Tpcs: Mediterranean World
Tpcs: Mediterranean World HIS 206-02
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jazzmin Casterlow on Saturday September 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIS 206-02 at University of North Carolina - Greensboro taught by Ian Michie in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 33 views. For similar materials see Tpcs: Mediterranean World in History at University of North Carolina - Greensboro.
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Date Created: 09/03/16
Jazzmin Casterlow 82816 Chapter 2: Mesopotamia and the Bronze Age (60001200 BCE) By the sixth millennium BCE, a high level of social, political, and technological culture based on an agricultural economy already existed in many places in Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. An agricultural economy permitted people to live in permanent villages and towns constructed from mud, brick, stone, timber, and other materials. The amount of food produced could be expanded by bringing additional land under cultivation, and agricultural foodstuffs could be stored to provide a dependable food supply. In the case of the culture of the old Stone Age, the economic and technological developments of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods eventually expanded to the point where there was no further room to expand based on contemporary social and technological levels of development. The next significant social, economic, and cultural developments occurred in large Near Eastern valleys, in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, Eastern Syria, and Eastern Turkey) and Egypt, where huge tracts of rich alluvial soil were available for cultivation in deltas at the mouth of rivers. The Origins of Mesopotamian Civilizations (60003000 BCE) o Beginning around 6000 BCE, a series of agriculturally based cultures arose in Mesopotamia, first in the upper river valleys and then in the lower. o Over the next 3,000 years, cultural evolution occurred based on the special geographical conditions of these areas. o By Approximately 3,000 BCE a particular kind off culture known as “civilization” had developed, first manifested by a people now known as the Sumerians. The Settlement of Mesopotamia: o Toward the end of the seventh millennium BCE, for example, the first attested farming communities in upper Mesopotamia were established on the upper Tigris River in the neighborhood of Hassuna, which gave its name to the Hassuna, culture (ca. 60005250 BCE). o Villages of seven hundred people contained adobe (a mixture of clay and straw) houses built round a central courtyard. o Hassuna people produced a distinctive pottery, with reddish linear designs painted on a light background that replaced the coarser earlier ceramics. o The people had to cope with only ten inches of rain fall per year, while lacking the resources to undertake massive irrigation, the people used an agricultural technique called dry farming, which involves practices such as “fallow rotation,” in which one crop takes two seasons to grow; contour plowing to reduce water runoff; and leaving crop residue or laying out straw to retain water. o Tel Halaf, on a tributary of the Euphrates River in far upper Mesopotamia, gave its name its name to the Halaf culture (ca. 6100500 BCE), which overlapped the end of the Hassuna Culture. The Urban Culture: o The earliest attested settlement of the alluvial plain of lower Mesopotamia was discovered at the site of Ubaid, which gives its name to the Ubaid culture (ca. 54004000 BCE). o The Ubaid culture, which initially was derived from the Samarra culture to the northwest, was represented by large villages with rectangular multiroom mudbrick houses. o Ubaid pottery included greenishcolored fine ware with geometric designs in brown or black paint. o Less than five inches of rain per year, and what there was fell mostly during the winter; the hot summer sun let the soil dry, and largescale agriculture based on rainfall was impossible. o Rich delta soil was so productive that a population explosion resulted, and latter part of the fifth millennium BCE brought intensifying urbanization. o Between 45004000 BCE, the Ubaid culture spread peacefully into northern Mesopotamia, where it replaced the Samarra and Halaf cultures. o The Ubaid period also provides the first examples of large public temples. The Uruk Period: o The next period of Mesopotamian Cultural development, characterized by the city of Uruk (also known as Erech in the Bible or Warka in Arabic), lasted from 4000 to 2900 BCE and brought further social, administrative, and technological developments meant to meet the