From the beginning of time, the centre of Asia was where empires were made. The alluvial lowlands of Mesopotamia, fed by the Tigris and Euphrates, provided the basis for civilisation itself - for it was in this region that the first towns and cities took shape. Systematised agriculture developed in Mesopotamia and across the whole of the "Fertile Crescent," a band of highly productive land with access to plentiful water, stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean coast. It was here that some of the first recorded laws were disseminated nearly 4,000 years ago by Hammurabi, King of Babylon, who detailed his subjects' obligations and set out fierce punishments for their transgressions.
- From The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan