Ancient Civilizations

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Transcript of Ancient Civilizations

Beginnings of Civilization 4 million B.C. -450 B.C.

Unit 1 Notes


Day 1 - Mesopotamia


Mesopotamia (Fertile Crescent)Area between the Tigris River and Euphrates Riverunpredictable floodingno natural boundarieslimited natural resourceswomen had rights3 General AreasAssyriaAkkadSumer


GovernmentCity-States a city with political and economical control over the surrounding countrysideSurrounded by walls


ZigguratMost prominent building in the city and was dedicated to the chief god or goddess


Religion Polytheistic belief in many GodsTheocracy government by divine authoritySumerians believed that the gods ruled the citiesKings ruled the cites and derived their power from the gods


Economy and SocietyMesopotamians were well known for their metal work and woolen textilesThey traded with other civilizations such as India and Egypt for fish, barley, and wheat


First EmpireSargon of AkkadFrom Akkad; a city-state north of SumerLong adopted most Sumerian aspectsCreated 1st Empire: brings together several peoples, nations, or previously independent states under control of one ruler.


Hammurabis CodeThe Code of Hammurabi is one of the oldest known set of laws in human history.Based on a system of strict justicePenalties for breaking these laws were severe and varied based on your social classAn Eye for an EyeMen have more rights than women


CuneiformCuneiform script is one of the earliest knownsystems of writing distinguished by itswedge-shaped marks onclay tablets.Primarily used for record keepingScribesTeachers






TheEpic of Gilgamesh, anepic poem from Mesopotamia is considered the world's first truly great work of literature.

The Epic of Gilgamesh


MesopotamiaGovernment: city-stateslike independent countries

B.Accomplishments: Hammurabis CodeThe WheelCuneiformZiggurats

C.Religion: polytheismbelief in more than one godTheocracy government by divine authorityD. Decline: overtaken by new groups/breaks up


JudaismThe first monotheistic religion forms in Mesopotamia Judaism


Judaism DevelopsPalestine: trade crossroads for many peoplesCanaan: Promised Land of the Hebrews (Jews)AbrahamFather of the Hebrew peopleTorah: first 5 books of the Hebrew BibleMonotheism: belief in ONE godCovenant: promise between God and Abraham


Judaism DevelopsThe Exodus Israelites escape from slavery in EgyptMoses led the Israelites out of Egypt and delivered the ten commandmentsTen Commandments Set of laws delivered to Moses by God


Day 2 - Egypt


EgyptAlong Nile RiverNatural Desert BarriersUpper and Lower EgyptUpper is southLower is north, near Med. Sea, includes delta (100 miles before Med. Sea, broad, marshy, triangle area, of silt at river mouth.)Hierarchy of classesWomen had rights


Egypt - GovernmentRuled by Pharaohs Pharaohs received there authority to rule from the GodsPharaohs were considered living GodsRuled with Absolute PowerVizier - leading government official in ancient Egypt


Egypt - ReligionPolytheistic Land GodsOsiris and Isis Sun GodsEmperor Son of Re


Egyptian HistoryDivided into three erasOld Kingdom (2700 BCE 2200 BCE)Middle Kingdom (2050 BCE 1652 BCE)New Kingdom (1567 BCE 1085 BCE)

Begins around 3100 BCE Menes unites the upper and lower kingdom creates first dynasty


Old KingdomEra of prosperity and splendorPyramids were built during the Old KingdomBuilt as burial grounds for Pharaohs Stocked with everything that they would need in the afterlifeSphinx guards the Great Pyramids of GizaBody of a LionHead of a HumanMummification slowly drying a body to prevent decomposition


Middle Kingdom - (2050 BCE 1652 BCE)Considered the Golden AgeExpanded the EmpireSent troops to Palestine and SyriaPharaohs were no longer seen as Gods but ShepherdsProjects included:Connecting Nile and Red SeaDrained Swamplands to create more farm land


Empires DevelopNew Kingdom of EgyptHyksos ruled Egypt from 1640 -1570 B.C. During this time, Hebrews settled EgyptSeries of rulers began to restore power (kicked the Hyksos out!)Hebrews stayed and were forced into slavery in Egypt


New Kingdom - (1567 BCE 1085 BCE)

Most Powerful MilitaristicHatshepsut 1st Women PharaohThutmose III Led 17 military campaigns, expanding into MesopotamiaKing TutankhamenRamses IICleopatra


