Man at War- Mesopotamia


Iraq has a special history. It has a long, and ancient history.

Iraq is home to the lush, life-giving valley between two rivers, human civilization first started as far back as 10,000 BC. Here evidence of hunter-gathers were beginning to experiment with growing food.

It was the dawn of agriculture. The story began several thousand years ago.

Geography and History

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow through this country, as they did 10,000 years ago. The rivers bring a sense of continuity to a war-torn land. Today the region struggles with famine, upheaval and change.

“Mesopotamia” is the name for ancient Iraq. It means “land between the rivers.” It describes the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

The two rivers begin in the mountains of eastern Turkey and flow north past Syria before reaching lower Iraq. The Tigris flows 1,180 miles and the Euphrates drifts 1,740 miles.

The Fertile Crescent

This land between the rivers is the “the Fertile Crescent.” It supported agriculture for thousands of years.

Beyond the rivers the topography and climate change dramatically. In the west and south the landscape is a vast, dry desert. In the north is a cold, mountainous region.

Only 15% of Iraq in north is foothills and mountains. It rises 1,500 feet above sea level. Most of the country is less than 1,000 feet below sea level. The lowest point, at sea level, is where the rivers flow into the Persian Gulf.

First Civilization

The world’s first known civilization evolved in Iraq 3500 BC. The people of this region invented the wheel and the sailboat.

The people of Mesopotamia were in small city-states in the southeast region called “Sumar.” The name means “civilized kings.” They made weapons of stone and wood.


Flint is a kind of stone. It’s common to many areas of the world. It’s found in the chalk. If a block of flint is struck at certain points they split. Thin flakes of the rock will break off.

Early man slowly discovered how to split and shape pieces of stone into knives, spear and arrow heads. Large pieces were put on wooden shafts to serve as axes.