ACTIVITY: In your notebooks:
Make up a story containing at least 10 of these words:
Advice: try to make short and easy sentences but correct!
The first great civilizations appeared around 5,000 years ago. They were
They were river civilizations so
they had fertile land around.
Their rivers were:
-China: the Yellow and Blue rivers.
-India: the Indus river.
-Mesopotamia: the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
-Egypt: the Nile river.
1- River civilizations
1- River civilizations
THE INVENTION OF WRITING
The invention of writing marks the beginning of History, so the end of
Writing appeared in Mesopotamia over 5,000 years ago.
Writing was a way of storing information about taxes, trade and population in
Mesopotamian civilization was
the first in using writing about
5,000 years ago.
Cuneiform writing was
Writing made it possible to
organize the state, for
example, by recording how
much grain there was.
It was also used to record
stories of important heroes or
divinities, that’s the beginning
of written literature.
Characteristics of river civilizations:
.Very powerful ruler (king, emperor, pharaoh).
.He made laws.
.He led the army.
.He had religious functions.
.He was served by civil servants or state officials.
.It was hierarchical.
.Privileged people owned most of the land and wealth.
.Most of the population were poor.
- There were large-scale building works, such as palaces, temples, tombs
Exercises 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 on page 145.
Mesopotamia means between the rivers. It was the territory
between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.
Mesopotamian first cities
The first urban civilization appeared in
the low area of Mesopotamia. In Sumer,
a fertile land between the Tigris and
Euphrates rivers, the first cities emerged
(Ur, Uruk, Lagash and Eridu). They were
They were surrounded by walls. Outside
the walls there were farmland crossed
by irrigation canals. Most of the
population were peasants.
Agricultural prosperity made it possible
for some inhabitants could work in other
jobs, such as trade or craftsmanship.
Traders began to use coins in their
City-states and empires
City-states in Mesopotamia were ruled by kings.
Some kings expanded their territories through
conquests and alliances until they became empires:
After Sumer (3000 BC, Uruk, Ur), there were: the
Akkadians (2300 BC), the Babylonians (after 1800
BC), the Assyrians (afteR 1350 BC), and finally the
Neo-Babylonian Empire (late 7th c. BC).
In the 6th c.BC the Persians conquered the region.
Exercises 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 on page 143.
3- Society and Art in Mesopotamia
Ancient Mesopotamia had a complex society. It was hierarchical. There were
three social classes: nobility, free citizens, and slaves. The king was in the top.
The nobility or aristocracy included priests, and priest-kings. The priest-kings
were believed to be the representative of the city’s patron God or Goddess. They
lived in temples and were the city's tax collectors. All people of the nobility class
were in charge of maintenance, construction, and organization of the canals. It
included also the family of the king.
The free people class was a combination of a modern day middle and lower
classes: merchants, craftsmen, and anyone who was involved in trade. They lived
in the city. Farmers, fishermen, shepherds, and hunters made up the lower class.
These people lived on the outskirts of the city and were responsible for the food
The slave class was the lowest class, made up of prisoners of war, and these
slaves could be bought or sold. The slaves were allowed to marry and have a family
if they wished.
Women in Mesopotamia.
In ancient Mesopotamia, women were not
considered equal to men.
They had some rights but not all rights.
Women could go out of their houses and go to the market. They
were allowed to own their own property and even own
businesses. They could become involved in court cases. If their
parents were so inclined, they could learn to read and write and
even get a paid job. But they were not allowed a vote in the
assembly, so they had no voice in making laws.
Family life in Mesopotamia
In ancient Mesopotamia families were very important. The family was the
basic unit of society and there were certain things that could and couldn`t be
For example, a woman living in Mesopotamia could do or go anywhere she
wanted as long as she had her husband's permission. In the case of a divorce,
both man and woman would pay a fine, and if there were no children, the divorce
was easy. If the couple did have children, the woman faced severe penalties.
