Name: _______________________ Date: ______________ Period: _____ Chapter 2.1 Reading Quiz

Name: _______________________
Date: ______________ Period: _____
Chapter 2.1 Reading Quiz
1. Who was Sargon? (Time Period, Location, Key Achievements)
Sargon was the King of Akkad who invaded, conquered, and unified the Sumerian city-states in
2350BCE- creating the first Mesopotamian Empire…spread Sumerian culture
2. Summarize Hammurabi’s Code and its significance
Codification of laws under Hammurabi of the Babylonians…282 specific laws that pertained to
all aspects of daily life, especially commerce. Punishments followed “eye for an eye”
retribution, but did differ according to social classes and gender.
3. What five key characteristics set Sumer apart from earlier human societies
 Advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record-keeping, advanced
Chapter 2.1 City-States in Mesopotamia
Geography of the Fertile Crescent
 Desert climate dominates the landscape between the Persian Gulf and the
Mediterranean Sea in Southwest Asia…arc of arable land= Fertile Crescent
A. Fertile Plains
 Tigris and Euphrates Rivers flow to the Persian Gulf
 Mesopotamia= Greek for “Between the Rivers”
 Receding floods left SILT- fertilizer for wheat and barley…food surplus= rise of cities
B. Environmental Challenges
 People first began to settle and farm in southern Mesopotamia before 4500 BCE
 3500BCE- Sumerians arrived on the scene…mixed with local farmers
 Disadvantages of Fertile Crescent:
o 1. Flooding of the rivers was unpredictable
o 2. Sumer was a small region, only about the size of Massachusetts…no natural
barriers for protection
o 3. The natural resources of Sumer were extremely limited…lacking stone, wood,
and metal
C. Creating Solutions
 For water, dug irrigation ditches
 Defense, build city walls with mud bricks
 Sumerians traded with the peoples of the mountains and desert for the products they
 Needed cooperation and organization of large group of people…needed leaders and
laws…beginning of organized government
Sumerians Create City-States
 Sumerians were one of the first groups in history to form a civilization
 Had 1. Advanced Cities…2. Specialized Workers…3. Complex Institutions…4. Record
Keeping…5. Advanced Technology
 City-States (city and surrounding land it controlled) formed by 3000BCE…functioned
much as an independent country does today
o Examples: Uruk, Kish, Lagash, Umma, Ur, Eridu
 Center of all Sumerian cities was the walled temple with a ziggurat at its center
A. The Power of Priests
 Sumer’s earliest governments were controlled by the temple priests
 Farmers believed they needed the blessing of the gods for success, and priests were the
go-between with the gods
Ziggurat= place of worship and a city hall…priests managed the irrigation system…and
portion of crops needed to be paid as taxes to the priests
Monarchs Take Control
In time of war, tough fighter was chosen to lead the city instead of the priests
After 3000BCE, wars became more frequent…gradually commanders had permanent
control of standing armies
Eventually Dynasties (series of rulers from a single family) developed
The Spread of Cities
Sumer’s city-states grew prosperous from the surplus food produced on their
farms…increase long-distance trade
Sumerians expanded and came into contact with other peoples…cultural diffusion…ex:
living in cities
2500BCE- new cities were arising all over the Fertile Crescent…Sumerians absorbed
ideas, like religious beliefs from neighboring cultures…CULTURAL DIFFUSION
Sumerian Culture
Belief systems, social structure, technology, and arts of the Sumerians reflected their
civilization’s triumph over its harsh environment
A Religion of Many Gods
Sumerians believed many gods controlled the various forces in nature
Polytheism= belief in many gods
Enlil= God of clouds and air…”the raging flood that has no rival”
Lowest of the gods were demons known as Wicked Udugs…caused disease and
Sumerians believed in about 3,000 gods
Had human-like qualities= fell in love, had children, quarreled
Sumerians also believed their gods were immortal and all-powerful
Humans were their servants…to keep the gods happy, the Sumerians built impressive
ziggurats for them and offered rich sacrifices of animals, food, and wine
Sumerians expected little help from gods after death…souls of dead went to “land of no
return”…dismal, gloomy place between the earths’ crust and ancient sea
Epic of Gilgamesh…one of the earliest works of literature in the world…unsuccessful
quest for immortality
Religious beliefs influenced the Hebrews and Greeks
Life in Sumerian Society
With civilization, came stratified societies with social classes
Priests and kings made up the highest level in Sumerian Society…then wealthy
merchants…then farmers and laborers…then slaves
o Slaves could be POW’s or children sold by their parents to pay debts…was a
chance for obedient slaves to earn freedom
Sumerian women could pursue most of the occupations of city life, from merchant to
farmer to artisan…could hold property in their own name…women could also join the
lower ranks of priesthood…little mention of female scribes…Sumerian women had more
rights than women in many later civilizations
Sumerian Science and Technology
Invented the wheel, sail, and the plow…first to use bronze, and first system of writing,
Developed a number system based on 60…seconds and 360 circle
Use of mud bricks and mortar…also arches, columns, ramps, and the step pyramid
shaped Ziggurat
The First Empire Builders
From 3000 to 2000BCE- city-states of Sumer were almost constantly at war with one
another…Succeeding sets of rulers adapted the basic ideas of Sumerian culture to meet
their own needs
Sargon of Akkad
2350BCE- Sargon defeated the city-states of Sumer…from Akkad, north of Sumer
Akkadians were a Semitic (spoke a language related to Arabic and Hebrew)
Sargon’s conquests led to spread of Sumerian culture even farther…beyond the TigrisEuphrates Valley
Sargon created the world’s first empire (brings together several peoples, nations, or
previously independent states under the control of one ruler)
At height- Akkadian Empire extended from the Mediterranean Coast in the west to
present day Iran in the east
o Sargon’s dynasty lasted only about 200 years…then declined due to internal
fighting, invasions, and a severe famine
Babylonian Empire
In about 2000BCE, nomadic warriors, Amorites (Semitic group), invaded
Mesopotamia…overwhelmed the Sumerians and established their capital at Babylon, on
the Euphrates River.
Babylonian Empire reached its peak during the reign of Hammurabi, 1792BCE to 1750
BCE…code of laws he put together
Hammurabi’s Code
Sumerian cities had developed codes of laws…but Hammurabi wanted a single, uniform
code to unify the diverse groups within his empire.
Code of Hammurai: code engraved in stone
282 specific laws dealing with everything affecting the community
o Merchants and traders- made laws related to property issues
It set different punishments for rich and poor and for men and women…retaliation to
punish crimes
Government had a responsibility for what occurred in society
200 years after Hammurabi, Babylonian Empire fell to nomadic warriors