(CH. 2 & 3)
*Make sure to take notes in your binders
& in the order that they appear on the
Geography Influences Fertile
Crescent Civilization
Mesopotamia: “between the rivers”, area of
land between the Tigris & Euphrates rivers.
Around 3300 B.C., the world’s first
civilization developed in southeastern
Mesopotamia, in a region called Sumer.
• Organizing for Floods & Irrigation
– The Epic of Gilgamesh
– Rivers had to be controlled in order to channel
water to the fields.
• Sumerians Build Thriving Cities
Sumerian Civilization
Takes Shape
• Complex Government Unfolds
• Sumerians Structure Their Society
– Hierarchy: system of ranking groups.
• Sumerians Practice Religion
– Ziggurat: large, stepped platform thought to
have been topped by a temple dedicated to the
city’s chief god or goddess.
• Sumerians Invent Writing
– Cuneiform: Latin word cuneus for “wedge”,
because scribes wrote by making wedge-shaped
marks on clay tablets.
• Lasting Legacy of Sumer
Invaders, Traders, &
Empire Builders
First Empires Arise in Mesopotamia
• Sargon Builds the First Empire
– Sargon: ruler of Akkad. Invaded & conquered the neighboring
city-states of Sumer about 2300 B.C.
• Hammurabi Brings Babylon to Power
– Hammurabi: king of Babylon.
– Codify: arrange & set down in writing.
• Establishing Civil Law
– Civil Law: deals with private rights & matters.
• Defining Crime & Punishment
– Criminal Law: deals with offenses against others.
• Other Accomplishments Made by Hammurabi
– Improved irrigation, organized well-trained army, ordered
many temples to be repaired.
Conquests Bring New Empires & Ideas
• Hittites Learn the Secret of
– Pushed out of Asia Minor into Mesopotamia in about
1400 B.C.
• Assyrian Warriors Expand Ancient
– Lived on the upper Tigris
– Learned to forge iron weapons
– Established an empire by about 1350 B.C., & by
1100 B.C., they began expanding their empire
across Mesopotamia.
• Nebuchadnezzar Revives Babylon
– Nebuchadnezzar: aggressive & ruthless second king of
The Persians Establish a Huge Empire
• Darius Unites Many Peoples
– Darius I: ruled from 522 B.C. to 486 B.C.
– Adapted laws from the peoples he conquered.
– To encourage unity, Darius had hundreds of miles of
roads built or repaired.
• Improving Economic Life
– Barter Economy: exchanging one set of goods for another.
– Money Economy: goods & services are paid for through the
exchange of some token of an agreed value, such as a
coin or a bill.
• A New Religion Takes Hold
– Zoroaster: rejected the old Persian gods & taught that a
single wise god, Ahura Mazda, ruled the world.
Contributions of Phoenician Sea Traders
• Expanding Manufacturing & Trade
– Colony: a territory settled & ruled by people from
another land.
• Establishing an Alphabet
– Alphabet: a writing system in which each symbol
represents a single basic sound, such as a consonant
or vowel.
Kingdom on the Nile
Geography Helps Shape Egypt
• Yearly Floods Bring Benefits
– Annual floods soaked the lands with life-giving water
& deposited a layer of rich soil.
– People cooperated together to built dikes,
reservoirs, & irrigation ditches to channel the
rising river & store water for their dry season.
• Uniting Two Regions
Upper Egypt= in the
Lower Egypt= in the
Cataract: waterfall
Delta: a triangular
deposits of silt at
area of marshland formed by
the mouth of some rivers.
The Old Kingdom Forms
Dynasty: ruling family
• A Strong Government Takes Hold
– Pharaohs: Egyptian kings; played key roles in
government & religion.
– Bureaucracy: a system of government that includes
different job functions & levels of authority.
– Vizier: chief minister; depended upon by a pharaoh.
• The Great Pyramids Are Built
– Pharaohs built many cemeteries, or necropolises, that
contained pyramids around the area of Memphis.
– Great Pyramids still stand at Gaza.
