• Scribe – professional writer
• Fertile Crescent – region in Southwest Asia;
site first civilizations
• City-state – city that is separate independent
• Polytheism – the belief in many gods
• Myth – story or legend that explains people’s
I. The First Cities
A. Independent Cities Form
1. By 3500 B.C., the earliest cities arose
(Sumer) along the Tigris and Euphrates
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
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
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.