Was Mesopotamia the First Urban Region Ever?

In the archeological terms, there are certain definitions for an ancient city. It is generally termed for a place with a huge population, center of commerce, and good administration. This is the basic definition of an ancient city.

However, there are other factors based on which a city is designated. The height of buildings, the population of the settlement, presence of sewer system, density of buildings, population, and level of administration becomes the deciding factor.

The first cities developed in the Sumerian civilization are known as Mesopotamia (between 4500 and 3100 BCE.) The origins of the first civilization in Mesopotamia are still under discussion, but archaeological evidence states that they are the established civilization with a dozen city-states by the fourth millennium B.C.

This blog will give insights on some of the interesting history behind this fist human civilization.

The Ancient City in Mesopotamia

The major cities in Sumerian civilization are Uruk, Eridu, Ur, Nippur, Lagash, and Kish. Among them, Uruk is considered the oldest city in Sumer which was later called Babylonia. It had a huge trading hub for six miles, defensive walls, and the human population between 40,000 and 80,000. It is most likely to be the largest ancient city in the world. Uruk is located in the southern part of the Sumer and was the most significant city in ancient Mesopotamia. This part in modern times is known as Warka, Iraq. 

Archeological Facts on Uruk:

  • The dug up in the ancient ruins offers insights on the culture and lifestyle of ancient people. In fact, the ruins demonstrate that it had been a scientific and religious center.
  • In reference to the Archaeology Magazine, the world’s oldest texts were found here.
  • The first ruling dynasty of Sumer with historical verification is the First Dynasty of Kish.
  • The most popular and oldest early Sumerian rulers are the king of Uruk – Gilgamesh. As per the evidence, he took control in 2700 B.C. Several fictional adventures were created with the base of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • It was the first and epic poem in history that was an inspiration for Greek and Roman and myths and for some Biblical stories

Here are some of the significant features of the old Sumerian city:

Language and Scripts of Mesopotamia 

The scripts and language of Sumer are believed to be the oldest that first appeared in the records archaeological department around 3100 B.C and were ruling Mesopotamia over the next 100 decades. 

Cuneiform – the written language dominated for 2000 years. It is a pictographic tablet that appeared around 4000 BC and expanded even outside Mesopotamia at the beginning of 3000 B.C. 

The Walled City

Walled cities are very common across Mesopotamia. This region is one of the prosperous and great centers for culture and intellectual aspects. The art of glassmaking in 1500 BCE is considered as one of the greatest achievements. They also excelled in other arts and sciences which is termed as astronomy, astrology, physics, law, mathematics, literature, architecture, and sculpture by the modern world

Sumerian Science and Technology

The system of medicine in Sumer was based on herbs along with which they were popular for the techniques of removing chemical portions from the natural substances. Research evidence states that they possessed advanced knowledge of surgical instruments and anatomy because these instruments were found in archeological sites.

Another greatest achievement is their knowledge of hydraulic engineering. They developed a system of ditches to prevent flooding. Furthermore, they also developed a system for irrigation, and blend the power of Euphrates and Tigris for farming. All of these insights about Mesopotamia explicitly points towards the fact that it was perhaps the first urban-like set up in the ancient world.

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