– Tombs were built inside the pyramids.
– Pharaohs would often begin to build their own tombs
once they came to power because of how long it took
to build each of the pyramids.
The Turbulent Middle Kingdom
• Old Kingdom collapsed due to power struggles, crop
failures, & the cost of building the pyramids.
• Middle Kingdom was a turbulent period.
• The Nile did not rise as regularly as in past.
• Corruption & rebellions were common.
• Traders had greater contacts with the peoples of
the Middle East & the Mediterranean island of
New Kingdom Egypt Grows Strong
• Powerful Rulers Control Egypt
– Hatshepsut: Egypt’s first female ruler; took charge during the
New Kingdom.
– Thutmose III: Hatshepsut’s stepson; took over as pharaoh once
he reached adulthood.
– Ramses II: ruled for 66 years, (1279 B.C. to 1213 B.C.), as
pharaoh of the New Kingdom.
• Pushed Egyptian control northward as far as Syria.
• Used gold from Nubia to pay charioteers in his army.
• Egypt Battles With Its Neighbors
– Under Ramses II, Egypt fought fierce battles against the
Hittites of Asia Minor.
– Eventually, Egyptians & the Hittites signed a peace treaty (the
first such document in history known to have survived).
– Egypt & the Hittites “shall be at peace & in brotherhood
– Nubia: traded & fought with Egyptians; was conquered by Egypt
under Ramses II.
• Egypt Declines
– After 1100 B.C., Egyptian power slowly declined to invaders
such as the Assyrians & the Persians (also conquered the
Nile region).
– 332 B.C: Greeks took control of last Egyptian dynasty.
– 30 B.C: Roman armies displaced the Greeks.
Egypt Civilization
Religion Shapes Life in Ancient Egypt
• Chief Gods & Goddesses
– Amon-Re: great lord of the gods.
– Osiris: ruled Egypt until his jealous brother, Set,
killed him.
• Set cut Osiris into pieces & spread him throughout Egypt.
• Eventually became god of the dead & judge of souls seeking
admission to the afterlife.
– Isis: Osiris’ wife; saved him & brought him back to
• A Pharaoh Tries to Reshape Religion
– Amenhotep IV: challenged the powerful priests of
Amon-Re (1380 B.C.)
– Akhenation: meaning “he who serves Aton.”
• Amenhotep ordered his priests to only worship Aton
& to remove the names of other gods from their
How Egyptians Viewed the Afterlife
• Proving Oneself to Osiris
– Book of the Dead: used by Egyptians to survive the
dangerous journey through the underworld.
• Contained spells, charms, & formulas for the dead to use
in the afterlife.
– Egyptians believed that each soul had to pass a test
to win eternal life.
• Preparing the Dead for the Afterlife
– Mummification: the preservation of dead bodies by
embalming them & wrapping them in cloth.
• Evidence Found in the Tomb of
– Howard Carter: British archeologist who unearthed the
tomb of the young pharaoh Tutankhamen in 1922.
• “King Tut”: 18 year-old king who is now in a solid-gold
coffin on display along with his riches in several rooms
in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Egyptians Organize Their Society
• Most People Were Farmers
– Most Egyptians were peasant farmers
– In the off-season, peasant men were expected to serve
the pharaoh
• They labored to build palaces, temples, & tombs.
• Changes to Social Structure
– Social classes became more fluid as trade & welfare
– Trade offered new opportunities to the growing
merchant class.
• Egyptian Women Enjoyed Higher Status
– Greater independence than women elsewhere in the
ancient world.
– Manufactured perfume & textiles, managed farming
estates, & served as doctors.
– Could also enter priesthood, especially in the
service of goddesses.
Egyptians Make Advances in Learning
• Keeping Written Records
– Hieroglyphics: a system in which symbols or pictures called
hieroglyphs represent objects, concepts, or sounds.
• The Clues of the Rosetta Stone
– Deciphering: figuring out the meaning of.
– Rosetta Stone: flat, black stone presents the same passage
carved in hieroglyphics.
