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Introducing Early Civilizations

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1 Introducing Early Civilizations

2 Early Civilizations After agriculture, the next step in setting our framework for world history is the emergence of civilization as a form of human organization. This is where history is usually seen as starting (especially in the Western tradition). The first human civilization developed in Mesopotamia around 3,500 BCE. Four or five other early, pioneering civilizations can also be identified over the next 2,000 years.

3 Early Civilizations These civilizations, all of them agricultural, generated a number of key innovations that have not had to be reinvented since. Can you think of any? Civilizations did not, however, spread uniformly.

4 Early Civilizations So what is/what makes a civilization?
To many historians, civilization (from the Latin word civilis which means “of the citizens”) implies increased human organization and more defined cultural expressions: (most importantly) writing, formal architecture, urban planning, formal laws, trade, and the use of some sort of currency.

5 Early Civilizations The early civilization period of world history runs roughly from 3,500-1,000 BCE (often referred to as the Bronze Age) and from BCE (the early Iron Age). Civilization first emerged in the Middle East about 5,000 years after the advent of agriculture. Before that time, agriculture had permitted the development of some isolated cities, usually with populations of about 10,000 people (but usually a lot less).

6 Early Civilizations It is important to realize that agriculture did not quickly nor inevitably lead to civilization. Some agricultural societies (for example, in West Africa) reached the modern period without forming what we call a civilization.

7 Early Civilizations The emergence of civilization in the Middle East was preceded by other technological developments in addition to the maturing of agriculture (like the plow and wheel).

8 Early Civilizations Between 4,500-4,000 BCE, people in the Tigris-Euphrates valley (that is Mesopotamia—so named by the Greeks as “the land between the rivers”) were beginning to use bronze for tools, weapons, and adornment.

9 Early Civilizations Bronze Age tools, weapons, and jewelry.

10 Early Civilizations The use of bronze improved military and production capacities, but it also required long-distance trade and travel. Bronze—the amalgam of copper and tin—forced early peoples to travel great distances because tin deposits were very remote. So to create bronze, early peoples were forced to travel and trade over long-distances (this created an important feature marking early civilizations).

11 Early Civilizations Locations of known tin deposits during the Bronze Age.

12 Early Civilizations A procession of civilizations developed first in Mesopotamia, and some of these expanded into empires in the Middle East. Civilization then emerged in Egypt along the Nile around BCE. A third civilization, discovered recently, developed along the coast of Peru (called Norte Chico) between 3,000-1,800 BCE

13 Early Civilizations The Indus Valley (or Harappan) civilization originated around 2,600 BCE in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent along the Indus River(present day Pakistan). A fifth center of civilization developed in northern China along the Yellow (or Huang He) River around 2,200 BCE.

14 Early Civilizations A sixth center of civilization emerged in Central America, the Olmec. All of these civilizations except the Olmec clustered along river valleys or coastal areas which was no accident. River valleys and coastal areas provided the most abundant opportunities for agriculture and an agricultural surplus.

15 Early Civilizations To take the maximum advantage of river systems, early civilizations had to develop irrigation systems. This led to a high degree of coordination and probably some property definition which probably encouraged early governments to formalize their rules and regulations. Rivers/coasts also increased trade opportunities.

16 Early Civilizations But civilization, like agriculture, involved a mixture of advantages and disadvantages. We must remember that for several thousand years, civilization didn’t spread to most parts of the inhabited world. We must also be careful when drawing the line between civilization and barbarian. It tends to be the “civilized” people who look down on others (which created elitism).

17 Early Civilizations Civilizations, by writing rules and law, formalized the inequality between men and women and the wealthy and poor. Civilizations developed a more extensive social structure for men and women…both between the upper classes (associated with politics, military leadership, and religion), and the lower classes (associated with rural production, military conscription, and sometimes slavery).

18 Early Civilizations Most civilizations extended the capacity for warfare well beyond the hunter/gatherer and agricultural societies. Pressures from the outside increased the importance of military activity (which was often a disadvantage for ordinary people since they often had to leave their farms). An ancient Hittite warrior 16th century BCE.

19 Early Civilizations But how did they get started? (the question archeologists, historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have been asking for years) Some scholars emphasized the need to organize large-scale irrigation projects as a stimulus for the earliest civilizations, but archeologists have found the most complex water control projects developed long after civilizations had already been established.

20 Early Civilizations Others theorize that powerful states developed to protect the privileges of favored groups (Marx’s Conflict Theory). A recent theory (Anthropologist Robert Carneiro) proposed that a growing density of population, producing more congested and competitive societies, created the incentives for innovations (like better irrigation, the plow, etc that could produce more food) because opportunities for territorial expansion were not readily available.

21 Early Civilizations Since rich agricultural land was limited by geography (oceans, mountains, deserts), areas with dense populations generated intense competition among rival groups, which led to repeated warfare. A strong and highly organized state was a definite advantage in such a competition. Losers often couldn’t flee to new lands so they were absorbed into the winner’s society as a lower class.

