1. THE BIRTH OF THE FIRST CIVILISATIONS
They appeared in distinct places but share some characteristics:
Chronology: around 6000 B.C
Location: They appeared on the banks of large rivers:
They developed irrigation techniques that took advantage
of the rivers´ water
the villages became cities
They created a strong political power and hierarchical societies:
- New skills emerged, e.g gold and silver smithing
new social groups.
Each group had a different status ( some people were more important than
- Trade developed thanks to a transport system based on rivers
- The government and public administration were created to organise the city
- Kings or pharaohs ( divine) and priests had the power and decided the laws.
- Society began to pay taxes
- WRITING appeared around 3500 B.C . It was used for administration
BEGINNING OF HISTORY
2. MESOPOTAMIA : natural environment and history
LAND BETWEEN RIVERS
Tigris and Euphrates
The location and fertility of its lands(
very rich) made it attractive to live.
Different groups of people settled there
and built independent city states.
These were conquered by different
These rivers , every spring
when the ice melted,
overflowed the valleys,
fertilising the soil with
mud ( silt). The land
northern mountain region
The Persian Gulf
It can be also divided into 3 regions:
2.2 THE HISTORY OF MESOPOTAMIA
The political history of Mesopotamia was defined by the alternating of power
between different nations:
In the third millennium B.C Sumerians had the hegemony.
Organized themselves in independent city-states such us Ur, Uruk….
Built dykes and canals
Around 2330 Sargon I of Akkad conquered Sumer . Around 2200
they were defeated and a long period of division took place
The city of Babylon dominated the rest of the territory and unified
Mesopotamia. Babylonian Empire was founded. It reached its
splendour in the time of King Hammurabi
They created a great empire that went from Persian Gulf to the
Babylonians became powerful again and conquered the Assyrians.
Neo- Babylonian Empire was created.
In 539 BC the Persian conquest put and end to the Mesopotamian
The first writing ever know corresponds to the Sumerians around 3500 BC.
People wrote on clay tablets that were left to dry. They wrote with a sharp
This kind of writing is known as cuneiform because the signs they wrote
were composed of wedges.
It was used for writing administration documents, account and laws.
3. LIFE AND CULTURE IN MESOPOTAMIA
• The main economic activities were:
• Agriculture: fields irrigated by water transported by a system of
canals and dykes
• Craftwork: clay pots, wool cloth, leather work.
• It was very hierarchical and divided into ranks.
• The highest rank was occupied by the king who was all-powerful(
political, military, religious power, lawmaker)
• In a second rank were the ruling caste ( priest, public servants and
• In the middle rank were the free people such as farmers, artisans..
• In the lower rank were the slaves
• CITYS: had defensive walls. Houses had a rectangular courtyard but
Social pyramid class
Imagen anaya pag 104
Mesopotamians were polytheistic( several gods)
Gods were human-shaped but were immortal.
They also believed in life after death.
Temples were the houses of the gods
• There were libraries.
• Arts: epic of Gilgamesh, The code of Hammurabi.
SCIENCES • They made advances in sciences: maths, astronomy,
• Materials: adobe bricks. Marble and alabaster as decoration
• They used arches and vaults.
• Three types of buildings:
Temples: They included ziggurats: tower with various storeys
connected by stairs. The last level was a sanctuary and an
• Statues: idealised images of gods and rulers
• Reliefs: a way of decorating with designs that stick out a lot
• Size: The more important was the person the bigger they were
• The purpose of these sculptures was propaganda( heoric deeds)