The Dawn of Civilization
(Prehistory – 300CE)
Themes of History
 There are 8 common
themes that connect
people & society
throughout history.
Arts & Ideas
Belief Systems
Economic System
Geography &
Government &
Migration & Diffusion
Science & Technology
History …
 History is the study of man &
the human experience
 Prehistory: Before writing
 History: Writing
 Historians & anthropologists
learn about past societies by
studying culture & artifacts.
 Culture: A society’s knowledge,
art, beliefs, customs & values
 Artifacts: Man made objects
from the past
Ex: clay pots, coins, tools, etc.
Key Discoveries
 Donald Johnson:
 “Lucy”: Partial skeleton proving
that man walked upright at least
 Mary & Louis Leakey:
 Laetoli Footprints: 3.5mya –
earliest evidence that man
walked upright
Early Hominids (Early Man)
Homo Habilis
“Southern Ape”
4-5mya in Africa
Walked on 2 legs
• “Handy Man”
• 2.4mya in Africa
• Simple stone tools
Homo Erectus
“Upright Man”
2-1.5mya in Africa
Stone tools & axe
Controlled fire
Migrated out of Africa
Homo Sapiens
• “Wise Man”
• 200,000ya in Africa
• Same as modern man
• Migrated around the
• Created fire
Human Migration (Movement)
 It is believed that humans first
appeared in Africa
 About 200,000ya, early man
began to move out of Africa
 To Asia, Australia, Europe & the
 The Ice Age made this
movement possible
 Created frozen land bridges that
connected the continents
The Stone Ages (2.5mya – 3,000bce)
Paleolithic Age
(2.5mya – 10,000ya)
Neolithic Era
(8000 – 3000bce)
 AKA: The Stone Age
 AKA: The New Stone Age
 Major Advancements: Tools
 Major Advancements: Farming & better
 People:
 Nomads: Moved from place to place
following food
 Hunter-Gatherers: Men hunted &
women gathered plants/berries
 Technology: Specialized tools, clothing &
 Art: Cave paintings, stone carvings
 Religion: Animism – the belief that all
things in nature have a spirit
 Neolithic Revolution (10,000ya)
 Development of agriculture &
 Domestication of plants & animals
 Domestication: selective breeding
of plants & animals to be more
useful to humans
 People:
 Pastoralists: Herded live stock
 Some began to create settlements
 Technology: farming tools, pottery,
 Religion: More formalized w/gods
• Domestication
of plants &
• 10,000ya – end
of Ice Age
• Warmer
climate & new
• Man learned to
(man begins to
• New farming
• Larger & more
stable food
• Early
settlements &
farming villages
• Pastoralists
herd animals
 Man begins to use bronze tools
 Bronze is metal that is stronger than copper
From Villages to Cities
 Improved farming techniques
(irrigation) led to a surplus (extra) in
food supply
 Extra food meant less people were
needed to farm
 Other people could focus on different
 Pottery making, weaving, etc.
 Specialization: Being really good at
what you do
 Division of Labor: Each person has a
specific job
 Leads to trade
• Type of economy in early farming villages
• An economy based on customs & traditions
• Ex: farmers trade food for pottery or blankets
• Still around today…
•Ex: S. American tribes, tribes in Africa, the Amish…
Civilization: Complex & organized society. Most
early civilizations formed around rivers!
Art & Architecture
• Monuments, statues,
Developed Cities
• Social & Economic
Organized Gov’t.
• Created laws, taxed,
oversaw construction
Record Keeping &
• Taxes, crop output
• Writing beliefs & ideas
7 Characteristics
of Civilization
Formalized Religion
• Ceremonies, rituals,
religious leaders
Social Classes
• Social order based
on occupation
Specialized Labor
• Farmers, tax
collectors, builders
Artisans: skilled
• Pottery, weaving,
Changes in Civilizations
 Early civilizations relied on the
environment & began to trade for
things they did not have
 As people traded, they began to
share ideas
 Cultural Diffusion: Sharing &
adopting new ideas, skills, &
 As civilizations continued to
grow, they began to compete
with each other for resources,
often leading to warfare
The Fertile Crescent
 Fertile land between the
Mediterranean Sea & the Persian
 Due to the nutrient rich soil, many
civilizations emerged
 Fertile soil = good for farming!!
