From the Tower of Babel to the Laws of Hammurabi

  • Arie S. IssarEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Geography book series (BRIEFSGEOGRAPHY)


The story of the Tower of Babel is an explanation, by the ancients for the variety of languages, as well as the existence of the tall ziggurats, i.e. temple-towers, characterizing the landscape of the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates. The lower stretches of Mesopotamia are arid and only irrigated agriculture could be practiced. Thus the settlement of this region by the Sumerians started only after man learnt to divert water from the big rivers. This happened during the Late Neolithic to Early Chalcolithic termed the Hassuna-Sammra periods at ca. 7500 B.P., followed by the Ubaid period, which began at about 6900 B.P. and continued till about 5300 B.P. It was followed by the Uruk period, fourth millennia B.P. during which writing was invented. Between ca. 4 K and 3.9 K B.P. Mesopotamia went through a series of invasions. Hammurabi at about 3.8 K B.P., established the Babylonian-Akkadian civilization by amalgamating the different religious traditions and laws into a state religion and civil code. The prevailing theory blaming the people of Sumer for the economic crisis of the period around 4 K B.P. is refuted, as the cause was a severe reduction in the flow of the rivers due to desiccation of the climate.


Water Project Zagros Mountain Iranian Plateau Genealogical Tree Biblical Story 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The J. Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Sede-Boqer CampusBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

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