Mesopotamia

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Copyright © Clara Kim 2007. All rights reserved.
Why River Valleys?
• 1. Offered rich soils for
agriculture
• 2. Tended to be located in
places that could offer
protection from nomadic
invaders
The Fertile Crescent
• Arc of land
between the
Persian Gulf
and the
Mediterranean
Sea in
Southwest Asia
One land…Two Rivers
• Mesopotamia means =
“land between the rivers”
– Tigris River and
Euphrates River
• Both rivers flooded once
a year and left thick bed
of silt.
– Silt: rich, new soil
farmers could plant
and harvest enormous
quantities of wheat
and barley
Question:
• In your notebook
answer the
following
– Compare and
Contrast the
geography of
Ancient Egypt and
Ancient
Mesopotamia.
• You can create a
chart that looks like
this:
Geography of
Egypt
Geography of
Mesopotamia
Political
Power of the Priests
• Sumer’s earliest
governments were
controlled by temple priests
– Farmers believed they
needed blessings for
success of their crops
– Priests were the middle
man for the Gods
– Priests demanded portion
of farmer crops as tax
Political
• Later followed
Hereditary rulers:
when the power is
passed down to
family members
Sargon
Question
• In your notebook answer the following:
– How is this similar to the government of
Ancient Egypt?
– What is Hereditary rule? What are the
advantages and/or disadvantages of
hereditary rule?
Economy
• Metal tools and weapons
(bronze, iron)
• Increasing agricultural
surplus (better tools, plows,
irrigation)
• Increasing trade along
rivers – traded with Egypt
• Development of the world’s
first cities
• Specialization of labor
Religion
• Polytheistic: Belief in
Many Gods (3,000!!!)
• Gods could be angered
at any moment and to
keep them happy
Sumerians:
– Built impressive
ziggurats or temples to
sacrifice food, wine and
animals
– Souls of the dead
wandered in the land of
no return
Activity:
• Create an illustration showing the
similarities and differences between the
religious beliefs of Ancient Egypt and
Mesopotamia.
MORE
ZIGGURATS!!!
Sumerian Society
Kings and Priests
Wealthy merchants
Ordinary Sumerian people
Slaves
Women
• Could hold property
• Join lower ranks of
priesthood
• There were few women
scribes
– Scholars think that girls
were not allowed to
attend schools
Intellectual
Epic of Gilgamesh
• Myths and
legends recorded
in this long poem
• One of the
earliest works of
literature in the
world
“Gilgamesh, whither
are you wandering?
Life, which you look
for, you will never
find.
For when the gods
created man, they
let
Death be his share,
and withheld life
In their own hands”
Achievements
Science and
Technology
• Invented the wheel,
the sail, the plow
• First to use bronze.
• Developed system of
writing
• Built irrigation
systems, buildings,
surveyed flooded
fields.
Pictures Cited
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Slide 1 - http://www.mayfairgames.com/mfg-shop/phalanx/pics/pha6016-cl.jpg
Slide 3 - http://www.hawaii.edu/ahead/Iraq%20General/mesopotamia.jpg
Slide 4 – http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~patters/culinary/media/fertilec.jpg
Slide 5 – http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en-commons/thumb/a/a5/288px-Tigr-euph.png
Slide 6 – http://individual.utoronto.ca/CLA160Y/Images/TellAsmarFig.jpg
Slide 7 – http://www.mysteriousworld.com/Content/Images/Journal/2003/Autumn/Osiria/Sargon180.gif
Slide 8 – http://www.cetis.ac.uk/members/accessibility/meetings/2006/sig14/sig14images/ah5jpg
Slide 9 – http://questgarden.com/52/41/5/070613164641/images/ziggurat1.gif
Slide 10 – http://www.meridianmagazine.com/ideas/images/ur3.jpg,
http://todoweb2002.iespana.es/ceramica/mesopotamia/ziggurat.jpg
Slide 11 – Made by Clara Kim
Slide 12 – http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/m/images/mesopot_sumer_asmarfigs_lg.jpg
Slide 13 – http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/images/epic-of-gilgamesh.jpg
Slide 14 – www.archaeology.org
Slide 15 –http://siteresources.worldbank.org/NEWS/Images/071506-Mtwango-Irrigation.JPG
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