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Mesopotamian Civilization

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Presentation on theme: "Mesopotamian Civilization"— Presentation transcript:

1 Mesopotamian Civilization
Chapter 1, Section 2

2 Mesopotamia Means “the land between the rivers”
A land that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers Earliest civilization. Arose in what is now Southern Iraq.



5 Tigris River in Iraq

6 What is a Civilization? Complex societies that have… - cities
- organized governments - art - religion - class divisions - writing system

7 Why were river valleys important?
Good farming conditions Provided fish and freshwater to drink Provided easy transportation routes for trade

8 FARMING IRRIGATION Floods often ruined crops.
Farmers built irrigation systems to control floods. IRRIGATION Farmers built walls, waterways and ditches to bring water to their fields. Helped food growth


10 An ancient irrigation system

11 Modern irrigation


13 Rise of Sumer A region in southern Mesopotamia
Many cities formed there by 3000 B.C. Sumerian cities were isolated from each other because of Geography Each Sumerian city became a separate City-State with its own government.


15 Sumerians at War Sumerian city-states often went to war with each other. Fought for glory and control of territory. To protect their lands, each city-state surrounded itself with a strong brick walls made of river mud and crushed reeds.

16 Sumerian Beliefs Believed in many gods.
Each god had power over natural forces or human activity (flooding, basket weaving) Each city-state built a temple called a ziggurat to honor its chief god. Ziggurat means “mountain of god”

17 Ziggurat

18 Life in Sumer Kings lived in palaces
Ordinary people lived in mud-brick houses. Some people were artisans. Artisans are skilled workers who make metal products, cloth or pottery. Most people farmed and others worked as merchants or traders.

19 Social Classes in Sumer
People were divided into three classes. Rarely could one move up in class.

20 Upper Class Kings Priests Warriors Government Officials

21 Middle Class (the largest class)
Artisans Merchants Farmers Fishers

22 Lower Class Enslaved people who worked on farms or in the temples
Forced to serve others

23 Men and Women in Sumer Men headed the households
Men decided whom their children would marry. Only males could go to school. Women could buy and sell property. Women could run businesses.

24 Sumerians invented writing!
Their writing was called cuneiform. Only a few people learned how to write, mostly boys from wealthy families. These boys became scribes, or record keepers.

25 Sumerian cuneiform tablet

26 Sumerian Literature Oldest known story comes from Sumer
Epic of Gilgamesh An epic is a long poem that tells the story of a hero.

27 Other Inventions Wagon Wheel Plow Sailboat Geometry
Number system based on 60 12 month calendar

28 Sumerian City-States Lose Power
The Akkadians from Northern Mesopotamia launched attacks on Sumerian City-States. Sargon, king of Akkadians, conquered all of Mesopotamia and created the worlds first empire. An empire is group of many different lands under one ruler. Sargon’s empire lasted 200 years.

29 Babylon A new group of people took over Mesopotamia in 1800s B.C. and built the city of Babylon. The Babylonian king was Hammurabi. Hammurabi created the Babylonian empire.

30 Code of Hammurabi Hammurabi is best known for his law code, or collection of laws. The code covered crimes, farming and business activities, and marriage and the family. Hammurabi’s code influenced later law codes, including those of Greece and Rome.

31 Statue of King Hammurabi

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