Home Books Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Authored by: Stephen Bertman
  • From the Series: Handbook to Life
  • Trim Size: 7-3/8 x 9-1/4
  • ISBN-10: 0816043469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-4346-0
  • Status: In Stock
  • List Price: $70.00
  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 11/01/2002
  • Dewey Number: 935
  • Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
  • Pages: 416


Ancient Mesopotamia was the home of not one but a succession of glorious civilizations that together flourished more than three millennia. It was Sumerian mathematicians who devised the sixty-minute hour. It was Babylonian architects who designed the fabled Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World." And it was Assyrian kings and generals who conducted some of the most ruthless military campaigns in recorded history.

Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia presents the glory and splendor of an area that was host to some of the world's greatest civilizations and their struggles to create civilized life in a fertile land racked by brutal conquest. This volume focuses on the civilizations of Mesopotamia that invented agriculture, cities, writing, law, and even beer. Known as the "Fertile Crescent," Mesopotamia is now the heart of modern-day Iraq, a war-torn land where people still struggle to eke out their daily lives as did their ancestors thousands of years ago.

Organized in the classic Handbook to Life format, this comprehensive reference examines the everyday routines of Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian life from about 3500 to 500 BCE by gathering in one comprehensive volume all that modern-day archaeologists and historians have unearthed about Mesopotamia's foods, homes, literature, arts, laws, wars, religions, political systems, class structures, economy, and more. A separate chapter explores the influence of Mesopotamia on the sacred scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Coverage includes:

  • Geography, Archaeology, and History of Mesopotamia
    The land, dating the past, ancient narratives, and key rulers of Mesopotamia
  • Government, Society, Religion, and Myth
    The structure of civilization, biographies of political leaders, and personal piety
  • Language, Literature, Architecture, and Engineering
    Major languages, writing, techniques of construction, ziggurats, and city planning
  • Sculpture, Arts, and Sacred Scripture
    The role of artists, pottery, painting, the Old Testament, and Mesopotamia and the Koran
  • Economy, Transportation, and Trade
    Professions, wages and prices, transportation by water, trade, and weights and measures
  • Military Affairs, Everyday Life, and More
    Weapons and equipment, the art of war, work, slavery, music, sports, and education.


114 black-and-white photographs and illustrations. 3 maps. Index. Appendix. Bibliography. Timeline.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Bertman, a professor of classics at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Canada, holds a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin from Columbia University. His books include Doorways Through Time: The Romance of Archaeology, and he has numerous articles and lectures on Near Eastern culture to his credit.

Reviews and Awards

"This volume presents an excellent discussion about ancient Mesopotamian civilization (modern day Iraq)...The text reads well and is accessible for the average layperson...A very solid work, this volume belongs in public libraries as well as in high school and college libraries. Its accessibility and thoroughness make it a possibility for use as a course text."
American Reference Books Annual

"...a useful contribution to Facts On File's Handbook to Life series...A useful purchase for medium-sized to large public libraries and academic libraries with undergraduate Middle Eastern ancient history classes."

"...compact, clearly written...This handbook will be useful to librarians as a reference tool and to students, teachers, and general readers at all levels for its wealth of readily accessible information on ancient Mesopotamian life and times...Recommended..."

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