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River Valley Civilizations

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  1. River Valley Civilizations • Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus, and China

  2. Fertile Crescent River Valley

  3. Mesopotamia • Mesopotamia is from the Greek • Meso=Land between • Potamia=The rivers • The Tigris and the Euphrates are the primary rivers flowing into the Persian Gulf • They flooded once a year • This gave farmers silt to plant in • Silt allowed for large crop yields

  4. Geography of the Fertile Crescent • The fertile crescent is located between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea in Southwest Asia

  5. Disadvantages and Solutions inMesopotamia • Unpredictable flooding/Drought at other times • Developed irrigation • No natural barriers for defense • Built walls around villages • Limited resources • Trade for raw materials

  6. Sumerians Create City States • By 3000 BCE Sumerians had built cities • Shared their culture • Developed their own governments • Each city and the surrounding land formed a city-state • Functioned like independent countries

  7. The Role of Priests and Rulers • Early government was controlled by the priests • The temple and priests had important functions in everyday life • During war the strongest fighter was chosen to lead the military • Power ended when the war ended • As war became more common they took total control of the military • Eventually took control of the city-state

  8. The Spread of Cities • Sumerians engaged in long distance trade • 2500 BCE city-states were all over the Fertile Crescent (Syria, Iraq, and Turkey) • Resulted in Cultural Diffusion • The transfer of an idea or product from one culture to another

  9. Sumerian Culture • Religion was polytheistic: made up of many gods • Creation myth is in the Epic of Gilgamesh • First social classes are established • Invented the wheel, sail, and plow • Architecture known for use of columns and arches • Sumerian writing known as cuneiform

  10. The First Empire Builders • From 3000 to 2000 BCE the Sumerians were in constant wars • This weakened the city-states • Neighboring civilizations attacked and conquered • Sumerian civilization was adapted to these conquerors needs

  11. Sargon of Akkad • 2350 BCE Sargon defeated the city-states of Sumer • The Akkadians adopted most Sumerian culture • Spread Sumerian culture beyond Mesopotamia • Sargon’s dynasty lasted 200 years before it declined

  12. The Babylonian Empire • 2000 BCE the Amorites invaded Mesopotamia and took the capital at Babylon • The Babylonian empire reached its height under the ruler Hammurabi • 1792 to 1750 BCE

  13. Hammurabi’s Code • Hammurabi knew that a single code of laws would unify his empire • The existing rules were combined into the Code of Hammurabi • Relied on the “eye for an eye” principle • Government had a responsibility for what occurred in society

  14. Nile River Valley

  15. The Geography of Egypt • The Nile flows northward across Africa • It floods annually and was used for transportation • Egypt is divided into upper and lower • Southern portion is upper Egypt • Northern portion is lower Egypt • Egypt is divided by the cataracts: rapids on the Nile

  16. Egypt Unites Into a Kingdom • 3200 BCE Egypt is divided into two kingdoms • King Narmer united the two kingdoms • Resulted in the double crown • Capital located at Memphis where upper and lower Egypt met • Began the period known as the Old Kingdom

  17. Pharaohs Rule as Gods • Egyptians believed their pharaohs were gods • Government based on religious authority is known as a theocracy • Pharaohs made the sun rise, the Nile flood, and crops grow • Promoted truth and justice • Pharaoh ruled even after death • The ka (life force) never died

  18. Why Build Pyramids • Since the ka continued to live its needs must be met • This is why Egyptians built pyramids • The Great Pyramid is more than 2 million cut stone blocks • Height is 481 feet • Covers more than 13 acres

  19. Egyptian Culture • Polytheistic: believe in more than one god • Re - The sun god • Osiris - The god of the dead • Isis - Mother goddess • Egyptians believed in an afterlife • Judged for their deeds after death • Mummification was for the royal and elite

  20. Life in Egyptian Society • Society was governed by a class structure • Could marry into a higher class • Could work their way into a higher class • To earn highest position they had to be able to read and write • Army • Royal treasury • Priesthood • Pharaohs Court

  21. Egyptian Writing • The development of writing was the key to the development of Egyptian society • Hieroglyphics: Greek for Hieros and Gulph, meaning sacred writing • Originally written in clay tablets • Later written on papyrus: paper from papyrus reeds

  22. Egyptian Science and Technology • Calendar based on 365 days, 12 months of 30 days, 5 extra days for feasting and holidays • System of written numbers for counting, adding, and subtracting • Medicine • Check pulse • Set broken bones • Treat wounds • Treat fevers • Surgery

