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From Mesopotamia to Iraq: A Concise History

From Mesopotamia to Iraq: A Concise History

Paperback

By (author) Hans J. Nissen, By (author) Peter Heine, Translated by Hans J. Nissen

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  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 239mm x 20mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 30 September 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
  • ISBN 10: 0226586642
  • ISBN 13: 9780226586649
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: 52 halftones, 42 line drawings, 1 table
  • Sales rank: 254,413

Product description

The recent reopening of Iraq's National Museum attracted worldwide attention, underscoring the country's dual image as both the cradle of civilization and a contemporary geopolitical battleground. A sweeping account of the rich history that has played out between these chronological poles, "From Mesopotamia to Iraq" looks back through ten thousand years of the region's deeply significant yet increasingly overshadowed past. Hans J. Nissen and Peter Heine begin by explaining how ancient Mesopotamian inventions - including urban society, a system of writing, and mathematical texts that anticipated Pythagoras - profoundly influenced the course of human history. These towering innovations, they go on to reveal, have sometimes obscured the major role Mesopotamia continued to play on the world stage. Alexander the Great, for example, was fascinated by Babylon and eventually died there. Seventh-century Muslim armies made the region one of their first conquests outside the Arabian peninsula. And the Arab caliphs who ruled for centuries after the invasion built the magnificent city of Baghdad, attracting legions of artists and scientists. Tracing the evolution of this vibrant country into a contested part of the Ottoman Empire, a twentieth-century British colony, a republic ruled by Saddam Hussein, and the democracy it has become, Nissen and Heine repair the fragmented image of Iraq that has come to dominate our collective imagination. In hardly any other continuously inhabited part of the globe can we chart such developments in politics, economy, and culture across so extended a period of time. By doing just that, the authors illuminate nothing less than the forces that have made the world what it is today.

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Author information

Hans J. Nissen is professor of ancient Near Eastern archaeology at the Free University of Berlin. Peter Heine is professor of Near Eastern studies at Humboldt University of Berlin.

Review quote

"Without any doubt... an original and coherent synthesis of 7,000 years of political evolution.... Nissen has provided us with a creative and challenging overview of political evolution in an area of the world commonly referred to as the 'cradle of civilization.'" - Science "This outstanding book traces in less than two hundred pages some 7,000 years of ancient Near Eastern history.... Filled with original ideas of lasting significance." - Choice"