“The author of this book is one of the leading Assyriologists of our time, and his mastery of his subject is evident throughout.” ―Arnold Toynbee, The Observer
M. Contenau has chosen to survey the period between 700 and 530 B. C. out of the whole 2600 years of Mesopotamian civilization for two reasons: it is the most representative and more is known about it than any other time in the history of this culture. During these years the Near East was dominated first by the Assyrians and then by the Babylonians, who were to be subdued by the Persians. The everyday life of these people has been reconstructed from a wealth of evidence, both written records of many kinds preserved on clay tablets and the evidence of monuments excavated at such sites as Khorsabad and Nineveh, Nimrud and Asher, Babylon and Susa. “Perhaps the main impression. . .that we carry away from this survey is that the life of an inhabitant of Babylonia in about 600 B. C. must have closely resembled that of any inhabitant of the Orient up to about fifty years ago,” writes M. Contenau. This account of Mesopotamian life is, therefore, pertinent not only to an understanding of the age of Assyria and Babylonia but also to all the civilizations that have succeeded it in that part of the world.