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Ancient Mesopotamia

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.

Learn More about Ancient Mesopotamia:

Timeline of Mesopotamia
Great Cities of Mesopotamia
The Ziggurat
Science, Inventions, and Technology
Assyrian Army
Persian Wars
Glossary and Terms

Akkadian Empire
Babylonian Empire
Assyrian Empire
Persian Empire
Daily Life of Mesopotamia
Art and Artisans
Religion and Gods
Code of Hammurabi
Sumerian Writing and Cuneiform
Epic of Gilgamesh

Famous Kings of Mesopotamia
Cyrus the Great
Darius I
Nebuchadnezzar II

Works Cited

History >> Ancient Mesopotamia

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