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Chapter 2:
Middle East & Egypt
3200 B.C.- 500 B.C.
Section 1: City-States of
Ancient Sumer
• Fertile Crescent curves from the Persian
Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea
• Mesopotamia is a region in the Fertile
• It lies between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
World’s 1st civilization developed in
southeastern Mesopotamia
• Sumerians had to
cooperate in order
to prevent the
massive floods that
occurred year round
from destroying
their farms and
• Clay and water were
used to create the
bricks that built
• Sumerians traded
along the rivers,
and trade allowed
the cities to
Sumerian Civilization Takes Shape
• Sumerians had a
social hierarchy, a
system for ranking
Ruling Family,
Leading Officials,
High Priests
Lesser Priests,
Peasant Farmers
• In Sumerian
society, women
held a higher
social standing.
However, women
were still not
treated equally.
Sumerian Religion
• Polytheistic-
Worshipping many
• Gods controlled all
aspects of life. It
was important to
keep the divine
beings happy. This
would in turn keep
their city-states
• Ziggurat- Large
stepped platform
Sumerian Writing
• Cuneiform
• Earliest form of known
• A stylus was used on
a clay tablet.
• Myths, prayers, laws,
contracts, and
monetary exchanges
Sumer Lasting Legacy
• Cuneiform
• Astrology
• Mathematics
• Epic of Gilgamesh
Section 2: Invaders, Traders,
and Empire Builders
• Sargon
• Ruler of Akkad, conquered neighboring citystates of Sumer. He expanded his territory and
created the world’s first empire. Once Sargon
died, his empire crumbled.
• Hammurabi
• King of Babylon. Created a set of laws referred
to as Hammurabi’s Code. It consists of close to
300 laws.
• Civil Law: Private rights and matters.
Such as,
business contracts, property, taxes, marriage and
• Criminal Law: Deals with offenses against others.
Such as, robbery, assault, and murder. “Eye for an
eye” or “life for a life”.
• Improved irrigation, organized a well trained army,
New Empires and Ideas
• Hittites
• They were able to extract iron from ore, this
knowledge changed the way weapons were created.
• Modified the chariot to allow for three man to
ride. One driver, and
an and an additional
soldier to fight the enemy.
New Empires and Ideas
• Assyrians
• Most feared warriors in all of history
• They captured Babylon and spoke of their
conquests everywhere.
• Strict laws within the household, women had their
own quarters, and had to wear veils in public.
• Nebuchadnezzar
• Rebuilt Babylon and surrounded the city with a
moat and brick wall
(85 feet thick)
• Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Persians Establish a Huge
• The walls around Babylon could not keep out
the Persians.
• Persian Kings had a policy of tolerance. They
respected the customs of the groups in the
• Darius I
• Set up a bureaucracy- system of government with
departments led by officials who followed a set
of guidelines and rules.
• He repaired and built hundreds of miles of roads.
• Encouraged the use of coins for goods and
services in order to link the entire empire
together economically.
• Zoroaster
• Taught monotheism, belief in one god Ahura Mazda.
• Due to the location in close proximity, to the
sea, the Phoenicians were sailors and traders.
• The sea gave the Phoenicians sand in which they
created glass. As well as a tiny sea snail that
produced a purple dye.
• The Phoenicians set up colonies, a territory
settled and ruled by people from another land.
These colonies allowed for better trade
between countries and continents.
• Most significant contribution from the
Phoenicians was the alphabet. Each
symbol represents a basic sound. The
Greeks added to this and thus gave us
the alphabet that we use today.
Chapter 2, Section 5
•Roots of
Ancient Israelites Shape a Unique
Belief System
Israelites also known as Hebrews
They were monotheistic
They believed in an all-knowing, all-
powerful God who was present everywhere.
The Israelites recorded events and laws in
the Torah
The Torah, their most sacred text,
includes the first five books of the Hebrew
Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
and Deuteronomy). The Hebrew Bible includes
a total of 24 books. Additional laws and
customs were written in a much later
written text, the Talmud.
The Ancient Israelites
According to the Torah, a man by the name of
Abraham lived near Ur in Mesopotamia; about
2000 B.C. he and his family migrated to
Canaan. He is considered to be the father
of the Israelite people.
The Israelites believe that God made
a covenant with Abraham:
1. God declared that He would have
a special relationship with Abraham
and his descendants
2. God declared Canaan would one
day belong to the Israelites. Making
Canaan their “promised land”
• An Israelite named Moses later renewed God’s
covenant with the Israelites. Many Israelites
migrated to Egypt due to famine and became enslaved
according to the Book of Genesis. In the Book of
Exodus, Moses tells the Israelites that in return
for faithful obedience to God, God will lead them
out of bondage and into the promised land. Moses
leads the Israelites out of bondage and 40 years
later they reached Canaan. However, Moses died just
before they arrived.
The Kingdom of Israel
The Torah tells of 12
separate tribes of
Israel that had
feuded up until
1000B.C. Then David,
a strong and wise
king, united these
tribes into a single
Son of David,
followed in his
fathers footsteps and
turned the city of
Jerusalem into an
impressive capital.
It had many beautiful
temples in which were
dedicated to God.
Israel Under Solomon
The building project under
Solomon required such high
taxes and so much forced
labor that revolts started
after his death about 922
Because of the revolts the
kingdom split into two:
Israel in the North and
Judah in the South.
They remained independent
for about 200 yrs. But
eventually fell to more
powerful peoples. In
722B.C. the Assyrians
conquered Israel and in
586B.C. Babylonian armies
captured Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar destroyed
Judaism Teaches About Law and
 Law was central to the Israelites and the Torah
included many laws. Some laws deal with everyday
matters such as cleanliness and food preparation.
Others define criminal acts. The Torah also
establishes moral principles.
 Israelite society was patriarchal. A family’s
oldest male relative was the head of the household
and arranged marriages for his daughters.
 Prophets, spiritual leaders who interpreted God’s
will, reminded the Jewish people of their duties.
 The prophets also taught a strong code of ethics
(moral standards of behavior)
The Ten Commandments
At the heart of Judaism
are the Ten
Commandments, a set of
laws that Jews believe
God gave to them through
The first four
commandments stress
religious duties toward
God, such as keeping the
Sabbath, a holy day of
rest and worship.
The last six address
conduct toward others.