22 Early Civilizations Successful leaders of the winning side emerged as an elite with an enlarged base of land, a class of subordinated workers, and a powerful state at their disposal—in short, a civilization.

23 Early Civilizations Ritual sacrifice, often of people, usually accompanied the growth of civilization, and the new rulers normally served as high priests or were seen as divine beings, their right to rule legitimated by association with the sacred. Statue of the King of Lagash (Sumer).

24 Mesopotamia

25 Mesopotamia The inevitable pressures of rising population, coupled with technological improvements led to an important change (documented c BCE); this change was a shift of populations into the river valleys, particularly into lower Mesopotamia. The movement was brought on by several breakthroughs, including the creation of improved tools (mostly made of wood but some were metal) and plows and the domestication of oxen. By 3500 BCE, plows were pulled by two to eight oxen.

26 Sumer Populations moved into lower Iraq (Sumer) and began to clear the dense undergrowth of the delta areas which were very fertile. This period, known as the al-Ubaid Period (c BCE), was marked by larger settlements, more intensive agriculture, and increasing populations of people which will, after about 1000 years, lead to the development of the first cities (c BCE).

27 Sumer The first specific civilization to emerge was Sumeria (lower Mesopotamia-Iraq). A Sumerian warrior (engraved on a shell) c BCE with bronze sickle-sword, helmet, and battle-axe.

28 Sumer Sumeria would be followed over the next several thousand years by a succession of states, including Babylonia and the states of the Hittites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and others. The attractions of civilization drew migrants and invaders to the region, particularly from Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.

29 Sumer Sumeria, the prototype of early civilization, offered a number of features that agricultural societies without civilization lacked.

30 Sumer Sumer was the first to offer features of human organization not present in agricultural economies… Formal political apparatus with leadership Certain degree of structure Monumental architecture Civilizations are usually defined as stated societies rather than stateless societies.

31 Sumer Civilizations, beginning with Sumeria, have writing, which enables recordkeeping, is associated with bureaucracies, allows long-distance communication and the expansion of trade, and affects the generation and preservation of knowledge.

32 Sumer Economic development, trade, and temple taxes drove the need to invent writing. Sumer had a writing system in place sometime between BCE. Writing was done with a stylus in wet clay. As a result, the shape of the characters tended to be in the form of a wedge. When Sumerian writing was first discovered in the 19th century, it was called cuneiform, which means “wedge-shaped.”

33 Sumer The Sumerians were the first to create an alphabet (that we know of):

34 Sumer Collective learning began to accelerate as the knowledge created by a whole society was recorded and preserved. In Sumeria (and Mesopotamia) literacy led to the rapid expansion of knowledge, especially in astronomy (calendars) and mathematics (surveying).

35 Sumer The Sumerians were the first to develop science (astronomy) and mathematics to aid their farmers. Sumerians used a mixed counting system based partly on 10 and partly on 60 (they counted animals by 10 and grain by 60). The Sumerians were also the first to create a calendar based on astronomical observations and they created astrological charts and forecasts.

36 Sumer They devised a calendar based on 12 months and divided the 24 hours of the day into 60 minutes with 60 seconds each. The Sumerians divided the circle into 360 degrees.

37 Sumer The Sumerians were the first to use the plow.

38 Sumer Another feature of civilization is the existence of cities and increased dependence on cities. Cities meant concentrations of people that could facilitate cultural exchange and technological development. Cities also depended on more elaborate trade than an agricultural society, fostering the development of a merchant class.

39 Sumer During what is known as the Uruk Period (c BCE), villages evolved into cities quite rapidly. The cities of Sumeria were of considerable size compared to previous concentrations of populations. The whole of Sumer, which was about the size of Connecticut, may have had a population of 500,000 or more.

40 Sumer Around 3000 BCE there was a large influx of people coming from the Arabian Peninsula into Sumer (probably unable to survive the increasingly arid conditions). By 2500 BCE, 80% of all Sumerians were living in urban centers.

41 Sumer Archeologists agree that Uruk (today Warka) was probably the world’s first city, and it was the largest city of Sumer during the Uruk Period. It was home to the legendary king Gilgamesh (the fifth king of Uruk); another well known city of Sumeria was the biblical Ur.

42 Sumer Built along the banks of the Euphrates River (today the river flows about 15 miles to the west), by 3500 BCE, Uruk covered an area comparable to Athens in the fifth century BCE and half the size of Rome in the first century CE. The population of Uruk went from 10,000 in 3500 BCE to 20,000 in 3300 BCE to 40-50,000 around 3000 BCE to an estimated ,000 people at the time of Gilgamesh ( BCE).

