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Transcript of First Civilzations
The land "between the rivers" the Tigris and Euphrates.
Although a land with little rain, the rivers will overflow in the spring and leave a fertile silt for the growing season.
They developed large, complex systems of irrigation after droughts.
Egypt developed at the same time as Mesopotamia.
Unlike Mesopotamia, much of Egypt was rural with very small communities.
Egypt developed along the Nile River, the longest river in the world.
The Nile yearly, would flood the region and bring in silt that was very fertile. Unlike, the flooding in Mesopotamia, this flooding was predictable and slow.
The people prepared for the flooding with great anticipation, as it brought all life to the area.
It also provided easy methods of transportation.
Egypt also was able to not worry about conquering people from the natural barriers (desert, huge rivers and seas).
Other Civilizations Developing
Neolithic Revolution (10,000-4000 BC)
New Stone Age brought huge changes mainly due to the Agricultural Revolution.
Rather than hunt and gather the people began to plant grain and vegetables giving them a regular supply of food.
The taming of animals like goats, cattle, pigs, and sheep gave them a steady supply of meat, milk, and fibers for clothing.
As these villages and communities developed many shared common elements. There are several basic characteristics of a civilization.
urban focus, cities are the center
distinct religious structure
political & military structure
social structure (class system)
artistic and intellectual activities (division of labor)
The 2nd Group were: Homo sapiens sapiens appeared in African between 200,000-150,000 years ago.
During the Paleolithic (or old stone) age (2,500,000-10,000 BC), the humans made tools from stone.
They were hunters and gatherers living in groups of 20-30, and moved to follow the animal migration and vegetation.
It is argued that as women and men both worked extensively for survival that they lived in a equal society of decision making.
They lived in caves or shelters made from animal hides.
About 500,000 years ago they started to have fire to cook and heat with.
The people painted walls, the Lascaux, France painted walls also indicates the paintings were for religious and decoration.
Results of the Revolution
1. Permanent settlements or villages (some as large as 6,000 inhabitants)
2. Building of houses for protection and for food storage.
4. Specializing in labor
5. Women stayed a home, and this work began to be seen as less important than mans work in the fields, thus taking on a dominate position in the home.
6. Creation of written languages.
Locations of Early Civilizations
Mesopotamia (currently Iraq)
China (along Yellow River)
India (along Indus River)
Peru (along Supe River)
Farming was spreading throughout Europe and even into the Balkans.
Most interesting was the creation of the Megalith's "large stone" structures.
They were being built in France, Corsica, Scandinavia, and of course the most famous in the British Isles.
Stonehenge, consists of a series of concentric rings of standing stones. The 80 bluestones used to construct each weigh 4 tons and were transported 135 miles.
The building shows a remarkable understanding of astronomy.
Sumerians established Mesopotamia, with several city-states.
Each city-state was surrounded by high walls with defense towers.
The cities were built of mud-bricks that hardened in the sun.
The city's most important building was the temple.
God's ruled the city and kings got their power from the gods.
Agriculture was the primary economic function, but trade also flourished.
The classes of Sumerians were nobles, commoners, and slaves.
Many of the city-states fought with each other until Sargon was able to unify everybody.
After his death his descendents were unable to keep power and fighting continued again until Hammurabi consolidated power.
Hammurabi, was able to establish a very strong kingdom and involved himself in state affairs, building temples, defensive walls, canals, and encouraged trade.
He is most famous for his Code.
The code is a collection of 282 laws, which were very strict.
Penalties were very severe, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" was fundamental.
The code dealt with crops, and commerce, but most of the code focused on marriage and family.
A women's place was in the home and if she failed to perform her duties she could be divorced and cast out, or if she humiliates her husband she will be drowned.
Women did have some rights, she could not be divorced without cause.
In the religion of Mesopotamia, man was on the earth to perform the labors the gods were unwilling to do.
The Sumerians had 4 main gods
1. An was the god of the sky and most important
2. Enlil, was the god of wind
3. Enki, was the god of the earth, rivers, wells, and canals
4. Ninhursaga, was the goddess of soil, vegetation, and considered the "mother of all children"
The gods owned the villages, and as such a huge portion of the town was the temple, on a ziggurat, the rest of the town was "rented" to the people.
The gods could be unpredictable, causing floods, scorching winds, downpours, and high levels of humidity, causing a need for divination to understand their will.
The people practiced divination, by either removing organs of an animal and comparing its shape or watching the smoke from the fires.
The written language of Mesopotamia was cuneiform or "wedge-shaped" system.
Cuneiform started as pictographs but evolved into shapes representing ideas or even sounds.
They would use a reed stylus, and made wedges into clay that would be hardened in the sun.
Most writing was done for daily life; counting your sheep and oxen, business deals, and contracts.
Wealthy families would teach their children in scribal school how to write.
Because no written record exists for the prehistory of man, we have to rely on archeology and biological information.
The earliest human-like creatures existed in Africa 3-4 million years ago. They had simple stone tools.
