Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt
Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt History 1A
Popular in Introduction to Western Civilization: Ancient Civilizations, Prehistory to circa A.D. 843
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sarah Doberneck on Monday October 5, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to History 1A at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Dr. Phillips in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 114 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Western Civilization: Ancient Civilizations, Prehistory to circa A.D. 843 in History at University of California - Los Angeles.
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Date Created: 10/05/15
History 1A 9252015 Lecture What does the term western civilization mean Civilization is an advanced social and political structure in which individuals come together to form a cohesive unit The first example of this is with the creation of cities Civilization starts in Asia and Africa before it spreads to Europe with the Greeks and the Romans Political ideologies of democracy and a republic can be traced to the Greeks and romans For the majority of human history humans used stone tools 0 Technological advancements are seen in the differences between the old middle and new stone ages 0 People usually used spears and arrows as weapons in these ages 0 They were used to hunt animals for food and to protect themselves 0 Copper started to become popular in about 500 BC 0 However due to the soft nature of copper it wasn t used as much as stone was 0 Once copper and tin were combined in about 3000 BC bronze was invented and widely used because of its strength 0 Iron was created and was stronger than bronze which led to the copper age Carbon dating is what allows us to track the dates of these materials Scientists can determine how old a living organism s tissue is by the amount of carbon 14 left Hunting and gathering was the primary method of obtaining food until early civilizations realized that it was easier to make the food come to them 0 This led to more farming and trap setting Growing food and raising herds of domesticated animals resulted in societies changing from being mainly nomadic like their ancestors were to now being stationary and developing villages Civilization is linked with the establishment of cities which is a community of people that has established territorial boundaries and some sort of political and social structure 5 other traits of civilization are 0 Systematization of religion 0 distinction between social classes 0 specialization of tasks 0 development of the artsthe incorporation of art into the public sector Literacy Why does civilization first happen in Mesopotamia o Mesopotamia lies within the Fertile Crescent which led allowed it to agriculture and a stable society 0 Sumer and Akkad were names used by the natives to describe Mesopotamia T later become known as Babylonia The earliest cities first came around in Sumer at about 3500 BC 0 Consisted of mudbrick buildings surrounded by walls or moats o Mud brick was the primarily used construction material for private and public buildings because Mesopotamia had very little timber to use to build things 0 Each of the earliest cities had independent political units making them quotcitystates 0 Outside of the actual city would be agricultural lands owned by the citizens as a whole 0 They used complex irrigation systems to sustain the farm land that fed the cities Most of the citizens were farmers at this time Over time a political and social hierarchy evolved 0 Each city had a king 0 Sumerian society combined government and religion It was thought that the ruler of the city was a patron godgoddess o The ruler was the gods earthly representative 0 This resulted in the priests working very closely with and supporting the kind The king king s family and priests made up the highest social class Sumerian temples led to monumental architecture 0 They made step pyramids to honor the gods ziggurat 0 Inside would be a statue of the god 0 Sumerians practiced an anthropomorphic religion meaning that the gods were often made to look like people o It was also polytheistic meaning that there were many gods that were organized in a hierarchy o The Sumerians believed that the universe arose from a watery chaos 0 First came the gods then the sky then earth and finally humans and animals 0 Top gods were the gods of the sky water and nature with about 50 gods under them 0 The gods were thought to meet in council about the earth Sumerians were the first to develop a system of writing and did so about 3500 BC o It started with pictograms evolved into signs for words and syllables o The technical form cuneiform is used to describe the type of writing as well as the method they used to write The story of the flood and the epic of Gilgamesh are myths that became Babylonian myths as well Flood Myth 0 Differences between the two include the reactions of the gods In the biblical version God controlled the flood In the Sumerian version the Gods ran in fear 0 Biblical version flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights while Sumerian lasted 6 days and 6 nights The Epic of Gilgamesh o It is possible that Gilgamesh was a real person from 2500 BC Babylon o It is Sumerian in origin but later was adopted by Babylonians 0 One theme of the epic is that death is inevitable and humans can t become gods Early Dynastic Period 0 30002340 BC 0 We know very little about this period 0 Divided into numerous small and independent city states 0 Came to an end because of outside invaders Dynasty of Sargon 0 According to tradition Sargon was abandoned by his mother but was rescued and eventually became a gardener then the king 0 Common ancient myth that foundlings became great men 0 Sargon conquered the rest of Akkad and eventually Sumer 0 When he died the kingship stayed in his family 0 His grandson enlarged the empire even further and called himself quotKing of the Four Quarters of the Earth 0 Lasted until 2159 when new invaders took over 3rel