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Mesopotamia. Cradle of Civilization. Mesopotamia. Geographic area- In modern day country of Iraq The name means “land between 2 rivers” 2 Rivers- Tigris River and Euphrates River. Mesopotamia. The constant water supply from the 2 rivers provided rich farm land ideal for growing crops.
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Mesopotamia Cradle of Civilization
Mesopotamia Geographic area- In modern day country of Iraq The name means “land between 2 rivers” 2 Rivers- Tigris River and Euphrates River
Mesopotamia • The constant water supply from the 2 rivers provided rich farm land ideal for growing crops. • The rivers flooded each spring, the early people in the area built levees to keep the flood waters back and built irrigation systems.
Mesopotamia • Area was first settled about 4500-4000 B.C. • These people were originally farmers, herders, and fishermen. • They made tools, bricks, clay figures, and pottery.
Sumer • The people who lived there were called Sumerians • The first known civilization around 3500 B.C. • The Sumerian people made wagon wheels, used copper and bronze, made sail boats, used plows, wrote laws, and studied astronomy.
Sumer • Important city states developed • Built strong walled cities for protection from outside invaders • Important Sumerian city- Ur (capital of Sumer) had a population of around 200,000 Most cities were unattractive- no public services available to remove garbage and sewage. This was left to pile up on the streets.
Sumerian Cities • Streets were narrow, unpaved, winding • Houses were one story mud brick structures with flat roofs. • Members of the upper class had 2 story houses with many rooms that included sleeping quarters and servants quarters and burial plots below the house • Household utensils made out of stone, copper and bronze • Merchants supplied the townspeople with material items
Religion • Sumerians constructed shrines or temples called Ziggurats. • Ziggurats were to serve as a pedestal for the gods to descend to Earth. • On top was a shrine room where people would pray or hope to entertain a divine visitor.
Religion • Public was not invited to engage in temple rituals, but they needed to constantly pray or the gods would not bless their lands. • Around the ziggurat were courts where artisans worked, children went to school, and people traded and stored goods there. • Sumerians believed that all of nature was controlled by gods
Education • The Sumerian schools were called “tablet houses” and were used to educate scribes for various religious, governmental, and commercial jobs. • Schools at first were mostly religious and were for rich children • Male only • Classes went from morning until sunset • Curriculum included- grammar, penmanship, science, and math
Writing • Writing helped man maintain a complex economic and political society • Sumerian writing dates back as early as 3100 B.C. • Dried Mud tablets with a sharp pointed reed called a stylus was how they wrote the cuneiform. • This writing was adopted by their conquerors and used for about 2000 years.
Family Life • Woman had rights in Sumerian society • They could buy and sell property and could run businesses • The husband was the head of the household • He could divorce his wife or rent out his wife and children for up to three years • Children were expected to support their parents when they became old
Priests and Kings • Priests were also the kings of the city-states • Gilgamesh was the most famous • Received advice from an assembly of free men • During wars, the assembly chose a military leader to serve until the war was over • Eventually, these leaders stayed in charge and became kings. • Kingship became hereditary
Section 2 Later Mesopotamian Empires
Sargon 1 • Ruled an area called Akkad • Began to conquer city-states one by one and became king of all of them • Created world’s first empire • Ruled for 50 years
Hammurabi of Babylon • Hammurabi was king of Babylon who conquered Akkad and Sumer • The Babylonians took on the language and religion of the people they conquered • Hammurabi improved irrigation systems and changed the religion • Developed his own set of laws called the Code of Hammurabi
Hammurabi • Appointed judges to carry out the code • Judges were punished if not honest • He believed people were innocent until proven guilty • During Hammurabi’s rule, Babylon became a trade center • Hammurabi’s reign is known as the Golden Age of Babylon
Ticket Out the Door • How is Hammurabi’s code similar to the laws in the United States?
Section 3 Contributions
Inventions and Contributions • Inventions and customs of the Sumerians and Babylonians were copied and improved upon by other cultures.
Inventions and Contributions • Oldest written records in the world • First written laws • Cuneiform was a model for other people’s system of writing
Inventions and Contributions • Invented the wheel which aided transportation • Invented the plow which allowed farmers to grow more food • Invented the sailboat which replaced muscle power with wind power
Inventions and contributions • Developed a 12 month calendar based on the cycles of the moon • It marked the times for religious festivals and planting
Inventions and Contributions • Contributions to math • Developed a number system based on 60 • 60 minute hour • 60 second minute • 360 degree circle • Clock that was controlled by water