Agriculture as Civilization: Sages, Farmers, and Barbarians

F.A.M. Wiggermann

in The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199557301
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Agriculture as Civilization: Sages, Farmers, and Barbarians

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  • Classical Studies
  • Historical Archaeology



This article examines the role of farmers and sages in the history of cuneiform writing in ancient Mesopotamia. It explains that when cuneiform writing was invented at the end of the fourth millennium bc, agriculture had a long history behind it being the foundation of urban life in the steppes and plains of Mesopotamia. Throughout history writing served the common cause and was concerned with the management and administration of resources and it provided explicit information on practical matters such as the digging of canals, the planting of gardens, and disputes over land and water.

Keywords: farmers; sages; cuneiform writing; ancient Mesopotamia; urban life; canals; gardens; land disputes; water disputes

Article.  11634 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Historical Archaeology

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