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Cities and Civilizations
World History A
Seminar #1
Warm Up:
Read pages 16-17 in
World History: Connections
to Today and list the eight
features of a civilization.
Cities and Civilizations Seminar
We begin at about 8,000 BC
when village life began in
the New Stone Age. . . Also
known as the
Neolithic Revolution.
What is the REVOLUTION?
A TOTALLY new way of living:
to Agriculture
Click on words and pictures for web links.
The invention of Agriculture
changed the way people lived.
Agriculture (Farming)
Growth of Cities
Division of Labor
Writing and Mathematics
GEOGRAPHY influenced the
development of river valley
Click on the
map for an
website map
of the four
earliest river
Early River Valley Civilizations
• Flooding of Tigris and Euphrates unpredictable
• No natural barriers
• Limited natural resources for making tools or
• Flooding of the Nile predictable
• Nile an easy transportation link between Egypt’s
• Deserts were natural barriers
• Indus flooding unpredictable
• Monsoon winds
• Mountains, deserts were natural barriers
• Huang He flooding unpredictable
• Mountains, deserts natural barriers
• Geographically isolated from other ancient
Mesopotamia – Fertile Crescent
Sumer – The
Earliest of the River
Valley Civilizations
Civilization grew up
along the Tigris and
Euphrates Rivers in
what is now Kuwait.
Look at the map in the textbook
on page 35.
Define “Fertile Crescent.”
Define “Fertile Crescent”
A well-watered and fertile area,
the fertile crescent arcs across the
northern part of the Syrian desert. It is
flanked on the west by the
Mediterranean and on the east by the
Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and
includes all or parts of Israel, the West
Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
From antiquity this region was the site
of sophisticated settlements.
Greeks called the northern part of the
Fertile Crescent
“Between Two Rivers”
(Tigris River and Euphrates River)
The southern part of Mesopotamia was
called Babylonia, originally Sumer.
Which country is Mesopotamia today?
Sumer - Sumerians (Kuwait)
ca. 3500 to 3000 BC.
(ca. = circa)
Sumer gave us the city-state.
Define: city-state
Political unit made up of a city and
the surrounding lands. Each city
state has its own government,
even when it shares a culture with
neighboring city states.
Sumerian Writing: cuneiform
Click on the
picture for more
information about
Click here to write
like a Babylonian.
Cuneiform is created by pressing a
pointed stylus into a clay tablet.
Sumerians invented:
Brick technology
Base 60 – using the circle . . . 360 degrees
Time – 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in
a minute
12 month lunar calendar
Ziggurat – Holy Mountain
Click on the pictures for more information on ziggurats.
Gave us the first known written law code
and was the first civilization where the
citizens lived by the “Rule of Law”
Define “rule of law”
Government by law. The rule of law
implies that government authority
may only be exercised in accordance
with written laws, which were adopted
through an established procedure.
Hammurabi’s Code - 1792 BC
Hammurabi’s Code
was this law code.
Hammurabi ruled the
Babylonian Empire for 42 years.
At the end of his long
reign, Hammurabi’s legal
decisions were collected and
inscribed on a stone tablet
in a Babylonian temple. The 282
laws of the Code of Hammurabi
represent one of the earliest
known legal systems.
For more information about Hammurabi’s Code, click here and on the picture.
“If a man stole the property of church or
state, that man shall be put to death;
also the one who received the stolen goods
from his hand shall be put to
The laws governed such
things as lying,
stealing, assault, debt,
business partnerships,
marriage, and divorce.
In seeking protection
for all members of
Babylonian society,
Hammurabi relied on
the philosophy of equal
retaliation, otherwise
known as “an eye for an
“The Gift of the Nile”
Look at the map and
answer the following
What did Herodotus mean
when he said that Egypt
is the “gift of the Nile?”
Because of the
geography of the area,
without the Nile River,
there would be no Egypt.
Nile River
Sahara Desert
Egyptians invented:
Advances in medicine and surgery
Early Egyptian writing found on
tombs was indecipherable.
No one could read these sacred carvings
until Napoleon invaded Egypt and his
archaeologists found the Rosetta Stone.
Click on the picture to see your name in hieroglyphics.
Video: Write a short summary of
the finding, translation, and
importance of the Rosetta Stone.
For more information on the
Rosetta Stone, log on to one
of the following web sites.
Papyrus is one of the first
examples of paper. It is created
from reeds growing along the Nile
Indus River Valley (page 53)
2500 BC – 1500 BC
Around 2600 B.C.
the various regional
cultures were united
in what is called the
Indus Valley
Civilization. It is also
commonly referred
to as the Harappan
culture after the
town of Harappa
(where it was first
Click on the map for more information about ancient Indus River valley
Excavations at the ancient
Harappan and Mohenjo Daro
mounds revealed well planned
cities and towns built on
massive mud brick platforms
that protected the inhabitants
against seasonal floods. In the
larger cities the houses were
built of baked brick while at
smaller towns most houses
were built of sun-dried mud
brick. Each city is laid out in a
grid pattern and shows signs
of stunningly modern
plumbing systems.
Much writing has been found at these
sites, but it has not yet been translated.
Shang China
1600 BC – 1122 BC
Turn to the map on page 60. Note
the geographic features which
isolated China.
Lack of contact with
foreigners helped give
the Chinese a strong
sense of identity and
superiority. They
regarded their land as
the only civilized land
and called it Zhongguo
or the Middle Kingdom.
This Chinese isolation
contributed to the
Chinese belief that
China was at the center
of the earth and the
sole source of
The first true emperor of
China, was Shi Huangdi.
Turn to page 90.
Shi Huangdi’s most remarkable
achievement was the Great Wall.
Click here for a panoramic tour of the Great
Wall. Read the information under the
pictures and send your teacher a
postcard from one of the panoramic sites
to show that you visited! Click on each
picture here to see more information on
Shi Huangdi and the Great Wall.