Before we begin!!!!! Political: Who controls what? What type of government is there? Anything to do with laws or war. Economic: What type of economy? How do people make a living? Geography: Where is it? Is the land mountainous? Desert? Oceanic? Social: Religious, intellectual, artistic
Political:What was the earliest kingdom in Mesopotamia? The second?
FIRST SUMERIANS Sumerians first arrived in region around 5000 BC Typical Paleolithic people motivated by search for game Settled in region and took up farming Built dams, dikes, and short canals to use water from the Euphrates Grew barley and dates and raised sheep and goats
SUMERIAN CITY-STATES City-states gradually emerged over next 1000 years Ur, Uruk, Lagash, Nippur, Kish, Umma, etc. Larger than Neolithic settlements and displayed evidence of economic specialization and strong political organization Included the urban center plus surrounding countryside Each was also an independent political unit
SUMERIAN AGRICULTURE Each was crisscrossed by irrigation system of major canals and minor channels Designed to bring water from Euphrates to farmland Farmland divided into square and rectangle-shaped plots Farmers worked land with plows, seed-drills, and stone hoes and received yield of 40:1 Other areas set aside as gardens and fruit orchards Carts pulled by donkeys and boats on the canals took produce to the urban center itself
CITY CHARACTERISTICS Each city surrounded by walls Permanent garrisons of soldiers stationed in towers and at each gate Wide boulevards crossed city, lined by houses of the wealthy Rest of city made up of narrow, twisting alleys surrounded by small, flat- roofed huts Homes of farmers, and small craftsmen
Social This is cuneiform. Babylonians wrote using this “wedge- shaped” writing on clay tablets. The Sumerians invented writing.
INVENTION OF WRITING As early as 3500 BC, the Sumerians used pictograms to represent certain physical objects Drawn on clay By 3500 BC, they began to use ideograms (symbols standing for abstract, non-physical concepts) and phonograms (symbols representing phonetic sounds) Meanwhile pictograms became more stylized
Emerging writing system known as “cuneiform” Means “wedge-shaped” Impressed on clay tablets with wood stylus Very complicated Originally 2000 symbols Reduced to 500 over time Only small group of professional scribes could master it After 15 years of training A secret held by only a few specially-trained individuals
ZIGGURAT Most dominant structure in each city was its temple Dedicated to patron god of the city Largest structure in city Resembled a gigantic stepped pyramid Designed to look like mountains because Sumerians believed their gods liked to live on top of mountains
The ancient city of Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, must have been a wonder to the traveler's eyes. "In addition to its size," wrote Herodotus, a historian in 450 BC, "Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world." Herodotus claimed the outer walls were 56 miles in length, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high. Wide enough, he said, to allow a four-horse chariot to turn. The inner walls were "not so thick as the first, but hardly less strong." Inside the walls were fortresses and temples containing immense statues of solid gold. Rising above the city was the famous Tower of Babel, a temple to the god Marduk, that seemed to reach to the heavensTower of Babel Babylonia
Another painting of the hanging gardens with Tower of Babel in back
Economic: trade and farming Sumerians (Mesopotamians) were known to trade with the Egyptians and the Indus Valley civilizations. In later years, these trade routes became Silk Road.
Sumerians invented the wheel! The wheel was invented by 6000 BC! It helped military, farming and trade. At right, this is made of wood.
THE PURPOSE OF LAW If inequality and exploitation become too naked, society will not survive Ancient Mesopotamia rulers realized this They established law to define the limits of exploitation In order to prevent such terrible acts of oppression that it would have sparked the oppressed to rise up and the destroy the entire system Law was invented by those on top to protect their superior status by limiting the abuses they theoretically had the power to commit
Political:Mesopotamian Law Code of Hammurabi “eye for an eye tooth for a tooth”
HAMMURABI’S LAW CODE Greatest of his accomplishments Carved on a huge stone slab Discovered in Syria in 1901 Probably carried off from Babylon after Ebla destroyed the Babylonian Empire Contained 282 sections and incorporated many unique features
FEATURES Basic feature was “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” Revolutionary new legal principal Earlier Sumerian laws calculated all punishments, no matter what the crime, in monetary fines Punishments varied according to the social status of offender Very harsh punishments No concept of “cruel and unusual punishment” Detailed regulation of economic life Subsidiary status of women
That concludes Mesopotamia. Any questions before the quiz?
Mesopotamia Quiz Political:What law system did Sumerians use? Hint: It can be summed: eye for eye; tooth for tooth. Economic: How did Mesopotamians earn a living? Geography:Between what 2 rivers did the Fertile Crescent appear? Social:What type of writing did they use?
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