Ancient Persian Gulf Bibliography

Sumer, Akkad, Dilmun, and the Indus Valley

copyright 1998 by Historical Novelists Center

Any remarks by authors that these are mystery cultures about which little is known or can be deduced are way out of date. Archeological work, both excavation and study, has advanced to the point that quite a bit can be said, especially about the Sumerians who left written records. The Indus Valley Script is still in debatable stages of deceipherment, though Newberry claims to have worked it out completely. We may never have a self-written history of the Indus Valley, any more than we will of the much later Cretan Palace culture, but there is much on how life was lived.

The Indus Valley or Harappan culture has gotten to be very exciting, since the use of paleoclimatology and paleogeography have put it firmly in Vedic times. So the Yajur Veda can tell you a lot about life in those brick cities. The problem then is that any book more than ten years old, and any new ones based only on them, is out of the loop. At that point, they are only good for the artifact photos.

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Bibby, Geoffrey

Looking for Dilmun ***
Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 1969; 393 pg, index
First report from the discoverer of the link culture between Sumer and the Indus Valley. Largely about the difficulties of modern archeology. T3

Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ****
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary
Unusually strong in this period, due to fascination with kaunakes, sheep-skin clothing. 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
Covers the earliest development of weapons in metal. T2

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, 1964; 368 pg, index
A basic introduction to Sumer and Akkad, which quickly moves on to the Assyrians. The plates of painting are workmanlike, composited from ancient sculpture. Note that they say they purposely show cylinder seals far too large: check museum catalogs for actual sizes, which seem to average between one and two inches. T1

DiVito, Robert A.

Studies in Third Millenium Sumerian and Akkadian Personal Names: The Designation and Conception of the Personal God ***
More interested in hunting out references to the Personal God than compiling all known names. But it is good that you understand this concept in order to understand your characters. T1

Gelb, Ignace J.

Glossary of Old Akkadian
You can find names when they include roots. Otherwise, this lets you know what existed around them to have a name. If a people don't have a word for something, then they virtually can't imagine it. Go through for the names of different plants and trees that can't be definitely pegged as this or that modern one and mention them in gardens and garlands. T3

Gonen, Rivka

Weapons of the Ancient World *
Casell, London, 1975
Interesting theories sometimes have little or no basis in fact. Shapes, but no sizes or weights. Knows archery not at all. Not worth the trouble to carry home, but you might flip through it at the library.

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. T2

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
Actual Sumerian and Akkadian names, male and female, also a big ancient Sanskrit chapter for the Indus Valley culture, unless you prefer to derive those from the Tamil. You can build for anywhere of unknown language if you make up your own "shadow language" with the last section's guides. T1

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 medical texts from cuneiform. Now in paperback. T1

McEvedy, Colin

The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History ***
Penguin Books, 1967; 96 pg, index
Especially interesting for the maps showing the spread of bronze-working and literacy. 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

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. T2

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.

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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.


AVESTA Web Server for Persia


Brewing an Ancient Sumerian Beer ***

Explores the novel but not unreasonable suggestion that grain agriculture developed not to supply people with bread, but to secure a regular supply of beer. The brave, with brewing background, can give re-creating Sumerian beer a shot.


Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India ***

Discusses the usual image of a violent invasion, details the mistakes made in setting up the theory, the contortions of scholars attempting to support it, refutes it, and presents it as a way of denigrating early Indian culture.


Aryan Invasion ***

This reprint from the Hindustan Times could better be titled "The Great Drought" as it covers the satellite evidence and others for the dessication of about 2000 BC that destroyed the Indus Valley culture, not some Aryan Invasion (the culture was *built* by Aryans.


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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