Geography Mesopotamia: In the Fertile Crescent. Yearly floods of Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Egypt: On the banks of the Nile River. Yearly – predictable – floods created fertile soil. Indus Valley: Fertile plain between Indus and Ganges Rivers. Yearly floods leave fertile soil – but have to deal with monsoons. China: Plain between Huang He and Yangtze Rivers. Huang He floods deposits loess.
Record Keeping Mesopotamia: Developed Cuneiform. Tablets show maps, scientific investigations, medicine and a number system. Egypt: Hieroglyphics developed, wrote on stone tablets, temple walls and papyrus
Indus Valley: use of seal to mark items, Had a written language – not able to decipher. China: Earliest writing from oracle bones. Pictographs developed (can read without speaking). Number characters.
Complex Institutions Mesopotamia: GOVERNMENT: City-state, Hammurabi’s Code, dynastic rule. Priests rulers but eventually military leaders take over power. RELIGION: Polytheistic people servants to the gods, gods like humans but immortal. After death go to “land of no return” – gloomy. Sacrifices to gods. Egypt: GOVERNMENT: Menes king that united Upper and Lower Egypt. Pharaohs ruled – considered a god. RELIGION: Theocracy – pharaoh responsible for kingdom’s well-being – rules even after death. Polytheistic (2,000 gods), built temples to honor them. Belief in afterlife – possible to live in beautiful Other World.
Indus Valley: GOVERNMENT: Not much is known about it. Organization of city-planning suggests a strong central government in place. RELIGION: Polytheistic, evidence shows links to modern Hindu culture. China: GOVERNMENT: Dynastic Rule, Mandate of Heaven – ruler has divine right to rule. Feudalism – nobility granted land from king has servants work land and pays king with military service and crops. RELIGION: Spirits of ancestors had power to bring good or bad fortune to family. Pay respect to father’s ancestors. Polytheistic.
Specialized Workers Mesopotamia: priests, military leaders, government workers, judges, merchants (trade), artisans, farmers, slaves Egypt: Royalty, landownerd, government officials, priests, army commanders, merchants, artisans, farmers, slaves Indus Valley: artisans, military, merchants, farmers – not much known China: artisans (bronze, weapons, jewelry, silk cloth), royalty, civil servants, military, farmers
Advanced Technology Mesopotamia: irrigation, wheel, sail, plow, use of bronze, writing, some medicine, geometry, columns, arches, ramps Egypt: Papyrus (paper), hieroglyphics, numbers and geometry, stone columns, calendar, practical medicine (checking heart rate, splints), Pyramid building
Advanced Cities Mesopotamia: Cities grew prosperous from farming and used surplus to increase long- distance trade. New cities grew and culture spread Egypt: Cities grew along Nile with trade, protected by deserts around them. Large cites and tombs built up and down Nile.
Indus Valley: streets laid out on grid system. Had plumbing and sewage system. Urban housing shows social division not great. More than 100 cities along the Indus River. China: large cities connected with roads and canals – trade flourished; all built within China’s heartland. Leader in center of city. Upper class timber framed houses with walls of clay and straw inside city walls.