Early River Valley Civilizations: Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China, Plus Austrailia
Terms in this set (58)
Stands for "gift of the Nile river", which means "the river of life"
Egypt: The Nile rier
This river flooded every Summer and dropped rich, fertile soil.
Egypt: Natural barriers
The Arabian and Nubian deserts, plus the Mediterranean and Red seas formed a natural barrier from Egypt's enemies.
Upper Egypt in in the South and lower Egypt is in the North. The Nile river flows Northward. All of Egypt is made up of one ethnicity. Six large waterfall prevented civilizations from linking.
Egypt: King Menes (3100 B.C.E.)
He conquered Upper Egypt, leading to Egypt's unification. He used the Nile river as a highway for unity
Egypt: The Old Kingdom (2702-2200 B.C.E.)
Pharaohs ruled Egypt and were thought of as living representations of the sun god Ra. The Pharaoh owned and controlled everything.
Egypt: Chief advisors, ministers
Controlled government operation, collecting taxes, farming conditions and irrigation networks
Educated men meant to write things down and carry out orders
Egypt: Three pyramids of Giza
Built for a grandfather, his son and his father's son to preserve themselves for the afterlife
Thousands of them would carry stone blocks weighing 2.5 tons each 600 miles down the Nile river.
Egypt: The fall of the old kingdom
Because the prices of the pyramids were too high and a series of crop failures, this kingdom declined
Stands for "the land between two rivers". These rivers were known as the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This area was also known as the fertile crescent
Had no natural barrier so it became the most conquered land of the ancient world. This was also a popular place for nomadic hunters.
The rich soil produced from the two rivers made farming the land successful. As a result of food surpluses, population grew.
Mesopotamia: River complications
The flooding of the river was hard to anticipate during the spring time. Flash floods ruined huts and farmland. Under the direction of priests, people built irrigation systems to protect their land.
Mud was shaped and cooked to form the first bricks, which were used to create dams. This process continued for another 3000 years. They were the first to attach a wheel on an axle to carry heavy loads.
Cities were built like grids with reliable road systems. Main roads were made big to accommodate parades and religious activities. Each city had their own walls to keep out invaders.
Every cities centerpiece was a Ziggurat or a great stone temple. They were built to honor the cities gods and kings. If you were a king or priest, prayer was on the top step, nobles would worship on the step bellow artisans on the next, then the peasants and finally the slaves were on the last step.
Mesopotamia: Outside contact
Mesopotamia connected Europe Africa and Asia through trade. Merchants brought riches, information and technological advancements from around the ancient Middle East
People lived in independent city states that were lead by priest-kings and strong warrior males. Later, rule became hereditary. Leaders were in charge of maintaining defense walls, making sure irrigation was working and enforcing laws. The king also performed religious duties.
Role of Women: Mesopotamia
Women had the right to own property, conduct business and had certain legal rights. Their main jobs were to run the household, take care of the children and manage their slaves.
Mesopotamia: Religion and the Afterlife
They were Polytheistic and saw their gods as human beings who had their own vices. Making them angry however would cause violence and suffering like flash flooding and food shortages. The afterlife consisted of people, good and bad, living in a cave and eating mud forever. Living in harsh conditions is what prompted this view of the afterlife.
Cuneiform was the first ever written language, created around 3200 BCE. Scribes were sent to intense schools where they were taught to write in this language on clay tablets. Only boys and wealthy girls could do something like this.
Mesopotamia: Sumer civilization
This was one of the first civilizations in the world. They made great advancements in algebra and geometry. They came with the concept of 60sec min, 60min hr and 360º. They were advanced in astronomy and could predict eclipses.
Babylon: king Hammurabi
In 1790 BCE, he was able to unite Mesopotamia using his 300 law system, Hammurabi's code. The harsh punishments listed on obelisks around Mesopotamia were meant to bring justice. Even so, the poor and the women were punished harder so this code of laws was unequal.
Babylon: King Nebuchadnezzar
He ruled from 605-562 BCE. He allowed those he conquered maintain their own customs, government and religion as long as he received men for his army, payed their taxes and acknowledged him as king. Even so, he showed no mercy towards the Hebrew as they were enslaved.
This was one of the most long-lasting empires of ancient Middle east. King Cyrus the Great ruled from 559-530 BCE. He was also tolerant of those he conquered like the Babylonians.
Unification of the Persian empire
Under the rule of emperor Darius (522-486 BCE), the Persian empire became unified and became divided into provinces. The satraps or leaders of each province had to ensure justice, make sure people were fed and collect taxes.
By creating a single code of laws and standardizing currency, weight and measure, the economy flourished. 100 of miles of roads were built to further improve transportation and trade.
They are known as the carrier of civilization and were famous traders and sailors. Their empire was along the Mediterranean sea and they traded papyrus, olive oil and artifacts. They formed a writing system which made trade simple and became the basis of our modern language.
They were warlike people from the upper Tigris river. They terrorized their enemies using fear and intimidation for 500 years. The first library contained knowledge of the ancient middle east and was available to study. Those conquered by the Assyrians learned how to fight back over the years.
