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Chapter 1 Reading Guide: From Human Prehistory to the

Early Civilizations

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Chapter Summary. Between the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic) and the New Stone Age (Neolithic)12,000 to
8,000 B.C.E.changes in human organization and food production prepared the way for the emergence of the
first civilized societies. Neolithic development of agriculture was the first truly revolutionary transformation in
human history. Neolithic farmers were able to remake environments to suit their needs, producing surpluses for
the support of specialized elites in agriculture, commerce, and manufacturing. The combination of factors
usually resulted in urban settlements marked by complex social stratification. Full civilizations emerged first in
the Tigris-Euphrates valley, by 3500 B.C.E., and in Egypt along the Nile by 3000 B.C.E. The two very different
civilizations had distinct political and cultural characteristics that influenced political forms, art, science, and
architecture of neighboring and distant succeeding generations. Many small centers sprang up after 1500 B.C.E.,
mixing their cultures with Mesopotamian influences. Some of the smaller cultures had major influences. The
Phoenicians, a maritime commercial society, absorbed important influences from major civilization centers, and
around 1300 B.C.E., they devised a simplified alphabet that became the ancestor of the Greek and Latin lettering
systems. The Hebrews, a Semitic people influenced by Babylonian civilization, moved into the southeast corner
of the region around 1600 B.C.E. Their distinctive achievement was the development of a monotheistic and
ethical religion that has persisted through the ages and is the basis of Christianity and Islam. East and South Asia
also developed unique civilizations near great river systems. Chinese civilization emerged along the Huanghe
River. In North China the formation of the Shang kingdom, from around 1500 to 1122 B.C.E., and the
succeeding Zhou dynasty, marked the origins of the distinctive and enduring Chinese civilization. The ancestor
to Indian civilizations, Harappa, flourished in the Indus River Valley. All early river valley civilizations
encountered difficulties around 1000 B.C.E., establishing a break between the early and later periods of
civilization. Climatic change, administrative weakness, and Nomadic Aryan invaders brought an end to the
Harappan period in India between 1500 and 1000 B.C.E. The Aryans established the basis for a new pattern of
civilization in South Asia.


How long have humans impacted the history of the earth?


What was life like during the Paleolithic Age? (technology, art, religion, etc.)






What distinguishes the Mesolithic Age?


THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION
What are the 2 reasons for the initial development of agriculture?


What accompanied farming?

How long did the revolution take?

Why is it referred to as a revolution?

What are the positive and negatives that go with sedentary agriculture?



Chapter 1 Reading Guide: From Human Prehistory to the
Early Civilizations

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What was the general reception to settled farming?

In what parts of the world did agriculture not take hold? Why?

How did agriculture spur specialization?


What kinds of innovations were very helpful to agriculture? Which were most helpful? Why?


CIVILIZATION
The need to manage what caused people to establish towns and develop the first governments?


What is, Catal Huyuk? Why is it so significant?



Where did early civilizations arise?

What are key characteristics of civilization?


Why did civilizations develop writing?

Who is not included in the history of civilization? Why?

What are the social differences between civilizations and hunter-gather societies?
How did civilizations impact their environment?

In general, where were the first civilizations located? Why?

INDIVIDUAL CIVILIZATIONS
TIGRIS-EUPHRATES INDUS RIVER VALLEY
POLITICAL

















ECONOMIC


















Chapter 1 Reading Guide: From Human Prehistory to the
Early Civilizations

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RELIGIOUS








SOCIAL








INTELLECTUAL
/ARTISTIC









NEAR:
GEOGRAPHY
















EGYPT CHINA SHANG
POLITICAL

















ECONOMIC

















Chapter 1 Reading Guide: From Human Prehistory to the
Early Civilizations

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RELIGIOUS








SOCIAL








INTELLECTUAL
/ARTISTIC









NEAR:
GEOGRAPHY












THINKING HISTORICALLY--THE IDEA OF CIVILIZATION IN WORLD HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
What do the terms barbarian and civilized mean? How have their meanings changed over time?







THE HERITAGE OF THE RIVER VALLEY CIVILIZATIONS
Describe the legacy of these civilizations. How important were they? Why?







Chapter 1 Reading Guide: From Human Prehistory to the
Early Civilizations

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GLOBAL CONNECTIONS

How were Egypt and Mesopotamia different?



Which of the 4 early river civilizations had the least influence? Why?




RETROSPECTIVE: FROM HUNGING AND GATHERING TO CIVILIZATIONS
What accounts for the similarities found in the early river civilizations?






What 3 kinds of contacts existed during the early phases of human history?






What is diffusion?









**DONT FORGET TO STUDY THE BOLD FACED KEY TERMS IN THE MARGINS.**