Chapter 1: The Birth of Civilization
Terms in this set (66)
The northern ecological zone of Mesopotamia.
The southern ecological zone of Mesopotamia.
The southern half of Babylonia that was inhabited by the Sumerians during the fourth millennium B.C.E. In northern Babylonia, the Mesopotamians believed that the large city of Kish had history's first kings.
A territory near modern Baghdad that was inhabited by the Akkadians. They established their own kingdom at a capital city called Akkad, under their first king, Sargon, who had been a servant of the king of Kish. The Akkadians conquered all the Sumerian city-states and invaded southwestern Iran and northern Syria, thus creating history's first empire. Sargon's name became legendary as the first great conqueror of history and his grandson, Naram-Sin, ruled from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.
The dominant Sumerian city of Ur at about 2125 B.C.E. The rulers of the Third Dynasty of Ur established an empire built on the foundation of the Akkadian Empire, but far smaller. The kingdom of Ur disintegrated due to famine and invasion from the Elamites in the east (and they captured the king) and the Amorites, a Semitic-speaking people, from the north and west
An ideal of order, justice, and truth
Bought like any other piece of property and had no legal rights and were expensive luxuries for use in domestic service. Did not become common until the Neo-Babylonian period (612-539 B.C.E.)
Slaves who were collateral themselves if a loan was not paid
Emphasized language and literature, accounting, legal practice, and mathematics
Chronology of Mesopotamian History
ca. 3500 B.C.E- Development of Sumerian cities, especially Uruk
ca. 2800-2370 B.C.E.- Early Dynastic period of Sumerian city-states
ca. 2370 B.C.E.- Sargon establishes Akkadian Dynasty and Empire
ca. 2125-2027 B.C.E.- Third Dynasty of Ur
ca. 2000-1800 B.C.E.- Establishment of Amorites in Mesopotamia
ca. 1792-1750 B.C.E.- Reign of Hammurabi
Upper (southern) Egypt
Consisted of the narrow valley of the Nile
Lower (northern) Egypt
Referred to the broad triangular area formed by the Nile as it branches out to empty into the Mediterranean (the Nile Delta)
The king of the first dynasty of Egypt, who originally united Upper and Lower Egypt
The Old Kingdom
This period lasted from 2700-2200 B.C.E. and was run by a pharaoh. The pharaoh would administer Egypt from the capital Memphis according to set principles, of which the most important was maat. Beginning in the Early Dynastic period, kings constructed elaborate burial complexes in Upper Egypt. Djoser, a Third Dynasty king, was the first to erect a monumental six-step pyramid. Snefru, the founder of the Fourth Dynasty, converted a stepped pyramid to a true pyramid over the course of putting up three monuments.
Khufu, Djoser's son, chose Giza as the site for the largest pyramid ever constructed. Khufu's successors, Khafre (Chephren) and Menkaure (Mycerinus) built equally perfect pyramids at Giza. Khafre also built the first Sphinx.
First Intermediate Period
The end of the Old Kingdom; the power of the pharaoh's waned as nomarchs became more independent and influential. This period lasted until about 2025 B.C.E.
The Middle Kingdom
Founded by Amunemhet I, also the founder of Dynasty 12. He reunited Upper and Lower Egypt once again, and turned his attention to making three important and long-lasting administrative changes:
1. He moved his royal residence from Thebes to a brand-new town, south of the old capital at Memphis.
2. He reorganized the nome structure by more clearly defining the nomarchs' duties to the state, granting them some local autonomy within the royal structure.
3. He established a co-regency system to smooth transitions from one reign to another
The kings were no longer distant god-kings, but rather kings who were more directly concerned with the people
In addition, Egypt's relations became more aggressive toward its neighbors. To the south, royal fortresses were built to control Nubia and the growing trade in African resources. To the north and east, Syria and Palestine increasingly came under Egyptian influence, even as fortifications sought to prevent settlers from the Levant from moving into the Delta
The eastern Mediterranean coastal lands and is part of the Fertile Crescent
Second Intermediate Period
During Dynasty 13, the kingship changed hands rapidly and the western Delta established itself as an independent Dynasty 14. The eastern Delta, with its expanding Asiatic populations, came under the Hyksos (Dynasty 15) and minor Asiatic kings (Dynasty 16). Meanwhile, the Dynasty 13 kings left their northern capital and regrouped in Thebes (Dynasty 17). After nearly a century of rule, the Hyksos were expelled, a process begun by Kamose, the last king of Dynasty 17, and completed by his brother Ahmose, the first king of Dynasty 18 and the founder of the New Kingdom.
