Mesopotamia Powerpoint Presentation 1

Susan M. Pojer
Horace Greeley HS Chappaqua, NY
Additions by D. Brady
The Fertile Crescent
The word 'Mesopotamia' is in origin a Greek name (mesos `middle' and
'potamos' - 'river' so `land between the rivers'). 'Mesopotamia' translated
from Old Persian Miyanrudan means "the fertile cresent".
The Land Between Two Rivers
• Some of the best farmland of
the Fertile Crescent is in a
narrow strip of land between
the Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers. The Greeks later called
this region Mesopotamia,
which means "between the
rivers." Many different
civilizations developed in this
small region. First came the
Sumerians, who were replaced
in turn by the Assyrians and
the Babylonians.
Indo-European Migrations: 4m-2m BCE
The Middle East: “The Crossroads of Three Continents”
The Ancient Fertile Crescent Area
The Middle East: “The Cradle of Civilization”
Mesopotamia does not refer to any particular civilization. Over the course of several millennia, many
civilizations developed, collapsed, and were replaced in this region including the Sumerians -Akkadians -- Babylonians and Assyrians.
The Sumerians
The people who established the
world's first civilization around 3500
B.C. in southern Mesopotamia were
known as the Sumerians.
The Sumerians learned to control the
Tigris and Euphrates Rivers by
constructing levees and irrigation
canals. As a result, a stable food
supply existed, and the Sumerian
villages evolved into self-governing
At the center of each city-state was a
temple surrounded by courts and
public buildings. Radiating from the allimportant city center were the twostory houses of the priests and
merchants, or the upper class; the
one-story homes of government
officials, shopkeepers, and
craftspeople; and the lower class
homes of farmers, unskilled workers,
and fishermen. The city-state also
included the fertile farming land
outside the city wall.
Since there wasn't any building stone
and very little timber in Sumer, the
people constructed their homes, public
buildings, and city walls out of sundried mud brick.
The Sumerians took great pride in
their city-states. Many times city-states
would war with each other because
boundary disputes existed. Sometimes
a city-state would attack a neighboring
city-state just to prove its strength.
Sumerian Religion - Polytheistic
Anthropomorphic Gods
Mesopotamian Trade
“The Cuneiform World”
Cuneiform: “Wedge-Shaped” Writing
As the Sumerian city-states'
wealth increased, government
officials realized that an efficient
method of keeping records had to
be developed. Evolved from
simple pictographic writing,
Sumerian cuneiform emerged as
the world's first writing system.
The term cuneiform means
"wedge-shaped." It was made up
of hundreds of word signs that
were "wedge-shaped" due to the
shape of the reed pen, or stylus,
that was used. The Sumerians
wrote on clay tablets that would
either be dried in the sun or fired
in kilns to make the writing
Cuneiform Writing
Deciphering Cuneiform
Sumerian Scribes
“Tablet House”
Sumerian Cylinder Seals
Gilgamesh is an ancient poem
written in Mesopotamia more than
four thousand years ago. The
poem tells of a great flood that
covers the earth many years
earlier, making it similar to the
story of Noah in the Old
Testament of the Jewish and
Christian holy books.
Modern science has discovered
that there was a marked increase
in the sea levels about 6,000
years ago as the last ice age
ended. The melting ice drained to
the oceans causing the sea level
to rise more than ten feet in one
Gilgamesh Epic Tablet:
Flood Story
The Ziggurat
Originally the temples at the
center of each city-state were built
on a platform. As time passed,
these platform temples evolved
into temple-towers called
ziggurats. The ziggurat was the
first major building structure of the
Sumerians. Constructed of sunbaked mud bricks, the ziggurats
were usually colorfully decorated
with glazed fired bricks.
The ziggurat housed each citystate's patron god or goddess.
Only priests were permitted inside
the ziggurat; as a result, they were
very powerful members of
Sumerian society.
Ziggurat at Ur
 Temple
 “Mountain of
the Gods”
The Royal Standard of Ur
Mesopotamian Harp
Board Game From Ur
Sophisticated Metallurgy Skills
at Ur
Sargon of Akkad:
The World’s First Empire [Akkadians]
The Babylonian Empires
Hammurabi was the king of the citystate of Babylon. About 1800BC,
Hammurabi conquered the nearby
city-states and created the kingdom of
Babylonia. He recorded a system of
laws called the Code of Hammurabi.
The 282 laws were engraved in stone
and placed in a public location for
everyone to see. Hammurabi required
that people be responsible for their
actions. Some of Hammurabi’s laws
were based on the principle “An eye
for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” This
means that whoever commits an injury
should be punished in the same
manner as that injury. If someone put
out another person’s eye, their eye
would be put out in return.
Hammurabi’s Code may seem cruel
today, but it was an early attempt at
[r. 1792-1750 B. C. E.]
Hammurabi, the Judge
Babylonian Math
Babylonian Numbers