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Sumer
3000 B.C.E.
Political Structure of Sumer
The priest-king:
led the military, administered trade,
judged disputes, and engaged in the
most important religious ceremonies.
ruled through a series of bureaucrats
who surveyed land, assigned fields,
and distributed crops after harvest.
claimed authority was based on
“divine selection.”
claimed the monarch was divine and
worthy of worship.
Social Structure of Mesopotamia
•The Emergence of
a Stratified
Patriarchal Society
•Social Classes
•Temple
Communities
•Slaves
•Patriarchal
Society
•Women’s Roles
Religion
•Polytheistic
•Powerful gods resembled humans.
•Gods controlled natural forces and were
associated with astronomical bodies, such
as the sun.
•The gods were creator gods; as a group,
they had created the world and the people in
it.
•Believed gods regretted creation of humans
and made a flood.
Writing
•Stone tablets kept records of
goods.
•Early writings were actually
pictures done with a reed on
wet clay.
• Eventually, the Sumerians
converted to a short-hand
called cuneiform, or "wedgeshaped“ in Latin.
The Calendar
•Sumerians invented
calendars, which they divided
into twelve months based on
the cycle of the moon.
•This interest in measuring
long periods of time led the
Sumerians to develop a
complicated knowledge of
astronomy
Economic Developments of
Mesopotamia
•Specialization and
Trade
•Bronze
Metallurgy
•Iron Metallurgy
•The Wheel
•Shipbuilding
•Trade Networks
MAP 2.2 Mesopotamian
empires, 1800-600 B.C.E.
 Page: 39
The First Empire:
The Akkadians
•The Akkadians came from the Arabic
peninsula
•The Akkadians migrated north into
the Sumerian city-states
•In 2340 BC, the military leader,
Sargon, conquered Sumer and built
an empire
•It was the largest empire humans
great Akkadian had ever seen up until
that point.
•It later became the city of Babylon,
which was the commercial and
cultural center of the middle east for
almost two thousand years.
Hammurabi’s
Code
•Around 1900 B.C.E. the
Amorites (Old Babylonians)
gained control of most of
Mesopotamian region.
•A Babylonian monarch
named Hammurabi came up
with a system of laws.
•a law of exact revenge or lex
talionis: "an eye for an eye, a
tooth for a tooth, a life for a
life"
•Sumerian law recognized
class distinctions; under
Sumerian law, everyone was
not equal
• Harming a priest or noble
person was a far more serious
crime than harming a slave or
poor person
 Sources from the Past:
Hammurabi’s Law on Family Relationships
“If the wife of a seignior has been caught while lying with
another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the
water. If the husband of the woman wishes to spare his wife,
then the king in turn may spare his subject.”
- Hammurabi’s Law
The Later Mesopotamian
Empires: The Assyrians
The Assyrians were Semitic
people living in the northern
reaches of Mesopotamia.
The army was the largest
standing army ever seen in the
Middle East or Mediterranean.
Technological innovation in
weaponry: iron swords, lances,
metal armor, and battering
rams
Later Influences in Religion
 The Early Hebrews
 Migrations and
Settlement in Palestine
 Moses and
Monotheism
 Assyrian and
Babylonian Conquests
 The Early Jewish
Community
 Hear the story.
The Phoenicians
 The
Phoenicians
 The Early
Phoenicians
 Phoenician
Trade Networks
 Alphabetic
Writing
Indo-European Migrations
•The Hittites
•War Chariots
•Iron Metallurgy
•Indo-European
Migrations to the East
•Indo-European
Migrations to the
South
•Indo-European
Migrations to the West