3500 B.C. to 1700 B.C.
Location: Between the
Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers in present day
Agriculture: Used
irrigation to grow crops.
This led to other
professions such as
potters, weavers, metal
workers, warriors, and
Government: At first each
city or city state had its own
ruler. Later several city
states were united under
one ruler. Rulers were often
priests. This type of
government is called a
Religion: They were
polytheistic (many gods) and
worshipped as many as
2,000 different gods.
What might be some of the
benefits and drawbacks to
have a theocratic form of
• Contributions:
– Architecture: stone and mud
buildings such as the ziggurat
and Hanging Gardens.
– Invented the wheel
– Invented the sailboat
– Irrigation
– Made tools and weapons out of
copper and bronze
– Invented a calendar
– Created a number system based
on 60
– Invented cuneiform writing
– Developed a legal system called
the Code of Hammurabi
Which Mesopotamian
contribution is the
most important? Be
prepared to defend
you answer.
Code of Hammurabi
• Covers most things in
daily life.
• Goal is to ensure
justice and protect the
• Treated nobles and
commoners different.
• An “eye for and eye”
Why is it important for a
legal system.
society to have
established and defined
laws and rules?
Women in Mesopotamia
• Most women stayed at
home and cooked,
cleaned, raised the
children and crushed the
• Noble women could go to
the market and buy
goods, could complete
legal matters in their
husbands absence, and
could own property.
Some could engage in
business and obtain a
Women praying;
University of Chicago
3200 B.C. to 500 B.C.
• Location: Northeast Africa
along the Nile River.
• Agriculture: Each year the
Nile River floods making
the surrounding land
fertile. Egyptian farmers
were able to grow an
abundant amount of food
to support the craftsmen,
warriors, priests and
nobles of the land.
How is the location of Egypt
similar to and different from
that of Mesopotamia?
• Government: The
Egyptian Pharaoh was an
absolute monarch. This
means his title was
inherited from his father.
He owned all the land,
commanded the army,
made laws, controlled
irrigation and grain
supplies, and defended
Egypt from foreign
invaders. He was
considered one of the
What are the benefits and
drawbacks to this type of
• Religion: The Egyptian
religion was polytheistic
and the Pharaoh was
considered a god. They
built pyramids to preserve
their rulers body in the
afterlife. They surrounded
him with gold, jewels, and
other items he might
need in the afterlife.
What economic effects
might the building of
pyramids have had on
Egyptian society?
• Contributions:
– Medicine: developed knowledge of the
human body through embalming and
– Hieroglyphics: developed one of the
earliest forms of writing using pictures
and symbols.
– Architecture: built magnificent
pyramids, temples, and palaces of
– Art: decorated buildings with paintings
and sculptures.
– Geometry: developed geometry to
build projects such as the pyramids.
– Astronomy: by observing the stars,
they developed a calendar based on
365 days.
Which Egyptian
contribution is the
most significant? Be
prepared to justify
your answer.
Ancient Hebrews
• Location: south of Phoenicia in
present day Israel, Lebanon, and
Jordan. Near Ancient
Mesopotamia and Egypt.
• Religion: Monotheistic (belief in
one God). Religion is called
Judaism and became basis of
Christianity and Islam.
• 10 Commandments: Biblical law
given to the Hebrews by God.
Forbade immoral behavior and
idol worship.
What is the
of the
324 B.C. to 550 A.D.
• Location: Along the Indus River
Valley on the Indian subcontinent.
• Agriculture: Farmers grew barley,
wheat, dates, and melons. A
surplus of food allowed an
advanced society to flourish. Cities
included dockyards, granaries,
warehouses, brick protective walls.
They were one of the 1st societies
to have urban planning with houses
connected to a public sewage
system and a water supply. They
also grew cotton to make clothing
• Government: India was ruled by
monarchs. The kingdom thrived and
even traded with China, Southeast
Asia, and the Mediterranean.
• Religion:
– Hinduism: belief in a supreme
being of many forms, a caste
system, and reincarnation.
– Buddhism: philosophy based on
the idea that achieving wisdom is
the way to find nirvana (peace or
What are some
ways that
Egypt, and
India are
• Contributions:
– Literature: Great historical epics were
written during this time which told of
great deeds by great warriors.
– Architecture:
• The pillar: column used along roads
and to mark special places
• The stupa: building for devotion and
• The Rock Chamber: rooms for monks
and ceremonies carved out of rock
– Science: Charted the stars and knew that
the earth was round and rotated on an
axis and revolved around the sun. Used
algebra and introduced the concept of
zero in mathematics.
1045 B.C. to 220 A.D.
• Location: Along the Huang He
(Yellow River)
• Agriculture: The Yellow River
flooded yearly and made the area
very fertile. Millet (grain) and
soybeans were the main crops.
Chicken and pigs were also raised.
• Government: Monarchy; ruling
families are called dynasties. In
each dynasty the monarch had near
absolute power.
• Religion:
– Confucianism: philosophy that said
the it is the duty of people to work
hard to improve life on Earth.
– Daoism: philosophy that said the best
way to act is to let nature take its
course and not interfere in it.
– Legalism: philosophy that states that
humans are evil by nature. Harsh
and stiff punishments are needed to
How is legalism
keep society in line.
different from
and Daoism?
• Contributions:
– Bronze weapons, tools, and
– Silk textiles
– System of writing with
– Iron tools such as plows and
– Ships that were able to sail
as far away as
Mediterranean Sea.