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Ancient Civilizations
Egypt, India, China,
Mesopotamia, and The Hebrews
Egypt

-located on the Nile River: “The Gift of
the Nile.” Longest river in the world;
flows into Mediterranean Sea.

-the longest of the four civilizations.
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-annual flooding fertilized the soil.
Egypt
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Uniting Egypt

Early on, 2 kingdoms developed.
The Upper Kingdom in the South
 The Lower Kingdom in the North
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King Menes united the two in Memphis.
Kings were referred to as Pharaohs.
Egypt
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The Great Periods
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The Old Kingdom
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The Middle Kingdom
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The New Kingdom
Egypt
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Egyptian Religion
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polytheistic, meaning they worshipped
many gods (part human & part animal).
Horus-sky god.
 Ra-sun god.
 Osiris-god of life and death
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-very dominant in their lifestyle.
-believed in life after death.
-believed in embalming, the preservation of the
body. (Brains were embalmed first; this was a
very religious ceremony.) (Mummification)
-caused government to be a theocracy, meaning
the king acted as both religious and political
leader.
-was a bureaucracy, officials to whom the king
delegated administrative responsibilities.(Ka-sow)
Egypt
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Pyramids were built during the Old
Kingdom
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-These served as a place of rest/honor for
kings.
-They held the king’s clothing, furniture,
and weapons.
-There were secret passages.
-They took thousands of workers and
hundreds of years to build.
Egypt
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Egyptian Contributions
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Hieroglyphics-ancient Egyptian writing
system employing picture symbols. (e.g.Rosetta Stone was used to decipher
hieroglyphs.)
Number System-enabled them to calculate
area and volume.
Geometry-used to survey flooded land.

Calendar-An accurate 365 day calendar.

Medicine-Not only embalming, but doctors
used splints, bandages, and compresses
when treating fractures, wounds, and
diseases.
India
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-surrounded by mountains: Himalayas. The
mountains served to block cold weather out
of the valley and as protection.
-Due to seasonal floods, soil was rich for
seasonal crops.
-They had to deal with monsoons-seasonal
winds that would bring heavy rainfall.
India

India’s Religion

Hinduism-polytheistic; the people believed
in yoga and fasting, worshipping the cow.

Major concepts:
Dharma-righteous living; duties to fulfill.
 Karma-all actions have a consequence.
 re-incarnation: rebirth of the soul after death.
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Buddhism
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-founded by Siddharta Gautama, b. 566 B.C. (BuddhaThe Enlightened One). Buddha, a prince, wondered,
meditated, fasted, denied himself pleasure, searching for
a solution to end suffering and misery.
Comprised Four Noble Truths:
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All know suffering and sorrow.
Suffering is caused be desires.
People end suffering by eliminating their desire.
Eliminate desires by knowing truth, resisting evil, saying
nothing to hurt others, controlling thoughts, meditating,
etc.

*The goal was to achieve nirvana,
meaning one could be one with the
universe.
India

Contributions

Seals to make contracts.

Straight streets

Ditches for irrigation
China

These people lived in isolation because of
the Himalayas, near the Yellow Sea. Chinese
history is divided into Dynasties. Rulers of
China (from the same family) had a mandate
from heaven to form a theocracy. Most
important dynasties: Shang, Zhou, Quin, &
Han
China

Religion

Confucianism

Confucious (b. 551 B.C.) was poor and sought
to end suffering by fulfilling a role in society.
He had many wise proverbs, such as “Do not
do unto others as you would not want done
unto you.”
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Taoism
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-rejects social structures; belief in the fact that
opposites attract and Yin/Yang-life must be
kept in balance.
China
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Contributions to Society
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System of weights and measurements
Agriculture system
Educated officials
Silk trade
China (pottery)
The Great Wall for protection
Mesopotamia
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Greek for “land between the rivers.”

Located between the Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers in the Fertile Crescent.

Sumerian farmers first built dams to control
flooding, and constructed canals and ditches
to bring river water to irrigate their fields.
Fertilized land produced food (grain crops)
by 4000 B.C.
Mesopotamia
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Religion
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Polytheistic; their gods had specific powers over
natural forces and human activity.
Their gods were unpredictable and selfish.
Humans had little control over their lives.
They built ziggurats (temples) where the gods
lived. (similar to pyramids)
Theocracy-the religious leader was also the
political leader; he was the mediator between the
gods and the people.
Mesopotamia
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Writing
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Pictographs were used; they also
developed a model for the alphabet.
Scribes wrote on clay; tablets had to dry.
They wrote epics-long poems (e.g.Gilgamesh,)

They wrote proverbs-short bits of advice.
One bird in hand is worth two in the nest.
 A good plan today is better than a perfect plan
tomorrow.
 A penny saved is a penny earned.
 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh
word stirs up anger. (Prov. 15:1)
 A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth
invites a beating. (Prov. 18:6)
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Hammurabi’s Code

Hammurabi, the leader of Babylon had a
written set of laws that regulated society and
trade.
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He created a tax system.
There was a specific punishment for the violation of
laws. (e.g.-“an eye for an eye.”)
There were differing punishments for social classes.
Mesopotamia
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Contributions to Society
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Dams and Canals
Wagon wheel
Potter’s wheel
Sun dial - to keep time
12 month calendar based on the cycles of
the moon
Metal plow
The Hebrews

A people that grew out of
Mesopotamia, lived in Canaan, and
were monotheistic-a belief in a one allpowerful God (Yahweh). The Bible
records their beliefs and history.
The Hebrews
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Beliefs
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God determines right and wrong.

People should deal justly with each other.
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People should accept moral responsibility
for their actions.
The Hebrews

History - recorded in the Old
Testament.

Abraham
Moved from Mesopotamia to Canaan at God’s
command. (1900 B.C.)
 God made a covenant (agreement): God would
bless Abraham and his descendants if they
would remain faithful to God.
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Jacob (Israel)
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Abraham’s grandson
Jacob had 12 sons, which would grow into tribes
(Israelites).
Due to a famine, they migrated to Egypt, where pharaohs
enslaved them.
Moses
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
He led them out of Egypt in an exodus (departure) into
the Sinai desert.
The covenant was renewed as the Israelites pledged to
obey God’s laws, the most important-The Ten
Commandments.
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Joshua
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He led them across the Jordan River into
Canaan
After the “judges”, the Israelites wanted a
king.
Saul
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Although popular at first, he failed to
defeat the Philistines.
Battled with David over the throne.

David
Slayed the giant Philistine, Goliath.
 He took the throne in 1012 B.C.
 Organized a central government at Jerusalem.
 Wrote Psalms.
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Solomon
Constructed a temple in Jerusalem.
 Wrote Proverbs.
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Prophets
After Solomon, the kingdom divided-Israel &
Judah.
 Invaded by Assyrians (722 B.C.), Chaldeans
(586 B.C.)-were exiled to Babylon.
 Prophets were preachers who interpreted
God’s will to the Israelites, who became known
as Jews after the Babylonian exile.
 Prophets were preachers who interpreted
God’s will to the Israelites, who became known
as Jews after the Babylonian exile.
