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Ancient Civilizations History Study Guide

Ancient Civilizations History Study Guide



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Published by mayanb
Part 1 of the Ancient Civ. study guide for history (goes up till Hittites)
Part 1 of the Ancient Civ. study guide for history (goes up till Hittites)

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Published by: mayanb on Sep 16, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1-1: Human Origins in Africa
1970’s: archeologist Mary Leakey found prehistoric footprints like that of modern humans in Tanzania (EastAfrica)
made by australopithecines (type of hominid- walks upright)
In Ethiopia, complete skeleton of adult female hominid “Lucy” from 3.5 million yrs ago
Early hominids had opposable thumbs and walking upright helped travel distances and carry things
Invention of tools, mastery over fire, development of languages all occurred during the Stone Age
Earlier and longer part of Stone Age called Paleolithic Age (2,500,000-8000BCE)
Oldest stone chopping tools date back to this era; during the Ice Age
Religious beliefs centered around nature; believed in afterlive
Neolithic Age (8000-3000BCE/ dates vary in places)
People learned to polish stone tools, make pottery, grow crops, raise animals
Before australopithecines vanished, new hominids (
 Homo habilis
) appeared in East Africa
Used lava rock tools to cut meat and crack open bones = made survival easier
1.6 million yrs ago, before
 Homo habilis
 Homo erectus
more intelligent and adaptable than
 Homo habilis
; used intelligence to develop technology; skillfulhunters with sophisticated tools; first hominids to migrate to India, China, SE Asia, EU
developed beginning of spoken language; first to use fire
Homo erectus
evolved to
 Homo sapiens
Had larger brains
Neanderthals in SW Asia and Europe survived for 170,000 yrs and vanished 30,000 yrs ago
Religious beliefs; shelters
Cro-Magnons emerge 40,000-8,000 BCE: identical to modern humans
N. Africa -> Europe, Asia; made tools with specialized uses; planned hunts; spoken language =cooperation
Cave paintings by primitive people: European and Asian show hunting and daily activities; American andAustralian more symbolic = sympathetic magic
1-2: Humans Try to Control Nature
40,000 yrs ago, Cro-Magnons same as modern man
Paleolithic era, mostly nomads= hunter-gatherers; crafted crude tools i.e. sharpened sticks to aid hunting/gathering
Made artistic creations: jewelry, sculptures, cave paintings
Neolithic Revolution: 10,000 yrs ago, = agricultural revolution (climate change was key reason)
Early farming methods: slash-and-burn, domestication of animals
Took place in Fertile Crescent (NE Iraq/Mesopotamia)
Farming develops independently in Africa, China, Central America…
Catal Huyuk and Jarmo important agri. sites for studying Neolithic Age
Permanent settlements created, benefits= surplus food, specialized workers
Disadvantages= floods/fire/drought/disease destroy village; invasion by neighbors1-3: Civilization
Villages become cities:
Economic changes: more cultivation
elaborate irrigation systems built; food surplus=specialization;wheel and sail improved trade
Social: social classes formed; religion more organized
worshipped gods with power over nature
Civilization characteristics: 1. Advanced cities 2. Specialized workers 3. Complex institutions 4. Record keeping5. Advanced technology 6. Art and ArchitectureSumer (
Ur in bold)
Advanced cities: center of trade for larger area; large population
Defined social classes: rulers/ priests on top; trade w. bartering
Spec. workers: artisans; merchants; scribes; soldiers; teachers; metalworkers; priests; gov. officials; peasants
Complex inst.: formal gov. with laws; priests with religious/political power; education system (for scribes)
Record keeping: cuneiform tablets with business transactions, hist. events, customs, traditions; calendar
Adv. Tech:
ox-drawn plows; irrigation systems;
pottery eating supplies;
weapons; body armor
Roads, pottery
Art and Architecture:
(massive pyramid temple)
, temples, temple gates, storage for grain
2-1: Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia = “land between the rivers”- Tigris and Euphrates
Environmental challenge; unpredictable flooding; no natural barriers; limited natural resources
Solutions: irrigation ditches; city walls; traded worked materials for raw materials
Sumerians had city-states each with own gov. (Uruk, Kish, Lagaash, Umma, Ur)
Each had own ziggurat
Rulers (military leaders) and priests share control: priests mostly (demanded crop taxes)
Military leaders had dynasties; shift from priests to military rulers
Cultural diffusion: new ideas spread to other cities
Sumerians = polytheistic (see English)
No joy after death- afterworld is bad place
Women priests, women had many rights: landholding, read, write, scribes
Technology: invented wheel, sail, plow, first to use bronze, arithmetic, geometry, base 60 number system,modern time units come from it
Architectural innovations: arches, columns, ramps, pyramid ziggurat
First to develop system of writing (cuneiform) on tablets: written with pointy triangular tipped reeds
3000-2000 BCE, Sumer city-states constantly at war with each other and could no longer ward of attacks of people of surrounding hills/deserts
Sumer never recovered from attacks and succeeding rulers adopted Sumerian culture to their own needs
c. 2350 BCE, conqueror Sargon with army from Akkad (city-state N. of Sumer) defeated Sumer
Akkadians already had adopted most of Sumerian culture; Sargon’s conquests spread the culturefurther beyond Tigris-Euphrates Valley
By taking control of N. and S. Mesopotamia, Sargon created 1
At peak, Akkadian Empire controlled Mediterranean Coast in the west to Iran (today) in the east
Lasted only 200 yrs before decline
c. 2000 BCE, nomadic warriors (Amorites) invaded Mesopotamia and overwhelmed Sumerians
established capital at Babylon along Euphrates River
Babylonian Empire reached peak during reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE)
Hammurabi’s Code of laws: first single, uniform code of laws written down in stone all over empire
282 specific laws many related to property issues; protected women and children from unfair treatment
diff. punishment for diff. social classes; principle of retaliation (eye for an eye…)
gov. responsible for society’s actions
2 centuries after Hammurabi’s reign, Babylonian empire fell to Kassites2-3: Pyramids on the Nile
Egypt united into single kingdom early on
Nile flows N.: civilization arose along fertile Nile banks
Nile flooded regularly: necessary for life; deserts as natural barriers
River travel common- ended at 1
cataract (rapids)
winds blow upstream (N to S) so you can travel by sailboat upriver and down
5000 BCE farming villages with own rituals, god, ruler
3200 BCE- 2 separate kingdoms: lower and upper Egypt
eventually united (most likely) by King Narmer

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