Mesopotamia and Sumer. Chapter 2 Section 1

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1 Mesopotamia and Sumer Chapter 2 Section 1

2 The fertile crescent is an area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the modern day middle east. For years this area was Mesopotamia, which in Greek means between the rivers. As early as 5500 BC, people were farming and thriving in this area. The yearly floods helped to irrigate the fields as well as rejuvenate them with the silt it left behind. Geography

3 The first civilization in this area were the Sumerians. Large cities started to appear by about 3000 BC At each city center there was a temple to the chief god of that city. In the middle of the temple was a large pyramid type structure called a ziggurat. Over time each and land it controlled became its own city-state. City-State is a political unit with its own government. As the city-states grew they increasingly fought over land and water. Sumer

4 Religion and Government Religion shaped they way of life for the Sumerians. They practiced polytheism, or the worship of many gods They believed that the gods controlled the natural elements of the world. Enlil ruled the air and storms. There was a god protector for each city as well The Sumerians believed that the gods were very human like.

5 Priests held high status in Sumer and initially governed the city-states As the city-states began to fight more with each other, war chiefs began to rule as kings These kings performed certain to rituals to please the gods. In time many of these kings formed dynasty s A dynasty is a series of rulers from on family. Cont.

6 Sumerian Writing is called cuneiform They used sharp tools to make wedge shaped symbols on clay tablets. They first used it to keep business accounts and other records. Eventually they wrote laws and stories. The best know Sumerian story is the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story of a legendary king. Writing

7 Math and Sciences The Sumerians developed a math system based on the number 60. Because of their system we still divide an hour into 60 minutes and a circle into 360 degrees. The Sumerians did have some advances in technology. Bronze weapons and plows, and even sewers They also had learned how to perform basic surgery

8 Arts,Trade and Society Sumerian architecture used arches, ramps and columns all visible on the ziggurats. Statues usually showed wide open eyes, as well as small objects carved out of ivory. Sumer lacked resources like wood and metals To get these materials they traded with people in southwest Asia. As trade increased, a social class emerges. Kings and priests were on top, then landowners and wealthy merchants, below them were the majority of the people, artisans, farmers, laborers. At the bottom were slaves, many of whom had been captured in battle. Men held political power and made laws, while women took care of the home and the children. A few upper class women received an education and served as priestesses in the temples.

9 Sargon To the north of Sumer lived the Akkadians. In 2330 BC, Sargon I created a permanent army, this was the first time this had been done. From his city of Akkad, he conquered all of Sumer and northern Mesopotamia. In doing so he formed the worlds first empire. Sargon adopted many things from the Sumerians including cuneiform. Sargon did to spread Sumerian culture than to destroy it. His empire lasted for 140 years before it finally fell to tribes from the east.

10 Hammurabi, the King of Babylon, brings most of the Mesopotamia under his control around 1790 B.C. His most lasting contribution was a code of laws. He was not the author of most of the codes, he just compiled them and wrote them on stone tablets. The codes were inspired from the Gods. Babylon

11 The Code One section of the code deals with criminal law. Punishments seemed severe, but it was better than blind vengeance Much of the code was designed to protect the powerless, such as slaves or woman. Some laws said woman could own property and pass it on to their children. The husband both had legal authority over his wife and legal duty to support her. Fathers had nearly unlimited authority over his children.

12 Other Accomplishments Although most famous for his code, Hammurabi did take other steps to unify his empire. He improved irrigation Organized a well trained army And he improved and repaired temples To encourage religious unity, he promoted Marduk, over older Sumerian gods.

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