UNIT 2 – CHAPTER 5: THE RISE OF RIVERVALLEY CIVILIZATIONS
ESSENTIAL QUESTIONSWhat was the Neolithic Revolution? What factors led to the rise of the firstcivilizations? What were the accomplishments of the earlyriver valley civilizations?
CHAPTER 5 VOCABULARY CultureNeolithic RevolutionCivilizationMesopotamiaNile RiverPharaohHieroglyphicsCuneiform Indus RiverHuang HeTheocracyMonarchyMonotheismTen CommandmentsCode of Hammurabi
IMPORTANT IDEASA.B.C.The earliest humans survived by hunting andgathering their food. They used tools of wood,bone, and stone. They also learned to make fire.About 10,000 years ago, people in the MiddleEast developed the first agriculture anddomesticated animals during the NeolithicRevolution.A civilization is a form of human culture in whichsome people live in cities, have complex socialinstitutions, use some form of writing, and areskilled at using science and technology.
IMPORTANT IDEASD.E.The first civilizations arose in fertile river valleys,where favorable geographic conditions allowedfarmers to grow a surplus of food.The Sumerians in Mesopotamia invented thewheel, sailboat and cuneiform writing. TheEgyptians developed an advanced civilizationalong the banks of the Nile. They built largestone pyramids for the afterlife of their ruler – thepharaoh – and developed a form of writing knownas hieroglyphics.
IMPORTANT IDEASF. Other early civilizations developed along the IndusRiver on the Indian subcontinent and along theHuang He (Yellow River) in China.G. The earliest civilizations were theocracies andmonarchies. In a theocracy, religious leadersgovern; in a monarchy, a hereditary ruler headsthe government.H. Judaism, the religion of the ancient Hebrews(Jews), was the first religion to worship only oneGod.
1. EARLY HUMAN SOCIETY Anthropologists study theorigins, customs, andbeliefs of humankind.Most anthropologists nowbelieve the Great RiftValley in East Africa wasthe birthplace ofhumankind. Manyscientists believe thathuman beings as we knowthem today – homosapiens – first appearedsometime between400,000 and 200,000years ago, during the lastIce Age.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE Human beings had several importantadvantages over other animals: superiorintellect, the use of hands to make tools, andthe ability to communicate through speech.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE Because human beings had these ways ofcommunicating, remembering and making things,they were able to pass on what they learned andtheir way of doing things from one generation to thenext. In this way, the first human cultures developed.
THE HUNTER-GATHERERS People in the earliest human societies werehunter-gatherers. They did not know how togrow their own food. Instead, they relied onhunting, fishing and gathering wild plants forfood. They learned to make fires, to makespears with pieces of bone or stone, and tomake canoes and boats out of logs.
THE HUNTER-GATHERERS Because thesepeople madetools of stone,historians refer tothese earlysocieties asStone Agecultures. Overthousands ofyears, Stone Agepeoples alsolearned to makeclay pottery andto domesticate(tame) dogs.
THE HUNTER-GATHERERS Early humans spent most of their time huntingfor food. They migrated to areas where food –nuts, berries, fruits, grains and especially herdsof wild animals – could be found. During theIce Age, people migrated out of Africa to otherparts of the world. Eventually, people evenmigrated to the Americas and Australia.Wherever people went, they showed greatingenuity in adapting to local conditions.
THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION About 10,000 yearsago, one of the greatturning points inhistory occurred.People began tochange from huntersand gatherers toproducers of food.Two importantdevelopmentsbrought about thischange: peoplelearned how to growfood and how to herdanimals.
THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION Anthropologists believethis change first occurredin parts of the MiddleEast, where wild wheatand barley were plentiful.People noticed they couldspread the seeds of thesegrains to plant and growtheir own crops. Theyalso learned how to herdfarm animals such asgoats, sheep and cattle.These advances are nowreferred to as theNeolithic Revolution.
THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION Wherever agriculture wasintroduced, people no longerhad to wander in search offood. Instead, they could buildpermanent homes and villagesand established a fixed way oflife. Populations grew.Although the emergence ofagricultural societies isbelieved to have first occurredin Southwest Asia, it also tookplace independently at latertimes in Southeast Asia, Africaand the Americas.
THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION The Emergence of Social Classes. TheNeolithic Revolution brought both benefits andproblems. People could grow more food thanthey had been able to gather or hunt, but theywere also more vulnerable to attack by otherpeoples. Thus changes in economics – howthese people met their needs for food andshelter – led to social and political changes.
THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION The Emergence of Social Classes. Theintroduction of agriculture and settlements ledto the emergence of two new social classes:warriors and priests. Defense of the villagebecame a major concern, resulting in theemergence of a warrior class. A priesthoodemerged to conduct religious rituals in order topromote a good harvest and to protect thevillage from danger.
2. THE RISE OF RIVER VALLEY CIVILIZATIONS As agricultural societies developed and grew,their way of life further changed. Around 3,500B.C., the first civilizations arose.
