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Mesopotamia: The cradle of civilization Essay

Civilization is defined as "a advanced state of intellectual, cultural, and material development in human society, marked by progress in the arts and sciences, the extensive use of record-keeping, including writing, and the appearance of complex political and social institutions." (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000)Often called the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia or "the land between the rivers" is thought by many to be the birthplace of what we know today as civilized life. But based on this definition can one say that is was a truly great civilization? The answer is yes, the many scientific, political and social advances brought about by the people of Mesopotamia overshadow any reservations one might have about calling Mesopotamia a "great civilization".
The fact alone that the Mesopotamians were able to survive in the unforgiving land between the rivers says much about the strength and adaptability of this civilization. Mesopotamia, located in what in what is now Iraq, was a harsh and unpredictable land compared to Egypt and the Nile (Newman, Garfield. 2001), which floods on a regular cycle. Long, hot and drawn out summers often destroyed vegetation, while unpredictable downpours caused the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to overflow and flood, often wiping out entire villages. This forced the people of Mesopotamia to adapt to their surroundings. They learned to use the rivers to their advantage by placing their villages on top of natural levees which provided rich soil and easy irrigation for agriculture. Mud houses were placed on platforms that protected them from constant flooding. Thanks to these and other innovations, orderly life was able to be sustained in Mesopotamia, which is fundamental in order to build a successful civilization.
However, it takes much more than simple survival to make a great civilization. The groups that inhabited Mesopotamia also brought…

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