Ancient Mesopotamia & the Fertile Crescent. Introduction. Mesopotamia , in Southwest Asia, was one of the earliest known human civilizations. Historians use the term civilization to describe a culture that has reached a certain level of development .
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Introduction • Mesopotamia, in Southwest Asia, was one of the earliest known human civilizations. • Historians use the term civilization to describe a culture that has reached a certain level of development. • These cultures used systems of writing, built cities, and assigned workers to specific jobs, such as farmers, blacksmiths, builders, and priests.
Geography of Ancient Mesopotamia • Mesopotamia lay between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now Syria and Iraq. • Mesopotamia means “between the rivers”. • This area of rich farmland was the site of the first permanent human settlement.
Geography of Ancient Mesopotamia • The region is often called the FertileCrescent. • The era of Mesopotamia is known as the BronzeAge because they made wide use of the metal bronze, which is a combination of copper and tin.
Farming in Ancient Mesopotamia • The area of Mesopotamia was settled around 4500 B.C. • Wandering peoples who hunted animals and gathered plants for food settled in large numbers along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. • Then people saw rich, fertile soil left by the waters from the yearly floods and knew it would be a productive area to farm.
Farming in Ancient Mesopotamia • Over the next 500 years, the settlers built an irrigation system to control the flooding of the rivers and to better water the land. • They created a 12-month calendar based on the phases of the moon to better predict the floods. • They grew grain and wheat for the first time.
Government in Ancient Mesopotamia • Some of the villages and towns grew into cities of up to 40,000 people. • The city-state of this time was made up of the city and farmland around it. • The city-state was a theocracy - it was ruled by an individual who was both the religious leader and the king.
Sumer • The earliest of the city-states was Sumer,located near the PersianGulf. • The Sumerians created a form of writing known as cuneiform. • It was written with wooden triangular-shaped sticks on moist claytablets. • This system of writing includes hundreds of wedge-shaped forms.
Akkad and Babylon • Around 2300 B.C., Akkad conquered Sumer and several other city-states to create the first empire, whichis a group of states under one ruler. • Babylon took over the empire around 1800 B.C. • Babylon’s greatest king was Hammurabi whowrote a set of laws in an attempt to create justice and fairness.
Akkad and Babylon • The set of laws known as Hammurabi’s Code helped people know the laws and the punishments for breaking the laws. • The Babylonians developed a number system based on 60. • Our 60-minute hour, 60-second minute, and 360-degree circle came from this Babylonian system.
The Phoenicians • The Phoenicians were important traders of the time. • They lived in what today is Lebanon. • The Phoenicians traveled far and used the sun and stars to navigate. • They developed an alphabet that grew into the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets that are still in use today.