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Mesopotamia
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  • 1. Birth of Civilization: Mesopotamia Humanities I Dr. Whitney Vandiver Redlands Community College
  • 2. Ancient Societies Sumer  ~ 4,000-2,000 BC Assyrian Empire  Regional settlements united ~ 2,300 BC with Sumerian settlements Babylonian Empire  ~ 2,000 BC with the combination of Sumer and Babylonian settlements Persian Empire (First)  ~ 550-350 BC Hebrews  Nomadic society
  • 3. Sumer A network of city-states with individual rulers Greatly agriculturally-based Bronze-age brought about greater agricultural tools Nomadic tribes were the greatest threat because of small “cities” and no unified force. Sargon I united the city-states ~ 2350 BC and ruled as theocratic monarch for 56 years  first multi-ethnic empire  fell to nomadic tribes who improved systems and tools Polytheism, theocratic monarchy, and systems of bartering continued through changes in societies and rule.
  • 4. Class & Social Order Division among society is recorded as early as 2700 BC Religious servants, military, royal staff, and the educated served separate purposes, which offered a social stature. “Standard of Ur” panel depicts division among class War, trade, and social expectations continued through the goal of societal success.
  • 5. Babylon ~ 2000 BC, Babylonian and remaining Sumerian city- states were combined for the First Babylonian Empire. Hammurabi (6th Babylonian monarch) Code of Hammurabi  combination of statutes from city-states  282 laws engraved on a 7-foot tall stele  most specific and comprehensive law of ancient society  resembles story of Moses on Mount Sinai  punishment and application differed based on social class
  • 6. Changes in Gender Views The Babylonian Creation  earliest cosmological myth, ~ 2,000 BC  similar to a big bang story with a simultaneous creation of the universe and gods  The Great Mother, Tiamat, is destroyed by hero-god Marduk  offers shift from matriarchal society to patriarchal gods Code of Hammurabi labeled woman as property of men despite having commercial abilities and protection because of child-bearing status.
  • 7. Gilgamesh First recorded epic poem, long narrative about a hero Initially orally spoken, written down ~3000 BC Possibly based on an early Sumerian ruler 2/3 god, 1/3 mortal—a Hercules-type figure who rejects the goddess Ishtar and loses his companion Only recourse is to search for eternal life, which he discovers in the form of a plant to restore youth Symbolism resembles some Biblical literature  mortal who saves humankind from a flood  serpent who steals the plant
  • 8. Mesopotamian Architecture ziggurat—religious buildings for burial and rituals to rise closer to gods