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Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilizations

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Brian Roberts

on 7 August 2013

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Transcript of Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilizations

Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilizations
Settlements around the World
Common Feature among ALL civilizations:

Fertile River Valley
A large band of fertile land in the midst of the desert and mountains.
"the land between two rivers"
Located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
The rivers flooded unpredictably yearly leaving behind fertile land.
What is fertile land good for?
Why might unpredictable flooding be a problem?
Formed around the Nile River.
Runs 4000 miles long through North Africa.
The river floods predictably yearly.
Why is this important?
How is this different from Mesopotamia?
is where the richest soil is found.
The mouth of the river.
The Sahara Desert surrounds Egypt providing protection from invaders.
offered protection for Egypt
A stretch of river with rocks, rapids and swift currents.
India is a

India is a part of Asia however because of it's geographical features it is cut off from the continent making it independent.
The Indus and Ganges River flood providing fertile soil.
To the north the Himalaya and Hindu Kush Mountains provide protection for India.
In southern India is the Deccan Plateau, a desert, providing protection.

Civilizations begin between the Huang He (Yellow) River and Yangtze River
The Plateau of Tibet provided fertile soil as well.
To the west were the Himalaya Mountains and the Gobi Desert providing protection
Government in Ancient Civilizations
What is Government?
Absolute Monarchy
Government is a form or system of rules by which a community, civilization or country is governed.
Why do we need government?
Who gets to run the government?
The more complex a society and the more they interact with other societies the more complex the government.
During the developments of civilizations organized government forms in order to:
control building projects
keep track of economic transactions
Values and beliefs of a group of people typically determine how government is organized.
A government by a single person who received power by birth.
Absolute Monarchy:
A king or queen who has unlimited power.
A series of rulers from the same family.
A government ruled by a person, or group, who is also a religious figure
Influence of Religion
A representative government with an emphasis on rule of law
Checks and Balances:
Each part of a government can impose certain constraints upon other parts of the government.
Example: The President cannot declare war on a country unless Congress approves.
Government by the rule of the people, majority rules
Direct Democracy:
Representative Democracy:
A highly structured organization managed by officials in order to help a rule maintain order and control.
A government where a small group exercised complete control.
Religious figures often interpreted the will of the gods therefore people looked to them for direction.
Often times they became powerful leaders within ancient civilizations.
Because the ruler is a religious leader government and religion are intertwined.
The type of government in which ALL eligible voters vote directly on an issue.
A government in which the people elect representatives and give them the power to govern.
Athens, Greece
Direct Democracy developed over time in Athens.
The Archon (chief of state) was the leader of Athens. Almost like the president of the U.S.
Voting Requirements:
Free males
Over 20
Must have completed military training
Would a Direct Democracy work in the United States? Why?
The Pharaoh was the head of the government.
Pharaohs were thought to be a god in human form.
They had absolute power and their word was law.
Pharaoh's acted as judges as well as leaders in the Egyptian army.
Muslim Civilizations
Caliph's ruled Muslim civilizations.
They were thought to be successors of the prophet Muhammad.
As Egypt grew the kingdom became to large.
The pharaoh appointed officials, typically his relatives, to help him rule.
They had no power on their own and only acted upon the the pharaoh's wishes.
After 2000 B.C. people settled in small villages.
Over time these villages began to band together under regional leaders known as rajas.
The raja was mainly a military leader who vowed to protect the people.
Darius I expanded the Persian empire.
As the the empire expanded Darius I could not maintain control.
He chose satraps to govern the region in the name of Darius.
Darius would send officials to check up on the satraps to make sure they were obeying his wishes.
Sparta, Greece
Sparta was led by two kings who served as military commanders.
There was also a small group of elected council members that made decisions.
Problems disrupted the Roman republic.
A group of individuals set up a triumvirate.
A triumvirate is a ruling body of three.
There were two triumvirates in Rome. Both failed due to civil war among the rulers.
Constitutional Monarchy:
The monarch shares power with an elected group of legislatures.
China was ruled by dynasties.
The Shang dynasty was a strong monarchy however after 600 years the Zhou armies took over.
To gain acceptance the Zhou ruled by the mandate of heaven.
The gods would support a just ruler but would not allow a corrupt one to hold power.
The mandate of heaven later explained the dynastic cycle in China.
The rise and fall of dynasties in China.
Mesopotamia/ Sumer
City- states were ruled by dynasties.
A group of nations or people ruled over by an emperor.
Two classes of people were in Rome:
Patricians: group of people who controlled every aspect of Roman society.
Plebeians: common people.
Plebeians challenged the Patricians power in order to expand their rights.
Rome created three branches to check and balance one another.
This ensured no one became too powerful.
509 B.C. Romans create a republic where the people elect representation.
Republic vs. Empire
Elected officials lead.
An Emperor leads.
Usually ruled for a year.
Rules for life although many were assassinated.
Appointed by the Senate.
Gained rule by inheritance or by force.
Alexander the Great:
Early American Civilizations
Earliest Americans
It is believed that the Earliest of the Americans came to the North American continent from Asia, migrating over the Bering Land Bridge.
The Land Bridge was created during the Last Ice Age and provided a passage into the Western Hemisphere.
The first Americans were Nomads or Hunters and gatherers. It is thought they followed game over the Land Bridge into the North
American continent.
Early Americans began depending
more on food from farming rather
than hunting and gathering
This allowed families to settled down
and form larger communities
Complex societies eventually arose
The Olmecs
The First of the
The Olmecs influenced neighboring groups, as well as the later civilizations of the region. They often are called Mesoamerica's mother culture.
The Olmec prayed to a
variety of nature gods.
Numerous Olmec sculptures
and carvings depict a
half-human, half-jaguar
Mostly likely a powerful rain
The Olmec appear to have
been a prosperous people
who directed a large trading
network throughout

From Mexico City in the
North to Honduras in the

This trade network helped
boost the Olmec economy
and spread Olmec influence.
The Olmec civilization eventually collapsed around 900 B.C.

