Chapter 1 The First Civilizations Section 2 Mesopotamia Civilization Bell Ringer Mesopotamia- Fertile Crescent Mesopotamia’s Civilization Civilizations are complex societies with cities, governments, art, religion, class divisions, and a writing system. Rivers were important because they made for good farming conditions, easy travel and trade. Governments were formed because someone had to make plans and decisions for the common good. Mesopotamia Civilization Mesopotamia is the flat plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is Greek for “land between two rivers.” Floods in Mesopotamia were frequent and unpredictable. Farmers learned to control the rivers with dams and channels. They also used the rivers to irrigate, or water, their crops. Mesopotamia Civilization Many cities formed in a southern region of Mesopotamia known as Sumer. Sumerian cities were city-states, with their own governments. Sumerian cities often fought each other. To protect themselves, the city-states built walls around themselves. Mesopotamia Civilization Sumerians believed in many gods. (polytheism) Each city-state had a ziggurat, or grand temple, to honor the gods. Mesopotamia Civilization Most Sumerians were farmers, but some were artisans, or skilled workers. Others were merchants and traders. Sumerian city-states had 3 social classes1.) upper class consisted of kings, priests, and government officials. 2.) middle class consisted of artisans, merchants, fishers, and farmers. 3.) lower class consisted of slaves. Mesopotamia Civilization Review Questions What effect did irrigation have on the people of Mesopotamia? Irrigation allowed farmers to grow plenty of food. More food meant more people could be fed, so the population grew. ZIGGAURAT REMAINS ZIGGAURAT A Skilled People Mesopotamia has been called the cradle of civilization because of the influence of Sumerian ideas on other areas. Writing helps people keep records and pass on ideas. Sumerians developed a writing system called cuneiform. Only a few people, called scribes, learned to write. A Skilled People The Sumerians also produced the oldest known story, the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Sumerians also invented new technology such as the wagon wheel, the sailboat, and the plow. The Sumerians developed many mathematical ideas, including geometry, a number system based on 60, and a 12-month calendar. Review Questions Why did Sumerians study the skies? The locations of the planets and stars guided the Sumerians’ farming and festivals. Sargon and Hammurabi Sargon, the king of the Arkadians, conquered all of Mesopotamia and set up the world’s first empire. An empire is a group of many different lands under one ruler. After Sargon, another group of people became powerful. They built the city of Babylon on the Euphrates River. Sargon and Hammurabi The Babylonian king, Hammurabi, conquered lands north and south of Babylon to create the Babylonian Empire. The Code of Hammurabi was a collection of laws covering crimes, farming, business activities, and marriage and family. Many punishments in the code were cruel, but the code was an important step in the development of a justice system. SARGON OF AKKAD HAMMURABI AKKADIANS Timeline of Events Review Questions What were some of the benefits of living in Hammurabi’s empire? What were some of the drawbacks? Benefits: Living in a large, powerful empire helps keep enemies from taking over the land; Hammurabi’s code helped keep people from committing crimes against one another. Drawbacks: Hammurabi’s code had cruel punishments; people were governed by one person, Hammurabi, instead of living in a representative government. Review Questions What is civilization? A complex society with cities, an organized government, art, religion, a system of writing, and class divisions. Review Questions What was the Code of Hammurabi? A set of laws that the Babylonian leader Hammurabi established for his empire.