Chapter 3 Olmecs

Trading Peoples
AP World History
Chapter 3 Notes
Trading Peoples
Civilizations of Egypt &
Mesopotamia greatly influenced
neighboring people in the
Fertile Crescent = the
Aramaeans and the
Trading peoples
Traveled by sailing ships & by
Spread languages, customs, and
ideas as they traded around the
Fertile Crescent
The Aramaeans
Settled in central Assyria around 1200 BCE
Capital = Damascus
Gained control over the trade between Egypt and
The Aramaeans
Because their caravans
crisscrossed the Fertile
Crescent nonstop, people
learned their language called
Main language of the region
until the 800s
Closely related to Hebrew and
Many parts of the Bible were
written in this language
The Phoenicians
Canaan = land between ancient Egypt and
Canaan = modern day Israel, Lebanon, and
Phoenicians settled in northern Canaan
The Phoenicians
Sailed the seas for trade
Made strong, fast ships using
timber in cedar forests
Built a string of towns & cities
along their coast
Grew to become city-states
Built confederation (loose
union) of city-states
The Phoenicians
Expert navigators
Plotted voyages using the sun & stars
Took charge of Mediterranean shipping
and trade
The Phoenicians
Created an alphabet =
series of written symbols
that represent sounds
Only 22 characters
Each character
represented different
consonant sound
Basis for our alphabet we
use today
The Phoenicians
To protect & re-supply their ships, the
Phoenicians set up a network of trading
posts and colonies along the coasts of
the Mediterranean
Colony = settlement of emigrants
The Lydians
Lived in Asia Minor
This area famous for its gold deposits
First group to develop a monetary
system with set prices using coins
Everybody else still bartering =
exchanging goods
Soon the concept of money traveled to
other societies
The Olmec Civilization
AP World History
Chapter 3 Notes
Meso = means
Refers to any
cultures that lived
in present-day
Mexico & Central
Olmec Civilization
One of the earliest Mesoamerican
Located near Gulf of Mexico
Knowledge of them comes from
excavations of 2 main sites = San
Lorenzo and La Venta  both
discovered in the 1930s
Olmec Civilization
Olmec = known for gigantic stone heads
carved from basalt (volcanic rock)
Some more than 9 feet tall
Some weighed as much as 40 tons
Heads of rulers
Built without wheels or “beasts of burden”
 Olmec moved these heads about 60
miles from the mountains to the sites where
they were found
Think about the giant head from Legends
of the Hidden Temple! His name was
Olmec Civilization
Religion played an
important role in the
lives of the Olmec
Many carvings found of
the main Olmec god = a
being with a human body
and the catlike face of a
Olmec believed the
jaguar god controlled the
Olmec Civilization
Early Olmec farmers used slash-andburn farming = farmers cut down
trees to clear land & burned
whatever was left
Planted maize and other crops among
fertile ashes
Problem = soil became exhausted after
about 2 years
Farmers then shifted fields & repeated
the cycle
Olmec often traded with other
Mesoamerican civilizations
Olmec artifacts found in other regions
Olmec ideas show up with later
civilizations, such as:
Religious ceremonies
Sacrificial rituals
Game of pok-a-tok
Olmec Civilization as the “Mother
Civilization” in Mesoamerica
Because of the influence that the
Olmec civilization had on future
civilizations within Mesoamerica, it is
often referred to as the “Mother
Civilization” in Mesoamerica
A ritual ball game = rubber balls were
batted back and forth across a walled
Symbolized the back & forth struggle
between this world and the next
Olmec Religion
Olmec rulers = BOTH political leaders
AND spiritual leaders
Performed rituals and ceremonies to satisfy
the gods
Temples and pyramids built where thousands
could gather for special religious ceremonies
and festivals
Religious Rituals of the Olmec
Sacrifice of humans, animals, and
valuable objects
Tools used:
Sharks’ teeth
Rope with
Jade “spears”
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