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REVOLUTION
A TOTALLY new way of living:
From
Hunter-Gatherers
to Agriculture
Agricultural Revolution
• Until the first civilizations, people were nomads. They
lived in groups of 20 -30, and spent most of their
time hunting and gathering. The men hunted game
animals, and the women gathered fruits and berries.
• When they learned to cultivate crops and domesticate
animals, life radically changed. This is known as
the Agricultural Revolution.
• Agriculture (crops) led to permanent settlements, the
establishment of social classes, and the eventual rise
of civilizations.
• Because there was enough food (surplus), social class
divisions developed, such as farmer, craftsman, and warrior.
(Would you need to fight if there’s nothing to gain?)
Agricultural Revolution
• When resources became scarce, warfare among villages
increased. During war, some men gained stature as great
warriors and became leaders in their society.
• Priests and warriors were the upper class, while farmers were
lower class. (Remember, there were no priests, warriors, or
social classes before there was a surplus of food – food
surplus changed EVERYTHING.)
• New technologies developed in response to the need for
better tools and weapons to go along with the new way of
living. They developed simple metal tools such as plows, to
help with their work. Metal weapons were developed as
villages needed to protect their valuable resources.
4 Early River Valley Civilizations
Archaeologists believe this is where one of the world’s first civilizations arose.
Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq) – is known as the cradle of Civilization.
“The Four Early River Valley Civilizations”
• Sumerian Civilization - Tigris & Euphrates Rivers (Mesopotamia)
City-States in Mesopotamia
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
City-States in Mesopotamia
A flat plain known as Mesopotamia lies between
the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Because of this region’s shape and the richness
of its soil, it is called the Fertile Crescent.
SW Asia
(the Middle East)
Fertile
Crescent
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
City-States in Mesopotamia
Sumerians were first to settle in this region, attracted by the rich soil.
. Three Disadvantages
1. Unpredictable flooding / dry summer months
2. No natural barriers for protection - small
villages lying in open plain were defenseless
3. Limited natural resources
- stone, wood, metal
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
City-States in Mesopotamia
I. GEOGRAPHY
Sumerians were first to settle in this region, attracted by the rich soil.
B. Three Disadvantages / Environmental Challenges
1. Unpredictable flooding / dry summer months
2. No natural barriers for protection
- small villages lying in open plain were defenseless
3. Limited natural resources (stone, wood, metal)
C. Solutions
1. Irrigation ditches
Sumerian innovations in achieving civilization
2. Built city walls with
set example others would follow.
mud bricks
3. Traded with people
around them
But to arrive at these solutions,
for the products
they lacked.
required organized government.
Initiated Bronze Age.
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
Let’s now look at the type of government the Sumerians had.
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
City-States in Mesopotamia
II. The City-State Structure of Government
A. Although all the cities shared the same culture …
B. each city had its own government / rulers, warriors,
it’s own patron god, and functioned like an independent country
C. includes within the city walls and also the surrounding farm land
D. Examples include Sumerian cities of Ur, Uruk, Kish, Lagesh
E. At center of each city was the walled temple with a ziggurat –
a massive, tiered, pyramid-shaped structure.
Define
type of
government
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
Sumerian Religion
Sumerians
worshipped
many gods, not
just one. This
belief in many
gods is called
polytheism.
“Poly” means
many and
“Theism” means
gods.
The picture above shows a ziggurat.
Ziggurats were the main temples used to
worship the gods of a city. Ziggurats were
built in the center of the city. They had
steps and ramps, and it was believed that
the gods descended to the Earth using the
ziggurat as a ladder.
The Ziggurat at Ur was first excavated by British archaeologist Woolley in 1923.
The Iraqi Directorate of Antiquities restored its lower stages in the 1980s.
ZIGGURATS
Ziggurat – Holy Mountain
BABYLONIAN ZIGGURAT
Sumerian Mythology
Sumerian myths, or stories, explained people’s beliefs.
Sumerians believed that a person must keep the gods
happy by going to the ziggurat and praying to them.
They believed that the gods would reward them for good
service. They also believed that the gods would punish
the people who made them angry.
ziggurat
City-States in Mesopotamia
Powerful priests held much political
power in the beginning.
Right:
“Priest-king,"
ca. 3300–3000
B.C.;
Uruk.
Left: Priests
intervening
between
worshipers and
gods.
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
Cultural diffusion is the spread of elements of one culture to another
people, generally through trade.
Take the spread of writing. Similarities between the pictograms of
Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sumerian cuneiform, and the Indus script are
striking.
Can you give examples of cultural diffusion in your society today?
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
City-States in Mesopotamia
III. SUMERIAN CULTURE
A. RELIGION
1. Belief in many gods - polytheism
God of the clouds / air was Enlil – the most powerful god.
(Nearly 3,000 others – with human qualities.
The Sumerians viewed their gods as hostile and unpredictable –
similar to the natural environment around them.)
A Sumerian warriorgod, gold figurine, ca.
2,400-2,500 B.C.E.
Marduk, the
Dragon god
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
City-States in Mesopotamia
III. SUMERIAN CULTURE
B. SOCIETY
1. Three social classes
a. Priests and royalty (kings)
b. Wealthy merchants
c. Ordinary workers
[Slaves] –were not free citizens and thus not included in
class system
2. Women
a. Had more rights than in many later civilizations
(could own property, join lower ranks of
priesthood)
b. But not allowed to attend schools
(could not read or write)
Left: Statue of Sumerian woman with hands clasped at chest,
ca. 2600-2300 B.C.
Right: Gypsum statue of man and
woman at Inanna Temple at Nippur, circa 2600-2300 B.C.
City-States in Mesopotamia
III. SUMERIAN CULTURE
C. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
1. One of the first writing systems - Cuneiform
Cylinder seals and their ancient impressions on
administrative documents and locking devices are
our richest source for a range of meaningful subject matters.
A wealth of these have been discovered at Sumerian sites. *
PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.
Review:
1. What were the places of worship for
the people of Mesopotamia?
ziggurats
2. What was their writing called?
cuneiform
3. Mesopotamia, the first permanent place
for human settlements, had a special
name for its shape. What?
The Fertile Crescent
4. The Fertile Crescent was between what
two rivers?
Tigris and Euphrates