Ancient Mesopotamia - The Game Of 20 Squares


Our group, for the second round of presentations, chose to research Ancient Mesopotamia and the game of 20 Squares. The whole of our group did not know much about this society. To be honest I don’t think many people in this elective knew either. This made it somewhat more intriguing as we didn’t just choose a stereotypical, well known society. Whilst researching we found an abundance of information which was just astounding. Here is a briefing of what we found and how the rest of our presentation, games day and discussion went.


Ancient Mesopotamia was a society based around the two rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, which formed the fertile crescent. These rivers would annually flood and make the land around them arable and perfect for farming. Civilisations such as the Sumerians and the Akkadians took advantage of the fact. For example the city of Akkad, capital of the Akkadian society, is theorised to have been almost touching the Tigris river. This affected both the culture of these civilisations and how advanced they were.


In the Sumerian dream time story, called the ‘Enuma Elish’, it starts with how the gods directed the water from the sea and through the desert in order to make the land rich with nutrients. The Sumerians also prioritised the god of water, Enki, and viewed him as one of the three most powerful gods. This shows how these river systems affected them in terms of religion. Because of the arable land, that these rivers induce, this society was able to evolve to being agricultural. Some historians even think that the peoples of Ancient Mesopotamia founded/started to tame and raise animals in order to produce food. In the game of twenty squares this is evident as they used a goats ankle bone; instead of dice.


The Ancient Mesopotamians were also very innovate. The empire of Sumer is said to be one of the first ever empires. They invented things such as the wheel, the chariot, the concept of time, the zodiac signs and writing. These are all astonishing inventions we use in everyday life, even now after two millennia. Ancient Sumerians and Akkadians inspired other cultures with there creations. Without them who knows where we would be now. My group and a lot of the students in the class found this quite perplexing. Most people may have thought that the Greeks or the Egyptians had made these things but no, it was the humble Ancient Mesopotamians.


I think our presentation went well. People seemed to be engaged and interested with the information we were putting forward. The sources went well however everyone sort of skimmed past them and went onto the games/puzzles sheet. In the future our group would have separated this page and given it as a reward for completing the sources. Game day was quite good though the game wasn’t the most entertaining thing. It was simple and had some quite similar concepts to other modern games such as snakes and ladders.


Overall researching about Ancient Mesopotamia and presenting on it was an enjoyable experience and we hope that everyone had fun learning about the culture and playing the game of 20 squares.