Resources for Mesopotamian Civilization







Iraq's History Page

Ancient Mesopotamia

International World History Project

The International Database of the Melammu Project

Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient History Encyclopedia

Ancient History Sourcebook

Life In Mesopotamia














“In the library of King Ashurbanipal at Nineveh about 650 B.C., at least 30 percent of the twenty to thirty thousand tablets come into the category of omen literature. Each entry in these tedious irrational collections consists of an if-clause or protasis followed by a then-clause or apodosis. And there were many kinds of omens.... Rarely are we able to see any logical dependency of prediction on portent, the connection often being as simple as word associations or connotations.... History also begins, if vaguely, in omen texts, the apodoses or ‘then-clauses’ of some early texts perhaps preserving some faint historical information in a unique and characteristically Mesopotamian variety of historiography.” – Jaynes, Origin of Consciousness, 237-9.


“For think of it: almost every scrap of writing, even if it was unimportant or discarded, is waiting for us in the ruins of those ancient cities. Where will it be tomorrow? But the letter which a man threw into the wastebasket four thousand years ago, and which was the next day dumped onto the refuse heap, is still there and may some day come to light! These little clay tablets, with all sorts of records, began to pile up in great numbers early in the third millennium B.C. and continued to accumulate until the beginning of the Christian Era. We have thus an unbroken line of documents covering all phases of knowledge throughout these centuries. Through them, we can follow changes in religious beliefs, economic conditions, and customs in daily life. In fact, through them we can and we will resurrect the old civilizations in the minutest details.” – Chiera, They Wrote on Clay, 22.