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Mesopotamian Archaeology (eBook)

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THE Mesopotamian civilization shares with the Egyptian civilization the honour of being one of the two earliest civilizations in the world, and although M. J. de Morgan's excavations at Susa the ruined capital of ancient Elam, have brought to light t...
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THE Mesopotamian civilization shares with the Egyptian civilization the honour of being one of the two earliest civilizations in the world, and although M. J. de Morgan's excavations at Susa the ruined capital of ancient Elam, have brought to light the elements of an advanced civilization which perhaps even antedates that of Mesopotamia, it must be remembered that the Sumerians who, so far as our present knowledge goes, were the first to introduce the arts of life and all that they bring with them, into the low-lying valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, probably themselves emigrated from the Elamite plateau on the east of the Tigris; at all events the Sumerians expressed both “mountain” and “country” by the same writing-sign, the two apparently being synonymous from their point of view; in support of this theory of a mountain-home for the Sumerians, we may perhaps further explain the temple-towers, the characteristic feature of most of the religious edifices in Mesopotamia, as a conscious or unconscious imitation in bricks and mortar of the hills and ridges of their native-land, due to an innate aversion to the dead-level monotony of the Babylonian plain, while it is also a significant fact that in the earliest period Shamash the Sun-god is represented with one foot resting on a mountain, or else standing between two mountains. However this may be, the history of the Elamites was intimately wrapped up with that of the dwellers on the other side of the Tigris, from the earliest times down to the sack of Susa by Ashur-bani-pal, king of Assyria, in the seventh century. Both peoples adopted the cuneiform system of writing, so-called owing to the wedge-shaped formation of the characters, the wedges being due to the material used in later times for all writing purposes-the clay of their native soil-: both spoke an agglutinative, as opposed to an inflexional language like our own, and both inherited a similar culture. A further, and in its way a more convincing argument in s
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