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Ancient Civilizations Notes, Week 1

by: Bennett Jarvis

Ancient Civilizations Notes, Week 1 HSTAM111

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Bennett Jarvis
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About this Document

These notes cover a lot of material beginning in the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras of prehistory. They continue down all the way through early settlements into the dawn of civilization in Sumer. ...
Ancient history
Sandra Joshel
Class Notes
Paleolithic era, Neolithic age, Bronze Age, Sumerian Civilization, Akkadians, cuneiform, Babylonians, mythology




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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Bennett Jarvis on Tuesday October 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HSTAM111 at University of Washington taught by Sandra Joshel in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Ancient history in History at University of Washington.


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Date Created: 10/11/16
HSTAM 111 Notes – Week One Before History Introduction  Two important key terms: History; Civilization o “History” vs “Prehistory”  Keep records using a written language system *Also a key point in defining civilization  Two great periods of time o Two thousand-plus years of the current/common era (CE) o Thousands of years prior (BCE)  Two primary points of evidence when assessing history and prehistory: o Written Evidence  From literature to graffiti o Material Culture  Archaeological investigations; excavations; observations; etc.  Presentism  The idea that people who lived thousands of years ago must have behaved and thought the same as contemporary humans *This is WRONG  Culture vs. Horizon  Cultures: practices that characterize a specific population; Horizons: fewer cultural practices that are wide spread across more broad people. The Stone Age  The Stone age is broken up into multiple, smaller time segments: o The Pliocene Epoch (5,000,000-2,500,000 BCE) o The Pleistocene Epoch (2,500,000-10,000 BCE)  The Paleolithic Age (2,000,000-10,000 BCE)  Lower (2,000,000-180,000 BCE)  Middle (180,000-25,000 BCE)  Upper (25,000-10,000) The Stone Age o The Holocene Epoch (10,000 BCE-Present)  The Mesolithic Age (10,000-8,000 BCE)  The Neolithic Age (8,000-3,000 BCE)  The Chalcolithic Age (5,500-3,000 BCE)  The Bronze Age (3,300-1,200 BCE) Heading North  Humans emerged from Africa about 200,000 years ago o Left Africa about 70,000 years ago -------------- Why?  How do we know?  Bones/DNA [Biological Details] Key Link  Australopithecus -> Southern Ape between o Some features of modern humans: Australopithecus could stand upright. ape and o Ex. Lucy. man HSTAM 111 Notes – Week One  Advantages of two free hands for defense and general use.  Modern evolutionary construction is formed as a tree rather than a straight line. o Homo Neladi, discovered in South Africa in 2013, has already disproved contemporary tree. Europe 50,000 BCE  Europe was a completely different world for humans due to the Ice Age. o Different game as well: Caribou, Reindeer, and megafauna such as Mammoth and Mastodon.  They were not alone.  Neanderthals (cousins to modern Man) o Neanderthals were in Europe for the previous 100,000 years (Possibly What advantages longer) did humans o Spread across most of Europe and the Middle East possibly  Larger skulls  Larger nasal passages have over  Shorter and stockier Good for Neandertha breathing the ls? o Originally placed under a stigma ascolder air  This perception is changing o Evidence of intricate stone tools o Better hunters than any previous hunters.  Apex predator  Much smaller hunting radius than Homo Sapiens Were o Evidence of sophisticated recognition and social structures. Neanderth  Caring and burials for the weak Beginnings of als o Spread of early man connected to death of Neanderthals. cultural beliefs o Man vs Neanderthal DNA  99.84% alike + Evidence of interbreedinglues humans or  Many humans still contain traces of Neanderthal DNA. not?  What did humans bring to the table? o Increased sophistication  How were their tools more sophistication? o New forms of art  20,000 BCE bone ornaments  Paleolithic ivory ware What impact  ‘Venus’ statuettes does art have  Cave paintings  Cave Paintings on what we know about o Earliest  35,000 BCE early Man? o Focused on the natural world. Specifically animals.  Spiritually painting animals in the hopes of their return the following season. o Chauvet predated the famous paintings at Lascaux by nearly 15,000 years  33,000 BCE  Challenged the theory that paintings had evolved from simple to complex  The paintings at Chauvet were fantastic and one of the oldest ever found.  