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Early Civilizations
Map of Mesopotamia
Geography of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia means:
– “the land between the rivers”.
Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
Modern day Iraq
Fertile Crescent
– From the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf
Fertile soil
– Silt deposits, but little rain fall
– Flooding
– Irrigation and drainage ditches
Agriculture is only made possible through irrigation
– Bases for a civilization
Constant warfare
The Fertile Crescent
The Sumerians and City-States
First to create civilizations.
 Early City States began in 3000 BC.
– Eridu, Ur, Uruk, Umma, and Lagash
Cities were surrounded by walls.
 Mud bricks used to build.
– Very limited wood or stone.
– Stilled used today in the Middle East.
Walled City
The Sumerians and City States
Temples were the most important
Gods ruled the cities.
Kings received power from the gods.
Economy was mostly agriculture.
Religious, political, and economic center.
Also included textiles, pottery, and metal work.
Trade with eastern Mediterranean and
3 major social groups:
1. Nobles
2. Commoners
3. Slaves
Culture of Mesopotamia
Cuneiform Writing
– Wedge-shaped writing.
– Helped educated the
– Recorded history.
The Epic of Gilgamesh on a stone tablet
Cuneiform Writing
Culture of Mesopotamia
– Included geometry.
– Based on units of 60.
 12-month Calendar.
Culture of Mesopotamia
Sumerian art work.
Board Game
Religion of Mesopotamia
– “religion rules politics”.
– Everything was linked to the gods.
Polytheistic gods.
– Au was the god of sky.
– Enil was the god of wind.
– Enki was the god of earth and
– Niuhurgage was the god of soil,
mountains, & vegetation.
Man was created to work for the
– “inspired by the gods”
Religion of Mesopotamia
– “temple to the gods”.
Artist’s depiction of the
ziggurat at Ur
Modern day picture of what is
left of the ziggurat at Ur.
Empires of Mesopotamia
Constant wars occurred throughout Mesopotamia’s history.
Akkadians create the first empire.
– Took control in 2340 BC.
– Led by Sargon
Warring city-states returned in 2100 BC.
– Short lived return of Sumerian rule.
Empires of Mesopotamia
Hammurabi created a
new empire in 1792 BC.
– Created a new capital in
– Ended Sumerian politics.
– Did not survive after his
Empires of Mesopotamia
The Babylonian Empire
The Code of Hammurabi
Strict laws.
Punishment was severe.
– Severity depended on your social
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for
a tooth”.
Consumer laws.
Land and trade laws.
Civil laws.
Marriage and family laws.
– Largest category of laws.
– Marriages were arranged.