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First Civilizations

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Ashley Leyba

on 29 August 2015

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Transcript of First Civilizations

When and Why?
After NR, ~3500 BCE
Why is contested....
Need bigger irrigation systems?
Why didn't all agricultural villages become full-fledged civilizations?
General Characteristics of First Civilizations
River Valley Civilization
Tigris and Euphrates
Initially, priest-kings rule city-states
Sumerians, c. 3500 BCE
City-states evolve into empires
Akkadians, c. 2334-2218 BCE
Land-owning aristocracy dominated
Develop formal legal codes
Hammurabi's Code, c. 1800 BCE
Indus Valley
Relatively Isolated
Nile flooded regularly and predictably
Rich, easy to farm soil
Control the Nile, Control Society
Why does the rise of civilization = inequality and subjugation?
First Civilizations
What is a civilization?
Problems with this term?
Our definition:
Organized and Controlled
Obedience could be Compelled
Social and Economic Stratification
Emergence of cultural traditions (large scale)
Introduce Inequality
Establishment of Legal Codes
i.e. Hammurabi
Rise of "the state"
What does this mean?
Means of writing and accounting
Norte Chico
Peru, 3000 BCE- 1800 BCE
Unusually self-contained
Dependent on rich fishing industry (no evidence of economic specialization)
Series of Smaller cities (~30)
Known for Monumental Architecture and Weaving
Quipu for Record Keeping
Established by~2000 BCE
MUCH larger than Mes or Egypt
Elaborately planned cities: Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa
Advanced Technology: Plumbing!
No central authority (?)
Cities abandoned by 1700 BCE
Writing: Pictographic, undecoded
3,000 gods
Goal: Appease gods to control nature
Art and Literature Focus on Gods and Religion
Epic of Gilgamesh
Social Stratification
Slavery was common
How does one become a slave?
What did slaves do?
Patriarchal, BUT...
Women could hold most occupations
Science and Technology
Inventions: Wheel, Sail, Plow
Bronze Metallurgy
First System of Writing
First Number System
Based on units of 10, 60, and 360
Mesoamerica, 1400-400 BCE
Dense Tropical Forest
Government and Society
Several city-states with common culture
Social Stratification
Highest Rank= Chief
Dominated by Landed Aristocracy
Laborers forced to build temples, palaces, and canals
Deities blended male and female, animal and human characteristics
Shamans organized religious life
Religion led to development of writing and calendar
Clay pyramids and temple mounds
Particular style:
Use of Jade
Colossal Heads
Formed by 3000 BCE
Unified for nearly all of its history
Pharaoh was a god-king
Women could be pharaohs
Hatshepsut, 1473-1458 BCE
Thousands of gods
Animal and Human Qualities
Male and Female
Relatively Egalitarian
Believe in Afterlife
Heaven and Hell
Temples & Pyramids
Social Stratification
Very rigid
Slavery was common
Women had more rights than in most other places
Could own property, propose marriage, initiate divorce
Family at center of society
Spirits of ancestors could bring good fortune or disaster
Writing on Oracle Bones
Heavy use of bronze and silk
Society and Culture
Developed in isolation along the Huang He (Yellow) River
Shang dynasty emerged c. 1500 BCE
War-like kings and landed aristocracy dominate
Cities surrounded by massive earthen walls
Questions to Consider
Where did the first civilizations emerge?

What conditions are necessary for civilizations to emerge?

What common characteristics did they have?

In what ways did they differ?
Full transcript