The Fertile Crescent Stretched in an arc from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, sight of the first civilizations P. 29 Look at the Map What kind of geographic features do you notice? Which area might attract invaders?
First Schools • Set up in the land of Sumer over 4000 years ago • Taught mainly boys • New invention of writing • Graduates were called scribes or professional writers
Scribes • Kept records for the king and Priest • Very hard work • Began school age 8 finished 10 years later • Helped people leave behind the story of early civilizations
Sumer • In Mesopotamia • Had rich soil and rivers • Farmers • City Builders • Central location which drew many traders • Most Prosperous areas
Mesopotamia • Between two rivers • Tigris and Euphrates • Mesopotamia map skills • Part of the Fertile Crescent • One of the best places in SW Asia to grow crops
Rivers of Life and Death • In the spring, snow melted and picked up the tons of topsoil as it came down the mountain • It deposited the rich soil onto the plain below the mountains to plant in • Also supplied fish, clay for buildings, tall strong reeds to make boats
Rivers of Life and Death • But it also brought danger • Floods did not happen the same time each year • Without warning floods could carry away animals, people, crops, and houses • Survivors would rebuild • Why do you think they stayed?
First Cities • Surplus of food leads to increase in population and leads to city development • 3500 BC Earliest known cities in southern Sumer (present day Iraq) • This was in the Fertile Crescent
A Sumerian City • Marketplace- Merchants • Very busy • Scribes write letters for those who could not read or write • Houses face away from crowded streets, into inner courtyards where families ate and played • Oil lamps were used for light • Well developed with high walls to keep out invaders • Marketplaces were very busy with merchants, musicians, beggars, etc
Independent Cities Form • Cities of Mesopotamia shared a common culture BUT they did not unite under a single ruler • Remained politically independent city states • City-state that is also a separate, independent state • Each city had its own god or goddess, own government, own King
Religion • Giant brick building at the heart of the city called ziggurat Site of main temple to the main god or goddess of the city
Sumerian Temples • Religious, social, and economical activities • Ziggurates were pyramids made of terrace, one on top of another, linked by ramps or stairs • Some more than 7 stories high • At the top was a shrine • Believed gods used them as a stairway
Ancient Religious Beliefs • Polytheism-worshipped many gods • Myths are stories about the gods that explained the beliefs, warned them what made the gods angry, and they received rewards for good behavior
Honoring the Gods • Religious ceremonies • Priests washed the statues of the gods before and after each meal offered • Music, incense, and huge food plates • People would eat the food afterwards thinking that they would then embody the qualities of the gods
Fall of Sumer • Wealth • City states fought one another over land and use of river water • 2300 B.C. Sumer was conquered by the armies of Akkadia • Ruler of Akkadia-King Sargon-united sumerian city states and improved the government and military • Remained united for 100 years until it split again • No longer a large power or threat • Sumerian fell to a northern rival, Babylonia.
Questions • How did the geography help civilizations to develop in the area? • How where the cities alike? Different? • What was the religion like?