Geography and Civilization - Game Script How Mesopotamia's land shaped its society


Background

Mesopotamia was the name of an area rather than a country, but has come to be applied to the many rich cultures that flourished in ancient Iraq. Geographical features within Mesopotamia were integral in shaping the civilization that developed there, including weather, terrain, natural resources, and much more. Five men working in different trades in Mesopotamia discuss how the Fertile Crescent's geography has shaped and changed their livelihoods.

Characters

Phuram the Farmer Farmer

Phuram is a farmhand living in Mesopotamia on the shore of the river Euphrates.


Your Task

Explain to the panel how Mesopotamia's fertile soil and surrounding Tigris and Euphrates rivers contributed to an abundant and rich harvest.


Resources

Scene - 01

Laeus the Lawman

Laeus is an expert on all things law-related in Mesopotamia.


Your Task

Explain to the panel how Mesopotamia's landscape contributed to the specific codes and laws of the land.


Resources

Scene - 01

Taro the Trader

Taro is an experienced trader knowledgable in the trading routes and


Your Task

Explain how Mesopotamia's lack of minerals and other resources led to plentiful trade with surrounding groups.


Resources

Scene - 01

Priest Panya Priest

Panya is an elder Priest in one of Mesopotamia's largest Ziggurats.


Your Task

Explain how the dramatic and dangerous weather in Mesopotamia made priests who could communicated with the Gods invaluable.


Resources

Scene - 01

Reia the Writer Writer

Reia is an expert on the Cuneiform written language and is often consulted concerning recorded trades.


Your Task

Explain to the panel how conditions in Mesopotamia led to the development of Cuneiform, and the properties of the language itself.


Resources

Scene - 01

Scene 1: Geography and Civilization



1.

Public Message

You have been gathered here as wise and elder representatives of Mesopotamia's different occupations, industries, and facets of Mesopotamian life, to consider how this land's unique geography might have led to its development.

Firstly, discuss what made Mesopotamia an ideal place to breed civilisation? What was it about it's geography that made it good for people to settle down in? What were its drawbacks?



2.

Private (a while after previous message)

Phuram the Farmer:

Explain to the panel how Mesopotamia's fertile soil and surrounding Tigris and Euphrates rivers contributed to an abundant and rich harvest.

Laeus the Lawman:

Explain to the panel how Mesopotamia's landscape contributed to the specific codes and laws of the land.

Taro the Trader:

Explain how Mesopotamia's lack of minerals and other resources led to plentiful trade with surrounding groups.

Priest Panya:

Explain how the dramatic and dangerous weather in Mesopotamia made priests who could communicated with the Gods invaluable.

Reia the Writer:

Explain to the panel how conditions in Mesopotamia led to the development of Cuneiform, and the properties of the language itself.



3.

Public Message (a while after previous message)

What specific factors in Mesopotamia's geography led to developments in specific facets of life, industry and culture?

Refer to your specific industries/institutions in your discussion.



4.

Public Message (a while after previous message)

BREAKING NEWS from the Ziggurat:

In the next several years, Mesopotamia can expect a tough period of drought, followed by a flood that will produce a surplus of grain.

How would this affect your individual industries/institutions in particular? What are the long- and short-term effects, are they positive or negative?



End Message

Thanks for your expert insight on Mesopotamia's iminent weather! Let us hope for a bountiful harvest and a prosperous year.



Discussion Points

  • How has geography affected the lifestyle and society of your own home cities?
  • What similarities can you draw from Mesopotamia's culture and geography to your own?