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Sumer and the Sumerians by Harriet Crawford. A look at one of one of the best-known ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia.
History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine "Firsts" in Recorded History by Samuel Noah Kramer. Sumer had the first system of law, the first educational system, the first tax cut, the first love song, and more.
Babylonians by Henry W. F. Saggs. Using evidence from pottery, cuneiform tablets, and other artifacts, the author describes the society and legacy of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Amorites, and Babylonians.
Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur edited by Richard L. Zettler, Lee Horne, and Donald P. Hansen. Ur was a Sumerian city-state.
Correspondence of the Kings of Ur: Epistolary History of an Ancient Mesopotamian Kingdom by Piotr Michalowski. Letters between the Ur III monarchs and their high officials at the end of the third millennium B.C. Includes a DVD with photographs of tablets used in the study.
Uruk Mesopotamia & Its Neighbors: Cross-Cultural Interactions in the Era of State Formation edited by Mitchell S. Rothman. Ten archaeologists reassess the chronological framework for the region.
A History of Sumer and Akkad by Leonard W. King. An account of the early races of Babylonia from prehistoric times to the foundation of the Babylonian monarchy. First published in 1910. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Ancient Iraq by Georges Roux. A clear and interesting guide to Mesopotamia's long history, from prehistoric times through the days of Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria, and beyond. Includes chronological tables and maps. Highly recommended.
The Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East by Michael Roaf. Includes 54 color maps. Geography, history, archaeology, and anthropology of the Near East from pre-history to 330 BC.
Luxury and Legitimation: Royal Collecting in Ancient Mesopotamia by Allison Karmel Thomason. Explores how the collecting of luxury objects contributed to the formation of royal identity in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).
Pre-Sargonic Period by Douglas Frayne. Provides editions of all known royal inscriptions of kings who ruled in ancient Mesopotamia down to the advent of King Sargon of Akkad.
Ancestor of the West: Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in Mesopotamia, Elam, and Greece by Jean Bottero, Clarisse Herrenschmidt, and Jean Pierre Vernant, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan. Three scholarly essays.
The Horizon Book of Lost Worlds by Leonard Cottrell. This well-illustrated book includes three chapters about Sumer and Babylonia. Other topics covered include ancient Egypt, Crete, Mycenae, the Khmers, and the Maya. Published in 1962. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
The Cambridge Ancient History: Volume 1, Part 2: Early History of the Middle East edited by I. E. S. Edwards, C. J. Gadd, N. G. L. Hammond. Traces Babylonian history from the late Uruk and Jamdat Nasr periods up to the rise of Hammurabi, including the invention of writing, the emergence of the Semites as a political factor under Sargon, and the success of the Third Dynasty of Ur.
The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria: Volume One by Morris Jastrow. The civilization's remains, language, history, religion, commerce, law, art, and literature. First published in 1915. Volume Two is also available.
Archaeology of Mesopotamia: Theories and Approaches by Roger Matthews. Evaluates the theories, methods, approaches and history of Mesopotamian archaeology from its origins in the 19th century up to the present day.
Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia by Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat. Covers 3100 BC to the fall of Assyria (612 BC) and Babylon (539 BC). Includes details of daily life taken from the ancients' own descriptions, illustrations, a timeline, and a historical overview to aid student research.
Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia by Jean Bottero, translated by Antonia Nevill.
The Ancient Mesopotamian City by Marc Van De Mieroop. Examines the evolution of the very earliest cities which, for millennia, inspired the rest of the ancient world.
Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization by A. Leo Oppenheim, photos by Erica Reiner. Presents a personal picture of the way Mesopotamians lived 3,000 years ago.
Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City by Gwendolyn Leick. Everyday life in ten Mesopotamian cities. Paints a colorful picture of the lives of Mesopotamians, from poets and priests to businesswomen and divorcées, and the incredible achievements of their society.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia by Gwendolyn Leick. Covers significant persons, places, events, and institutions that influenced Mesopotamia's history.
The Epic of Gilgamesh translated by Maureen Gallery Kovacs. A verse rendering of one of the most important epic poems in human history, predating even Homer's Iliad by roughly 1,500 years. The introduction and appendix provide historical context.
Gilgamesh: A New English Version translated by Stephen Mitchell. A new rendering of the oldest epic in the world by an esteemed translator and bestselling author.
The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh by David Damrosch. Composed around 1200 BC, The Epic of Gilgamesh was lost when the library of the wild king Ashurbanipal was sacked in a raid. It was rediscovered in 1872 by George Smith, a brilliant self-taught linguist. This book tells how the epic was lost and found again.
Gilgamesh the King by Robert Silverberg. A retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient story about the magical adventures of a king and his best friend. The real Gilgamesh was king of Uruq (Iraq) and lived around 2500 BC.
Gilgamesh by Derrek Hines. A reworking of the world's first epic by a modern-day poet.
Myths From Mesopotamia edited by Stephanie Dalley. Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and other myths.
Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia by Jean Bottero, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan. Provides an introduction to Mesopotamia's history and religion, and traces the influence of Mesopotamian religion on Western civilization, including the Bible.
Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, illustrated by Tessa Rickards. Beliefs and customs from 3000 BC to the advent of the Christian era. Names are given in both Sumerian and Akkadian.
Sumerian Mythology by Samuel Noah Kramer. A study of spirtual and literary achievement in the third millenium BC.
Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer translated by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer. Known to the Semites as Ishtar, Inanna was the first goddess in recorded history and the beloved deity of Sumerians.
Poems of Heaven and Hell From Ancient Mesopotamia translated by N.K. Sandars. Five poems dating from the height of the Babylonian civilisation in the second millennium BC.
The Akitu Festival by Julye Bidmead. Religious continuity and royal legitimation in Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamia and the Bible: Comparative Explorations edited by Mark W. Chavalas and K. Lawson Younger. In this collection of essays, 13 scholars explore possible points of connection between the Bible and upper Mesopotamia and its neighbors.
The Babylonian Genesis by Alexander Heidel. Translation of all published cuneiform tablets of Babylonian creation stories, both Semitic Babylonian and Sumerian. The final chapter compares Babylonian creation accounts to Old Testament literature.
The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels by Alexander Heidel. Interpets the Gilgamesh epic and related Babylonian and Assyrian documents and compares them to the Old Testament.
Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic: Sumerian Origins of the Flood Myth by Robert M. Best. Reconstruction of a lost story about a Sumerian king named Ziusudra whose city was submerged by a flood. According to the author, the global flood described in the Bible could not have happened.
The Sumerians by Elaine Landau. For children ages 9 to 12.
Ancient Mesopotamia by Robert B. Noyed, Cynthia Fitterer Klingel. For children ages 4 to 8.
Gilgamesh the King by Ludmilla Zeman. This picture book is the first in a trilogy retelling the Mesopotamian legend of Gilgamesh, who was half man and half god. For ages 9 to 12. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
The Revenge of Ishtar by Ludmilla Zeman. In this second volume in the Gilgamesh trilogy, Gilgamesh tries to slay a monster who has caused great destruction.
The Last Quest of Gilgamesh by Ludmilla Zeman. Gilgamesh sets out to find the key to immortality.