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Richard Rouse

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Transcript of Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia Bentley Chapter 2 photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli Learning Goals I. Core and foundational civilizations developed in a variety of geographical and environmental settings where agriculture flourished.
II. The first states emerged within core civilizations.
III. Culture played a significant role in unifying states through laws, language, literature, religion, myths and monumental art. 1st things first.... we must define civilization
or complex society.... At it's most basic... A civilization is any
grouping of people that has managed to produce a "state" or government. This means that their loyalties have changed from the family or kin based tribe to a larger group of people that are bound together by common culture. Civilization is not:
1) Any old farming village...
2) Synonymous with culture... Urban Development
Political/military system
Social stratification
Economic specialization
“Higher culture”
Evidenced through monumental architecture and art... Civilization Requires There is a relationship between culture and civilization...
take 60 seconds to summarize the definition and requirements of civilization in your notes; then analyze the relationship between culture and civilization. Answer... culture transcends blood ties. It allows people to "relate" to others outside of their own kin based tribes. CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION REINFORCE ONE ANOTHER. This is what learning goal three is trying to get across... Let's see how this all plays out in ancient Mesopotamia. Learning Goal 1
Foundational civilizations grew in places where agriculture flourished. 6000 B.C.E: Small Scale irrigation
Supports growing population
1. Huge Food Surplus
5000 B.C.E: Large Scale Irrigation Projects
Huge Boon to agriculture.
4000 B.C.E 1st Cities
3000 B.C.E Population 100,000 - Huge in ancient times
1. Continuing Surplus Agriculture
2. Wealth / Opportunity Around 2350 BCE = Formal Government Established in cities.
Governments established to:
Manage internal and External Conflict
Coordinate public works projects (like irrigation and monument building) Wealth Brings interest of others...
Mesopotamia is a flat plain, no natural defenses.
Need strong city government to:
1. organize military
2. construct defenses...walls, fortifications etc..
3. All of this requires a central and unquestioned authority.

After 3000 BCE, all Sumerian cities were ruled by
monarchy Eventually, the creation of city armies, leads to
war between cities.
Around 2800 BCE the city states in Mesopotamia were warring with each other.

Early literature, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, tells stories of how he frees the city of Uruk. Mesopotamians had no precedents to guide them.
Kingdoms emerge through experimentation with social organization. Enter Sargon of Akkad.
Sargon organizes the city states
into a small empire that he manages
directly. Semitic peoples from northern Mesopotamia overshadow Sumer
Sargon of Akkad (2370-2315 B.C.E.)
Destroyed Sumerian city-states one by one, created empire based in Akkad
Empire unable to maintain chronic rebellions
Hammurabi of Babylon (1792-1750 B.C.E.)
Improved taxation, legislation
Used local governors to maintain control of city-states
Babylonian empire later destroyed by Hittites from Anatolia, ca. 1595 B.C.E. Code of Hammurabi
Established high standards of behavior and stern punishment for violators
Lex talionis – “law of retaliation”
Social status and punishment Weakening of central rule an invitation to foreign invaders
Assyrians use new iron weaponry
Beginning 1300 B.C.E., by eighth to seventh centuries B.C.E. control Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, most of Egypt
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (r. 605-562) takes advantage of internal dissent to create Chaldean (New Babylonian) empire
Famously luxurious capital ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Bronze (copper with tin), ca. 4000 B.C.E.
Military, agricultural applications
Iron, ca. 1000 B.C.E.
Cheaper than bronze
Wheel, boats, ca. 3500 B.C.E.
Shipbuilding increases trade networks Technological Development in Mesopotamia ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Social Classes ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Men as landowners, relationship to status
Patriarchy: “rule of the father”
Right to sell wives, children
Double standard of sexual morality
Women drowned for adultery
Relaxed sexual mores for men
Yet some possibilities of social mobility for women
Court advisers, temple priestesses, economic activity
Introduction of the veil at least ca. 1500 B.C.E. Patriarchal Society 2nd class citizens

Some historians trace womens' secondary
place in society to the invention of the plow.
Why would this occur?

Other Historians find a cultural connection...
In paleolithic era, man lived at one with nature.
After the agricultural revolution, man conquers nature.
Many paleolithic tribes seemed to worship the divine feminine
(Venus Figurines / Mother Nature). During this period, female dieties
are downgraded or replaced by male counterparts.
Therefore, the role of women is diminished in society. Most likely, women lost their equality in
society as agricultural production generated
inequalities in wealth. Men had to control female
sexuality to ensure that their lands (and accumulated
wealth would be passed onto their own offspring. ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Sumerians experiment with pictographs
2900 B.C.E. Sumerians create writing system
Cuneiform: “wedge-shaped”
Preservation of documents on clay
Declines from 400 B.C.E. with spread of Greek alphabetic script Development of Writing ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. According to Hebrew scripture, Abraham migrated to northern Mesopotamia ca. 1850 B.C.E.
Parallels between early biblical texts, code of Hammurabi
Scriptures state Hebrews under Moses go to Palestine, ca. 1300 B.C.E.
On-going conflict with indigenous populations
King David (1000-970 B.C.E.) and Solomon (970-930 B.C.E.) The Early Hebrews ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Hebrews shared polytheistic beliefs of other Mesopotamian civilizations
Moses introduced monotheism, belief in single god
Denied existence of competing parallel deities
Personal god: reward and punishment for conformity with revealed law
The Torah (“doctrine or teaching”) Moses and Monotheism ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Assyrian conquest, 722 B.C.E.
Conquered the northern kingdom
Deported many inhabitants to other regions
Many exiles assimilated and lost their identity
Babylonian conquest, 586 B.C.E.
Destroyed Jerusalem
Forced many into exile
Israelites maintained their religious identity and many returned to Judea Foreign Conquests of Israel ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. City-states along Mediterranean coast after 3000 B.C.E.
Extensive maritime trade
Dominated Mediterranean trade, 1200-800 B.C.E.
Development of alphabet symbols
Simpler alternative to cuneiform
Spread of literacy The Phoenicians ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Hittites migrate to central Anatolia, ca. 1900 B.C.E., later dominate Babylonia
Influence on trade
Horses, chariots with spoked wheels
Migrations to western China, Greece, Italy also significant Implications of Indo-European Migration Early Crucifixion
Assyrians invent
this as a form of
the Romans perfect
this, and the rest is
history Summary:
I. Core and foundational civilizations developed in a variety of geographical and environmental settings where agriculture flourished.

Explain how The Tigris and the Euphrates rivers
supported the development of an empire in Mesopotamia.

How has Mesopotamian culture influenced the cultures that have followed it. III. Culture played a significant role in unifying states through laws, language, literature, religion, myths and monumental art.

What were the important aspects of
Mesopotamian culture that were discussed
that created unity within the empire?
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