How did Mesopotamian civilization have the greatest impact on the development of human civilization?    

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pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mesopotamia's greatest influence on future civilizations was the spread of agriculture. The region, located in the fertile area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, was excellent for farming. Once irrigation was developed, the long growing season here could be properly utilized. Thanks to agriculture, populations grew due to the abundance of food. This led to a need for more laws and governance in order to ensure that society did not break down. People could now stay in one place—instead of putting their energies into migration, they could develop architecture. The people living in this region developed city walls and ceremonial ziggurats. People could also save part of the harvest for future planting. These people did not know it at the time, but they were selecting crops for future use based on genetics; this is something that farmers do even today. Mesopotamian agriculture is the region's most lasting legacy because, without it, all other advances would not have been possible.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another way in which Mesopotamia had a profound influence on the development of human civilization was its invention of irrigation, the means by which trenches allow water to flow along the ground to crops. Irrigation was critical to crop growing in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (it was also practiced in Egypt). Irrigation changed history because it made the cultivation of crops in arid areas or in areas in which rainfall was unreliable possible. As a result, stable civilizations built around agriculture could develop in these regions.

Today, the world still relies on irrigation to grow enough food to feed the growing global population. With much of the earth's land taken up by development, it is increasingly important to use irrigation to grow crops in available land, even if this land is arid or does not receive enough rainfall naturally. Irrigation is a Mesopotamian invention that continues to have a beneficial effect on civilization today.  

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would argue that the Mesopotamian civilization's greatest impact on the development of human civilization came from its development of writing.  The first known system of writing was the Sumerian cuneiform system.  Writing has had a profound impact on human civilization, which means that the invention of writing had a tremendous impact on civilization.

Writing has changed our lives completely.  It has allowed us to transmit and store knowledge in ways that would never have been possible without writing.  This means that we can, effectively, know much more than people ever could before.  Because we have writing, we can store all sorts of knowledge that allow us to have, simply as one example, many kinds of technology that make our lives easier and more fun.

Because of this, I would argue that the Mesopotamian invention of cuneiform is their greatest contribution to the development of human civilization.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that the invention of Mesopotamia which most impacted history was the wheel. Writing was invented by the Egyptians independent of the Mesopotamians, as did a number of civilizations in China and the Americas. Only Mesopotamia ranks as the first to develop this magnificent tool which balances weight such that it is easy to transport. It should be noted that the societies of the Americas, for all their accomplishments, never developed the wheel. It is generallly considered the most widely used and useful tool in the world. As useful as writing might have been, the wheel was certainly far more important.

user2236539 | Student

How has Mesopotamia affected the areas around it?

kannamma97 | Student

they contributed beer, the writing and the art