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1.5 Ancient Sumer
Transcript of 1.5 Ancient Sumer
Characteristics of a civilization
Overall Sumer was a difficult place to live.
Hot summer and little rain.
The Sumerians however were smart and built complex irrigation systems resulting in large cities forming by 3000 B.C.E.
But what did Sumerians do to create a civilization?
1.5 Ancient Sumer
Place these aspects of civilizations in order of importance.
Stable food supply
Who even are you?
Until 150 years ago archaeologists had no idea that the Sumerian people lived at all.
Then in the 19th century they started to find artifacts and ruins of cities.
These artifacts have told us a lot about life in Ancient Sumer.
They also prove that Sumerians were the first to invent things that we still use today.
Let´s start at the beginning:
The rise of Sumerian city-states began around 3500 BCE.
Located in the fertile crescent in Mesopotamia, Modern day Iraq.
They had a complex society that historians consider a civilization.
There are 7 characteristics of a civilization
1) Stable food supply
2) Social Structure
Stable Food Supply
The members of a society can only thrive if its members have the food they need to survive.
The Sumerians created 2 things to help them achieve this.
A COMPLEX IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Networks of canals, dams and reservoirs
Turns the soil for planting crops
Before the plow farmers used to do it themselves with an animal horn.
First plow was made of wood and farmers pushed it themselves or used Oxen.
A social structure includes different jobs and social levels.
Some people have a higher status than others.
Top level: priests, landowners, government officials
Top Middle level: Merchants, Artisans.
Lower Middle Level: Farmers and Fishers
Low level: Slaves
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All civilizations have a system of government to direct people´s behaviour and make life orderly.
Sumerian states were ruled by kings who they believed were chosen by the gods.
This also helped the king keep control because respecting the will of the gods was of paramount importance.
Kings enforced laws and collected taxes.
They built temples and made sure irrigation systems were maintained.
The king also led the army.
The army included:
PROFESSIONAL SOLDIERS: Drove chariots. It was their job to be a soldier.
CITIZEN SOLDIERS: Called upon in times of war when their weren´t enough professional soldiers.
Kings appointed officials to help with certain things.
SCRIBES: Record laws.
The Sumerians were the first people to develop a system of written laws.
Another group of people were in charge of policing the canals to make sure the irrigation system ran smoothly and that farmers got equal amounts.
Every civilization has some kind of religious system including:
A SET OF BELIEFS - usually in a god or gods
FORMS OF WORSHIP
Sumerians religious beliefs influenced every part of daily life.
From growing crops to being kind to your neighbour.
Religion helped ALL people live together in a common way of life.
Sumerians built religious temples called ZIGGURATS.
The towers were platforms made of mud bricks with shrines on the highest tier.
They were so big , some could be seen from 20 miles away.
The Sumerians believed that gods lived IN THE ZIGGURATS.
There were large staircases on the outside of the Ziggurats so that the gods could climb down to Earth.
Kings and priests stood inside the towers to ask for the gods blessings.
Sumerians believed that the gods were pleased when people showed these signs of devotion, or love and obedience.
Arts = creative forms of expression such as painting, architecture, and music.
metalworkers: weapons, cupsm mirrors, jewellery.
architects: designed temples and ziggurats.
Music was another important art in Sumer.
They believed that music brought joy to the gods.
Musicians sang and played instruments during temple ceremonies.
Musicians played many instruments.
Drums, pipes and the lyre.
The LYRE was like a harp.
Lyres were often decorated with precious stones and carvings.
The most important Sumerian invention was the wheel.
The earliest dates back to 3500 B.C.E.
Initially invented by potters, the Sumerians realised that the wheel could also be used on carts for farmers and chariots for the army.
The earliest wheels were made of wood.
Before the wheel people dragged their goods on sledges.
Got stuck in the mud
Couldn´t hold heavy objects.
Oxen could pull 3 times more weight on wheels than on a sledge.
Another technological advance was the arch.
Sumerians stacked bricks made of clay and straw to rise from the walls and meet in the center