The area around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, roughly the equivalent of modern Iraq, is known as Mesopotamia (Greek -between the rivers).
Here, as at the other end of the Fertile Crescent in Egypt, the world's earliest civilizations developed.
Agricultural industry, based on drained and irrigated land was possible (because of the rivers) and consequently the world's first cities developed here.
Bronze-working technology also began in Mesopotamia. Even though resources such as stone, metal ores, and even wood were scarce, these and other desirable goods were available since trade routes followed the rivers. Desert to the south and west, and mountains to the north and east made travel difficult outside these river valleys.
The region contained several centers important to the biblical story, from Ur (in the south) through Babylon, Nineveh, Mari (not mentioned in the Bible but a site providing great archaeological information about the patriarchal period and social context of the Bible) to Haran in the North.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2001, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.