43 Sumer Uruk contained three areas: the walled city that included temples, palaces, and residences of citizens; an outer area with farms, cattle fields, and gardens; and a commercial area with the stores of foreign merchants. Urban dwellers did something other than farm; they were scribes, priests, bureaucrats, bakers, cooks, potters, silversmiths, and snake charmers (from the Standard Professions List found in Uruk which listed over 100 different professions going back to 3000 BCE).

44 Sumer Uruk had walls 20ft high and 6 miles in length surrounding the city and in the city’s center, visible for miles around, was a stepped pyramid (ziggurat) topped with a temple.

45 Sumer The ziggurat may have been built as a bridge between heaven and earth. Built on seven levels, the ziggurat represented seven heavens and planes of existence, the seven planets and the seven metals associated with them and their corresponding colors.

46 Sumer Some archeologists believe ziggurats were not places for public worship…instead they were the dwelling places of the gods. The gods were believed to have created humans to be their servants, to care for them. So each city set up its ziggurat to attract its chosen god/goddess to take up residence in the city, so they could be close to mankind, and to protect the city and bring it prosperity.

47 Sumer As if it was human, the god/goddess was housed, fed, and clothed by a retinue of priests. Religion created social cohesion and legitimized the ruler’s authority, with local religions eventually giving way to the state religion of the rulers. As a result the priests were very powerful members of Mesopotamian society.

48 Sumer In Uruk, there have been two ceremonial centers excavated: the smaller one known as the White Temple was associated with the sky-god, An, the father of all gods, representing patriarchal authority.

49 Sumer The larger temple, called the Eanna Complex, was associated with An’s daughter Inanna, the divinity of the storehouse, the Queen of Heaven, the goddess of love. This Babylonian lion was the symbol of Inanna/Ishtar. It is estimated that 1,500 laborers worked 10 hours a day for 5 years to build the Eanna Complex.

50 Sumer There were at least 20 major city-states in Sumer and a number of lesser towns. Major city-states included Nippur in central Sumer, considered the most sacred city of the land.

51 Sumer Mesopotamian rulers were thought to be stewards of their city’s patron gods. Their symbols of kingship—crown, throne, scepter, mace—were said to be of divine origin, sent to earth when the gods established monarchy.

52 Sumer It is estimated that by 3000 BCE, every major city was ruled by a king who claimed absolute authority over his city-state without claiming to be divine (until an Akkadian king made that claim during his rule BCE). It is believed the temple (i.e. the gods) owned 1/3 of the farmable land and the ruling family perhaps another third.

53 Sumer As labor became specialized, inequalities developed—in wealth, status, and power. In every civilization, wealth was piled up, not spread out. This erosion of equality and the development of social hierarchy eventually came to be regarded as normal and natural.

54 Sumer Upper classes everywhere enjoyed great wealth in land or salaries, were able to avoid physical labor, and occupied the top positions in political, military, and religious life. Frequently, classes were distinguished by the clothes they wore, the houses they lived in, and the manner of their burial. The Mesopotamian legal Code of Hammurabi depended on social status…clearly class had consequences.

55 Sumer In all civilizations, free commoners represented the vast majority of the population. It was their surplus production—appropriated through a variety of taxes, rents, required labor, and tribute payments—that supported the upper classes. At least some of these people were aware of, and resented, these forced extractions and their position in the social hierarchy.

56 Sumer At the bottom of the social ladder everywhere were slaves. It seems that slavery and civilization emerged together. The Code of Hammurabi mentions slavery in a casual, accepted, matter-of-fact way. Female slaves, captured in the many wars among rival Mesopotamian cities, were put to work in large-scale weaving enterprises, while males maintained irrigation canals and constructed ziggurats.

57 Sumer Others worked as domestic servants in the households of their owners. In all early civilizations, slaves were prisoners of war, criminals, and debtors—all were available for sale (to work in the fields, mines, shops, homes of their owners…or on occasion, for sacrifice). This idea of “people owning people” was an enduring feature of civilizations well into the 19th century.

58 Sumer The Mesopotamians had a word for freedom, but it meant a gift from their all-powerful king…(the Egyptians didn’t even have a word for freedom).

59 Sumer Warfare seems to be a constant theme for the people of Sumeria going back to at least 4000 BCE. After Gilgamesh, seven kings ruled Uruk until overthrown by Ur in 2560 BCE. For the next 200 years there seems to be war without end. Wars were usually fought over who controlled the land and access to the water.

60 Sumer Sumerian kings controlled professional armies with metal helmets, bronze weapons, and uniforms. Some soldiers fought from four wheeled carts pulled by donkeys, but most, armed with long spears and swords, were infantry.

61 Sumer The Sumerians thought of themselves as a single people—they referred to themselves as the “black-haired people” – but they were loyal to the individual city-states and the divinities associated with cities. Sumerian cities lacked materials that could be used for building; hardwoods, stone, and metal had to be imported as were more exotic goods. These things could only be attained be developing extensive trade routes to as far away as western Iran, Syria, or Asia Minor.

