The five main civilization of Mesopotamia were the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians.
One common trait of all Mesopotamian civilization was that there was a shared emphasis placed on religion and religious worship. Many Mesopotamian civilizations worshipped the same gods. Mesopotamian religions were polytheistic, which meant that they worshipped many gods.
Each city in Mesopotamia had a “patron god,” or one god that was worshipped more than the others because they were thought to keep the people of the city safe. Patron gods were prayed to daily, and often had structures built in the city to honor them.
An example of one of these types of structures was the ziggurat. A ziggurat was a step-based structure (sort of like a pyramid with a flat top) that was built in Mesopotamia to honor the gods. Peasants would go to the ziggurat every day to pray.
In most Mesopotamian civilizations, the people placed an emphasis on having a strong military, and powerful warriors were treated well in society. This is because, at the time of Mesopotamia, peace between countries/kingdoms was uncommon, and invasions happened all the time.
The empires of Mesopotamia were also renowned for their aggressive foreign policy – or, in other words, they were famous for invading other countries and seizing control. This is particularly true in the case of the Assyrian and Persian civilizations, both of which were known for their cruel and violent ways.
Boys were taught to fight from a young age in Mesopotamia, in the hopes that they would become strong warriors by the time they grew up. The most important weapons were spears, bows, and chariots.
Mesopotamia was the first country in the world to use iron weapons instead of bronze, which helped them to defeat their weaker neighbors.
“Social hierarchy” is a system of social divide that was very common in ancient civilizations. In the social hierarchy, a person’s station/status was decided at birth. At the bottom of the social hierarchy were the slaves; at the top, the royals/high priests of the native religion.
A slave’s child would always be a slave, a royal’s child would always be a royal, and so on and so forth. In the system of social hierarchy, there was no way to rise above your station, and the path of your life was decided from the moment of your birth.
This meant that not all people were equal in Mesopotamia. Peasants lived very different lives to royals, and typically worked much harder, but for less money.
Similarly to the idea of social hierarchy, men and women were treated differently to one another in Mesopotamia. Men and women had specific roles to fulfill in society. Men were expected to be strong, brave, and capable warriors.
Most worked as farmers, soldiers, or laborers, and were expected to have many sons to continue their bloodline. Women were expected to be mothers and wives, and there was little emphasis placed on their career. Some Mesopotamian civilizations did allow women to work as merchants/traders, but this was uncommon.
If a woman did not have children, she was a failure in the eyes of society. Women were not allowed to own property or be priests of the Mesopotamian religion but were free to worship as they pleased in the local ziggurat.
Fertility was very important to the Mesopotamians, and many gods/goddess of their civilizations were supposed to protect pregnant women/mothers from harm.
– Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians.
– Assyrians, Persians.
– Brave, fearless, strong warriors. Fathers. Providers for their families.
– To honor the gods.