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SSWH1 The student will analyze the origins, structures, and
interactions of complex societies in the ancient Eastern
Mediterranean from 3500 BCE to 500 BCE.
a. Describe the development of Mesopotamian societies; include
the religious, cultural, economic, and political facets of society,
with attention to Hammurabi’s law code.
b. Describe the relationship of religion and political authority in
Ancient Egypt.
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Mesopotamia means “land between the rivers”
A region with little rain, but rich soil due to
flooding in the late spring
Irrigation and drainage ditches made it
possible to grow crops on a regular basis
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Created the first Mesopotamian civilization
As cities expanded they formed city-states,
the basic unit of Sumerian civilization.
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Most prominent building in a Sumerian city
was the temple, a massive stepped tower called
a ziggurat.
They were polytheistic- believed that gods and
goddesses ruled the cities
Due to the importance of religion in their
government, they were a theocracy- a
government by divine authority
Army, government, priests, and priestesses all
aided the kings in their rule.
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At the top was the ruling family, officials
and priests
Middle class consisted of scribes,
merchants, and artisans
Majority of the people were peasant
farmers and were at the bottom
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Based chiefly on farming
Were well known for their metalwork
Invention of the wheel led to wheeled
carts
Invented writing-cuneiform which grew
out of pictographs
Cuneiform first used as a record of goods
brought to the temple but grew to include
myths, prayers, laws, and contracts
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Sumer is conquered
and later becomes a part
of the kingdom of
Babylon ruled by
Hammurabi.
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Hammurabi is remembered for his law code,
a collection of 282 laws.
The most complete of ancient law codes
Based on a system of strict justice
Penalties were severe and varied according
to the social class
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Established civil law dealing with contracts,
property, inheritance, marriage and divorce
◦ Husband had legal authority over his wife and
children
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Defined criminal law such as robbery, assault,
or murder and decided the punishment.
◦ “an eye for an eye and a life for a life”
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His code is important because it limited
personal vengeance and codified laws for the
first time.
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The Nile is the longest river in the world, 4000
miles.
To the ancient Egyptians, the most important
feature was the yearly flooding.
The Nile Delta is called Lower Egypt; the land
to the south, is called Upper Egypt.
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Religious ideas were an inseparable part of
their world order.
Polytheistic- Were divided into two groups sun
gods and land gods
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God-King (Pharaoh)
Upper Class of Nobles and Priests
Merchants, Artisans, Scribes, and Tax
Collectors (The Middle Class)
Peasants – the largest number of people in
Egypt simply worked the land
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Nile River
Lower Egypt
Upper Egypt
Giza