HieroglyphicsCreated around 3000 BCEUsed pictures and abstract forms Highly specific


New Kingdom DeclinesEgypt suffered invasions from Sea Peoples, tribes of Palestine, and Libyan raids.Egyptian Empire broke apart


EgyptA.Government: Theocracy/PharaohsRule is based on religion; run God-kings

B.Religion: Polytheistic

C.Accomplishments:Hieroglyphics: picture writingPyramidsCalendarSystem of numbers/geometry (engineers and architects)Medicine

D.Decline: Pharaohs lose power


Day 3 Indus River Valley


Sea PeoplePhoenicians:Most powerful sea traders along with the MinoansAlphabet is their greatest legacy - Phonics


Phoenician AlphabetPhoenicians simplified their writing by using 22 different signs to represent the sounds of their speechEventually passed on to the Greeks and eventually the Romans which we still use today


Indo-Europeans MigrateIndo-Europeans: group of nomadic peoples; came from the Steppes; ancestors of many modern languagesHittite Empire: lived in Anatolia, excelled in technology of war (esp. chariots) 1st civilization to use IronAryans: lived between the Caspian and Aral SeasVedas: four collections of prayers, magical spells, and instructions for performing ritualsCastes: social system of Aryans


Empires DevelopAssyrian EmpireThrough war, and use of iron weapons, created empireGlorified military strength Peak of empire included all of the Fertile Crescent and EgyptLaid waste to conquered landsEventually falls to Chaldeans who make Babylon their capital.


Empires DevelopPersian Empire Unified by Cyrus the Great in 539 BCEOver took the Babylonians and took complete control of Mesopotamia Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to JerusalemBased on tolerance and diplomacy (instead of war)Cyrus: King who was a military genius; controlled land from the Indus River to AnatoliaKind towards conquered peoples Allowed NO looting and burningHonored local customsAllowed Jews to return to Jerusalem


Empires Develop

His successors would expand the Empire form the Indus River all the way into Europe and Greece and as far south as EgyptDarius would help strengthen the govt by dividing the land into 20 provinces to govern with satraps (ruled locally)Roads and coins promoted trade that helped hold the empire together. (Royal Road)


Decline of the PersiansThe empire weakens over time because of internal struggle over the thrown.Six of the nine rulers after Darius were murdered over competition for the throneEventually Alexander the Great defeats the Persians and takes control of their lands.


Persian ReligionZoroaster: Persian prophet who founded ZoroastrianismTaught belief in one godEarth is a battleground with a great struggle between good and evilAhuramazda (the Wise Lord) was supreme but not unopposedShares concept of Satan and angels with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.Writings were written down in the Zend Avesta the sacred book of Zoroastrianism


Indus River Valley Indian SubcontinentSurrounded by mountains: Hindu Kush, Karakorum, and Himalayan ranges Between Indus and Ganges RiversMonsoons: seasonal winds from mid-June to Oct. winds shift and blow east (from SW) bring rains


Indus River ValleyCities were carefully planned on a grid like patternBroad streets running North and South, while smaller streets ran East and WestCities were divided into large walled neighborhoodsHad an advanced drainage system where waste water was taken out of the city by underground drains and carried to sewer pits outside the city walls


Indus River ValleyGovernment TheocracyReligion and political power were closely linked (the royal palace and the Holy Temple were the same building)


The AryansThe Aryans came to the Indus River Valley from the Steppes Region and conquered the region.They brought with them new farming techniques The Aryans had no written language but eventually developed the a writing system known as Sanskrit around 1000 BCEThe Conquest of the Aryans also brought the Caste System to India


The Caste SystemThe Caste System was a set of rigid social categories that determined not only a persons occupation and economic potential but also his or her position in society


Hinduisma collection of beliefs; seeks to achieve moksha: liberation from desires and sufferingTeach from Vedas (became Upanishads once written down)Reincarnation: individual soul or spirit is born again until achieves mokshaKarma: good or bad deedsStrengthened caste systemDhrma divine law, requires people to do their dutiesBrahman: world soul seen in 3 main gods


Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha: enlightened one)Went out seeking the cure for human sufferingBecame an asceticEventually turned to the ideas of meditationWhile sitting under a tree the Buddha reached enlightenment as the meaning of lifeSpent the rest of his life preaching his message



BuddhismAchieving wisdom is a key step to achieving Nirvana or ultimate realityFour Noble Truths:1. Life is filled with suffering and sorrow2. The cause of all suffering is peoples selfish desire for the temporary pleasures of this world3. The way to end all suffering is to end all desires4. The way to overcome such desires and attain enlightenment is to follow the Eightfold Path, which is called the Middle Way b/t desires and self-denial


BuddhismEightfold Path: guide to behavior mastered one step at a time, over many lifetimesOriginated in India, spread worldwideSiddhartha accepted the ideas of Reincarnation but rejected the ideas of the Caste SystemTRADE played a crucial role in the spread of Buddhism.


