Books on the History of Ancient Mesopotamia, Assyrian Empire, Ancient Persia, Babylon, Persian empire, Ancient Near East, Sumer, Assyro-Babylonian literature, Nineveh, Iran, and the Orient.
Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.
About 120 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ancient Mesopotamia”. Be patient as the page loads. Some books: Ancient Mesopotamia, Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, The buildings of Ancient Mesopotamia, Life and Worship in Ancient Mesopotamia, Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Mesopotamia: the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, Mesopotamia: Iraq in Ancient Times, Writing in Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Mesopotamia: portrait of a dead civilization, The Ancient Worlds of Asia: from Mesopotamia to the Yellow River, many more books about Ancient Mesopotamia.
You may also like our collection of articles on museums and public history.
About 150 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ancient Near East”. Some books: SBL Handbook of Style, for ancient Near Eastern, Biblical and early Christian Studies, Ancient Iraq, Prophecy in its Ancient Near Eastern Context, Cambridge Ancient History: The Middle East and the Aegean Region, Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East, The Ancient Way: Life and Landmarks of the Holy Land, Atlas of the Ancient World, Systems of Marriage and the Family in the pre-industrial Societies of Eurasia, Sumer and the Sumerians, The Origins of Civilization, many more books about the Ancient Near East.
Aruz, Joan, ed.
Metropolitan Museum of Art 2008 Dewey Dec. 935
This volume was published in conjunction with the major art exhibition entitled ‘Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millenium B.C.’, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Nov. 18, 2008-Mar. 15, 2009. Each chapter of this catalogue begins with an introduction by an art historian or archaeologist. This is followed by photos of art objects in the exhibit, each accompanied by expert background explanations and interpretations.
Contents: Introduction – The Middle Bronze Age – Texts, trade and travelers – The Late Bronze Age: materials and mechanisms of trade and cultural exchange – The Uluburun shipwreck and Late Bronze Age trade – The art of exchange
Facts on File 2003 Dewey Dec. 935
“For almost three thousand years, a succession of glorious communities flourished in ancient Mesopotamia. This book explores the culture of these great civilisations, which gave rise to literature, art, government, and urban life. It examines the daily lives of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, breathing life into the facts that modern-day archaeologists have unearthed about Iraq’s past. Each chapter includes an extensive bibliography, as well as original line drawings, photographs, and maps. It combines archaeological and historical sources to provide a bounty of useful and fascinating information for anyone interested in the history, archaeology, religion, or culture of the ancient Near East.” -Publisher
John Hopkins University 2001 Dewey Dec. 935
Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, based on articles originally published in L’Histoire by Jean Bottéro, André Finet, Bertrand Lafont, and Georges Roux, presents new discoveries about this amazing Mesopotamian culture made during the past ten years. Features of everyday Meopotamian life highlight the new sections of this book. Both gourmet cuisine and popular cookery used fish, meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, available fresh or preserved (through methods still used today), and served with beer and wine. While feelings toward love and sex are rarely found in personal writings or correspondence, myths, prayers, and accounts of an acceptance of a wide range of behaviors (despite monogamy, prostitution flourished) argue that both were considered natural and necessary for a happy existence.
Under law woman existed as a man’s property, yet stories show that wives frequently used beauty and wits to keep husbands in hand, and a wife’s financial holdings remained her property, reverting to her family at her death. Women were allowed to participate in activities that could increase this wealth and some, pledged to the gods and shut away in group homes, were nonetheless able to participate in lucrative business ventures. Also included are accounts of the exceptional life of the queen and the women of Mari, the story of the great Queen Semiramis, and chapters on magic, medicine, and astrology.
The concluding section offers a fascinating in-depth comparison of ancient Sumerian myths and stories similar to those found in the Hebrew bible.
Contents: pt. 1. Origins — Did the Sumerians emerge from the sea? ; The great enigma of the cemetery at Ur / Georges Roux — pt. 2. Everyday life — The oldest cuisine in the world ; The oldest feast / Jean Bottéro — An ancient vintage / André Finet — Love and sex in Babylon ; Women’s rights / Jean Bottéro — The women of the palace at Mari / Bertrand Lafont — Semiramis : the builder of Babylon / Georges Roux — Magic and medicine ; The birth of astrology / Jean Bottéro — The ordeal / Bertrand Lafont — pt. 3. Myth and legend — The first account of the flood ; The epic of Gilgamesh ; How sin was born / Jean Bottéro.