changing needs of expanding cities. o By ca. 3500 BCE, a precursor of writing appeared, consisting of pictograms which are pictures of the actual objects being referred to scratched on a clay surface with pointed reed stylus. o At the same time, cylinder seals with designs incised on them were rolled over wet clay to indicate ownership of property. o The city was grace by four temples of the fertility Goddess Inanna/Ishtar. o By 2900 BCE, Uruk had as many as fifty thousand inhabitants and was the largest city in the world. o It also was around this time that the potter’s wheel appeared in Mesopotamia. Bronze Age Civilization: o Around 3000 BCE, the um total o cultural, social, economic, religious, and technological, developments that had occurred during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods led to a new form of culture called “civilization.” o Historians define an Old World civilization as a society that manifests certain characteristics. o Its economy is based on agriculture. o Bronze Age Cultures were based on extensive exploitation of agriculture that had large populations that were located in rich river valleys the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers in Mesopotamia, the Nile River in Egypt, the Indus River in India, and the yellow (Huang He) River in China. o These Regions ha the richest soil and easiest access to water, and bronze was too expensive to use for agricultural implements, an intensive agriculture required oils that could be tilled by a simple wooden ad, or scratch plow. o Civilized institutions were not limited only to the river valleys, for over the course of the centuries many of the practices that arose in the river valleys were assimilated by peoples hundreds and thousands of miles away. The Rise of Sumerian Civilization: o Mesopotamian civilization began in Sumer (or Sumeria), the rich agricultural land of the lower Tigris and Euphrates river valleys, roughly from just south of Bagdad to the Persian Gulf, which then, was over a hundred miles further upstream. o Sumerian civilization was based on large independent cities heavily focused on agriculture. o Life in Sumerian cities revolved around religion; the Gods were believed to be the actual rulers of the cities, and by far the largest building was huge step pyramid known as a ziggurat. The Origin of the Sumerians: o The indigenous languages of Mesopotamia were Semitic languages used by persons who might originally have emigrated from Arabia and who lived both as pastoralists in the desert fringes of Mesopotamia and as farmers in the river valleys, especially upriver from Sumer, as at Kish. o The Sumerians were an amalgamation of three different groups of peoples: immigrants from upstream Mesopotamia, who brought with them agricultural experience; pastoralists with herds of sheep and goats from the desert fringe; and hunterfishers from the Arabian coast, who were the original inhabitants of the region. The Sumerian Mindset: o Mesopotamia was a wide flat plain with no natural defenses. o To the east was the Persian Gulf, to the north lay the Zagros Mountains of western Iran, and to the south and west was the SyrianArabian desert, an area that received enough rainfall to be able to support pastoralist populations. o Life in Sumer revolved around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. o The name Mesopotamia thus unsurprisingly came from Greek words meaning “between the rivers.” o The Sumerians attempted to impose their own system of control on the Gods. o For example, in order to ensure that the Gods were always looking over them, individual Sumerians placed small votive statuses of themselves in the temples. o The Sumerians attempted to get some idea of what the Gods were thinking by using divination, the mystical interpretation of phenomena ranging from dreams to animal entrails to wisps of smoke. o Enlil God of the air, was a sky and storm God who controlled lightning and thunder. o He was considered by the Sumerians to be the most important God to be directly concerned with the earth and was assigned the number 50. o Enki, the water God, was given the number 40, Nanna, the moon God, was number 30, and Utu, the sun God, got the number 20, Inanna, the goddess of fertility, received the number 15 and was second only to Enlil in popularity. o Sumerians dreamed of being able to escape being sent to the underworld by finding immortality. Sumerian Civilization: o The beginning of Sumerian civilization coincides with the Early Dynastic Period, beginning ca. 2900 BCE, about the time when no legendary dynasties of Sumerian kings begin to be recorded. o Sumer was home to some twenty principal