FIRST HISTORICAL CIVILIZATIONS: MESOPOTAMIA Elena García Marín Four early River Valley Civilizations Mesopotamian Civilization - Tigris & Euphrates Rivers Egyptian Civilization - Nile River Indian Civilization - Indus River Ancient China - Huang He (Yellow) River Sumerian Civilization:Tigris & Euphrates Rivers City-States in Mesopotamia Geography of Mesopotamia Mostly dry desert climate in SW Asia (Middle East) Except in region between Tigris and Euphrates rivers A flat plain known as Mesopotamia lies between the two rivers It is called the Fertile Crescent because have a rich soil SW Asia (the Middle East) Fertile Crescent City-States in Mesopotamia Although all the cities shared the same culture Each city had its own government, rulers, warriors, it’s own patron god, and functioned like an independent country Mesopotamian cities were Ur, Uruk, Kish, Lagesh At center of each city was the temple: a ziggurat (a massive, tiered, pyramid-shaped structure). The Ziggurat at Ur was first excavated by British archaeologist Woolley in 1923. Mesopotamian religion They believed in many gods - polytheism Mesopotamian warrior-god, gold figurine. (2.400-2.500 B.C.) Marduk, the Dragon god Mesopotamian Society King and nobility Priests Scribes Craftsmen and Peasants Slaves First Empire in Mesopotamia 3000 – 2000 B.C. the City-States began to war with each other. Sargon of Akkad (2350 B.C.) He took control of the region, creating world’s first empire when several peoples, nations, or previously independent states are placed under the control of one ruler. The Akkadian Empire lasted about 200 years, 2350– 2150 B.C. Babylonian Empire They overtook Sumerians around 2000 B.C. And they built capital, Babylon, on Euphrates river The most famous king of Babylonian Empire was Hammurabi [1792-1750 B.C.] Famous Code of Law “the punishment fits the crime” and “eye for an eye” He took all the laws of the region’s city-states and unified them into one code. This helped unify the region. Mesopotamian culture One of the first writing systems - Cuneiform Mesopotamian culture The Epic of Gilgamesh is, perhaps, the oldest written story on Earth. It is about the adventures of the cruel King Gilgamesh of Uruk. It contains a “flood story” that predates the Hebrew Old Testament story of Noah by at least 2000 years. It was written on 12 clay tablets in cuneiform script.