Until the middle of the nineteenth century there was little evidence of the great civilizations that flourished for over three thousand years between the Tigris and the Euphrates, apart from a few allusions in the Bible. Almost every trace of the arts, sciences and literature of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians was obliterated, hidden under thousands of artificial mounds or tells representing ancient cities. Over the last hundreds of years, however, archaeologists of various origins, have sought to uncover the monuments and texts that reveal the history and civilization of the region known as Mesopotamia, most of which corresponds to the territory of modern Iraq. In the last .three decades, perhaps no other country has been so extensively explored by archaeologists from all over the world and by the Iraqis themselves, while new texts have been published and older texts retranslated or reinterpreted by international teams of Sumerologists and Assyriologists. Newly revised and now in its third edition, Ancient Iraq covers the political, cultural and socio-economic history of Mesopotamia from the days of prehistory to the Christian era and somewhat beyond. Dr Roux describes for the general public and students the empires that have successively arisen and collapsed in Mesopotamia as well as the institutions, religions, sciences and daily life of its inhabitants. That so vast a subject makes such absorbing reading is due not only to the inevitable fascination of the past but also to the light, yet exact touch of a talented historian.
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