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1.Students will be able to identify:
•What “Mesopotamia” means.
•The location of Mesopotamia.
•The names of the two rivers.
•Sumerians as the first
civilization.
2.Identify key terms: city-state,
ziggurat, polytheism, theocracy,
cuneiform and scribe.
3.Be able to read and understand
a social structure chart.
4.Identify the accomplishments of
the Sumerians.
Archaeologist Sir
Leonard Woolley.
•Mesopotamia – Called the “Fertile Crescent,”
this was the first agrarian civilization in the
world.
“The land between two
rivers.”
•Mesopotamia –
the “Land
between two
rivers.” The land
between the
Tigris and
Euphrates rivers.
(Modern day Iraq).
Sumer
3000 BC
Akkad
2340 – 2100 BC
Babylon
1792-1750 BC
Assyria
900 BC – 600 BC
Chaldean Babylon
600 – 539 BC
Persia
559 – 330 BC
How many civilizations controlled the
Mesopotamian region?
•Empires in Mesopotamia fought for
control over the land and water.
•Civilizations in the region - Sumerians,
Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and
Persians. (Sumerian army pictured above).
•Dates back to 3,000
BC. Oldest of the
civilizations.
•Key cities were Ur,
Eridu, and Uruk.
•Cities formed citystates that acted like
an independent
nation.
Above: Archaeologists Sir
Charles Leonard Woolley
•Each City-state surrounded by
walls. Defense
towers posted
every 30-35 ft.
Capital city
in the East
and sundried
bricks.
•Sun-dried bricks
used to form
buildings and
houses.
•Vicious weather
patterns- floods,
heavy rain,
scorching winds,
famine and drought.
•Floods of the Tigris
and Euphrates were
unpredictable.
Sites from Ancient Ur
•Early civilizations
will create irrigation
and drainage
ditches.
•Serious efforts to
control the flow of
the rivers.
Sumerian farmers irrigate and
work the fields.
•Enables them to
grow crops regularly.
•Economy was
primarily based on
farming.
•Trade and Industry
– imported copper,
tin, and timber.
Exported fish, wool,
barley and wheat.
Sumerian farmer and tradesman on
a raft.
•Traded by land and
sea.
•Polytheistic – the
belief in many gods.
•Priests and
priestesses were
powerful and may have
been the 1st rulers.
•Gods owned the
cities. Over 3,000 gods.
Statues of worshippers.
In Sumerian religions, the gods created man to
serve him and work the fields.
•Believed the gods
ruled the cities.
•Theocracy – a
government by divine
authority. (Rule by
god).
•Left-Marduk, the god of
the city of Babylon.
•Their religion was very
gloomy.
•The gods were
unpredictable, like their
weather.
Image of Lilitu or the first
wife of Adam. Courtesy of
Wikipedia Commons.
•Upon death, they would
go to a terrible underworld
or “land of no return.”
•Ziggurat – temple set
atop a stepped tower.
The Ziggurat or Temple of
Ur in Ancient Sumer.
This temple was the central
focus of life in the city of
Ur.
•Temple was the
center of the city and
its economic and
political life.
•This was the most
important building in
the city.
Above: Artist’s rendering of the city of Ur. In the background,
you can see the temple or ziggurat. Courtesy of Wikipedia
Commons.
1.What does Mesopotamia mean?
2.Name the two rivers that encircle
Mesopotamia.
3.How did most men earn a living in Sumer?
4.Where did the people of Sumer worship?
5.What is polytheism?
Nobles and
Slaves
make up
less than
10% of the
total pop.
Slaves –
work on
buildings,
grind
grain,
weave
cloth.
King
Nobles
Commoners
Slaves
Royals and
Priests –
Officials
and
Families.
90% Temple
officials,
Farmers,
merchants,
craftsmen
and
fishermen.
•Kings were divine.
•Led armies.
• Oversaw the building of public works
and structures.
•Organized irrigation projects.
•Picture: Standard of Ur Chariots. Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
•Priests kept
calendars, time, and
reported on
harvesting and
planting.
Statue of a priest of
Sumer.
•Scribes wrote careful
records of natural
events on the earth
and in the skies.
•Men who recorded all
aspects of Sumerian
life.
•Educated, copyists,
teachers and jurists.
Sumerian scribe above.
•Upper class,
successful, leaders of
cities, temples and
armies.
•1st written
language was the
wedge-shaped
writing of the
Sumerians called
cuneiform.
Wedge-shaped Sumerian
writing or cuneiform
above.
•Scribes wrote on
clay tablets with a
reed stylus.
Shelves of a tablet library in Babylon.
•Epic of Gilgamesh –
1st Epic poem.
•Oldest poem in the
history of the world.
•Sumerian tales
about a hero named
Gilgamesh.
•1st system of writing
– cuneiform.
•Invented the wagon
wheel.
•Invented the potter’s
wheel.
•1st to make copper
tools.
•Sundial to keep
time.
•Astronomy –chart
constellations.
•Math – number
system based on
60. (60 minute
hour).
•Geometry –
measure fields
and plan
buildings.
•Designed the
arch and the
dome.
Ishtar Gate
1.What was the writing style of the
Sumerians called?
2.What is the oldest Epic poem in the
history of the world?
3.Who invented the wheel?
4.What was a scribe?
5. The Sumerians were the first to
accomplish many things. Name two.