Glossary and Terms
History >> Ancient Mesopotamia
Akkadian - A language spoken by most of Mesopotamia. It replaced Sumerian as the primary language.
Akkadian Empire - The Akkadian Empire was the world's first empire. It formed when Sargon the Great conquered many of the Sumerian city-states and united them under one leader.
Aqueduct - A man-made channel built to carry water from one location to another.
Ashur or Assur - Assur was the original capital city of the Assyrian Empire. It was also the name of the primary god in the Assyrian religion.
Assyrian Empire - An empire known for their fierce warriors, the Assyrian Empire rose and fell several times to rule over much of Mesopotamia and the Middle East.
Babylonian Empire - The Babylonian Empire ruled much of Mesopotamia from the city of Babylon. The empire rose and fell over the course of ancient history.
Chariot - The chariot was a two wheeled vehicle pulled by horses. It was typically used for warfare and was one of the strengths of the Assyrian army.
City-state - A city-state is an independently governed region that is centered around a single powerful city. The civilization of the Sumer was governed by many independent city-states.
Civilization - A civilization is an advanced state of human society. Typically a civilization is marked by advanced government, agriculture, science, and culture.
Code of Hammurabi - A written code of law from 1772 BC. It was put in place by Babylonian King Hammurabi. It is one of the oldest detailed recordings of a code of law in world history.
Cuneiform - One of the earliest forms of writing invented by the Sumer. It uses wedge shaped marks to make picture symbols on clay tablets.
Cylinder seal - An engraved stone cylinder used to create a seal or signature on clay tablets.
Dynasty - When one family rules a kingdom or empire for a period of time, passing down the reign to the next generation.
Empire - A large number of states or regions that are ruled by a single leader called the emperor or empress.
Fertile Crescent - A large area of land in the Middle East that is shaped like a crescent on a map. It runs from the Persian Gulf, along the Tigres and Euphrates rivers, over to the Mediterranean Sea, and down the Nile River Valley of Egypt.
Gilgamesh - A Sumerian King of the city-state of Uruk. He later became known in mythology as a demigod with superhuman strength.
Irrigation - Watering crops through man-made efforts such as ditches and canals.
Lyre - A stringed instrument shaped like a small harp.
Marduk - The primary god of the Babylonians.
Mesopotamia - A term used to describe the lands between and near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. It is mostly located in present day Iraq and Syria.
Mina - A unit of weight equal to 60 shekels or around 1.25 pounds.
Nebuchadnezzar - A famous king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt much of the city including the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Persian Empire - The last major empire of Ancient Mesopotamia, the Persian Empire conquered much of the Middle East.
Scribe - A person trained in writing cuneiform script. They were well-respected in Mesopotamian society.
Shekel - A standard unit of weight first used in Mesopotamia.
Siege weapons - Weapons used to capture cities and take down walls. The Assyrians were experts at using siege weapons such as battering rams and siege towers.
Stylus - A writing tool made from a reed that scribes used to make wedge shaped symbols on clay tablets.
Sumer - The first human civilization in world history, the Sumer began to form towns in 5000 BC.
Ziggurats - Large temples usually located at the center of a Mesopotamian city. Ziggurats looked like pyramids with a flat top.
Zoroastrianism - The main religion of the Persian Empire, it followed the teachings of Zoroaster.
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History >> Ancient Mesopotamia