It is unknown the reason behind the Olmec decline.
The Olmec would not be forgotten. They would influence other civilizations such as the Zapotec and the Mayans.
#1 The Olmec Civilization 1200 BC- 400 B. C.
Often referred to as Eskimos,
the Inuit's constructed igloos for shelter.
#4 The Mayan Civilization: 200 BC- 700 AD
The Mayan Civilization began by taking Olmec influences and blending them with their own customs.
Mayans were known for their urban centers. Each of their city-state were independent and ruled by a god-king. The most famous being Chichen Itza.
Slash and Burn Agriculture:
When you burn your crops at the end of the harvest to fertilize the soil for the next crop.
Development of a soccer-basketball hybrid;
the game would maintain the cycles of the
sun and moon according to the Mayans.
Noble Class (Priests/ Warriors)
Lesser Noble Class
Merchants and Artisans
Advancements in Astronomy: The Mayans had a near perfect calender (only 17 seconds off from today's calender year)
The Mayans had the most advanced writing system in the Ancient Americas.
Maya writing consisted of 800 characters or
The used
or bark-paper for writing.
The Maya Civilization also ended in mystery.

By the time the Spanish arrived in the 1500s,
the Maya were a shadow of their former self.
All civilizations near sources of water
All civilizations highly religious
Religions were based on nature/animals
The later civilizations were negatively affected by the arrival of the Europeans.
Made advancements in science and math that were before their time.
The Americas
Social: Women have no political role
Political: First Sumerian ruler- Etana
Interaction: fermentation of grapes to make wine
Cultural: Cuneiform simplified - pictographs reduced to ca. 550
Economic: plows invented to turn over Earth
Social: Strict separation between illiterate pheasants and craftsmen
Political: Semitic empire, system of laws
Interaction: built obelisks
Cultural: Introduced a 12 month calender
Economic: Domesticated chickens
Social: 3 social classes
Political: powerful military, aristocratic life
Interaction: Knowledge of education reserved to an elite group
Cultural: Language is Akkadian
Economic: metal coins began to replace barley as form of payment
Social: Standing of women decreased
Political: King Hammurabi ruled
Interaction: Horse back riding started, relied on grain for agriculture needs
Cultural: Believed in a multitude of gods
Economic: fished from rivers
Social: top of the hierarchy were kings and high ranking officials in the middle were lower officials, local leaders, priests and at the bottom was peasants
Political: believed Pharaoh ruled after death
Interaction: not much migration
Cultural: believed in surreal gods
Economic: traded with their own from the south
Social: treasured children and considered them a blessing
Political: there was many officials that supervised the details of the government
Interaction: living near the Nile River brought malaria and parasites
Cultural: studied the stars and had the most accurate calender
Economic: had rich fertile soil as a result of living near the Nile River
social: no formal social class
Political: Theocracy: believed ruler was a god
Interaction: Basic tools to help them build pyramids
Cultural: believed in the afterlife
Economic: traded with other people
Social: women were expected to obey their husbands and sons, although they were considered equal
Political: law was based on common-sense view of right and wrong
Interaction: created their own alphabet and decimal system
Culture: painted and made symbols
Economic: taxes were assessed based on the amount of land someone owned
Cultural: Hinduism developed there
Cultural: Teachings of Buddha and religious texts are written in Vedic
Vedic era
Cultural: Advanced in maths and science (particularity algebra and trigonometry
Kurgan culture spreads
Cultural: Elaborate temples and homes and Dravidian speaking people develop the civilization known as the Indus Valley
Social: caste systems
Political: 16 great nations
Economic: Trade with China and the Indo Aryans begin to use iron tools
Economic: Monsoon crops
Interaction: settling along rivers and monsoons
Economic: Men worked and women typically stayed at home
was the up and coming industry
Interaction: Mythical Indian war of Mahabarta
The civilization of the Indus Valley declines
Interaction: The Indo-Aryans invade India from the west and expel the Dravidians
Economic: Exchange between India and Mesopotamia is especially prominent
Political: Xia Dynasty
Political: Shang Dynasty
Interaction: Indo- Aryan migration
Social: Most families were large with only one parent present
Social: Men typically rule the family
Social: little racial differences
Political: The Zhou Dynasty
Economic: Burn and clear agriculture
Interaction: Used herbs as agriculture
Economic: trade with India
Economic: wet crops
Interaction: Moved for work
Cultural: Believed in many gods
Economic: Advanced in technology
Cultural: Different beliefs and Gods
Social: Four occupations
Interaction: Practical inventions being produced
Society in Ancient Civilizations
What is Society?
A society, or a human society, is a group of people involved with each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.
Why is there a social structure?
Values and beliefs of a group of people typically determine how government is organized.
Political Parties/Philosophies
Power Source/Structure

Social Classes
Gender Roles
Ethnic Groupings
Population Distribution
Population Density
Economics in Ancient Civilizations
What is Economics?
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. .
Why do we have economics
Values and beliefs of a group of people typically determine how government is organized.
Labor Systems
Land Owners
Role of Agriculture
Role of Trade
Culture in Ancient Civilizations
What is Culture?
Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.
Why is there culture?
Values and beliefs of a group of people typically determine how government is organized.
Customs and Traditions
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