The artistic traditions of ancient Iraq, or Mesopotamia, are among the oldest in the world and this book gives a new appreciation of both the diversity and continuity of Mesopotamian art history from the fourth millenium BC to the fourteenth century AD. The contributing authors, all art historians and archaeologists specializing in the ancient Near East, provide accessible and lively overviews of the successive phases of this history. The first two chapters cover the classical age of the great Mesopotamian city-states from prehistory to the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus II and then Alexander the Great. The third chapter concerns the Greco-Mesopotamian art of the Hellenistic dynasty founded by Alexander's general Seleucus and the fourth chapter investigates the artistic contributions of the two Persian dynasties, the Parthian and the Sassanid, that dominated the region from the first century BC to the seventh century AD. The final chapter is devoted to the area's early Islamic period, during which the Abbasid Caliphs (eighth to thirteenth century AD) made Iraq the centre of the Islamic world, constructing splendid mosques in their capitals of Baghdad and Samarra and elaborating the arabesques and stylised inscriptions which became a defining feature of Islamic decorative art. The masterpieces discussed in these chapters are depicted in 217 illustrations, most of them full-colour photographs, and appended to the main text is a unique visual guide to Iraq's principal archaeological sites illustrated by 247 black-and-white photographs. With its authoritative, up-to-date texts and the wealth of illustrations, The Art and Architecture of Mesopotamia is an essential publication for anyone with an interest in the cultural heritage of mankind.