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“”Six or eight thousand years ago, they laid down the law.
Mesopotamia (literally, from ancient Greek, meso, or "(land) in between", and potamia, "river") was an ancient land area in the Middle East generally circumscribed by two rivers: the Tigris and the Euphrates. From about 3,000 BCE to 300 BCE several ancient civilizations flourished there, notably the Sumerians and the Assyrians.
Early agriculture flourished in Mesopotamia helped by the development of irrigation from the Tigris and the Euphrates. This may have led to ancient myths such as the garden of Eden. Ironically this irrigation may have been one of the prime causes of the loss of this "paradisical" Eden. Not only was the area often laid waste by enemies, who then did not maintain the irrigation canals, allowing the surrounding desert to recapture the land but also irrigation leads to the build up of salts in the soil as the water evaporates, which renders the soil infertile. 
The Arabic name for the region and the surrounding land is Iraq, "fertile," now the name of the modern state that roughly covers the same ground.
A rich variety of cultures, religions and languages emerged from the Mesopotamian region. There were two major Mesopotamian languages: Sumerian, and the Semitic languages like Akkadian (and later Hebrew and Arabic). The religions shared common practices and mythologies across four empires and nearly a thousand years. The proto-Israelite religion appears to share an ancestor with these religions, as many of the ancient stories in the Torah closely resemble Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian counterparts.
The commonality of "flood narratives" in the area, found in virtually all of the religions from Mesopotamia, has given rise to several theories of an actual flood of epic proportions that likely happened around 10,000 BCE. The Bible's own flood story is similar in language and style to the recitation in The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian religious tale.