The New Kingdom
Founded by Ahmose. Egypt pursued foreign expansion and thus military expeditions reached as far north as the Euphrates in Syria. Major Egyptian temples were built in the Sudan. The Dynasty 18 pharaohs were the first to cut their tombs deep into the rock cliffs of a desolate valley in Thebes, known today as the Valley of the Kings, with the now only intact tomb belonging to Tutankhamun (died in 1323 B.C.E.). Horemheb, a military commander, became king after Tutankhamun's death and passed the title to his son, Ramses I (both son and father were military commanders), followed by Ramses II and Merneptah. By the end of Dynasty 20, Egypt's period of glory had passed. The next 1,000 years witnessed a Third Intermediate period, A Saite renaissance, Persian domination, conquest by Alexander the Great, The Ptolemaic period, and defeat at the hands of the Roman emperor Octavian.
Leaders of Dynasty 15 of Egypt. Almost certainly Amorites from the Levant
Did not become numerous until about 2052-1786 B.C.E. during the Middle Kingdom. The New Kingdom vastly increased the number of slaves
Chronology of Egypt (dynasty numbers)
3100-2700 B.C.E.- Early Dynastic period (1-2)
2700-2200 B.C.E.- Old Kingdom (3-6)
2200-2025 B.C.E.- First Intermediate period (7-11)
2025-1630 B.C.E.- Middle Kingdom (12-13)
1630-1550 B.C.E.- Second Intermediate period (14-17)
1550-1075 B.C.E.- New Kingdom (18-20)
An Indo-European people. By about 1500 B.C.E., they established a strong central government with a capital at Hattusas (near Ankara, the capital of modern Turkey). Between 1400 and 1200 B.C.E., they emerged as a leading military power in the Middle East and contested Egypt's ambitions to control Palestine and Syria, which culminated in a great battle at Kadesh in northern Syria (1285 B.C.E.) and it ended as a standoff. They also broke the power of the Mitannian state in northern Syria. By 1200 B.C.E., the Hittite kingdom disappeared. The Neo-Hittite states, successors to the empire, flourished in southern Asia Minor and northern Syria until the Assyrians destroyed them in the first millenium B.C.E. In northern Anatolia (within the Hittite region), the discovery of iron and its uses was found, and this established the Iron Age as of 1100 B.C.E.
A people who established a dynasty at Babylon that ruled for nearly 500 years. Became one of the great nation-states of the late Bronze Age, along with Mitanni, Assyria, Egypt, and the empire of the Hittites in Anatolia.
Belonged to a large group of people called the Hurrians. Their capital, Washukanni, is uncertain. Created a large state that reached from the Euphrates to the foothills of Iran. The Hittites destroyed their kingdom, and the Assyrian Empire eventually incorporated what was left of it
Originally a people living in Assur, a city in northern Mesopotamia on the Tigris River. Assur became a political power during the 14th century B.C.E., after the decline of Mitanni. The first Assyrian Empire spread north and west against the neo-Hittite states, but was brought to an end in the general collapse of Near Eastern states at the end of the 2nd millennium. The Arameans, originally from northern Syria, invaded Assyria.
After 1000 B.C.E., the Assyrians began a second period of expansion and by 665 B.C.E., they controlled all of Mesopotamia, much of southern Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt to its southern frontier. They constructed palaces at Nineveh and Nimrud (near modern Mosul, Iraq). Assyria was divided eventually by a civil war. The Medes, from western and central Iran, attacked Assyria and were joined by the Babylonians, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar. In 612 B.C.E., Assyrian cities were so thoroughly destroyed that Assyria never recovered.
The Medes, under Nebuchadnezzar took over much of the Assyrian Empire. Under him and his successors, Babylon grew into one of the greatest cities of the world. However, the government passed to various men in rapid succession. The last independent king of Babylon set up unpopular policies and many Babylonians may have welcomed the Persian conquest in 539 B.C.E. After that, Babylonia began another prosperous phase as one of the most important provinces of the Persian Empire.
Chronology of Near Eastern Empires
ca. 1550 B.C.E.- Establishment of Kassite Dynasty at Babylon
ca. 1400-1200 B.C.E.- Hittite Empire
ca 1100 B.C.E.- Rise of Assyrian Empire
732-722 B.C.E.- Assyrian conquest of Syria-Palestine
671 B.C.E.- Assyrian conquest of Egypt
612 B.C.E.- Destruction of Assyrian capital at Nineveh
612-539 B.C.E. Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire
Early Indian Civilization
Neolithic way of life comes from the foothills of Sind and Baluchistan and dates to about 5500 B.C.E., and metalworking began after 4000 B.C.E. It's earliest literate civilization arose after 2600 B.C.E. and was trading with Mesopotamia by 2300 B.C.E. This civilization is known as that Harappan civilization, and only lasted for a few centuries.