• Furthering Science & Mathematics
– Egyptians accumulated a vast store of knowledge in fields
such as medicine, astronomy, & mathematics.
– Doctors performed complex surgical operations.
– Egyptian priest-astronomers studied the heavens
• They mapped constellations & charted the movements of the
– Egyptians developed mathematics in response to practical
problems they faced.
• Scholars developed geometry in order to survey the land.
• Engineers also used geometry to calculate the exact size &
location of each block of stone to be used in construction of a
pyramid or temple.
Egyptians Develop Art & Literature
• Egyptian Arts
– Painting & sculpture styles remained almost unchanged for
thousands of years.
– Statues often showed people in stiff, standard poses.
• Egyptian Literature
– The Tale of Sinuhe: helps us to see how Egyptians viewed
both themselves & the people of the surrounding desert.
– Oldest Egyptian literature includes hymns & prayers to
gods, proverbs, & love poems.
Early Civilizations of India & Pakistan
Geography of the India Subcontinent
– Subcontinent: a large landmass that juts out from the
– Towering, snow-covered mountain ranges mark the
northern border of the subcontinent, including the
Hindu Kush & the Himalayas.
• Natural Features Define Regions
The Gangetic Plain lies just south of the Himalayas
The Deccan plateau juts into the Indian Ocean
Plateau: raised area of level land
The costal plains are separated from the Deccan by
low-lying mountain ranges, the Eastern & Western
• Monsoons Affect Climate
– Monsoons: seasonal winds that regularly blow from a
certain direction for part of the year.
– Monsoons have shaped Indian life.
– Rains are welcomed to water the crops
– If rains are late, famine & starvation will occur
Indus Civilization Rises & Falls
• Well-Planned Cities Reveal Organized
– Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro: have been considered possible
twin capitals of the civilization or cities that ruled in
the area one after the other.
• Making a Living by Farming & Trading
– Crops included wheat, barley, melons, & dates.
– Merchant ships carried cargoes of cotton cloth, grain,
copper, pearls, & ivory combs to distant lands.
• Religious Beliefs Develop
– Veneration: special regard for
– Archeologists believe from discoveries in the Indus
Valley that people of the Indus were Polytheistic.
• Indus Civilization Declines
– Scholars do not know for sure what happened to the Indus
civilization, but some say it was from a chain of events
such as; invaders, damage to local environment, possible
major flood, or possible earth quake.
Aryan Civilization Develops During
the Vedic Age
• Aryans Migrate Into India
– Vedas: a collection of hymns, chants, ritual
instructions, & other religious teachings.
– In the Vedas, Aryans appear as warriors who fought in
chariots with bows & arrows.
• From Nomadic Life to Farming
– Aryans mingled with the people they conquered,
gradually giving up their nomadic ways & settling
into villages to cultivate crops & breed cattle.
– Learned to make tools out of iron around 800 B.C.
– Aryan tribes were led by chiefs called rajahs.
– Rajahs: often the most skilled war leader, who had
been elected to his position by an assembly of
Aryan Civilization Develops During
the Vedic Age (Cont.)
• Aryans Structure Society
– Aryans divided their society into ranked groups based on
• Highest group: Brahmins, or priests
• Second highest: Kshatriyas, or warriors
• Third highest: the Vaisyas (herders, farmers, artisans, &
• Fourth group: the Sudras (farmworkers, servants, & other
laborers who occupied the lowest level of society)
• Aryans Religious Beliefs Develop
– Polytheistic
– Worshiped gods & goddesses who embodied natural forces
such as sky, sun, storm, & fire.
– Indra: the god of war
– Brahmen: a single spiritual power that existed beyond the
many gods of the Vedas & that resided in all things.
– Mystics: people who seek direct communion with divine
Epic Literature Tells About
Aryans Life
Acculturation: the blending of two or more cultures
• Mahabharata Tells of Warfare &
– Mahabharata: India’s greatest epic.
