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Beginnings of Civilization

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Presentation on theme: "Beginnings of Civilization"— Presentation transcript:

1 Beginnings of Civilization

2 Bell Ringer What is a Civilization?


4 -Historians distinguish eight basic features found in most early civilizations:
cities well-organized central governments complex religions job specialization social classes art and architecture public works writing

5 4River Valley Civilizations
The world's first great civilizations developed in or around river valleys.  The four great river valley civilizations were the Nile River Valley, the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley, the Huang-He River Valley, and the Indus River Valley.

6 Fertile Cresent The earliest civilizations that arose in the world developed in the late fourth and the third millennia BC in parts of Asia and north Africa. The three large alluvial systems of the Tigris-Euphrates, the Nile and the Indus supported three great ancient civilizations.

7 Rise of Cities -The first cities emerged after farmers began cultivating fertile lands along river valleys and producing surplus, or extra, food. -These surpluses helped populations to expand, and soon enough, villages swelled into cities.

8 Rise of Cities -Conditions favored farming for early cities along the Nile River in Egypt, in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the Middle East, along the Indus River in India, and near the Yellow River in China. -On one hand, rivers provided a water supply and a means of transportation. On another hand, the rivers flooded, causing destruction and death.


10 Crossroads of Human History
Historically, if you wanted to travel anywhere in the world (the known world), you probably had to go through the Middle East. Because of this, the Middle East benefited from new ideas being brought in by people from all over the world.

11 Organized Governments
-To produce large amounts of food and oversee irrigation projects, new forms of government arose in the cities. -Warrior kings soon emerged as the chief political leaders, claiming that their right to rule came from the gods. -Government became more complex as rulers issued laws, collected taxes, and organized systems of defense. Over time, bureaucracies evolved. A bureaucracy is a system of managing government through departments run by appointed officials.

12 Complex Religions -Most ancient people were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many gods. People appealed to sun gods, river goddesses, and other spirits that they believed controlled natural forces. -Priests and worshippers performed rituals such as ceremonies, dances, prayers, and hymns to gain the favor of the gods. -People built temples and sacrificed animals, crops, and sometimes humans to the gods.

13 Job Specialization & Social Classes
-For the first time in history, individuals began to specialize in certain jobs. Artisans, or skilled craftworkers, made tools and weapons out of copper and bronze, bricklayers built city walls, soldiers defended them, and merchants sold goods -People were ranked in society according to their jobs. Priests and nobles were usually at the top of ancient society, while slaves occupied the lowest social level.


15 Arts, Architecture, and Public Works
-Temples and palaces with massive statues and beautifully decorated walls dominated cities, serving as symbols of their strength and power. -Tombs were filled with furniture and jewelry. -Projects such as roads, bridges, and city walls were built to benefit the city.


17 Writing -The need to keep records led to the development of the are of writing in early civilizations. -Early writing was made up of pictograms, or simple drawings or symbols used to represent words. -As writing grew more complex, only specialized people called scribes learned to read and write.

18 Spread of Civilization
-As ancient rulers gained more power, they conquered territories beyond their cities. This expansion led to the rise of the city-state, a political unit that included a city and its surrounding land and villages. -Rival leaders often battled for power. Sometimes rulers conquered many cities and villages, creating an empire, or a group of states of territories controlled by one ruler. -Occasionally throughout early history, there were encounters between nomads and city dwellers. At times, the two groups cooperated with each other. At other times, they have been in conflict.


20 Civilizations and Change
-Ancient civilizations changed in many ways over the centuries. -Occasionally, the cause of these changes was the changing environment. For example, sudden, drastic events, such as a volcano, may have wiped out a civilization. If the land’s soil became exhausted, cities would suffer famine.

21 Civilizations and Change
-An even more important source of change was cultural diffusion, the spread of ideas, customs, and technologies from one people to another. This occurred through migration, trade, and warfare.

22 Civilization Geographical Factors Accomplishments Miscellaneous Nile River Valley The Nile River provided predictable floods and a stable food source Hieroglyphics Rigid class structure with the pharaoh at the top followed by priests, artisans, farmers. and slaves (present-day Egypt) The River flows northward and empties into the Mediterranean but the winds blow south Wrote on sheets of dried papyrus plant Polytheistic religion - believed in life after death This enabled river travelers to move north or south along the river, which promoted trade and unity in Ancient Egypt Used geometry to survey fields and build canals as well as pyramids as tombs for the pharaoh Deserts and seas surround the valley and offered some protection from invasion Knew astronomy and produced a calendar of 365 days Tigris-Euphrates River Valley The floods provided fertile soil and a stable food supply Developed a system of writing called Cuneiform, which were wedge-shaped characters pressed into a clay tablet Practiced polytheism (present-day Iraq) The floods of the Tigris-Euphrates rivers were unpredictable and as a result the Sumerians believed that their gods were angry gods Built ziggurats and arches with sun-dried clay bricks Had no conception of a heaven or salvation for the deceased The valley was surrounded by deserts & hills but they were relatively easy to cross and so the peoples of this region were constantly conquered and re-conquered Developed the wheel and algebra Hammurabi's Code was constructed by the Babylonians and was an early form of written laws (an eye for an eye) Yellow River Valley Flooding of the Yellow River provided fertile, yellow soil and a stable food supply Developed a 360-day calendar based on the moon (priests added days when needed) Dynastic cycle and Mandate of Heaven (present-day China) The Chinese were surrounded by mountains and the Gobi desert and as a result were very isolated from other civilizations and cultures Predicted eclipses and kept a written history As a result of this isolation the Chinese developed an ethnocentric mode of thinking Early written language consisted of pictograms Indus River Valley The Indus River and monsoons provided a food supply Developed a written language of pictograms Practiced animism before Hinduism and Buddhism take hold (present-day India) Monsoons were unpredictable and led to famine or floods and destruction Constructed a water system, public baths, hospitals The Aryans conquer the valley Valley is bordered by the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush to the north, however the Khyber pass allowed for entry into the region and invasion They bring the Vedic religion and the beginnings of the caste system

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