Chapter 3 notes - Riverside Local Schools

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Transcript Chapter 3 notes - Riverside Local Schools

Chapter 3
Geography of Mesopotamia
Chapter 3 Lesson 1
The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are in
southwest Asia.
Starting in present day Turkey and Kurdistan,
flowing through Iraq and into the Persian Gulf.
The land is flat, with small scrubby plants.
Map of Mesopotamia
Fertile Soil
Rain and melting snow in the mountains
cause the rivers to swell.
 As the water flows down the mountain it
picks up soil.
 When the river reaches the plains, water
overflowed onto the floodplain.
 Floodplain-the flat land bordering the
The fine soil deposits by rivers is called
Semiarid Climate
Usually less than 10
inches of rain fell
The summers were
Although it was dry,
crops were still grown
due to the rivers and
the fertile soil.
By 4000 B.C. farming
villages spread across
the land.
Floods and Drought
Floods could occur as early as April or as
late as June.
 Drought -a period when not enough rain
and snow fall.
 Drought is a constant danger in a semiarid
 As a result, irrigation was vital to survival.
Problems from flooding:
- silt clogging canals
- dams unable to hold back
excess flood water
Finding Resources
Mesopotamians lacked resources, what do
you think they may have done?
 They did not build with wood or stone,
Mesopotamians used mud for bricks and
 However, mud buildings crumbled easily
and often needed repair.
 There were no natural barriers such as
mountains, so attack was always a worry.
 Consequently, Mesopotamians built mud
walls around their villages.
Finding Resources Continued
Mesopotamians obtained
stone, wood, and
metal from outside
their own land.
They traded for these
items because they had
a surplus of grain.
Surplus-more than
what is needed.
The First Civilization
Chapter 3 Lesson 2
 How
did Civilization develop in the
region of Sumer?
 The rise of agriculture enabled
people to settle in villages.
 Villages became cities.
 As
cities became more complex,
the changes that led to more
complexity are what we think of
when we hear the word civilization.
 Civilization-changes over a period
of time that led to a more complex
 Most
historians think Sumer was the
first civilization.
 3300 B.C.
 Located in southern Mesopotamia.
Traits of a Civilization
 1.
Advanced cities:
– Farmers needed a place to store and trade their
surplus (grain).
– Large temples (ziggurats) were places where people
could pray
– Many different types of work
 2.
Traits of a Civilization
– Surpluses allowed
people to do other
types of work besides
– Specializing in work
means the quality of
work improves
– Cities became
crowded, people
learned to cooperate
– Priests took on the
job of organizing the
Traits of a Civilization
 3.
– Religion and
government became
institutions over time
– Institution: a group
of people who have a
specific purpose
– What are some
institutions today?
 Schools
 Military
Traits of a Civilization
4. Record Keeping
– Rulers may want to keep
track of food supplies
– Record keeping usually
involves writing
– In Mesopotamia, they
started by using counting
– They later invented the
world’s first writing
Traits of a Civilization
5. Advanced
– Societies advance as
people learn better
ways to do things
– What are some
examples of
 Irrigation
 New
tools of bronze
Sumerian City-states
 Cities
were centers for education,
religion, and trade.
 However,
most people still lived in
the countryside.
Sumer continued
 The
combination of both a city and
the countryside is called a city-state.
 City-State: a community that
included the nearby farmlands.
 Each city-state ruled itself.
Sumer continued
By 3000 B.C. Sumer
had at least 12 citystates.
 The most popular
were Kish, Ur, and
 Ur was the hometown
to Abraham, an
important figure in
Christianity, Judaism,
and Islam.
Sumer continued
Sumerian cities had narrow winding
streets, much different than today’s cities.
 Walls with gates to let people in and out
protected the city.
Houses were built out of mud walls several
feet thick.
 Narrow tunnels led through the walls to
the outside, so fresh air could get in.
Sumer continued
A house consisted
of a several rooms
surrounding a
 The courtyard was
covered with
palms, which
protected the
people from the
sun and allowed a
place for cooking.
Sumer continued
The Ziggurat: City Center
– The largest and most important building was
the ziggurat.
– Ziggurat: the religious building, temple or
– They were first build in 2200 B.C.
– They functioned as a city hall because priests
ran the irrigation system.
– Priests also controlled the surplus of
– The priests ended up controlling most of
the wealth.
Changes in Leadership
The Sumerians believed in
many gods and goddesses.
- A belief in many gods
and goddesses is called
Sumerians believed that four
main gods created the
world and ruled over it.
- The gods of the sky,
wind, foothills, and fresh
Sumerians believed their
gods looked and acted like
New Leaders in Sumer
Around 3,000 B.C., as city-states became richer, other
groups of people began to attack them to take their
The people of the city-states often asked a powerful
man to rule them and protect the city.
At first, these leaders led the city-states only during
Eventually, the leaders took control of the cities fulltime.
– They maintained the canals, managed the surplus grain, and
acted as judges.
In time, this new type of ruler became a king, who is
the highest-ranked leader of a group of people.
The area a king ruled was called a kingdom.
– Sumer became a kingdom under one king by 2375 B.C.
Life in Sumer - Chapter 3 Lesson 3
Social Classes: The king and priest were at
the top of the upper classes, the upper
classes also included landowners,
government officials, and rich merchants.
The in-between class consisted of all free
The lower class consisted of the slaves.
Most slaves were
taken as prisoners of
If parents died
prematurely, the
children might have
become slaves.
Slaves had some
rights, they could
conduct business and
borrow money.
Slaves could also buy
their freedom.
 Women’s
positions varied
 Women
could own
land and work as
merchants and
 However,
main role was to
raise the children.
The Role of
Sumerian Science and Technology
Early inventions
included the plow and
the wheel.
A special kind of wheel,
the potter’s wheel
enabled Sumerians to
make pottery much
Bronze, a mixture of
copper and tin was used
to make sharper tools
that lasted longer.
Sumerian Science and Technology
The Sumerians
number system was
based on the number
They understood
geometric shapes
such as rectangles,
triangles and
The Creation of Written Language
Picture Writing
 First, Sumerians used
clay tokens that had an
image of a product.
The symbols were known
as pictographs.
Pictographs, which
means picture writing
was eventually put on
tablets not tokens.
At first, pictographs
showed actual objects,
later they stood for
Pictographs eventually
stood for sounds.
This enabled them to
be able to write more.
Sumerians used a
sharpened reed called
a stylus for writing.
Over time, they
converted to wedge
shapes made entirely
of symbols called
Cuneiform Continued
The Sumerian
language contained
over 600 different
Therefore, few people
were able to read and
People who
specialized in writing
were called scribes.
Written History
 At
first, records were used for
business dealings, but eventually
writing was used to retell wars,
floods, and the reigns of kings.
Who was Gilgamesh?
The legend of
Gilgamesh is the
oldest known literary
 The story was written
in cuneiform on clay
tablets around 2000
 Gilgamesh was an
actual name of a king
in Sumer, but the
account of his life is
The tablets,
although in poor
condition, still
 The Epic of
Gilgamesh shows
the values and
qualities that were
important to this
 An Epic is a long
narrative poem
that focuses on the
adventures and
achievements of a
heroic person.