The Indus (Harappan) Civilization
The largest cities of this civilization were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. This civilization had bronze tools, covered drainage systems, a diversified social and economic organization, and possibly a writing system which is still disputed today.
Cities: City layouts, building construction, weights and measures, seal inscriptions, patterned pottery and figurines, and even burnt brick used for buildings and flood walls are unusually uniform in all Indus towns, suggesting an integrated economic system and good internal communications. Because the main cities and towns lay in river lowlands subject to flooding, they were rebuilt often, with each reconstruction closely following the previous pattern. The possible Indus script shows no evidence of change over time, with all of this indicating that perhaps a conservative theocracy controlled this society rather than an unstable royal dynasty and court.
Economy: The economy was based on agriculture, with wheat and barley being the main crops. Rice, peas, lentils, sesame, dates, and cotton were also important. Cattle, dogs, cats, goats, sheep, and fowl were raised, and elephants and water buffalo were likely used as beasts of burden. The Indus valley people wove cloth from cotton, made metal tools, and used the potter's wheel. Evidence points to trade between the Indus culture and Mesopotamia, with the island of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf being a staging point for this trading.
Religion: Elaborate bath facilities suggest that ritual bathing and water purification were important. The many images of male animals suggest animal worship.A recurring image of a male figure with leafy headdress and horns, often seated in a posture associated later in India with yogic meditation, has been likened to the Vedic Aryan "Lord of All Creatures." He has features in common with the later Hindu god Shiva, especially where he is depicted with three faces and an erect phallus. Also found in Indus artifacts are the pipal tree and the left-handed swastika, both symbols of later importance to Hindus. Terra-cotta figurines of females, often pregnant or carrying a child, are similar to female images in several pre-historic cultures. As possible precursors of Shiva's consort, they too may represent a feminine element in pre-Aryan religion. Everything reminds us, however, that the Indus people, like all others, had their own ways of coming to terms with the mysteries of birth, life, and death.
The end: Between 1800 and 1700 B.C.E., Indus civilization disappeared. Some think (though unlikely) that the warlike Aryan invaders subdued the Indus civilization. Some scholars think it was destroyed by abnormal flooding, changes in the course of the Indus, collapse of military power, or a long period of desiccation even before the Aryans arrived.
The Vedic Aryan Civilization
All knowledge of this civilization comes from the Vedas. The Vedic texts date from about 1500-500 B.C.E. The were originally transmitted orally and was not written down until after 700 B.C.E., when the writing system was formed. The Vedas are ritual, priestly, and speculative, not historic works.
For Hindus, Veda is the eternal wisdom of primordial seers preserved for thousands of years in an unbroken oral tradition. The Vedas are the four major compilations of Vedic ritual, explanatory, and speculative texts. The Rig-Veda, a collection of 1,028 religious hymns, represent the oldest materials of the Vedas. The hymns date with the oldest from 1700-1200 B.C.E. and the latest hymns from 1000 B.C.E.
The Vedic Aryans were seminomadic warriors who reached India through the mountain passes of the Hindu Kush. They were horsemen and cattle herders. They left their mark through the changes that their conquests brought to the regions they overran: a new language, social organization, techniques of warfare, and religious forms and ideas. They penetrated first into the Punjab and the Indus valley around 1800-1500 B.C.E., presumably in search of grazing lands for their livestock. Their horses, chariots, and copper-bronze weapons likely gave them military superiority. The god Indra, as echoed in the Rig-Vedic hymns, is hailed as a warrior who smashes the fortifications of enemies (Indus citadels?) and slays the great serpent who had blocked the rivers (referring to the destruction of the dams that controlled the Indus waters?). The references of humans rather than divine warriors later on may reflect actual historic events. One late hymn praises the kind of the Bharatas, giving us the Indian name for modern India, Bharat, "land of the Bharatas."
Rig-Vedic Age (ca. 1700-1000 B.C.E.)
The newcomers settled in the Punjab and beyond. The main area of civilization remained in the Punjab and the plains west of the Yamuna River. Between 1000 and 500 B.C.E., the late Vedic age, these Aryan Indians spread across the plain between the Yamuna and the Ganges and eastward. They cleared the heavy forests and settled there. They also moved to the Himalayan foothills in the northeast and southeast along the Ganges. The late Vedic period is also called the Brahmanic age because it was dominated by the priestly religion of the Brahman class, as evidenced in the Brahmanas.