Chelsea House 2009 Dewey Dec. 935
“For almost 1,200 years, the Persians ruled a territory that stretched from the Black Sea into Central Asia, from India to Egypt and into the fringes of southern Europe. During that period from 550 BCE to 651 CE, the ancient Persians learned to cultivate crops such as wheat and barley and to domesticate animals; they also demonstrated their talents for architecture and art by building enormous palaces, such as at the site of Persepolis, and through intricate art painted on pottery. As their neighbors, particularly the Macedonian prince Alexander the Great, grew stronger, ancient Persia struggled to maintain its authority. Despite their eventual decline, the Persian empires had significant influence on the ancient world, including the idea of worshipping a single god. As the first monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism would lay the foundation for the development of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. “Empires of Ancient Persia” looks at the rise and fall of the Persian empires, the daily life of the people, and their influence on subsequent civilizations.” -Publisher
University of Oklahoma 1965 Dewey Dec. 935
“The Orient harbors the oldest civilizations of the world, and it was there, in the valleys of the great rivers, that human speech first became poetry and inspiration was perpetuated into written word. The Assyro-Babylonian literature instilled its ideas into Greek mythology, and thus succeeded in surviving, although incognito, until European culture began to flourish. To our inestimable advantage, Mesopotamian literature was inscribed on Clay tablets which have outlived the destructive action of the ages, and which have been found in the last two centuries by archaeologists under the dust of Iraq’s mounds. ‘Voices from the Clay’ considers Assyro-Babylonian transcribed from these tablets in its cultural setting, illustrating the background upon which the epic and speculative poems were projected. Included is an assessment of the ethnic composition in pre-historic times, a political profile, and an examination of the religious system of the era.” -Book jacket
Yale University 1996 Dewey Dec. 935
Traces the development of Mesopotamian art from Sumerian times to the late Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods. This text also covers the art and architecture of Asia Minor and the Hittites, of the Levant in the second millennium BC, of the Aramaeans and Phoenicians in Syria, and of Ancient Persia.
Contents: Map of Ancient Near East 14/15 — Part 1 Mesopotamia — 1. The Emergence of Sumerian Art: The Protoliterate Period (circa 3500-3000 B.C.) 17 — Architecture 18 — Applied Sculpture and Relief 24 — Sculpture in the Round 31 — Commemorative Relief 33 — Cylinder Seals 35 — 2. The Early Dynastic Period (circa 3000-2340 B.C.) 39 — Architecture 42 — Sculpture in the Round 45 — Engraving and Relief 66 — Glyptic Art 77 — 3. The Akkadian Period (2340-2180 B.C.) 83 — 4. The Neo-Sumerian Period (2125-2025 B.C.) and the Period of Isin, Larsa, and Babylon (2025-1594 B.C.) 93 — Lagash 93 — The Third Dynasty of Ur 101 — The Isin-Larsa Period 107 — Hammurabi of Babylon 119 — 5. The Art of the Kassite Dynasty (circa 1600-1100 B.C.) 127 — 6. The Beginnings of Assyrian Art (circa 1350-1000 B.C.) 131 — 7. The Late Assyrian Period (circa 1000-612 B.C.) 143 — Architecture 143 (Table of Contents continues)
University of Chicago 1977 Dewey Dec. 935
“The people in ancient times the phenomenal world was teeming with life; the thunderclap, the sudden shadow, the unknown and eerie clearing in the wood, all were living things. This unabridged edition traces the fascinating history of thought from the pre-scientific, personal concept of a “humanized” world to the achievement of detached intellectual reasoning.
The authors describe and analyze the spiritual life of three ancient civilizations: the Egyptians, whose thinking was profoundly influenced by the daily rebirth of the sun and the annual rebirth of the Nile; the Mesopotamians, who believed the stars, moon, and stones were all citizens of a cosmic state; and the Hebrews, who transcended prevailing mythopoeic thought with their cosmogony of the will of God. In the concluding chapter the Frankforts show that the Greeks, with their intellectual courage, were the first culture to discover a realm of speculative thought in which myth was overcome.” -Publisher
Contents: Introduction: Myth and reality / by H. and H.A. Frankfort — Egypt: The nature of the universe — The function of the state — The values of life / By J.A. Wilson — Mesopotamia: The cosmos as a state — The function of the state — The good life / By Thorkild Jacobsen — The Hebrews: God — Man Man in the world — Nation, society, and politics / By W.A. Irwin — Conclusion: The emancipation of thought from myth / by H. and H.A. Frankfort.
Frye, Richard N.
