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The Ancient River Valley Civilizations of

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1 The Ancient River Valley Civilizations of
Mesopotamia and Egypt

2 Geography: Mesopotamia means “Land between two rivers”
The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers provided rich soil and water for farming. Flooding was Unpredictable. The Zagros Mountains and the Syrian Desert provided protection from invaders. The Fertile Crescent is the arc of fertile land between the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf.

3 Tigris River

4 Along the Euphrates River

5 Geography - Egypt The Nile flows north and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. The fertile marshy land of lower Egypt is called the Nile River Delta. This area of rich soil was good for farming. Flooding was predictable. The deserts provided protection from invaders. The lower part of the river became known as Lower Egypt.

6 The Nile: The longest river in the world at 4,100 miles long.

7 A NASA Satellite Image of the Nile River Delta


9 Geography Hail to thee, O Nile! Who manifests thyself over this land, and comes to give life to Egypt! Excerpt from Hymn to the Nile Talk to your partner for 30 seconds about this excerpt. Why is the Nile the most important geographic feature to Egyptian civilization?

10 The river valleys were the “Cradles of Civilization.”
What do you think that means? They provided the baby civilizations what they needed to grow. Each civilization made major contributions to social, political and economic progress.

11 Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent
Political Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent

12 What were the functions of these ancient governments?
Mesopotamia- Political First ruled by kings as independent city states, later, Mesopotamia would be ruled as empires. What is an empire? What factors would lead one civilization to conquer another? These empires would develop from within Mesopotamia. Akkadian Babylonian Assyrian Neobabylonian What were the functions of these ancient governments?

13 Around 3100 BCE, the first dynasty arose when upper
Political - Egypt Around 3100 BCE, the first dynasty arose when upper and lower Egypt were united into a single kingdom. The capital was Memphis. Upper Lower United Egypt Egypt dynasty

14 Political - Egypt, Continued
Strong kings or pharaohs and bureaucratic governments continued a period of continuity and unity. Dynasties or hereditary rule was common.

15 What is the impact of a strong ruler and government on a civilization?
Brainstorm this with your neighbor.

16 Egypt - Political, continued
Strong Centralized Government = Bureaucracy Peace and prosperity, strong economy, and a stable, ordered society followed. Features of Egypt’s Political system: Divine rule: Pharaohs were god-kings Pharaohs were absolute rulers. The bureaucracy consisted of many departments to carry out the functions of government. Religious rule = theocracy

17 Economy of Mesopotamia
Based primarily on agriculture – 90 percent of the people were farmers. But, evidence of trade along rivers, and with Egypt. Artifacts revealed metal work in bronze, gold and copper

18 Economic- Egypt Egyptians
farmed along the narrow strips of land bordering the Nile River traded along the Nile (Nubia) and into Mesopotamia Paid taxes to the Pharaoh in the form of crops and forced labor on building projects Made paper from papyrus Linen clothing

19 Economic Trade goods included gold, ivory, cattle, granite blocks, paper and linen

20 Religion - Mesopotamia
They were POLYTHEISTIC. What does this mean? Constructed huge pyramids, called Ziggurats. Sumerians had a negative view of the afterlife where their souls would wander in the land of no return.

21 Religion – continued - Mesopotamia
Rulers were believed to be chosen by gods. Theocracy - rule by a religious authority. Earliest rulers in Mesopotamia were priests. Can you name a modern-day theocracy?

22 Afterlife was important – soul needed to be judged and then reconnected with the body.
Wonderful afterlife awaited filled with pleasures of life. The body had to be recognized so it was mummified. Worldly goods such as jewelry, pottery and gold were buried with the body to be enjoyed in the afterlife. Religion- Egypt

23 Religion - Egypt The Egyptians were polytheistic – there were 2,000 gods and goddesses Sun god Re was very important as were river and land deities, Osiris (god of the dead), Isis and Horus. Isis Osiris Horus

24 Pyramids were built as the final resting place for
Religion - Egypt Pyramids were built as the final resting place for Pharaohs who, according to Egyptian beliefs, would rule again through their spirit in the afterlife.

