Vocabulary • Scribe – professional writer • Fertile Crescent – region in Southwest Asia; site first civilizations • City-state – city that is separate independent state • Polytheism – the belief in many gods • Myth – story or legend that explains people’s beliefs I. The First Cities A. Independent Cities Form 1. By 3500 B.C., the earliest cities arose (Sumer) along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. 2. Cities had a common culture and language. 3. Politically independent – different rulers 4. Each Sumerian city was a separate state 1. Own god or goddess 2. Own government 3. Own king B. Life in Sumer 1. In market places – merchants displayed goods a. There were musicians, acrobats, beggars, and water sellers. b. Scribes wrote letters for a fee. 2. Homes a. faced away from crowded streets b. had an inner courtyard where children played and families ate c. People slept outdoors on their flat roofs due to heat. d. Oil lamps for light II. Sumerian Religion A. Sumerian Temples 1. Ziggurats were pyramids with terraces, ramps, and stairs. 2. Some were 7 stories high, and on the top was a shrine. 3. The belief was gods descended to earth using the stairs of the ziggurat. 4. Religious, social, and economic activities took place in and around the ziggurats. B. Religious Beliefs 1. Polytheism – worshipped many gods 2. Myths warned that gods would punish people for wrong doing or reward them for serving the god well. 3. Priests washed the statue of the gods before and after each meal. 4. Food was laid before the statues and eaten by priests, hoping they would take in the qualities of the god. C. Fall of Sumer 1. Sumerian city-states fought over land and use of river water.l 2. 2300 B.C.- Sumer was conquered by the Akkadian army and their ruler King Sargon 3. King Sargon united all the city-states. 1. Improved government and military 2. Remained united for 100 years and became city-states again 3. Fell to Babylonia in 1700 B.C.