Section 1-2 Notes
Mesopotamian Civilization
Mesopotamian’s Civilization
A. Civilizations are complex societies with cities,
governments, art, religion, class divisions, and
a writing system.
B. Rivers were important b/c they made for good
farming conditions. They also made it easy for
people to travel and trade.
C. Governments were formed b/c someone had
to make plans& decisions for the common
D. Mesopotamia is a flat plain bounded by the
Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
E. Floods in Mesopotamia were frequent &
unpredictable. Farmers learned to control the
rivers with dams and channels. Rivers were
used to irrigate (to water) their crops.
F. Many cities formed in a southern region of
Mesopotamia known as Sumer.
G. Sumerian cities were city-states, w/their own
governments. Sumerian cities often fought
each other. City-states built walls around
themselves for protection.
H. Sumerians believed in many gods. Each citystate had a ziggurat, or grand temple, to
honor the gods.
I. Most Sumerians were farmers, but some were
artisans (skilled workers). Others were
merchants & traders.
J. Sumerian city-states had 3 classes.
Upper Class- kings, priests, & government
Middle Class- artisans, merchants, fishers, &
Lower Class- slaves
A Skilled People
A. Mesopotamia has been called the cradle of
civilization b/c of the influence of Sumerian
ideas on other areas
B. Sumerians developed a writing system called
cuneiform. Writing helps people keep
records & pass on ideas. Only a few people,
called scribes, learned to write.
C. Epic of Gilgamesh- the oldest known story
was produced by the Sumerians.
D. New technology invented by Sumerianswagon wheel, the sailboat, and the plow.
E. Sumerian developed mathematical ideasgeometry, a number system based on 60, & a
12 month calendar.
III. Sargon & Hammurabi
A. Sargon, the king of the Akkadians, conquered
all of Mesopotamia & set up the world’s 1st
empire. An empire is a group of many
different lands under one ruler.
B. After Sargon, another group of people became
powerful. They built the city of Babylon on
the Euphrates River.
C. The Babylonian king, Hammurabi, conquered
lands north and south of Babylon to create the
Babylonian Empire.
D. Code of Hammurabi was a collection of laws
covering crimes, farming, business activities, &
marriage and family. Many punishments in
the code were cruel, but the code was an
important step in the development of a justice