Ancient World History
Chapter 2
First Civilization:
Africa and Asia
Geography of the Nile Valley
“Egypt is wholly the gift of the Nile”
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Greek Historian Herodotus
Nile gave life, while the desert around them
protected Egypt from invasions
Yearly Floods
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Every Spring, origins of the Nile would become
flooded with rains
Flooded down river, depositing silt over Egyptian
farmlands
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Rich layer of soil
Egyptians eagerly anticipated floods
Geography of the Nile Valley
(Con’t)
Uniting the Land
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Two regions of Egypt
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Upper Egypt
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Lower Egypt
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Located near the first cataract, waterfall, of the Nile, Northward
to within 100 miles of Mediterranean
Covered Delta region of the Nile
Triangular area of marshland formed by deposits of silt at the
mouth of most rivers
Upper Egypt King, Menes
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About 3100 B.C., united the two regions of Egypt
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Used Nile extensively
The Old Kingdom (2700-2200
B.C.)
Pharaohs, Egyptian rulers, organized a
strong, centralized state
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Considered Gods
Depended on vizier, chief minister to:
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Collect taxes
Control farming
Organize irrigation system
The Old Kingdom (2700-2200
B.C.) (Con’t)
Pyramids
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Built during Old Kingdom
Preserved bodies, along with every they
needed in pyramids
Built with two ton limestone blocks
Took decades to build
Power Struggles, crop failures, and cost of
pyramids brought end of Old Kingdom
The Middle Kingdom
Turbulent Period of Egyptian History
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Delta taken over by Hyskos in 1700 B.C.
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Irregularity of Nile flooding
Corruption and rebellions common
Egyptians learned about the horse drawn
fighters
Began trading with Middle East
The New Kingdom
Powerful Rulers
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
Ramses II most powerful from 1290-1224 B.C.
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Pushed boundary of Egyptian empire to the
Euphrates River
Decline
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Outstretched army and loss of political power
Foreign armies began invading as well
Egypt and Nubia
Trade and fighting between Egypt and
Nubia very common during each of the
three kingdoms
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Nubia traded ivory, cattle, slaves and gold to
Egypt
Influenced art and culture as well
Section 2
► Egyptian
Civilization
Egyptian Religion
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Chief Gods and Goddesses
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Amon Re
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Osiris
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Ruled the underworld and God of the Nile
Isis
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Chief God
Sun God
Taught women to grind corn, spin flax, weave cloth and care
for children
Religious Rebellion
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About 1380 B.C. Pharaoh Akhenanton challenged priest of
Amon Re
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Wanted to serve God Aton
Preist ultimately returned to Amon Re after Akhenton died
Egyptian Religion (Con’t)
Belief in Afterlife
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Fateful Test
Must pass test to win eternal life
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Osiris would test the heart of the dead to the
feather of truth
People lived according to the Book of the
Dead
Mummification
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Preservation of the dead
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Done so the soul would have a body in the
afterlife
Evidence of the Tomb of
Tutankhamen
Most pharaohs were buried in the Valley of
the Kings
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
Treasures were stripped from tombs over the
centuries
Except for Tutankhamen’s tomb
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Son-in-law of Akhenton
Tomb filled with vast treasures
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Not found till 1922
Egyptian Society
► Life
of the Farmer
 Most were slaves
 Work soil, repairing dikes and building lavish
buildings for the pharaohs
► Social
Change
 New Kingdom trade brought more riches to
merchants and artisans
►The
merchant class grew slightly stronger
Egyptian Society (Con’t)
Women
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Enjoyed generally greater independence than
other civilizations
Women could:
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Inherit land
Enter business deals
Obtain divorces, etc.
Jobs were still separated by Genders
Egyptian Learning
Scribes kept recordings for high classes
Written records
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Hieroglyphics
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Eventually involved ideograms
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Pictures symbolizes action for ideas
Eventually developed demotic
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Pictures writing
Simpler form of writing
Wrote on papyrus
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Paper not created in Africa yet
Egyptian Learning (Con’t)
Rosetta Stone
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Eventually hieroglyphic meanings were
forgotten
A flat black stone with the same message
written in three different languages
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Hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Greek
Used to learn hieroglyphic language
Egyptian Learning (Con’t)
Advances in Medicine and Science
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Contained vast knowledge in medicine, astronomy,
and mathematics
Medicine
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Astronomers
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Human body knowledge from mummification
Map the planets and developed a form of 12 month calendar
Mathematics
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Used in engineering for building projects- Geometry
Arts and Literature
Paintings and Sculptures
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Very little artistic change in 1,000 years
Statues were stiff-standard forms
Sphinx
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Pharaoh displayed as a fierce lion
Later influenced the Romans
Literature
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Hymns, poems and prayers to the Gods
Looking Ahead
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After Egyptian Empire fell, the area
remained as an economic and cultural
center
Section 3
► City
States of Ancient Sumer
Geography of the Fertile
Crescent
Lies between the Tigris and Euphrates River
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Also known as Mesopotamia
Floods and Irrigation
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Floods were very violent
Many dikes and irrigation ditches were used to control
the rivers
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The First Cities
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Sumerians were the first to build
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The Epic of Gilgamesh
Built Ur and Erech
Mesopotamia was a very trade oriented region
Sumerian Civilization
Government and Society
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The ruler was in charge of city maintenance
Also often seen as servant of Gods
Had social hierarchies
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System of ranks
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Women had selective rights
Sumerian Religion
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Polytheistic
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Peoples highest duty to keep God’s happy
Built Ziggurats
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Gods in control of all aspects of Life
Stepped pyramid temples
Offered sacrifices to please God’s
Advances in Learning
Developed Cuneiform
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Possible earliest form of writing
Developed basic algebra and geometry
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Based number system on 6
Looking Ahead
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As a trading center, conquered by many
other city-states
Passed on their own culture each time a
new city-state conquered Mesopotamia
Section 4
► Invaders,
Traders and Empire Builders
Ruling a Large Empire
Invasion and Conquest very common
The First Empire Builder (2300 B.C.)
