This lecture module examines the role of two rivers—the Euphrates and the Tigris—in shaping both the Mesopotamian perceptions of water and hydraulic infrastructures that made Mesopotamia a thriving river-valley civilization. Rising in Turkey/Armenia, the Euphrates and the Tigris flew southward through a harsh desert environment for 2,430 km and 1,850 km, respectively. On entry to modern-day Iraq, the two rivers form a Jezira, or “island,” between them. The rivers unite at Al Qurna for their final stretch to the Persian Gulf. The Greek word “mesopotamia” means “between two rivers.”
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