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Mesopotamia: Assyrians, Sumerians, Babylonians (Dictionaries of Civilization) Paperback – July 2, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0520252660 ISBN-10: 0520252667 Edition: 1st
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Mesopotamia: Assyrians, Sumerians, Babylonians (Dictionaries of Civilization) + A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000 - 323 BC, 2nd Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“These are visual, broadly oriented guides.”
(Choice 2008-01-01)

“A fascinating collection. . . . All you have ever wanted to know about ancient Mesopotamian civilization is here and so well done!”
(European Legacy 2009-09-08)

About the Author

Enrico Ascalone is an archaeologist specializing in Oriental studies. He has taken part in Italian archaeological missions to Ebla (Syria) and Tell Tuqan (Syria) since 1993 and has been a member of the Italo-Palestinian Archaeological Mission to Jericho/Tell es-Sultan (PNA) since 1998. He lectures in archaeology and art history at Rome University and at the University IULM (Istituto Universitario Lingue Moderne) in Milan.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dictionaries of Civilization (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (July 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520252667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520252660
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By John O. Freed on August 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is an introduction to ancient Mesopotamia with heavy emphasis on the art of the region. It is aimed for the armchair archaeologist and is not written for a professional in the field.

The book contains a variety of short (one or two page) topics with one or more relevent photographs on each page. The topics are to the point and give the reader the most important facts in a clear and highly readable manner. The photographs are well captioned, in fact most of the photos have several captions with a line extending from the caption to a specific detail in the picture that is being explained.

For example, the entry for Hammurabi is three pages long and has three color photos. One of the pictures has five captions which point out specific details about the crown, hair and beard styles and the finding of the statue in the picture. The text for this entry is one page long and tells the reader when Hammurabi ruled, what his major accomplishments were and what major ancient texts survive from his reign. Other entries in the book include brief biographies of other important kings, information about the major gods, and discussions about the legal system, religious festivals, jewelry, and art.

The photos in this book are in full color and are of high quality. There is also a collection of useful maps in the rear of the book and floor plans of the major buildings mentioned in the text.

My only complaint about the book is the fact that the binding does not allow the book to be opened flat. However, this book is still a very good survey of ancient Mesopotamia and is very reasoably priced.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Old Dog on December 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This edition offers a well printed and well illustrated review (with a substantial bibliography) of the three great (yes!) civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia. Of special interest for Bible studies are the many reproductions of Assyrian and late Babylonian reliefs, statues, and paintings--some of them eerily redolant of contemporary Middle Eastern types ( a reminder of the shameful falsifications promulgated by Hollywood's biblical forays). Well translated from the Italian text with good color and full legend for each illustration (tho, alas, attribution for the superb Sumerian statue adorning the cover is tucked away in the text). Humbling in its reminder of the great achievements of these ancient civilizations (while Europe was doing what?...) that have so profoundly influenced Western culture, beliefs, science (flood stories and dear ol' Gilgamesh; astronomy; divisions by 60 of minutes, seconds, etc., etc.). The reader should bring a rudimentary knowledge of the time sequence of these civilizations. Father Abraham's splendid Ur of the Chaldeans receives a nicely illustrated discussion. A basic and valuable text, a labor of love and scholarship. By the way, a poignant entry describes the National Museum of Irag, in Baghdad, as "the leading museum in the Near East. Before it was damaged and sacked...."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Mease on March 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent visual introdution to the region. It isn't arrange chronologically, so I recommend that one reads an organized history first (Van Der Mieroop, Roux), and then 'reward' oneself with this great visual collection of artwork and architecture.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G Whiteman on June 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contrary to the other 5 star ratings (which I followed when buying this book)I found this book to be extremely confusing and uninstructive. The main problem was that the topics were not under any timeline and after going through the book I came away with the impression that this book was designed for the academic who already knew the subject. Most of the pictures and diagrams are too small and you will need a good magnifying glass to analyze the photos. Much of the diagrams are uninstructive and many of the descriptive captions were merely filler pointing out obvious things and took up much too much room so that the small photos were even smaller .Perhaps as I said this my be an academic text where the lecture can set topics for controlled discussion but the general layout of the pages is form over substance--bad design to my mind .
And note that there is no 'look inside' on the amazon site which is becoming synonymous with something to hide .Get a hold of a copy and look first is my recommendation to avoid my discovery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DTS@BigIslandRanch on May 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The beautiful photos of so many priceless artifacts and concise background explanations make this an excellent visual reference guide--especially for the superb books by Samuel Kramer and other Sumerian and Mesopotamian experts. This is definitely worth adding to your collection.
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