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, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, & Iraq - Many chose Mesopotamia – Eastern Fertile Crescent - Located between Tigris & Euphrates Rivers “Land between the Rivers” Tigris & Euphrates used for farming - Rivers were unpredictable & flooding was dangerous - Not as predictable as the Nile - Farmers built dams & channels to control flooding - Producing an abundance of grain by 4000 bc Sumerian Civilization - 3500 bc, people settle in Southern Mesopotamia – Sumer - Believed to be home of first cities. - 12 city states in T-E valley by 3000: UR, Uruk, Eridu - Poplulation range from 20,000 – 250,000 - Shared common language, culture & religion - Each city had a ziggurat - -Ziggurats were raised temples to the sky - Each city-state was independent - Council – military leaders – kings – hereditary - King – Military leader & Priest - Laws involved fines not punishment - Commerce & Trading important to Sumerians - Developed writing – cuneiform - - Wedge shaped marks made with stylus on wet clay - Sumerians went to school to be writers - Works still exist - Poem “Gilgamesh” was written in 1850 bc. - Similary to Hercules. - Polytheistic Religion - Gods represent nature - Each city-state had its own special god - Believed gods were vengeful - Belived that afterlife was grim & had little control of their daily lives - Sumerians invented wagon wheel, arch, potter’s wheel, sundial - Number system based on 60 & 12 month calendar Mesopotamian Empires 2000 BC – city-states begin to fall to invaders Sargon I leads Akkadians – 2300 BC Mother abandons him in a reed basket on the Euphrates river
Rescued and raised by farmer Established kingdom in North Mesopotamia – Akkad Sargon wants to expand empire Unites city state 800 years before Egyptian new kingdom Akkadian language replaces Sumerian
Amorites - Expanded into Syria - Overrun Sumerian city-states and capture city of Babylon - Babylon becomes capitol and Hammurabi becomes king - Hammurabi strengthens government - Babylon becomes major trade center – Egypt to China - Produced grain & cloth - “To make justice appear in the land” - Collected laws of different city-states - 282 law sections dealing with daily life - Penalized wrongdoers severely - “eye for an eye” - Laws were written to protect the less powerful - Three classes of Babylonian social classes – Kings, priest, nobles- artisans, farmers – slaves - Most slaves were captured in war - Used cuneiform for writing - Babylonian empire declines after Hammurabi’s death - Hittites break empire apart