Dynasty of Ur o Called this because Ur was the leading city during this time o Lasted almost a century before the Amorites took over 0 Led to the loss of the Sumerian language being spoken Old Babylonian Period 0 The Babylonians unite all of Mesopotamia under their control causing the entire region to be known as Babylonia 0 Most successful ruler of this time was Hammurabi 0 Literature mathematics and astronomy all flourished o The kingdom also expanded greatly Hammurabi s Code 0 Covered a wide range of life in Babylonia such as relations between husband and wives law of inheritance property crimes trade military service homicide etc 0 There is a distinction between nobility commoners and slaves in how each class is punished The punishment is more severe for hurting nobility rather than a slave Mesopotamia was invaded by multiple outside sources and eventually devlined in importance Egypt It seems that civilization appeared in Mesopotamia before Egypt but not my much Egypt also lies within a type of fertile crescent leading to encouraged agriculture and a settled lifestyle Egypt depended on the Nile s flooding to survive The branching of the Nile led to Egypt being split into lower and Upper Egypt The Nile also allowed Egypt to be naturally protected being surrounded by a river a large desert andthesea The isolation of Egypt is a contrast to Mesopotamia which made Mesopotamia very susceptible to invaders The seclusion of Egypt led to them believing that they were superior to others and a spirit of conservatism and a stagnant culture The Greeks were the ones who studied and eventually deciphered the Egyptian language Greeks were fascinated by Egypt because of how old the culture was and the antiquity of it conferred authority They saw similarities between the two religions Noticed differences in things such as direction of writing and how they used the restroom The Greeks came up with their own theories of why the Nile flooded annually Greeks were inhibited in their studies because they couldn t read the Egyptian language The first language was known as Hieroglyphic quotsacred carving used for temples mostly Next came Hieratic quotpriestly script and was a simplified form of hieroglyphics Finally came Demonic quotpopular script cursive form of Hieratic Napoleon discovered a black steeley later named the Rosetta Stone Contains an inscription in Greek and Egyptian The Greek texts were translated into the Egyptian language A French scholar was able to discover names of Egyptian pharaohs and royals giving us names like Cleopatra Was the first step to us being able to read the Egyptian language Old Kingdom Period Most famous for its pyramids The first pharaoh of this period Zoser had the step pyramid built for him as his tomb The architect was given credit for pioneering the building of structures using stone The style of building possibly came from Mesopotamia The sphynx and Giza pyramids were built during this period Pyramids symbolized the power of the pharaohs In return for building the Pharaoh a pyramid they were ensured that the river would flood as needed o The pharaoh was believed to be the only human being that was guaranteed life after death Everyone else s chances depended on their relation to the Pharoah 0 They believed in many gods most of which were part animal 0 Ra the god of the sun rose to become the chief god of all of Egypt during the 5th dynasty because the Pharaohs of this dynasty claimed him as their patron god More temples were built in his honor and 23 of the pharaohs had Ra as part of their names 0 Maat quotjusticequot or quotright order thought of as part of the Pharaohs duties Summed up as truth justice and the Egyptian way 0 Old kingdom ends after the 6th dynasty because of northeastern enemies and the rise of power for Egyptian nobility in this period First Intermediate Period 2180 BC 2040 BC 0 Known as the decline of Egypt The nobility continued to take over Climate change leads to drought and famine in the region Borders pushed back by outside invaders Ended when taken over after a century and a half Middle Kingdom 0 11th Dynasty 0 Upper and Lower Egypt are reunited showing the beginning of the Middle Kingdom 0 12th Dynasty 0 O 0 Known as the heart of the middle kingdom Home to many changes in religion Before only the Pharaoh was guaranteed life after death The average Egyptian had no chance of living after death In the middle kingdom a new concept of a Judgement Day emerged where everyone s soul would go on trial to determine if you were worthy enough to have eternal life There was also an increase in the amount of gods and types of worship Local gods rise to national prominence throughout Egypt similar to how Ra rose in the Old Kingdom The new patron god of the 12th dynasty was Amonra who was then the main god for essentially the rest of ancient Egyptian history The First pharaoh of this dynasty moved the capital to a new city named quotAmenemhat seizes the two cities which makes him seem like the rightful ruler of the new combined country The pharaoh starts to be expected to treat his people well Amenemhat reorganizes the political structure in order to disperse resources better and keep local nobility in check Literature flourished the Story of Sinuhe is an example from this time period Foreign policy I Asiatics to the north Nubians to the south I Built walls to the north to keep invaders out I Egyptians called all foreigners quotvilequot I Fought the Nubians in the south and were able to conquer much of their territory and gain access to new resources They mostly gained new manpower and hired Nubians into the military I There was extensive trade between the island of Crete and Egypt Only the beginning of contact between Egypt and Greece The Second Intermediate Period 0 Due to the Hyksos invading which we have had a hard time determining the origin of 0 13th and 14th dynasties decline in pharaohs power 0 15th and 16th ruled by Hyksos 0 17th divided Egypt Hyksos in north and Egyptians in south 0 Hyksos are said to be from the IsraelPalestine area
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