  23. Indus River Valley

  24. Geography of the Indian Subcontinent • Indian subcontinent: India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh • Separated from Asia by the Hindu Kush, Karakorum, and Himalayan ranges • Indus and Ganges rivers made it a good place to settle • Monsoons from mid-July to October brought rain • Sometimes caused flooding • If the monsoons failed, drought threatened crops

  25. Environmental Challenges • The yearly floods were unpredictable • The rivers sometimes changed course • Monsoons were unpredictable

  26. Civilization Emerges on the Indus • Consisted of over 100 planned cities • Most are in present day Pakistan • Called Harappan civilization • Cities laid out on grid system • Buildings were uniform in size • Plumbing a sewage systems were built

  27. Harappan Culture • Language • Modern linguists have not deciphered it yet • Consists of about 400 symbols • The symbols have dual purpose • Phonetic sounds • Direct objects

  28. Culture • Few weapons have been found indicating peaceful civilization • Toys indicate prosperity • Animals were important in culture • Religion is like modern day Hinduism

  29. Indus River Civilization Ends • 1750 BCE building quality decreases • A 1970 satellite photo revealed evidence of earthquakes • Probably accompanied by flooding and changes in the rivers course • Trade became impossible and people left the cities • 1500 BCE the Aryans (nomads from the north) invaded the valley. • Indian civilization continued under the Aryans

  30. Ancient China

  31. Geography of China • Natural barriers isolated China from other river civilizations • To the east - Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean • To the west - deserts and the icy Plateau of Tibet • In the southwest - Himalayan Mountains • In the north - The Gobi Desert and Mongolian Plateau

  32. The River Valleys of China • The Yellow River (Huang He) and Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) provided early Chinese civilization with the water needed for development • Huang He often flooded destroying villages • Due to isolation China did not trade. • They had to produce everything themselves. • Natural boundaries did not totally protect China from invasion

  33. Civilization Emerges in Shang Times • The Chinese civilizations were thriving before Mesopotamian • 2000 BCE the first Chinese cities emerge • Mythical first dynasty called the Xia Dynasty • Led by a mathematician named Yu • Created flood control and irrigation to control the Huang He • Shang Dynasty emerged in 1700 BCE and lasted until 1027 BCE • They were the first to leave written records

  34. Shang Dynasty Fought Many Wars Northern China Shang Dynasty 1700 BCE-1027 BCE Left Written Records Lived in walled Cities

  35. Development of Chinese Culture • Family • The group is more important than the individual • Chief loyalty is to the family • Filial Piety : respect for elders • Women were inferior to men • Marriages are arranged

  36. Social Classes • The ruling class was made up of the warrior nobles • They owned the land • They governed scattered villages • Sent tribute (payment) to the Shang king

  37. Religious Beliefs • The family ancestors (spirits) held power over the family • Could bring good and bad fortune to living family members • The spirits were not gods • The family made sacrifices to ancestors to keep them happy

  38. Development of Writing • Each character stood for one syllable or unit of language • No connection between written and spoken Chinese • The writing system was unified throughout China • Spoken Chinese varied by region • People needed to know 1,500 characters to be barley literate • Scholars had to know 10,000 characters • Limited the education of the Chinese

  39. Zhou and the Dynastic Cycle • Around 1027 BCE a people called the Zhou overthrew the Shang • The Zhou adopted much of the Shang culture • The mandate of heaven: the ruler was given divine approval • Good kings were supported by the gods and poor kings were removed from power

  40. Dynastic Cycle disasters such as floods, famines, peasant revolts, and invasions occur in time, dynasty declines and becomes corrupt; taxes are raised; power grows weaker Strong Dynasty establishes peace and prosperity, it is considered to have mandate of heaven old dynasty is seen as having lost Mandate of Heaven; rebellion is justified dynasty is overthrown through rebellion and bloodshed; new dynasty emerges new dynasty gains power, restores peace and order, and claims to have mandate of heaven

  41. Zhou Government • Controlled through Feudalism • Feudalism: a political system in which nobles, or lords, are granted the use of land legally belonging to the king. The nobles owe loyalty and military service to the king and protection to the people who live on their estates • At first the lords submitted to the Zhou • Gradually the lords grew stronger and the towns expanded • Local lords became less dependent on the Zhou and began to war between themselves

  42. Improvements in Technology and Trade • Built roads and canals • Coined money • Built blast furnaces • Allowed for iron production

  43. III. Seafaring Traders

  44. A. The Minoans • Lived on the island of Crete in the Aegean Sea • Traded in the eastern Mediterranean • Their culture influences the early Greeks

  45. B. Culture • They were a peaceful society • Their civilization ended about 1200 BCE • Possibly due to earthquakes and volcanoes