The megafauna extinction HSTAM 111 Notes – Week One o Caused possibly by human hunting  New predators in the area (humans) o Changing climate Incredibly similar to today’s issues… Paleolithic Society and Economy  The initial Paleolithic economy was based heavily, if not entirely on hunting and gathering. o Food was controlled by nature  Feast or famine/Hand-to-mouth o The land and nature was unable to support large populations  Only the strong survived. Humans thus remained  Early man struggled with other groups over food supplies in the area.the biological o Early and primitive forms of territories and warfare law of a natural  Toward the end of the Paleolithic era, houses and huts of timber and clayapacity began to emerge.  Social Structures evolved: Men hunted; Women cared for the young and planted. Intellectual Developments  Early man began to consider the idea of a connection to a greater force. o Around three hundred thousand years ago, burial practices began to sprout up  One situation displays a Neanderthal burial, accompanied by flowers. o Early forms of religious beliefs began to appear.  Concepts of art sprouted among the Cro Magnon peoples. o Cave art. Primarily in Spain and Southern France.  The power of life was initially attributed to women far before any male factor became present. Neolithic Near East Neolithic Revolution  After the extinction of the megafauna, hunter and gatherers needed to find new sources of food.  The Neolithic Revolution spanned out over a much longer time than modern political revolutions, but the effect was even more profound.  Agriculture begins in the Fertile Crescent. NOT IN MESOPOTAMIA o Foothills of the Zagros Mtns in Iran, the Levant and Eastern Anatolia  Why?: Grains such as barley and wheat occur naturally here  wheat varieties were then domesticated. o Rich soil  Women were vital to Neolithic society as they harvested the grain.  Paleolithic vs Neolithic  Homes w/ hearth vs no hearth; evidence of grain harvesting  New grain diet does not create a healthier people; more calories  larger population HSTAM 111 Notes – Week One Natufian Culture  Natufian culture is what we call a group of various villages that shared similar ways of life in the Neolithic. o They are not a unified culture or people. We do not know what they called themselves  Associated with the debut of agriculture and farming  Left great mounds indicating thousands of years of human settlement in one place o Indicates the birth of sedentary lifestyles over generations rather than pastoralism.  Biblical Jericho Walls not found; rather Neolithic Jericho walls found. o Evidence of dense population in Jericho 8,000 years ago Domestication  Domestication began with the dog at some point in the Neolithic o Huge genetic variations today  Much like ancient vs modern day humans. o The dog adds protection for agriculture and eventually for cattle.  Domesticated animals: typically appear more juvenile and smaller  Caloric intake now involves milk and cheese o Lactose intolerance: milk is not well preserved in the Middle East: milk and cheese are consumed with lower levels of lactose.  Milk keeps better in the cooler climates of Europe, European humans gain higher lactose tolerance  variations created through mutation. Mesopotamia Origins Origins of Civilization  Why, if Neolithic technology spread so widely, did civilization begin in only a few places such as Mesopotamia?  Where did civilization begin exactly? o Ancient Mesopotamia o Egypt o China o India Ubaid Culture  Ubaid culture is the oldest attested settlement on the plains of lower Mesopotamia o Large, rectangular buildings made of mud-brick.  The Ubaid culture exhibits some of the earliest evidence of possible wealth through the precious stone, Lapis Lazuli.  First attested city: Eridu o Devotion to the water god, Enki. Uruk HSTAM 111 Notes – Week One  From 4,000 BCE until 2,900 BCE  Cities began growing to over ten-thousand inhabitants  Early forms of administrations due to larger populations needing to be mobilized.  Both men and women. o Evidence of possible “Priest Kings” o Huge Ziggurats (temples) built for the chief god An.  Emergence of the potter’s wheel.  