The Mesopotamian people were those who lived in the country/region of Mesopotamia, an ancient place found in West Asia. In modern terms, Mesopotamia corresponds to roughly the area of Iraq, Kuwait, east Syria, and south-eastern Turkey.
In general, the people of Mesopotamia were polytheistic. This meant that they believed in many gods, instead of just one. Mesopotamians had many gods to worship and would pray to them every day.
Mesopotamia cities all had patron gods or goddesses, who were specifically chosen to protect the townspeople and keep the city safe from attack; for example, the patron god of Babylon was named Marduk, and he had a special temple built in his honor within the city walls. Mesopotamians would complete their daily worship inside a structure called a ziggurat.
A ziggurat was a step-based structure, and looked sort of like a pyramid with a flat top. Historians believe that most ziggurats had a temple at their heart, which is where the Mesopotamian people would go to pray. Some would have shrines to specific deities (gods/goddesses) in their homes as well.
The most common job for men in Mesopotamian was farming. Farming was extremely important to Mesopotamian civilization because it was their only way of producing food; at the time, trade with other countries hadn’t really gained popularity, and it was crucial that farmers be able to produce a large amount of food to cater to the city’s needs.
Other common jobs for men included laboring (physical work of any description), and working as a merchant or soldier. Most Mesopotamian civilization had a powerful military, and raised their boys from a young age to be able fighters.
This is particularly true in the case of the Akkadian and Persian empires, who were famed for their military strength. The daily life of a Mesopotamian man would have centered around their workday, from sunrise to sunset, no matter what their job would have been.
Women in Mesopotamia generally did not have jobs. Though some Mesopotamian cultures allowed for women to work as traders/merchants, most required that they stay at home and take care of their children.
The roles of women in Mesopotamian culture was centered around the importance of their roles as mothers. Because of this, most women spent their days in the home; cooking, cleaning and raising their children.
In early Mesopotamian history, the most common types of clothing for men and women were skirts and shawls, respectively. Mesopotamian men wore skirts up until approximately 1300 BC. These skirts were simple things of wool and linen, and did not have much decoration.
They would not have worn any shirts. After 1300 BC, men began to wear knee-length tunics instead. The shawls that Mesopotamian wore were similar to the male skirts in that they were also designed quite simplistically, but these shawls remained popular for the whole of Mesopotamian history.
Over time, women began to wear skirts as well, and it became a very popular unisex item. In fact, it’s likely that if you went back in time right now and saw a Mesopotamian couple walking together, they’d be wearing the same skirt!
Most Mesopotamian foods were produced by farmers. The most popular foods were grains (such as barley and wheat), legumes (including lentils, chickpeas, beans), vegetables (including beans, onions, garlic, leeks, eggplant, turnips, lettuce, cucumber), fruits (apples, grapes, melons, plums, figs, pears, date, pomegranates, apricots) and a wide variety of nuts and spices. Some foods, like melons and figs, were eaten primarily by the very wealthy, while the most common food for poor Mesopotamians were the grains and legumes.
– “Polytheistic” means that something is based on the worship of multiple gods rather than one.
– Their city’s ziggurat.
– Wool and linen.
– Melons and grapes.
– Trade with other countries hadn’t been established yet, so it was the only way they could produce food.