Early Civilization in the Middle East & Africa
Early Civilization in the Middle East & Africa HIST 1010
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Myrissa Webb on Thursday August 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1010 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Bohannan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 26 views.
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Date Created: 08/25/16
Early Civilization in the Middle East & Africa Mesopotamia. This encompasses most of modern Iraq. It is defined by the Tigris and Euphrates R. It is not particularly sheltered geographically. It is in the middle of everything. It is in the crossroads. Sumer is a subset and the beginning of Mesopotamia. It becomes the core of foundation for Mesopotamia. It is the beginning of civilization. City-State and Empires. The government for early Sumer seesaws back and forth between City-State and Empires. City-State is a city that governs itself. A separate political entity. This created disunity in Mesopotamia. It was dived up into multiple City-States that fought with each other. Temporarily one city (Kish) takes over and Mesopotamia ceases the swing of disunity and unity. However, it doesn’t last because the other cities didn’t like not having control. With many City-States it become vulnerable to outside conflict. Religion. The worshiped multiple gods (polytheistic.) They anthropomorphize their gods (human like.) The assigned to something that was not human, human traits. They saw their gods as controlling and not as the nicest. They thought their gods as all-powerful. They live within an omnipresent fear that destruction and disaster that is right around the corner. Why? Just their location is vulnerable in the middle of everything. Also, they live with climate disasters (floods with the rivers surrounding them, and weather.) These destroy their world. They believe that their gods were keeping their disasters at bay. They did multiple things to make the gods happy so that there will be less disasters. They had to figure out what their gods wanted. They looked mostly at stars and animals (through sacrifices.) They had a pessimistic world view fueled by anxiety. The monument form of architecture in Mesopotamia was rh Ziggurat. It was used for religions purposes and has a pyramid shape. Cuneiform is a complex type of writing on clay tablets. They would cut into wet clay tablet and then it would dry creating a permanent record. The wet clay was expensive and cuneiform was made up of about 3,000 characters. So this was a expensive and tedious task. However, the virtues for present Historians are great. Clay last longer than paper. Cuneiform nouns were objects--> pictogram--> (sideways)--> cuneiform. For verbs they used nouns that, when sounded out, sounded like the verbs. Law Code. Written codes of law. Before the law was written everyone had ideas of how people should behave. It wasn’t until around 1900 BCE when Hammurabi gave Mesopotamia their first law code. The two main ideas was 1) Punishment is given out according to the social status of the person and 2) it adhered to the principles of "an eye for an eye." It was a big deal that this was the first WRITTEN law code. Why? They are fixed/concrete and everyone can refer to them. Now legally people can appeal decisions. Before, there was no cod of law that people could appeal. Social Structure. Society in Sumer was a hierarchy arranged society. We have clear social stratification. There was a tiny elite on the top. Land was common trait of the elite. Next, there was the everyday business men. Next, the craftsmen, potters, wielders. Lastly, there were the farmers and peasants. There were many slaves during this time. However, slavery was different. It was a lot easier to rise and decline socially. It was even possible for slave to become free and free people to sell themselves into slavery. There was a lot of "in-and-out" of slavery. It was more socially acceptable for a free woman to marry a man slave and their family would then become free. Once again, it was an urban society. People lived in small packed towns.
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