Chronology of Ancient India
ca. 2600-1800 B.C.E.- Indus (Harappan) civilization (written script still undeciphered)
ca. 1800-1500 B.C.E.- Aryan peoples invade northwestern India
ca. 1500-1000 B.C.E.- Rig-Vedic period: composition of Rig-Vedic hymns; Punjab as center of Indo-Aryan civilization
ca. 1000-500 B.C.E.- Late Vedic or Brahmanic age: Doab as center of Indo-Aryan civilization
ca. 1000-800/600 B.C.E.- Composition of Brahmanas and other Vedic texts
ca. 800-500 B.C.E.- Composition of major Upanishads
ca. 700-500 B.C.E.- Probable reintroduction of writing
ca. 400 B.C.E.-200 C.E.- Composition of great epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana
China's Three Ancient Dynasties
1. Xia (2205-1766 B.C.E.)
2. Shang (1766-1050 B.C.E.)
3. Zhou (1050-256 B.C.E.)
The Shang Dynasty
The largest city-state was the Shang capital, which frequently moved. The Shang kings possessed political, economic, social, and religious authority. The military aristocracy went to war in chariots, supported by the levies of foot soldiers. Their weapons were spears and powerful compound bows. The Shang fought against barbarian tribes and, occasionally, against other city-states in rebellion against Shang rule. Captured prisoners were enslaved.
The three most notable features were writing, bronzes, and social classes. Shang religion was based on oracle bones, which contain the question to the oracle, the answer, and the outcome of the matter. They believed in a "Deity Above," along with the sun, moon, earth, rain, wind, and the six clouds, which were natural gods. Later on, religion was closely related to cosmology.
Bronze appeared about 2000 B.C.E. It is likely that bronze in China was developed independently. It was used for weapons, armor, and chariot fittings.
When a king died, hundreds of slaves or prisoners of war might be buried with him as a sacrifice. Sacrifices were also made when a palace or an altar was built.
The kings descended from shamanistic rulers, so they had no theory to justify their rule, nor was there a need to have a theory.
By 1050 B.C.E., the Shang Dynasty was debilitated by campaigns against nomads in the north and rebellious tribes in the east. The Zhou made alliances with the disaffected city-states and swept in, conquering the Shang.
The Western Zhou
West of the Shang Dynasty, in the valley of the Wei River. They were less civilized and more warlike than the Shang. Just like the Shang, kings and lords were at the top, officials and warriors below them, and peasants and slaves at the bottom. Slaves were primarily domestic servants. The Zhou kept their capital in the west, but also built a second capital at Luoyang, along the southern bend of the Yellow River.
After conquering the Shang, the theory upheld that explained why they were in rule and not the Shang was that Heaven (the name for the supreme being that gradually replaced the Deity Above during the early Zhou) withdrew its mandate from the Shang, awarding it instead to the Zhou because of the wickedness of the last Shang king. This concept is the Mandate of Heaven.
In 771 B.C.E., the Wei valley capital was overrun by barbarians. The king was killed and the Zhou capital was sacked.
The Eastern Zhou
When the Wei valley capital was overrun in 771 B.C.E., the heir to the throne and some members of the court fled to Luoyang, beginning the Eastern Zhou period. The Spring and Autumn period lasted until 481 B.C.E. and the Zhou kings were never able to reestablish their old authority. By the early 7th century B.C.E., Luoyang's political power was nominal and it no longer had the military strength to reimpose its rule. To defend themselves (small principalities) against the more aggressive territorial states around its borders, smaller states entered defensive alliances.
The earliest alliance in 681 B.C.E., was directed against the half-barbarian state of Chu (straddled along the Yangste in the south). The second phase of the Eastern Zhou is known as the Warring States period from 401-256 B.C.E.
Three basic changes in Chinese society contributed to the rise of large territorial states. One was the expansion of population and agricultural lands. By the time of this age, the economy was almost entirely agricultural.
A second development was the rise of commerce.
A third development, that doomed the city-state, was the rise of a new kind of army. War chariots gave rise to cavalry armed with crossbows and most of the fighting was done by conscript foot soldiers, with armies in the hundreds of thousands.
Once meant "warrior" but gradually became to mean "scholar-bureaucrat" in the Eastern Zhou
Chronology of Early China
4000 B.C.E.- Neolithic agricultural villages
1766 B.C.E.- Bronze Age city-states, aristocratic charioteers, pictographic writing
771 B.C.E.- Iron Age territorial states
500 B.C.E.- Age of philosophers
221 B.C.E.- China is unified
Corn; The cultivation of maize appears to have been in place in Mexico by about 4000 B.C.E.