62 Sumer The Sumerians were outstanding merchants, with evidence of a Sumerian community in the Delta region of Egypt and as far away as Syria. Merchant convoys demanded organization, which came from the temples. Each of the great temples in a Sumerian city-state was run by a group of priests, among whom was a figure known as an en. An en managed the economic and administrative side of the temple, instead of the ritual/religious side.

63 Sumer Mesopotamian culture, and we know this from epics—the first piece of great literature that historians know of, the great epic poem Gilgamesh—had a definitely gloomy outlook, with less confidence that after death one could ascend to a happier afterlife.

64 Sumer Mesopotamian society was paternalistic towards women while insisting on their submission to the unquestioned authority of men. A woman caught sleeping with another man could be drowned at her husband’s discretion, whereas he could have hanky panky with his female servants (but not another man’s wife).

65 Sumer Divorce was much easier for a man than a woman.
Rape was a serious offense, but the injured party wasn’t primarily the woman, it was the father or husband of the victim. Respectable women (those under the protection and control of one man) were required to be veiled when outside the home. Nonrespectable women (slaves and prostitutes) were forbidden to do so and were subjected to severe punishments if they presumed to cover their heads.

66 Sumer Sumeria declined as drought was coupled with declining agricultural productivity from increased salinity in their soil. As soil gets waterlogged from irrigation, salt rises to the surface (wheat can tolerate a salt level of 0.5% and barley 1.0%). Historians can trace the decline of wheat production: in 3500 BCE wheat was 50% of Sumeria’s crop; by 2500 BCE it was 15%; by 1700 BCE total crop yields had fallen by nearly 70%, causing Sumeria to become the impoverished backwater to other empires.

67 Sumer Sumerian records recorded between BCE refer to the salinization and loss of fertile ground caused by excessive irrigation…the Sumerians were aware of what was happening. The problem of long-term sustainability, of not overexploiting the environment, has haunted complex societies for over 4000 years.

68 Sumer Clothing: Before the invention of textiles, people wore animal skins for warmth. After the domestication of sheep and goats in Mesopotamia, people wore sheep and goat skins: the men used a belted skin as a kind of skirt, while women wore skins like a robe.

69 Sumer Farmers around the eastern end of the Mediterranean domesticated a tall plant with blue flowers called flax. From the stem fibers (which grow to 4ft) people learned to make linen.

70 Sumer This is a very labor intensive plant; it had to be watered, weeded, harvested, then dried. The dried stalks had to be dampened to rot the fleshy part of the stem off the fibers, which then had to be spliced together by wetting them with saliva (which contains an enzyme that causes the cellulose to break down). Finally the fiber had to be spun into thread and woven into cloth. This took roughly 57 days of labor to clothe one person for a year.

71 Sumer Since turning flax into linen was so labor intensive, in Uruk linen was reserved for the priests and statues of the gods. It was much easier to produce fabric out of wool; 100 sheep could clothe 40 people a year. Men in Uruk wore woolen skirts below their knees. Paying tribute may have forced poor families to sell their daughters into debt slavery to work in urban textile workshops that employed thousands.

72 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
When people first began moving into the Nile River valley (c BCE), they found fertile soil and annual flooding at the right season. By 4000 BCE agricultural villages stretched along the Nile from the Mediterranean to northern Sudan, with villages trading with each other and cooperating in irrigation networks.

73 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Even though Egypt was influenced through trade with Mesopotamia, it developed different social/political systems. Mesopotamia had tightly organized city-states, initially ruled by priests, then ruled by kings that claimed divine authority. Egyptian pharaohs (who were thought to be gods) created and maintained a unified state.

74 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
According to tradition, between BCE a leader named Menes (also known as Narmer) united both parts of Egypt…Lower Egypt at the Nile delta and Upper Egypt which went to the first cataract (there are 6 cataracts on the Nile—a cataract is an unnavigable part of the river from rapids or waterfalls.

75 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Egypt’s largest city at the time was Hierakonopolis (Upper Egypt) with a population of about 10,000. To expedite unification, Menes founded the city of Memphis (near present-day Cairo). One could sail from the first cataract to the Mediterranean in about a week.

76 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Egypt established divine kingship early on, with the pharaoh considered a god living on Earth; he was associated with Horus, “the One on High,” symbolized by the golden falcon or hawk.

77 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
The king’s role was to preserve the equilibrium of creation and to allow the world to function as it should. Egyptian ideology stressed the continuity of the past as necessary for prosperity, and prosperity was achieved by wise and pious kings. Egyptian morality was based on respect for universal equilibrium as personified by the goddess Ma’at.

78 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Ma’at (left) represented balance, order, and truth…the antithesis of chaos. The annual flooding of the Nile gave a sense of assurance and security to Egyptians that the gods would provide stability.

