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Chapter Two: Mesopotamia

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1 Chapter Two: Mesopotamia

2 Journal Entry for 8/24/2010 Explain some of the reasons why the early civilizations grew near rivers.

3 A. “The Fertile Crescent”
I. Geography A. “The Fertile Crescent” 1. Mesopotamia: the land between the rivers 2. Tigris and Euphrates Rivers 3. Persian Gulf 4. The swampy/fertile land attracted nomadic people B. Problems: -Unpredictable weather --No natural barriers ---Materials were scarce


5 II. The Sumerians A. People of Sumer 1. One of the 1st civilizations
2. Nomadic people settled in area (5000BC) 3. Developed cities a. Place of worship b. Grew into commercial and govt. centers


7 B. City Life: 1. Specialized workers:
a. Abundant food supply allowed for people to specialize in different jobs b. Artisans: skilled workers to make goods by hand c. Scribes: professional record keepers

8 2. System of writing a. Needed for record keeping (taxes/trade) b. Began as pictographs and evolved into wedge-shaped characters known as cuneiform c. History starts with the Sumerians d. Epic of Gilgamesh e. Need for schools




12 3. Religion a. Polytheism: worship of many gods/goddesses
b. gods had superhuman qualities and ruled over humans c. Ziggurats 1. stepped pyramids 2. worship of gods d. gods caused floods, etc. (negative view) e. Epic of Gilgamesh -epic story of the hero Gilgamesh


14 4. Science and Technology
a. Monument building b. Wheel and brick 1. greater speed of trade 2. military uses (roads/city walls) c. Irrigation system 1. increased agricultural production 2. population boost d. Bronze working e. Developed the first calendar


16 III. Empire Builders A. Akkadians (2350 B.C.) 1. King Sargon of Akkad
2. Conquered city states of Sumer, unified Mesopotamia, and created the 1st known civilization 3. Short lived empire (large area in which several people and nations are under the control of one ruler) that stretched to the Mediterranean Sea 4. Spread Sumerian culture/achievements



19 B. The Babylonians 1. In 2000 B.C., nomadic warriors that settled in Babylon 2. Hammurabi (1795 BCE) a. 1st King of Babylon (Babylonian Empire) b. Conquered and officially ended the Sumerian Empire c. Best known for his code of laws known as the Code of Hammurabi. 1. written on a stele or stone slabs 2. placed in public places 3. Harsh penalties 4. “Innocent until proven guilty” idea



22 C. Hittites a. eastern Mediterranean Empire b. Known for use of chariot and iron weapons in war c. Sacked Babylon and brought an end Babylonian rule (1595 BCE)


24 Hittite Chariot

25 D. Assyrians 1. People of Northern Mesopotamia Empire 2. Subjugated (enslaved) peoples of the region 3. Gained independence and built empire with forced deportations of conquered peoples ( BC) 4. Overthrown by Babylonians


27 Assyrian Military

28 Nebuchadnezzar “The Great Conqueror”
1. Restored Babylonian rule (created the last Babylonian Empire) 2. Rebuilt canals, temples, etc. 3. Best known for his Hanging Gardens of Babylon (7 wonders of the world) 4. In 539 BC, the Babylonians fell to the Persians

29 Hanging Gardens of Babylon

30 IV. Decline of Mesopotamia
1. Multiple invasions and occupations 2. Persian indifference --didn’t care about old customs, etc. 3. Environmental problems

31 V. Indus River Civilization
A. Geography

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