Sargon founded (c.2340) the Akkadian dynasty, the first empire in Mesopotamia, whose example of empire building was later followed by the old Babylonian dynasty and late Assyrian Empire (see Babylonia; Assyria). There was also a great cultural exchange between the Mesopotamians and the Elamites (and other Iranians), who for centuries had threatened each other. Mesopotamia still had prestige at the time of Alexander the Great, but later it was generally a part of the Roman Empire. The Arabs took it from the Sassanid Empire, and it rose to great prominence after Baghdad was made (A.D. 762) the capital of the Abbasid caliphate. This glory was destroyed when the Mongols under Hulagu Khan devastated the area in 1258, destroying the ancient irrigation system.
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