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  • 1. THE HISTORY OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION I Lecture 1 HIST 101 Professor Wright January 26 th , 2011
  • 2. THE FERTILE CRESCENT THE BIRTH OF CIVILIZATION IN THE NEAR EAST
  • 3. Civilizations of the Fertile Crescent, 10,000 – 2000 B.C.E.
    • The Neolithic Era,
    • 10,000 BCE–3000BCE
    • Preceded by Paleolithic Era: hunting + gathering
    • Farming techniques evolve
      • Irrigation + the plow
      • Domestication of plants + animals
  • 4. Agricultural Revolution
    • 9000-6000 BCE: permanent settlements + domestication of plants/animals.
    • Two major discoveries:
    • Domestication of plants: collecting wild grain for food, transplanting/growing in new areas
    • Domestication of animals to serve human needs
  • 5. Possible Causes Of The Agrarian Transformation
    • Shift in climate : retreat of the glaciers (12,000 BCE). Changed distribution + growth of crops
    • Shift to sedentary farming : due to population growth. Hunters move into new territories
  • 6. Results of Agricultural Revolution
    • Shift in relationship of man to nature: active, not passive
    • Increase in food supply. Results:
    • Infant mortality decreases
    • Populations expand
    • Permanent settlements of greater size + complexity
    • Emergence + growth of trade
    • More coordination + organization needed.
    • *4000-3000 BCE: first cities appear*
  • 7. Disadvantages of Rise of Agriculture
    • Specialization: possible disaster during famine
    • Vulnerability to disease, population crashes
    • Vulnerability to variations in climate
    • More labor intensive work
  • 8. Social Consequences and Transformations
    • Eg. 1: Jericho (West Bank of Jordan River)
    • Growth :
    • Expanded to nearly ten acres, 2000-3000 residents
    • Grew into a fortified town with ditches, stone walls, and towers
    • Trade :
    • Long-distance commercial exchanges
    • Religious Developments: Religious structure to regulate social behaviors, i.e. Human skulls: ancestor worship
  • 9.
    • Jericho: Social Hierarchies
    • Building projects needed organization with a directing, managing function
    • Egalitarianism of hunter-gatherer societies diminished, class divisions emerge
    • Specializations in economy = inequalities of wealth + status
    • Food production easier = less farming, increase in other professions
    • i.e. craftsmen, laborers, merchants, officials
  • 10. Eg. 2 Abu Hureyra
    • Overview:
    • Excavated 1972 + 1973
    • Modern day N. Syria
    • Skeletons found, 10,000-7000 yrs old
    • Inhabitants cultivated domesticated seeds
    • Significance :
    • Evidence of transition from foraging to farming
    • Bones reveal details of daily life + social activities of community
  • 11. Abu Hureyra: Agricultural Discoveries
    • Evidence of agricultural cultivation : Genetic make-up in rye grains = evidence of selective planting.
    • Period of climate change affected wild plant supply. To ensure supply of food plants, cultivation developed.
    • Evidence of vigorous food preparation in deformities of bone structure.
    • Saddle querns uncovered: tools used to grind the grains
  • 12. Birth of Civilization: Sumer
    • 6000 B.C.E, farming + herding standardized
    • Uniform culture = Sumerian civilization
    • Overview
    • Tigris + Euphrates Rivers
    • 3000-2000 BCE: Sumerians inhabit
    • Over 10,000 square miles
  • 13.
    • 2500 BCE, 12 City-states
    • Each city-state: economically interdependent, geographically independent + isolated
    • Alluvial plain: more fertile than north
    • Little rainfall, need for irrigation ditches. Community cooperation, rich yield of crops, population growth
  • 14.
    • Political Organization and Economy
    • 3000 - 2900 BCE: specialized craft industries emerge. Economic interdependence of towns
    • Each city-state ruled by a king, who controlled:
    • Construction of buildings and temples
    • Maintenance of irrigation systems
    • Deliberation of justice
    • Formation and amendment of trade and defense policies
    • Economic resources
    • Election to hereditary
    • Elite: priests, aristocrats, civil administrators, wealthy merchants lived near temples in luxury; the rest in small mud-brick houses
  • 15.
