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Ancient Civilization of Mesopotamia. Sumer The First Civilization 4500-4000 B.C.E. Essential Standard. 6.H.2- Understand the political, economic and/or social significance of historical events, issues, individuals and cultural groups.

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ancient civilization of mesopotamia

Ancient Civilization of Mesopotamia


The First Civilization

4500-4000 B.C.E.

essential standard
Essential Standard
  • 6.H.2- Understand the political, economic and/or social significance of historical events, issues, individuals and cultural groups.
  • 6.G.1- Understand geographic factors that influenced the emergence, expansion and decline of civilizations, societies and regions (i.e. Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas) over time.
  • 6.G.2- Apply the tools of a geographer to understand the emergence, expansion and decline of civilizations, societies and regions.
  • 6.C.1- Explain how the behaviors and practices of individuals and groups influenced societies, civilizations and regions.
clarifying objective
Clarifying Objective
  • 6.H.2.3- Explain how innovation and/or technology transformed civilizations, societies and regions over time (e.g., agricultural technology, weaponry, transportation and communication).
  • 6.G.1.1- Explain how the physical features and human characteristics of a place influenced the development of civilizations, societies and regions (e.g., location near rivers and natural barriers, trading practices and spread of culture).
  • 6.G.1.4- Explain how and why civilizations, societies and regions have used, modified and adapted to their environments (e.g., invention of tools, domestication of plants and animals, farming techniques and creation of dwellings).
clarifying objective1
Clarifying Objective
  • 6.G.2.1- Use maps, charts, graphs, geographic data and available technology tools to draw conclusions about the emergence, expansion and decline of civilizations, societies and regions.
  • 6.C.1.1- Analyze how cultural expressions reflected the values of civilizations, societies and regions (e.g., oral traditions, art, dance, music, literature, and architecture).
fertile crescent cradle of civilization
Fertile Crescent/Cradle of Civilization
  • The first civilizations were founded in a region called the Fertile Crescent
  • Civilizations had to select an area that had a water supply for people & crops
  • The Fertile Crescent got its name because the region is shaped like a crescent moon
  • The Fertile Crescent is located between the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea & Persian Gulf
fertile crescent cradle of civilization1
Fertile Crescent/Cradle of Civilization
  • The Fertile Crescent provided a water supply & fertile land on which to grow wheat (remember people didn’t know about corn/maize yet)
  • The Fertile Crescent was also called the Cradle of Civilization because when the idea of civilizations was just a “baby” all civilizations were cared for by the Fertile Crescent
tigris euphrates rivers
Tigris & Euphrates Rivers
  • The key to the Fertile Crescent were the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers
  • These were the two rivers around which the first civilizations were formed
  • These two rivers created the fertile top silt that made the soil so fertile & able to grow crops
  • Along the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers in modern day Iraq the first Civilization of Sumer was born
  • The people of Sumer were called Sumerians
people of the arts
People of the Arts
  • Although the Sumerians did have an army Sumerians were know as people of the arts
  • Their civilization was based on the arts & then trading what they had made
  • But this great civilization could never have been built without two great Sumerian Inventions/innovations
people of the arts1
People of the Arts
  • Sumerians were the first to construct mosaics which are hundreds of small objects that an artist will combine to create a picture
  • They were also the first to decorate the temples they built called Ziggurats
  • The Sumerian people invented the first wheel that’s right the first wheel was invented by the Sumerians
  • They used this wheel for pottery. It was a pottery wheel
  • It was later used to create other Sumerian inventions like the cart, wagon & chariot
the wheel
The Wheel
  • The wheel made pottery possible which was the Sumerians way of life
  • The wheel also made it easier to haul things around and transport things & people from one place to another
  • The other great invention of the Sumerians was the Cuneiform language
  • Sumerians used pictures & symbols to represent things
  • Up until this point cavemen had painted pictures but they always described a story
  • The Sumerians let each picture represent one universal thing (just like we do today)
  • In the Cuneiform language everyone’s picture of wheat looked the same
