Mesopotamia is often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization. It is a region in the Middle East that sits west of Asia and along the Tigris-Euphrates rivers. As far back as 4000 B.C.E., archeologists have found examples of stunning artwork and discovered the first written language, cuneiform.
Mesopotamian Names and Culture
The Mesopotamians were farming and in the beginning stages of agriculture back in 10,000 B.C.E. and were using ovens to form pottery and dishes by 8,000 B.C.E. The Mesopotamians are also credited with the invention of the wheel!
This ancient culture was a place where science and technology flourished, and intellectuals and scholars flourished. In addition, there were schools that taught reading, religion, mathematics, law, astrology, and medicine.
Men and women held near equal rights in this enlightened society, and women could own a business, file for divorce, and own land.
Mesopotamia's lands, primarily modern-day Iran, Syria, and Iran, were part of many great ancient empires. Still, the people were able to preserve their culture and identity until the 7th century C.E. Muslim Arabs conquered the region in the 7th century, wiped out the old religion, and installed a uniform language, culture, and religion under Islam.
Assyrian Names and People
Assyria was a major cultural group in ancient Mesopotamia from the 21st century B.C.E. However, the Assyrian empire fell due to the Arab invasion in the 7th century.
Many Assyrian names stem from the ancient kings of Assyria and Babylonia. Assyria was ancient Mesopotamia's most powerful northern kingdom, while Babylon covered the southern regions. Today Assyria makes up what is Northern Iraq. Babylon sits in southern Iraq, about 60 miles southwest of Baghdad.
Ancient Mesopotamian Names and Meanings
- Adad - Arabic. Power or victory. Commonly used as a boy’s name.
- Alakko - Assyrian. A common surname and a prevalent ancestral name used by the Assyrian elders.
- Ali - Arabic. Champion or elevated.
- Ashurbanipal - An Assyrian king remembered as the last great Assyrian King.
- Asmoru - Assyrian. Brown.
- Assur - Assur was an Assyrian city and capital of the Old Assyrian State. The remains of the city lie along the Tigris river.
- Bako - Assyrian. The firstborn.
- Chaldean - This last name is common in Jordan. It refers to people who lived in ancient Assyria in the city of Chaldea.
- Darwish - Wandering. Commonly used in Levantine communities in the Middle East.
- Elia - Hebrew. Yahweh is my Lord. The name is a carryover from Christian culture and the crusades.
- Esarhaddon - This Means Ashar has a given a brother. A king of Assyria and son of Sennacherib.
- Hammurabi - Hammurabi was an ancient Babylonian king.
- Larsa - Crowned with laurel. Larsa was a city-state in ancient Mesopotamia.
- Makko - Hindi. King.
- Nimrud - An ancient Assyrian city located in what is now modern-day Iraq.
- Sargon - Sargon of Akkad was the first ruler of the Akkadian empire within Mesopotamia. It means King. Later another king, Sargon II, took the name of the great first king.
- Sennacherib - Sennacherib was the ruler of the Neo-Assyrian empire in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E.
- Shabo - This surname is used throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa. It stems from the Syriac word for Sunday.
- Shalmaneser - Shalmaneser V was king of the neo-Assyrian empire after the death of his father, Tiglath-Pileser.
- Sumer - Sumer is the oldest known civilization in southern Mesopotamia. It is considered one of the cradles of civilization alongside Egypt, Elam, Ancient China, and the Indus Valley civilizations.
- Tyareh - A last name derived from the name of an Assyrian tribe.
- Yaldiko - Assyrian. Birth.
Religious Names from Ancient Mesopotamia
- Ahmed - Arabic. Thanks to God.
- Durmaz - Turkish. Immortality or eternity.
- Ebeid - Egyptian/Arabic. A devoted servant of God.
- Hamdi - Arabic. One who deserves praise.
- Ibrahim - Biblical. It is the Arabic version of the old testament name Abraham.
- Ishtar - The ancient Assyrian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. It means star.
- Nineveh - Biblical. Handsome and agreeable. Used as a first name.
- Ninurta - Ninurta is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with farming.
- Nona - Assyrian/Hebrew. Dove.
- Oraha - The last name is popular in Iraq and the U.S. It derives from the Syriac first name Abraham.
- Mari - Hebrew. Star of the sea. A variation of Mary.
- Semiramis - Hebrew. Highest heaven. A mythological Babylonian queen.
- Yaqub - Assyrian/Arabic. Means Supplanter.
Occupational Names from Ancient Mesopotamia
- Abdul - Arabic. Servant.
- Akkara - An Assyrian name meaning farmer.
- Bakir - Turkish. Copper. Perhaps a reference to a coppersmith. Still widely used in Turkey today.
- Ghulam - Arabic. Servant.
- Hadi - Arabic/Persian/Urdu. Guide.
- Hakim - Arabic. Doctor.
- Qasim - A popular name in Syria, it means one who shares.
- Rafiq - Arabic. Friend or comrade.
- Taleb - Arabic. Student.
- Zamar - Hebrew/Assyrian. A singer or to sing.