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Cal State Fullerton - HIST 110 - Mesopotamia - Class Notes

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Cal State Fullerton - HIST 110 - Mesopotamia - Class Notes

School: California State University - Fullerton
Department: History
Course: World Civilization to 16th Century
Professor: Stefan Chrissanthos
Term: Winter 2016
Tags: mesopotamia, world civilizations, outline, summary, and history
Name: Mesopotamia
Description: Chapter outline. Important vocabulary words.
Uploaded: 02/09/2016
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background image WORLD CIVILIZATIONS –MESOPOTAMIA  Grains were the usual basis of early agriculture One of the earliest civilizations in world history was the Sumeria in the southern Mesopotamia. Natufians: hunter­gatherers of the near and Middle East, stalked antelope and Persian gazelle and 
harvested wild nuts and grasses. Around 11,000 B.C.E., the Younger Dryas Event occurred, which was 
when glacial melt water in a freshwater lake in northern Canada suddenly burst into the Atlantic Gulf 
Stream, triggering  a thousand year regression in Europe and southwestern Asia to the cooler and drier 
conditions of the late ice age. Sources of water and plant foods disappeared. The Natufians were forced 
to abandon their hunting­gathering ways of living and adopted domestication and planting. 
Levantine Corridor: where the world’s first farming settlements appeared. In a section of the Near 
East. It included the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrate rivers (Mesopotamia). 
During the sixth millennium BCE, the world’s first urban civilization developed in the lower courses of 
the Tigris and Euphrate rivers, in the region Sumeria. The Sumerians came to Mesopotamia from where 
to the east and practiced irrigation and trade. They created city states with populations from eight to ten 
thousand. The most important city states were: Eridu, Ur, Lagash, and Uruk. 
The Sumerians: Created first large cities; Developed writing called cuneiform; First built monumental 
buildings; Probably invented the wheel; First to make use of horse­drawn chariots in warfare; Designed 
and built an irrigation system; First to use plow and make bronze utensils ad weaponry; Developed both 
short and long distance trade, along with Mesopotamians. 
2300 BCE, the land between the two rivers was brought under one effective ruler, Sargon the Great, a 
Semitic invader. 
Fertile Crescent: the wide belt reaching from Mesopotamia to Egypt.   Earning a Living: Mesopotamians were either farmers and herders (from the land), or were carters, wine 
pressers, millers or anything else that transformed agrarian products into food and drink and delivered to
the consumer. Commerce was primarily foodstuff and metals such as Bronze. Occupations also included
education and degree training –bookkeepers, scribes and priesthood. Occupations that did not require 
literacy included metalworking, leatherworking and other types of ceramic work. There were also 
shopkeepers, clerks, and those prepared for any type of manual task. 
Religion:  Polytheism: belief in many gods. Two of the most important was the goddess of love and  fertility (Innana) and the god of water (Enki). Each city­kingdom had their own local god and spirits of 
land and sky, who were thought to reside at times in the great temple complexes crowned and protected 
by the 
ziggurats (stepped pyramids). At ziggurats, priests and their dependents prayed and made  offerings. The best known ziggurat was the Tower of Babel of biblical fame. Religious beliefs of the 
Mesopotamians derives from literature.
  Epic of Gilgamesh: The first epic poem in world literature. The flood is similar to flood stories in the 
book of Genesis. 
Writing:      Sometime around the fourth millennium, oral language was joined with written form. The  beginning of the phonetic written language began around the third millennium. Most important and 
lasting of Sumerian accomplishments was the system of writing 
background image Law: During the reign of Hammurabi in the 1700s BCE, one of the earliest known complete code of 
laws originated. The code has two distinctive principles, which were: punishment depended on rank, and
offenders were subjected to the same damages or injury they caused to others. Another basic principle in
Mesopotamian law was that the government should act as an impartial referee. People were not equal 
before the law. 
Hammurabi’s law code dealt with social and family problems.  Government and Social Structure: Government was divided into theocracy and kingdom empires. A city
was ruled by a king and distinctions among people were essential, while in the village there was 
interdependence. There were three social groups: priests and noble landlords, the free –did the bulk of 
city’s work and trading –and then there were slaves, with no rights whatsoever. 
Women’s Rights, Sex and Marriage:  Patriarchy: a society in which males have social and political  dominance, and it was impossible to overturn. During this time, adultery was the worst of all possible 
offenses for undermining the family’s continuity. Marriage always arranged and involved bridge money 
and a dowry. 
By 3000 BCE, Sumerians extended into regions inhabited by people who spoke Semitic languages and 
possibly Indo­European. Trade grew rapidly and large towns grew. It was the Semitic speaking 
Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians who expanded the reach of Mesopotamia. Sumerian culture, 
such as their cuneiform system of writing and its literature, grew along with the city. 
Successors of Sumeria: the Akkadians  the Amorites or old Babylonians  the Hittites, the first people 
to smelt iron and established the first multiethnic state, they were then invaded by unknown people  the
Assyrians rose to power
c. 10,000 BCE  First evidence of agriculture in Levantine Corridor  c. 5000 BCE  Sumerians arrive in Mesopotamia  c. 3500 Developed cuneiform writing  c. 3000 BCE Sumerian city­states develop  c. 2300 Sargon of Akkad  1700s BCE Hammurabi/Oldest living law code  c. 1500 Hittites conquer Mesopotamia  c. 900 Rise of Assyria  539 BCE Conquest by Persia  Questions:  1. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers were important to Mesopotamians because?  2. Who introduced extensive irrigation first? 
3. What was the Epic of Gilgamesh? 
4. What are pictographs?  5. What is patriarchy and how did it affect women in ancient societies? 

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School: California State University - Fullerton
Department: History
Course: World Civilization to 16th Century
Professor: Stefan Chrissanthos
Term: Winter 2016
Tags: mesopotamia, world civilizations, outline, summary, and history
Name: Mesopotamia
Description: Chapter outline. Important vocabulary words.
Uploaded: 02/09/2016
4 Pages 29 Views 23 Unlocks
  • Better Grades Guarantee
  • 24/7 Homework help
  • Notes, Study Guides, Flashcards + More!
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