Early civilizations
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Early Civilizations. Essential Questions : How did ancient civilizations develop? What were similarities between various early civilizations?. Civilizations began in certain parts of the world with many similarities even though vast distances separated them. Mesopotamia (present day Iraq)

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Early Civilizations

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Early Civilizations

Essential Questions :

How did ancient civilizations develop?

What were similarities between various early civilizations?

  • Civilizations began in certain parts of the world with many similarities even though vast distances separated them.

    • Mesopotamia (present day Iraq)

    • India

    • China

    • Americas








  • Geographic similarities

    • Civilizations grew around areas where a stable food source could be found

    • River valleys are common among these early civilizations

      • Annual flooding of the rivers left rich deposits on the surrounding soil

        • Agriculture flourished as a result

          • Surplus of food led to expansion of population

  • Characteristics of civilization

    • Social structure

      • All societies have different classes of peoples

        • Some people are considered more important than others due to their wealth or job

        • In ancient times, rulers, nobles and priests were considered most powerful

        • The next class was typically made of military, civil workers, merchants, farmers, laborers, doctors, educators, etc.

        • The bottom class of people were slaves and outcasts

Example of Egyptian Social Structure

  • Stable food supply

    • Before civilization, people hunted and gathered their food

      • These people tended to be nomadic, following herds as they migrated

    • Societies became more settled with the advent of agriculture

      • Crops were farmed and animals were domesticated

        • Cause and effect throughout all civilizations

          • Population expansion 

          • Specialization/trade 

          • Growth in wealth/expansion/conquests 

          • Sharing of ideas/technology/belief systems

  • Religion

    • Societies developed polytheistic religions

    • Nature and mystic notions were attributed to gods who controlled these unseen forces

      • Rising and setting sun, phases of the moon, rain, drought, flooding, wind, natural disasters, etc.

    • A few did develop monotheistic religions

      • Israelites developed Judaism

      • Persians developed Zoroastrianism

Various sun gods

  • Government

    • Several reasons for development of governments

      • Somebody needed to lead

        • Rules have to be made

        • Rules have to be enforced

          • Code of Hammurabi

            • 1st set of written laws

              • Based on eye for an eye principle

      • Societies have general welfare needs

        • Roads, water systems, protection from foreign invasions

    • Most early civilizations were theocratic and/or dynastic

      • Leaders were seen to rule because of the will of the gods or they were seen as demi-gods

    • Some ruled because of wealth or military power

  • Writing systems

    • Societies used forms of writing to record events, keep records and transmit information

    • Early forms of writing consisted of pictures and symbols

      • Egyptian hieroglyphics

      • Chinese pictographs/ideographs

      • Sumerian Cuneiform

      • Incan Quipu

 Hieroglyphics

Ideograph 

 Cuneiform

Quipu 

  • Culture

    • Societies developed art, music, literature and other forms of entertainment


  • Technology

    • Inventions made life easier

Shaduf 

 plow

  • Empires

    • Certain civilizations became powerful and conquered others, creating empires

    • Akkadian 2340 BC (Present-day Iraq)

      • 1st known empire

      • Conquered their Sumerian neighbors in Mesopotamia

    • Babylon 1792 BC (Present-day Iraq)

      • Under Hammurabi, the Babylonians took control of Mesopotamia

    • Hittites 1600 BC (Present-day Turkey)

      • 1st Indo-Europeans to use iron

  • Egypt 1550 (New Kingdom period)

    • Because of it’s wealth, became the richest and most powerful state in the Middle East

    • Existing at the same time as the Hittites, they were also fighting against them for the area around present-day Syria

      • They were both weakened and eventually their empires were destroyed by peoples known only as the Sea Peoples

        • Very little is known of these peoples

  • After the fall of Egyptian and Hittite Empires

    • Some independent kingdoms arose

      • Phoenician Kingdom

        • Great sea-traders

        • Influential alphabet that was adopted by the Greeks

          • This led to the Roman alphabet which our current alphabet is based on

      • Israelite Kingdom

        • Minor in the political arena of the area

        • Major contribution to the world is their monotheistic religion

          • Judaism

  • Assyrian 700 BC (Present-day Iraq)

    • Ruled by kings with absolute power

    • Brutal conquerors

    • Network of posts relayed information from across the empire

    • Established one of the world’s first libraries

  • Persian 539 BC (Present-day Iran)

    • Cyrus the Great

      • Widely respected by those he ruled over

      • Considered very wise and just

    • Darius 521-486 BC

      • Created world’s largest empire to that time

      • Divided empire into provinces to be managed more easily

  • Greek 330 BC (Greece/Macedonia)

    • Under Alexander the Great, Greece conquered the Persian Empire

    • After Alexander’s death, the Hellenistic period followed

      • Greek culture was spread throughout Southwest Asia

  • Mauryan 324 BC (India)

    • After retreat of Alexander’s forces from India, CandraguptaMauryan established India’s first empire

    • The empire really flourished under the leader Asoka

      • Considered greatest Indian ruler

  • Qin 221 BC (China)

    • Qin Shihuangdi defeated and unified the warring Chinese dynasties, thus creating China’s first empire

    • He was very brutal though and his dynasty fell after his death

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