Cities/Urban


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Cities/Urban

  • Cities/Urban

  • Political/Military system

  • Social Hierarchy

  • Economic/Job Specialization

  • Complex Religion

  • Written Language

  • “Higher Culture” – Art & Architecture

  • Public Works





“Between the Rivers”

  • “Between the Rivers”

    • Tigris and Euphrates
  • Modern-day Iraq

  • Cultural continuum of “fertile crescent”

  • Sumerians the dominant people



Nutrient-rich silt

  • Nutrient-rich silt

  • Key: irrigation

    • Necessity of coordinated efforts (reservoirs, canals, dikes, dams)
    • Promoted development of local governments
    • City-states
  • Sumer begins small-scale irrigation 6000 BCE

  • By 5000 BCE, complex irrigation networks

    • Population reaches 100,000 by 3000 BCE
  • Attracts Semitic migrants, influences culture



Cities appear 4000 BCE

  • Cities appear 4000 BCE

  • Dominate region from 3200-2350 BCE

    • Ur (home of Abraham, see Genesis 11:28), Nineveh
  • Ziggurat - home of the city god

  • Divine mandate to Kings

  • Regulation of Trade

  • Defense from nomadic marauders

  • Technology:

    • Carts & plows
    • Sundials & 12 month calendar
    • Sexagesimal number system - 60










Semitic peoples from northern Mesopotamia overshadow Sumer

  • Semitic peoples from northern Mesopotamia overshadow Sumer

    • Sargon of Akkad (2370-2315 BCE)
      • Destroyed Sumerian city-states one by one, created empire based in Akkad
      • Empire unable to maintain chronic rebellions
  • Hammurabi of Babylon (1792-1750 BCE)

    • New weapon: compound or composite bow
    • Improved taxation, legislation
    • Used local governors to maintain control of city-states
  • Babylonian Empire later destroyed by Hittites from Anatolia, c. 1595 BCE









The Code of Hammurabi

  • The Code of Hammurabi

  • Established high standards of behavior and stern punishment for violators

    • lex talionis – “law of retaliation”
    • Social status and punishment
    • women as property, but some rights
      • More rights than in Sumer
      • Could be merchants, traders and scribes
      • Could divorce if subject to cruelty


Astronomy

  • Astronomy







Weakening of central rule an invitation to foreign invaders

  • Weakening of central rule an invitation to foreign invaders

  • Assyrians use new iron weaponry

    • Beginning 1300 BCE, by 8th-7th centuries BCE control Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, most of Egypt
  • Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (r. 605-562) takes advantage of internal dissent to create Chaldean (New Babylonian) Empire

    • Famously luxurious capital








Bronze (copper with tin), c. 4000 BCE

  • Bronze (copper with tin), c. 4000 BCE

    • Military, agricultural applications
  • Iron, c. 1000 BCE

    • Cheaper than bronze
  • Wheel, boats, c. 3500 BCE

  • Shipbuilding increases trade networks





Ruling classes based often on military prowess

  • Ruling classes based often on military prowess

    • Originally elected, later hereditary
    • Perceived as offspring of gods
  • Religious classes

    • Role: intervention with gods to ensure fertility, safety
    • Considerable landholdings, other economic activities
  • Free commoners

  • Slaves

    • Prisoners of war, convicted criminals, debtors


Men as landowners, relationship to status

  • Men as landowners, relationship to status

  • Patriarchy: “rule of the father”

  • Double standard of sexual morality

    • Women drowned for adultery
    • Relaxed sexual mores for men
  • Yet some possibilities of social mobility for women

  • Introduction of the veil at least c. 1500 BCE



Sumerian writing systems form 3500 BCE

  • Sumerian writing systems form 3500 BCE

  • Pictographs

  • Cuneiform: “wedge-shaped”

    • Preservation of documents on clay
    • Declines from 400 BCE with spread of Greek alphabetic script










Trade

  • Trade

  • Astronomy

  • Mathematics

    • Agricultural applications
  • Calculation of time

    • 12-month year
    • 24-hour day, 60-minute hour


Epic of Gilgamesh, compiled after 2000 BCE

  • Epic of Gilgamesh, compiled after 2000 BCE

  • Heroic saga

  • Search for meaning, esp. afterlife

  • This-worldly emphasis









The Hebrews descendants become the Israelites whose descendants become the Jews.

  • The Hebrews descendants become the Israelites whose descendants become the Jews.

  • Patriarchs and Matriarchs from Babylon, c. 1850 BCE

  • Parallels between early biblical texts, Code of Hammurabi

  • Early settlement of Canaan (Israel), c. 1300 BCE

    • Biblical text: slavery in Egypt, divine redemption
  • On-going conflict with indigenous populations under King David (1000-970 BCE) and Solomon (970-930 BCE)













Hebrews shared polytheistic beliefs of other Mesopotamian civilizations

  • Hebrews shared polytheistic beliefs of other Mesopotamian civilizations

  • Moses introduces monotheism, belief in single god

    • Denies existence of competing parallel deities
    • Personal god: reward and punishment for conformity with revealed law
    • The Torah (“doctrine or teaching”)


Assyrian conquest, 722 BCE

  • Assyrian conquest, 722 BCE

    • Conquered the northern kingdom
    • Deported many inhabitants to other regions
    • Many exiles assimilated and lost their identity
  • Babylonian conquest, 586 BCE



City-states along Mediterranean coast after 3000 BCE

  • City-states along Mediterranean coast after 3000 BCE

  • Extensive maritime trade

    • Dominated Mediterranean trade, 1200-800 BCE
      • Traded cedar, colored dyes, glass and much else
  • Development of alphabet symbols











Common roots of many languages of Europe, southwest Asia, India

  • Common roots of many languages of Europe, southwest Asia, India

  • Implies influence of a single Indo-European people

    • Probable original homeland: modern-day Ukraine and Russia, 4500-2500 BCE
  • Domestication of horses, use of Sumerian weaponry allowed them to spread widely





Hittites migrate to central Anatolia, c. 1900 BCE, later dominate Babylonia

  • Hittites migrate to central Anatolia, c. 1900 BCE, later dominate Babylonia

  • Influence on trade




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