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Unit One Ch.

1 Part 2 River Valley Civilizations Emerge

Technological and Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B.C.E. ³Foundations´

Guiding Questions
What were women¶s roles in the first 4 million years of human history? What evidence can we find that might give us some indications of what women¶s roles may have been? Does the evidence indicate how women¶s roles may have changed over time? How and why might such change have occurred?

PART 1: Mesopotamia ‡ Located in modern day Iraq ‡ Natural spring floods could be violent and unpredictable ‡ Led to the people having a feeling of instability and reliance upon religion and worship of Gods ‡ Irrigation gave some control to the people, but the water was tamed through very hard work.
Development of Cuneiform led to the ³historic period.´ The people of Mesopotamia left a written record.

Sumerians ± 5000 B.C.E.

Dominated southern Mesopotamia through the end of the 3rd millennium B.C.E. Responsible for creation of fundamental elements of Meso culture (irrigation, cuneiform, & religious conceptions.

Akkadians ± 2000 B.C.E.

Akkadians become politically dominant in the region. Spoke Semitic language (family of related languages spoken in Western Asia and No. Africa. Included Hebrew, Aramaic, and Phoenician. Arabic is the most widely spread family of languages in Semitic family. Akkadian rule over Mesopotamia is sometimes considered the first empire in world history.


A small independent state consisting of an urban center and surrounding agricultural territory. A characteristic form in early Mesopotamia.

Lugal ± (LOO-gahl) ³Big Man´ Name for a Sumerian King.

Sargon ± Akkadian King, First to unite most of Mesopotamia 2350 B.C.E. until Akkadian state fell in 2230 B.C.E. After fall of Sargon, City-State of Ur became powerful again. A new city was founded called Babylon. A king arose with great power: Hammurabi

Rise of Hammurabi
Babylon ± Largest & most important city in Mesopotamia. Achieved particular eminence as the capital of Hammurabi in 18th century B.C.E. and later the NeoBabylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century B.C.E. Hammurabi conquered many city-states and is best known for his code of laws. Inscribed on a black stone pillar, the principles were used in legal cases.

Hammurabi (standing), depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash (sun god). Hammurabi holds his hands over his mouth as a sign of prayer (relief on the upper part of the stele of Hammurabi's code of laws.)

Social Classes ± divisions of society accounted for variations in legal and political privileges. 1 Free, landowning class (royalty, high-ranking officials, warriors, priests, merchants, and some artisans and shopkeepers. 2 Dependent farmers & artisans, legal attachment to royal, temple or private estates made them the primary rural work force 3 Class of slaves, primarily employed in domestic service. Most severe punishments were reserved for the lower classes.

Scribe ± Professional position for a person who could read and write. Role of Women ± may have lost social standing & freedoms in society where agriculture superseded hunting and gathering. As a forager, women were highly valued for production to the group. But, in Mesopotamia, production was dependent upon heavy physical labor (plowing fields or irrigating).

Ziggurat ± a massive pyramidal stepped tower made of mud bricks. Associated with religious complexes, but actual function is unknown. Speculation is that it was built a temple dedicated to the chief god or goddess of a Sumerian city.

These temples gradually became subordinate to the power of the Kings.

Amulet ± small charm meant to protect the bearer from evil. Found frequently in archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia and Egypt, amulets reflect the religious practices of the common people.

‡ Mesopotamians feared their gods who often were embodied of violent forces of nature and sought to appease them. ‡ People imagined the gods as anthropomorphic (like humans in form and conduct). The gods had bodies and senses, sought nourishment from sacrifice, enjoyed the worship & obedience of humanity, and were driven by lust, love, hate, anger and envy. ‡ A range of technologies (metallurgy, ceramics, transportation, & engineering) and sciences (math & astronomy) enabled Mesopotamians to meet the challenges of their environment.