cities, including Eridu, Ur, Uruk, Larsa, Lagash, Sharruppa, Sippar, Umma, Isin, Nippur, and Kish, most of whose origins went back to the Ubaid period. o The cultivated, irrigated land of the Sumerian cities was adjoined by unirrigated grazing land known as “Edin.” o Any Mesopotamian rulers who tried to unify Mesopotamia faced a daunting task. o The Sumerian writing system, known cuneiform, evolved out of the earlier pictograms. o From about 2900 BCE, many pictograms began to lose their original function, and the signs were reduced to about 1,500 ideograms, signs representing a thought or a word, such as a star representing “the sky.” o By about 2600 BCE, the number of symbols had been reduced to syllabary of about six hundred symbols that represented not only syllables, such as ba, be, bi, bo, and so on, but also consonants and other sound combinations, including a good deal of duplication of signs representing the same sounds and meanings. Sumerian Mythology: o According to a sketchily preserved tradition, the world and universe originated from a chaotic ocean of Apsu, sweet water. o Apsu created Nammu, the goddess of the salt sea, who created an, the god of the heavens, and Ki, the earth. o According to Sumerian legend, Eridu, the earliest attested Sumerian city, had been founded by Enki, who also was the god of civilization, demonstrating the realization of the importance that control of a good water supply played in the creation of a civilized society. o Inanna, the fertility Goddess, desired to bring civilization to her own favored city of Uruk by any means “possible saying, “I shall direct my steps to Enki, to the Abzu [Enki’s water temple], to Eridu, and myself shall speak coaxingly to him.” Historical Sumer (30002300 BCE): Only in the middle of the third century BCE do written records documenting more specific aspects of Sumerian culture, such as political and economic accounts, begin to appear. The Sumerian Kings List: o Sumerian King List contains a sequence of cities whose kings reigned supreme in Sumer going back to the establishment of the first Sumerian cities and occasionally includes brief descriptions of events. o The earlier sections were full of folktales, including life spans of several thousand years and direct contact with gods. o The King List opens with words “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridu” and then begins with two kings of Eridu who ruled for 64,800 years, followed by three kings, including “Damuzid the shepherd” of Badtibiria, later a town of only minor importance, who governed for 36,000 years. o The King’s List then cites an event that the Sumerians clearly saw as one of the defining moments of their past: “then the flood swept over.” Urban Development: o Mesannepada, the founder of the First Dynasty of Ur I the King List, is historically attested in contemporary documents as ruling around 26000 BCE, by which time Ur had become one of the most important Sumerian cities and exercised authority over much of Sumer. o The Sumerian cities seem to have lived mostly in peace, by 2600 BCE, serious conflicts among Sumerian cities had broken out as expanding population bought increasing pressure on cities to expand their economic productivity. o One indication for a growing need for security seems to have been a trend for smaller cities to consolidate into larger ones around 3000 BCE, a practice that might be reflected in Uruk’s having two primary deities, An and Inanna, rather than just one. o King Gilgamesh, is said to have built the walls around Uruk just before 2600 BCE. Sumerian Religion, Government, and Economy: o Sumerian life revolved around religion, which provided the patterns for living one’s life. o The center of worship was a ziggurat intended to house the city’s primary God. o By now, ziggurats had evolved from the simple platforms of the Uruk Period to massive steps, pyramids, as much as 150 feet on a side and more than 100 feet high, built with an exterior of fired bricks bound together by bitumen or mortar over a mud brick core and with many as seven levels. o Only priests were permitted entry to the upper levels of the ziggurat. o Kings came in different forms, and a king could be known as an en, ensi, or lugal. o The government largely controlled economic activity, and economic transactions took place using bartar, that is, by exchanging goods and services, for coinage did not yet exist. The Sumerian People: o Kings, priests, and nobles formed a very small privileged group at the peak of the social pyramid. o The next rung of privilege was occupied by soldiers and a multitude of palace bureaucrats. o Artisans and specialized