79 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Unlike the Sumerians, who thought of death as the end, a place of perpetual darkness (The House of Dust), the Egyptians believed in a vivid life after death that continued one’s full earthly existence. Mummification and an elaborate tomb (if you could afford it) protected the body and ensured their afterlife.

80 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Isis was the mother of Horus and the wife of Osiris. She represented motherhood. Osiris was the lord of death, afterlife, and rebirth.

81 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
The Egyptian emphasis on monuments implied incredible labor organization. It is estimated that it took 80,000 men laboring for 80 days a year 20 years to build the Great Pyramids.

82 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Egyptian art and architectural styles would influence Greece and later Rome. Egyptian artistic styles and colors reflected a much happier outlook on life/afterlife.

83 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Both societies were patriarchal, but in the upper classes of Egyptian society, women had greater responsibilities and social standing. There were several important women rulers and consorts in Egyptian history (Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, etc).

84 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Neighboring countries were clearly shocked by the relative freedom of Egyptian women. Women were portrayed in a very public way alongside men at every level of society. Women were also depicted with great care in Egyptian art.

85 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Egyptian women also enjoyed a surprising degree of financial independence, with surviving accounts and contracts showing that women received the same pay rations as men for undertaking the same job. Women could own property and slaves, sell land, make their own wills, sign their own marriage contracts, and initiate divorce.

86 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
The Greek historian Herodotus believed the Egyptians 'have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind'.

87 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Egypt was also unusual in that it didn’t practice infanticide—the deliberate killing of babies/young children to control the population (both for individual families and for society as a whole). Most early civilizations, and possibly other societies as well, practiced infanticide. It was practiced in Mesopotamia.

88 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Like the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians excelled in applied mathematics.

89 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
By the third millennia BCE, Egyptian math and astronomy had created a calendar of 365 days (twelve 30 day months, each divided into three 10 day weeks). They devoted the extra 5 days of the year to feasts honoring their most important gods. They also calculated a day divided into 24 hours (the Sumerians were the first to do this).

90 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
The Egyptians, like the Mesopotamians, began writing with simple pictographs, but they soon supplemented them with symbols representing sounds and ideas. They decorated their buildings, including temples, with written symbols leading Greek visitors to call them “holy inscriptions,” or hieroglyphs.

91 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
The Egyptian alphabet had fewer characters than its Mesopotamian counterpart, but it eventually grew into several thousand character/sounds.

92 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
The names of kings/queens (gods) were written in oval cartouches. A cartouche represented a looped rope that had magical power to protect the name written inside it. It was supposed to ward off evil spirits in this world, and the next.

93 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Egyptian crops were brought in from the Near East to the Nile—that would be cattle, sheep, barley, wheat—these are not native to the Nile Valley and they arrived between BCE when movement across the Sinai was much easier. By about 4500 BCE the Nile assumed it current course, which is essentially a canyon. The Nile is very predictable and its flood patterns were quickly learned.

94 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
Herodotus wrote with envy how easy it was to cultivate along the Nile in comparison to other river systems and how people could easily move out of the flood plain and return. The Nile promoted Egyptian cultural and linguistic unity from the beginning, lasting past Alexander the Great to the Roman and Byzantine eras.

95 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
The Nile was the basis of all directions and understanding of the world to the Egyptians. To the Egyptians, to go up the Nile meant to go south; to go downstream meant to go north. To the Egyptian world view, the Nile was the center of the universe, and it was part of the divine order that was eternal (unlike Mesopotamian chaos).

96 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
About 2200 BCE Egypt experienced over two centuries of drier conditions and low flood levels, which brought famine to the Nile valley. The central power of the pharaohs diminished, trade through Syria declined, neighboring kingdoms invaded, and unity wasn’t restored until about 2000 BCE. Afterward Egypt remained independent until conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE.

97 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
A question of recent interest has been the skin color of the ancient Egyptians (were they lighter skinned Semitic people from the Middle East or darker skinned African people?). Scholars have concluded that Egypt was actually a bridge between Asia and Africa so its people were a wide mixture of skin color and hair types. Egyptian art even shows them between lighter Asians and darker Africans.

98 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
No barriers to immigration have been found in Egypt’s earliest laws; Semitic people as well as Nubians came. Egyptians, aware and tolerant of ethnic differences, seemed more concerned that immigrants behaved culturally as Egyptians.

99 Egypt and the Nile River Valley
So we can see that two civilizations that were quite close to each other developed different kinds of political institutions (Egypt was much more centrally organized), separate lines of cultural activity, and Egypt was subjected to invasion less than Mesopotamia (causing other differences).

100 Norte Chico Less well known and only recently investigated by scholars was a third early civilization that developed along a 30 mile stretch of the central coast of Peru from roughly 3,000 to 1,800 BCE (about the same time as Sumer and Egypt). Known as Norte Chico, archeologists have discovered 25 urban centers spread out over 700 sq miles.

