30 terms

Unit 1: First Civilizations

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Ziggaruts
A tiered, pyramid shaped structure that formed part of a Sumerian temple. Used for worship
Hammurabi
Amorite ruler of Babylon (r. 1792-1750 B.C.E.). He conquered many city-states in southern and northern Mesopotamia and is best known for a code of laws, inscribed on a black stone pillar, illustrating the principles to be used in legal cases. (p. 34)
cuneiform
A system of writing in which wedge-shaped symbols represented words or syllables. It originated in Mesopotamia and was used initially for Sumerian and Akkadian but later was adapted to represent other languages of western Asia. Because so many symbols had to be learned, literacy was confined to a relatively small group of administrators and scribes.
hieroglyphics
An ancient Egyptian writing system in which pictures were used to represent ideas and sounds
city-state
A city with political and economic control over the surrounding countryside
cultural diffusion
The spread of ideas, customs, and technologies from one people to another
oracle bones
Cattle bones or tortoise shells on which Chinese priests would write questions and then interpret answers from the cracks that formed when the bones were heated
confucianism
A philosophy that adheres to the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. It shows the way to ensure a stable government and an orderly society in the present world and stresses a moral code of conduct.
Confucius
(551-479 BCE?) Chinese philosopher and writer of The Analects, a collection of moral and social teachings, including the concept of the Five Relationships. Also known as Kong Fu Zi.
warring states period
time of warfare between regional lords following the decline of the Zhou dynasty in the 8th century B.C.E.
Loess
A fine, light silt deposited by wind and water. It constitutes the fertile soil of the Yellow River Valley in northern China.
pharaoh
A ruler of ancient Egypt
Polytheism
Belief in many gods
Dynasty
A sequence of powerful leaders in the same family
Empire
A group of states or territories controlled by one ruler
Hinduism
A religion and philosophy developed in ancient India, characterized by a belief in reincarnation and a supreme being who takes many forms
Buddhism
the teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct and wisdom and meditation releases one from desire and suffering and rebirth
reincarnation
In Hinduism and Buddhism, the process by which a soul is reborn continuously until it achieves perfect understanding
Mesopotamia
Means "land between the rivers"
zhou dynasty
(1050 BCE to 256 BCE) , displaced Shang Dynasty; alliances with regional princes and families (feudal system); overtook Yangtze River Valley (Middle Kingdom); invoked the "Mandate of Heaven"; Confucianism and Daoism
legalism
A Chinese political philosophy based on the idea that a highly efficient and powerful government is the key to social order
hindu deities
brahma, vishnu, shiva
Mandate of Heaven
A political theory of ancient China in which those in power were given the right to rule from a divine source
civil service exams
Confucian exam to acquire a position in the Chinese bureaucracy
karma
(Hinduism and Buddhism) the effects of a person's actions that determine his destiny in his next incarnation
moksha
Becoming liberated for the cycle of reincarnation in Hinduism.
nirvana
"blowing out" - the ultimate goal of all Buddhists, the extinction of desire and any sense of individual selfhood, resulting in liberation from samsara and its limiting conditions.
Siddhartha Gautama
founder of Buddism; born a prince; left his father's wealth to find the cause of human suffering; also know as Buddha
Qin Shihuangdi
(r.221-210 BCE) The first emperor of the Qin Dynasty who believed strongly in Legalism and sought to strengthen the centralized China through public works.
Phoenicians
A maritime civilization of the Mediterranean that developed extensive trade and communication networks as well as an early alphabetical script (1500 B.C.E).