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Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0816022182
ISBN-10: 0816022186
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-- A beautiful, well-researched, informative study of the geography, history, archaeology, and anthropology of Mesopotamia and the Near East. Divided into "Villages," "Cities," and "Empires," the book is an excellent survey of this ancient region of the world. At intervals throughout the book, special topics and archaeological sites are featured, described, and illustrated. Some of the topics include the origin of writing, ivory carving, and Mesopotamian warfare. Jericho, Babylon, and Ur are among many archaeological sites that are given detailed explanations. Excellent full-page maps and a wealth of full- color illustrations add to the reference value.
- Nancy Bard, Jefferson Sci-Tech, Alexandria, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Facts on File (October 31, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816022186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816022182
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I'm a biologist by education, I'm something of a history buff and I've purchased 6 or 7 big atlases of world history and cultural atlases of the world lately (you can't have too many atlases in your life), and this one is the best atlas on Mesopotomia that I've seen. It's well-written and has lots of interesting information, but it's major strength is all the beautiful color photos of art, artifacts, buildings, and other cultural items from the many ancient sites, along with a number of maps. The author does a fine job of discussing the importance of many of the major archeological sites and their history. You'll hear a lot about these in the book, some of which, although I've read a fair amount of archeology and ancient history, I still wasn't that familiar with, so the author knows his stuff. All in all a beautifully illustrated, well-written, educational, and even reasonably priced book given the overall quality and features.
While we're on the subject, another very accessible and interesting book is Prof. Jean Bottero's Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotomia. The ancient Mesopotamians come across as practical, no-nonsense people who, in contrast to the ancient Egyptians, weren't especially religious and believed in living life in the here and now as best one could. Although they did have a religion, it was mostly for propitiating various gods and deities who they hoped would bestow their blessings on them in their present life. There was a concept of the afterlife, but it was basically a dark, dingy, netherworld where not much happened, it seems, and they regarded the present life as far preferable to it.
Just another suggestion for further reading in case you're interested.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Ray Farmer on July 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This atlas covers the historical development of the ancient Near East (with an emphasis on ancient Mesopotamia) from Paleolithic times to the conquest of the Persian empire by Alexander the Great. Michael Roaf does an excellent job of illustrating the book with color photos of artifacts, stone inscriptions, and maps that reinforce the discussion in the text. At appropriate points in the book, special features are included that focus on specific archaelogical sites around the Middle East as well as on significant cultural and scientific developments that occurred.
The main part of the book is 223 pages long, of which approximately half is devoted to photos, maps, and features. However, this is not simply a picture book; the atlas also includes a historical narrative that I found to be quite engaging and accessible for a general reader like myself. Additionally, besides being a good introduction to ancient Mesopotamia, this atlas provides a wealth of archaelogical data that may serve as a good reference for those who are undergoing more advanced reading. Examples of such data include the layout of existing ruins, geographical distributions of archaelogical finds, and a gazetteer that provides the coordinates of ancient sites in the Middle East.
On the negative side, I found that the index often provided faulty page references to subjects and a few typos can be found throughout the text. Nevetheless, these blemishes do not take away from the book's main goal of providing an illustrated introduction to ancient Mesopotamia for the general reader.
I understand that Checkmark Books (who published this atlas in 1990) has recently published a new book entitled "The Historical Atlas of Ancient Mesopotamia" by Norman Hunt.
Read more ›
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By M Manning on July 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A very well documented book. The one thing that sets this book apart from other books written on Mesopotamia are the photos and diagrams. If you are looking for a detailed show-me view of Mesopotamian archeaology and history then this is the publication for you. All of the cultural atlas series are well developed in a visional sense for the reader. The topics covered in this book begin from the origin of agriculture through the Persian empire, with all the archaeological evidence and written history inbetween. I recommend this book for every library, weither your highly interested in Mesopotamia or it's just a fancy. Buy it and you will not regret the purchase.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By I. W. Gittleman on February 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was re-reading the above book and saw the comments of 'Susanna', who faulted the book because of a lack of information associated with the pictures shown. He/she is entirely wrong -- and in addition no one else commented in this (supposed) fault.

Each photo I saw (all) not only gave a good description, but, contrary to many similar type books, indicates from where each item was/is to be found. This is a definite 'plus'.

This is an incorrect and inaccurate criticism.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Gilbert on October 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an incredibly informative read with hundreds of beautiful photographs throughout. Its very factual and seems current with its research. Roaf does not waste time on speculation - he simply states the facts as they have been uncovered and leaves it up to the reader to infer meaning and implication. I read this as a text for a college course and found it loaded with info (overwhelming at times). But it having a professor explain the hows and whys was crucial.
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