamental part of the economy, and most slaves were prisoners of war. ...read more.


Humans were regarded as servants of the gods. We have little knowledge of the beliefs and religious practices of common people. Evidence indicates a popular belief in magic and in the use of magic to influence the gods. The Mesopotamian writing system evolved from the use of pictures to represent the sounds of words or parts of words. The writing system was complex, required the use of hundreds of signs, and was a monopoly of the scribes. Technologies developed: irrigation transportation technologies (boats, barges, and the use of donkeys), bronze metallurgy, brick making, engineering, and pottery, including the use of the potter's wheel. Military technology employed in Mesopotamia included paid, full-time soldiers, horses, the horse-drawn chariot, the bow and arrow, and siege machinery. The Mesopotamians achieved many advances in math and astronomy. ...read more.

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