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Early River Valley Civilizations
3500 B.C.-450 B.C.
• Fertile Cresent- curved shape piece of rich
land in present-day Iraq
• “Land Between The Rivers”
– Tigris River/Euphrates River
Sumerian City-States
• Multiple cities with different government and
and different rulers, linked together with a
similar culture.
• Dynasty- series of rulers from the same family
• Cultural Diffusion- ideas and products
spreading from one culture to another
Sumerian Culture
• Polytheism- belief in more than one god
• Cuneiform
• Arithmetic
– City Walls/Buildings, Irrigation, Organization
– Base 60
Sargon Of Akkad
• Conquered Northern and Southern
• Created first empire
• Empire- brings together several peoples and
nations under the control of one ruler
Babylonian Empire
• Amorites- nomadic warriors
• Invaded Mesopotamia in 2000 B.C.
• Capital in Babylon
• Peak during reign of Hammurabi
Hammurabi’s Code
• Uniform code of laws to unify diverse groups in
• Engraved in stone
• Created order and uniformity
• Clear punishments
• Based on social classes
Egyptian Civilization
The Gift of the Nile
• Bounded on the
south, east and
west by desert,
and on the north
by the sea
• Protected from
outside influences
• Evolved in a
unique way
The Nile River
• Longest river in
the world
• Flows north to
• Large Flood Plain
led to
TRANSPORTATION: The Nile River was the highway that
joined the country together. Up until the nineteenth
century, travel by land was virtually unknown.
• Stone pyramids,
tombs, temples
and palaces
• Skilled workers
consisting of
highly trained
craftsmen and
• Paintings, carved stone images, hieroglyphs, and statues
• Stories of the pharaohs, the gods, the common people
and the natural world of plants, birds and animals
• How did humans move such massive blocks of stone using only
Stone Age tools?
• The Egyptians left thousands of illustrations depicting daily life
in the Old Kingdom, but none of them show how pyramids were
• Theories try to explain it, but the mystery has yet to be solved.
The Ramp Theory
• Were ramps used to haul the stone blocks on
wooden sleds up the side of the pyramids?
• Lubricated with water to reduce friction
• 10 men were needed to drag a stone
• Several ramps on each side of the pyramid at
different levels
• May have been coiled
Other Pyramid-Construction
• Wooden Crane Theory
• Egyptians did not have access to trees that were
strong enough for this.
• 2.5 ton blocks
• Pulley And Fulcrum Theory
• Pulleys were used on ships at the time.
Funerary Complex
1. Processional Causeway
2. Funerary Temple
3. Solar Barques
4. Mastabas
• Government and religion were inseparable.
• The Pharaoh was the head of State and the divine representative of
the gods on earth.
• Religion and government brought order to society through:
– Temple construction
– Laws
– Taxation
– Labor organization
– Trade
– Defense of interests
It gained stability through the co-operation of all levels of
the population.
The PHAROAH was at the top of the social
Next to him, the most powerful officers were
the VIZIERS, the executive heads of the
Under them were the HIGH PRIESTS,
(administrators) who ensured that the 42
DISTRICT GOVERNORS carried out the
pharaoh's orders.
At the bottom of the hierarchy were
Pharaohs often showed themselves as warriors who
single-handedly killed scores of enemies and
slaughtered a whole pride of lions.
• Not all men
• Women also
gained the
throne, most
being Queen
• Royal women got
status from
relationship with king.
• Kings had many wives.
(Rameses II had eight
wives and over a
hundred children.)
• Married within family
• Prince or person of
exceptional ability
• "superintendent of all
works of the king“
• Supreme Judge of the
• All commands passed
through his hands first.
• Hieroglyphics is one of the earliest languages to be
written down
• First on stone and pottery dating from 3100 B.C. to
3000 B.C.
• Remained in use for almost 3,000 years
• Hieroglyph literally
means "sacred
• Scribes went through a long apprenticeship before
they mastered the skill of writing.
• The ability to write guaranteed a possibility of
career advancement.
Be a scribe. It will save you from
toil and protect you from every
kind of work. It will spare you
from bearing hoe and mattock,
so that you will not have to carry
a basket. It will keep you from
plying the oar and spare you all
manner of hardships.
-- Excerpt from a text used in the New
Kingdom for the instruction of scribes.
First Form Of Paper
• Papyrus stem interior was cut into
thin strips.
Papyrus Plant
• Soaked in water and beaten to break
down and flatten
• Layered crosswise and lengthwise to
produce a sheet, which was beaten
again to mesh the strips together
• Dried with weight presses
Papyrus Sheet
Book Of The Dead
• 190 chapters of
spells to assist
the deceased on
their journey
• Placed near dead
• Later, the spells
were written on
strips of linen
that were
wrapped around
the mummies.
• Concept of God did not
• Concerned about natural
phenomena and how they
were controlled
Before the
concept of God
existed, magical
power was
symbolized in
the hieroglyph
of a scepter.
• This stage of religious
development is referred to
as magical.
• People gradually gained
personal identity.
• Began to conceive the gods in
a personalized form
• This stage in development is
called mythical.
