Early River Valley Civilizations (Mesopotamia Ch 2 Sec 1 (Sumer (By 3000B…
Early River Valley Civilizations
Ch 2 Sec 1
Geography - Mesopotamia had geographical disadvantages: unpredictable rain together with periods of no rain or little rain.
No natural barriers for protection, nearly defenceless.
To solve this problem they built city walls with mud bricks
Natural resources were limited, building was hard since the required items were scarce.
For defense they built city walls with mud bricks
To provide water they dug irrigation ditches that carried river water to their
fields and allowed them to produce a surplus of crops.
By 3000B.C., Sumerians had built a number of cities, each surrounded by fields of wheat. They shared the same culture, but they developed their own governments, each with it's own ruler, this formed city-states.
Ur was the center of all Sumerians cities, they had a walled temple with a ziggurat in the middle.
Culture, they were polytheistic (believed in many gods). These gods controlled the forces of nature.
Sumerian women had rights
Cuneiform writing system
Fertility - Fertile Crescent "land between the rivers" Tigris and Euphrates were the reason why Mesopotamia's population increased so much and so fast.
With the extra food production society felt protected enough to increase their population, and this situation could only occur because of the fertility that the rivers caused.
The rivers flooded at least once a year, leaving mud called silt.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
"Were the fabled gardens which adorned the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, built by its greatest king Nebuchadnezzar II. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World." Said Mark Cartwright, who wrote an article about this for the Ancient History Encyclopedia
Ancient History Encyclopedia Article
Sargon of Akkad
Conqueror that controlled northern + southern Mesopotamia
World's first empire
Babylonian reached its peak during the reign of Hammurabi
Hammurabi's Code engraved in stone and copies were placed all over his empire.
His code applied to everyone, it set different punishments for rich and poor and for men and women "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"
Ch 2 Sec 2
Union of the kingdoms
In 3200 B.C. villages of Egypt were under 2 different kingdoms (Lower and Upper Egypt)
Lower = used the red crown
Upper = used the white crown
Their combination showed the unification of Egypt
Kings were considered gods (pharaohs)
Theocracy: type of government in which rule is based on religious authority,
Power of pharaohs declined about 2180 B.C., marking the end of the Old Kingdom
Believed in afterlife
Royal and elite Egyptians' bodies were preserved by mummification, involves embalming and drying the corpse to prevent it from decaying.
Life in Egyptian society
Social hierarchy formed a pyramid. King, queen and royal family stood at the top. Below other members of the upper classes. Then, middle class. At the base was the lower class, peasant farmers and laborers.
Hieroglyphics was their writing system
The Gift of the Nile
Longest river in the world
In July rains and melting snow cause floods
River area in the south = Upper Egypt, from the First Cataract to the point the river starts to fan out into many branches
Lower Egypt = to the north, near the sea, includes the Nile delta region.
Ch 2 Sec 4
Their natural barriers were the mountain ranges and deserts, that occupied 2/3 of the landmass
Rivers: Huang He and Chang Jiang
Floods devoured whole villages = China's sorrow
Less trading because of natural barriers
People settled the river valley = 500,000 years ago
Xia = First Chinese dynasty
Shang Dynasty (1700 B.C. to 1027 B.C)
First family of Chinese rulers to leave written records
Constantly at war
People who lived outside of Chinese civilization were barbarians
China = center of the civilized world
China = Middle Kingdom (in their view)
Family was the center
Women were treated as inferiors
Social classes : nobles and peasants
Religion : believed that the spirits of family ancestors had the power to bring good fortune or disaster
Worshiped a supreme god = Shang Di
Oracle bones = animal bones which priests had scratched questions for the gods
No links between China's spoken language and it's written language
Advantage: unify large diverse land control was easier
Disadvantage: many characters to be memorized
Indus River Valley
Ch 2 Sec 3
Indian subcontinent = landmass of India + Pakistan +Bangladesh
Two natural protections: mountains and the desert
Seasonal winds = monsoons dominate India's climate
Oct - Feb winter monsoons blow dry air westward across the country.
Mid Jun - Oct the winds shift. The storms are so strong that floods happened.
Indus River = excellent means of transportation for trade goods, provided link to the sea.
People arrived by the sea from Africa = south
Evidence from agriculture/domesticated sheep and goats about 7000 B.C.
While Egyptians were building pyramids, people in the Indus River were laying the bricks for India's first cities
Largest cities = Kalibangan, Mohenjo - Daro and Harappa had sophisticated city planning
Indus Valley Civilization = Harappan civilization
They developed a written language
Impossible to decipher, about 400 symbols make up the language.
Social divisions in the society were not great and clearly unequal
Not many weapons were found, suggesting conflict was limited
Animals played an important role
Also practiced theocracy
In 1970, satellite images revealed shifts in tectonic plates, they probably caused earthquakes and floods and alterated the course of the Indus River
Cities were destroyed
Sarswati, another river, was dry and trade was impossible
People were forced to leave their cities in order to survive
Theories for decline
1- These small communities could not produce the agricultural surpluses needed to support cities.
I think this one is the most acceptable because it unites the difficulty of having surpluses to support the cities growth and maintenance and this might have happened because of the reduced water supply, of the other theory.
2- The eastward shift pf the monsoons may have reduced the water supply, forcing the Harappans to migrate into isolated villages.
3- Indo-Europeans, the Aryans, conquered the Indus River Valley.