Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Classical Studies
Chris Wallace

CLAA01 Sept 21 Mesopotamia Agricultural Revolution 5500 BCE  Ability to irrigate from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers gave the Mesopotamians the chance to begin farming throughout their land.  They needed this type of irrigation because it does not rain often. Urban Revolution 3100 BCE  Towns to cities.  This meant trade for not readily available products.  What products were produced were stored in a central storehouse. o Tokens for these products showed what individuals could access from the storehouse. This was an early form of money. o These tokens could be pressed into clay to form an early type of bank statement.  This eventually changed to a form of writing called cuneiform: this was made of triangular wedge-shaped marks in stone to indicate objects. o This was one of the first examples of literacy. War between Uma and Lagash 2500 BCE  Trade meant bigger, more condensed populations. This eventually led to war.  The war between Uma and Lagash (these are two are ancient Mesopotamian cities) is the first recorded historical events  The accounts of this battle showed that the cities were theocratic that they didn’t seem to have a set leader. The accounts wrote of divine authority, with gods seeming to make all the decisions.  Researchers have a tablet (text) and art (Stele of the Vulture) describing the war. o Panels often use prolepsis (showing events before they occur) because artists often only have one panel to work with.  The Standard of Ur, another example of Mesopotamian art, depicts life in the city of Ur, Mesopotamia. o One side depicts war, with a god-like leader who is larger than the humans on the standard. o The other side depicts peace, showing trade, agriculture, and banqueting. Sargon of Akkad unites Mesopotamia 2240 BCE  Sargon is potentially the first historical person. CLAA01 Sept 21 o His story is very mythical and draws comparisons to other mythical heros.  Name ‘Sargon’ means ‘Just Ruler’, which seems a little too apt.  Parents were royalty but did not want him. They placed him in a basket and sent him down a river, where he was rescued. (This draws comparisons to the story of Moses)  Sargon started as the cupbearer to the king and then became king himself.  He began first empire, Mesopotamia. o He also founded Akkad, though we can find no archeological evidence of it.  He began a dynasty.  Sargon wanted to align himself with divine control, by becoming an intermediary to the gods instead of becoming a god himself. o He restored the ‘homes’ of the gods, the ziggurats.  They are easily destroyed by rains so restoration was necessary. o Sargon also appointed his daughter, Enheduanna (2285-2250) to be a priestess/princess, carried a lot of power.  She is the first woman that we know of.  Priestess of the goddess of An and Urac.  She wrote over 150 prayers to the gods.  She was exiled by her brother after her father’s death.  Mesopotamians followed the belief that life is awful and is driven by chaos. The afterlife is just as bad, if not worse. A very pessimistic outlook on life. o If bad things occurred to a person, it is because gods do it. To fix things, the person must make amends to the gods.  Naram-Sin (2254-2218) o He was the grandson of Sargon. o He did not think of himself as intermediary to the gods but a god himself. The ‘Sin’ in his name was in reference to the moon god.  Naram-Sin thought he was the living personification of the moon god. Reign of Hammurabi 1792-1750 BCE  Babylonia becomes the seat of the empire. o Conquest of neighbours by 1763.  Hammurabi was most famous for his law code. o It is not the first law code, as many think. Others exist before it. This
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