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City-States in Mesopotamia Fertile Crescent- arc of land between the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea; curved and fertile (includes Mesopotamia or “land.

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Presentation on theme: "City-States in Mesopotamia Fertile Crescent- arc of land between the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea; curved and fertile (includes Mesopotamia or “land."— Presentation transcript:

1 City-States in Mesopotamia Fertile Crescent- arc of land between the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea; curved and fertile (includes Mesopotamia or “land between the rivers”) Mesopotamia is bordered by the Euphrates River and the Tigris River Both rivers flooded annually which left a thick bed of mud called silt. Planters used the moistness of this soil to their advantage

2 Environmental Challenges 1200 years after people originally settle in Mesopotamia (4500 BC), Sumerians arrive (3300 BC) Disadvantages were: unpredictable flooding combined with occasional drought; villages were defenseless against invasion due to no natural barriers; and natural resources (building materials) were limited

3 Solutions through Organization To keep consistent water, Sumerians dug irrigation from rivers to their fields For defense, they built city walls with mud bricks The traded their grain, cloth, and tools with neighboring villages in exchange for raw materials (stone, wood, metal) *leaders emerged to plan and supervise projects, ppl worked together on the irrigation projects, laws and leaders emerged to settle disputes of distribution of land and water

4 Sumerians create City-States Sumerians are first group to form civilization City-state- entity that functioned like an independent country does today By 3000 BC, Sumerians created many city- states (Uruk, Kish, Lagash, Umma, and Ur). Like in Ur, all other city-states had ziggurats in the center where priests and rulers appealed to the gods for well-being of the city-state

5 Priests and Rulers Share Power Earliest governments were ruled by priests (except in time of war) who blessed farmer’s crops, and managed irrigation systems. In return, priests demanded a portion of crop as taxes. Originally, power returned to priests as soon as conflict ended, but by 3000 BC conflict was consistent enough that commanders (who passed it to their son) are given leadership. This created dynasties.

6 Spread of Cities Surpluses in food allowed Sumerians to trade for what they needed. By 2500 BC, cities arose all over the Fertile Crescent (current Turkey, Syria, and N. Iraq) They also shared culture, ideas, and products (process is known as cultural diffusion)

7 Sumerian Culture Sumerians believe in polytheism (belief in many gods) They believed their gods were immortal and all-powerful, yet similar to humans They didn’t believe in an afterlife, but believed that the gods could affect reality The Epic of Gilgamesh is a depiction of a Mesopotamian myth (Utnapishtim and the flood)

8 Life in Sumerian Society Social classes became prevalent Kings----landholders----priests, then wealthy merchants, and then ordinary field workers…Then slaves (not based on race, but economic status and sometimes prisoners) Women could work as merchants, farmers, or artisans

9 Sumerian Science and Technology Sumerians invented the wheel, the sail, Bronze, and the plow. They also adapted: 1.Geometry and math- used for building the cities, and keeping time. 2.Architectural innovation- new designs used for the ziggurats 3.Cuneiform- system of writing that made up the oldest written records of astronomy, chemistry, and medicine

10 The First Empire Builders Cities of Sumer attacked each other from 3-2 thousand BC. Didn’t die out, but evolved. Sargon (Akkad)- ruler who defeats the city-states of Sumer in 2350 BC. Created the first empire by controlling N. and S. Mesopotamia. Lasted only about 200 years due to internal conflicts. Babylonian Empire- approx BC, Amorite warriors invaded Mesopotamia and est. their capitol in Babylon on the Euphrates. It reached its height during the rule of Hammurabi ( BC). He is known for his code of laws (“eye for an eye”)

11 Hammurabi’s Code He saw the need for a uniform code of law to unify diverse groups within his empire He molded different rules and judgments to create his law, and posted it on stone around the empire Consists of 282 laws (family, criminal, property, etc.). Also protected women and children, and set different punishments according to social status.

12 Pyramids on the Nile Flooded annually due to rain & melting snow from the mountains to the East, and left a deposit of black mud called “silt”. Egypt is the “gift of the Nile” b/c of the abundance of water Environmental Challenges When floodwaters retreated, people starved. When they rose houses, granaries, and seed were destroyed. *did have protection from the deserts

13 Upper and Lower Egypt b/c its elevation is higher, river area in the south is called Upper Egypt. The north near the delta is known as Lower Egypt. Transportation- current carried boats north, while wind (sails) carried boats south. This easy travel helped unify Egypt.

14 Egypt Unites Upper and Lower Egypt unite under King Narmer, who creates a unified capitol (Memphis) and crown. Egyptians believed their kings (pharaohs) were gods, not just reps. This style of gvmt is known as a theocracy Pharaohs ruled after death (ka), so their tombs (pyramids) were more extravagant than their palaces

15 Egyptian Culture They were polytheistic, believing in over 2000 gods Unlike Meopotamians, Egyptians believed in an afterlife Not just kings and queens were buried Mummification- process of preservation

16 What was life like in Egypt? Social structure- king/queen, royal family, upper class (landowners, gvmt, priests, and commanders), middle class (merchants and artisans), lower class (largest class; farmers and laborers), and eventually slaves (p.o.w’s) Social mobility (especially if you can read/write) Women were treated similarly to men

17 Egyptian Writing Hieroglyphics- writing where picture stands for an idea; later sounds and phonetics are introduced First written on stone like in Mesopotamia, but later on papyrus reeds. (naturally glued)

18 Egyptian Science and Technology Developed a calendar to keep track of floods by tracking the stars Developed system of numbers (taxes), geometry (property boundaries) Egyptian doctors knew how to check heart rate by checking pulse, they set broken bones, and treated wounds/fevers

19 Invaders Control Egypt Power of pharaohs decline approx 2180 BC (end of Old Kingdom). Returns during Middle Kingdom ( BC), and prosperity in Egypt returns. In 1640 BC the Hyskos move into Egypt and rule from ( BC). Egypt rises again later to create the New Kingdom ……….Meanwhile, civilization is emerging in the Indus River Valley


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