• When writing was being
invented and myths were
being formulated
• Theocracy- kings as
representations of gods
• Every town had its own deity represented by an
• Given human bodies with human attributes
• Temples to venerate local gods
• Changed to a national
religion with a smaller
number of principal deities
• Moving towards a
monotheistic faith
symbolized by the Sun God
• Common understanding
about the creation of the
world and the possibility of
reverting to chaos (Nu) with
destructive forces
• Clothed, fed, and put to
bed images that
represented gods at
• Ceremonies to nourish the
Ka (spirit) of a deceased
pharaoh in mortuary
• Shaved their heads and
body hair and washed
twice daily for purification
• Wore gowns or kilts of
pure white linen
Believed in an everlasting life and resurrection of the body
EXAMPLES: The sun fell into the western horizon each evening and was reborn the next
morning in the east. New life sprouted from grains planted in the earth, and the moon
waxed and waned.
As long as order was maintained, everything was highly dependable and life after death
could be achieved. But there were certain conditions.
For example, the body had to be preserved through MUMMIFICATION and given a
properly furnished tomb with everything needed for life in the afterworld.
Around 450 B.C., the Greek historian Herodotus documented the art of
As much of the brain as it is possible is extracted through the
nostrils with an iron hook, and what the hook cannot reach is
dissolved with drugs. Next, the flank is slit open . . . and the entire
contents of the abdomen removed. The cavity is then thoroughly
cleansed and washed out . . . Then it is filled with pure crushed
myrrh, cassia, and all other aromatic substances, except
frankincense. [The incision] is sewn up, and then the body is
placed in natron, covered entirely for 70 days, never longer. When
this period . . . is ended, the body is washed and then wrapped
from the head to the feet in linen which has been cut into strips
and smeared on the underside with gum which is commonly used
by the Egyptians in the place of glue. -- Herodotus
• Natron- disinfectant and dehydration
agent to dry out corpse (salt and
baking soda)
• Body was filled with Nile mud,
sawdust, lichen and cloth scraps to
make it more flexible
• Onions or linen pads were used to
replace the eyes.
• Internal organs were removed,
washed with palm wine and spices,
and stored in canopic jars.
• Heart was left in the body as center
of intelligence
Mummification Tools
• Knife to make the
abdominal incision
• Hooked bronze RODS to
extract brain matter
• Wooden tool to remove
internal organs
• Funnel to pour resins into
the cranial cavity through
the nose
Concepts Of Soul
• KA is the life force or spiritual
double of the person.
• BA is represented as a humanheaded bird that leaves the body
when a person dies.
• AKH is the spirit of Re, the
transfigured spirit of a person that
becomes one with light after
The journey to the afterworld was considered full of danger.
1. Underworld: inhabited by serpents armed with long knives, firespitting dragons and reptiles with five ravenous heads
2. Land Of The Gods: pass through seven gates, reciting accurately a
magic spell at each stop.
3. Hall Of Osiris: Place of judgment
Weighing Of The Heart
• Gods judge whether the person's deeds were virtuous.
• Heart was placed on a scale, counterbalanced by a feather that
represented Maat, the goddess of truth and justice.
• Balanced=Immortality
• Unbalanced=Devoured by the goddess Amemet
Daily Life
• Intensive Agriculture (Sowing, Plowing)
• Strict Hierarchical Society
Breaking the ground
with plow and hoe
Reaping and
scattering the seed
Separating the grain
from the chaff
• The land was worked by the peasants, but owned by the king
• Farmers had to meet grain quotas, which were a form of taxation.
• Allowed to keep a portion
• Severely punished without quota
• In mid-September,
farmers blocked
canals to keep the
water for
• Shadufmechanical
irrigation device
used to conduct
water from the
canals to the fields
LIVESTOCK was important to the Egyptian economy, supplying
meat, milk, hides, and dung for cooking fuel.
A variety of DOMESTICATED ANIMALS were raised, including
cattle, oxen, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and geese. Peasants
probably enjoyed meat on special occasions.
Barley and emmer, were used to make BEER and
BREAD, the main staples of the Egyptian diet. Grains
were harvested and stored in GRANARIES until ready
to be processed.
Grapes were processed into WINE for the noble class,
but beer was the favorite drink of the common
Food was served in POTTERY BOWLS, but NO
UTENSILS were used for eating.
Pharaohs and nobles participated in HUNTING,
FISHING and FOWLING expeditions, a means of
recreation that had ritualistic and religious
FISHING allowed the working class to add variety to
its diet. The poor substituted fish for meat, which
they could not afford. The Nile, the marshes of the
delta and the Mediterranean Sea offered them a rich
variety of species.
Most HOUSES were made of BRICK. The banks of the
Nile provided the mud used to make bricks.
The HOMES OF THE WEALTHY were larger and more luxurious.
• SPACIOUS reception and living rooms opened onto a CENTRAL GARDEN
COURTYARD with a fish pond and flowering plants.
• Each bedroom had a PRIVATE BATHROOM, and the walls, columns and ceilings
were painted with BEAUTIFUL DESIGNS inspired by nature.
