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  2. 2. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?? Mesos = middle Potamos = river Therefore… land between the rivers
  3. 3. FIRST INHABITANTS 3000 BC: Sumerians arrived from Asia 2600 BC: Akkadians from Syrian desert 2200 BC: Amorites from Syrian desert 2000 BC: Luvians and Hittites from Indo- Europe 1800 BC: Hurrians from the Caucasus (Asia)
  4. 4. POLITICAL ORGANIZATION Collection of independent states Early government was democratic Built and maintained roads and canals Enforced laws Settled disputes Due to rivalries that led to war, villages appointed the strongest warrior to lead them, lugal (“big man”) Led to the decline of democracy and rise of monarchy that was hereditary and despotic
  5. 5. *THE SUMMERIANS, 3500 – 2400 BC First city-states established: Eridu: 3500 BC, pop’n 4,000 Ur: 3000 BC, pop’n 24,000 City-states such as Kish, Erech, Ur, and Lagash compete but remain independent Fight several “skirmishes” over water, land
  6. 6. *SARGON THE GREAT, 2400 BC Defeats Sumerian cities and unites them under the first Empire Later expands to Egypt, Palestine, Ethiopia Develop cuneiform, first system of writing
  7. 7. CUNEIFORM Pictographic system of writing Cuneiform documents were written on clay tablets, by means of a reed stylus. The impressions left by the stylus were wedge shaped, thus giving rise to the name cuneiform ("wedge shaped," from the Latin cuneus, meaning "wedge"). v=T6HPEUtgoas&list=PL8xPTYspb0O0IglDteMTo97v6CfNd QG1a&index=22 v=HbZ2asfyHcA&list=PL8xPTYspb0O0IglDteMTo97v6CfNd QG1a&index=1
  8. 8. *EPIC OF GILGAMESH, 2600 BC Oldest piece of literature Signals start of recorded, organized religion v=qOrfrHys8g8
  9. 9. SUMERIAN SOCIETY Nobility King Chief priests High palace officials Free Clients (worked for nobility in exchange for land) Commoners (free citizens, owned land, artisans, administrators) Slaves
  10. 10. AKKADIANS Sargon, Semitic chief, conqured Sumerians in 2331 BC Capital at Akkad Dynasty fell to invading barbarians by 2200 BC
  11. 11. *THE BABYLONIANS, 1900-1300 BC Reunited Mesopotamia by dominating trade King Hammurabi conquered Akkad and Assyria (north and south) in 1750 BC By 1550 BC, Babylon in decline
  12. 12. *CODE OF HAMMURABI Establishes the Code of Hammurabi: Received from the god Marduk 282 laws of behaviour to govern society
  13. 13. *ABRAHAM Biblical Abraham lives at this time Has 2 sons:  Ishmael = Muslims/Arabs  Isaac = Hebrews/Jews God/Yahweh, one of 300 gods at the time, tells him to settle in “Promised Land,” Canaan/Israel Therefore, birth of Judaism; roots of modern political problems
  14. 14. THE ASSYRIANS, 1300-609 BC In 10th Century BC, Assyria emerged as dominant force in Mesopotamia after 700 years of turmoil Assurnasirpal II established first true empire ever from Persian Gulf north and west to Syria, Palestine, and Egypt using the power of fear
  15. 15. *KING ASHURBANIPAL, 676 BC Establishes world’s first library (22,000 books on clay tablets) Few kings could read and write Yet also a fierce, warlike people; great advances in military technology and organization Last great King of Assyria Helps Ashur become most powerful city in Mesopotamia Power of fear could not last forever and subject states revolted in late 7th century BC
  16. 16. *THE CHALDEANS 609 – 530 BC King Nebuchadnezzar Babylon returns to power in Mesopotamia Warrior king who conquers and destroys Jerusalem In book of Daniel (Bible)
  17. 17. *HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON Ancient architectural achievement (7 Wonders of Ancient World) Huge stone walls; wide terraces; surrounding moat; interior wells with pumps
  18. 18. *ZIGGURATS High temples Built to honour the gods; central location in the city Like a pyramid but flat on top Bridge between heaven and earth
  19. 19. CYRUS THE GREAT Ruled with tolerance and fairness Difference of religion accepted, fair taxes, local officials reported to Persian governors called satraps Benevolent rule brought stability and survived for 800 years before the Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, conquered it.