Mauryan DynastyFounded by Chandragupta Maurya in 324 BCEHe helped drive out the foreign forces and established the capital along the Ganges river Divided the Empire into providences that were ruled by GovernorsVERY PARANIOD!!!!


AshokaGrandson of ChandraguptaConsidered the greatest ruler of the Mauryan empireConverts to Buddhism and used these ideas to ruleAfter his death the empire declines into a period of chaos


Indus River ValleyGovernment: Theocracy Religion: Hinduism Accomplishments:LanguageSanskirtCity-planning/gridsDecline: earthquakes and floods alter Indus River; trade became impossible


Day 4 - China


ChinaNatural Barriers isolate ChinaYellow Sea, Pacific Ocean, East China Sea (East), Mt ranges and deserts dominate 2/3 of its land mass, Taklimakan Desert and Plateau of Tibet (West), Himalayas (SW), Gobi Desert and Mongolian Plateau (North)No tradeHuang He River (Yellow River) and Chiang Jiang River (Yangtze)Family more important than individualWomen have no rights; considered inferiorHierarchy of classes


The Shang Dynasty2nd Dynasty in Chinese history (1750 1122 BCE)Mostly a farming civilization ruled by the aristocracyBuilt huge city walls ruled by KingsPracticed Ancestor worship the practice of burning replicas of physical objects to accompany the departed on their journey to the afterlife


The Zhou DynastyBegan as a revolt against the Shang rulersZhou rule would last for almost 900 yearsStill ruled by a kingMandate of Heaven it was believed that order was kept in the universe through the King, thus he ruled over all humanity


Zhou DynastyThe King was not a representative of HeavenIt was the Kings duty to rule the proper Way called the Dao.If a natural disaster occurred or crops failed the King could be overthrown and replacedLed to a right of revolution mentalityOnly way to determine who the proper King was, was to fight.


Life during the ZhouTrade was very prominent during this timeNew TechnologiesIrrigation was introduced into farmingCanals were built to control the flow of waterImproved farming method allowed the Zhou dynasty to grow to 50 Million peopleThe most important crop grown in China was SilkThe making a silk was a highly regarded secret


The FamilyThe family is the basic economic and social unitFilial piety it was the duty of the family to put the needs of the elder males in front of their own


The Fall of the ZhouThe empire was divided into territories to more easily ruleSome of the territories became to powerful and it led to Civil WarIn 403 BCE a the Period of Warring States breaks outIron is introduced Calvary units Crossbow


ConfuciusChinas first teacher up until the 20th century school children studied the saying of ConfuciusHe was upset by the violence and moral decayTraveled around China trying to convince political leaders to follow his waysEstablished ConfucianismThe system of Confucian ideas


ConfucianismHis whole mission became how to restore order in ChinaHis interest were not spiritual but political/ethicalTwo elements of ConfucianismDao or duty people had to put the interest of the family ahead of their ownEveryone should be governed by the Five ConstantParent ChildHusband WifeSibling Younger SiblingOlder Friend Younger FriendRuler - Subject


Other PhilosophiesDaoism: philosophy of Laozi; taught that people should be guided by an invisible force known as the Dao.Tries to set proper way of living for the people

Legalism: proposed that humans were evil by nature and they could only be controlled by harsh laws and stiff punishments.Believed that a strong leader was needed to create an ideal society


Qin DynastyCreated a new dynasty in 221 BCEDrastically changed Chinese Philosophy adopted Legalism as the govts official policyCreated a govt where that was constantly checked for corruptionCreated a single monetary system and built roads connecting the Empire


The Great Wall of ChinaThe great wall was built to keep out invaders from the North (Mongolians)


China Government: Monarchy (Dynasties)Rule by one Mandate of HeavenAccomplishments:Chinese characters (written language)Roads and canalsCoined moneyCast iron weapons (not seen elsewhere until middle ages)Religion: polytheismfamily spirits consulted supreme godsDecline: Nomads attack and kill monarchEnter period of warring states