Beck’sche 1983 Dewey Dec. 935
Contents: Geographical survey – Demography – Pre-Iranian history of the Plateau and Central Asia – Medes, Scythians and eastern rulers – Achaemenids – Alexander the Great and the Seleucids – Greco-Bactrians, Sakas and Parthians – The Parthians on the Plateau – The Kushans – Minor dynasties on the Plateau – The Sasanians – Eastern Iran and Central Asia – Appendices
Kramer, Samuel N.
DoubleDay 1973 Dewey Dec. 935
“Unearthed about a century ago from the mounds in Mesopotamia where they had lain for more than three thousand years, and deciphered only after decades of painstaking work, the tablets [of Sumer] tell the story of a civilization long
forgotten, where culture as we know it was born. In this book, Dr. Samuel Noah Kramer describes twenty-seven “firsts” in human history and in this way constructs an intimate and vivid picture of everyday public and private life five thousand years ago. Ancient man’s schools, his hymns and epics, the earliest social reforms, the first recorded political, religious, and ethical ideas are here recounted, side by side with less important but equally entertaining beginnings, such as the world’s first recorded tax reduction and the earliest experiment with shade-tree gardening in history. In this colorful account of life in one of the world’s oldest societies, modern man can read of the origins of his culture and the beginning of all civilization.” -Book cover
Kramer, Samuel N.
University of Chicago 1963 Dewey Dec. 935
“The Sumerians, the pragmatic and gifted people who preceded the Semites in the land first known as Sumer and later as Babylonia, created what was probably the first high civilization in the history of man, spanning the fifth to the second millenniums B.C. This book is a compendium of what is known about them. The author outlines the history of the Sumerian civilization and describes their cities, religion, literature, education, scientific achievements, social structure, and psychology. Finally, he considers the legacy of Sumer to the ancient and modern world.” -Publisher
Contents: Archeology and decipherment — History : Heroes, kings, and ensi’s — Society : The Sumerian city — Religion : Theology, rite, and myth — Literature : The Sumerian belles-lettres — Education : The Sumerian school — Character : Drives, motives, and values — The legacy of Sumer — The origin and development of the cuneiform system of writing — The Sumerian language — Votive inscriptions — Sample date-formulas — Sumerian king list — Letters — Ditilla’s (court decisions) — Lipit-Ishtar law code — Farmer’s almanac
Braziller 1968 Dewey Dec. 935
The lands lying in a huge semicircle called the Fertile Crescent, around the Syrian and Arabian Deserts, were the home of some of the earliest known peoples and their cities. [In this volume] Paul Lampl presents a comprehensive survey of the legendary cities of Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Levant, of Anatolia, Armenia and Persia.
Contents: Mesopotamia – Egypt – The Levant – Anatolia and the Syrian foothills – Armenia and Persia – Urartu – Elam – Iran
Nemet-Nejat and Karen Rhea
Greenwood 1998 Dewey Dec. 935
“The ancient world of Mesopotamia (from Sumer to the subsequent division into Babylonia and Assyria) vividly comes alive in this portrayal of the time period from 3100 bce to the fall of Assyria (612 bce) and Babylon (539 bce). Readers will discover fascinating details about the lives of these people from the society where writing began–taken from the ancients’ own quotations and descriptions. A wealth of information is provided on such varied topics as: education; literature; mathematics and science; city vs. country life; family life; and religion. Similarities between daily life in ancient Mesopotamia and modern-day Iraq are also discussed. Beautifully illustrated, this easy-to-use reference contains a timeline and an historical overview to aid student research.” -Publisher
Contents: Introduction — General information — Historical overview — Writing, education, and literature — The sciences — Society — Recreation — Religion — Government — Economy — The legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia
Thames and Hudson 1986 Dewey Dec. 935
“Dr. Oates describes the rise of Babylon from Sargon of Agade to Hammurapi, the great law-giver under whom in the 18th century BC the city first attained pre-eminence. She charts its progress under his successors, its greatest period of empire during the reigns of Nebuchadrezzar and Nabonidus in the 6th century BC, and its decay and final abandonment as Persians and Greeks turned Mesopotamia into a battleground.” -Publisher
Contents: From Sargon to Hammurapi — The old Babylonian period — Kassites and Chaldaeans — Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Greeks — The legacy of Babylon
Routledge1994 Dewey Dec. 935
