The Fertile Crescent is of great world-historical significance. It gave birth to and sustained many great civilizations. The Fertile Crescent is the place where agriculture and civilization first arose, the birthplace of our alphabet, the place where great religions first uplifted the souls of mankind, the home of philosophers, saints, poets, explorers and conquerors.
The Twin Rivers • Settlement began around 5000 B.C. • Euphrates and Tigris Rivers • No regular supply of water • Unpredictable and destructive floods • Dams, canals, ditches built to help damage done by floods
II. The Sumerian Civilization • First arrived around 3500 B.C. • Built first city-states • Independently governed • Military leader • King and priest
The Sumerian Civilization (con’t) • C. Sumerian law • Well regulated family • Women under authority of men • System of writing: Cuneiform • 1. Wedge shaped clay
The Sumerian Civilization (con’t) • Polytheistic religion • gods were selfish, little regard for human beings • Worshipped at a Ziggurat, step pyramid • No afterlife
Ziggurat, form of temple common to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians. The earliest examples date from the end of the 3rd millennium BC, the latest from the 6th cent. BC. The ziggurat was a pyramidal structure, built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform, with a shrine at the summit. The core of the ziggurat was of sun-baked bricks, and the facings were of fired bricks, often glazed in different colors, which are thought to have had cosmological significance. Access to the summit shrine was provided by a series of ramps on one side or by a continuous spiral ramp from base to summit. The number of tiers ranged from two to seven. Notable examples are the ruins at Ur and Khorsabad in Mesopotamia. Similar structures were built by the Mayan people of Central America.
The Sumerian Civilization (con’t) • Technological inventions • Wagon wheel • The arch • The sundial • Metallurgy to make Bronze
Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East Sumerians (3500 B.C.-1792 B.C.) Akkadians (2300 B.C.-2000 B.C.) Babylonians (1792 B.C.-1650 B.C.) Hittites (1650 B.C.-1200 B.C.) Hebrews (1200B.C.-586 B.C.) Phoenicians (1000 B.C.-700 B.C.) Assyrians (750 B.C.-605 B.C.) Chaldeans 605 B.C.-550 B.C.) Persians (525 B.C.-331 B.C.)
Hammurabi’s Law Codes Specific punishment for each violation