What Are Some Facts About Ancient Mesopotamia?

ancient-mesopotamia Credit: Ozcan MALKOCER/Moment/Getty Images

Some interesting facts about Mesopotamia include the meaning of the word Mesopotamia, the numerous countries that made up Mesopotamia and the region's use of money. "Mesopotamia" literally means "the land between two rivers." The modern names for the rivers that bounded Mesopotamia are the Tigris and Euphrates.

The location of the region of Mesopotamia between these two rivers made it possible for its inhabitants to develop relatively sophisticated irrigation techniques. New irrigation techniques gave rise to experimentation in various agricultural practices, which allowed ancient Mesopotamians to transition away from nomadic life in favor of a more stationary one. Large cities began to grown in the Mesopotamian region as more and more people settled there.

Some of the large cities that sprung up within Mesopotamia were Babylon, Nippur and Baghdad. These cities became large commerce centers that influenced the rise of money and currency within the region. The rise of money in Mesopotamia was unique in that, prior to ancient Mesopotamia, people conducted transactions in the form of bartering or trading, exchanging one desired good for another. However, in Mesopotamia, the actual currency took on a value of its own. The stamped clay coins and paper money were not inherently valuable, but they became imbued with value that arose from their symbol as a means of obtaining things that people needed.