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Ancient Mesopotamia Study Guide
1. What does the name Mesopotamia
mean?
 It means the “land between two rivers” in Greek.
2. Why did they build canals in
Mesopotamia?
 They needed a way to control the flooding rivers.
3. Why did city-states want farmland?
 They wanted the farmland so they could grow
more food.
4. Describe Sargon’s empire.
 He was the first emperor.
 He created a permanent army.
 He expanded his empire by conquering
Mesopotamia from the Persian Gulf to the
Mediterranean Sea.
5. Why were priests important?
 Priests were important because people relied on
them to help gain god’s favor by performing
religious ceremonies.
 They interpreted offerings.
6. Describe the ancient Sumerian
writing system.
 Cuneiform: the very first form of writing.
 Using pictograms (wedge-shaped symbols) not
the alphabet.
7. What was a ziggurat? What is its’
purpose?
 Pyramid-shaped tower.
 Built tall so they could reach the gods.
8. What technology did the Hittites and
Assyrians use in battle?
 Iron weapons and chariots.
9. What are the Phoenicians known
for?
 Alphabet
 Trading indigo(purple dye), cedar trees,
silverwork, glass objects, ivory carvings, slaves.
10. When did hunter-gatherers settle in
Mesopotamia?
 Around 12,000 years ago.
11. What is irrigation?
 The artificial watering of farmland.
12. Define division of labor.
 The type of arrangement in which each worker
specializes in a particular task job.
13. Explain the social pyramid in
Sumer.
 Kings
 Priests
 Craftspeople, merchants, and traders
 Farmers and laborers
 Slaves
14. How did religion influence society
in Sumer?
 Religion was important.
 Stay on the gods good side.
 Polytheism (worship of many gods).
 Each city-state had one god as a protector.
 Priests were important.
15. Who was Hammurabi? Why was he
important?
 Hammurabi was the monarch of Babylon.
 Created Hammurabi’s Code---the first written
law
 282 laws written on an 8ft tablet in the middle of
Babylon for all to see.