The contributions of the Tigris and Euphrates in the emergence of Iraq [Archives:2005/840/Education]

May 9 2005

By Dr. Bashar Ghazi Askar
[email protected]

Most ancient world civilizations pivoted round great rivers and water catchments all throughout history. The emergence of the modern Iraq is a case in point

Water sources in Iraq depend mainly on the twin rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. Both rivers spring from the mountains of Turkey where much of its waters fall as snow. The two great rivers flow in well defined valleys and depressions so there is no need for artificial irrigation. The archaeological researches refers to a deep-rooted culture in ancient Iraq or as nominated ” Mesopotamia ” by the great Greek Historian Homer.

Man lived in northern caves of ancient Iraq some forty thousand years ago. Then man left the caves and settled near the rivers and its tributaries to practice agriculture, domestication of animals and work in pottery. Thus the first primitive communities were formed and shaped round such great rivers according to Homer. This turning shift of man from the mountains to the river catchments moved man from a consuming stage to a producing stage.

In this sense, man started to practice the division of labor and stabilizing the first codes, laws and manners. The interrelated factors of man, climate, terrain and water resources played a vital role in building and directing man's cultural activities.

The strategic geopolitics of the ancient Mesopotamia as the heart of the universe made it a bridge, linking all parts of the ancient world. Historians agree that ancient Iraqis were the major factor behind the development of civilization in ancient Iraq. The two rivers were the factors that participated in this transition from the primitive age toward civilization. Early agricultural settlements emerged on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates.

Then these two rivers had a basic vital role in man's life in the field of irrigation and transport. The ancient inhabitants of Iraq from the Assiryians, Sumerians, Akkadians and Babylonians lived on these banks or their tributaries. The ancient inhabitants developed a distinctive style and mode of life. It was the ancient Iraqis who invented initial writing and led humanity to the early historical stages around 3000 BC.

Temples had been associated with the development of agricultural and social settlements of man. This development culminated in the invention of pictorial writing. King Hammurab's achievements in laws, administrative and social cultural aspects is of great significance in this context. This great Babylon dynasty eventually became the target of invasions and external dangers. The significance of the old Babylonian period is marked in its location on the Euphrates.