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Current time:0:00Total duration:9:24

Video transcript

in other videos we talked about how 10 to 15,000 years ago you have the emergence of Agriculture primarily around river valleys and it's no surprise that agriculture first came about around river valleys because the rivers would flood making the soy the soil around them fertile it would provide fresh water for crops and for the people who would live near them later on the rivers could be useful for transporting things like crops and so it's not surprising that our first significant civilizations also emerged where the first agriculture emerged and our first civilizations will see in ancient Egypt along the Nile we will see it in the Indus Valley along the Indus River we'll see it in China along the yellow and Yangtze rivers and we'll also see it in Mesopotamia along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and what we're going to focus on in this video in particular is Mesopotamia now the word Mesopotamia literally comes from Mae sews between and Potter most I'm probably not pronouncing it right rivers so the area between rivers is literally what Mesopotamia is referring to and it's Mae it's primarily modern-day Iraq now the reason why this is particularly interesting and it's called the cradle of civilization is not only is it one of or perhaps the first place that agriculture developed it was at the the crossroads of many other early civilizations notice it's right in between the Indus Valley Civilisation here yeah and then the ancient Egyptian and other civilizations that were emerging in the area and so it's not surprising that this was a geography that had significant development in terms of Technology in terms of architecture in terms of religion in terms of writing and the first civilization we believe that emerged in Mesopotamia are the Sumerians Sumerians and Sumire & Sumerians it's most associated with this region right over here of let me circle it this region right over here of southern Mesopotamia and we currently think that this civilization started to emerge around 4000 BCE you can see it on this timeline here in orange and they developed things as basic as the wheel the first wheel that was ever discovered was 3500 BCE in Sumeria they are famous for their architectural structures this is a picture here of a ziggurat which is at the center of many of these Sumerian and as we'll see Mesopotamian cities this would have required an incredible amount of labor to produce it at the top of these they had temples to their gods and their gods it was a Pollock they had a polytheistic religion and their gods take took human form also in in amongst the Sumerians is where we think one of the first written languages developed it wasn't the first you also have the Egyptian hieroglyphic so we think written and written language emerged amongst the Harappans and the Indus Valley Civilisation and amongst the Chinese but it was one of the first languages this right over here is an example of a cuneiform tablet this is a cuneiform tablet written in the script cuneiform developed by these ancient Sumerians now when you talk about Mesopotamia you'll talk about some areas but we'll also talk about other civilizations that emerge in particular let me write them all down you have the Sumerians you'll also hear something called Akkadian and as we'll see Akkadian is both a language and an empire that will emerge in Mesopotamia over the the roughly 3,000 years BCE the two primary primary languages are Akkadian which is considered a Semitic language it's related to modern Semitic languages like Arabic and Hebrew and the reason why they're called Semitic is because they're spoken or they're purported to be spoken by the descendants of Shem who was Noah's son in the Hebrew Bible so you have the language Akkadian which is Semitic and then you have the other language which is Sumerian and as we get into the third millennium be de the Sumerians start to have a lot of interaction with Akkadian speaking people and Akkadian speaking people are initially associated primarily with northern Mesopotamia and we believe the first Empire true Empire perhaps the first Empire in the world emerged from Acadia and it was called the Akkadian Empire and if we scroll down over here we can see how the Akkadian Empire spread we believe that the town of Akkad which the Akkadian empires named for some place in this region right over here and the first significant ruler who really spread that Empire was Sargon often referred to as Sargon the great and you can see you can see that that would have been established around the middle of the 23rd or actually the 24th century BCE so around 2350 you have Sargon establishing what might be the first dynastic Empire in the world the Akkadian Empire and he was able to take control of both northern and southern Mesopotamia so even the Sumerians were under the control of the Acadians and as we'll see over time you have a lot of mixing between the Akkadian language the Sumerian language Akkadian gets written in the cuneiform script and starting it around this period Sumerian starts to die as a spoken language and Akkadian really becomes dominant now the Acadians rule for a little over a hundred years and then you have several other empires you can get confusing the way I've structured this timeline is this top line right over here it's southern Mesopotamia and this bottom line right over here is northern Mesopotamia so this orange shows you where the Sumerians were reigning some people think that they might have been the first Empire this bottom line here you can see the Akkadian speakers but they were fragmented until you have Sargon the great establishing the Akkadian Empire now you briefly you briefly then have a short term neo Sumerian Empire but the next significant Empire that's often talked about when associated with Mesopotamia is the Babylonian Empire so Babylon Babylonian Empire was centered at Babylon right over here and it really became a significant Empire under the ruler Hammurabi and Homer Ravi is perhaps most known you can see how he was able to spread the Empire the dark the dark brown is what he had with his empire when he took rule and the light brown is what he was able to spread it to so once again both north and south and he's perhaps most famous for his famous code of hammurabi which is depicted here and it wasn't the first written code but it was one of the earliest and you could view it as almost like a proto Constitution and it was based on things that the Sumerians had before but they've even influenced things like biblical laws things that come down to modern codes of law today now after the Babylonians the other significant Empire that would have control over significant portions of Mesopotamia is the Assyrian Empire and the Assyrian Empire is named for their I guess you could say their home base the town of us or you can see it in this map here when we showed the Akkadian Empire and both the Babylonians and the Assyrians were kadian speaking so at this point now and as we get into the later Syrian period we'll start to have our make be a more significant language another Semitic language but as you can see here the Assyrian Empire at its peak controlled much of the modern-day Middle East now the Assyrian Empire would eventually collapse in the seventh century BCE and would be taken over by the neo-babylonian empire and I have a map of that right over here which also controlled much of the modern Middle East probably the most famous ruler of the neo-babylonian empire was Nebuchadnezzar the second from the Hebrew Bible famous for taking the the early Jewish people captive the famous Babylonian captivity but eventually they would be overthrown and they will be overthrown in the 6th century BCE by the Persians and Cyrus the Great and that will actually be the end of the Babylonian captivity according to biblical accounts but the big picture is that Mesopotamia is called the cradle of civilization for a good reason not only do we have these technological and architectural advancements their religion their writing has influenced civilization since for the last five six seven thousand years I would say definitely the last five thousand years and a lot of these ideas that came out of Mesopotamia like written codes of law and the technologies and the and all the rest follow with us today