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Cities and Civilizations
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
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
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.
Based on what you see in the
map 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. 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.
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
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
Gave us the first know written law code
and was the first civilization where the
citizens live 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.
“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.
Papyrus is one of the first
examples of paper. It is created
from reeds growing along the Nile
Indus River Valley
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
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
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