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  • Categorized as the earliest of all civilizations as people formed permanent settlements Mesopotamia is a Greek word that means “between the rivers” Specifically, the area between the Tigris River and Euphrates River (present day Iraq) Mesopotamia is not within the "Fertile crescent“, it is in the more desert area that the "Fertile crescent" arcs around
  • Little rainfall for crops Hot and dry climate in the summers Winters brought fierce windstorms leaving muddy river valleys Springs brought catastrophic flooding of the rivers Arid soil containing little minerals No stone or timber resources
  • Shows diversity of religion from different regions Yet all of Mesopotamia shared the same religion and the same prominent gods
  • Important for gods to be honoured by religious ceremonies Ceremonies performed by priests in sacred temples Temples created from mud brick and placed on platforms due to constant flooding Temples evolved to ziggurats- a stack of 1-7 platforms decreasing in size from bottom to top Famous ziggurat was Tower of Babel (over 100m above ground and 91m base)
  • Established the social, economic and intellectual basis of Mesopotamia First to develop writing in the form of cuneiform Sumerians are credited to have invented the wheel Became the first city of the world However, the Sumerians were not successful in uniting lower Mesopotamia
  • Leader: Sargon the Great Sargon’s greatest achievement was the unification of lower Mesopotamia (after conquering Sumerians in 2331 BCE) Established capital at Akkad Spread Mesopotamian culture throughout Fertile Crescent Yet dynasty established by Sargon was short-lived… Akkadians were conquered by the invading barbarians by 2200 BCE
  • 10 th century BCE, Assyria emerged as dominant force Assyrian reunited Mesopotamia and established the first true empire Assyrian army was most feared due to their brutal, bloodthirsty & terrorizing tactics and use of iron weapons, battering rams, chariots Assyrian Empire stretched from Persian Gulf north and West to Syria, Palestine and Egypt However, states began to revolt and ONCE AGAIN, Assyrian Empire collapsed by late 7 th century BCE By 539 BCE, Mesopotamia part of the vast Persian Empire (led by Cyrus the Great) Persian Empire dominated for 800 years until Alexander the Great
  • From 1922 to 1934, an archaeologist named C. Leonard Woolley excavated the site of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur City famed in Bible as the home of patriarch Abraham many great discoveries such as extravagant jewelry of gold, cups of gold and silver, bowls of alabaster, and extraordinary objects of art and culture opened the world's eyes to the full glory of ancient Sumerian culture Great Death Pit Found at Ur was a mass grave containing the bodies of 6 guards and 68 court ladies (servants of kings and queens) servants walked down into the grave in a great funeral procession they drank a   poisoned  drink and fell asleep never to wake again, choosing to accompany the kings and queens in the afterlife
  • codified laws the concept of kinship and the city-state the building of places of worship (ziggurats) the birthplace of writing (cuneiform) Invention of the wheel Oldest written records of a story of creation date back to Mesopotamia First civilization to make a prosperous living based on large scale agriculture
  • Mesopotamia

    1. 1. Mesopotamia: “The Cradle of Civilization”
    2. 2. Earliest Civilization: the Fertile Crescent <ul><li>earliest of all civilizations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>permanent settlements </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mesopotamia Greek for “between the rivers” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tigris River and Euphrates River </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>present day Iraq </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lasted for approximately 3000 years </li></ul><ul><li>Its peoples were the first to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>irrigate fields </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>devise a system of writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>develop mathematics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>invent the wheel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>work with metal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>devise a written law code </li></ul></ul>
    3. 4. Geographic Conditions <ul><li>Little rainfall </li></ul><ul><li>Hot and dry climate </li></ul><ul><li>Wind and rain storms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>muddy river valleys in winter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>catastrophic flooding in spring </li></ul><ul><li>Arid soil containing little minerals </li></ul><ul><li>No stone or timber resources </li></ul>
