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- earliest use of stone tools from 1 million years ago to about 10,000 B.C.E.
- people were hunters, fishers, and gatherers
- learned to make and control fire
- acquired language
- the sum total of the ways of living built up by a group and passed on from one generation to another.
- includes courtship and child rearing practices, material things (tools, clothing) and ideas and beliefs
- 10,000 years ago, Middle East began to change from a nomadic hunter-gatherer culture to agricultural one
- Productive animals sheep/goats, food crops were first domesticated
- invention of pottery
- permanent dwellings
- 5000 B.C.- 500 B.C.
- Tigris and Euphrates rivers
- modern Iraq
- created a hierarchy of larger and smaller settlements
- artwork appeared
- new technologies like smelting and manufacture of metal tools and weapons
- different classes of people developed
characteristics of the form of human culture; includes urbanism, technological industrial and social change, long distance trade and new methods of symbolic communication
- 3100-1200 B.C.
- Near East and eastern Mediterranean
- someone discovered how to combine tin and cooper to make a stronger and more useful material
Who were the Sumerians?
- built large cities (over 100,000)
- created first sophisticated system of writing
- created the wheel
- designed a gravity flow irrigation system
- NOT members of Semitic language
- arrived 5000 B.C.
Who was Sargon the Great?
- first ruler of Mesopotamia
- brought Mesopotamia under single rule in 2300 B.C.
- spread Sumerian culture throughout fertile crescent; trade, religion, writing
dramatic change in subsistence, settlement, technology and population around 10,000 B.C.
What was cuneiform?
- wedge shaped marks made on clay tablets with a cut-reed stylus
- created by Sumerians
- expanded on pictography
- earliest known system of writing
primitive form of writing
What contributions did the Sumerians make?
- Mathematics; based on units of 60 and its divisors
- Chronology; lunar calendar, measured seasons, close year calculations
What religion did Sumerians practice?
- polytheism; various gods
- Ziggurats; build temples to please gods, no code of ethics, rituals and sacrifices, Epic of Gilgamesh
What was the code of Hammurabi?
- laws of Babylonia/Mesopotamian society 1792-1750 B.C.
- punishment depended on social class; usually eye for an eye
- government is impartial referee for citizens
- stated punishments; upheld right to compensation
What were the social classes of Mesopotamia?
Describe the Government
- Early on Theocracy; ruled by gods and priests of city-states
- Later kings ruled the region, beginning with Sargon the Great
How did Mesopotamia decline?
- 1500 B.C. conquered by the Hittites, then Assyrians in 1200 B.C. and finally by Persians in 500 B.C.
- becomes center of Islamic World
- becomes "prosperous" again in 20th century
What factors lead to the downfall of Mesopotamia?
- environmental depletion
- intense heat
What was Egypt's geography?
- River civilization- The Nile River
- surrounded/protected by desert and Red Sea marshes making it isolated
- 2 sections; Upper and Lower Egypt
What are some characteristics of the Nile River?
- flows out of Lake Victoria; south to north into Mediterranean
- valley is lush, green
- floods more gently than Tigris and Euphrates
- means of travel, transportation of commerce and agriculture
- floods made soil fertile for crops
What were the periods of Egyptian history?
- 3100-2660 B.C. Archaic;
- 2660-2180 B.C. Old Kingdom;
- Construction of Pyramids
- 2180-2080 B.C. First Intermediate;
- political chaos
- 2080-1640 B.C Middle Kingdom;
- recovery and political stability
- 1640-1570 B.C. Second Intermediate;
- Hyksos Invasion
- 1570-1075 B.C. New Kingdom
- Creation of Egyptian Empire , Akhenaten’s religious policy
- 1100-653 B.C Third Intermediate
- Political fragmentation
When were the pyramids built?
After the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, during the Old Kingdom Period
What are some characteristics of the pyramids of Giza?
- • Commissioned by King Khufu (Cheops)
- • Covers 13 acres
- • Orig. 480 feet high, now 450 ft.
- • Sphinx– strength and wisdom of both man & beast
- • 2600-2100 B.C.
a king who was also a god in Egypt
What were hieroglyphs?
- sacred carvings by Egyptians
- symbols that convey meaning through a series of pictures that represent sounds
What was the Rosetta Stone?
- was the key to deciphering hieroglyphs;
- work of French linguist/archaeologist Jean Francois Champollion, 1822
- was called Father of Egyptology
What religion did Egyptians practice?
- over 3,000 gods
- Chief gods were sun gods Amon and Ra, later combined into one god
- Isis– goddess of the Nile and fertility
- Osiris, the god of the afterlife
- Horus, son of Osiris and Isis– the pharaoh
What did Egyptians believe in the Afterlife?
- believed in continuation of life on Earth
- judgement fo the "ka" the soul/spirit of the person on earth ventured into the afterlife
Who try to revolutionize religion in Egypt?
What did Pharaoh Akhenaton try to do?
- tried to turn Egypt to a monotheism culture
- In opposition to the priests
- Claims that the god, Aton, was his father, and that Aton, not Amon (Amon-Ra) was to be worshipped
Under King Tutankhamen (boy pharaoh) what happened?
Egypt returned to polytheism
Compare/Contrast Near River Civilizations:
- Subject to violent change
- Crossroad where civ. and barbarians met
- Melting pot, blending of newcomers, beliefs, new ideas
- Stable for much of its history
- Protected by natural barriers
- Isolated, except for trade, false sense of superiority
What was Assyria?
- Military powerhouse
- Vast empire from Tigris to Central Europe
- powerful with armies under King Tiglath-Pileser III, and Sargon II (ca. 750 B.C.)
How did Assyrians decline?
- Assyrians fall around 612 B.C.
- Babylonians fought against the Assyrians under Babylonian leader, Nebuchadnezzar
What factors contributed to the rise of Isareal?