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Cradles of Civilization
Ancient Sumerians
Ancient Egyptians
Ancient Indus
Ancient Chinese
Cultural Diffusion
Crossroads of the World
Center of the World
The Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent is of great worldhistorical significance. It gave birth to
and sustained many great civilizations.
The Fertile Crescent is the place where
agriculture and civilization first arose,
the birthplace of our alphabet, the place
where great religions first uplifted the
souls of mankind, the home of
philosophers, saints, poets, explorers and
Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East
Sumerians (3500 B.C.-1792 B.C.)
Akkadians (2300 B.C.-2000 B.C.)
Babylonians (1792 B.C.-1650 B.C.)
Hittites (1650 B.C.-1200 B.C.)
Hebrews (1200B.C.-586 B.C.)
Phoenicians (1000 B.C.-700 B.C.)
Assyrians (750 B.C.-605 B.C.)
Chaldeans 605 B.C.-550 B.C.)
Persians (525 B.C.-331 B.C.)
The Sumerian Civilization
People/ Brief History
Settled near the mouths of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers around
3500 B.C.
Established city states of Kish and Ur
Constructed Ziggurats (step pyramids for temples)
Worshipped polytheistic gods
Contributions to Civilizations
Written Language of Cuneiform
Created the wagon wheel
Built man’s first arches
Created and used sun dials to calculate time
First civilizations to control fire to blend metals to make bronze
Hammurabi’s Written Law Codes
A large solid mud-brick stepped tower. Stairways
lead to the top where there was a small temple.
I. The Twin Rivers
A. Settlement began around 5000 B.C.
B. Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
1. No regular supply of water
2. Unpredictable and destructive
3. Dams, canals, ditches built to help
damage done by floods
II. The Sumerian Civilization
A. First arrived around 3500 B.C.
B. Built first city-states
1. Independently governed
2. Military leader
3. King and priest
II. The Sumerian Civilization (con’t)
C. Sumerian law
1. Well regulated family
2. Women under authority of men
D. System of writing: Cuneiform
1. Wedge shaped clay
II. The Sumerian Civilization (con’t)
E. Polytheistic religion
1. gods were selfish, little regard for
human beings
2. Worshipped at a Ziggurat, step
3. No afterlife
Ziggurat, form of temple common to the Sumerians,
Babylonians and Assyrians. The earliest examples date
from the end of the 3rd millennium BC, the latest from the
6th cent. BC. The ziggurat was a pyramidal structure,
built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square
platform, with a shrine at the summit. The core of the
ziggurat was of sun-baked bricks, and the facings were of
fired bricks, often glazed in different colors, which are
thought to have had cosmological significance. Access to
the summit shrine was provided by a series of ramps on
one side or by a continuous spiral ramp from base to
summit. The number of tiers ranged from two to seven.
Notable examples are the ruins at Ur and Khorsabad in
Mesopotamia. Similar structures were built by the Mayan
people of Central America.
II. The Sumerian Civilization (con’t)
F. Technological inventions
1. Wagon wheel
2. The arch
3. The sundial
4. Metallurgy to make Bronze
III.First Mesopotamia Empires
A. Akkadians
1. United city-states of Mesopotamia
under one empire through military
2. Utilized cultural diffusion with the
III.First Mesopotamia Empires (con’t)
B. Babylonians
1. Semetic people defeated
Sumerian centers and founded a
dynasty in Babylon
2. Ruler was Hammurabi
a. Entire region under his control
b. Written law codes
Law Codes
Specific punishment
for each violation