Part 2 ± Egyptian Civilization

³Gift of the Nile.´ Protected by marshy, swampy port & deserts to the east and west. Banks of the river support lush vegetation. Nile is the world¶s longest river. Black Land = the soil surrounding the Nile. Red Land = the desert on either side that is inhospitable.

River was the main source of travel. Flows from south to north, so southern part of Egypt is known as Upper Egypt. The northern portion is conversely known as Lower Egypt. Rain rarely falls south of the delta region (Lower Egypt), so yearly flooding of the Nile is what the people depended upon to irrigate crops. Because of this usually orderly flooding, most Egyptians viewed the world as a stable place (unlike Mesopotamia, where flooding was often deadly).

Divine Kingship
Pharaoh ± The central figure in the ancient Egyptian state. Believe to be an earthly manifestation of the gods, Who used his absolute power to maintain the safety and prosperity of Egypt. (term for the King became pop. In New Kingdom) Ma¶at ± Egyptian term for the concept of divinely created and maintained order in the universe. Believed that the divine ruler was the earthly guarantor of this order. Pyramids ± Large, triangular stone monuments used in Egypt and Nubia for the burial of the King. Largest erected during the Old Kingdom near Memphis. Believed that the proper and respectful burial of the divine leader would guarantee the continued prosperity of the land.

The Pyramids
The building of the pyramids occurred in the time of the Old Kingdom Djoser, 3rd Dynasty king, constructed the first stepped pyramid at Saqqara, near Memphis 4th Dynasty rulers filled in the steps to create a smooth limestone side. Khufu & Khefren erected huge pyramids at Giza, north of Saqqara. Pyramids were incredibly engineered and designed monuments constructed with stone tools and muscle might. The Age of the Pyramids lasted: 1000 Years

Administration and Communication Differed from Mesopotamia, where commerce fell into the hands of a strong middle class to drive the economy. In Egypt the bureaucrats in an organized government kept track of annual taxes ± at times as much as 50% of the total revenue. Thebes (aka Luxor) ± Capital city of Egypt & home to the ruling dynasties during the Middle and New Kingdoms. Literacy drove the administrative process. Hieroglyphics ± System of writing in which pictorial symbols represented sounds, syllables, or concepts. Used for official business and monumental inscriptions. Written mostly on papyrus (reed that grows along the banks of the Nile). Literacy was confined to a relatively small group of scribes and administrators.

For much more incredible detail on the engineering of Egypt¶s empire, check out the History Channel¶s video. Link

³Hello, I¶m Peter Weller.´

Origins of the Sphinx: The Old Kingdom

The Sphinx: a mythological recumbent lion with a human head.

Role of the Sphinx: Temple Guardian

Ka and Ra: Video 2:52

Temple of Hatshepsut (first woman to be Pharaoh)

The Egyptian sun god Ra (Ray) traveled across the sky during the day and through the underworld at night. This tomb painting of the 1200s B.C. shows Ra with a sun disk on his head.

Viewed the world as an orderly and consistent place (sun rose each day in cloudless sky, floods brought bountiful harvests each year). King (Pharaoh) was seen as a divine link (Horus, son of Re) Worked tirelessly to support the king with lavish palaces & temples, king in return would commune with the gods. Enormous wealth was funneled into pleasing the gods so that the continuity & consistency of their society would continue. Belief in an afterlife made preparations for the transfer of the body to the new world after death. Mummification complex process of slowly drying a dead body to prevent it from decaying, involved removal of organs, dehydration, and wrapping of the body. process took about 70 days

Part 3: Indus River Valley Civilization
Arose early in South Asia as Mesopotamia and Egypt. Rain and melting snow from the mountains provide the river with twice year flooding. 1. March/April ± melting snow 2. August ± great monsoon

Ruins of Mohenjo-Daro
High brick walls surrounded a city laid out in a very rigidly uniform grid like fashion. There is much greater quantity of metal in the Indus Valley Civs than in Mesopotamia or Egypt. (but less jewelry and other decorative objects were found in Indus) Their complex system of writing has yet to be deciphered.

Man from Mohenjo-Daro