The first general introduction to Mesopotamia that covers all four of the area's major ancient civilizations-Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia. The eyes of the world are on Iraq and the surrounding region, witnessing conflict, chaos, and the effects of brutal dictatorship. But in ancient times, the civilizations that flourished there gave birth to some of humanity's most cherished achievements, including the written word, the city, the legal system, public education, and more. Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspectives ranges from the region's cultural beginnings to its Persian "liberation," from simple farmers to mighty kings, from the marshy Gulf shores ard Arabian desert sands to the foothills of the Taurus and Zagros mountains. It is the first volume to capture the entire sweep of Mesopotamia's four major ancient cultures (Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian) in one concise and captivating volume. Ancient Mesopotamia reveals how archaeologists, geologists, geographers, and other scientists have pieced together an understanding of some of the most complex and accomplished civilizations in history: their economies, social orders, political systems, religions, intellectual accomplishments, and material culture. It offers a wealth of information and insights into the glorious past of a land in turmoil today.