 Civilization is dependent on
 2 major rivers run through the
Fertile Crescent
 Tigris & Euphrates Rivers
 Mesopotamia: Land between the
Sumerian Civilization
 Settled in Sumer
 Cities developed around 3,000bce
 Used mud bricks (example of how
geography influence society)
 City-states developed
 Political unit with a government
 Ziggurats were temples at the
center of each city-states
 Pyramid shaped
Sumerian Religion & Gov’t.
 Religion was the center of life
 Polytheism: Belief in many gods
 Usually controlled nature, protected
each city-state, & were like humans
 Priests initially governed city-states
& enjoyed high status
 Successful war chiefs became kings
& formed dynasties
 Dynasty: rulers from the same
Math & Sciences
• Number system based on 60
• Used geometry to build cities
& irrigation systems
• Invented wheel & plow
• Basic surgery
• Ramps, arches, &
• Cylinder seals
Trade & Society
• Traded with other societies
• Traders became wealthy
• Class systems
1st writing
• Cuneiform
• Used stylus on clay tablets
• Epic of Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh Interactive
Mesopotamian Empires
• Ruled by Sargon I
• 1st permanent Army
• 1st Empire
• Empire: Large area w/
many different people
• Ruled by Hammurabi
• Strong military with
• Taxed & traded
• Began ironworking
• Hammurabi’s Code:
1st set of written laws &
• Adapted ways of
previous empires
• Adapted ways of
previous empires
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Mesopotamian Empires (Cont’d)
• Military power with iron
weapons =very harsh
• Babylon was the capital
• Wealthy trading society
• Nebuchadnezzar II
•Built Hanging
• Expert sailors
• Dominated trade
• Explored
• Calendar based on phases
of the moon
• Alphabet
• Influenced Greek
& English language
• System of roads
• Kings ruled through
Local leaders
• Library of Nineveh had
20,000 cuneiform tablets
• Used astronomy to
predict weather
The Hebrews
 Ancestors of the Jews
 Traced back to Abraham
 Torah: Sacred religious book
 1st 5 books of the Old Testament
 The Torah states that God promised
the Hebrews “the promised land” of
 Modern day Israel
 Abraham led people to Canaan & land
was divided into the 12 Tribes
 1 for each of Abraham’s sons
 Patriarchs: Ancestral fathers of
modern Israelites
 Abraham & his sons
Egypt & the Hebrews
 As the Hebrews became powerful, the
kings of Egypt feared & enslaved them
 The Exodus: Moses led the Hebrew
slaves back to the promised land
 40 years in the desert
 Moses asked prayed for help & was
given the 10 Commandments
 Moral laws
 After reaching Canaan, Israel became
very powerful, but divided around
 Diaspora: Movement of Jews outside
of the promised land
 Monotheistic: Belief on only 1 God
 Believed to be the 1st monotheistic
 Believed in:
 Justice & righteousness
 Obedience to the law
10 Commandments
Mosaic laws govern worship &
The Persian Empire
 Cyrus the Great: Created the
largest empire in the ancient world
 He allowed the many different
people to keep their customs &
 Darius I: Rebuilt Persian Empire
after Cyrus’ death
 Created permanent army
 Satraps: governors of certain
regions w/i the empire
It was too big for Darius to rule on his own
 Xerxes: Last strong ruler of Persia
 New religion based on dualism
 Dualism: Belief that the world is
controlled by two forces – good v
 People have free will & can choose
to act as they please
 Declined after Persian Empire
 However, ideas are still around today
& influenced many other religions
Persian Achievements
 Blended cultures
 Cultural diffusion….
