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Early Civilizations
Mesopotamia
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
structures.
–

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
India.
3 major social groups:
1. Nobles
2. Commoners
3. Slaves
Culture of Mesopotamia

Cuneiform Writing
System.
– Wedge-shaped writing.
– Helped educated the
people.
– Recorded history.
The Epic of Gilgamesh on a stone tablet
Cuneiform Writing
Culture of Mesopotamia

Mathematics.
– Included geometry.
– Based on units of 60.
Astronomy.
 12-month Calendar.

Culture of Mesopotamia

Sumerian art work.
Helmet
Harp
Board Game
Religion of Mesopotamia

Theocracy
– “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
water.
– Niuhurgage was the god of soil,
mountains, & vegetation.


Man was created to work for the
gods.
Divination
– “inspired by the gods”
Enki
Religion of Mesopotamia

Ziggurat
– “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
Babylon.
– Ended Sumerian politics.
– Did not survive after his
death.
Empires of Mesopotamia

The Babylonian Empire
The Code of Hammurabi


Strict laws.
Punishment was severe.
– Severity depended on your social
class.





“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.