Why do we still call Mesopotamia the "cradle of civilization"?

Dec 2015
247
NYC
#1
Why is Mesopotamia often still dubbed "the cradle of civilization", meaning the site where human civilization first emerged and developed? While it was the first region to establish agriculture and a complex society, there were many regions of the world where agriculture and the building of complex societies with advanced economics, politics and use of technology have occurred independently, including: China, MesoAmerica, Egypt and South Asia (all known as pristine civilizations).

My theory on why Mesopotamia is called the "cradle of civilization" has to do with western bias and lots of false theories generated by western scholarship many hundred years ago because they had superiority complexes. Not only was Mesopotamia is the earliest known site to be excavated along with ancient Egypt, it is also connected to European civilization, from the origins of European agriculture to the civilizations of Greece and Rome (the originators of Western civilization).
- One, early agriculture in Europe originated in the Mesopotamian region where it spread from the Near East to Anatolia to Southern Europe to all Europe.
- Two, the roots of Western civilization (which really refers to Western European countries or the former Western areas of the Roman empire) lay in Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, but these two civilizations were not pristine civilizations as they largely build upon the foundation that Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt laid out.
- Three, the widespread European religion, Christianity, originated in the Middle East, and the very core of Christianity is still largely Semitic/Judaic.

This is just my opinion, since it's a widely accepted idea in the mainstream. What are you're opinions?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,260
Dispargum
#2
There could also be a religious component. Genesis says the Garden of Eden was located near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Adam and Eve were not civilized in the sense that they lived in a city, but still, 100 or 200 years ago people found it easier to believe that everything started in Mesopotamia.
 
Jun 2012
7,401
Malaysia
#3
The first substantial sized regional empire was Assyria. It started in Ashur, northern Mesopotamia. But Assyria was only like the third or fourth instalment of Mesopotamian civilisation. Sumeria was the earliest. Maybe those developments played their parts.
 
Aug 2019
3
Seville, Spain
#4
Why is Mesopotamia often still dubbed "the cradle of civilization", meaning the site where human civilization first emerged and developed? While it was the first region to establish agriculture and a complex society, there were many regions of the world where agriculture and the building of complex societies with advanced economics, politics and use of technology have occurred independently, including: China, MesoAmerica, Egypt and South Asia (all known as pristine civilizations).

My theory on why Mesopotamia is called the "cradle of civilization" has to do with western bias and lots of false theories generated by western scholarship many hundred years ago because they had superiority complexes. Not only was Mesopotamia is the earliest known site to be excavated along with ancient Egypt, it is also connected to European civilization, from the origins of European agriculture to the civilizations of Greece and Rome (the originators of Western civilization).
- One, early agriculture in Europe originated in the Mesopotamian region where it spread from the Near East to Anatolia to Southern Europe to all Europe.
- Two, the roots of Western civilization (which really refers to Western European countries or the former Western areas of the Roman empire) lay in Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, but these two civilizations were not pristine civilizations as they largely build upon the foundation that Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt laid out.
- Three, the widespread European religion, Christianity, originated in the Middle East, and the very core of Christianity is still largely Semitic/Judaic.

This is just my opinion, since it's a widely accepted idea in the mainstream. What are you're opinions?
What about Mohenho Daro and Harappa as the cradle?


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Feb 2014
312
Miami
#5
The first substantial sized regional empire was Assyria. It started in Ashur, northern Mesopotamia. But Assyria was only like the third or fourth instalment of Mesopotamian civilisation. Sumeria was the earliest. Maybe those developments played their parts.
I may be bad at scale, but I think the Shang was much bigger than the Assyrians and they dominated their region.

