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Ancient Sumer

Ancient Sumer

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Ancient Sumer

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  1. Ancient Sumer 3300 – 1900 B.C.

  2. Fertile Crescent

  3. Today…

  4. Mesopotamia • Land “between the rivers” • Literally: Tigris & Euphrates • Why was this a good place to settle? • What did the Sumerians have to get really good at?

  5. Sumerian Society • Organized into city-states • Each city-state was responsible for its own security, irrigation system, laws, taxes, record keeping and building its own walls. • Social Hierarchy: • Ruling family, officials, high priests • Scribes, merchants, artisans, lesser priests • Peasant farmers (about 90% of the pop.) • ???

  6. Sumerian Religion • Polytheistic • Meaning…? • Gods controlled every aspect of their life • A Sumerian’s job was to keep these gods happy at all times • Each city-state built a ziggurat • Afterlife?

  7. Cuneiform! • Sumerians were the first to invent a system of writing • Cuneiform used symbols (called pictographs) to represent things, concepts, ideas, etc. • Scribes went through rigorous study to master the art of cuneiform. • Bad handwriting & talking during class was punished by caning. • Oh how times have changed…

  8. Sumer’s Legacy • Culture spread through trade to Asian Minor, Egypt and as far east as the Indus River Valley • Cuneiform • Astronomy • First to identify constellations • 60 minutes in one hour; 24 hours in one day • Epic of Gilgamesh • First story to be written down, passed on

  9. After Sumer… • 2300 B.C. Sargon, the ruler Akkad, came down from the north and conquered Sumer • By 1790 B.C. Mesopotamia was unified under the rule of Hammurabi, the King of Babylon

  10. Hammurabi’s Code • King Hammurabi’s greatest accomplishment was writing down (codifying) the laws of the land • WHY? • “Eye for an eye” • Fair?

  11. Many empires follow… • Hittites: Ironworking • Assyrians: Warriors; Libraries • Babylon (again): Nebuchadnezzar • Re-built canals and temples • Fortified the city with a moat and giant wall • Built gateways meant to please the gods and allow people to pass through the defensive wall Ishtar Gate 

  12. Persia • 539 B.C. Babylon falls to Cyrus the Great’s Persian army • Built the largest empire to date, encompassing a wide variety of cultures and beliefs • How do you think Cyrus treated the diverse groups in his empire? • Emperor Darius I creates a complex system of government; built roads to unite the far-reaches of his empire • Darius transitioned Persian from a barter economy to a money economy • Linked his empire economically

  13. The Phoenicians • Small state on the Mediterranean Sea • What was their main industry? • “Carriers of Civilization” • Set up trading outposts, or colonies, around the Mediterranean Sea • Phoenician alphabet • How is this different than cuneiform?