Unit II: The River Valley Civilizations (3500 B.C.E. 450 B.C.E.)

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1 Name Unit II: The River Valley Civilizations (3500 B.C.E. 450 B.C.E.) Big Idea: During the New Stone Age, permanent settlements appeared in the river valleys and around the Fertile Crescent. River Valleys provided water and rich soil for crops as well as protection from invasion. They also made major contributions to social, political, cultural, economic and religious progress. Geographic Perspective: The major river valley civilizations grew up around the great rivers shown on the map below. Overarching Essential Questions: By the end of the unit, you should be able to answer the following questions; incorporating what you have learned from each civilization. 1. Why did ancient civilizations develop in river valleys? 2. What were the social, political, and economic characteristics of early civilizations? a 3. What religious traditions developed in ancient civilizations? 4. What forms of language and writing existed in early civilizations? 1 P a g e

2 Pgs Case Study I: Mesopotamia (Chapter 2, Section 1, pages 27-32) The Tigris and Euphrates rivers supported the development of Sumerian civilization. The need to cooperate for irrigation and flood control led the Sumerians to form city-states with strong governments. The Sumerians' relationship with the land was reflected in their religious beliefs and their worldview. The Sumerians developed cuneiform, basic algebra, and geometry, and made advances in medicine, geography, and astronomy. Critical Terms: Be sure to describe the significance of each person, place, or term listed below; applying it to the context of Mesopotamian civilization. Silt Irrigation City-state Dynasty Polytheism Hammurabi Empire Scribe Cuneiform Bronze Age Barter Ziggurat political, cultural, and economic influences of this river valley civilization. 1. What is the meaning of the word Mesopotamia, and how does this relate to the physical geography of this river valley civilization? 2. Why was silt so important to the inhabitants of Mesopotamia? 3. Overcoming geographic challenges: Problem Sumerians faced: a) b) c) Solution: 4. What role(s) did priests played in the government of Sumerian city-states? 5. How did monarchs gain power in the Sumerian city-states, and how did this lead to the development of dynasties? 2 P a g e

3 6. How did food surpluses positively influence Sumerian culture, and the development of economic patterns? 7. How did the Sumerian people view their gods? 8. What could be done to please the gods and earn their protection in life? 9. How did the Sumerians view life after death? 10. How was life in Sumerian society influenced by social classes? 11. Was slavery accepted in Sumerian society? 12. What are some of the key scientific and technological inventions that helped with the development of cultural and economic patterns in Sumerian society? 13. What system of writing was invented by the Sumerians? 14. What type of political organization did Sumerian city-states eventually unite into? 15. The Babylonian Empire reaches its peak during the reign of what great ruler? 16. How did Hammurabi s code of laws advance civilization? Geography of the Fertile Crescent: Define the terms and label them on the map. Fertile Crescent: Mesopotamia: Tigris: Euphrates: Sumer: 3 P a g e

4 Case Study II: Egypt (Chapter 2, Section 2, pages 33-39) In Egypt, the benefits of the Nile River supported the development of early civilization. The history of ancient Egypt is divided into three periods: Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and New Kingdom. Religious beliefs about gods, values, and life after death profoundly affected ancient Egyptian life. Scribes used a system of hieroglyphics to make written records. Other Egyptians made advances in science, mathematics, art, and literature. Tim Critical terms: Be sure to describe the significance of each person, place, or term listed below; applying it to the context of Egyptian civilization. cataract delta pharaoh ka Osiris Ra Horus Isis theocracy pyramid mummification hieroglyphics papyrus Rosetta Stone Menes political, cultural, and economic influences of this river valley civilization. 1. Briefly describe the geography of Egypt. 2. Why was ancient Egypt viewed as the gift of the Nile? 3. What was the main contrast between the flooding of the Nile and that of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia? 4. Was ancient Egypt in a location easily protected from invasion? 5. How did the Nile River influence trade, and the movement of goods and ideas? 6. Before Menes united all of Egypt, how was it organized? 7. In Egypt, what was the relationship between kings and gods? 4 P a g e

5 8. Why were Egypt s pharaoh s unusually powerful rulers? 9. Why did the Egyptian s build great pyramids for their kings? 10. How did Egyptians view life after death? 11. How does the process of mummification reflect the religious beliefs of Egyptians? 12. Discuss the social classes of Egyptian society, including women and slaves. 13. What was the Egyptian writing system, and how did it compare with the Mesopotamian system? 14. What were the main achievements of the ancient Egyptians? (List at least five) Geography of Ancient Egypt: Label the following: Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt, Nile Delta, Thebes, Memphis, Nubia. Draw an arrow showing which direction the Nile River flows. 5 P a g e

6 Case Study III: Nubians (Chapter 4, Section 1, pages 83-87) Kush was the first kingdom to appear in sub- Saharan Africa. For centuries, the Nubian kingdom of Kush traded with Egypt. During this period, the people of Nubia adopted many aspects of Egyptian civilization. Their ruler was thought of as a godking; they learned to write in hieroglyphics; and they began to build pyramids. Critical Terms: Be sure to describe the significance of each person, place, or term listed below; applying it to the context of the Nubians. Hyksos New Kingdom Hatshepsut Thutmose III Nubia Ramses II Kush Meroe political, cultural, and economic influences of this civilization. 1. What caused Egypt to fall to invaders? 2. What advances helped the Egyptians conquer Nubia? 3. What were some of the cultural, political and economic effects of Egypt s conquests? 4. What caused the decline of the Egyptian empire? 5. Why might the Kushites have viewed themselves as guardians of Egyptian values? 6. What were some of the achievements and contributions of the Kushite Kingdom in Meroe? 6 P a g e

7 Recall that after the Hittite invasions, Hammurabi s Mesopotamian empire fell apart. Phoenicians and Hebrews were among the groups that now inhabited the area. Case Study IV: Phoenicians (Chapter 3, Section 3, pages 68-71) political, cultural, and economic influences of this civilization. 1. How were the towns in Phoenicia organized? Name some of those cities. 2. How did Phoenicia s geographic location allow it to become a center of trade? 3. What were some accomplishments of Phoenician seafaring traders? 4. What goods did the Phoenicians produce? 5. Why would the Phoenicians need to develop a writing system? What was it like? 6. What is the origin of the word alphabet? 7. Why did the Phoenician alphabet live on after the Phoenicians themselves were conquered? Case Study V: Hebrews (Chapter 3, Section 4, pages 72-77) The monotheism of Abraham became the foundation of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam religions that changed the world. The Hebrews were the first to become monotheists. Critical terms: Be sure to describe the significance of each person, place, or term listed below; applying it to the context of the Hebrews. Palestine Canaan Torah Abraham Monotheism Covenant Moses Israel 7 P a g e

8 Judah Tribute Diaspora (p. 155) political, cultural, and economic influences of this civilization. 1. What sacred writings describe the early history of the Hebrews? 2. What role did Abraham play in early Hebrew history? 3. How did the religion of the Hebrews differ from many of the religions of their neighbors? 4. Why where covenants significtant to Hebrew life? 5. How were the Hebrews treated in Egypt? 6. Why is Moses an important figure in Jewish history? 7. What were the Ten Commandments, and why were they significant to the Hebrews? 8. What does Hebrew law require of believers? 9. What was the role of prophets in Hebrew religion? 10. Why did the Hebrews come to be called Jews? 11. What were the achievements of Saul and David? 12. Why did King Solomon build a great temple in Jerusalem? 13. The Temple was rebuilt before the walls of Jeusalem. What does this fact indicate about the Jews after the Babylonian captivity? 8 P a g e

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