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CHAPTER 3 Section 2: “The Rise of Sumer” The Big Idea •The Sumerians developed the first civilization in Mesopotamia. I. An Advanced Society • The Sumerians developed the world’s first civilization. • By 3000 BC, several hundred thousand Sumerians had settled in Mesopotamia, in a land they called Sumer. II. The City-States of Sumer • Most people in Sumer were farmers and lived in rural, or countryside, areas. • The centers of Sumerian society were the urban, or city, areas. • The basic political unit of Sumer was called a city-state. • The amount of countryside controlled by each city-state depended on its military strength. • City-states often fought to gain more farmland. • By 3500 BC, the city-state of Kish became very powerful. • Over the next 1000 years, the city-states of Uruk and Ur fought for control. • One of Uruk’s kings, Gilgamesh, became a famous figure in Sumerian history. III. Rise of the Akkadian Empire • Another society developed along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. • It was created by the Akkadians and was located just north of Sumer. • The Akkadians and the Sumerians lived in peace for many years until Sargon sought to extend Akkadian territory. • He was the first ruler to have a permanent army, which he used to launch a series of wars on neighboring kingdoms. • Sargon’s soldiers defeated all the city-states of Sumer and northern Mesopotamia. • Because he had control of the entire region during his reign, he established the first empire. • The Akkadian Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. • After Sargon’s death, his empire lasted only a century. • Eventually, the city-state of Ur rebuilt its strength and conquered the rest of Mesopotamia. IV. Religion Shapes Society • Religion was very important in Sumerian society. • It was the basis for all in Sumerian society. VI. Sumerian Religion • Sumerians practiced polytheism, the worship of many gods. • Each city-state considered one god to be its special protector. • The Sumerians believed that their gods had tremendous power and that success in every of life depended on pleasing the gods. • To gain the favor of the gods, people relied on them. VII. Sumerian Social Order • Priests occupied a high level in Sumer’s social order. • Above the priests, were the kings, who claimed they had been chosen by the gods to rule. • Below the priests were the craftspeople, merchants, and traders. • Trade greatly impacted Sumerian society. • Traders exchanged grains for gold, silver, copper, lumber, and precious stones. • Below the traders, farmers and laborers made up the large working class. • Slaves were at the bottom of the social order. VII. Men and Women in Sumer • Men, in Sumerian society held political power and made laws. • Women took care of the home and children. • Education was usually reserved for men, but some upper-class women were educated as well. • Those women who were educated, often worked as priestesses in Sumer’s temples. • The daughter or Sargon, Enheduanna, was the first known female writer in history.