“The roots of our modern world lie in the civilization of Mesopotamia, which saw the development of the first urban society and the invention of writing. The cuneiform texts reveal the technological and social innovations of Sumer and Babylonia as surprisingly modern, and the influence of this fascinating culture was felt throughout the Near East. ‘Early Mesopotamia’ gives an entirely new account, integrating the archaeology with historical data which until now have been largely scattered in specialist literature.” -Publisher
Contents: Setting the scene – land and the life – political framework – written record – institutions – city and countryside – household and family – temple – palace – economic order – crops and livestock – water and land – domestic economy – foreign trade – social order – craft and labor – war and peace – religion and politics – laws and the law – order and disorder – epilogue
Hawthorn 1962 Dewey Dec. 935
“Each aspect of the great civilization of Babylon and Assyria — religion, economics, politics, art, literature, social mores — is carefully examined and vividly described. Beginning with a basic cultural history of Mesopotamia before 2,000 B.C., the author traces the developments of the people to their peak of cultural achievement, and then follows their rapid and tragic decline.” -Book jacket
Contents: Part I: General and Political History: Mesopotamia before 2000 B.C. – Babylonia and Assyria, circa 2000-1350 B.C. – The rise of Imperial Assyria – Assyrian supremacy – Neo Babylonian empire
Part 2: Social and Cultural History: The foundations of Babylonian society and the Babylonian way of life – Law and statecraft – Administration – Trade and economics – Religion – The King – Literature – Mathematics and astronomy: medicine; chemical technology; art – Legacy and survival
Leon Amiel 1975 Dewey Dec. 935
A popular general history, heavily illustrated.
Contents: The ancient empires of Chaldea and Assyria – Nineveh – The Babylonian Empire – Daily life, religion, science, customs – Architecture, script
Chatto & Windus 1928 Dewey Dec. 935
The author was from the department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum. This volume apparently drew heavily upon manuscripts of his colleague at the Museum, archaeologist and Assyriologist Professor Leonard W. King, who died in 1919 without completing them.
Contents: The prehistoric period in Assyria – The remains of early Sumerian civilisation – The Sumerian traditions of the prehistoric period – The traditions of the early Sumerian period – Sumerian civilisation – The Sumerians in Assyria and the Subaraeans – The Dynasties of Agade and Gutium – The Origin of the Assyrians – The third dynasty of Ur – Cappadocian trade – Wars of the city states – The Babylonian domination – The Hittite confederation, the Kassites and the Hyksos – The Egyptian Empire – The kings of Mitanni and the liberation of Assyria – The growth of the Assyrian kingdom – The conquest of Babylon and the fall of the Hittites – The early Iron Age – The Aramaean invasion – Assyrian civilisation
Snell, Daniel C.
Yale University 1997 Dewey Dec. 935
“In this sweeping overview of life in the ancient Near East, Daniel Snell surveys the history of the region from the invention of writing five thousand years ago to Alexander the Great’s conquest in 332 B.C.E… Snell organizes his book chronologically in time spans of about five hundred years and considers broad continuities… He sets forth a detailed picture of what is known about the demography, social groups, family, women, labor, land and animal management, crafts, trade, money, and government of the ancient Near East. For general readers with an interest in historical events that have influenced the development of Europe and the Middle East, for specialists seeking a broader understanding of early periods of Middle Eastern history, and for anyone with an interest in the Bible, this book offers a fascinating tour of life in ancient Western Asia.”–Jacket.
Time-Life Books 1995 Dewey Dec. 935
Readers assume the role of archaeologists, uncovering secrets of ancient civilizations. Stunning photographs and illustrations, plus detailed cutaways, maps and diagrams.
Contents: How the land of the gods became the land of the Persians – Essay: Flight paths to discovery – I am Cyrus, king of the world – Essay: Persepolis : a ghostly grandeur – The dazzling reach of Darius’s imperial spear – Essay: The tribute of empire – The rise and fall–and–rise of empires – Essay: Treasures for the eye
Tauris 2001 Dewey Dec. 935
“Josef Wiesehöfer, one of the most respected scholars of the ancient world, provides here a comprehensive survey of the Persian Empire under Achaeminids, the Parthians and the Sassanians. By focusing on the primary Persian sources–written, archaeological and numismatic evidence from Persia–he avoids the traditional Western approach which has tended to rely so heavily on inaccurate and sometimes prejudiced Greek and Roman sources. Part of the freshness of this book comes from presenting a historical discussion of Persia from a Near Eastern perspective. A comprehensive social, political and cultural history of ancient Persia, Wiesehöfer’s book provides important new material for specialists while being fully accessible and appealing to general readers interested in the ancient world.” -Publisher