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Lecture 2

HIST 1720 Lecture 2: Beginning of civilization- Sumer and Egypt

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HIST 1720
Caroline Dunn

Chapter 1 Water and Soil, Stone and Metal: The First Civilizations Focus questions: 1) Is there a real conceptual difference between history and prehistory? History heavily depends on writing, and there isnt much writing in prehistory. History can be explained by a record of events in the past and prehistory isnt recorded. The difference is this writing. 2) What do historians mean when they speak of civilization? its an expansive term; usually incudes specialized labor; nonjudgmental sense to designate a society that has advanced beyond a basic search for sustenance 3) Why did important cities (areas of civilization) arise in major river valleys? by managing water, able to produce many grains; but lacked in stone and metal. Began trade relations. With floods increase in soil, increase in farming, increase in population 4) What caused the emergence of social stratification? clan elders governed cities but could not protect the people from the wrath of the gods therefore, priests handled the deities and kings protected and controlled the people then social classes developed under the hierarchy 5) Why did humans develop writing and what tools helped them write? Sumerianscuneiform in order to keep track of trading recordsshipments used clay tablets baked in the sun Egyptians hieroglyphs used to pass on cultural information used paper made of papyrus 6) What was the purpose of organized religion in ancient societies? believed their reason for existing was to serve the gods did not want to be punished if the gods became unhappy became the reason for society to behave and to put in effort The origins of western civilization lie in southern Iraq Sumer (5,000 years ago) seems like an unlikely place for civilization to begin; exposed to raiding groups from the Iranian Steppe civilization expansive term origin of science, philosophy, art and religion these elements make up civilization, which ultimately began in Sumer lugal one who rises up as chief or leader in society Ubaids first identifiable group to settle in the region because of the fertile crescent, the techniques of agriculture spread eastward into India, westward into Mediterranean and even Europe Start of the Bronze Age The Akkadian Conquest the Akkadians overwhelmed the Sumerian citystates around 2350 BCE, establishing the Akkadian period adopted Sumerian culture
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