101 Norte Chico

102 Norte Chico Like Mesopotamia, this civilization developed without any help from others…they had no model to follow. The cities of Norte Chico were smaller than in Mesopotamia and show less evidence of economic specialization. The economy appears to have been based on anchovy and sardine fishing, cotton, beans, squash, and avocados…not upon grain-based agriculture.

103 Norte Chico A circle of upright stones marks the base of the main pyramid at Caballete in the Fortaleza Valley.

104 Norte Chico Several settlements had rectangular or circular stone pyramids that were 100 m x 90 m at the base. They were built by carefully assembling stones and plastering them to form a smooth floor before adding the next layer.

105 Norte Chico Each site also had a circular sunken plaza, typically 20 m to 40 m in diameter.

106 Norte Chico Remains from the city of Caral, believed to be the oldest city in the Americas.

107 Norte Chico Brick walls of a Norte Chico pyramid.

108 Norte Chico One of the best archeological sites was the city of Caral (14 miles inland and 120 miles north of Lima). Caral had six pyramids, two plazas, an amphitheater, and ordinary houses. Caral supported a population of about 3,000 people. The living arrangements seem to have been large, well kept rooms atop the pyramids for the elite, ground-level complexes for the craftsmen, and shabbier outlying houses for the workers.

109 Norte Chico

110 Norte Chico These flutes were found inside a mound pyramid in Caral, 450’x 500’ x 60’ high with a 30’ wide staircase. Made of condor and pelican bones, archeologists also found 37 cornets made of deer and llama bones.

111 Norte Chico Archeologists also found a 5,000 year old quipa, (a series of knotted cords, later used by the Inca for accounting purposes).

112 Norte Chico Unlike Egypt or Mesopotamia, the Peruvian civilization did not develop pottery or writing, and few sculptures, carvings, or drawings have been uncovered. Without pottery, food could not be boiled, it could only be roasted. There has not been any art found except for the flutes and some painted gourds (with a “god” figure).

113 Norte Chico Unlike every other early civilization, Norte Chico developed without a staple grain-based food. Conflict and war are the normal impetuses for congregating in cities to have a common defense. But the cities of Norte Chico lacked defensive walls, and there has been no evidence discovered of warfare or human sacrifice (no burned buildings or mutilated corpses).

114 Norte Chico After about 1200 years of a maritime based economy, the inhabitants began to grow corn. They moved north or south, because they needed more arable land. A petroglyph found in the Norte Chico region.

115 Norte Chico Archeologists recently found remains of a plaza/temple complex 229 miles north of Lima (called Sechin Bajo) that date to 5,500 years ago—making them 2,000 years older than Norte Chico.

116 Indus River Valley The fourth known civilization developed in the Indus and Saraswati river valleys. It is believed the Indus peoples arrived from Africa about 40,000 BCE. By 2,500 BCE, the Indus Valley civilization embraced an area larger than Mesopotamia and Egypt combined, or coastal Peru; it occupied an area twice the size of Texas (most of modern Pakistan and northern India).

117 Indus River Valley Unfortunately, less is known about the Indus civilization than others because most of the earliest physical remains are covered by water. The earliest accessible remains date to about 2500 BCE.

118 Indus River Valley The Indus Valley civilization seems to have developed elaborate cities with highly advanced urban technologies. Indus cities were built on square grid patterns that had main roads and 12 evenly measured segments (blocks). The major cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro (more than 250 miles apart) could have had 40,000+ inhabitants.

119 Indus River Valley Besides being laid out in grid patterns (indicating advanced urban planning), each city was surrounded by walls of standard sized kiln-dried bricks. Each city had a fortified citadel, a large granary, and a site for collecting and redistributing taxes (which were paid in grain). There were marketplaces, small temples, and public buildings.

120 Indus River Valley Artists conception of the city of Harappa:

121 Indus River Valley Despite the size of this civilization, common patterns prevailed: standardized weights, measures, architectural styles, even the size of bricks. Houses varied from one room to several rooms, some with internal courtyards. Evidence shows that houses in these cities had indoor plumbing and running water.

122 Indus River Valley Indus Valley cities had impressive sewage and sanitation systems, with pipes under the streets to carry away wastewater. Here is an example of a brick-lined Harappan sewer.

123 Indus River Valley There is evidence that Indus Valley cities traded with cities as far away as Mesopotamia, China and (Myanmar) Burma. From what is now Iran they received gold, silver, copper, and semi-precious stones. With Sumer they traded beads, ivory, and timber for wool, leather, and olive oil. By 2300 BCE Indus Valley ships were anchoring in Sumerian ports. By 2000BCE, they were trading with Arabia and eastern Africa.

124 Indus River Valley Surrounding the cities were advanced agricultural systems that produced wheat, rye, peas, rice, and cotton (the first to grow cotton). Many domesticated animals were also raised, especially cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, and water buffalo. Irrigation systems were designed to help control the rivers.

