Ancient Mesopotamia and Syria Bibliography

2000 BC to 500 BC

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

There is an Atlas of Ancient Mesopotamia in the Atlas of Civilization series, of the usual high quality, but we don't have the author's name to put it neatly below. Read it first.


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Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ***
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary
Good in this period and area, for the several cultures. T1

Budge, Sir A. E. Wallis

Amulets and Superstitions ***
Oxford University Press, London, 1930; now from Dover
Massive, decently illustrated, covering amulets, symbols, and objects from all over the Mideast, Near East, and Africa, from Sumeria to modern Arabs. T3

Buehr, Walter

Warrior's Weapons ***
Crowell, NY, 1963; illustrated by author
Good on early and non-ferrous metallurgy, including the development of sickle-swords and early longswords with pointing rather than tight-fist grip. Simply, pleasantly written. T1

Carpenter, Rhys, Edith Hamilton, William Hayes, et al

Everyday Life in Ancient Times; Highlights of the Beginnings of Western Civilization in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome ***
National Geographic Society, NY, 1964; 368 pg, index
Better than usual for this period and area, covering the influence of favorite wives and queen mothers in Assyria, among other points. T1

Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages ****
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available, and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes, done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part One. T1

Heath, Ernest Gerald

The Grey Goose Wing ***
New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, CN, 1971
Excellent history of the bow, including discussion of the probable structure of Assyrian bows based on artwork. T2

Hogg, Ian V.

The History of Fortification ***
St. Martin's Press, NY, 1981
Clear, interesting and accurate overview from 7000 BC through the 1970's, well illustrated with photos and diagrams; bibliography and glossary. T1

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Historical half of this book actually has full chapters on Assyrian and Babylonian naming practices (very similar), Hebrew, Phoenician, and others, male and female, not just the king-lists. T1

Macqueen, J. G.

The Hittites and Their Contemporaries in Asia Minor ****
Thames & Hudson; 176 pg
Details the Hittites and their possible interactions with the eastern Aegean, notably the Mykenaeans and the Trojans. T2

Majno, Guido, MD

The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1975
Heavy research and testing, too, to see how well period practices actually worked. Fascinating reading. Among others, covers classic medicine of the Ancient Near East and Egypt. T1

McEvedy, Colin

The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History ***
Penguin Books, 1967; 96 pg, index
A handy, small book, showing who rules what when, in the stretch from Persia to the Atlantic, from prehistory to about 300 CE. T1

Roux, Georges

Ancient Iraq *****!
George Allen and Unwin, Ltd, London, 1964; Penguin Books, NY, 1966; new revised edition, 1995
You may still find the first version wandering around the second hand shops. Don't pass it up. It is a superb, clear introduction to the Mesopotamian region and cultures, from the prehistoric to the Roman period. But look for the new version at the library to check any chronology changes. T1

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
Legends of various Goddesses are most of what we have here; a few queens and warleaders in Mesopotamia or Israel, though. T2

Stone, Merlin

When God Was a Woman ****
British title: The Paradise Papers
1976; 265 pgs, index, bibliography, date chart
While discussing the development of patriarchalism and patrilineal social control of women, by reconstructing the Goddess worship that went before and continued alongside these later religions, Stone gives a unique insight into life and thought of the people to whom the world had a female Creator, Lady of All, Queen of the Universe.

Tallqvist, Knut Leonard

Assyrian Personal Names ***
University of Chicago, 1966
Huge mass of information; Ingraham might include a third of these, though all the female ones. Sorted alphabetically, pattern names given one by one, many non-Assyrians for which to watch out. Uses Greek and Hebrew letters as well as the capitalization and numbering conventions of rendering cuneiform, etc. into Latin letters. T3

Time-Life Books, the editors of

TimeFrame 3000-1500 BC: The Age of God-Kings ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Very pictorial, good text. The air-brushed reconstructions are sometimes too in love with vast plain surfaces rather than trying to give us maximum pictorial information, and the maps, while they cover the ground, are strictly minimal. T1

TimeFrame 1500-600 BC: Barbarian Tides
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Another wide-ranging introduction to all the world at the time, including the Americas. Same complaints. T1

TimeFrame 600-400 BC: A Soaring Spirit ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Strictly Old World; guess the New World was on vacation. Does go nicely into Buddhism and Confucism. T1

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ABZU: Guide to Electronic Resources in the Ancient Near East ***

Part of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute (that's what they called Near-Eastern studies in the 19th C.), this linksite will put you right in their regional index for Mesopotamia, which is a start on hunting.


Ancient Near Eastern Astronomy


Ancient World Web *****!

Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.


The Asclepion ***

A very attractive site for a course based on Majno's book above. Good comments on ancient medicine from a less scientistic viewpoint, and references to sources. T1


H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient<yours>, Medieval, early Modern, Modern, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.

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