    4. 5. Then why live in Mesopotamia? <ul><li>NATURAL LEVEES : embankments produced by build-up of sediment over thousands of years of flooding </li></ul>
    5. 6. Natural Levee <ul><li>create a high and safe flood plain </li></ul><ul><li>make irrigation and canal construction easy </li></ul><ul><li>provide protection </li></ul><ul><li>the surrounding swamps were full of fish & waterfowl </li></ul><ul><li>reeds provided food for sheep / goats </li></ul><ul><li>reeds also were used as building resources </li></ul>
    6. 7. Sumerian Civilization <ul><li>The first Sumerian cities emerged in southern Mesopotamia around 3200 B.C. </li></ul><ul><li>Nomadic herders settled in the Southern part of Mesopotamia and gradually changed the farming way of life </li></ul><ul><li>They built dams and dikes to keep the rivers from flooding their fields. </li></ul><ul><li>The farming villages emerged along the river and grew into 12 city-states </li></ul>
    7. 8. Worshiped many gods. Believed gods controlled every aspect of life. Saw afterlife as a grim place. Everybody would go into darkness and eat dust. To keep the gods happy, each city built a ziggurat, or pyramid temple. Each state had distinct social hierarchy, or system of ranks. Most people were peasant farmers. Women had legal rights; some engaged in trade and owned property. City-states with hereditary rulers. Ruler led army in war and enforced laws. Complex government with scribes to collect taxes and keep records. RELIGION SOCIAL STRUCTURE GOVERNMENT
    8. 9. “ The Cuneiform World” Mesopotamian Trade
    9. 10. Mesopotamian Trade System <ul><li>The two rivers provided a way to ship goods </li></ul><ul><li>The wheel and the sail improved transportation system </li></ul><ul><li>Marketplace were present in Mesopotamian cities </li></ul>
    10. 11. Religion <ul><li>Polytheistic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>over 3600 gods and demigods </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kingship created by gods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>king’s power was divinely ordained </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gods lived on the distant mountaintops </li></ul><ul><li>Each city was ruled by a different god </li></ul><ul><li>Kings and priests acted as interpreters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>they told the people what the god wanted them to do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by examining the liver or lungs of a slain sheep </li></ul></ul>Ishtar, goddess of fertility, war, sex Enki, god of water, life, mediation Enlil – supreme god of air Shamash sun god and giver of law
    11. 12. Sumerian Religion - Polytheistic Enki Innana Anthropomorphic Gods <ul><li>Enki - the god of rain </li></ul><ul><li>Marduk - principal god of Babylon </li></ul><ul><li>Ashur - god of the Assyrian </li></ul><ul><li>empire </li></ul><ul><li>Gula (in Sumerian) or Shamash </li></ul><ul><li>(in Akkadian) - sun god and god </li></ul><ul><li>of justice </li></ul><ul><li>Ishtar - goddess of war </li></ul><ul><li>Ereshkigal- goddess of the </li></ul><ul><li>underworld </li></ul><ul><li>Nabu- god of writing </li></ul><ul><li>Ninurta- Sumerian god of war and god of heroes </li></ul><ul><li>Iškur- god of storms </li></ul><ul><li>Pazuzu - an evil god who brought diseases which had no known cure </li></ul>
    12. 13. Ziggurats <ul><li>Temples dedicated to the god of the city </li></ul><ul><li>Made of layers of mud bricks in the shape of a pyramid </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On platforms due to constant flooding </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Temple on top god’s home </li></ul><ul><ul><li>beautifully decorated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a room for offerings of food and goods </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Temples evolved to ziggurats </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a stack of 1-7 platforms decreasing in size from bottom to top </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Famous ziggurat was Tower of Babel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>over 100m above ground and 91m base </li></ul></ul>Ziggurat of Ur -2000BCE
    13. 14. Ziggurat at Ur <ul><li>Temple </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mountain of the Gods” </li></ul>
    14. 15. The Royal Standard of Ur
    15. 16. Mesopotamian Harp
    16. 17. Board Game From Ur
    17. 18. Sophisticated Metallurgy Skills at Ur
    18. 19. <ul><li>Political structure - early form of democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent wars led to the emergence of warriors as leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually rise of monarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Followed leadership of god of the city </li></ul><ul><ul><li>interpreted by a council of leading citizens or priests or leader of the city - king </li></ul></ul>Government