125 Indus River Valley Unlike its Middle Eastern counterparts, the Indus Valley civilization apparently had no palaces, temples, elaborate graves, kings, or warrior classes (that we know of). There is little evidence of a political hierarchy or centralized state so historians are unable to explain the obvious complexity, coordination, and specialization within Harappa.

126 Indus River Valley It seems to have been a land with-out large scale conflict. There are no depictions of soldiers or warfare in its art; some arrowheads, spears, and daggers have been found but no swords, maces, battle-axes, helmets, shields, or chariots. Some scholars believe that Hindu themes of non-violence and respect for all life trace their origins to this period.

127 Indus River Valley And the culture was literate, but what has been found is shrouded in mystery because historians haven’t been able to decipher Harappan writing.

128 Indus River Valley Thousands of clay seals, copper tablets, and other artifacts with inscriptions using about 400 signs have been found, some dating to 3000 BCE, but the language vanished with its people. No one agrees what the language was; no inscription is longer than 26 characters; no bilingual text like the Rosetta Stone has been found.

129 Indus River Valley Current theories include the civilization was a series of small republics, that it was ruled by priests, or that the people followed an early form of the caste system. How ever their society was organized, the Indus Valley civilization disappeared by about 1,700 BCE and historians don’t know why. Some believe it could have been from invasions (bodies with smashed skulls have been found), others from internal warfare.

130 Indus River Valley The leading theory is that this civilization overextended itself (built too much), exhausted the local environment, which in turn impacted food production. Repeated irrigation increased the amount of salt in the soil, reducing crop yields. The making of mud bricks, dried in ovens, required an enormous amount of wood for fuel, causing large-scale deforestation and soil erosion.

131 Indus River Valley Examples of Indus Valley art.

132 Indus River Valley Many features of this early civilization—ceremonial bathing, yoga positions, ritual burning, bulls and elephants as religious symbols, styles of clothing and jewelry—continued into classical India and persist into the present.

133 Huang he civilization

134 Huang he The earliest civilization of China (c. 2,200 BCE) was also mysterious, but historians know that it was very different from the Indus Valley model. It developed in isolation along the Yellow River (known as the Huang he River), however there is some evidence that there was some contact with India and Mesopotamia.

135 Huang he civilization Chinese legends say their civilization began with their mythic ancestor P’an Ku, who separated Heaven and Earth with one slice of his mighty sword.

136 Huang he civilization The first Chinese civilization, (known as the Longshan culture BCE), seems to have earned to unwind silk from a particular species of moth caterpillar, which they domesticated and learned to spin into silk fiber/cloth.

137 Huang he civilization By 2500 BCE walled settlements and wheel-thrown pottery appeared. Apparently in most years there was enough rainfall for crops to grow without complex irrigation systems, but people dredged the rivers and built canals to control flooding. Sophisticated pottery and jade ornaments have been dated to this period, indicating specialized craftspeople.

138 Huang he civilization Between BCE a northern nomadic people known as the Xia (Chia) (actually thought to be mythical until archeological digs in the 1960’s and 70’s) migrated south into the fertile valleys of the Huang he River. There they settled and grew millet, soybeans, wheat and barley (perhaps from Mesopotamia) and introduced rice (from the south). Hemp (for clothing) and pigs were also raised.

139 Huang he civilization The ideal of a very centralized state began in the Xia dynasty, whose legendary monarch Wu spent 13 years organizing and building flood control projects that “mastered the waters and made them flow into great channels.” Archeologists have found a palace-type structure, a bronze foundry, a pottery workshop, and several “modest” homes dating to the Xia.

140 Huang he civilization

141 Huang he civilization By 2000 BCE, the Xia had mastered horseback riding, were skilled potters, wove silk, and made bronze weapons. The Xia were overthrown by a rebellion and another nomadic group from the north, known as the Shang ( BCE), established China’s first dynasty. The Shang conquered most of the other tribes and established many of the foundations of later Chinese civilization.

142 Huang he civilization

143 Huang he civilization Under the Shang, hereditary kings ruled claiming divine descent, supported by an aristocracy of elites. The Shang king was believed to be an intermediary between the supreme being (Shangdi) and ordinary mortals. No legal codes have been found; kings apparently issued proclamations and decrees.

144 Huang he civilization Shang rulers viewed their kingdom as the center of the universe and they claimed lordship over all humans. The Shang erected lavish tombs for their rulers and buried hundreds of sacrificial victims to accompany them in the afterlife. Peasants, not owning their land, provided services for plots to cultivate, security, and a portion of the harvest.

145 Huang he civilization Shang religious leaders (shamans/priests) often acted as oracles, foretelling the future. Early Chinese writing (ideography) dates to this period as writing on oracle bones was intended to predict the future and to assist Chinese rulers with governance.

146 Huang he civilization The extended family was extremely important because families venerated their ancestors. They believed that the spirits from their ancestors passed to another realm from which they could protect their surviving family members, if the descendants showed the proper respect.

