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Modern Human Civilization Begins in Mesopotamia

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Cosmic Philosopher

Cosmic Philosopher

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The land is too dry to grow many crops on. As a result, much of it has been - and is still - home to herders of sheep and goat. These nomads move from the river pastures in the summer to the desert fringes in the winter, which get some rain at this time of year. At various times they have had a large impact on Mesopotamian history.

Near the rivers themselves, the soil is extremely fertile. It is made up of rich mud brought down by the rivers from the mountains, and deposited over a wide area during the spring floods. When watered by means of irrigation channels, it makes some of the best farmland in the world.  The marshy land near the sea also makes very productive farmland, once it had been drained. Here, the diet is enriched by the plentiful supply of fish to had from the lagoons and ponds.  It is this geography which gave rise to the earliest civilization in world history.  Agriculture is only possible in the dry climate of Mesopotamia by means of irrigation. With irrigation, however, farming is very productive indeed. A dense population grew up here along the Tigris and Euphrates and their branches in the centuries after 5000 BC. By 3500 BC, cities had appeared. The surplus food grown in this fertile landscape enabled the farming societies to feed a class of people who did not need to devote their lives to agriculture. These were the craftsmen, priests, scribes, administrators, rulers and soldiers who made civilization possible.

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