The second stage was
1.5 million years ago, they used larger stones and more varied tools, and started to move out of Africa to Europe and Asia.
Around 250,000 years ago, another stage developed,
"wise human being"
Two groups developed
1. The Neanderthal (first found in the Neander Valley of Germany), were between 100,000-30,000 BC.
They used many types of stone tools and were the 1st to bury their dead.
Historians divide Egypt history into three major periods, the Old Kingdom (2686-2125 BC), the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC), and the New Kingdom (1550-1085 BC).
These were strong, stable times, dependable and strong monarchs, competent bureaucracy, free from invaders, and a lot of construction of pyramids and temples, intellectual and cultural activity.
Between these periods was chaos, with weak political structure, rivalries for leadership, invasions, and a decline in building, these times are called Intermediate Periods.
The tradition of Egypt is that originally the land consisted of many different tribes.
Then around 3100, Menes a king united both Upper and Lower Egypt into one, just as the Nile connected all, so would one kingdom, thus ushering in the Old Kingdom.
It was a time of splendor for Egypt, the greatest and largest pyramids were built during this time.
Kingship was a divine institution and part of the cosmic order.
By obeying their king subjects helped protect that order, a breakdown in royal power meant citizens were offending divinity.
The pharaoh had absolute power, but was supposed to rule by a set of principles.
was a spiritual idea that conveyed truth and justice, especially harmony.
Pharaoh's were the divine instrument of Ma'at who helped maintain this harmony.
During the Old Kingdom, the pharaoh was an inaccessible god-king.
The Pharaoh had family members and a bureaucracy who helped with procedures.
The second most important person in Egypt was the vizier, or steward of the whole land.
The vizier watched over the police, justice, river transportation, and public works.
Agriculture was the backbone of Egyptian prosperity, and from it the kingdom was able to collect taxes.
A careful assessment of land and the tenants created a baseline for taxes.
Egypt was divided into provinces called nomes, and each was lead by a type of governor, called Nomarchs.
Although, responsible to the vizier and pharaoh, at times they built enough power to create a rivalry with them.
The Old Kingdom collapsed, and an Intermediate period began, this created power struggles and rival dynasties fighting.
Finally, Mentuhotep, the king of Thebes, was victorious and able to reunify Egypt.
Most of the Middle Kingdoms history is centered around the 12th dynasty, founded by Amenemhet I, a vizier who named himself and his successor pharaohs.
Many historians consider the Middle Kingdom the golden age.
The stability of this time can be seem in the reestablishment of the nomes with very precise boundaries.
The obligation of the nome to the state was also clearly established.
Nomarchs were to perform their task faithfully, which included tax collection and recruitment of labor for royal projects.
During the Middle Kingdom the pharaoh was viewed as a shepherd of his people, and to provide public works.
Old & Middle Kingdom Society
Top: god-king, the king was surrounded by upper class nobles and priests who participated in elaborate rituals surrounding the pharaoh, they ruled government, and managed its lands.
Middle: merchants and artisans, they engaged in trade along the entire Nile, some even traded with other nations to gain wood, ivory, incense, and spices. The artisans, created a beautiful variety of goods, stone dishes, clay boxes, wood furniture (Lebanon cedar), gold, silver, and cooper tools, linen clothes, and paper made of papyrus.
Bottom: Serfs, common people who worked the land, the largest population group, they were bound to the land and paid taxes to the king, nobles, and priests with crops, they provided military service and labor for building projects.
Egyptians had no name for their religion as it was the universal cosmic scheme in their life. The pharaoh was the divine being who was to maintain stability with the cosmic order.
They had a large number of gods, the most powerful were connected to the sun and land.
The sun god, the sources of all life took on different forms and names, Atum, the creator of the sun, and also Re or Ra, which had a human body and the head of a falcon. The pharaoh took the title "Son of Re" and was considered the earthly embodiment of Re.
River and land gods included Osiris and Isis, and their child Horus. Osiris was important as a symbol of resurrection.
The myth was that Osiris was killed by his evil brother, Seth, who cut his body into 14 parts and tossed them into the Nile. Isis, his wife found the pieces and with help restored Osiris to life. For Egyptians to identify with Osiris, they could gain new life as well.
Osiris also was the judge of the dead. The dead were asked to give an account of their life to determine if they should gain a reward.
Other methods were also taught for how to gain a eternal rewards, including how to confront a judge of the dead.
These instructions were given in the "Book of the Dead."
As mentioned early the pyramids began during the Old Kingdom.
Pyramids were built as part of a larger complex dedicated to the dead - a city of the dead.
The area consisted of the large pyramid for the king, smaller pyramids for his family, and rectangular structure with flat roofs called mastabas, for noble officials.
The tombs were prepared for their residents, with chairs, boats, chests, weapons, games, dishes, and food.
The Egyptians believed that humans had two bodies a physical one and a spiritual one called ka. If the physical body was properly preserved (mummified) and the tomb furnished with objects of everyday life, the ka could return and live its life despite the physical bodies death.
