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The Ancient Civilizations

Summary of Ancient Indus River Valley, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and China

Brad Coulter

on 27 October 2015

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Transcript of The Ancient Civilizations

The Ancient Civilizations
Nile River Valley
Indus River Valley
Exploring the First River Valley Civilizations
Monsoon Winds bring heavy rains and regular flooding

Hot humid summers

Enriched Soil but Erosion Occurs
Harappan Civilization
Earliest major Indus Civilization
Advanced city grid (Streets Created AC)
Build natural walls to prevent flooding, even raised cities
No military
Archeologists still haven't been able to read their language
Aryan Civilization
Indo-European people moved in after Harappans fell from West
Imposed Racial Caste System on the people
5 Social Classes (Ayran's top 3, unskilled workers 4 and Untouchables on bottom)
Rigid Social Structure, almost impossible to change classes
Only information we have is from Vedas
Ancient Greece includes the mainland and about 2,000 islands
Society is defined by the mountains and the sea
Moderate climate encourages outdoor lifestyle

Greek City States
Polis – city state and surrounding villages
Generally a population of less than 10,000
Early leaders called tyrants
First of "Greek culture" were Minoans
Minoan Art
Mycenaean Civilization
Excellent Sea Traders
Took and spread Minoan culture
Literature, Alphabet, Art, Religion and Philosophy
Fought in Trojan War Against Troy
Declined after the 10 Year War
Written about in Iliad/Odyssey
The military was the main focus of Spartan Life
One of the strongest fighting forces
Spartan women trained to fight and given more freedoms and food than other Greeks
Fought in the Persian War against Persia using the Phalanx military tactic
Cultural Center of Greece
Art, Architecture, Philosophy and Religion flourished in Athens after the Persian War
Founded Democracy
System of government where all male citizens vote
Thriving Economy
Made Parthenon
Lost to Sparta in the Peloponnesian War in 400s BC
Greek Philosophers Sought truth and logic
Student of Socrates
Invented Republic – A utopian vision
Encouraged probing questions
“The unexamined life is not worth living”

Developed a method for inquiry
Becomes basis for the scientific method
Uses method to write rules for activities
Huang He "Yellow" River Valley
2070–1600 BCE
Founded by "Yu the Great"
No written records "Legend"
Flood control and irrigation
Developed a ruling structure
Civilian government
Harsh punishment for breaking the law
Developed into earliest forms of Chinese legal codes
Xia Dynasty (1st)
Shang Dynasty (2nd)
1600-1122 BCE
Rich upper-class land owners ruled, military leaders
Agricultural economy
Aristocracy constantly at war
Capital moved to Anyang, north of the Huang He River
Strong belief in life after death and Ancestors
Oracle Bones
for communicating with ancestors
Zhou Dynasty (3rd)
1045-256 BCE
Zhou rebellion against Shang ruler
Political Structure
Head was king who ruled over an bureaucracy
Mandate of Heaven-
King link between heaven and earth and had divine-like power
- Strict observance of the law
The emperor is the law
Zhou's Decline
Had very effective trade network of Silk and Agriculture
Later Zhou rulers began to become corrupt.
Warring States Period
Civil war broke out between the kingdoms
Greek word meaning “between two rivers”
Tigris and Euphrates
Annual floods deposit silt
“The fertile crescent”
Area between Mediterranean sea and Persian Gulf
Located in modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria

Sumerian City States
City states are independent political units
Uruk and Sumer were two large cities
Large temple becomes the center of city life
The Ziggurat is the tallest, most important, building
Priests carry out religious rituals there
Sumerian Inventions
The Sumerians Invented a huge list of early technologies

was the first system of writing in the world
Made around 3000 BCE
Allowed them to keep detailed records
First literature ever was "
Epic of Gilgamesh
Hammurabi's Code
was first written system of laws
The Nile
Nile divided into cataracts
Areas of swiftly moving water
South of 1st cataract is Upper Egypt
North, including delta, is Lower Egypt
Silt deposited along river great for farming
Living in farming villages
Upper and Lower Egypt ruled separately until Pharaoh Narmer
Ruled by

– god kings (Theocracy – head of government and religion)
Believed to be responsible for the well-being of the kingdom
Due to their importance Pharaohs burials were a huge deal
them (wrapped and removed organs from the body to preserve it)
They put ornate and expensive gifts around them to have in the afterlife
Pyramids were built only as tombs for the Pharaohs
Mummified Pharaoh
Pyramids = Pharaohs Tombs
Means sacred carving
A picture stood for a character – like letters of the alphabet.
Originally they were written on stone.
Papyrus reeds were used to make a paper-like sheet
Translated from the Rosetta Stone
Full transcript