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Assyrian Empire
 1300 BCE-612 BCE
 Tigris River Valley-> spread
across Mesopotamia,
Palestine, and Egypt
 Flourished along trade routes
 Powerful army
professional offices
merit vs. nobility
cavalry and chariots
Iron weapons
Assyrian Empire
 King Assurbanipal (668-627 BCE)- King of the
 Followed Hammurabi’s Code of Law
 Libraries
Scholarly texts
Diplomatic correspondence
Administrative records
 Assur and Nineveh-> wealthy, sophisticated cities
Assyrian Empire
 Size of empire difficult to rule
 Intermittent rebellions
 Internal unrest and external assaults= Fall of
Assyrian Empire 612 BCE
Nebuchadnezzar and the New Babylonian Empire
 AKA Chaldean Empire- 600-550 BCE
 King Nebuchadnezzar rules 605-562 BCE
 Empire spanned 2,100 acres
 Enormous wealth and resources
 Thick defensive walls
 Palaces
 1179 temples
 Statues
 Know for gardens- symbol of empire’s luxuriousness
 Mesopotamian empires eventually absorbed into
foreign empires
Mesopotamian Economic Specialization and Trade
 Specialized labor-> refined techniques,
Pottery, textiles, woodworking, leather production, brick
making, stone cutting, masonry
 Bronze metallurgy (4000 BCE)
 Alloyed copper with tin (makes bronze)-> harder, stronger
 Swords, spears, axes, shields, armor-> military
 Knives, bronze-tipped plows-> agricultural impact
Mesopotamian Economic Specialization and Trade
 Iron metallurgy (1000 BCE)
 Stronger than copper, tin, and bronze-> iron tools and
 Helped spread and conquest of Empires (Assyria)
 More available than bronze
 The Wheel (3500 BCE)
 Facilitated long-distance trade-> wheeled vehicles and sailing
 Wheeled carts and wagons-> carry heavy loads and bulk
Mesopotamian Economic Specialization and Trade
 Shipbuilding (3500 BCE)
 Trade with Indus River Valley- wool, leather, sesame oil,
 Exchange for copper, ivory, pearls semiprecious stones
 Trade with Anatolia, Lebanon, Arabia, Egypt, Persia,
 Trade Networks
 Assur (Northern Mesopotamia)-> Kanesh (Anatolia)
Stratified, Patriarchal Society
 Social Classes
 Agriculture, specialization, and trade
Some groups accumulate wealth
 Others do not/couldn’t
Sharper social distinctions
Ruling classes
King and nobles as offspring of gods (valor and success as
 Large construction projects reflect high status of rulers
Stratified, Patriarchal Society
 Temple Communities
Priests and Priestesses closely allied with ruling class
Intervene with gods to ensure good fortune for communities
Depend on food, clothing, and drink offerings from community
Generated income from land tracts and workshops
Employed workers
 Cultivated food
 Herded animals
 Manufactured goods
Functioned as banks- stored wealth and funded trade ventures
Helped needy
 Supply food during famine
 Ransoms for captured soldiers
Stratified, Patriarchal Society
 Free commoners, dependents, and slaves
 Commoners
Cultivators of family land
 Builders
 Craftsmen
 Physicians
 Engineers
Dependent clients
Don’t own land
 Farmers on others’ land (Kings, nobles, commoners)
Paid taxes-> surplus agricultural goods to support ruling class,
military, and temples
Stratified, Patriarchal Society
 Free commoners, dependents, and slaves
 Laborers for construction projects-> roads, walls, irrigation,
temples, etc.
 Slaves-> Prisoners of war, convicted criminals, debtors
 Domestic servants freed after several years of good service or
purchased freedom
Stratified, Patriarchal Society
 Patriarchal Society
 Authority in public and private affair rests in adult men
Decided family work
 Marriage arrangements
 Ruled
 Public policy decisions
Hammurabi’s Code of Law supports male domination
Men as heads of households
 Men can sell wives and children to satisfy debts
 Death by drowning for adulterous wives and partners
 Men allowed to have sex with concubines, slaves, and prostitutes
Stratified, Patriarchal Society
 Women’s Roles
 Advise kings and governments
 Managed estates (as priestesses for temples)
 Formally educated
 Worked as scribes- literate individuals who prepare
administrative and legal documents for governments and
private parties
 Midwives, shop keepers, brewers, bakers, tavern keepers,
 Socializing between married women and men forbidden
(outside of family)
 Brides must be virgins at marriage
 1500 BCE- women wear veils outside of household
Written Cultural Traditions
 Earliest known writing from Mesopotamia
 Cuneiform writing (2900 BCE)
 Writing system that uses graphic symbols to represent sounds,
syllables, ideas, and physical objects
 Combines pictographs and other symbols
 Cuneiform= “wedge-shaped”
 Originated in Sumer-> spread to Babylon, Assyria, et. Al
 Used for 3000 years
Written Cultural Traditions
 Education
 Vocational to train for specific trades and crafts
 Formal schools to teach cuneiform
 Educated become scribes, government officials
 More education-> priests, physicians, engineers, architects,
 Literacy as important but uncommon
 Writing intended to keep records-> expanded to
Written Cultural Traditions
 Astronomy and Mathematics
 Crucial to agriculture
 Made accurate calendars, map seasons
 Survey lands
 Architecture
 Epic of Gilgamesh
 Reflective literature
 Compilation of stories
 Relationship between gods and humans
 Meaning of life and death
 Moral issues