 Road system
 Help rulers communicate with
regions around empire
 Easy for military to move around
 Art
 Gold cups
 Stone carvings
 Columns
Ancient Egypt
 Civilization developed along the
Nile River in Africa
 Longest river in the world
 Very fertile soil (silt) deposited when
Nile flooded
 Delta: area around the mouth of
the river
 Richest soil
 Divided into two kingdoms
 Upper Egypt
 Lower Egypt: Near delta
 Menes: United Upper & Lower
Basics of Egypt
 Pharaohs: Egyptian kings
 Seen as gods
 Theocracy: Gov’t. ruled by
religious figures
 Pharaohs were “god-like”
 The Pharaoh counted on many
people to help him/her rule
 Bureaucracy: Structured system of
gov’t. officials
Vizier: Most powerful; Pharaoh’s main
Significant Pharaohs
 Hatshepsut: Only female pharaoh
of Egypt
 Took over when husband died
 Funded huge long distant trading
 Akhenaten: Changed Egyptian
religion to monotheistic
 Worship only 1 god (Aten – sun god)
 Ramses the Great: Made peace
with the Hittites
 Most building projects
Egyptian Religion
 Mainly polytheistic
 Osiris: Judge of the Dead
 Isis: Goddess of nature & protector
of women
 Horus: God of the sky
 Anubis: Protector of the dead
 Amon-Re: King of the Gods
 Obelisks: Tall pillars with detailed
 Priests cared for the gods &
common people played no role
 Believed in an afterlife
 Process to preserve the body from decaying
 How Egyptians prepared their pharaohs for the afterlife
 Pyramids: Burial tombs for the pharaohs
 Size does matter…the bigger the pyramid, the more powerful the pharaoh
Egyptian Life
 Class System
 Gov’t. officials & priests, doctors &
scribes (writers)
 Artisans & merchants
 Peasant farmers (90%)
 Women had more rights in Egypt
than anywhere else in the ancient
 Worked outside the home!!
 Leisure time spent like we do
 Played games, ate, swimming…
Egyptian Writing
 Hieroglyphics: Egyptian form of
writing that used symbols
 Papyrus: Plant that was made into
paper for writing
 Rosetta Stone: Ancient stone with
3 different languages
Hieroglyphics, demonic, & Greek
 Unlocked the key to translating
hieroglyphics & other ancient texts
Art, Science, & Math
 Huge pyramids & temples
 The Great Sphinx
 Huge statue 65 feet high!!
 Basic math & advanced geometry
 Studied human anatomy
 Heal broken bones, remove tumors,
basic surgery…
Ancient India
 India is a subcontinent
 Subcontinent: Large land mass
that is part of a continent
 India is part of the Asian continent
 Two major rivers helped support
Indian civilization
 Indus River
 Ganges River
 Monsoons: Seasonal winds
 Summer = warm, rainy months
 Winter = cool, drier months
Indus Valley Civilization
 Cities:
 Well planned with roads in a grid
 Sewer system
 Economy:
 Based on agriculture & trade
 Society:
 Varnas: Four social classes, which
were divided into hundreds of
smaller classes called castes.
 Religion practiced by most Indians,
even today
 Believe that life is a pattern of birth,
death & rebirth
 Reincarnation: process of being
 Dharma: Set of spiritual duties
 Achieving dharma frees one from the
cycle of rebirth (moksha)
 3 sacred texts
 The Vedas
 Writings inspired by the Vedas
 Sacred epics (long heroic poems)
 Less ritualistic than Hinduism
 Can achieve moksha by giving up all worldly
possession & carefully controlling actions
 Strive to eliminate greed, anger, gossip, etc. from their
 Based on the teaching of Siddhartha
Gautama, aka = Buddha
 Four Noble Truths & the Eightfold
Path are essential to Buddha’s
 All centered around overcoming
 Nirvana, a state of perfect peace,
could be obtained by following the
Eightfold Path
 Freedom from suffering
 Middle Way: To live in moderation
& avoid excesses
 Spread around the world
Ancient China
 As with other ancient civilizations,
two major rivers supported society
in ancient China:
 Yangzi River
 Huang He (Yellow) River
 As the rivers flooded they deposited
rich soil called Loess
 Just like the Nile left silt
Shang Dynasty (1766BCE)
 1st dynasty of China
 Governed by a bureaucracy
 A system of governors
 Most of what is known about the
Shang came from exploring tombs
 Afterlife b/c prisoners were buried with
 Achievements:
 Writing
 Bronze works
 Architects
 Astronomy & Calendars
 Money
Zhou Dynasty (1100BCE)
 Ruled by the Mandate of Heaven
 The gods would support a just ruler
& not allow the corrupt to govern
 Dynastic Cycle: Rise & fall of
 Just dynasties lasted & those that
were corrupt collapsed
 Achievements:
 Iron working (stronger & cheaper
than bronze)
Roads & canals
New Philosophies
 Based on the teachings of Confucius
 Based on the teachings of Laozi
 People should show love & respect
for each other by honoring
 Encouraged people to reject the laws
of man & respect the laws of nature
traditions & rituals
 Yin-Yang: Balance of nature
 Respect for tradition would restore
stability to life & society
 Male & Female
 Black & White
 Hot & Cold

Unit 1: - Mrs. Best