The Great Pyramid, covers 13 acres, at its base each side is 756 feet, and it is 481 feet tall, and each point is almost precisely oriented to the 4 points on the compass.The stone slabs on the outside fit so closely that not even a hair can be pushed into it.
The pyramid was not a tomb it was s symbol of power, a living god on earth.
Mummification was s slow process (70 days) of drying the body to prevent it from rotting. Priests performed the procedure, for the wealthy people who could afford it.
1st - remove the liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines and place them in 4 jars placed in the tomb and remove the brain through the nose.
2nd- cover the body with a natural salt to absorb the water.
3rd-fill the body with spices and wrap it with layers of linen soaked in resin.
4th- place a lifelike mask over the head and shoulders, seal it in a case and place it in the tomb.
Egyptian art was mostly functional, wall paintings and statues of gods and kings served a spiritual purpose.
They were an important part of rituals, which was needed to keep the cosmic order.
The mural scenes in tombs were to aid the journey of the deceased into the afterworld.
Art was formulaic. The artists had to follow strict proportions.
The most distinctive part of Egyptian art was the convention of combing the profile head with the frontal body, to represent each part of the body accurately.
It was the Greeks that named the Egyptian wring, hieroglyphics, meaning "priest-carvings" or "sacred writings."
Hieroglyphics were characters used as picture sights to depict sacred objects.
They were then simplified for writing purposes, they never developed an alphabet.
They were initially carved into stone, them on papyrus (paper made from the papyrus reed).
Most Egyptian literature was on papyrus or wooden tablets.
Deciphering hieroglyphics took place because of the Rosetta Stone,
The stone is a decree and was found in 1799, it dates back to 196 BC, The stone was written in three languages, hieroglyphics, demotic (the common Egyptian language) and ancient Greek.
The Second Intermediate Period was largely dominated by a conquering people.
The Hyksos, a Semitic-speaking people came to dominate the Egypt.
They brought with them Bronze Age technology, including agricultural tools and weapons.
They also brought a new types of warfare, the horse-drawn war chariot, compound bows, and heavier swords.
The Egyptians used these new methods to eventually expel the Hyksos.
After Ahmose I was able to defeat the Hyksos, Egypt became a land of conquerors, no longer content to remain isolated. The pharaohs ruled with military precision.
Thutmosis III led 17 military campaigns into Palestine and Phoenicia.
After conquering they had local kings and princes rule the regions.
It was under Thutmosis's grandson Amenhotep III, that Egypt reached its height. It is during this time that the Luxor was built.
At the end of his reign that Egypt faced a military challenge, in the Hittites.
Amenhotep III's son Amenhotep IV, was not up to fighting off the the Hittites.
He was more concerned with religion.
He introduced Egypt to Aten, god of the sun disk, as a chief, and for some only god.
He changed his name to Akhenaten, "It is well with Aten"
He closed the temples of the other gods, and tried to stop the worship of Amon-Re in the capital of Thebes.
Dedicating a new city the capital in honor of Aten.
His attempt failed, the people of Egypt saw the destruction of the old gods as disturbing the cosmic order.
Egypt lost their power in Syria and Palestine, and after his death his successor Tutankhamen restored the traditional religion.
Rameses II, was able to restore order and regain control in Palestine, but they were never again able to reestablish their empire borders.
After the end of the New Kingdom. Egypt was conquered by various groups the Libyans, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonian with Alexander the Great, and finally controlled by the Roman empire.
Married Life in Egypt
The Egyptian had a positive attitude toward life, people were encouraged to marry young and establish a home and family.
Monogamy was the general rule, but if your wife did not produce children, a husband could keep additional wives.
Pharaohs had harems, and the queen was considered the Great Wife with a higher status.
The husband was master in his house but wives were respected and in charge of the household and education of the children.
Upon marriage the women kept her property and inheritance.
Marriage were arranged, and the primary concern in marriage was to produce a son.
Marriage could and did end with divorce, but the wife had to be compensated.
Adultery, was prohibited, and punishments were severe, especially for women, they could have their nose cut off or be burned at the stake.
Egypt was blessed with an abundance of food that kept everyone fed, but the upper classes were also able to live in leisure and luxury.
They had homes with walled estates and their gardens had fruit trees and pools for leisure.
Tomb paintings indicate that the wealthy enjoyed banquets and some would drink to excess, prompting advise to live more circumspectly.
Music was a regular part of life, and they had drums, tambourines, flutes, trumpets, and string instruments that were plucked.
Hunting was a game for the men, but indoors they also had boardgames.
Upper class Life
Women in Power
Although, most careers and public office were closed to women, some did operate businesses.
Peasant women would work in the fields.
Upper-class women could be priestesses, and a few even became pharaoh.
The most famous of these is Hatshepsut, she originally served as regent for her step-son, but eventually gained the throne until her death.
Her reign was prosperous, she sent out military expeditions, encouraged mining, fostered agriculture, and international trading expeditions.
Her official statues show her clothed and bearded like a king, and was addressed as "His Majesty."
She also built a temple dedicated to herself, in Thebes