Earliest development of city life known


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Earliest development of city life known

  • Earliest development of city life known

  • “Land Between the Rivers” Tigris and Euphrates rivers (southeastern Iraq)



Global Warming – 15,000 BCE

  • Global Warming – 15,000 BCE

  • Melted Ice Age grasslands

  • Natufians hunted and harvested

  • Dryas Event led to first farming settlements

  • Population grew due to abundance

  • People began to congregate in towns and cities

  • Earliest recorded civilizations



Levantine Corridor, Near East

  • Levantine Corridor, Near East

  • present day Israel, Syria, and southeastern Iraq (Tigris and Euphrates rivers called Mesopotamia)





Sumerians in lower Mesopotamia 5000 BCE

  • Sumerians in lower Mesopotamia 5000 BCE

  • Agrarian civilization

  • Small competing kingdoms or city-states

  • Ideas and techniques created distinct influential civilization

  • First at:

    • large cities
    • sophisticated system of writing
    • monumental buildings
    • probably invented the wheel
    • irrigation system using gravity
    • use of plow
    • among first to make bronze utensils, weapons


strife, disunion, wars and water disputes

  • strife, disunion, wars and water disputes

  • Sargon the Great unified region

  • 2300 BCE

  • (capital in Akkad, near modern-day Baghdad)

  • Akkadian Empire spread Sumerian culture from Mesopotamia to Egypt (Fertile Crescent)







Livelihood came from land, directly or indirectly

  • Livelihood came from land, directly or indirectly

  • Trade in foodstuffs, grain, imported commodities

  • Some occupations required education, formal training, apprenticeships: scribes, priesthood, metalworking





Polytheism – religion of many gods

  • Polytheism – religion of many gods

  • Nature gods: Innana (love and fertility) and Enki (water-god)

  • Ziggurats – pyramids where gods reside and priests made offerings

    • most famous - Babylon (Tower of Babel)
  • Mesopotamian religion - not optimistic

    • No personal loving relationship between humans and gods
    • Men and women slaves of their god-creators
    • No evidence of ethics - not about good/evil
    • Punishments were in natural catastrophes: droughts or floods
    • Gods appeased with rituals and ceremonies by priests/rulers
  • Epic of Gilgamesh – creation myth

    • First epic poem in world literature
    • A king’s desire for the secret of immortal life
    • Gods jealous of king’s power defeat him






Chronology

  • Chronology

  • Time - cyclic nature of seasonal change

  • Calendar - lunar months between full moons

  • Mathematics - influential in western science

  • Based on units of 60 (60 seconds and 60 minutes)

  • Basic geometry and trigonometry (360ºcircle)



Evolution of Writing

  • Evolution of Writing

  • Records: taxation, marital/inheritance, calendar, seasonal changes

  • cuneiform - script in wedge-shaped characters after 3500 BCE

  • Sumerian cuneiform remained basic script of most Near and Middle Eastern languages until about 1000 BCE



Emperor Hammurabi’s reign,1700 BCE

  • Emperor Hammurabi’s reign,1700 BCE

  • Early complete code of laws:

  • Principles

    • Punishment depends on social rank (commoners, slaves treated harsher than nobles)
    • “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”
    • Victim’s right to personal compensation
    • Government is impartial referee
    • Not equal before the law: husbands over wives, fathers over children, rich over poor, free citizens
    • over slaves






Two types

  • Two types

    • Theocracy of early city-states
    • Kingdom-empires beginning with Sargon the Great
  • Three classes

    • Priests, noble landlords
    • Freemen (majority)
    • Slaves


Change in status over time

  • Change in status over time

  • At early stage: more or less equal

  • With militarized society - patriarchy trend

  • Household

  • Artisan occupations - open to women, with limitations

  • Adultery - worst crime in marriage

  • Divorce - lawsuits initiated by husbands

    • Reasons: childless wives, other lovers, unable or unwilling to support first wife
  • Sexual and Marital Life

    • Different attitude toward sex
    • Arranged marriages
    • Dowry and bride money
    • Bride expected to be a virgin




Sumerians extended domain into Semite- regions

  • Sumerians extended domain into Semite- regions

  • Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians united Mesopotamia and expanded it

  • Mesopotamian trade stretched from the Indus Valley (modern day Pakistan) to Nile Valley and eastern Mediterranean

  • Sumerian culture followed with trade





Successors

  • Successors

    • Amorites, or Old Babylonians
    • Hittites
    • Assyrians
    • Chaldees or New Babylonians
  • Decline of Mesopotamia in World History

    • Ceased to be important after Persian conquest
    • Largely caused by long-term environmental damage, decline in food supply




Sumerians - earliest agriculturalists and skilled traders founded towns and cities in Mesopotamia (4000 BCE)

  • Sumerians - earliest agriculturalists and skilled traders founded towns and cities in Mesopotamia (4000 BCE)

  • Led by theocratic priesthood and later by warrior-kings

  • City-states left new techniques and viewpoints: load-bearing wheel, first sophisticated writing system, chronology and mathematics, and architectural skills

  • Religion was harsh and pessimistic

    • reflected fears of natural and manmade disasters
    • gods cared little for their human slaves


1. Sumerians built the first cities, and today a large percentage of the world’s population is urban. How would a Sumerian have found city life different from their rural existence? What would have been the benefits of city life? What would the disadvantages have been?

  • 1. Sumerians built the first cities, and today a large percentage of the world’s population is urban. How would a Sumerian have found city life different from their rural existence? What would have been the benefits of city life? What would the disadvantages have been?

  • 2. Hammurabi’s Code is one of the very first written law codes. Why is it so important to have law in written form? What difference, if any, would it have made to the average Babylonian to have written law?






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