Ancient History & Civilisation

Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization

Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization

Civilization was born eight thousand years ago, between the floodplains of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, when migrants from the surrounding mountains and deserts began to create increasingly sophisticated urban societies. In the cities that they built, half of human history took place.

In Babylon, Paul Kriwaczek tells the story of Mesopotamia from the earliest settlements seven thousand years ago to the eclipse of Babylon in the sixth century BCE. Bringing the people of this land to life in vibrant detail, the author chronicles the rise and fall of power during this period and explores the political and social systems, as well as the technical and cultural innovations, which made this land extraordinary. At the heart of this book is the story of Babylon, which rose to prominence under the Amorite king Hammurabi from about 1800 BCE. Even as Babylon's fortunes waxed and waned, it never lost its allure as the ancient world's greatest city.

Engaging and compelling, Babylon reveals the splendor of the ancient world that laid the foundation for civilization itself.

Chapter 1. Lessons from the Past: An Introduction

Chapter 2. Kingship Descends from Heaven: The Urban Revolution Before 4000 BCE

Chapter 3. The City of Gilgamesh: Temple Rule Between c.4000 and 3000 BCE

Chapter 4. The Flood: A Caesura in History

Chapter 5. Big Men and Kings: The City-States c.3000 to 2300 BCE

Chapter 6. Rulers of the Four Quarters: The Bronze Heroic Age c.2300 to 2200 BCE

Chapter 7. Sumer Resurgent: The Dirigiste State c.2100 to 2000 BCE

Chapter 8. Old Babylon: The Culmination c.1900 to 1600 BCE

Chapter 9. Empire of Ashur: Colossus of the First Millennium c.1800 BCE to 700 BCE

Chapter 10. Passing the Baton: An End and a Beginning After 700 BCE

Bibliographic Notes