First Civilizations: Africa and Asia Chapter 2

Chapter 2
Africa and Asia
Tristan Akong
Section 1:
Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile
• The desert in Egypt protected them from invasion.
• The narrow band of land located along the Nile were dotted with
farming villages. Farmers took advantage of the fertile soil of the
Nile Valley to grow wheat and flax, a plant whose fibers were
used for clothing
• Yearly floods were waited upon desperately by the villages of the
Nile Valley. It soaked the land with life giving water and
deposited a layer of rich soil called silt.
• Upper Egypt in the South and lower Egypt in the north. Upper
Egypt stretched from the first waterfall of the Nile to within 100
miles of the Mediterranean. Lower Egypt covered the delta
region where the Nile empties into the Mediterranean. Menes the
king of the Upper Egypt united the two region using the Nile as a
highway linking the North and South. The Nile helped make
Egypt the First Unified State
Old Kingdom
• Egypt was divided into three main periods; Old Kingdom, Middle
Kingdom, and New Kingdom. (from about 2700 b.c.- 1100 b.c.)
• In the Old kingdom, Egyptian rulers called Pharaohs organized a
strong, centralized state. Egyptians believed the pharaoh was a
God. Therefore pharaohs had absolute power, owning and ruling
all the land in the kingdom.
• In the Old Kingdom Great Pyramids were built as tombs for
eternity, because Egyptians believed in an afterlife the bodies
were preserved of their dead rulers and provided them with
everything they would need in their new lives.
• Building Pyramids took so long that often a Pharaoh would being
to build his tomb as soon as he inherited the throne.
Middle Kingdom
• The Middle Kingdom was a turbulent
• The Nile did not rise as regularly as it did
• Corruption and rebellions were common
• Irrigation was weak
• Invaders (Hyksos) took over the delta region
with their horse drawn chariots.
• But finally after more than 100 years new
Egyptian leaders arose and drove out the
Hyksos and set up the New Kingdom
New Kingdom
• Powerful and Ambitious Pharaohs created a
large empire. Stretching to the Euphrates River
it connected contact with western Asia as well
as Africa.
• Monarch Hatshepsut was the first female ruler
known to History she encouraged trade.
• But the most powerful pharaoh of the New
Kingdom was Ramses II. He pushed Egyptian
Rule Northward to Syria.
• After Ramses II died Egyptian rule declined
letting in Invaders such as the Assyrians and
Section 2:
Egyptian Civilization
• Egyptian Religion was very important in Egyptian
civilization. Chief Gods and Goddesses control the
everyday life of the Egyptian civilization.
• Gods like Amon-Re (sun god) and Osiris (ruler of the
underworld) and Isis.
• Egyptians believed the soul had to pass a test in order
to win eternal life. That test was determined upon by
Osiris and Isis.
• Book of the Dead was relied upon by the Egyptians;
which contains spells, charms and formulas for the
dead to use in the afterlife.
• To give the soul use of the body in the afterlife,
Egyptians preserved the body in strips of linen. This
process is known as mummification.
Egyptian Society
• Egypt had its own class system. At the top was the
one and only pharaoh under him was high priest and
priestesses, who served the gods and goddesses. Next
came the Nobles who fought for the pharaoh.
• Majority of Egyptians were farmers. Many were slaves
who served the pharaoh and built temples, palaces
and tombs for him.
• Women of Egypt raised children and prepared food.
But under Egyptian law women could inherit
property, enter business deals, buy and sell goods and
work was not only confined to the home. But women
were excluded from becoming scribes or holding other
government jobs
Written Records
• Hieroglyphics a form of picture
writing were used to keep
important records.
• Ideograms, pictures that
symbolized an idea or action.
• Paper like writing material was
formed from papyrus. (Paper
was not invented until 100 A.D.
in China).
• Jean Champollion, French
scholar deciphered the Rosetta
Stone which unraveled the
mysterious writings on Egypt’s
great monuments. Champollion
was then able to decode many
hieroglyphic symbols. Which
helped historians read the
thousands of surviving records
from ancient Egypt.
Art and Literature
• Art of ancient Egypt included statues,
paintings in tombs, and carvings on temples.
• Oldest Literature of Egypt includes hymns
and prayers to the gods, proverbs and lovepoems. Others tell of famous wars and royal
Section 3:
City-States of Ancient Sumer
• Mesopotamia (between the rivers) was uncovered
between the two rivers the Euphrates River and Tigris
River. Floods washed away topsoil and destroyed
mud-brick villages.
• The First Sumerian Cities were emerged in
• Sumerian Civilization: hierarchy, or system of ranks
formed the society of the Sumerian civilization.
Highest class included the ruling family, leading
officials, and high priest. Small class was made up of
lesser priest and scribes. The middle class included
merchants and artisans. Then came peasants and
farmers who tended the land of the ruling family.
Sumerian Culture
• Sumerians were polytheistic, worshiping many gods.
These gods were thought to control every aspect of life
and forces of nature.
• To Sumerians, their highest duty was to keep these
divine beings happy and thereby ensure the safety of
their city state. Each city built a Ziggurat, a pyramid
temple that soared toward the heavens.
• Advances in Learning: Sumerian invented what may be
the earliest known form of writing. Called cuneiform
(kyoo Nee uh form), from the Latin word cuneus for
“wedge”, because it involved using a reed pen to make
wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets. Cuneiform
originated from pictographs. They based their number
system on six, dividing the hour into 60 minutes and a
circle into 360 degrees like we do still do today
Section 4:
Invaders, Traders, and Empire Builders
• Sargon invaded and conquered the city-state of Sumer
and built the first empire known to History. Which fell
after his death.