– Bhagavad-Gita: reflects important Indian religious
beliefs about immortality of the soul & the value of
performing one’s duty.
• Ramayana Teaches Values of
– Ramayana: recounts the fantastic deeds of the daring hero
Rama & his beautiful bride Sita.
Powerful Empires of India
Chandragupta Maurya: young adventurer who forged the first
Indian empire in 321 B.C.
The Maurya Empire Creates a Strong Government
• Chandragupta Forges an Empire
– From 321 B.C. to 185 B.C., the Maurya dynasty ruled over
a vast, united empire.
– Dissent: ideas that oppose those of the government.
• Asoka Rules by Moral Example
– Asoka: Chandragupta’s grandson; most honored Maurya
– Missionaries: people sent on a religious mission.
• Division & Disunity Set In
– Maurya power declined after Asoka’s death.
– By 185 B.C., the unity of the Maurya empire was
shattered as rival princes battled for power across the
Gangetic Plain.
Kingdoms Arise Across the
• Deccan was divided into many kingdoms after
the decline of Maurya power.
• Each kingdom has its own capital
• Trade was important in the Tamil kingdoms
• Tamil kingdoms left rich & diverse
– Tamil poets described fierce wars, heroic deeds, &
festive occasions.
The Guptas Bring About a Golden Age
Golden Age: period of great cultural achievement.
• Peace & Prosperity Abound
– Gupta rule was looser than Mauryas rule.
– Faxian, a Chinese Buddhist monk, visited India in the
400s & reported on the mild nature of the Gupta rule.
– Trade & farming flourished across the Gupta empire.
• Indians Make Advances in Learning
– Under Gupta rule, students were educated in religious
– Buddhist monastery-university at Nalanda taught
mathematics, medicine, physics, languages, literature, &
other subjects.
– Decimal System: numbers based on ten digits.
• Expanding India’s Literature
– Kalidasa: Gupta poet & playwright
– Shakauntala: famous play written by Kalidasa
• The Gupta Empire Declines
– Declined under the pressure of weak rulers, civil war, &
foreign invaders.
Family & Villages Life Shape Indians
• Joint Family Structure
– Joint family: parents, children, & their offspring shared a
common dwelling.
• The father or oldest male in the family headed the household.
• Adult sons continued to live with their parents even after they
married & had children.
• Property belonged to the whole family.
• The Family Performs Certain Duties
– Children worked with older relatives in the fields or at
family trade.
– Parents arranged good marriage for their children.
– Dowry: payment to the bridegroom.
• Role of Women Changes Over Time
– In early Aryan society, women seemed to have enjoyed a
higher status than in later times.
Family & Villages Life Shape
Indians Society (Cont.)
• Typical Village Structure
– Village sizes varied
– Each village included people of different castes who
performed the necessary tasks of daily life.
– Village headman & council made decisions.
• Agriculture & Trade Shape Life
– Farming depended on the rains brought by the summer
– Villages usually produced most of the food & goods that
they needed.
Rise of Civilization in China
Geography Influence Civilization
• Geographic Barriers Set China Apart
– Brutal deserts & high mountain ranges blocked the easy
movement of people.
• The Tian Shan & the Himalayas
– Thick rainforests divided China from southeast Asia
• China Includes Varied Regions
– The valleys of the Huang, or Yellow, River & the Chang
– Beyond the heartland are the outlying regions of Xinjiang &
• Harsh climates & rugged terrain
• Settling Along the “River of Sorrows”
– Chinese history began in the Huang River valley, where
Neolithic people learned to farm.
– Huang River got its name from the loess.
– Loess: fine, windblown yellow soil.
China Begins to Take Shape Under the
Shang Dynasty
• Formation of Government
– Shang rulers; formed a walled capital city at Anyang.
– Clans: groups of families who claim a common ancestor.
• Social Classes Develop
– Shang society included the royal family & a class of
noble warriors.
– Early Chinese cities supported a class of artisans &
– The majority of people in Shang China were peasants
clustering together in farming villages.
