mesopotamia theme: comparing civilizations lsn 2

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  • Slide 1
  • Mesopotamia Theme: Comparing civilizations Lsn 2
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  • ID & SIG Babylon, Code of Hammurabi, cuneiform, Epic of Gilgamesch, lex talionis, metallurgy, temple communities, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, wheel
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  • Mesopotamia Greek for land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates Modern-day Iraq
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  • Empires and Dominance Sumer 3200-2350 B.C. Babylonian 2350-1600 B.C. Sargon of Akkad 2334-2315 B.C. Hittite 1450-1200 B.C. Assyrian 1000-612 B.C. New Babylonian 605-550 B.C.
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  • Sumer Population growth was especially rapid in Sumer By 3000 B. C., the population of Sumer approached 100,000 and Sumerians were the dominant people of Mesopotamia
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  • Babylonian Empire Akkadians and Babylonians of northern Mesopotamia began to overshadow Sumerians Sargon of Akkad defeated Sumerian city-states one by one By 2000 B.C. Sargons empire collapsed from a combination of internal rebellion and external aggression Babylonians dominated from about 2350 to 1600 B.C. Most prominent king was Hammurabi (1792 to 1750 B.C.)
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  • Assyrian Empire After the fall of the Babylonian Empire, the Assyrians gradually came to power, extending their authority to Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, much of Anatolia, and most of Egypt Preserved much from Mesopotamia Extremely unpopular rule Couldnt administer far-flung empire Collapsed in 612 B.C.
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  • New Babylonian Empire (Chaldean Empire) 605 to 550 B.C. Known for its wealth and excess King Nebuchadnezzar ruled from 605 to 562 B.C. Built Hanging Gardens of Babylon Captured Judah in 586, destroyed the great temple in Jerusalem, and forced many Hebrews into exile in Babylon.
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  • Characteristics of a Civilization Intensive agricultural techniques Specialization of labor Cities A social hierarchy Organized religion and education Development of complex forms of economic exchange Development of new technologies Advanced development of the arts. (This can include writing.)
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  • Agriculture Sumerian sledge
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  • Agriculture Tigris and Euphrates brought large volumes of water to an otherwise dry region As early as 6000 B.C., people began small scale irrigation Artificial irrigation increased food supplies which in turn supported a rapidly increasing population Fertile Crescent
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  • Irrigation Tigris and Euphrates irrigation allowed Mesopotamians to grow barley, wheat, and peas Map of fields and irrigation canals near Nippur, Mesopotamia from cuneiform tablet, ca 1300 B.C.
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  • Agricultures Impact Abundant harvests supported increased populations Semetic people (those who spoke Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Phoenician) began to migrate to Sumer rivers agriculture populations cities specialization hierarchy
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  • Cities Ur and Babylon
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  • Cities Beginning around 4000 B.C., as populations increased in southern Mesopotamia, the Sumerians built the worlds first cities
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  • Cities Unlike earlier villages, these cities were centers of political and military authority, and their jurisdiction extended into the surrounding regions Economic centers where buyers and sellers congregated Cultural centers where priests maintained organized religion and scribes developed traditions of writing and formal education Mesopotamians had numerous, densely- populated city-states
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  • Ur Built around 2100 B.C. Sometimes called the worlds first city Sumerian capital of Mesopotamia Believed to have been surrounded by a moat Home of Abraham (Genesis Chapter 11)
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  • Ur Leonard Woolley: Archeologist who excavated Ur in the 1920s and 30s Ziggurat at Ur
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  • Babylon Made a lavish showplace by Nebuchadnezzar More than 2,100 acres 1,179 temples Massive defensive walls Hanging Gardens Fell to Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C.
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  • Specialization Engraving Sumerian earrings Mesopotamian potters wheel from Uruk
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  • Specialization Abundant food supplies and cities as population centers allowed some people to perform tasks not associated with agriculture People expanded into the areas of pottery, textile manufacture, woodworking, leather production, brick making, stonecutting, and masonry rivers agriculture populations cities specialization hierarchy
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  • Social Hierarchy
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  • Kings and nobles originally won their positions by community election based on valor and success as warriors Soon royal status become hereditary Nobles were mostly members of the royal family Closely allied with the ruling elites were priests and priestesses, many who were younger relatives of the rulers Lived in temple communities
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  • Social Hierarchy Free commoners worked mostly as peasant cultivators in the countryside on land owned by their families, although some worked in cities Dependent clients usually worked on agricultural estates owned by others Both free commoners and dependent clients paid taxes to support the ruling classes, military, and temple communities
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  • Social Hierarchy Slaves came from: Prisoners of war Convicted criminals Heavily indebted individuals who sold themselves into slavery to satisfy their obligations Patriarchal society Authority over public and private affairs vested in adult men Law recognized men as heads of households and had disproportionate punishments for men and women
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  • Religion and Education
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  • Polytheism The ancient Mesopotamians worshipped hundreds of gods, each with his/her own name and sphere of activity. Every city had its own patron god or goddess, and there were also deities connected with various professions such as scribes and builders. Individual people also had their own personal god who protected them and interceded for them with the great deities. Enki, god of water
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  • Religion and Education Kings often portrayed as offspring of gods or gods themselves Priests intervened with the gods to ensure good fortune for their communities In exchange, priests and priestesses lived in temple communities and received offerings of food, drink, and clothing from the city inhabitants Temples also generated income and work Epic of Gilgamesh taught there is no afterlife Death is dark, dank, and inert
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  • Ziggurats Ziggurats were huge stepped structures with a temple on top Built in honor of the citys god (other gods might have smaller temples) Intended to reach nearer to the heavens Tower of Babel
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  • Code of Hammurabi Hammurabi (King of Babylonian Empire from 1792 to 1750 B.C.) maintained control of empire by a code of law Claimed the gods had chosen him to promote the welfare of the people, to cause justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and evil, [so] that the strong might not oppress the weak, to rise like the sun over the people, and to light up the land.
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  • Code of Hammurabi High standards of behavior and stern punishments for violators Death penalty for murder, theft, fraud, false accusations, sheltering of runaway slaves, failure to obey royal orders, adultery, and incest Civil laws regulating prices, wages, commercial dealings, marital relationships, and the conditions of slavery
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  • Code of Hammurabi Relied on lex talionis the law of retaliation Offenders suffered punishments resembling their violations If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An eye for an eye ] (196) If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken. (197) If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out. [ A tooth for a tooth ] (200)
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  • Economic Exchange
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  • Cylinder seals were used to record a contract, record, or official receipt. By affixing a seal to a tablet, the user validated its contents. Trade occurred by ship and donkey caravan Sumerians traded woolen textiles, leather goods, sesame oil, and jewelry with India for copper, ivory, pearls, and semi-precious stones Babylonians imported silver from Anatolia, cedar wood from Lebanon, copper from Arabia, gold from Egypt, tin from Persia, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, and semiprecious stones from India Barter was the main form of commerce until silver became popular around 1750 B.C.
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  • New Technologies
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  • Metallurgy Metallurgy ranks among the most important aspects of technology and specialization Metallurgy evolved from copper to bronze and by 1000 B.C., Mesopotamians were working with iron as well Important implications for agriculture and weaponry
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  • The Wheel Chariot model, discovered in the Royal tomb of Ur in Sumer around 6000 BC First use of wheels probably occurred about 3500 B.C. Sumerians were building wheeled carts by 3000 B.C. The wheel increased the mobility of society and allowed heavy loads to be moved over great distances
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  • Development of the Wh


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