The neo-Egyptian empire was big and there was a complex multistate system in place in the oye Bronze Age before the neoassyrian empire rose to fill a void
 

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Sep 2014
927
Texas
#6
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I actually read an article on their artwork today on another website. This is the oldest settlement in Europe on the Danube in Serbia. It predates Assyria by many thousands of years. Actually there are Middle Eastern Kingdoms that Predate Assyria, but the thing is WRITING, documenting your history and leaving it behind. Just me but as I recall writing began in the middle east along with the earliest KNOWN history. I mean we know nothing about the Serbian settlement except that it was there.
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,142
Lisbon, Portugal
#7
Why is Mesopotamia often still dubbed "the cradle of civilization", meaning the site where human civilization first emerged and developed? While it was the first region to establish agriculture and a complex society, there were many regions of the world where agriculture and the building of complex societies with advanced economics, politics and use of technology have occurred independently, including: China, MesoAmerica, Egypt and South Asia (all known as pristine civilizations).

My theory on why Mesopotamia is called the "cradle of civilization" has to do with western bias and lots of false theories generated by western scholarship many hundred years ago because they had superiority complexes. Not only was Mesopotamia is the earliest known site to be excavated along with ancient Egypt, it is also connected to European civilization, from the origins of European agriculture to the civilizations of Greece and Rome (the originators of Western civilization).
- One, early agriculture in Europe originated in the Mesopotamian region where it spread from the Near East to Anatolia to Southern Europe to all Europe.
- Two, the roots of Western civilization (which really refers to Western European countries or the former Western areas of the Roman empire) lay in Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, but these two civilizations were not pristine civilizations as they largely build upon the foundation that Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt laid out.
- Three, the widespread European religion, Christianity, originated in the Middle East, and the very core of Christianity is still largely Semitic/Judaic.

This is just my opinion, since it's a widely accepted idea in the mainstream. What are you're opinions?
The first advanced polities - by that I mean large territorial urbanized kingdoms - in the world and the earlier vestiges of writing ever, all begun in Mesopotamia. That makes the place rightfully one of the "cradles of civilization".

Besides, most scholars and the media now states that the "cradle of civilization" is the entire Fertile Crescent, which includes the Levant, some parts of Anatolia, some parts of the Iranian plateau and Mt. Zagros and most of the upper Egypt.
This defined region is correctly the true "cradle of civilization" since it was there that the Neolithic revolution and agriculture started out and also it was there that the first cities, writing, laws and governance, appeared in our human history.
 
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robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,142
Lisbon, Portugal
#8
I may be bad at scale, but I think the Shang was much bigger than the Assyrians and they dominated their region.

The neo-Egyptian empire was big and there was a complex multistate system in place in the oye Bronze Age before the neoassyrian empire rose to fill a void
This map, and most contemporary maps that is out there, are not an accurate depiction of the Shang dynasty.

First of all, it is most likely that the Shang dynasty was nothing more than a city-state, and only directly controlled its city and its countryside vicinity. All other city-states around the North China plain were tributary city-states to Shang or had a similar culture as the Shang without being completely under its tributary system.
 
Aug 2018
137
America
#9
Because Hegel declared the eastern Mediterranean the true beginning of history. That's why Egypt and Mesopotamia are always called the "cradles" of civilisation. Hegel says that history must start with China, but clarified that China (and India) only possessed "unhistorical history", not the true history of Mediterranean civilisation of which Mesopotamia is a part of, at least close to. And Hegel declared the Mediterranean to be that because of its proximity to Greece, which he considered the greatest civilisation ever before the modern "Germanic" civilisation that emerged in Northern Europe after the 16th century.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,023
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#10
Because Hegel declared the eastern Mediterranean the true beginning of history. That's why Egypt and Mesopotamia are always called the "cradles" of civilisation. Hegel says that history must start with China, but clarified that China (and India) only possessed "unhistorical history", not the true history of Mediterranean civilisation of which Mesopotamia is a part of, at least close to. And Hegel declared the Mediterranean to be that because of its proximity to Greece, which he considered the greatest civilisation ever before the modern "Germanic" civilisation that emerged in Northern Europe after the 16th century.
I believe the earliest *written* history comes from Mesopotamia. The earliest Sumerian cuneiform dates from the 31st century BC, whereas Shang oracle bone script only dates to the 12th-13th century BC.
 

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