Uruk (Sumerian: unug; Akkadian: uruk, Biblical Hebrew: Erech, Greek: Ορχόη, Ωρύγεια Orchoē, Ōrugeia; modern Arabic وركاء Warkā') was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River.
Uruk is the namesake of the Uruk period, the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia (ca. 4300-3100 BCE). In addition to being one of the first cities, Uruk was the main force of urbanization during the Uruk Period. This period saw a shift from small, agricultural villages to a larger urban center with a full-time bureaucracy, military, and stratified society. Although other settlements coexisted with Uruk they were generally about 10 hectares while Uruk was significantly larger and more complex. The Uruk period culture exported by Sumerian traders and colonists had an effect on all surrounding peoples, who gradually evolved their own comparable, competing economies and cultures. At its height c 2900 BCE, Uruk probably had 50,000–80,000 residents living in 6 square km of walled area; the largest city in the world at the time.
The semi-mythical king Gilgamesh, according to the chronology presented in the Sumerian king list, ruled Uruk in the 27th century BCE. The city lost its prime importance around 2000 BCE in the context of the struggle of Babylonia with Elam, but it remained inhabited throughout the Seleucid and Parthian periods, until it was finally abandonded during the Sassanid period shortly before the Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia.
Donate and help us!
We're a non-profit organisation and we need your help! This website costs money and research material isn't cheap either. We are supported only by our donors. Please consider donating; even small amounts help. Thank you!
Are you qualified to peer review ancient history information? Apply now and help provide quality ancient history information on the web!
Sevil Baltali, Department of Anthropology, Yeditepe University, Turkey
published on 04 June 2012
You might also find the following pages interesting...
DK CHILDREN (25 June 2007)Price: $14.68
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (20 March 2012)Price: $8.78
Princeton University Press (02 September 2003)Currently unavailable
Princeton University Press (08 November 2010)Price: $37.98
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (01 February 1994)Currently unavailable
4300 BCE - 3100 BCE