The Assyrians and Their Neighbours
W. A. Wigram
Butler & Tanner Ltd.
Mesopotamia is emphatically “the Land of the two Rivers” (“Bait Nahrein”), Tigris and Euphrates, as Egypt is, with equal decision, the land of the Nile. In strictness, the name is applied —as we believe that the name Egypt was once applied—to the “Delta” district only, the provinces which the river has won from the sea. In Mesopotamia the alluvial plain, being the work of two rivers, not one, is not of the triangular shape that the name implies, but includes all the district, from Baghdad down to the Persian Gulf. In practice, the upper part of the river valley, both in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, came to be dependent politically on the power that controlled the lower, and has always continued to be so. Thus, the name was extended accordingly, and Mesopotamia means now not only the “delta district” of the Tigris and Euphrates, which is Iraq proper, but also all the province called by the Arabs “the Island” (Jezireh), or the lands between those rivers, from the point where they issue from the mountains of Taurus to the sea. In both lands the site of the capital was dictated by the facts of the course of the ...