ANCIENT PERIOD. RIVER CIVILIZATIONS

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1 ANCIENT PERIOD. RIVER CIVILIZATIONS MESOPOTAMIA. (THE LAND BETWEEN RIVERS) Mesopotamia WHEN and WHERE? Between the years 3,000 and 539 BC. The land between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris in the Persian Gulf. The first written texts. 1

2 The first written texts appeared in Mesopotamia about 5,000 years ago. Writing is considered the beginning of Human History. When humans lived in small groups it was easy to control the important information about people, possessions, taxes and trade, but when villages grew it became important to develop a system to record the important information. River civilizations About 5,000 years ago many important civilizations grew by the rivers: Egypt by the river Nile, Mesopotamia by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, China by the rivers Huang-Ho and Yangtze and India by the river Indo. These civilizations had some points in common: The kings became very powerful; they had political and religious functions. There were civil servants, priests and an army to protect their interests. There was a strong hierarchy. A small number of privileged had wealth, possessions and power. The rest (non privileged) did not have any right. They developed important buildings to show their power. Temples, tombs and palaces. Education Sumerian cuneiform is the first writing system. They wrote on clay tablets. 2

3 Code of Laws The Hammurabi Code was a collection of laws put together by the king Hammurabi. The laws were applied to everyone and they were placed in public places so everyone knows them. Stages in the History of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia was characterized by a succession of empires. Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Assyrian and Neo Babylon. Culture (Religion, Architecture and Sculpture) Mesopotamians believed in many gods (polytheism). One of the most important was Ishtar (the goddess of love and fertility) 3

4 The temples in Mesopotamia were called ziggurat. They were the centre of the city- state. Mesopotamians were important builders; they invented the arch and the vault. They built palaces and temples in brick. Its reliefs include dramatic scenes of a lion hunt, now in the British Museum, London. Winged bulls with human faces. 4

5 ANCIENT EGYPT WHERE? By the River Nile. WHEN? Between the years 3,100 and 30 BC. THE NILE The Nile is the longest river with more than 1,000 Kilometres. Every year the Nile flooded and covered the lands. When it receeded, a rich dark soil covered the land and helped the crops grow. Ancient Egyptians called it The Gift of the Nile. The Nile was a Gift in many senses: it supported trade and transportation; it gave materials for making clothing and weed to make papyrus. Thanks to the river, ancient Egyptians enjoyed a high standard of living compared to other civilizations in Antiquity. PERIODS IN THE HISTORY OF EGYPT. Ancient Egypt covers a long period, so historians divide it into three stages The Old Kingdom, The Middle Kingdom and the New kingdom. 5

6 The Old Kingdom (2,700 to 2,200 BC) During this time Pharaohs were very powerful, they were considered gods. This was the time of the Pyramids, because they were built only during this period. One of the reasons why they stopped building Pyramids it was because they could easily be seen and stolen. The Middle Kingdom (2,100 to 1,800 BC) During this time there was a raise in literature, arts and trade.during this time the Pharaohs were buried in hidden tombs, probably there are tombs to be discovered. The New Kingdom (1,500-1,000 BC) This was the time of the military expansion. During the time of the New Kingdom all the Pharaohs were buried in the Valley of Kings. 6

7 EGYPTIAN SOCIETY. The Egyptian society was divided into different groups each one had different occupations and life conditions. Privileged. The Pharaoh, noblemen, priests and scribes. They could own the land, they had possessions and power. Scribes enjoyed a high position in Egyptian society. Very few people could read or write. Only upper class boys could get an education. They were respected by everyone and did not want to reveal the writing techniques. Non-privileged. Craftsmen, servants, traders and slaves. Women in Egypt enjoyed a number of rights that most women in antiquity did not have. They could decide if they wanted to marry or not. They could own property. They could make a will they could even divorce if they presented a good reason in a Court of law. Anyway they did not have the same rights as men. 7

8 AFTERLIFE The Egyptians believed in afterlife. They thought that life continued in the Land of the Two Fields. They believed that everyone had a soul. They thought the spirit of the dead person went to sleep to the tomb, but the body had to be preserved. That process is called mummification. EGYPTIAN ART. The Egyptians had a unique way of drawing people. They drew heads, eyes, legs and feet positioned as if you were looking at them from the side. But they drew the shoulders and the chest as if you were looking at them from the front. Men were usually drawn with dark colours. Women were usually drawn with light colours. 8

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