T he Bi r th of Civ il iza tio n

3000-1700 BC

The Birth of Civilization
• Agricultural Revolution: Increased Carrying Capacity of Land, more people could live together. • Rivers provided fresh water that could irrigate fields and allow crops to grow. • Irrigation & flood control led to growth of villages, towns, (need for leaders, organizers) • Food Surpluses encouraged Economic specialization (different jobs such as artisans and farmers)

Creating Government
• Government Power: People trade some of their power as individuals for group protection. • Leaders: Authority given to a strong leader can help in war or in large building projects. • Benefits of Leadership: Victory in war gave people new land to farm as well as ability to use former no mans land. Large irrigation projects helped grow more food. • Chiefdoms Developed: Power once given is hard to take back leadership became hereditary. Chief collects tribute and can force people to work on large projects like dams, irrigation canals etc.

Powhatan: the father of Pocahontas, ruled over a Chiefdom of about 30 tribes.

• Chiefdoms found in Middle East by 5000 BC. • Larger than tribes: often contain 50,000 or more people. • Built large public works: temples, burial monuments, irrigation systems. • Chiefs compete with other chiefs. By killing enemy chief victor takes loosing chiefs subjects and land. • Chief and his top warriors get best food and resources. • Hard for chief to live to old age. Many

Chiefdoms could build large Armies

The Zulu built a powerful African Chiefdom in the 19th century AD.

Chiefdom Warfare
• War became less a controller of population. • “common” people became pawns of elites. Peasants more valuable alive and producing for new rulers. Less killing of non warriors. • Big battles settle issue instead of constant raids. Many men but few women killed. Losers added to controlled population instead of being killed. • War deaths in chiefdom societies around half the war deaths among foragers or tribal farmers. • Many people still live in chiefdoms and tribes today. Modern “chiefs” in places like Somalia or Afghanistan are called local warlords by news media.

• Large Chiefdoms developed into states. • Can be many times larger than Chiefdoms. • States are complex societies with many institutions: classes, kings, courts, clubs, political parties, nobles and peasants. • Individuals more specialized, live less complex lives than people in tribes. • Elites and non elites are usually hereditary.

Problems of States • States have the same population and food issues as tribal farmers and forager bands with added problem of a central authority trying to impose its will on the situation. Solutions • States can move food from one area to another to feed people where there is a shortage. • In very bad times elites can let part of population starve and prevent them from trying to fight for survival. (Starve the peasants.) • Infanticide: killing babies, practiced at times in most states including Greece, Rome, China, Japan and India.

Organization of an early state:
• • • •

The King: he had military powers. The Governors: they governed the territories of the kingdom. They were generals and judges at the same time. The Aristocracy: they were nobles, priests and traders. The Peasants and Slaves: the people who work the land.

The King The Governors The Aristocracy The Peasants

8 Pillars of Civilization
• • • • • • • • Cities: almost what makes a society a civilization. Complex Government : Developed States, chiefs became kings built palaces. Created Bureaucracy. Writing (keep track of trade items and taxes!) Social Classes or Stratification: dividing society into different classes (at top nobles; at bottom slaves) Public Works: Bigger projects: Irrigation Canals, Great Wall of China. Complex Religion: Often mixed with government. Priest Kings and God Kings. Specialization and Technological Innovations (metal working, wheel, shipbuilding), Increased longdistance trade. Architecture: Large Temples, Palaces, Pyramids of Egypt.

• A place where many people live close together. Often at a center of trade. Early cities usually surrounded by a wall for protection. • Through most of history a city was a place where population was lost. In cities more people died than were born. Urban residents had few children and lack of sanitation and crowding spread disease. • A State is a city or cities surrounded by farmers. The farms provided the food and people needed to maintain the city. • Many early civilizations centered around single independent cities known as City-States.

Sumer, 3200-2350 B. C.

First Civilization: Sumer
• Occurred in Mesopotamia between Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq • Surplus of food enabled people to specialize in other trades. • Leadership needed to direct work in irrigation canals • Led to city states ruled by: kings and priests • Society centered around god’s house Ziggurat • Developed Metallurgy, first copper then Bronze (copper + tin) • Developed writing, (cuneiform). History begins! • Used potters wheel, wheeled vehicles, and sail boats.

Sumerian Civilization

Ziggurat temple

cuneiform writing, (wedge shaped)

Religion a type of Polytheism (many Gods) based on forces of nature. Epic of Gilgamesh contains story of Great Flood

Sumerian Art

Goat and Tree From Ur c. 2600 B.C.

Worshipers c. 2600 B.C.

Rivalry over water led to wars and conquest.

Upper Register of the Stele of Vultures

The Standard of Ur comes to us from a royal tombs found in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur. In the Standard of Ur, a chariot is shown in the top register on the left. The Standard presents, on the top 2 registers, the aftermath of another successful victory for Sumer, with a procession of troops presenting POWs to the victorious king at the center of the top.

Sumerian War Carts

Sumerian soldiers gather outside Ziggurat about 2500 BC Note scout riding “saddle car” on left and kings war cart on right.

Sumerian Soldiers about 2500 B

Most state level conflict less personal than earlier wars. Fighting done by conscript soldiers who needed to be defeated, not personal enemies that had to be killed. Enemy fighters seen as just doing their jobs. States take prisoners and usually don’t kill leaders of the defeated side.

The First Empire
• Power moved upstream to Akkad • Sargon of Akkad (c2250 BC) created first empire (ruled over other city states) • Sargon’s soldiers used powerful composite bow • Semitic languages (like Akkadian) replaced Sumerian

The Composite Bow

Improved weapon helps build an empire.

The Akkadian Empire

Akkadian Ruler (Sargon I ?) c. 2300-2200 B.C. Note: Naram-sin is Holding a Composite Bow

Victory Stele of Naram-sin c. 2300-2200 B.C.

Empire of Sargon 2350-2820 B.C.

Akkadians were driven out by Gudea the ruler of Lagash

Gudea ruler of Lagash c. 2150 B.C

Hittite Empire >

Empire of Hammurabi >

Power shifted north (up stream) to Babylon 1760 BC

Law Code

of Hammurabi

Hammurabi (standing) receiving Law Code from the sun-god. c. 1760 B.C.

Bureaucratic Government
• The Bureaucrats: enforce and deliver the will of the ruler. • Any person given authority by the some distant ruler could expect to be obeyed. • Delegated authority made it easier to collect taxes and enforce laws across long distances. • This system was in place by time of Hammurabi and the practice of bureaucratic government never went away.