10 Fabulous Ancient Inventions in Iraq (العراق)
Image: Biblical Archaeology
By: Hayfa Alazzawi/Arab America Contributing Writer
The origin of the word “Iraq”, according to most studies, is from Arabic ‘araqa/عراقهcovering notions such as “perspiring, deeply rooted, well-watered,” which may reflect the impression about the lush river-land made on the Arab desert. Ancient Iraq “Mesopotamia” has been known for 20,000 years (ancient history.com). This deep history has many interesting facts that are unknown to most people of the world.
Go ahead, get your coffee and let’s start this journey of exploring the 10 marvelous inventions of Iraq to world civilization.
Modern planting that is happening around the globe today actually started 9,300 BC in what was known as Levant (which is the demographic area from Palestine to the southeastern side of Iraq nowadays), the wheel was created back then to help farmers plant and water more areas to gain more harvests
. This invention has impacted world transportation and has been an important instrument in world advancements.
2. First Written Law
The first written code of law was written in Mesopotamia (which is Iraq now) by sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. Babylonia(البابليه) was a Kingdom in Mesopotamia when Hammurabi became its ruler in about 1728 BC. It was known as Hammurabi’s Code which was written on a 2.25 meter (7.5 ft) stone and consisted of 282 laws, with scaled punishments (history.com)
Although ancient Egyptians created alphabet, it was the ancient civilization of southern Mesopotamia “SUMER”سومر that was believed to be the place where written language was first invented around 3200 BC. Writing numbers for the purpose of record keeping began long before the writing of language
4. Boat as a mean of transportation
Transportation by land was exhausting and needed an enormous amount of time. Sumerians realized that transportation via sea would be much easier and more convenient. The first boat was invented in 1300 B.C. and used as a way of transportation in rivers. The sailboat was invented with a primitive design, which ultimately helped the people with prosperous trade and commerce. It was initially used to cross the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for fishing and to explore other areas.
The oldest map was invented in Babylonia (البابليه) around 2300 B.C. The clay map which was invented in Mesopotamia illustrates the Akkadian region of Mesopotamia which was mostly used as a hunting ground map, a city map, and a trade route. Even though the map was invented in Mesopotamia, Greeks and Romans advanced it to higher levels to make it easier for geographers to use it.
Often known as the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia developed the concept of urbanization. For the first time in a history, humans started to settle in a specific place. The surplus of food made it possible to feed more people and animals living in the same place. People learned to trade, and the concept of taxes emerged and the city developed itself more and more.
Mesopotamians developed the concept of time, dividing time units into 60 parts, which eventually lead to 60-second, 60-minutes, and hour. The Babylonians made an astronomical calculation in the base 60 system inherited by Sumeriansالسومريون. The number 60 was chosen because it was easily divisible by six.
The concept of Astrology was developed during the Sumerian period, where even everyday incidents had a spiritual meaning. It was believed that every good and bad thing happened for a reason. The astrologers observed the momentary location of the planets and advised people with high social or political positions. Astronomical mythology, like the concept of a constellation of Capricorn, Leo and Sagittarius, was handed to Greeks by Sumerians and Babylonians and is still in use today. The constellations were also used in day-to-day activities. They were heavily used to mark the seasons for harvesting or sowing crops. They also mapped the movement of the sky, the sun, stars, and the moon, and to predict celestial events, like an eclipse.
When civilization started to flourish, people began to trade items, and they needed an accurate system to count the goods that they gave and received. Sumerians were the first people on earth to develop the concept of counting. They also developed the sexagesimal, or base 60. The sexagesimal helped to develop concepts like the 360-degree circle and the 12-month year. They used 12 knuckles to count on one hand, and another five fingers on the other hand. The Babylonians used base 6 (our modern system uses base 10), where digits on the left column represent large values.
The concept of zero was developed by Babylonians; people understood the value of having nothing, but the concept of numerical zero wasn’t invented before then. Many scholars believed that the concept of zero was developed by Babylonian and followed by various civilizations throughout the world in their own way. However, some argue that it was originally invented in India.
Humans learned to domesticate horses, bulls, and other animals that were useful for them. The chariot was not a sudden invention, but the gradual improvement of the earliest carriage. The chariot was the first concept of personal transportation. It had been used for years as a key technology for warfare, for most of the ancient sports, and as a means of transportation. The structure of the earliest chariot was made of light wood with a bent wood rim. The first chariot appeared around 3200 BC in Mesopotamia. This form of chariot was used in most every civilization until motorized transportation came into existence.