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Mesopotamia, the First Civilization

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1 Mesopotamia, the First Civilization
Lesson 2

2 The First Civilization
Mesopotamia (land between rivers) Oldest of the early civilizations Located in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers Began c B.C.E Location in the Modern World In the Middle East, in Iraq



5 The Fertile Crescent Mesopotamia located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers Part of the Fertile Crescent Fertile means “good for plants to grow in”

6 The Fertile Crescent Rich farmland that reached fro the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea north to the Syrian Desert and south to the Persian Gulf 5000 B.C.E, people call Sumerians settled in southern Mesopotamia Became known as Sumer

7 The Fertile Crescent Sumerians built cities out of mud and clay
3500 B.C.E, Sumerian cities of Ur, Nippur, and Eridu had thousands of people living in them


9 Check for Understanding
Match each term with a description from below. Site of the earliest civilization Rivers in Mesopotamia Cities in Sumer Rich farmland on the Mediterranean Sea Settlers in southern Mesopotamia Fertile Crescent Mesopotamia Sumerians Ur and Eridu Tigris and Euphrates

10 Sumerian Achievements
When we refer to the earliest Mesopotamian civilization, we are actually referring to the Sumerian civilization Sumerians were very inventive…they added 3 great achievements to early human history

11 The Wheel Before people had to move objects by hand or logs
Sumerian wheels were made by attaching wooden planks together in a circle Then they could be added to carts

12 Irrigation and Flood Control
Sumerians needed a way to keep crops watered during dry summers. Also needed protection from river floods. Sumerians dug canals and built dams to water crops and to control flooding.

13 Written Language Earliest writing used pictures to stand for words
Not effective way of expressing thoughts Sumerians invented cuneiform Wedge-shaped marks A scribe used a sharp stick and pressed it into a tablet of wet clay to make their marks Tablet then left in the sun to dry

14 Other Inventions Number system based on 60
Lunar calendar based on the phases of the moon Sail Plow

15 Check for Understanding
True of False The Sumerians invented the calendar The Sumerians invented the wheel

16 Sumerian City-States 12 cities in Sumer
Each city is referred to as a city state City-states often grew quite large City of Ur, 2500 BCE had about 20,000 people 2000 BCE had about 200,000 people The most important building in each city-state was the ziggurat

17 Check for Understanding
True or False Sumerian city-states were not very large City-states often went to war with other city-states A city-state included the land around the city and any nearby villages

18 Life in Sumer Highest ranking class was the noble class
King, king’s family, priests, and priestesses Most Sumerians were commoners Merchants, scribes, farmers, and skilled workers Below commoners were labors Class of people who worked for the nobles

19 Life in Sumer Men had most of the power School day was long
Women were allowed by law to own property, start new businesses, or take over their husbands’ business Could also hold important positions School day was long Beginning at sunrise, ending at sunset Students were beaten if they were late, talked when they shouldn’t, and even if their clothes were messy

20 The City of Akkad and the First Empire
City-states sometimes warred with each other Akkad City north of Sumer People = Akkadians Came to Mesopotamia from the deserts at the edge of the Fertile Crescent Learned Sumerian writing, followed the Sumerian religion and the Sumerian law

21 The City of Akkad and the First Empire
Famous king names Sargon the Great Wanted LOTS of power By 2350 B.C.E, Sargon ruled all the Akkadian cities Went on to control all the cities of Sumer By doing this he set up the world’s first empire His empire lasted for about 200 years

22 Check for Understanding
What was Akkad? Describe who King Sargon was.

23 The City of Babylon: A New Empire
C B.C.E, Mesopotamia was invaded by the Amorites Built village on Euphrates river called Babylon Great ruler of Babylon was Hammurabi Power hungry By 1790, conquered other city-states and formed the Babylonian Empire

24 The City of Babylon: A New Empire
Hammurabi’s greatest contribution was the Code of Hammurabi Single set of laws for every person in his empire Code of Hammurabi contains over 280 laws

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