The Mesopotamian civilization is among the ancient formations that the world has ever witnessed. The civilization is associated with the flow and ebb of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The rainfall patterns in the region meant that the northern part was more occupied than the other parts. The citizens’ economy was primarily agricultural (Benton and DiYanni 1-34).
A rough estimate shows that about two hundred people occupied the permanent villages of Mesopotamia. The land between the two rivers was more fertile, but the absence of adequate rainfall meant that irrigation had to be used. It is also suggested that occasional flooding contributed to the unattractiveness of the southern part.
Mesopotamia at the Forefront of Urbanization
The civilization in Mesopotamia arose due to the fertility of the soil. The fertile soils allowed the Mesopotamians to produce surplus food. Having surplus food allowed people to settle. As settlements sprung up, towns and cities also began to develop. Thus, Mesopotamia was at the forefront of urbanization.
It is also remarkable that an increase in settlements led to an expansion in the population size. As the population grew job specialization, division of labor, a high degree of organization, cooperation, and kingship became possible. With the emergence of towns and cities, levels of interaction grew.
The Mesopotamia region was also characterized by variations in wealth. Early farmers occupied different parts of Mesopotamia (Benton and DiYanni 1-34). As already pointed, the southern part was more fertile. Hence, farmers from the south were wealthier. This led to the emergence of social classes. Similarly, the role of decision-making came up since there was a need for collective construction of dykes, canals, ditches, etc.
On the other hand, the need for regulation and controls called for cooperation. The region also built religious facilities, which were used for purposes of worshiping. Priests were in charge of the spiritual life of the Mesopotamian people. With time, the Mesopotamian villages evolved to become self-sufficient and autonomous cities. Although the cities were not quite autonomous in an economic sense, eventually they became politically independent.
The aspect that strikes me most is the manner in which simple villages transformed into independent city-states. At the time that Mesopotamia was coming up, few known cities operated independently. Moreover, life at this time was nomadic. However, the argument that Mesopotamia being fertile was the main reason the people chose to stay, does not convince wholly.
For instance, this was not the only fertile place. Maybe other factors, such as location could have played a role in the decisions of the people to stay there. However, it remains fascinating how the villages evolved to become independent city-states. Additionally, the cities chose to become politically independent. I find it to be surprised that there was no unified system for governing the country.
Present-day Iraq draws several parallels with Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was a composition of independent city-states. This is no longer the case in Iraq since the country is a unitary state. Earlier on, Mesopotamia was primarily driven by an agricultural economy. On the contrary, the economy of Iraq is primarily driven by oil production. However, the two, Mesopotamia and Iraq highly regarded religion. Based on this evidence, Iraq is not a replica of Mesopotamia.