Chapter 2: Early River Valley Civilizations, 3500 BC - 450 BC.
Chapter 2: Early River Valley Civilizations, 3500 BC 450 BC. Section 1: City States in Mesopotamia The Fertile Crescent An Arc of land in Southwest Asia that has excellent farmland. The Regions Curved
shape and the richness of its land led to it name = The Fertile Crescent. Mesopotamia The Fertile Plain (Land) between The Tigris & Euphrates Rivers.
City-State A city and its surrounding region that acts as an independent country. Key Characteristics of Sumerian City-States Fiercely independent with their own ruler, military, religion & gods, system of currency, and social traditions. Constant War existed between these city-states.
Dynasty When the power to rule is passed down through a family - usually Father to son (a patriarchal system). Polytheism The belief in MANY GODS. A person who believes in many gods is polytheistic.
Empire A central authority that brings together many previously independent peoples under one government. The first empire of Mesopotamia was established by Sargon of Akkad ~2350 B.C. 3. The three environmental challenges
faced by the Sumerians were: a) Unpredictable flooding caused by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, then a very dry climate b) Few natural defenses (no natural barriers like mountains), the river plains were wide open to invaders or nomads seeking better/richer lands. c) Few natural resources no wood, iron, stone, tin or copper in great supply.
4. How did the Sumerians view the gods? The Sumerians viewed the gods as immortal and all-powerful beings, ready to punish them on a whim (just because they felt like it)! The gods were generally MEAN! Sumerian culture was very warlike and so that violent nature shows in their religious beliefs. Sumerian Religious Beliefs
Sumerians had a pessimistic (negative) view of the gods & the afterlife. This pessimism comes from the unpredictable forces of nature that surrounded them. Ex: unpredictable river flooding, few natural resources, open plain vulnerable to attacks. Polytheistic Religion where the gods viewed human-kind as subjects for their amusement. At any moment the gods may decide to send a plague, fire, flood, or enemy
army to destroy your city. The Afterlife was a unhappy place -the land of no return. To keep the gods happy rich sacrifices were made in Ziggurats of animals, food, and wine. 5. What areas of life did Hammurabis Code cover? Hammurabis code covered all aspects of life
in Mesopotamia from family relationships, to business, to crime. It applied to everyone but treated rich and poor, men and women differently (not equal). It also sought to protect women and children from unfair treatment. 6. How was Sumerian Culture spread throughout Mesopotamia?
Sumerian culture spread throughout Mesopotamia when Sargon of Akkad spread the culture through his conquests and the building of his Empire. SPECIAL NOTE: Culture always spreads in 1 of 3 ways: War, Trade, or Migration.
7. Why is the development of a written code of laws important to a society? a) It made the laws and penalties for breaking those laws clear to all citizens. b) It helped protect individuals from the abuse of government. Important Class Notes on Ch 2 Sec 1:
I. Sumerian Science and Technology First Civilization to use the wheel, the sail, Bronze, and the plow. Arithmetic & Geometry: needed math to build strong walls and survey fields. Invent a number system based on 60 still used today to measure time (60 seconds) and degrees of a circle (3600). Cuneiform tablets record scientific
investigations into astronomy, chemistry, & medicine that were made over 5000 years ago! II. The Tigris & Euphrates Two rivers in Modern day Iraq. They flow from the Taurus Mountains of Modern Day Turkey, through the Fertile Crescent and into the Persian Gulf. The source of silt when they overflow (unpredictably)
Important B/C: Known as the cradle of Civilization. Where the first cities develop due to the Fertile land that surrounds the rivers. III. Environmental Challenges Refers to any difficulties in a peoples environment that caused problems.
Examples: Flooding from rivers Weather / Climate Lack of Natural Resources Hostile neighbors IV. Sumerian Social Structure 1. Kings, Large landholders (nobles), High Priests, Military Generals.
2. Wealthy Merchants & successful business owners. 3. Common laborers and small farmers. 4. Slaves captured prisoners of war & unwanted children sold into slavery by their parents! Babylon The Capital city and cultural center of
Mesopotamia during the Babylonian Empire. Reached great heights under the rule of Hammurabi in 1750 B.C. He created the first Code of Written Laws that became known as Hammurabis Code.
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