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Sargon, leader of Akkad, invaded Sumer
Ruled till his death
Hammurabi the Law Giver
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King of Babylon, which united Mesopotamia
Also codified, or wrote down, all the laws
which became known as the Code of
Hammurabi
Ruling a Large Empire (Con’t)
Crime and Punishment
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Codified Criminal law
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Offenses against another person
Also specified punishments
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“an eye for an eye”
Codified Civil Law
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Laws over private rights and matters
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Contracts, taxes, marriage, etc.
Warfare and Spread of Ideas
Secrets of Ironworking
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Hittites learned to extract iron from ore
Ore plentiful and iron stronger than bronze or copper
Assyrian Warriors
Lived on Upper Tigris
Possessed knowledge of Iron
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Considered fierce warriors
Took over Mesopotamia
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Built Nineveh
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Possibly built the biggest city of that time
Built First library
Warfare and Spread of Ideas
(Con’t)
Babylon Revived (612 B.C.)
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Nebuchadnezzar defeated Assyrians and
expanded Babylon Empire
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Expanded knowledge of stars
Built famous Hanging Gardens
Persian Empire (539 B.C.)
Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered
Babylonians
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Persians practiced tolerance, or acceptance of
conquered cultures
Uniting Many Peoples (522-486 B.C.)
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United Persia under Darius
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Set up provinces, with a governor called satrap
Set up a code of laws
Repaired or built hundreds of miles of roads
Persian Empire (539 B.C.)
(Con’t)
Economic Life
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Set up common weights and measures
Used coins
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Many still used barter system however
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Trading goods for another
Coins did begin a form of money economy in
Mesopotamia
New Religion
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Zoroaster stressed monotheism
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Belief in one God
Also stressed the idea of evil vs. Good, and idea of
Heaven, hell and final judgment
Phoenician Sea Traders
Gained fame as sailors and traders
Manufacturing and trade
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Created glass from coastal sand
Developed words Bible and bibliography from
the city of Byblos
Setup colonies
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Territory controlled from afar
Phoenician Sea Traders (Con’t)
Alphabet
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Developed a system of 22 symbols for
consonant sounds
Later Greeks adapted the system and added
symbols for vowels
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Thus 26 letters in our alphabet
Section 5
► The
Roots of Judaism
Early History of the Israelites
Also known as Hebrews
Believed a Single God took a hand in their
lives and wrote the Torah
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First five books of today’s bible
A Nomadic People
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Father of the Hebrews is Abraham
Eventually went to Canaan
Genesis tells of famine, which forced many
Israelites to migrate to Egypt
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Joseph and his brothers
Later Moses led them out of Egypt (Passover)
The Kingdom of Israel (1000
B.C.)
David unites Israel into one nation
Son Solomon expands Israel’s influence and power
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Also built the Temple of God
Division and Conquest
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After Solomon’s death, Israel North and Judah to the
South
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Both parts fall to conquerors
Judah taken by Babylonians
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Many psalms written during the Babylonian Captivity
Hebrews began being called Jews
Under Cyrus of Persia, Hebrews were released to Canaan
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Book of Nehemiah
A Covenant With God
One true God
Israelites were monotheistic
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Belief in one God
Believed in an Omnipresent and Omnipotent
The Chosen People
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Abraham believed he had a covenant with God
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Binding Agreement
Gen. 12:2-3
Moses renewed this covenant after the Exodus
Teachings on Law and Morality
Torah spells out the laws for Israel
Patriarchal Society
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Men held greater legal and moral authority
The Ten Commandments
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Included keeping Sabbath as a holy day of rest
An Ethical World View
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Prophets were the guiding pulse for Hebrews
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Such as Isaiah and Jeremiah
Believed in strong ethics
Rulers were humans bound to God’s law as well
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Ancient World History