The children in a family had to respect their parents because disrespecting
parental figures was considered a grave sin.
If the family was in an incredibly bad financial situation, then the children
would be sold even though selling children was considered a bad omen. Males
were the prefered gender in ancient Mesopotamia and the men in Mesopotamia
were far more powerful than the women.
What was Mesopotamian
Religion and Food
Mesopotamian religion and food were closely connected. Food was often
offered to the Gods as a sacrifice.
The everyday food that people ate included beef, lamb, pork, goat, duck,
and geese. Bread was also very popular. All Mesopotamians enjoyed eating, and
the richer the family was, the more food they had.
Religion in Mesopotamia was rather complex. They believed that the world
was a flat disk that was surrounded by hollow space. They also believed that the
ocean surrounded them. Ancient Mesopotamians were polytheistic and relied
on spiritual remedies to stay healthy. Mesopotamians believed that the Gods
must be treated with respect, because they were the providers for the
Mesopotamian civilization. The Mesopotamian also built structures called
ziggurats. Ziggurats were believed to be the stairways of the Gods.
Religion in Mesopotamia
Ziggurats (temples) were
placed in the city center. They
were devoted to the city God
or Goddess. Priests lived
there. They controlled crops,
trade and imposed taxes. the
priest-king was the city
leader, he had civil servants
to help him.
The Code of Hammurabi
Some examples of laws:
- If a freeman brings false testimony in a
case that carries the death sentence, he
shall be put to death.
- If a builder builds a house and does not
make the construction firm and the house
collapses and causes death of the owner,
that builder shall be put to death.
- If a trader borrows money from a
merchant and then denies it, and the
merchant can prove this loan was made,
the trader shall pay the merchant three
times the amount he borrowed.
Why was the Nile
crucial to Ancient Egypt?
- The Nile was essential for
Ancient Egypt because:
.Land fertility (black land)
.Water was so important
for human needs and agriculture
The history of Egypt
In the 4th
in Lower Egypt
(near the Nile delta)
and Upper Egypt
How did Ancient Egypt change?
The chronology of the kingdoms
There were three main periods:
1- Old Kingdom (3100 BC- 2200 BC): Capital city: Memphis.
2- Middle Kingdom (2200 BC- 1800 BC): Capital city: Thebes.
3- New Kingdom (1600 BC- 1100 BC): Capital city: Thebes.
Canopic jars were used by the Ancient
Egyptians during the mummification
process to store and preserve the viscera
of their owner for the afterlife. They were
commonly either carved from limestone
or were made of pottery. These jars were
used from the time of the Old Kingdom.
The viscera were not kept in a single
canopic jar: each jar was reserved for
Royal Standard of Ur
The Standard of Ur is a Sumerian artifact excavated from what had
been the Royal Cemetery in the ancient city of Ur (located in modern-
day Iraq). It is approximately 4,500 years old and it was probably
constructed in the form of a hollow wooden box with scenes of war and
peace represented on each side through elaborately mosaics. Although
interpreted as a standard by its discoverer, its original purpose remains
enigmatic. It was found in a royal tomb in Ur in the 1920s next to the
skeleton of a ritually sacrificed man.
It presents a series of scenes displayed in three registers, upper,
middle and bottom. The two mosaics have been dubbed "War" and
"Peace" for their subject matter, respectively a representation of a
military campaign and scenes from a banquet.
In your notebook, answer the following questions about the previous video
(do not forget to use full sentences!):
1.What does the olive branch symbolized?
2.Which city-state does the standard come from?
3.What is the name of the archeologist who discovered the Standard?
4.What was the function of the Standard?
5.Can we know if there was a social organization in that time with the
information represented in the Standard?
6.Is there anyone more important than the rest? why do you know it?
7.Is there any musician? What is he playing?
8.What do the scenes on the back of the Standard represent?
9.Does the king appeared in the back? Where? Why do you know it?
10.Express your opinion: Tell us what do you think now about this piece of art.