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a massive stepped tower on which was built a temple dedicated to the chief god or goddess of a Sumerian city


group of people forming a community


belief in many gods


belief in one God


before the invention of printing, a person who wrote books by hand; a writer


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


to overcome; to defeat; to take control of


a group of states or territories controlled by one ruler


a powerful family or group of rulers that maintains its position or power for some time


A group of ancient city-states in southern Mesopotamia; the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia.


area in Mesopotamia with loyalty to king rather than city-state


Sumerian invention that allowed a better way to transport goods


to turn over dirt, often in long rows, so that seeds can be planted

class system

"social status" ranking classes (rank of people in social class)


King of the Babylonian empire; creator of the Code of Hammurabi, one of the world's oldest codes of law.


The largest and most important city in Mesopotamia. It achieved particular eminence as the capital of the Amorite king Hammurabi in the eighteenth century B.C.E. and the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century B.C.E. (p. 29)


known as a warrior people who ruthlessly conquered neighboring countries; their empire stretched from east to north of the Tigris River all the way to centeral Egypt; used ladders, weapons like iron-tipped spears, daggers and swords, tunnels, and fearful military tactics to gain strength in their empire


An Assyrian king who told people to bring back writings and collected about 20,000 cuniform tablets were now found form him. Made a huge library in Nineveh


The most famous Chaldean king who rebuilt Babylon into a beautiful city whose palace featured the famous Hanging Gardens which were trees and flowers that grew on its terraces and roofs that, from the ground, seemed to hang in the air.


the capital of the Assyrian Empire and the site of a great library under King Ashurbanipal

Code of Hammurabi

A collection of 282 laws which were enforced under Hammurabi's Rule. One of the first examples of written law in the ancient civilizations.

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