A historical region of Western Asia, which is now made up of parts of Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, and Syria, Mesopotamia played an integral role in the development of human civilization and society, responsible for some of the most important inventions of all time. Without the influence and innovation of Mesopotamian people, the world we live in today would be a very different one, and it’s fascinating to take a look back and see how such an ancient civilization was able to play a vital role in defining the future. Behold five of the most essential Mesopotamian inventions.
These days, many people don’t really believe in astrology, and it can’t exactly be classed as a ‘science’ in the same way as physics or chemistry, but it still remains important to many people who care about their star signs, and it was significant to the Mesopotamians too.
Thousands of years ago, the Mesopotamian civilization discovered and named various constellations including Capricorn, Scorpio, Taurus, and Leo. They divided constellations into three groups, with each group being associated with a god: Enlil, Anu, and Ea. Enlil was the god of wind, Anu was the god of heaven, and Ea was the god of sweet waters.
Many civilizations made their own contributions to mathematics over the years, but it was the Mesopotamians who really got the ball rolling. The Sumerian civilization helped to develop arithmetic and algebra, effectively creating mathematical functions and terms we know today as multiplication, division, and square roots.
One of the civilization’s crowning achievements was the development of the sexagesimal system, which was based all around the number 60. This essentially allowed the Sumerians to divide things into 360 degrees, divide an hour into 60 minutes, and divide minutes into 60 seconds, paving the way for countless developments and discoveries in the years that followed.
Think about how important the calendar is to you. Knowing dates like birthdays and special events is so important, and the calendar helps us to keep track of the year, knowing what to expect from the weather, making plans for the future, and so much more. We owe a lot of this to Mesopotamia.
One of the first-ever calendars was created in Mesopotamia over 6,000 years ago. It featured months divided up into four weeks of seven days, very similar to what we use nowadays.
Several rivers were found around Mesopotamia, and the people naturally wanted to find a way to travel along these waters and use them for their own gain and development. They wanted a way to transport along the river, taking food and other things around the land.
Thus, they developed sailboats. Mesopotamian sailboats were traditionally made of wood and had such a huge impact on the development of other societies and civilizations over the years, proving that man could master the water of the world and opening up so many new opportunities for trade and transport.
Perhaps the most famous of all Mesopotamian inventions, the wheel changed absolutely everything. Consisting of a circular structure which rotates on an axis, this seemingly simple invention is something we take for granted today, but thousands of years ago, it was a true revolution.
With wheels, the transport of goods and people became infinitely more straightforward, and we can still see the benefits of this invention in the modern era on our cars, bikes, trucks, and even shopping carts or suitcases. It’s no exaggeration to say that the wheel is one of mankind’s most fabulous creations, and we owe it all to Mesopotamia.