    • Sumer: Religious Beliefs
    • Polytheistic + Anthropomorphic
    • Subservience + sacrifice to Gods
    • Divination + art of the occult
    • Mythiopic religion – Enuma Elish
    • Central deities:
    • An, god of the sky
    • Enlil , god of wind. Controlled fertility of soil + storms
    • Enki , god of the earth, rivers, wells, + canals. Waters of creativity - inventions + crafts
    • Ninhursaga , goddess of soil, mountains, + vegetation. Later mother goddess, manifested power by giving birth to kings.
  • 16.
    • Gods: created laws of Sumerian society
    • Each city-state: particular god
    • Ziggurat: Monumental temple to worship + house a city’s god
  • 17. Cultural Achievements
    • 1. Cuneiform ("wedge-shaped") system of writing.
    • Pressed symbols into clay tablets with sharp objects
    • Uruk, 3200 B.C.E: earliest known example
    • Record keeping
    • Image: Sample Sumerian characters circa 3200 BCE
  • 18.
    • What did they record?
    • Quantities of produce + livestock, taxes, accounts, contracts
    • Literature, i.e. Epic of Gilgamesh
    • Why did they record?
    • Growing increase in trade (helped reduce disputes + keep peace)
  • 19.
    • Other Cultural Achievements
    • 1. Inventions: the plow + the sailboat
    • 2. Innovations in Mathematics
    • 3. Divided circle into 360 degrees + developed counting system based on sixty
    • 4. Potter’s wheel, wagon, + chariot: for transportation + warfare
    • 5. Architecture, i.e. Ziggurats + city walls
    • 6. Mastery of engineering (irrigation systems)
    • 7. Astrology + movements of planets, stars, moon
  • 20.
    • Political Developments
    • 3360 B.C. to 2400 B.C – Sumerian Civilization
    • Emergence of kings, primarily military leaders, but used idea of Kingship. Power away from temple priests.
    • Emergence of warring Sumerian city-states, fought for increased territory + power
    • 2400 B.C. to 2200 B.C – Akkadian Kingdom
    • Sumer conquered 2340 BCE by Sargon I, king of city of Akkad.
    • Unified empire, end hostilities among city-states. How?
  • 21.
    • 1. 1st conscripted army to mobilize laborers for irrigation + flood-control works
    • 2. Akkadian Kings: symbols of unity + semi-divine figures
    • Challenge: Raising Revenue for public buildings, irrigation projects, temples, army
    • Solutions:
    • Kings leased out farmlands
    • Conquered people to pay regular tribute
    • Heavy taxes on imported raw materials
  • 22.
    • 2200 – 2000 B.C.E
    • Civil unrest: fall of Akkadian Kingdom
    • Cities of Sumer: reunited by Ur-Nammu
    • Synthesis of Sumerian + Akkadian cultures
    • Most important innovation: Ur-Nammu + collection of laws
    • *Note: This is a central tradition in Western Civilizations that follow*
  • 23.
    • Amorite Invasions
    • 2000 B.C. attacks of Amorites + Elamites destroyed Ur
    • Political fragmentation: unity + economy destabilized
    • Two new kingdoms, Babylonia + Assyria
    • 1762 B.C.E –Mesopotamia under rule of King Hammurabi of Babylon
  • 24. Lecture 1: What do you need to know?
    • 1. Agricultural Revolution: Meaning, Causes, and Results
    • 2. Social Consequences of Agriculture. Examples:
    • Jericho
    • Abu Hureyra
    • 3. Birth of Civilization: Sumer
    • Political Structure and Economy
    • Religious Beliefs
    • 4. Cultural Achievements
    • 5. Civil Unrest – Akkadian and Ammorite Invasions

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