Assyrians: King Ashurbanipal
Ruled from 668-627 BCE. He was famous for causing much of the terror that the Assyrians are known for. In contrast, he also supported a well-organized society with extensive laws.
India was the third river valley civilization, developed along the banks of the Indus river in 2500 BCE. They were protected from invasion by the natural barriers of the Hindu Kush mountains, the Himalayas and the Indian ocean.
The Indian Subcontinent
India was difficult to unite so it was made up of three main regions.
1. The Northern plains which was a large, fertile area
2. The Deccan plateau is in the center and is a large, dry, unproductive desert
3. The Eastern and Western Ghats or coastlines
This is a seasonal wind change which affects the down pours of the season. If these rains came early, farms would be swept aways. If they were late, there would be a famine.
They were polytheistic and worshipped many gods of nature. They also worshipped sacred animals such as the bull.
India: Twin Cities- Harappa and Mohenjo-daro
In 2500 BCE twin cities which were 100 miles apart were nearly identical. The layout was like a grid and organized. Merchants used standardized currency and weights between the two cities.
India: Accomplishments of the Indus river valley people
They grew wheat, barley, melons and dates. Their biggest achievement was the use of cotton to make cloth
Nomads from Southern Russia made up the second Indian civilization . They settled along the Ganges river. They didn't build any monumental works or create a writing system.
India: The Vedas
This was a collection of religious prayers and hymns that were passed down through every generation. This lasted from 1500-500 BCE until it was written down.
India: Class structure
1. Brahmans, served as the upper class
2. Kshatriyas (warriors)
3. Vaisyas- farmers, artisans and merchants, this was the largest part of society
4. Non-aryans- laborers and slaves, known as the untouchables of society
India: Aryan government
Strong warrior males lead the civilization until they gave way to the rule of priest kings. Because there was so little invasion, there was no need for warriors.
India: Aryan religious movements
Brahmans offered sacrifices to the many gods of nature. This could help improve health and safety. One goal was to become a part of the Brahman force that bound the universe together after many lives.
It was the most isolated out of the early civilizations. Barriers included the Tian Shan mountains in the West, the Himalayas in the Southwest , the jungles of the Southeast, the Pacific ocean to the east and the Gobi and Siberian desserts to the North. Called the Middle Kingdom because they thought they were the center of the world.
China: The Yellow River
Most people developed along the Yellow or Huang He river. It's also known as the river of Sorrows because peasants has to do intense labor and fight in wars.
The Shang dynasty dominated in China in 1650 BCE. The dynasty rose to power by leaving warriors in certain areas to drive out invading nomads.
China: Benefits of building many palaces
1. The people are able to see their emperor and understand who is ruling them.
2. The emperor was able to keep people in check and make sure governors were doing their jobs. The emperor was seen as divine and a father of the people
China: Social Classes
1. The royal family which included the emperor and his family
2. The Noble Warriors were aristocrats who could afford quality weapons
3. Artisans, merchants and lesser nobles produced good for the higher class
4. The peasants who made up most of the population and lived in mud huts underground. They worked grueling jobs everyday
They had a complex religion with many gods but, they also worshipped their ancestors believing that they will become closer to God.
Yin and Yang
By keeping the world in balance you must keep Earth/Darkness and Heaven/light balanced. Yin is mother Earth and yang is Heaven. Together, they formed harmony.s
Their writing first took shape 4000 years ago. It has thousands of characters expressing words and ideas. Calligraphy which is an elegant handwriting system was invented. It became an art form.
China: The Mandate of Heaven
In 1027 BCE the Shang dynasty was overthrown by the Zhou dynasty. They claimed that they had the divine right to rule due to the mandate of heaven. They also claimed that the gods were angry with the Shang dynasty and wanted new rulers.
China: The Dynastic cycle
1. The new emperor restores peace from chaos, appoints trusted officials into the government and personally helps the people
2. By the time 5 generations go by, the current ruler gets too greedy and begins to live off the riches
3. The emperor neglects his duties and people rebel
4. The aging dynasty has lost the mandate of heaven
5. Punishments from the gods such as natural disasters and famine cause chaos until a new leader is chosen
China: The Zhou government
They used a system called Feudalism to run society. Land was given by the emperor to lords and nobles to govern. In return, the kings military would protect the land and those who worked on it.
They have always had an agricultural economy. From growing protein rich crops, there was a population boom and was united by having a standardized currency.
They created an accurate calendar, similar to the modern one. They developed the wheel and attached it to a wheelbarrow. Their best achievement was silk making as it became high in demand and was the cause for the silk road. They also created the first books out of bamboo.
The worlds smallest continent with vast desserts and and lowlands and highlands. It is one of the driest continents and has very few cold weather zones.
Australia: The Aborgines
Nomads from Southern Asia lived in Australia. They had no Neolithic development and they had no sign of being violent people. When the British came in 1770, they brought disease which lead to the death of thousands of the local population.
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