• Hammurabi, king of Babylon, established a
remarkable set of laws known as the Code of
Hammurabi; which let his empire know the legal
principles his government would follow. Hammurabi’s
Code was the first important attempt by a ruler to
codify (set down in writing) all of the laws that would
govern his state
• Under Hammurabi’s Code, criminal law was
controlled by setting up specific punishments for
specific offenses.
• Although his Code paved way for major reform
Hammurabi improved irrigation, organized a welltrained army, and had temples repaired.
Warfare and the Spread of Ideas
• The Hittites pushed out of Asia Minor into Mesopotamia, they had
learned to extract iron from ore. Heating iron ore and pounded out
impurities before plunging into cold water.
• The tools and weapons they created from iron were harder and had
sharper edges than those made out of bronze or copper. Hittites
tried to keep this technology a secret. When the empire collapsed
Hittite ironsmiths migrated west to serve customers elsewhere.
Therefore spreading the new knowledge across Asia, Africa and
Europe, ushering into the Iron Age.
• Assyrians who lived on the upper Tigris, learned to forge iron
weapons. For 500 years, they earned a reputation for being among
the most feared warriors in history
Persian Empire
• Babylon fell to the Persian armies of Cyrus the Great. Cyrus went on to
conquer the largest army seen.
• But unification of this empire is credited to Persian emperor Darius.
Darius set up a government that became model to later rulers, divided
the Persian empire into provinces headed by a governor. Built roadways
which made communication easier and to encourage unity.
• Darius encouraged the use of coins which the Lydian's of Asia Minor had
first introduced, but the barter economy was still used by many.
(Exchanging one set of goods or services for another)
Phoenician Sea Trader
• Phoenicians gained fame as sailors and
traders. They occupied cities along the eastern
Mediterranean coast.
• Phoenicians became best known for
manufacturing and trade.
• Historians called the Phoenicians “carriers of
civilization” because they spread Middle
Eastern civilization around the
Mediterranean. The Phoenicians brought
about the alphabet, which contains letters
that represent a sound.
Section 5
Roots of Judaism
• The Israelites had set up a kingdom called
Israel. Solomon, King David’s son split the
kingdom having Israel in the north and Judah
in the South.
• Israelites could not fight off invasion and fell to
the Assyrians. Babylonian armies capture
Judah and forced many Israelites into exile in
Babylon. During this period, called Babylonian
Captivity, the Israelites became known as the
Covenant with God
• Unlike the Sumerians the Israelites were
monotheistic (belief in one true God)
• Israelites believed that God has made a
covenant with Abraham. To lead the
Israelites out of bondage and into the
“Promised Land” of Canaan. So thus, the
Jews saw themselves as God’s “chosen
Teaching of Law and Morality
• Israelite society was patriarchal, that is, fathers and
husbands held great legal and moral authority.
Fathers arranged marriages for his daughters.
• Women had few legal rights, although some laws
protected them.
• The heart of Judaism are the Ten Commandments, a
set of laws that Jews believe God gave them through
• In Jewish history, spiritual leaders emerged to
interpret God’s will known as Prophets, such as
Isaiah and Jeremiah. These Prophets warned that
failure to obey God’s law would lead their people to
disaster and a code of ethics or moral standards of
• Judaism is considered a major world religion for its
unique contribution to religious though
Chapter Review
• Pyramids suggest the strength of
ancient Egyptian civilization
• Power struggles, crop failures,
and the cost of pyramids
contributed to the collapse of the
Old Kingdom.
• The Egyptians and Hittites signed
a peace treaty, the first such
document known to have survived
in history. Declared that “there
shall be at peace and in
brotherhood forever”.
• Inscriptions on monuments and
wall paintings in tombs reveal
how Egyptians appealed to the
divine forces that they believed
ruled this world and the afterlife.
• By means of the various peoples who
conquered the Middle East,
Sumerian Knowledge passed on to
the Greeks and Romans. They, in
turn, had a powerful impact on the
development of the western world.
• The Middle East remained a region
where diverse peoples came into
close contact. Though these people
lived thousands of years ago, some of
their beliefs and ideas survived to
shape our modern world.
• The Israelites came to believe that
God was taking a hand in their lives.
As a result, they recorded events and
laws in the Torah, their most sacred
• Today, Jews, Christians and other
Muslims all honor the prophets and
all their teachings. In the west, this
shared heritage of Jews and
Christians is known as the JudeoChristian tradition
The Code of Hammurabi and the Twelve Tables were designed to
(1.) create a stable society
(2.) promote peaceful relation with other cultures
(3.) provide a framework for the development of democracy
(4.) Emphasize the importance of life after death
Which heading best completes this partial outline?
A. Natural boundaries of desert, mountains, and the sea
B. Yearly flooding to enrich farmlands
C. Old and Middle Kingdoms
D. Production of papyrus plant
(1.) Egypt- Gift of the Nile
(2.) Mesopotamia- Land Between the Rivers
(3.) China’s Sorrow- Huang He River
(4.) Harappa- City on the Indus
Hammurabi’s code of laws and Qin dynasty legalism are similar in that both promoted the idea that
(1) worship of leaders will maintain the power of an empire
(2) an informed citizenry will help maintain peace and prosperity
(3) equality of the people is the most important goal of government
(4) harsh punishments for crimes will lead to a more orderly society
The Code of Hammurabi was a major contribution to the development of civilization because it
(1) treated citizens and slaves equally
(2) ended all physical punishment
(3) recorded existing laws for all to see
(4) rejected the principle of filial piety
Which geographic feature had the greatest influence on the development of ancient civilization
(1) dense forest
(3) smooth coastlines
(2) mountain passes
(4) river valleys
January 2003
January 2005
August 2003
June 2004
August 2004