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  1. 1. Mesopotamia “Land Between the Rivers”
  2. 2. Geographic Setting <ul><li>A crescent shaped region in the valley between the TIGRIS and EUPHRATES Rivers </li></ul><ul><li>Stretches from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent farmland and water supply from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers </li></ul><ul><li>Very few geographic barriers enabled people, customs, and cultures to mingle = cultural diffusion </li></ul>
  3. 3. Map of Mesopotamia
  4. 4. Mesopotamian Civilization <ul><li>First civilization in Mesopotamian was the Sumerians </li></ul><ul><li>Lived in political units called city states, which consisted of a city and its surrounding areas </li></ul><ul><li>The Sumerians were polytheistic, they believed in many gods and goddesses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gods and goddesses were closely tied to nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ziggurats – large pyramid like temples in which people could climb steps to reach a shrine at the top </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping gods happy was important to the city state </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Ziggurat
  6. 6. Government and Social Structure <ul><li>Each city state had a ruler who held political power and was chief servant to the gods </li></ul><ul><li>Social Structure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ruling family </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government officials, priests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Merchants, artisans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peasants </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Cuneiform <ul><li>Wedge shaped writing system developed in Mesopotamia </li></ul><ul><li>Formed by pressing a pen like instrument called a stylus into soft clay tablets </li></ul>
  8. 8. Contributions <ul><li>Built the first wheeled vehicles </li></ul><ul><li>Developed irrigation systems and canals </li></ul><ul><li>Explored mathematics, especially algebra and geometry </li></ul>
  9. 9. Code of Hammurabi <ul><li>Developed by Hammurabi, the powerful ruler of Babylon </li></ul><ul><li>Best known for his laws, called </li></ul><ul><li>the Code of Hammurabi </li></ul><ul><li>First major collection of </li></ul><ul><li>WRITTEN laws in history </li></ul><ul><li>Favored higher classes </li></ul><ul><li>Punishment was very harsh </li></ul><ul><li>“Eye for an eye” </li></ul>