• Elaborate and highly DECORATED FURNITURE included beds, chairs, boxes and
were also found in the homes of the nobles.
included separate residences, a temple and a workers’
Very few artistic creations were signed, and exceptional ability was rewarded
through increased social status.
WORKERS, but their main role was within the family. The title most women had
THE LAW, and could sue for damages and divorce.
FLAX grown by farmers was woven into
fine linen for clothing. WORKING-CLASS
MEN wore loincloths or short kilts, as
well as long shirt-like garments tied with
a sash at the waist.
WEALTHY MEN wore knee-length shirts,
loincloths or kilts and adorned
themselves with jewellery – a string of
beads, armlets and bracelets.
WORKING-CLASS WOMEN wore fulllength wraparound gowns and closefitting sheaths.
ELITE WOMEN enhanced their
appearance with make-up, earrings,
bracelets and necklaces.
Both men and women wore SANDALS
made of papyrus or went barefoot.
The Egyptian ELITE HIRED HAIRDRESSERS and took great care of their
hair. Hair was WASHED and SCENTED, and sometimes LIGHTENED WITH
CHILDREN had their HEADS SHAVED, except for one or two tresses at
the side of the head, called a SIDELOCK.
Both men and women sometimes wore HAIRPIECES or WIGS made of
human hair.
Elite men and women enhanced their appearance with various
COSMETICS: OILS, PERFUMES, and eye and facial paints. putting on
make-up, they used a MIRROR, as we do today.
JEWELERY was worn by the elite for self-adornment and as an
indication of social status.
Although the Egyptians lacked the symbol for zero, they calculated numbers
based on the decimal and the repetitive (numbers based on 10).
10 100 1000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000
• Written left to right, starting with the highest denominator.
• For example, in the number 2,525 the first number to appear on the left would
be 2000, then 500, 20 and 5, as follows:
The Egyptians did not develop abstract mathematical formulas. They
used the simple arithmetic o addition and subtraction.
• Studied night sky,
• Took measurements from the stars to accurately align their
pyramids with the earth’s four cardinal points.
EXAMPLE: Great Pyramid at Giza (Its four sides are accurately aligned to
face north, east, south, and west, with an error of less than half a
• Illness was thought to be caused by the wrath of the gods
or by an evil spirit that had entered the body.
• Both PRIESTS AND DOCTORS were called upon to heal the
sick, combining their powers and skills to fix the problem.
Indus River Valley Civilizations
2500 B.C.
• Subcontinent- land a part of a continent but
also separate
– Hindu Kush, Karakorum, Himalayan ranges
• Indus River, Ganges River
• Monsoons- wind that changes direction and
brings rain (October-February)
• Kalibangan
• Mohenjo-Daro
• Harappa
• Indus Valley is often called the Harappan
City Planning
• Grid system
• Oven-baked bricks
• Plumbing, Sewage, Levees
• Standard Sizes (Bricks, Roads, etc.)
Harappan Language
• Impossible to decipher
• No bilingual inscriptions
• 400 symbols
– Describe objects and phonetic sounds
Harappan Culture
• Uniformity
• No great social divisions
• Nonessential goods
• Importance of animals
Harappan Religion
• Theocracy
• No temples found
• Links to modern Hindu culture
• Representations of Shiva
• Worship of bull
Harappan Trade
• Jewelry from silver/gold (Modern Afghanistan)
• Precious stones (Deccan Plateau)
• Bright Cloth /Cotton
• Trade with Mesopotamia
End To Harappan Civilization
• 1750 B.C.
• Tectonic plates?
• Overuse Of Soil?
Ancient Chinese River Dynasties
…1,000 years later…
• Yellow River
– Loess- yellow silt
• Natural Barriers
• Isolation Supplied own goods
• 10% farmable land
Peking Man
• Homo Erectus Fossils
First Chinese Dynasty
• Xia Dynasty
• 2000 B.C.
• Yu- leader of Xia Dynasty
• Irrigation projects
Shang Dynasty
• 1700 B.C.-1027 B.C.
• Northern China
• Fought many wars
• Walled cities
• Written records
• Anyang City- city walls, wooden city, professional warriors,
Chinese Culture
• Family was took priority over individual.
• Nobles/Peasants
• Nobles owned land.
Chinese Religion
• Spirits of ancestors
• Troublesome or helpful neighbors rather than
powerful gods
• Made sacrifices in honor of ancestors
• Oracle bones- animal bones with questions for
Chinese Writing
• Each character as one unit of language
• No links between written and spoken
• Unified land with different spoken languages
• 1,500 characters=somewhat literate
• 10,000 characters=scholar
Dynastic Cycle
• Zhou overthrew Shang.
• Mandate of heaven- a just ruler with divine
approval (ie. Manifest Destiny)
• Peace Corruption  Natural Disasters 
Rebellion is justified.  Overthrown 
Mandate Of Heaven
• Nobles are granted use of lands that legally
belong to king.
• Roads/Canals for trade
• Coined money
• Furnaces made iron tools out of cast iron.
Period Of Warring States
• 1027-256 B.C. (Zhou)
• In 771 B.C. nomads attacked.
• New capital was created but was weak.