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Mesopotamia (Tigris-Euphrates) River Valley Civilization

World History AP Higgins Period 5

Ruiqi He

on 14 September 2012

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Transcript of Mesopotamia (Tigris-Euphrates) River Valley Civilization

Tigris and Euphrates River Valley RUIQI HE, PERIOD 5 Mesopotamia THE FIRST CIVILIZATION: Religion Writing The first known case of human writing was developed in Mesopotamia by the Sumerians at around 3500 B.C.E. Their cuneiform alphabet was slim, triangular, and wedge-shaped; at first, it utilized various pictures to represent objects but soon metamorphosed to the use of geometric shapes representing phonetic sounds. The number of symbols may have been as much as 2000 at first but reduced to 300. Scribes wrote on tablets of clay Styluses similar to a ballpoint pen were used Being literate in Mesopotamia was an intricate skill that only few had the time to learn. A clay tablet known as the Jursa tablet which proves the existence of a Babylonian official in the Bible Diagram of an ancient Sumerian writing stylus Writing Art Different forms of Mesopotamian art, such as statues and frescoes placed at the temples of the gods, developed steadily. Statues of gods were used as decor for individual homes as well. In addition, Sumerian science (such as knowledge advancements in astronomy and mathematics) helped with an agricultural society. Mesopotamians made patterns of observation and abstract thoughts about nature that many civilizations, such as ours, continue to depend on. Intricate religious systems were established in Mesopotamia. Each city included a patron god, dedicating elaborate shrines for the honor of this patron god and other gods. Sumerians were dedicated to polytheism; their agriculture depended on the gods, who seemed sudden and unpredictable to them. Everyday life consisted of prayers and offerings to protect health and prevent floods. Sumerians saw their gods in many aspects of nature and thought the divine force was in natural objects. Sumerian religious ideas influenced writers of the Old Testament; this allowed Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions to continually be affected by Mesopotamian beliefs. Religious ideas were generally gloomy; Sumerians believed in an afterlife of punishment (an initial concept of hell). Ziggurats, which are massive towers conducted by professional priests, became the first monumental Mesopotamian architecture. Examples of Sumerian ideas which influenced writers of the Old Testament include:
The creation of Earth from water
Godly punishment of humans through floods Religion Examples of Mesopotamian art include:
Statues of gods
Frescoes of gods
Cylinder seals
Plaques and panels Cuneiform documents were sealed in clay envelopes and signed using cylinder seals, which were carved with a unique image Sumerian fresco showing men and giants Art Government Political structures of Mesopotamia included tightly organized city-states, each controlled by a king who claimed he had divine authority and lead the military. Sumerians had carefully defined boundaries, allowing a more formal political structure to come together. Governmental tasks included regulating religious tasks and providing a court system. Defense and war was an important aspect to Sumerian politics. Depiction of the appearance of cities in Ancient Sumer Examples of historically important cities in Mesopotamia include:
Assur Cities Cities Ancient Mesopotamia was where the world's first cities began appearing at around 4000-3500 B.C. This occurred due to the need for an organized irrigation system once methods of agriculture were established. The cities were concentrated near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Each city usually included a ziggurat, defensive walls, and cultivated fields and plains to the outside of the city walls. Ancient Sumer was organized into city-states, and each city-state was ruled by a king with divine right. Depiction of a Sumerian King Examples of governmental obligations in Mesopotamia:
Regulating religious duties
Providing a court system
Training an army and controlling defense and war Government Social Structure Kings, other individuals of the noble class, and the priesthood controlled much land, in which slaves worked. Slavery was prominent in Mesopotamia; warfare was important for ensuring supplies of slaves would be taken as prisoners during combat. However, many slaves earned money were granted freedom. The Sumerians, in addition, adopted silver as an early money form. However, it was under Babylonian rule in which king Hammurabi introduced Hammurabi's code, setting up court procedures and family member duties. Through this, he set harsh punishments for wrongdoings. Social Structure Hammurabi's Law Code on diorite stele Examples of rules from Hammurabi's Law Code include:
"If a merchant increases interest beyond that set by the king and collects it, that merchant will lose what was lent."
"If the husband of a married lady has accused her but she is not caught lying with another man, she shall take an oath by the life of a god and return to her house."
"If a son strikes his father, they shall cut off his forehand."
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