The first civilizations developed in four separateriver valleys. Each of these river valleys offereda mild climate and a water highway to otherplaces. Water from the rivers also could beused for drinking and for cooking food. Each ofthese valleys was also a flood plain where anoverflowing river deposited fertile soil. This richsoil led to abundant harvests and foodsurpluses.
MESOPOTAMIA (3500 B.C. – 1700 B.C.) Sometimebetween 5,000and 6,000 yearsago, the first rivervalley civilizationdeveloped inMesopotamia, theregion locatedbetween the Tigrisand EuphratesRivers (in presentday Iraq).Mesopotamia wasa Greek termmeaning the “landbetween tworivers.”
MESOPOTAMIA Agriculture. AlthoughMesopotamia was hot anddry, people learned how toirrigate the land by divertingwater from the Tigris andEuphrates Rivers. Irrigationallowed farming settlementsto flourish and food suppliesto increase. Fewer peoplewere able to produce morefood, leading to a surplus.Other people could begin tospecialize in activities otherthan farming. Some becamepotters, weavers or metalworkers. Others becamewarriors and priests.
MESOPOTAMIA Government. Thepeople ofMesopotamia builtseveral cities. Atfirst, each city-state,such as Uruk, Ur,and Babylon, had itsown ruler and localgods. Later, severalof these city-stateswere united togetherunder a single ruler.
MESOPOTAMIA Building. TheMesopotamians were theworld’s first city-builders.They lacked stone ortimber to build their cities.Instead, they made theirbuildings from mud bricksand crushed reeds. Theybuilt walled cities, templeswith arches, and steppedpyramids known asziggurats. Each zigguratwas made of a series ofsquare levels, with eachlevel slightly smaller thanthe one below it.
MESOPOTAMIA Cultural and Scientific Contributions. Some ofthe most important inventions in history tookplace in ancient Mesopotamia. The Sumerians(the people of Sumer) invented the wheel andthe sailboat. They were able to figure how toreroute some of the water to irrigate fieldsfarther away. They also developed tools andweapons of copper and bronze. Bronze ismade by melting tin and copper together: it isstronger than copper alone.
MESOPOTAMIA Cultural and ScientificContributions. TheSumerians devised acalendar, dividing theyear into 12 months.Later, the Babyloniansdeveloped a numbersystem based on 60,providing the basis forour seconds andminutes today.
MESOPOTAMIA Cultural and ScientificContributions. They alsoinvented the world’searliest known writingsystem, cuneiform, a formof symbol writing on claytablets. Cuneiform writingused three-dimensionalmarks by a stylus into claybefore it hardened. Onlythe elite could read andwrite in cuneiform.Generally, priests andscribes were the ones whohad this knowledge.
MESOPOTAMIA Legal System. TheBabyloniansdeveloped theearliest written lawcode –the Code ofHammurabi. Itcovered mostoccurrences in dailylife. Its aim was toensure justice andprotect the weak.Code of Hammurabi written incuneiform script.
MESOPOTAMIA Women in Mesopotamia. Most girls stayed athome with their mothers, where they learnedcooking and housekeeping. Women wereresponsible for raising children and crushing thegrain. There were enormous variations in therights enjoyed by women in different socialclasses. Wealthier women were able to go to themarketplace to buy goods, could complete legalmatters in their husband’s absence, and couldeven own property. These women could engage inbusiness for themselves, and obtain divorces. Afew women, such as relatives of the ruler, enjoyedeven higher status in Mesopotamia society.
EGYPT (3200 B.C. – 500 B.C.) Egypt is located inNortheast Africa. Theworld’s longest river, theNile, runs through it. Eachyear, the Nile floods thelands along its banks,depositing fertile soil.With bright sunshine, along growing season, richsoil, and an ample supplyof fresh water, Egyptianfarmers were able to growlarge amounts of food.Farmers along the Nilewere able to support alarge number ofcraftsmen, warriors,priests, and nobles. Easeof communication alongthe river encouraged thedevelopment of a highlycentralized government.
EGYPT Government and Society.The most powerful person inancient Egypt was thepharaoh (king). Thepharaoh governed Egypt asan absolute ruler. Thepharaoh owned all the land,commanded the army,made laws, controlledirrigation and grain supplies,and defended Egypt fromforeigners. Egyptiansconsidered the pharaoh tobe a god.
EGYPT Governmentand Society.Egypt was amonarchy, asystem ofgovernmentin whichpoliticalpower isinherited.Eachpharaohinheritedabsolutepower fromhis father.
EGYPT Government and Society. Next in the social order belowthe pharaoh came the priests and nobles. Then cameEgypt’s warriors, scribes, merchants, and craftsmen. Atthe bottom of society were peasants and slaves. Theyspent their time farming, herding cattle, and working onbuilding projects for the pharaohs.
