Chapter 2 PowerPoint

Early River Valley Civilizations
Four Civilizations:
City-States of Mesopotamia, Nile,
Indus, and Huang He and Yangtze
(Sections 1 and 2)
City-States of Mesopotamia
• Two rivers – Tigris and Euphrates form a “V”.
The rivers flow southeast to the Persian Gulf.
• Between the rivers is a plain known as
• The rivers were known to
flood each year, leaving silt.
• Soil is great for farming
• First settlement was around 4500 BCE
• Sumerians first arrive in 3500BCE
• Three issues arose:
– Unpredictability of rains
– No natural barriers for protection
– Limited natural resources
• Solutions…
Sumerian Solutions
• To provide water the people dug irrigation
ditches carrying river water to their crops
• The Sumerians built high-walled protection
around the city.
• The Sumerians created trade with the people
in the mountains and desert for products they
– Grain and cloth for crafted tools
Creation of City-State
• Considered to be one of the first civilizations
• Different from earlier people-groups and
Advanced cities
Specialization among workers
Complexity to institutions
Detailed record keeping
• By 3000 BCE, Sumerians had built several
cities each with agriculture surrounding them
• Each city had its own government
• These became City-States
• Urik, Kish, Umma, and Ur.
• Each had a walled protection and a ziggurat in
the center.
• Religion was important in each location
Power of the Priests
• The earliest governments were controlled by
the temple priests.
• Their religion recognized many gods
(polytheism), whose feats and escapades were
described in stories that were often preserved
for generations. Story of Gilgamesh
• Sumerians did not believe in a happy afterlife.
Creation of Monarchs
• In times of conflict, the priests would not lead
in battle.
• At first, the commander would stop leading
when the war was over, but over time they
remained in power.
• As wars increased – so too did the need for
leaders of the armies
• This transformed in to monarchs. They would
pass along their leadership to their sons.
Life in Sumerian Society
• As civilizations grew, so too did their
differences within the society
– Priests and Kings = highest
– Wealthy merchants
– Field workers and skilled workers
– Slaves = lowest
• Slaves could earn their freedom, not permanent
• Some were captured from war, others from debts
Women on Sumerian Society
• Most occupations were open to women
including merchant and farmer.
• Schooling was not available to women – could
not become scribes.
• Some could be low level priests
• Sumerian women had more rights than later
societies allowed.
Sumerian Science and Technology
• First to invent the wheel, the sail, and the
• First to use bronze in tools and weapons
• First to use writing beyond pictures –
• Use of mathematics and geometry
• Invention of numbering system – base 60
– 60 minutes, 360* for a circle
First Empire Builders
• For nearly a thousand years the Sumerian citystates were warring with each other.
– This made them vulnerable to attack from outside
• Sargon of Akkad defeated the city-states of Sumer
in 2500 BC
• The Akkadians were Semitic but had adopted
much of Sumerian culture.
• He will spread the culture beyond the TigrisEuphrates Valley creating first empire.
Crash Course –
Babylonian Empire
• Amorites in 2000 BC were nomadic warriors.
– Another Semitic group that invaded Mesopotamia
– Conquer the Sumerians and establish capital in
Babylon on Euphrates
• The Babylonians will peak 1792-1750 BC when
Hammurabi is the ruler.
• He will establish a code hat endured for a long
Hammurabi’s Code
• He realizes a single set of rules would unify a
diverse people within his empire.
– The code was engraved in stone and put up all
over the empire
– 282 specific laws dealing with:
Effect of Code
• The code established different punishment
based on socio-economic status and men vs.
• It reinforced the idea that government had a
responsibility for what occurred in society.
– For example – if something was stolen and the
culprit not caught, the government would repay
the loss.
Section 2
Geography of Egypt
• The Nile River flows NORTH for over 4,100
– Longest river in the world (not largest)
• Like in Mesopotamia, the Nile brought annual
flooding and silt and mud for planting.
• In the fall and winter, farmers tended to wheat
and barley.
– Watering would come from intricate ditches and
irrigation systems
Geography of Egypt
• The Nile was often worshipped as a God – as it
provided abundance.
• Lower Egypt is actually the northern portion
of the country.
– The last 750 miles that eventually touches the
– Lower Egypt had a distinct area that led to granite
cliffs called a cataract.
Geography of Egypt
• Keep in mind – Upper Egypt is in the south and
Lower Egypt is to the north.
• The Nile was a reliable source of transportation
between Upper and Lower Egypt.
• Winds blow from North to South to assist
sailboats traveling against the currents.
• The ease of travel allowed for unification
between Egypt’s different villages and promoted
Lower Egypt
Upper Egypt
Geography of Egypt
• Unlike the uncertainty of the Tigris and
Euphrates, the Nile was very predictable.
– The river could overflow or be lower from season
to season – but with less regularity.
• The desert on either side of the river valley
made for a natural and formidable barrier.
– Thus Egypt was spared the constant warfare that
plagued Mesopotamia
Egypt Geography
• Around 3200 BCE the Egyptians began contact
with Mesopotamian culture.
– Mesopotamian culture did not last long in Egypt.
• Egypt began to accept migrants from other
regions and their cultures in Fertile Crescent.
– Was a place of diversity and multiculturalism
Egyptian Unity
• There had villages as far back as 5000BCE
• Each village was culturally unique
– Religion, customs, chiefs
• By 3200 BCE, Egypt was divided into Upper and
Lower Egypt
• By 3100 BCE Egypt was unified by Menes
– Made Capital in Memphis where the two regions met.
• In 2660 BCE the 3rd Dynasty was established
known as Old Kingdom
• As opposed to Mesopotamia, the Pharaohs
were gods on earth – not just representatives
• The pharaohs were responsible for the wellbeing of the kingdom
• The Pharaohs caused the sun to rise, the Nile
to flow and the crops to grow.
• They were buried in pyramids when they died.
After-life was very important to Egyptian
Egyptian Culture
• Polytheistic
– Ra, Horus, Isis were three very important figures
in their religious practices
– Over 2000 gods and goddesses
• Temples built to honor the gods
• Egyptians believed in a judgement in the afterlife.
– Osiris would judge the weight of the dead
person’s heart.
• Lighter than a feather = good, heavier… not so good.
• As in Mesopotamia, writing was an integral
part of the Egyptian culture.
– Hieroglyphics; meaning sacred carving were
pictures that stood for ideas.
• They eventually came to represent sounds
where they could be used as an alphabet
• The carvings went from stone to drawings on
papyrus reeds
• Necessity and need led to many inventions
• The need to collect taxes lead to a numbering
• Farmers used geometry to reset property
boundaries after floods
• Pyramid builders used calculations to properly
construct the pyramid
• Use of calendar to plant crops
• Basic medical practices including setting broken
bones and listening for heartbeat
End of the Old Kingdom
• 2180 BCE marks the end of pharaohs in the
Old Kingdom
• Strong Pharaohs will return to power in the
Middle Kingdom (2080-1640 BCE)
• A group of Asian nomads on horseback and
chariots will defeat the Pharaohs.
– Known as Hyksos, they ruled for 70 years
– At same time nomads were invading
Mesopotamia and Indus River Valley
Crash Course – Nile River Valley