This book represents the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary presentation of ancient Near Eastern civilization. Concentrating on Mesopotamia and North Syria and focusing particularly on the cultures of Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria, von Soden covers the earliest times to Hellenization. His study of ancient "humanity in its wholeness" includes treatments of the history of language and systems of writing, the state and society, nutrition and agriculture, artisanry, economics, law, science, religion and magic, art, music, and more. Valuable background work for students of the Bible. Includes 18 black-and-white photographs.