Chapter 2.1 Civilization Begins in Mesopotamia - worldhistory-west

Laura Boehmer
What role did geography play in the development of Mesopotamian
Over the years in Mesopotamia, layers of silt enriched the soil. When the
Tigris River and the Euphrates River overflowed, the flooding was unpredictable for
Mesopotamians. People in the valleys could not tell exactly when the floods would
come or how much water would flood Mesopotamia. By then, people in ancient
Mesopotamia learned to control the flow of the rivers. By using irrigation and
drainage ditches, farmers were able to grow crops regularly. With lots of food, many
people started living together in cities, and then civilization emerged.
Describe the city of Uruk.
Uruk is in southern Mesopotamia and was encircled by a wall six miles long. Uruk
had a population of around 50,000 people by 2700 B.C., making it one of the largest
Why were the early Mesopotamian city-states considered to be the
Early Mesopotamian city-states were considered to be the theocracies because
people they believed that gods ruled the cities.
Describe the economy and society of Sumerian city-states.
Sumerian city-states had a traditional economy based chiefly on farming; trade and
industry became important too. The people of Mesopotamia made woolen textiles
and pottery, but they were well known for their metalwork. With copper, gold, and
silver being used, Sumerian people discovered that when tin is added to copper, it
makes bronze. Sumerian people bartered, or exchanged, wool, barley, dried fish,
wheat, and metal goods for imported copper, tin, and timber.
Create a chart that shows that lists Sumerian achievements and the effects of
these achievements on our lives today.
Sumerian Achievements
Effects of the achievements on our lives
Basic modern forms of writing
The wheel
Cars, trucks, still use wheels
Identify five aspects of Mesopotamian society as revealed by the Code of
Men had more rights than women. Parents arranged marriages for their children. A
husband could divorce his wife if she failed to fulfill her duties, was unable to bear
children, or tired to leave home to engage in business. Officials who failed to solve
crimes had to make personal restitution to the victims or their families.
In Chapter 1 the term “civilization” was introduced. Historians have identified
six important characteristics to consider when evaluating a culture and
determining if it is a civilization. Is it accurate to say that the city-states of
Mesopotamia were the first human civilizations? Consider each characteristic
and give examples.
City: Eridu, UR, Urk 3500-500 BC
Government: kings, code of Hammurabi
Religion: priests and priestesses, ziggurat 2100 BC
Social structure: nobles, commoners, slaves 3500-500 BC
Writing: Cuneiform 33500BC
Art: Epic of Gilgamesh, Standard of UR 2700 BC