147 Huang he civilization The ethic of family solidarity included a sense of the living and the dead working together. No organized religion or official priesthood existed; the eldest male of each family presided at rituals honoring the ancestors’ spirits. Shang nobles felt they were in constant communication with their ancestors, but they had no personal diety who intervened in human affairs.

148 Huang he civilization The symbols on oracle bones were gradually standardized and formed the basis of China’s written language. By the end of the Shang period, it’s estimated there were over 3000 characters.

149 Huang he civilization By 1000 BCE the Chinese had gone from using bronze to iron. The Chinese had an early interest in astronomy, ideographic writing, art, and music. By the Zhou dynasty (1, BCE), the distinctive Chinese political ideology had further developed…the ruler, now known as the Son of Heaven, continued to act as the intermediary between heaven and earth.

150 Huang he civilization He ruled by the Mandate from Heaven (Tien Ming), so long as he governed with benevolence and maintained social harmony among his people. The Zhou needed to persuade their people that they were the rightful and legitimate rulers, especially since they acquired much territory through conquest. So they invented the Tien Ming (Destiny from Heaven).

151 Huang he civilization The Mandate was given to the rightful ruler on the condition he ruled wisely and fairly and was responsible for the wellbeing of his people. If a ruler became unjust or uninterested in his people, Heaven would remove the Mandate and another family could claim it. In time, this idea applied to everyone not just the rulers, and relationships within the family became the moral basis for Chinese life.

152 Huang he civilization Chinese civilization, more than any other, has experienced cultural continuity from its earliest times into the modern age. Centralized bureaucracies led by powerful leaders, elaborate rituals, advanced technology, and intricate architecture and art have been hallmarks of China’s culture for several thousand years.

153 The Olmec

154 The Olmec More than 1500 years before the Maya and 2000 years before the Aztecs were a little known people called the Olmecs. Their civilization began in the steamy jungles of Mexico’s Gulf coast between BCE.

155 The Olmec

156 The Olmec They built large settlements, established extensive trade routes, developed religious rituals (including ceremonial ball games), and had blood-letting and human sacrifice (including child sacrifice). The Olmec economy was agricultural, based on maize, beans, and squash.

157 The Olmec It developed and grew around well watered alluvial soil, just like the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Indus, and the Huang He peoples. Materials used in Olmec artifacts include obsidian, magnetite, and jade (which suggests long-distance trade since obsidian comes from Guatemala, 250 miles away).

158 The Olmec Olmec cities arose from competing chiefdoms and became ceremonial centers filled with elaborate temples, altars, pyramids, and tombs of rulers.

159 The Olmec New World’s oldest writing: Sixty-two signs incised on a block of serpentine date to the first millennium B.C.E. and are thought to be the earliest writing in the New World. The Cascajal block, was found by road builders in a pile of debris.

160 The Olmec Often regarded as the “mother civilization” of Mesoamerica, the Olmec produced the earliest examples of sophisticated artwork and their style was adopted by later peoples, like the Maya and Aztec. The most famous Olmec artifacts are 17 colossal stone heads, presumed to have been carved between 1200 B.C. and 900 B.C. out of volcanic basalt.

161 The Olmec

162 The Olmec These heads, which range in height from 5 ft. to 11 ft. and weigh as much as 40 tons, are generally thought to be portraits of rulers. Even more amazing is that these heads are up to 80 miles from the nearest stone quarry and this civilization didn’t have pack animals or the wheel. In some cases, the heads were even hoisted up 150 ft to their final position.

163 The Olmec Archeologists are still trying to figure out the Olmec religion, but it seems to be based on a jaguar-god. Rulers were also believed to be relatives of supernatural beings.

164 The Olmec Then around 300 BCE this civilization disappeared (no one knows why). They left behind almost no known written records (the only ones found were discovered by accident in 2006) and the high humidity has caused all human remains to rot away.

165 Legacies It appears that by BCE, most of these early civilizations were in decline, ready to be replaced by other emerging civilizations. For example, the legacy of Mesopotamia and Egypt transferred to regional cultures along the eastern Mediterranean…the most famous being the Phoenicians.

166 Legacies The Phoenicians were famous as merchants and tradesmen whose lasting impact was to create an alphabet of 22 letters (which the Greek and Latin alphabets were based on).

167 Legacies Many “inventions” of the early civilizations are fundamental to human history and didn’t need to be re-invented: the wheel and taming of the horse the creation of writing and early alphabets the creation of key mathematical and astronomical concepts the creation of functional calendars and divisions of time the development of well organized monarchies and bureaucracies the creation of monumental architecture (some of which still exists)

168 Legacies Another lasting legacy seems to be more philosophical …
The “Western tradition” (starting with Mesopotamia) stressed a gap between humans and nature (often represented as gods). The “Eastern tradition” tended to emphasize a “oneness” or harmony with nature.

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