    19. 20. Sumerians Southern Mesopotamia 3500-2000 BCE <ul><li>Irrigated fields and produced 3 main </li></ul><ul><li>crops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>barley, dates and sesame seeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>built canals, dikes, dams and drainage systems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>developed cuneiform writing </li></ul><ul><li>invented the wheel </li></ul><ul><li>Abundance of food = increase of population </li></ul><ul><li>First city of the world </li></ul><ul><li>Developed a trade system with bartering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>mainly barley but also wool and cloth for stone, metals, timber, copper, pearls and ivory </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Individuals could only rent land from priests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>controlled land on behalf of gods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>most of profits of trade went to temple </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Sumerians were not successful in uniting lower Mesopotamia </li></ul>Ruins of Babylon in present day Baghdad Sumerian city of Lagash
    20. 21. Sargon of Akkad: The World’s First Empire [Akkadians]
    21. 22. Akkadians Akkad- northern Mesopotamia 2340 – 2180 BCE <ul><li>Leader Sargon the Great </li></ul><ul><ul><li>unified lower Mesopotamia after conquering Sumerians in 2331 BCE </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Established capital at Akkad </li></ul><ul><li>Spread Mesopotamian culture </li></ul><ul><li>Akkadians conquered by invading barbarians by 2200 BCE </li></ul>Bronze head of Sargon
    22. 23. The Babylonian Empires
    23. 24. Babylonians 1830-1500 BCE <ul><li>KING HAMMURABI </li></ul><ul><li>Conquered Akkad and Assyria </li></ul><ul><li>Built </li></ul><ul><ul><li>walls to protect the city </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>canals and dikes to improve crops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Economy based on agriculture and wool </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals could own land </li></ul><ul><li>Artisans and merchants could keep most profits and even formed guilds </li></ul><ul><li>Grain used as the medium of exchange </li></ul><ul><ul><li>emergence of currency : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>shekel = 180 grains of barley; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mina = 60 shekels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Mina was eventually represented by metals - one of first uses of money </li></ul><ul><ul><li>still based on grain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hammurabi’s Legacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>law code </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Babylonians reunited Mesopotamia in 1830 BCE </li></ul><ul><li>central location dominated trade and secured control </li></ul><ul><li>YET AGAIN, Mesopotamia was not unified for long… </li></ul>
    24. 25. Code of Hammurabi 1800 BCE <ul><li>To enforce his rule, Hammurabi collected all the laws of Babylon in a code that would apply everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>First and most extensive law code from the ancient world </li></ul><ul><li>Code of 282 laws inscribed on a stone pillar placed in the public hall for all to see </li></ul><ul><li>Set of divinely inspired laws; as well as societal laws </li></ul><ul><li>Punishments were designed to fit the crimes as people must be responsible for own actions </li></ul><ul><li>Origin of “eye for an eye…” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If a son struck his father, son’s hand would be cut off </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consequences for crimes depended on rank in society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor = hand off, nobles = pay a fine </li></ul></ul>Hammurabi receiving law code from sun god Shamash
    25. 26. Hammurabi’s Code
    26. 27. Hammurabi, the Judge
    27. 28. <ul><li>City of Assur - became important trading and political centre </li></ul><ul><li>After Hammurabi’s death, Babylon fell apart and kings of Assur controlled more of surrounding area and came to dominate </li></ul><ul><li>Made conquered lands pay taxes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>food, animals, metals or timber </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rule by fear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>first to have a permanent army made up of professional soldiers estimated 200 000 men </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Iron changed lifestyles in Mesopotamia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>replaced wooden wheels and applied to horse drawn chariots </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Superior weapons </li></ul></ul><ul><li>States began to revolt </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assyrian Empire collapsed by late 7th century BCE </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By 539 BCE, Mesopotamia was part of the vast Persian Empire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Led by Cyrus the Great Persian Empire dominated for 800 years until Alexander the Great </li></ul></ul>Assyrians 1100 -612 BCE
