Connections Between Ancient India and Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient India and Ancient Mesopotamia

An advanced society is a progressive community that is comprised of growing populations. Ancient India and Ancient Mesopotamia are examples of the places that showed these characteristics. Another thing that is common in advanced societies – they trade. 

It is concluded that the relations between Mesopotamia and India started around the late c 3000 BCE. Sargon of Akkad (circa 2300 BCE) was the first Mesopotamian ruler to make an exact reference to the Meluhha region, which is widely understood as the modern-day Baluchistan or the Ancient India (Indus) area. 

In this article, we will explore similarities between the culture, DNA, scripts, languages, and trade relations of Ancient India and Ancient Mesopotamia.

Land and maritime relations

The west Harappan city from Ancient India was situated on the Makran coast at Sutkagan Dor, near the Arabian peninsula, and is considered as the earliest maritime trading station in the world. The trade happened between Ancient India and the Persian Gulf (Lower Mesopotamia) via this trading station. Sea-going vessels were known in the Ancient Indian region of Indus Valley, as confirmed by seals showing ships with Disha-kaka (land-finding birds), dating to 2500 BCE-1750 BCE. When a boat was lost in the ocean, with land beyond the range, birds released by the sailors would fly back to land, and therefore show the ancient boats the way to safety.

Cultural Connections

According to researchers, people in Mesopotamia studied the Indian religion, Hinduism, to understand the Indian subcontinent better. Indus Valley designs and seals have been found in Mesopotamia. Numerous Indus Valley seals show a fighting scene between a tiger-like beast and a man with hooves, horns, and a tail, who has been linked to the Mesopotamian bull-man Enkidu, and Nandi (cow) and Shiva in Ancient India. 


It has been suggested that the Sumerians, who ruled in Mesopotamia from 4000 to 2000 BCE, may have originally come from India. This seemed to historian Henry Hall as the most likely conclusion, primarily based on the description of Sumerians in their own literature and art. Recent genetic analysis of ancient Mesopotamian skeletal DNA confirms a vital association, according to a research paper published in journals plos. 

Indian imports into the Mesopotamian region

Archaeologists discovered carnelian beads from Ancient India (Indus Valley) in Ur (an influential Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia) tombs dating to 2600 BCE. Carnelian is a brown mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. Carnelian beads were apparently imported from the Indus Valley and made according to a technique of acid-etching invented by the Ancient Indians (Harappans). 

Clove heads, thought to emerge from the Moluccas in Southeast Asia, were found in a 2nd millennium BCE site in Terqa.

Archeologists found evidence for various other imports from Ancient India to Ur from around 2350 BCE, which included objects made with shell species that are typical of the Indus coast, especially Fasciolaria Trapezium and Trubinella Pyrum.

Mesopotamian imports into India

Ancient Indians would have accepted some aspects of Mesopotamian ideology and religion, according to researchers. The presence of Gilgamesh, a hero in ancient Mesopotamian faith and the warrior of the Gilgamesh Epic, a poem written in Akkadian, on Indus seals confirms this. This was perhaps the first instance of a civilization showing love and respect to other faiths and beliefs. Maybe, this is how Mesopotamia and Ancient India coexisted. 

The other imports from Mesopotamia to Ancient India included stamps and cylinder seals. 

Knowledge Sharing

Some of the oldest forms of astronomy can be recorded to Indus Valley Civilization. Numerous cosmological concepts are present in the Vedas, as are notions of the course of the year and the movement of heavenly bodies. Vedanga Jyotisha the earliest known text on astrology that rose from India. There is evidence of form astrology in the Sumerian period which was quite similar to the Vedanga Jyotisha. Astronomy in both Mesopotamia and Ancient India dates back to the period of Indus Valley Civilization during the 3rd millennium BCE when it was used to make calendars.

Scripts and languages

Similarities between Ancient Mesopotamia scripts with the Indian script have been explored. Sadly, Ancient Mesopotamia scripts only start to be readable from around 2300 BCE, when Mesopotamians (Elamite) adopted the cuneiform system. However, these Elamite scripts are said to be similar to the Indian script. On examining the Linear Elamite to the Indus script, several identical symbols have also been observed.

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