25 Sumerian Society ( Mesopotamia)
Priests and Kings Scribes Wealthy merchants Commoners Slaves

26 Mesopotamian Society - Continued
Why were priests in the upper classes of society? Priests communicated and made offerings to the gods. Since the gods controlled the people’s fate, priests, were very important. Sumerian women had more rights than women in later civilizations but it is believed that they were not educated.

27 Egyptian Society Pharaoh, queen, royal family Vizier, landowners, government officials priests, army commanders, scribes Merchants, artisans Peasant farmers Unskilled laborers later, slaves. The largest group of people fell into this category. Egyptians could move up or down in society and slaves could buy their freedom. To win the highest positions, one needed to be able to read and write.

28 Egyptian Society continued
Women had almost as many rights as men. They could own and trade property, were allowed to divorce and there were one or two women who served as Pharaohs. It is believed that women could not read or write. Hatsepshut

29 Egyptian society enjoyed stability and cultural
continuity because the kingdom was united and because of its political stability over long periods of time.

30 Intellectual - Mesopotamia
Cuneiform was the first written language. It was made using clay and a stylus, and has wedge-shaped characters Its characters are based on pictograms

31 Intellectual – Continued - Mesopotamia
More Cuneiform:

32 Intellectual – Continued - Mesopotamia
Two important written documents come from Mesopotamia: 1. The Epic of Gilgamesh 2. Hammurabi’s Code Both were written in Cuneiform and translated.

33 Intellectual - Mesopotamia
The Epic of Gilgamesh is possibly the oldest story ever written. It was found on clay tablets and tells the story of a king (Gilgamesh) and a man (Enkidu) who fight an evil God named Humbaba. The man is mortally wounded and Gilgamesh realizes that men are not immortal.

34 is the code of laws established By Hammurabi of Babylon
Intellectual - Mesopotamia The Code of Hammurabi is the code of laws established By Hammurabi of Babylon When he conquered all Of Mesopotamia. What might we learn about Mesopotamia by looking at its laws? Think P.E.R.S.I.A. G. ?

35 Hammurabi’s Code The laws were carved onto a
Intellectual - Mesopotamia Hammurabi’s Code The laws were carved onto a basalt (stone) slab called a stele. It included laws for commerce Harsh punishments including, “an eye for an eye” It contained different rules for different social classes It even set forth rules and punishments for marriage

36 Intellectual - Egypt The Egyptians developed a pictographic language called hieroglyphics. First written on stone or clay, the Egyptians later developed a paper-like product called Papyrus. It came from reeds that grew in the Nile River delta.

37 Intellectual - Egypt Papyrus

38 Wheel, sail, plow, irrigation systems
Achievements - Mesopotamia Agricultural Surpluses Job Specialization Invention of Wheel, sail, plow, irrigation systems Bronze tools

39 Achievements - Mesopotamia

40 Achievements - Mesopotamia
Plow Bronze Weapons Irrigation System

41 Accurate measurement of angles would be necessary for
Achievements - Egypt Egyptians were skilled mathematicians. They used a number system and geometry. Why would these be useful to the Egyptians? Accurate measurement of angles would be necessary for building the pyramids

42 Achievements - Egypt - continued
The Egyptians would develop a 365-day calendar that was comprised of 12 months, each comprised of 30 days with one 5-day celebration. Why would the Egyptians need a calendar? They needed to know when to plant crops which was based on regular flooding of the Nile. The floods came each year at the same time. As the floods receded, rich silt was left behind which made the soil very fertile –the perfect time for planting crops.

43 Other Achievements - Egypt:
Medicine – The Egyptians were advanced in developing medicines, performing surgery and in setting broken bones.

44 Photo Credits Slide 1: Slide 2: Slide 3: Slide 4: Slide 5: Slide 7: Slide 8:

45 Slide 12: http://etc. usf. edu/clipart/19200/19279/cuneiform_19279_lg
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