The Zhou Dynasty Further Defines
• Receiving the Mandate of Heaven
– The Zhou promoted the idea of the Mandate of Heaven, or
the divine right to rule, to justify the rebellion
against the Shang.
– Dynastic Cycle: the rise & fall of dynasties
• Establishing a Feudal State
– The Zhou rewarded their supporters by granting them
control over different regions.
– Feudalism: a system of government in which local lords
governed their own lands but owed military service &
other forms of support to the ruler.
The Zhou Dynasty Further Defines
China (Cont.)
• Spurring Economic Growth
– Knowledge of ironworking reached China in the 600s B.C.
– The Chinese began using money for the first time.
– Economic expansion led to an increase in China’s
• Zhou Dynasty Ends
– By 256 B.C., China was large, wealthy, & highly developed
center of civilization.
– Zhou dynasty was too weak to control feudal lords who
ignored the emperor.
– Qin dynasty brought an end to Zhou dynasty
Two Major Belief Systems Take
Root in Zhou China
Thinkers such as Confucius & Laozi put forward ideas on
how to restore social order & maintain harmony with
• Confucius Spreads His Wisdom
– Philosophy: system of ideas
• Five Relationships Shape Behavior
– Filial piety: respect for parents
– Confucius also taught that was a ruler’s
responsibility to provide good government.
• Confucianism Has Great Influence
• Daoism Teaches Harmony with Nature
Achievements Abound in Early China
• Discovering the Secret of Silk-making
– Learned how to make silk thread from the cocoons of
silkworms by 2640 B.C.
– Only royalty & nobles could afford robes made from this
luxurious silk.
– In time, silk became China’s most valuable export.
• Establishing a Complex System of Writing
– Oracle Bones: animal bones or turtle shells on which
Shang priests wrote questions addressed to the gods or
to the spirit of an ancestor.
– Characters: written symbols
– Calligraphy: elegant art form of writing created by
Chinese scholars.
• Creating the First Books
– Bound thin strips of wood or bamboo
– Carefully drawn characters on the flat surface using a
brush & ink.
– Book of Songs: poems, tender or sad love songs
Strong Rulers Unite China
Shi Huangdi: “First Emperor”
Shi Huangdi Unifies China
• Legalism Establishes Harsh Rule
– Legalism was based on the teachings of Hanfeizi, who died
in 233 B.C.
– Strength, not goodness, was a ruler’s greatest virtue.
• Unity Imposed
– The First Emperor standardized weights & measurements &
replaced the diverse coins of the Zhou states with Qin
• Constructing the Great Wall
– Remarkable & costly achievement for Shi Huangdi
– Snakes for thousands of miles across northern China
– Rebuilt many times over the centuries.
• Qin Dynasty Collapses
– Shi Huangdi died in 210 B.C.
– Anger over heavy taxes, forced labor, & cruel polices
exploded into revolts.
The Han Dynasty Strengthens China
• Emperor Wudi Makes Improvements
– Wudi: most famous Han emperor who took China to new
– Monopoly: complete control of a product or business by
one person or group.
– Expansion: expanding a country’s territory
• Silk Road Links China to the West
– Stretched for 4,000 miles, linking China to the Fertile
Crescent in the Middle East.
• China Selects Scholar-Officials
– Confucianism official belief system of the state
– Well-educated scholars run the bureaucratic government
• Founding the Civil Service System
– Civil Servants: officials in the government
– Remained in use until 1912
• Han Empire Overthrown
– Warlords: local military rulers
Achievements of the Han Golden Age
• Advancing Science & Medicine
– Acupuncture: developed around 2500 B.C., doctors insert
needles into the skin at specific points to relieve pain
or treat various illnesses.
• Forging Ahead With Technology &
– Invented the method of making paper out of wood pulp
– Practical inventions included bronze & iron stirrups,
fishing reels, wheelbarrows, & suspension bridges.
• Expanding the Arts
– Lessons for Women: carefully spells out proper behavior
for women & men; by Ban Zhao

Ancient Middle East & Egypt