Mesopotamia Geography and Elements of a Civilization

19 October 2015
E.Q. – What is the 1st Civilization & What are the Elements of a
• Bellringer: Why is it good to settle along a river?
• Mesopotamia Geography Basics
• Elements of a Civilization
• HW: Chapter 3 Map Questions 
Map from CIA Source Book
The “land between the
rivers” in Greek
Mesopotamia Rivers
The Tigris and
Euphrates Rivers
Fertile Crescent
A large arc of Fertile
farmland extending
from the Persian Gulf
to the Mediterranean
Mesopotamia Basics
• Mesopotamia
• 2 Rivers
• Fertile Crescent
• Modern Country
• Farming
• Greek “Land
between the rivers”
• Tigris & Euphrates
• Large arc of fertile
farmland extending
from Persian Gulf to
Mediterranean Sea
• Iraq
• about 7,000 years
ago – small villages
Floods? A Good Thing?
• In Mesopotamia, Yes!
• Not much rain (see map)
• Heavy rains in Eastern Asia Minor
– Where rivers originate
– Caused floods
• First – floods were washing away crops,
killing livestock & washing away homes!
• They had to lean how to control the floods
Ways to help farming…
Silt- a mixture of rich soil
and tiny rocks.
Irrigation- a way of supplying
water to an area of land.
Canals- human-made
*Farming allowed Early
Mesopotamians to
develop a surplus, or an
excess - more than is
Division of Labor
Workers specialize in
a specific task or job.
What Makes Up A
Page 3
What is a civilization?
• It is a network of cities that all share a
common culture.
• 5 Requirements
– Stable Food Supply
– Division of Labor
– System of Government
– Social Hierarchy
– Highly Developed Culture
Stable Food Supply
• A steady supply of food or a surplus
Division of Labor
• People do a variety of different jobs that
help the civilizations function.
System of Government
• Laws that protect the people in the
Social Hierarchy
• Social classes or the social pyramid
Highly Developed Culture
• Examples -- Art, architecture, religion, law,
music, a system of writing.
Parting Thoughts….
Is Mesopotamia a
Stable Food Supply
• Irrigation increased the amount of food
farmers were able to grow
• Farmers could create a surplus of food
• Foods included: fish, meat, barley and
Division of Labor
• Since there was a surplus of food, not
everyone had to be a farmer
• Each worker could specialize in a
particular job
• People could become
– Crafters
– Religious leaders
– Government workers
System of Government
• Organized into city-states (city &
countryside around it)
• King is in control
Social Hierarchy
Skilled Craftspeople
Merchants & Traders
Farmers & Laborers
(Working Class)
Highly Developed Culture
Writing – Cuneiform
Works of literature – poems & stories
Invented the wheel and plow
Statues of gods
Gold jewelry
People sang, danced & played musical