The earliest Mesoamerican civilization. It arose during the Pre-Classic on the Gulf Coast beginning approximately 1500 B.C.E. The Olmec centers at San Lorenzo ( ca. 1200-ca. 900 B.C.E.) and La Venta (ca. 900-ca. 400 B.C.E.) exhibit many of the characteristics of later Mesoamerican cities,.
Chronology of Mesoamerica
1500-400 B.C.E.- The Olmecs
200-750 C.E.- The Classic period in central Mexico. Dominance of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico and Monte Alban in the Valley of Oaxaca
150-900 C.E. The Classic period of Mayan civilization in the Yucatan and Guatemala
Chronology of the Andes
ca. 2750 B.C.E.?- Monumental architecture at Aspero
800-200 B.C.E.?- Chavin (Early Horizon)
200 B.C.E.-600 C.E.- Early Intermediate period (Moche on the northern coast of Peru, Nazca on the southern coast)
ca. 600 C.E.- Huari and Tiahuanaco (Middle Horizon)
The Indo-European speakers who invaded India and Iran in the second millennium B.C.E. Known as the Vedic Aryan civilization and their holy texts were the Vedas
Texts dealing with the ritual application of the Vedas
The name given to the earliest civilized era, ca. 4000 to 1000 B.C.E. The term reflects the importance of the metal bronze, a mixture of tin and copper, for the peoples of this age for use as weapons and tools
A form of human culture marked by urbanism, metallurgy, and writing
The ways of living built up by a group and passed on from one generation to another
A writing system invented by the Sumerians that used a wedge-shaped stylus, or pointed tool, to write on wet clay tablets that were then baked or dried (cuneus means "wedge" in Latin). The writing was also cut into stone
The spread of ideas, objects, or traits from one culture to another
The complicated writing script of ancient Egypt. It combined picture writing with pictographs and sound signs. Hieroglyph means "sacred carvings" in Greek
A widely distributed language group that includes most of the languages spoken in Europe, Persian, Sanskrit, and their derivatives
One of the two classical Indian epics. It centers on the rivalry of two Aryan clans in the region northwest of modern Delhi, perhaps around 900 B.C.E.
The part of North America that extends from the central part of modern Mexico to Central America. Its pre-conquest periods are:
1. Pre-Classic or Formative (2000 B.C.E.-150 C.E.)
2. Classic (150 C.E.-900 C.E.)
3. Post-Classic (900-1521)
Mandate of Heaven
The Chinese belief that Heaven entrusts or withdraws a ruler's or a dynasty's right to govern
Modern Iraq. The land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where the first civilization appeared around 3000 B.C.E.
See Neolithic Revolution
The shift beginning 10,000 years ago from hunter-gatherer societies to settled communities of farmers and artisans. Also called the Age of Agriculture, it witnessed the invention of farming, the domestication of plants and animals, and the development of technologies such as pottery and weaving. "Neolithic" comes from the Greek words for "new stone."
Catal Huyuk (near capital of present-day Turkey, Ankara) and Jericho (an oasis around a spring near the Dead Sea) were large cities that did not follow the village pattern of the Neolithic Age, meaning all houses were not the same and these two cities contained artwork and other crafts that were highly diversified.
The earliest civilizations for this age were the Middle East (about 12,000-10,200 B.C.E.), China (about 9500 B.C.E.), and India (about 7500 B.C.E.). Agriculture was based on wheat and barley in the Middle East, on millet and rice in China, and on corn in Mesoamerica.
The earliest period when stone tools were used, form about 1,000,000 to 10,000 B.C.E. From the Greek meaning "old stone." People were hunters, fishers and gathers, but not producers of food. They learned to make and control fire, and they acquired language and the ability to use it to pass on what they had learned.
The god-kings of ancient Egypt. The term originally meant "great house" or palace
An Indian king who shared power with a tribal council. His chief responsibility was to lead in battle, and later, assumed the role of judge in legal matters
One of the two classical Indian epics. It tells of the legendary, dramatic adventures of King Rama.
Indian religious texts dating largely to the first half of the first millennium B.C.E., which began as commentary or elaboration of the Vedas and came to offer profound philosophical discussions important to the later Hindu traditions of India. Brahman was extended to refer to the Absolute, the transcendent principle of reality.
The four main classes that form the basis for Hindu caste relations
1. Brahman: the priestly
2. Kshatriya: the warrior/noble
3. Vaishya: the peasant/tradesman
4. Shudra: the servant
Only the three upper classes participated fully in social, political, and religious life.
The sacred texts of the ancient Aryan invaders of India. The Rig Vedas are the oldest materials in the Vedas.
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