BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF MESOPOTAMIA

HISTORY AND CULTURE from 10,000 to 330 BCE

 

EARLY FARMING COMMUNITIES - 10,000-5,000 BCE

10,000 BCE Wooden reaping knives set with flint blades used in Palestine
9,000 BCE End of the Ice Age; domesticated sheep in the North Tigris Valley. Beginning cultivation of wild wheat and barley and domestication of dogs and sheep; inaugurating of change from food gathering to food producing culture - Karim Shahir in Zagros foothills
7,700 BCE Çatal Huyuk in Turkey; obsidian mined for tools; fertilitity cult indicates use of domesticated cattle.
7,500 BCE Extensive settlement at Jericho, weaving, fortification, remains of cultivated cereals.
7,000 BCE Pottery begins. At Jarmo, oldest known permanent settlement: crude mud houses, wheat grown from seed, herds of goats, sheep, and pigs.
6,500 BCE Copper used in Turkey for trinkets; a dugout canoe used in Holland.
6,000 BCE Farming in Macedonia; pottery plentiful. Migration of northern farmers settle in region from Babylon to Persian Gulf. Hassuna culture introduces irrigation, fine pottery, permanent dwellings; dominates culture for 1000 years, develops tradefrom Persian Gulf to Mediterranean.

 

PRE-SUMERIANS 5,000-3,500 BCE

5,000 BCE Use of copper in Macedonia begins. Ubaidians develop first divisions of labor, mud brick villages, first religious shrines. Small temple at Eridu – earliest example of an offering table and niche for cult object.
 4,000 BCE Semitic nomads from Syria and Arabian peninsula invade southern Mesopotamia, intermingle with Ubaidian population. Temple at Tepe Gawra built - setting style for later examples

 

SUMERIAN PERIOD 3,500-1,900 BCE

3,500 BCE Sumerians settle on banks of Euphrates. Temple at Eridu – ziggurat prototype
3,300 BCE Writing begins in Sumer; wheeled vehicles and wheel-made pottery, sailboats, and animal-drawn plows in Sumer; agriculture reaches Ireland.
3,000 BCE Democratic assemblies give way to kingships, evolve into hereditary monarchies.
2,800 BCE Akkadian conquest of Diyala region. Introduction of pictographs to keep administrative records. 3-D statues, e.g. Warka head. White Temple - ziggurat traditional design. Temple at Tell Uqair - mosaic decorations. Cuneiform land sales formal contracts. Eridu and Kish - simple palaces. "Standard of Ur" - war-peace plaque, religious statues, gold and silver artifacts buried in tombs of Ur. Sumerians of Abu Salabikh - first poetry.
 2,700 BCE Agriculture reaches China; royal inscriptions appear in Sumer; Sumerian script used in Akkad; Sumerian fashions used in Mari. Gilgamesh, hero of Sumerian legends, reigns as king of Erech
2,500 BCE Writing in Mari (Sumerian script); keeping of daily accounts in Sumer; the pyramids completed. Lugalannemudu of Abab unites city states which vie for domination for 200 years
2,400 BCE Writing in Assyria (Sumerian script).
2,350 BCE Sargon I of Agade, first known empire.
2,300 BCE Copper common in Sumer; writing in the Indus valley (local script).
2,250 BCE The fall of the Dynasty of Sargon. Ur-Nammu founds Ur's 3rd. dynasty; dedicates ziggurat at Ur moon-god Nanna, sets up early law code. Gudea, Prince of Lagsh, art and literature under royal patronage flourish,magnificant statues produced in his honor.
2,112 BCE Gutian invasions
2,100 - 2,000 BCE Supremacy of Ur on lower Mesopotamia
2,100 BCE The laws of Ur-Nammu of Ur, the earliest preserved law book.
2,000 BCE
Elamites invade and destroy Ur.

 

BABYLONIANS AND ASSYRIANS 1,900-330 BCE

1,900 BCE Amorites from the Syrian desert conquer Sumer.
1,800 BCE Hammurabi ascends the throne in Babylon.
1,750 BCE Hammurabi brings most of Mesopotamia under his control. Hammurabi of Babylon rules most of Mesopotamia; financial transactions in Sumer and Accad now commonly in silver.
1,600 BCE Hittite invasion from Turkey ends Hammurabi's dynasty
1,595 BCE Hittites invade Babylon
1,500 BCE Assyria conquered by Hurrians from Anatolia. Bas-relief of baked brick appears as dominant art form - Karaindash Temple.
1,400 BCE Kurigalzu assumes Babylonian throne
1,200 BCE Nebuchadrezzar I expels Elamites.
1,100 BCE King Tiglath-Pileser I leads Assyria to new era of power. Iron, introduced originally by Hittites, is used extensively in Assyria for tools and weapons.
1,000 BCE Assyrian empire shattered by Aramaean and Zagros tribes. 150 Assyrian decline halted by Adadnirari II.
900 BCE Assurnasirpal II builds magnificent new capital, Calah, replacing old capital of Assur, present day Nimrud.
800 BCE Tiglath-Pileser II creates great empire extending from the Persian Gulf to the borders of Egypt. Sargon II builds new capitol at Dur-Sharrukin
700 BCE Assurbanipal extends empire from Nile to Caucasus Mountains. Chaldeans and Iranian Medes overrun Assyria - Neo-Babylonian empire. Sennacherib's son, Esaraddon, rebuilds Babylon.
600 BCE Nebuchadrezzar II rules Neo-Babylonian empire. Razes Jerusalem, takes Jews into captivity in Babylon. Builds his main temple, the Esagila in honor of Marduk, whose ziggurat is the famous "Tower of Babel", mentioned in the Old Testament Bible.
500 BCE Cyrus the Great, Persian warrior and statesman, conquers Babylon
334-330 BCE Conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great.
330 BCE Alexander the Great enters Babylon; final fall of the Persians and Mesopotamian dominance over the region; beginning of Hellenistic period. Alexander the Great dies of fever in Babylon at the Age of 33.

(BCE=Before Common Era)

 

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