EGYPT Religion. The ancient Egyptians believed the bodyshould be preserved after death to participate inthe afterlife. When pharaohs died, their bodieswere embalmed and buried in a special roomunder a large triangular stone tomb known as apyramid. Here they were surrounded with gold,jewels, and other precious objects for use in theafterlife, which Egyptians imagined as similar tolife before death. Archaeologists have used theseartifacts to learn a great deal about ancient Egypt.
INDIA More than 5,000years ago, the IndusRiver Valley becameanother of the firstcenters of humancivilization. In thisregion, as in Egyptand Mesopotamia, ariver deposited richsoil over theneighboring plainduring its annualflood.
INDIA Agriculture and Building. Farmers grew barley,wheat, dates and melons. Food surplusesallowed people to build large cities likeHarrappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Each of thesecities had more than 30,000 people.
INDIA Agriculture and Building. More than 1,000 citiesand settlements belonging to the Indus RiverValley civilization have already been excavated.The artifacts found in these settlements suggest atechnologically advanced urban culture.Dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platformsand protective walls were present in many of theircities. They were also among the first “urbanplanners,” with almost all their houses connectedto public sewers and a water supply. Thesepeople, known as the Harrappans, were also thefirst people known to make cotton cloth.
INDIA Trade and Collapse. Trade was an importantpart of the Harrappan economy. Many smallclay seals, probably used for trading purposes,have been discovered by archaeologists. Theyhave also found kilns for making pottery andevidence of the use of metals. The Harappansdeveloped their own form of writing, althoughscholars are still unable to decipher it. No oneknows exactly why this civilization collapsed,but its end occurred suddenly.
CHINA About 500 years after the settlement of theIndus River Valley, China’s first civilizationemerged in the fertile plains along the HuangHe (Yellow river).
CHINA Agriculture. As in the Nile and Indus River Valleys, thefertility of the soil along the Huang He was increased bythe river’s periodic floods. Around 4,500 B.C., peoplealong the Huang He began growing millet (a type ofgrain). Later, they learned to farm soybeans and raisechickens, dogs, and pigs.
CHINA Government. Around1700 B.C., a rulingfamily, or dynasty,known as the Shang,took power. They builtthe first Chinese citiesand established theircapital at Anyang, nearthe Huang He. TheShang ruled with thehelp of powerfulnobles. Shang kingswere military leaders.They were also highpriests who offeredsacrifices to their royalancestors.
CHINA Cultural Contributions. The people living in theHuang He Valley were skilled at many crafts.Their ability in bronze work can be seen inmany objects surviving from this period,including superior weapons and ceremonialvessels. They also were the first to make silktextiles from silkworm cocoons.
CHINA Cultural Contributions. Finally, they developed asystem of writing with pictographs, known ascharacters. Each character represented oneword. Their pictorial characteristics, often withonly minor modifications, are still used inwritten Chinese today. Even those speakingdifferent dialects use the same characteristics.
THE ANCIENT HEBREWS The ancient Hebrews,or Israelites, livedsouth of Phoenicia inthe area occupied bypresent-day Israel,Lebanon, and Jordan.Because of theirlocation, the Hebrewswere deeply influencedby the civilizations ofboth Mesopotamia andEgypt. According totradition, the forefatherof the Hebrews,Abraham, grew up inMesopotamia in thecity of Ur. Abrahammoved to Israel.
THE ANCIENT HEBREWS Unlike other ancient peoples,the Hebrews did not believe inmany gods. Instead, theybelieved in one universal God,who was both just and allpowerful. This new religionwas called Judaism. Jews didnot believe that God hadhuman characteristics or thehead or body of an animal, likethe gods and goddesses ofMesopotamia and Egypt.
THE ANCIENT HEBREWS Jews saw their God as an invisible but powerfulforce or spirit that created the world and thatdemanded proper moral conduct.Monotheism, the belief in one God, became thebasis for several later religions, including bothChristianity and Islam.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS The early history of the Hebrews and their relationship withGod is told in the first books of the Bible, known as the OldTestament. According to the Bible, the ancient Hebrewsmigrated to Egypt to escape food shortages from drought.They remained in Egypt for hundreds of years, where theybecame enslaved. Their leader, Moses, later took them outof Egypt and freed them from slavery.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS According to the Bible,Moses also presented theHebrews with the TenCommandments, whichcame directly from God.These commandmentsforbade stealing, murder,adultery, and other formsof immoral behavior.They also commandedthe Hebrews to worshipone God and to keep theSabbath (a day to rest).
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS When the Hebrews returned to Israel fromEgypt, around 1,000 B.C., they found it wasoccupied by new peoples. This led to a seriesof wars, ending with the Jewish re-conquest ofIsrael. The Hebrews then established theircapital at Jerusalem, where they built a templeto worship God.
Euphrates Rivers. Irrigation allowed farming settlements to flourish and food supplies to increase. Fewer people were able to produce more food, leading to a surplus. Other people could begin to specialize in activities other than farming. Some became potters, weavers or metal workers. Others became warriors and priests.