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Chapter 2

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Mairi Cowan

Chapter 2: Early Societies of WestAsia and NorthAfrica to 500 BCE • King Sargon OfAkkad – first empire builder o Abandoned in infancy by his mother, put in a basket and set him drift on a river and rescued by gardener (raised him too) o In WestAsia in the 24 century BCE, he conquered Sumer (northwest of Persian Gulf) o Expanded commerce, trading – India and Crete EARLY WESTASIAN: • Agriculture rose around 9000 BCE • Was practiced a lot in the plains around Tigris and Euphrates river • Farming villages merged into towns, some town grew into cities with central government, organized religion and extensive commerce – thus emerged one of the world’s earliest civilization called Mesopotamia (means between rivers) Early Mesopotamia: The City –States of Sumer • 3500 BCE number of cities (Ur and Uruk) emerged in a region called Sumer (near Tigris and Euphrates river) • 3000 BCE some cities had protective walls • Framers home – hut made of sun baked mud bricks – who tended their crops by day in nearby fields • Other cities dwellers, supported by framers’surplus food, specialized in other occupation o Artisans o Merchants o Laborers o Priests/priestess o Soldiers o Official government • Early Sumerian city – states connect and conflict with each other o City-states: independent urban political domains that controlled the surrounding country side • Provoking periodic war • Leaders emerged in combat often become king and officials • King amassed power to command armies, levy tribute and taxes, dispense justice, built – canals, roads, dikes • Kinship became hereditary – son become king • Priests/priestess exalted them as descendants of the gods • Sumerian Religion: o Famous Sumerian ruler was King Gilgamesh of Uruk  Hero of Epic of Gilgamesh  Handsome young king, part god and man  Confronted Enkidu – former wild man who was tamed by a prostitute  Both battle but become friends and went on adventures  Fertility goddess Ishtar becomes infatuated with Gilgamesh. He brazenly spurns her advances  In rage her father, sky of god send wild bull to destroy him – both friend slay the beast  God responds takes Enkidu’s life – who describes underworld  Gilgamesh try to avoid fate but could not find immorality  Gilgamesh epic illuminates Sumerian religion and worldview o Polytheistic: meaning that people worshiped more than one god o Gods/goddesses personified forces central to agricultural society o Religion played central role o Sumerian cities constructed ziggurats – massive brick towers ascending upward in tiers, typically topped by shrines for religious rituals • Commerce, Invocation, Cuneiform Writing: o Promoted regional commerce o Pioneered use wheels o Fashion metals into tools and weapons o Devised ways to keep track of time o Performed architectural engineering feats o Invented writing o Wheat, barley, sheep o Trade in textile and grains o Wooden boats, cargo ships, wheeled carts pulled by animal o 3000 BCE transporting goods in carts o Use cooper by pounding than later learn to heat – useful small tools o Then mixed copper and tin = bronze – weapons, swords, knives o Created colander based on cycles of the moon o Double entry booking o Computation system based on segments of 12 and 60 o Devised symbols – record financial and administrative transactions o Record – rituals, laws, legends o Inscribing figures in wet clay o They etched symbols form right to left using wedge like characters that scholars now call cuneiform – mean wedge shaped o Had school to teach writing Akkadian Connections and the spread of Sumerian Culture: • 2350 BCE, Sumer’s city-states were conquered by King Saragon ofAkkad • Conquered most of Mesopotamia and connecting with his region • Conquers learned from societies – introduced toAkkad empire (idea across eastern Mediterranean • Akkad empire decline after Saragon death – overrun by nomadic warriors • Regained power, led by the city state of Ur, which extended its rule over southern Mesopotamia until 2000 BCE • The region then control of outsiders calledAmorites Babylonian Society and Hammurabi’s Code: • Amorites – warlike pastoral nomads fromArabia, came to Mesopotamia around 2000 BCE (now Syria) • Ruled until 1600 BCE • Capital city was Babylon on the Euphrates their empire culture are often called Babylonian • Ruler Hammurabi issued law code on his name o Was carved on a black stone pillar and placed in a temple to promote public knowledge of the law o Regulated mattes: trade, contracts, marriage, adultery, debts, estates o An eye for an eye: attempting not only to deter crimes but also to limit retaliation by ensuring that punishments did not exceed the damage done o Society was hierarchical: nobles, commoners, slaves o Penalties depended on social status o Property rights – if theft or robbery would die o Penalized for providing shoddy goods o Tenant farmers gave the landowner a portion of their crops o Code showed society was patriarchal – men greater than women o Women were property right – would sell them for slavery, have second wife if first wife had no kid o Wife cheated – would be drown o Marriage were contractual – arranged by parents and sealed with a dowry – an endowment of money or property supplied by bride’s family o Centralized government, taxation o Irrigation channels, dams • After his death, Babylon declined Indo-European Migrations: • 1600 BCE spoke languages now classified as Indo-Europeans • Indo Europeans: relating to the family of languages spoken over the greater part of Europe and Asia as far as northern India. • Divided into subfamilies – Greek, Italic, Slavic etc. • Spoken byAkkadians, Babylonian – place in Semitic language family withArabic and Hebrew • Indo-Europeans nomads domesticate horses – transport, warfare • Indo-European migrate toAnatolia, Europe, Iran, India Hittite Connection: • Indo –European migrants were the Hittites – settled inAnatolia around 2000 BC • Wealth attracted – swept into Mesopotamia, conquering Babylon • Expanded in Syria • Blended it – writing to Indo • Use iron to make tools since lacked bronze – keep it a secret but leaked • Inexpensive metal tool – advance warfare and agriculture • Women could reject the husband picked • Sea people: invaded Later Mesopotamia:Assyrians and Chaldeans: • Rugged warriors calledAssyrians – from hill country near the northe
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