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civilization

a form of culture characterized by cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology

Bronze Age

a period in human history, beginning around 3000 B.C. in some areas, during which people began using bronze, rather than copper or stone, to fashion tools and weapons

irrigation

the bringing of water to crop fields by means of canals and ditches

specialization

the development of skills in a particular kind of work, such as trading or record keeping

barter

a form of trade in which people exchange goods and services without the use of money

artisan

a skilled worker, such as a weaver or potter, who makes goods by hand

scribe

one of the professional record keepers in early civilizations

cuneiform

a system of writing with wedge-shaped symbols invented by the Sumerians around 3000 B.C.

institution

a long-lasting pattern of organization in a community

ziggurat

a tiered, pyramid-shaped structure that formed part of a Sumerian temple

polytheism

a belief in many gods

Fertile Crescent

an arc of rich farmland in Southwest Asia, between the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea

silt

the fine soil carried in the water of rivers

city-state

a city and its surrounding lands functioning as an independent political unit

dynasty

a series of rulers from a single family

empire

a political unit in which a number of peoples or countries are controlled by a single ruler

cultural diffusion

the spreading of ideas or products from one culture to another

Sumer

a region the size of Massachusetts that was the site of the first civilization

Gilgamesh

a legendary king of Mesopotamia whose adventures are detailed in one of the world's earliest works of literature

pyramids

were used in Egypt as tombs

cataracts

along the Nile, most similar to rapids

pharaoh

Egyptian king

mummification

process that the Egyptians used that was connected to the belief in an afterlife

hieroglyphics

Egyptian writing system

Menes

king of Egypt famous for being the first ruler to unite all of Egypt

Indus Valley

the buildings were constructed of oven-baked bricks, "Harrapan civilization"

subcontinent

a large landmass that forms a distinct part of a continent

monsoons

seasonal winds that occur within regularity and have a great affect on India

Indus River

flooded unpredictably and sometimes changed its course

Peking man

the age of this refers to the time that established that there were people in northern China 500,000 years ago

Huang He River

China's first cities arose along this

loess

yellow silt found in Huang He River

Shang dynasty

largely shaped the Chinese civilization and this ruled for 500 years and was the first family of rulers to leave written records

Shang Di

a supreme Chinese god during China's first several hundred years as a civilization

oracle bones

one of the animal bones or tortoise shells used by ancient Chinese priests to communicate with the gods

Zhou dynasty

after an invasion of nomads from the north, this dynasty fell from power but pretended to rule from the city of Luoyang for another 500 years, overthrew Shang dynasty around 1027 B.C.

dynastic cycle

the rise, decline, and replacement of families of rulers

feudalism

a political system in which nobles are granted the use of lands that legally belong to their king, in exchange for their loyalty, military service, and protection of the people who live on the land

migration

the process by which people or groups of people move from their home area to a new area

Aryans

group of people who settled in what is now India

Hittites

a group undefeated by the Egyptians but unable to defeat them so they made peace with them

Indo-European

people who spoke related languages that form the basis of a family of languages spoken by half of the current world population

Vedas

the name of sacred literature of the Aryan people, for many years only existed in oral form

Mahabhrata

a poem with 106,000 verses and is the longest poem ever composed, tells the story of a great battle between two groups of cousins

Anatolia

a huge peninsula also known as Asia Minor

Brahmin

a member of the highest Indian social class and a Hindu priest

steppes

the name for the dry grasslands north of the Caucasus

untouchable

names someone so lowly that he or she exists outside the caste system

karma

what Hindus believed is the good and bad deeds that a person engages in over one or more lifetimes

caste

circumstances of one's life are largely reflected by this, one is born into this

Buddha

Siddhartha Guatama was called this after 49 days of meditation

nirvana

the state of perfect contentment that results from perfect understanding frees one from all suffering in the Buddhist faith

monotheism

the Hebrews' belief that their was the one and only God

Moses

the man who got the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai

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