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Chapter 1, Section 2 Mesopotamian Civilization. Mesopotamias Civilization Over thousands of years, some of the early farming villages developed into civilizations.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1, Section 2 Mesopotamian Civilization. Mesopotamias Civilization Over thousands of years, some of the early farming villages developed into civilizations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 1, Section 2 Mesopotamian Civilization

2 Mesopotamias Civilization Over thousands of years, some of the early farming villages developed into civilizations. The first civilizations arose in river valleys: – Good farming conditions – Easier to get from place to place – Easier to trade goods & ideas

3 Mesopotamias Civilization As cities took shape, so did the need for organization. – Someone had to make plans/decisions about common concerns – Formed governments – Leaders took charge of food, supplies & building projects – Made laws to keep order – Assembled armies to fend off enemies

4 Mesopotamias Civilization With fewer worries about meeting their basic needs, people had more time to think about other things. They developed religions & arts, ways of writing and calendars to tell time. Early civilizations had a class structure – People held different places in society depending on what work they did & how much wealth or power they had

5 The Rise of Sumer The earliest know civilization formed in what is now southern Iraq. It was a flat plain between the Tigris & Euphrates River. It was called Mesopotamia.

6 The Rise of Sumer Mesopotamia lay in the eastern part of the fertile crescent. This was a curving strip of land that extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. It had a hot, dry climate. In the spring the rivers flooded leaving rich, fertile soil behind

7 The Rise of Sumer In the spring the rivers flooded leaving rich, fertile soil for farming. The flooding was very unpredictable leaving the farmers to believe they needed their gods to bless their farming efforts. Over time they learned to build dams & channels to control the seasoned floods.

8 The Rise of Sumer They also built walls, waterways & ditches to bring water to their fields (irrigation). Irrigation allowed them to grow plenty of food & support a large population. By 3000 B.C. many cities had formed in southern Mesopotamia in a region known as Sumer.

9 City-States Sumerian cities were isolated from each other by geography. Each Sumerian city & the land around it became a separate city-state. It had its own government & was not part of any larger unit.

10 City-States Sumerian city-states often went to war with one another. They fought to gain glory & to control more territory. Each city surrounded itself with a wall for protection. Stone & wood were scarce so they used river mud as their main building material.

11 City-States They mixed the mud with crushed reeds, formed bricks & left them in the sun to dry. The bricks were waterproof and used for walls in homes, temples & other buildings.

12 Gods & Rulers The Sumerians believed in many gods. Each was thought to have power over a natural force or a human activity. They tried hard to please the gods & would build a grand temple called a ziggurat to the chief god. Ziggurat means mountain of god or hill of heaven

13 Gods & Rulers The ziggurat dominated the city. At the top was a shrine – a special place on the top where only priests & priestesses could enter. The priests & priestesses controlled much of the land.

14 Gods & Rulers Later, kings ran the government, led armies, & organized building projects. The first kings were probably war heroes & their position became hereditary.

15 Life in Sumer Sumerian kings lived in large palaces. Most people in Sumer farmed & lived in mud-brick houses. Some were artisans who made pottery, metal products or cloth. Others worked as merchants or traders.

16 Life in Sumer People in Sumer were divided into 3 social classes. – 1. Upper Class: kings, priests & government officials – 2. Middle Class: artisans, merchants, farmers, fishers – 3. Lower Class: enslaved people who worked on farms or in temples.

17 Life in Sumer The Sumerian left a lasting mark on world history. Their ideas & inventions were improved upon by other people. As a result, Mesopotamia has been called the cradle of civilization.

18 Why Was Writing Important? The Sumerians greatest invention was writing. This is important because it helps people communicate & pass on their ideas to others. They developed writing to keep track of business deals & other events.

19 Why Was Writing Important? Their writing was called cuneiform. It consisted of hundreds of wedge shaped marks cut into damp clay tablets with a sharp- ended reed. Archaeologist have found thousands of these cuneiform tablets.

20 Why Was Writing Important? Usually only boys from wealthy families learned to write. They became known as scribes. Scribes held honored positions in society, often going to become judges & political leaders.

21 Sumerian Literature The Sumerians also produced works of literature. The worlds oldest known story comes from Sumer. It is called the Epic of Gilgamesh. An epic is a long poem that tells the story of a hero.

22 Science & Math Sumerians also invented the wagon wheel to help carry people & goods from place to place. Other inventions included the plow & sailboat. They first used geometry to put up buildings.

23 Science & Math They created a number system based on 60 (60- minute hour, 60-second minute and 360-degree circle). They also recorded the position of the planets & stars and developed a 12- month calendar based on the cycle of the moon.

24 Sargon & Hammurabi Over time, conflicts weakened Sumers city-states. They became vulnerable to attacks by outside groups such as the Akkadians from northern Mesopotamia. The king of the Akkadians was named Sargon. He conquered all of Mesopotamia in 2340 B.C.

25 Sargon & Hammurabi He set up the worlds first empire. Sargons empire lasted for more than 200 years. In the 1800s B.C. a new group of people became powerful in Mesopotamia. They built the city of Babylon on the Euphrates River & it quickly became a center for trade.

26 Sargon & Hammurabi In 1792 B.C., the Babylonian king, Hammurabi began conquering cities to the north & south creating the Babylonian Empire. Hammurabi is best known for his laws or collection of laws. He took what he believed were the best laws from each city-state & put them into one code.

27 Sargon & Hammurabi The code covered crimes, farming and business activities, and marriage & family. Many punishments in the Code of Hammurabi were cruel, his laws mark an important step toward a fair system of justice.


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