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The Elamite civilization in Iran, first developed in the Susian plain, under the influence of nearby Sumeria and Mesopotamia in the Tigris-Euphrates valley.  

Around 3500 B.C., animal drawn wheeled carts were in use in Sumeria. They also used ploughs to till their land, and oars to propel their ships on the Euphrates river. The Sumerians were the most advanced and complex civilization in the world at that time, and by 3100 B.C. they had invented a system of writing which was the first of its kind in the world.  

In 3000 B.C a group of people called the Akkadians drifted into the northern Sumerian territory. The Akkadians adopted some aspects of Sumerian culture and for that reason, the region is sometimes referred to as Sumer - Akkad. Around 2340 B.C. Sargon, ruler of the Akkad defeated Sumer and went on to conquer Elam and the mountainous lands to the east. His empire spread from the Mediterranean Sea to the Caspian Sea in the north, and the Persian Gulf in the South.

The Guti, among other tribes living in the mountainous areas controlled many of the routes that crossed western Iran. They took advantage of periods of weakness in Babylonian power and, around 2200 B.C., even succeeded in invading Babylon, causing the fall of the empire of Akkad. 

This fall allowed Elam to capture Susa, a city that was to become one of its capitals. Elam developed into a civilization that could be compared with that of Sumer, and during the 13th and 12th centuries B.C., at the height of its glory, it succeeded in defeating Assyria and Babylon. 

Throughout the centuries that followed, the Assyrian Empire continued to fight for control of the region, at times succeeding with great force. They waged war with deliberate frightfulness, sacking cities, and killing their inhabitants indiscriminately. By 900 B.C. Assyria was busy restoring its control over Babylonia, and by 700 B.C. the Assyrian Empire included the entire Tigris-Euphrates region, and all the Eastern Shore of the Mediterranean. It was the most powerful empire the world had yet seen. 


Map of the Cradle of Civilization; showing Mesopotamia, Sumer and the Elamites

Map of the Cradle of Civilization 6000 to 4000 B.C.


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