  • Everyone’s picture of garden looked the same
  • Cuneiform standardized the pictures so everyone could understand what they meant
  • Cuneiform was first used to keep records of who had paid their taxes & who had not
pottery art
Pottery & Art
  • These two great inventions allowed the Sumerians to build the first civilization on the strength of pottery & art
  • The Sumerians were artsy people and the region they lived in produced a lot of clay
trading pots art
Trading Pots & Art
  • They turned that clay into pots & other art which they used and traded with other settlements
  • (Scarcity of Resources) The Sumerians created a scarce resource (pot) that other people wanted and were willing to give something of theirs up for
trading pots art1
Trading Pots & Art
  • The Sumerians used the pots & art they made to acquire many things from other settlements
  • The gardens they created from the soils of the fertile Crescent helped make them a large society
the sumerians get large
The Sumerians get Large
  • People of other tribes had heard about their pottery & great crops
  • They would ask the Sumerians if they could join their civilization
  • Sumerians rulers would let other settlements join as long as they followed certain customs & traditions of the Sumerians (culture)
the sumerians get large1
The Sumerians get Large
  • Pretty soon the Sumerian civilization numbered more than 50,000 people which was the first time a settlement had turned to a civilization
sumerian religion
Sumerian Religion
  • Because the Sumerians were from so many different areas in the Fertile Crescent many Sumerians kept their own religious traditions
  • The Sumerians were polytheistic meaning they believed in more than one god
sumerian gods
Sumerian gods
  • An was the fulltime god & the equivalent to heaven
  • Sin was the moon god
  • Enki was the god of benevolence, good of fresh water, friend to humans
  • Enlil was the ghost god
sumerian gods1
Sumerian gods
  • Inanna was the god of the eastern & western sky
  • Utu was the sun god and the god of the northern & southern sky
  • The Sumerian temples were called Ziggurats
  • These Ziggurats had a forecourt with a pool for purification purposes
  • The temple its self had a long nave with aisles on each side
  • Beyond the aisles were rooms for the priests
agriculture hunting
Agriculture & Hunting
  • Sumerians were an Agriculture society
  • They used irrigation methods to for a high crop yield
  • They relied heavily on the rich soil provided Tigris & Euphrates Rivers
agriculture hunting1
Agriculture & Hunting
  • In March immediately after the flood season farmers would dig irrigation canals & flood their fields
  • They were looking for the fertile & nutrient rich silt from the Tigris & Euphrates to cover their fields
  • Next farmers would drain their fields of the water & have oxen stomp the field to kill the weeds
agriculture hunting2
Agriculture & Hunting
  • They would then drag their fields with pickaxes in rows
  • Then they would let their fields get really dry & hoe them with a mattock
  • Then they would plant their seeds
the sumerian decline
The Sumerian Decline
  • The decline or die off of the Sumerian Civilization was linked to Agriculture as well
  • Overtime the salt levels began to rise and the Sumerians who had been growing wheat had to change to growing barley
  • Barley grew much better than wheat when the water was salty
the sumerian decline1
The Sumerian Decline
  • The Sumerians however were not accustomed to growing barley & didn’t know how to do it
  • They eventually were not able to grow enough barely to support the amount of people in their civilization & began to starve
the sumerian decline2
The Sumerian Decline
  • Sumerian enemies including the rising Babylonians saw this & attacked them
  • The Babylonians defeated the Sumerians subsequently taking them over in 1700 B.C.E.
important points
Important Points
  • 6.H.2.3- (Communication) Sumerians developed the first language called Cuneiform. This helped them communicate with each other. Now the pictures were standardized & meant something. Everyone drew the pictures the exact same way & each picture meant something different
  • 6.H.2.3- (Agricultural Technology) Sumerians invented the first wheel. This made it possible to haul various items behind oxen. For the first time people didn’t have to carry everything they could let animals pull it behind them
  • 6.G.1.1- (Location near Water) The Sumerians Civilization developed between the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers. This led to them being an Agriculture Society
  • 6.G.1.4- (Farming Techniques) Sumerians used Irrigation canals to ensure the water from the Tigris & Euphrates got to their crops
  • 6.C.1.1- (Art) Sumerians were an Art Society as much as they were an agricultural society. They created pottery & mosaics to trade for scarce resources that they didn’t have