    28. 29. Development Of WRITING
    29. 30. Development of Writing <ul><li>Click here to see the development of writing from pictograms to cuneiform </li></ul><ul><li>Pictograms: picture to show meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Ideograms: signs to represent words / ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Phonetics: signs to represent sounds </li></ul><ul><li>*Phonetics are the basis of most writing systems </li></ul>
    30. 31. Writing - 3500 BCE <ul><li>Allowed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>transmission of knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the codification of laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>records to facilitate trade/farming </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CUNEIFORM meaning “wedge shaped” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wet clay tablets with the point of a reed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dried in the sun to make a tablet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scribes only could read and write </li></ul><ul><ul><li>served as priests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>record keepers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>accountants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Spread to Persia and Egypt </li></ul><ul><ul><li>vehicle for the growth and spread and exchange of ideas among cultures </li></ul></ul>
    31. 32. Cuneiform Writing
    32. 33. Deciphering Cuneiform
    33. 34. Schools were established: <ul><li>Only few people (particularly the boys) were trained to write cuneiform </li></ul><ul><li>They were sons of upper-class professionals (priest, temple and palce officials, army officers, sea captains and other scribes) </li></ul><ul><li>The students who learned the art could work as scribes for the temple, the royal court or wealthy merchants </li></ul>
    34. 35. Sumerian Scribes “ Tablet House”
    35. 36. Gilgamesh - The First Epic Poem <ul><li>Over 4000 thousand years old, written on 12 clay tablets </li></ul><ul><li>Epic battle between Enkidu -wild man, good heart and Gilgamesh – controlling king </li></ul><ul><li>The two became friends and had adventures </li></ul><ul><li>Made the gods angry so they killed Enkidu – Gilgamesh wanders the underworld in grief </li></ul><ul><li>Why important? </li></ul><ul><li>Earliest known author – Sin-leqi-unninni </li></ul><ul><li>Mentions great flood similar to story of Noah’s Ark </li></ul>
    36. 37. Royal Tombs of Ur <ul><li>Excavated from 1922 to 1934 </li></ul><ul><li>Extravagant jewelry of gold, cups of gold and silver, bowls of alabaster, and extraordinary objects of art and culture </li></ul>Jewellery from Royal Tombs of Ur 3000 BC <ul><li>Great Death Pit </li></ul><ul><li>mass grave containing the bodies of 6 guards and 68 servants </li></ul><ul><li>drank poison to accompany the kings and queens in the afterlife </li></ul>
    37. 38. Mathematics and Science <ul><li>Mesopotamia, specifically Babylon used a mathematical system based on sixty </li></ul><ul><li>Some parts of the ‘base-sixty’ system still remain today </li></ul><ul><ul><li>360 degrees in a circle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>60 seconds in a minute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>60 minutes in 1 hour </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Calendar based on cycles of the moon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>number of days between the appearance of two new moons was set as a month </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12 cycles made up a year </li></ul></ul>
    38. 39. Babylonian Math <ul><li>They drew up multiplication and division tables and making calculations using geometry </li></ul>
    39. 40. Babylonian Numbers
    40. 41. Legacies of Mesopotamia <ul><li>Codified laws </li></ul><ul><li>Ziggurats – places of worship </li></ul><ul><li>Cuneiform writing </li></ul><ul><li>Irrigation </li></ul><ul><li>Metal working, tools </li></ul><ul><li>Trade networks </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation – the wheel </li></ul><ul><li>Mathematics and calendar </li></ul><ul><li>Prosperous living based on large scale agriculture </li></ul>