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  • City of Ur Plan 600 BCE

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    Archaeologists have concluded that the south Mesopotamian city of Ur (in modern Iraq), first established in 3800 BCE, covered 60 acres and was enclosed by a city wall, made of fired bricks. Although it was a desert city, its position between two rivers meant it was well irrigated. By 600... More
  • Damascus 634

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    In the early 7th century, Damascus was part of the Byzantine Empire and one of the foremost commercial and cultural centres of the Middle East. It had fortifications matching its importance, enclosed by 36-ft (11-m) high walls, and its defending forces were commanded by Thomas, son-in-law of the Byzantine emperor.... More
  • Early Mesopotamia and Syria 4300–2300 BCE

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    Cuneiform tablets found in excavations of the ancient cities of Mari and Ebla have provided a wealth of information about the history and daily lives of the peoples in early Mesopotamia and Syria. The inhabitants of this region were Sumerian and their earliest settlements were in Sumer around the Persian... More
  • Early States of Mesopotamia 2334–2004 BCE

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    Sargon the Conqueror had an unconventional apprenticeship for an imperial warlord, working first as a gardener, then a canal cleaner. In fact, it was with a corps of fellow drainage engineers that he initially seized power from the King of Kish. Thereafter, he expanded his rule remorselessly, through Gutium and... More
  • Walaja 633

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    Khalid, the Rashidun general, had already inflicted two defeats on the Sassanid armies before the Battle of Walaja (633 CE), in Mesopotamia. On the battlefield, the Sassanids had numerical advantage, and a sound defensive position, backed against a ridge with their heavy cavalry guarding their flanks. However, Khalid, fast developing... More