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Unit 2: River Valley Civilizations. Chapter 3: Mesopotamia City State —Cities w/in a state that have their own government and god. Artisan —The skilled workers of each town Ziggurat —A temple located at the center of ancient cities Cuneiform —The first written language of this world.

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Chapter 3: Mesopotamia

City State—Cities w/in a state that have their own government and god.

Artisan—The skilled workers of each town

Ziggurat—A temple located at the center of ancient cities

Cuneiform—The first written language of this world.

Scribe—Those who could read and write

Priest-king—priests who are kings of the state

Empire—Groups of states under one ruler

Culture—Way of life

Reform—Improvements made, usually regarding laws

Reign—A period of power


Section 1: Sumer

  • The earliest civilizations of the world developed along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in an area of land known as Mesopotamia.
  • The first of these civilizations was Sumer.
  • Sumerians learned how to plant food, developed cuneiform, and built ziggurats.
  • The largest and most powerful Sumerian city-state was Ur.

Section 2: Other Mesopotamian Empires

  • Sargon I was the creator of the world’s first empire when he invaded Sumer and combined all the city-states in the area.
  • The name of this empire was Akkadia.
  • After 50 years of rule, Sargon I died and his kingdom split amongst the many city-states of Akkadia and Sumer.
  • One of these city states, Babylon, under the rule of King Hammurabi conquered the city-states of Sumer and Akkadia and formed the Babylonian Empire.
  • Hammurabi was a powerful ruler. He improved roads and irrigation, united the kingdom under a similar religion, reorganized the tax system, and even began a government housing program. His greatest contribution though was Hammurabi’s Code. This code of laws was important because it was the first set of laws written down for all to follow.

Section 3: Contributions

  • Cuneiform
  • Sailboat
  • 12 month calendar—moon
  • Math—number system based on 60
  • 60 minute hour & 60 second minute
  • 360 degree circle
  • Clock—controlled by drops of water

The symbols and meaning of Hammurabi\'s name are:ha + am + mu + ra + bi (\'fish\' + \'wild bull\' + \'year\' + \'?\' + \'innkeeper\')



  • Shadoof—A machine used to lifet water from the Nile to the basins
  • Pharaoh—Egyptian Kings
  • Pyramids—Tombs for the pharaoh that serves as a gateway to the afterlife
  • Embalming—A method of preserving bodies for the afterlife
  • Mummy—A wrapped body of a pharaoh
  • Legend—A list of symbols and what they stand for
  • Hieroglyphic—A kind of writing in which pictures represent words/sounds
  • Papyrus—Paper made from the reeds of plants

Section 1:The Nile

  • The Nile was the region of Africa in which its first civilizations developed. This civilization was called Egypt.
  • The people settled along the Delta regions of the Nile where the land was fertile.
  • Along the Nile, Egyptians dug holes called basins. These holes were filled with water in which a shadoof could carry water to the crops.

Section 2: The Old Kingdom

  • Early Egypt was made up of 2 parts: Upper & Lower.
  • Upper Egypt was led by King Menes.
  • King Menes united both kingdoms and formed the Egyptian kingdom.
  • The Old Kingdom introduced rule by a pharaoh, who controlled most of the land and money.
  • The Egyptians were polytheistic, which meant they believed in many gods.
  • The members of the Old Kingdom also developed a process called mummification in which embalming was used to preserve the bodies for afterlife.

Section 3: The Middle kingdom

  • The people of the old kingdom grew weary of rule by the pharaohs.
  • The Middle Kingdom formed around 2100 BCE, with the power of the pharaoh considerably less.
  • During the Middle Kingdom, Egypt began to trade with countries beyond the Nile Valley.
  • Section 4: the New Kingdom
  • In 1786 BCE, a group of people called the Hyksos, invaded, conquered, and ruled Egypt for over 150 years.
  • In 1550 BCE, prince Ahmose of Egypt led an uprising and drove the Hyksos out of Egypt.
  • Under Ahmose, Egypt became united and their empire was extended under the leadership of king Thutmose.

4. Thutmose was a powerful ruler and he used the military to extend the empire. He was different from the previous ruler, Hatshepsut, who was the first woman pharaoh of Egypt.

  • 5. Under Hatshepsut, Egyptians developed a form of picture writing called hieroglyphics.
  • 6. Even though Egyptians were polytheistic, they did believe that one god was more powerful than others. This god was Amon-Re.
  • 7. Eventually, the priests of Amon-Re grew more powerful than the pharaohs. In 1370 BCE, a new pharaoh known as Amenhotep closed the temple of Amon-Re and got rid of all the priests.
  • After his death, a nine year old boy, Tutankhamen (Tut) came to the throne.
  • During Tut’s rule, the priests regained their status as well as Amon-Re. This caused a rapid decline of the empire and it fell in 1150 BCE to the Assyrians.

Section 1: India

  • Eastern River Valley civilization began along the Indus River around 2500BCE.
  • The first people to establish a civilization in the Indus River valley were the Harappans.
  • The Harappans controlled the Indus River as a means of fertilizing their crops.
  • The Harappans are believed to be the first people to grow cotton, weave it into cloth, and developed planned communities.
  • The oldest cities in the Indus Valley were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
  • Around 1200 BCE, the Aryans took control of the valley.
  • They brought an ancient language called sanskrit.

Section 2: China

  • The Chinese kingdom began with the legendary kingdom of Xia.
  • This civilization settled along the Huang Ho River around 2000 BCE.
  • Not much is known about the Xia, but historians believe they chose this river because its floods left the land very fertile.
  • Due to the ferocity of floods and the color of the water, the Huang Ho River had two other names, Yellow River and China’s Sorrow.
  • The first recorded Chinese dynasty was the Shang.
  • The Shangs developed China’s oldest known written language. This language was found written on oracle bones.
  • The Shang dynasty flourished because of their ability to make bronze weapons.
  • However, the dynasty came to an end with Zhou invasion in 1122 BCE.