laborers, including such people as potters, metal workers, scribes, and merchants, stood next in the social hierarchy and made up a sort of middle class. o Another underprivileged class in Sumer was women; women’s lives revolved around family and marriage, and the life trajectory of a woman was expected to be rom daughter to wife and then perhaps to widow. o The law generally favored men.an infertile woman could be divorced, and a destitute husband could sell his wife and children into slavery to pay debts, albeit with the expectation that he would redeem them if he his luck changed. Sumerian Lifestyles: o Most Sumerians lived a simple life. o Country houses were constructed from bundles of reeds plastered with adobe on the outside. o For the average Sumerian, everyday household items included much pottery, which was used for storing food and water, for cooking, and as tableware. o Hearths and fireplaces were used for cooking, and baking purposes, meaning that there was a constant danger of fire. The Semitic Peoples and the First Near Eastern Empires (23001200 BCE): o In the semiarid regions of northern Arabia and Syria to the south and east of Sumer lived groups of pastoralists who spoke dialects of the Semitic family of languages and therefore are known as the Semitic peoples. o They had no political unity, but they had a long history of contact with the settled, agricultural peoples of the river valleys. o In the yeas after 3000 BCE, the Semitic people known as the Akkadians moved into the river valley themselves, just upstream from the Sumerians, adopted Sumerian culture, and gave their name to Akkad, the region surrounding modern Baghdad. o They assimilate much of the culture of the Sumerians and created their own agricultural civilization. Sargon and the Akkadian Empire: o Around the year 2270 BCE the ruler of the Akkadians, a very able individual named SharruKin (“the True King”), or Sargon (22702215 BCE), embarked on a career of empire building. o Sargon was considered to have established the first Near Eastern empire, a term used to describe a state that incorporates several nations and peoples under a single government. o The Sumerian writing system was adopted but in an evolved form, with a greater use of signs representing syllables. o Sargon kept personal control of all levels of government. o After Sargon’s death, (22152291 BCE) had trouble holding the empire together; subject peoples revolted, and both sons were assassinated. Sumer Strikes Back: o Mesopotamia then returned to its usual condition of political disunity. o The Gutians attempted to establish rule over Mesopotamia but were ill equipped to do so, and their poor management of the irrigation system. o Gudea (20802060 BCE), a king of Lagash, gained control of seventeen other cities and skirmished with the kingdom of Elam to the east. The Old Babylonian Empire: o Beginning around 2000 BCE another group of Semitic peoples, collectively known as the Amorites (“westerners”), entered Mesopotamia from the west. o Like earlier pastoralist peoples who moved into Mesopotamia, the Babylonians assimilated much of earlier Sumerian culture, using cuneiform to write their language. o The old Babylonians were especially noted for their study of mathematics and astronomy. o Mathematical calculations were based on the number sixty rather than, as in the modern decimal system, on the number ten. o The greatest Babylonian ruler was Hammurabi (17281686 BCE). o Hammurabi destroyed the ancient city of Mari. o Hammurabi is best known for his code of laws. o Compilation of existing laws and custom relating to civil and criminal procedures. o Hammurabi’s code recognized three social classes: nobles, free persons, and slaves. o The punishment for various crimes committed was dependent on one’s social status. The IndoEuropean Peoples: o Hammurabi’s son SamsuIluna (16861678 BCE) was confronted not only by rebelliousness cities but also by representatives of a new group of invaders, the IndoEuropean peoples, whose homeland lay in the steppe lands of southern Russia. o The IndoEuropeans, like the Semitic peoples, consisted of groups of pastoralist peoples who spoke dialects of the same basic language. o During the reign of SamsuIluna, the Kassites, who had assimilated Indo European culture if they were not themselves a subgroup of the Aryans, launched raids into Mesopotamia from western Iran. o In 1595 BCE, the Hittites made a massive raid into Babylonia and carried off the statue of Marduk from Babylon. o The Kassites continued to rule middle and lower Mesopotamia until the end of the Bronze Age, ca. 1200 BCE.
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