Old World Civilization  Heavily based on agriculture Rise of Sumerians  Mesopotamian civilization began in the region of Sumer o Agricultural land  lower Tigris and Euphrates river valleys o Civilization began around 3,000 BCE  No one is precisely sure who the Sumerians were or where they came from o Majority of local languages were Semitic  Branching from the large Afro-asiatic family  There is no connection between Sumerian and Semitic languages o Attested that Sumerians were an amalgamation of three different groups  Immigrants from upstream  Pastoralists from the desert  Hunter-fishers from the coast  Mesopotamia was wide and flat  No natural defense systems o Life was uncertain and insecure  Led to a pessimistic outlook on life  Pessimism was reflected in the view of the gods  Little confidence in the gods was shown Hexagesimal   Life revolved around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of or relating to the number 60  Sumerian Pantheon o An  Given the number 60; Sumerian numerical system was hexagesimal o Enlil (god of air)  50 o Enki (god of water)  40 o Nanna (moon god)  30 Inanna was o Utu (sun god)  20 second only to o Inanna (Goddess of Fertility)  15 Enlil in  Universe came from the chaotic sea: Apsu popularity o Apsu created Nammu (Goddess of sea salt) who created An (god of heavens)  And Ki (Goddess of earth) o An and Ki  Enlil god of air who usurped his father o Enlil and Ki  Enki god of water o Enki created people from Apsu and clay  Pessimism reflected in thoughts of the afterlife as well. HSTAM 111 Notes – Week One o Constantly searching for a way to cheat and gain immortality  Epic of Gilgamesh  Principal cities: o Eridu o Sippar o Ur o Umma o Uruk o Isin o Larsa o Nippur o Lagash o Kish o Sharuppak Was political disunity also a factor in overall pessimism?  Political disunity was a defining character in Sumerian history. o Cuneiform  Writing system  evolved out of earlier pictograms. o 2,600 BCE pictograms reduced to about six hundred phonogram symbols.  Written with a stylus into wet clay  Wedge-shaped forms  Initially used for commercial record keeping and receipts. o Sumerians were obsessed with making lists.  Pessimism o Development  Compulsive list makers  King List (early written history) o List used to legitimize the authority of contemporary kings  The kingship began in Eridu  The list covers historical events such as the great flood  Conflicts began to rise in Sumer by 2,600 BCE  Urbanized Sumer saw introductions of class, including a middle class of merchants o This did however lead to early evidence of feudalism o First Near Eastern Empires o Akkadian Empire  Years following 3,000 BCE, Semitic peoples entered upper Mesopotamia known as the Akkadians. o Equated their gods with those of the Sumerians o Sargon (2,270-2,215 BCE) became king of Sumer and Akkad, beginning the Akkadian Empire  The first Near Eastern Empire  incorporation of several nations and peoples under a single government  Sargon ruled with an iron fist  Capital was established at Agadē. o Sargon attempted to unify his empire  The empire may have actually been more comprised of vassals who were ready to revolt at any time. o Sargon’s two sons had trouble keeping the empire united o Grandson, Naram-Sin put down all revolts  Naram-Sin gave himself title of King of the four corners of the universe and portrayed himself as a god.  Naram-Sin’s son Shar-Kalli-Sharri called himself “King of all Kings” o After Shar-Kalli-Sharri the empire went into decline o The most lasting effect of the empire was the widespread use of the Akkadian language. o Sumer Revival During thister the fall of the Akkadian Empire, Sumer returned to political disunity. period, Ur became the largest o Sumerian cities reasserted their independence.  Gudea of Lagash gained large control in the region o Early examples of propaganda and mass media  circulated many statues glorifying self  Ur-Nammu (2,047-20,30 BCE) took the title King of Sumer and Akkad o Attempted to consolidate power by issuing a code of laws o Succeeded by son, Shulgi, who began creating a cult of personality o Old Babylonia  Beginning around 2,000 BCE a Semitic people known as the Amorites entered Mesopotamia o Assyrians  settled on the upper Tigris river o Babylonians  settled in Akkad  Babylonians integrated themselves very much into Sumerian culture o Adopted cuneiform o Adopted most Sumerian deities  Retained supreme god  Marduk  Sumerian father god An played minor role, MArduk replaced Enlil  Babylonians studied mathematics and astronomy o 1 year = 360 days (6x60) o 1 day = 6 parts o 1 hour = 60 parts  City of Babylon established  King Hammurabi (1,728-1,686) o Successfully unified Mesopotamia and thus created the Second Near Eastern Empire o Faced similar problems as Sargon  unify a non-unified group of peoples  Code of Hammurabi  code of laws for his empire (much like code of Ur-Nammu) o Hammurabi’s society was strictly stratified  Nobles (Upper)  Free persons (Middle)  Slaves (Lower)  Slaves were integral to Babylonian society  Slaves were not always much worse off from a free person o Hammurabi’s society fell after his death  Son, Samsu-Iluma faced mass revolts  Rebel Ilum-ma-ili united Sumerian cities under the Sealand Dynasty  Second Dynasty of Babylon  Assyrians asserted independence  Elamites raided Sumeria  Empire of Hammurabi was no more


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