Chapter 2: The First River-Valley Civilizations (3500 - 1500 B.C.E.)

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civilization

an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached

floodplains

a nearly flat plain, alongside a stream or river, that floods naturally

Babylon

the most important city in Mesopotamia during the first and second millennia B.C.E.

Sumerians

the earliest people in Mesopotamia (during the "historical period")

Semitic

family of languages spoken (long-term) across parts of western Asia and Northern Africa; included Hebrew, Aramaic, and Phoenician; most modern widespread = Arabic

city-state

independent ancient urban centers and the agricultural territories they controlled

Hammurabi

Amorite ruler of Babylon from r. 1792-1750; he conquered many city-states in northern and southern Mesopotamia; best known for a code of laws inscribed on a black stone pillar (whcih stated legal case principles)

scribe

one who copied manuscripts before the invention of printing

ziggurat

a multistory, mudbrick, pyramid-shaped tower approached by ramps and stairs

writing

printing on paper

technology

the number of ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization

irrigation

applying water to land for growth of crops

Nubia

the southern part of Egypt and northern Sudan

amulet

a small charm meant to protect the bearer from evil

cuneiform

early pictures styilized into a combo of strokes and wedges

pharaoh

the central figure of the Egyptian state

ma'at

the divinely authorized order of the universe

pyramid

smooth, steeply sloping sided tombs; most memorable symbol of ancient Egypt

Memphis

a ruined city in lower Egypt, on the Nile River, south of Cairo; the ancient capital of Egypt

Thebes

an ancient city in upper Egypt, on the Nile River, located on the modern towns of Karnak and Luxor

hieroglyphics

the earliest writing system whose symbols stood for words, syllables, or individual sounds

papyrus

the material on which to write; made from the papyrus plant; used by ancient Egyptians and Greeks and Romans

mummy

a dead, dried, and preserved human being preserved by the ancient Egyptians

Harappa

a Bronze Age culture that flourished in the Indus Valley

Mohenjo-daro

near the Indus valley; six successive ancient cities were built here

systems failure

...

domestication

to tame or culture for human use

agrarianism

philosophy that agriculture and owning land is the backbone of the economy

nomad

any person or group of people without a permanent home, but moving about constantly, as in search of a pasture

pastorialism

an agricultural way of life that involves raising livestock and usually includes some farming

cycle of civilization

...

institution

a person or thing long established in a place

cultural diffusion

the spread of ideas, customs, and technologies from one people to another

revolution

a complete cycle of events

sedentary

marked by much sitting

polytheism

belief in more than one good

patriarchal societies

the idea that the man was in charge of the family

society

a group of people forming a single community

culture

learned patterns of action and expression.

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