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Benjamin King

on 28 October 2015

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Transcript of Mesopotamia

Greeks spoke

of the valley
between the Tigris and the Euphrates river as
"the land between two rivers"
The rivers deposited silt giving the region it's nickname -
"The Fertile Crescent"
of the rivers was
in both it's
timing and severity
Geography of Mesopotamia
most dominant geographic features
of the region are:
The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
The Mediterranean Sea
The Taurus and Zagros Mountains
The Persian Gulf
The Syrian and the Arabian Desert
Mesopotamian Worldview
of the region will have a
huge impact on the Sumerians worldview
Unlike the Egyptians, the
Mesopotamians will view nature as an adversary
- unpredictable and something to be tamed
unpredictability of the floods
and the
constant threat of invasion
will contribute largely to this worldview
The Sumerians
Divine Kingship
The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Battle Standard of Ur
Sumerian Achievements
Sumerian Society
The End of Sumerian Civilization
The Origins of the Sumerians
Sumerian Economy
The King
The Slaves
The Sumerians were
the creators of Mesopotamian civilization
Their successors, the Akkadians, gave them
the name "The Sumerians"
means "land of the civilized"
By 3000 BC the Sumerians had
established a number of independent cities
in S. Mesopotamia
As the cities grew larger they
began controlling the surrounding countryside
forming city-states
will be the
basic unit of Sumerian civilization
of the Sumerians is
Historians believe they
migrated into Sumeria from the south
They've occupied Mesopotamia
from the dawn of history
language, a
pottery style, and an
pictographic writing system
Sumerian Cities
Due to the constant threat of invasion, Sumerian cities were surrounded by walls
Most Sumerian structures were built with sun baked mud bricks due to their lack of wood and stone
2334 B.C.E to 2279 B.C.E
Conquered the Sumerians
Sargon was the most powerful Akkadian king
Empire reached as far west as the Mediterranean
150 years
What actions might the Sumerians
have taken to help fight off invaders like

most prominent building
in a Sumerian city was the
which was often built atop a
massive stepped tower
called a
The Sumerians believed the
and goddesses
owned and ruled the cities
ruling power was shared
with worldly figures known as
priests and priestesses
who supervised the temple and it's property
had great power
The Sumerians believed their
kings derived their power from the gods
- their rule is absolute
led armies
, initiated legislation, supervised the building of public facilities,
provided courts
, organized workers for irrigation projects
Sumerian kings
lived in large luxurious palaces
with their wives and children
The Epic of Gilgamesh was the
first written epic poem
and one of the oldest pieces of literature in the world
The poem was
originally recorded in Cuneiform
but was
preserved by the Assyrians
in a variety of Semitic languages
The poem
chronicles the journey of Gilgamesh
, the Sumerian King of Uruk, as he
searches for knowledge and immortality
Depicts either...

1.) Preparation for battle, war, victory, and subsequent celebration
2.) The dual nature of Sumerian kingship (To fight in war & to live in luxury)

By 3000 BC the Sumerians had become
expert metal workers
and had
developed a unique system of writing
- mostly pictographic in it's earliest iterations - called
The Sumerians also invented the wheel, the arch and base 60
The Sumerian economy
relied primarily on agriculture
- 90% of people farmed

- however
commerce and industry became important
as well
The people of Mesopotamia
produced woolen textiles, pottery, and the metal work
for which they were especially well known
traveled by land
to the eastern Mediterranean
and by sea
to the west and India
Commoners included the nobles clients and other free citizens who worked as merchants, fishers, scribes and craftspeople
Slaves belonged to palace officials who used them mostly in building projects. Female slaves were used in the weaving of cloth and grinding of grain
Nobles included those who worked in direct service to the king, priests, and wealthy merchants
Authoritative ruler, general, and agent of the gods
As the number of city-states grew and expanded,
increased competition over land and water
lead to the
weakening of Sumerian civilization
Constant invasion and war

left Sumerians disorganized and in despair
In 2300 BC the region was
conquered by the Akkadians
, a Semitic warlike people
1792 B.C. - Babylon
Hammurabi - strong ruler
Great military leader - conquered
most of the Tigris and Euphrates Valley
Great political leader and lawmaker
Code of Hammurabi
282 laws - all aspects of life
commerce, industry, wages, property rights
"Eye for an Eye" - harsh punishments
Established state as authority to enforce laws
1531 - 1200 BC
Gained control of Babylon
used iron weapons
developed a less brutal law code
1200 - 900 BC
one of the most brutal powers
fierce and effective warriors
used a cavalry
killed enemies on the spot
used terror to control enemies
enslaved people they conquered and killed captured enemy soldiers
Assyrians weren't completely bad...

1st to effectively govern a large empire
Believed in the preservation of learning for future generations
Great Library of Nineveh
22,000 clay tablets
preserved the Epic of Gilgamesh
translated by George Smith - museum researcher
605 - 562 BC
Defeated the Assyrians
Nebuchadnezzar - king
rebuilt Babylon
Trade flourished
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
one of the 7 wonders of the world
539 B.C.
conquered Babylon
Medes and Persians ruled area
Persians defeated Medes under leadership of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus cylinder
issued upon defeat
victories, merciful acts, and lineage inscribed
Darius I - son of Cyrus
expanded Persian rule
conquered Egypt
Attempted to defeat Sparta and Athens but failed
Governed through satraps or governors
Royal Roads throughout empire
"Listeners" - eyes and ears of the king
Persian Religion
Believed earth was training for the future life or final judgement
Forces of good an evil
choose good = rewarded with eternal blessings
choose evil = face punishment
Zoroastrianism probably influenced Judaism and later Christianity
Phoenician Geography

hilly coastal area
whose rough terrain made it
hard to unite
lacked the fertile soil
of Mesopotamia and Egypt and thus
agriculture was not a main part of Phoenician culture
located between the two great civilizations
of the time, Egypt and Mesopotamia, which
brought a lot of trade their way
Phoenician Shipbuilding
The Phoenicians
excelled in the art of shipbuilding
They combined the designs of the Minoan and the Egyptians to form
a quick, versatile and sturdy vessel
sea travel
and trade also
brought piracy
, which led to designing
specialized warships
and naval tactics
Phoenician Alphabet
they adapted an Egyptian script into the alphabet we use today, minus the vowels
the Phoenicians simplified their writing by using twenty-two different signs to represent the sounds of their speech
it was passed on to the Greeks, via trade, who then passed it on to the Romans who formed the basis for our alphabet
Phoenician Transmitters
The Phoenicians are best knows as "cultural transmitters"
They estabished a number of colonies in the western Mediterranean, including settlements in Southern Spain, Sicily, Sardinia
Phoenicias greatest colony, Carthage, was located on the northern coast of Africa
The Lydians
Controlled the western region of Asia Minor
The first to coin money
Allowed merchants to set prices for goods
passed on idea to the Greeks
Full transcript