Chapter 4 Mesopotamia Lesson 1 The Sumarians The first civilizations in Mesopotamia



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Chapter 4 Mesopotamia
Lesson 4.1 The Sumarians
The first civilizations in Mesopotamia

  1. The first civilizations developed in the river valleys of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China. The need for _________________ greatly influenced where people settled.

  1. The Two Rivers

  1. Meopotamia means “_______________________________________________” in Greek. The civilization began between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, which run parallel to one another from the mountains in South East Asia to the Persian Gulf

  2. Mesopotamia is located inside what is known as the ______________________, which includes parts of the modern countries of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Isreal, and Jordan.

  1. Early Valley Dwellers

  1. Historians believe the first people settled in Mesopotamia around 7000 B.C., and were hunters and herders.

    1. By 4000 B.C. some of these settlers moved to the plains of Tigris-Euphrates valley and built ____________________________________________ along the two rivers.

  1. Taming the Rivers

  1. Farmers in Mesopotamia depended on water from the rivers for their crops

    1. In the summer when there was _________________________ and the rivers became very low. Because of this, farmers did not have enough water for their crops in the fall.

    2. In the spring, rain and melting snow from the ____________________Mountains caused these rivers to overflow. At times, violent ___________ swept away crops, and homes

      1. These floods could also be helpful. Floodwaters left behind ________________, or small particles of soil, which were good for farming.

      2. People in Mesopotamia learned to build dams and dig canals to allow the water source into their fields. This method of water crops is called _______________________________.

    3. Irrigation allowed farmers to grow a _____________________________ of food.

      1. Surplus of food meant not all men were needed to work at farming, allowing them to pick up other trades and crafts.

        1. As artisans made more goods, people’s lives changed. People began to live together in areas that favored ___________________ and several cities developed in Sumer, a region of Southern Mesopotamia.


Sumer’s Civilization

  1. People of Sumer were known as _______________________________

    1. Sumerians built the first cities in Southwest Asia, which became centers of _____________ and controlled the lower part of the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley

  1. City-States Arise

    1. Mudflats and patches of scorching __________________________ surrounded Sumer’s cities.

      1. Because of this natural isolation from one another, these cities became independent, and formed their own ____________________________________

      2. In gaining political and economic control over the individual cities and the lands around them, _________________________________ were formed.

      3. Archaeologists believe each city state was protected by high walls built from mud from the rivers as their main building material

      4. Often city-states went to war with one another over ________________________and political borders, but in times of peace, they traded with one another and formed alliances.

  2. Gods, Priests and Kings

    1. Sumerian people worshipped many Gods, a practice known as __________________________

    2. They believed different Gods guided various aspects of their lives, and honored the specific God they thought would help with that activity

    3. To honor their Gods, Sumerians built large temples called _____________________________ in their city-state.

      1. In the early days, the _______________________ of the ziggurat ruled the city states

    4. Later, Sumerian kings claimed they received the power to rule from the gods.

      1. The rule of the king was ________________________________, meaning after he died, his son would take over

  3. Social Groups

    1. Sumer people were divided into ___________________________________________, generally from the time they were born.

      1. The upper class consisted of kings, priests, warriors, and government officials

      2. Middle class consisted of merchants, farmers, fishermen, and artisans

      3. The lowest class was made up of enslaved people

    2. Men were the head of the household. Boys attended school and were trained for __________________________________________

    3. Women ran the household and had few civil rights

  4. Farmers and Traders

    1. The major crops in Sumer were wheat, barley and ______________________

      1. Dams and waterways ran through the farmland to water crops

    2. Sumerians traded to get items such as _______________________ and ____________________, which were not found in their community.

      1. Trade routes linked Sumer to places such as Turkey, India, and Egypt


Sumerian Contributions


  1. Writing

    1. The writing system developed by the Sumerians is the earliest known system in the world

      1. Their system of writing was called ________________________________

        1. Written on clay

        2. Characters represented names, __________________________ and objects

      2. Few people learned to write cuneiform –mostly boys from wealthy families

        1. ______________________, or official record keepers, wrote documents recording important aspects of everyday life

          1. Some were judges or government officials

  2. Technology and Mathematics

    1. Sumerians were the first people to use the __________________________

      1. Carts pulled by donkeys

      2. The chariot

    2. For river travel, Sumerians invented the ____________________________________

    3. The Wooden plow, Potters wheel, Bronze –(combining copper and tin) were other technological advancements

    4. Astronomy and Mathematics

      1. _______ minute hour, _______second minute, and _____________degree circle

      2. ________Month calendar based on the cycles of the moon

      3. Planting season based on positions of the ______________________



Lesson 4.2 Mesopotamian Empires
The First Empires

  1. As the strength of Sumer faded, powerful kingdoms arose in northern Mesopotamia and built ____________________________.

    1. An empire is a group of _________________________ controlled by one ruler




  1. Who was Sargon?

    1. The kingdom of Akkad developed in N. Mesopotamia and was ruled by Sargon

      1. Sargon conquered the remaining Sumerian Cities. In doing so, he built the world’s _________________________________________________

      2. Eventually, his empire would extend to include all people of Mesopotamia

  2. Who was Hammurabi?

    1. West of Mesopotamia, was a city called __________________________________.

      1. Their king, Hummurabi, began conquering the lands north and south, creating the Babylonian Empire

  3. Hammurabi’s Code

    1. Hammurabi was best known for creating a ___________________________ for his empire

      1. These laws dealt with crime and established “an eye for an eye” system of _________________________________

      2. The laws also protected the _________________________________________, for example it protected wives from their abusive husbands


The Assyrian Empire

  1. Assyria was an empire which arose about _____________ years after the empire of Hammurabi and extended into four present day countries; Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq

  2. The Assyrian Army

    1. The Assyrians built a large and powerful _____________________to defend their territory

    2. The army was made of ________________________ (foot soldiers), __________________________ (horse soldiers) and charioteers

      1. Weapons consisted of slingshots, bows and arrows, swords, and spears

    3. The Assyrians robbed people, set crops on fire, and either took tributes or forced payments from conquered people

    4. One of the keys to the success of the Assyrian army was _________________________________

      1. The __________________, located to the North of the Assyrian Empire mastered the production of iron and shared this technology with the Assyrians

  3. Kings and Government

    1. Assyrian Kings divided their empire into provinces, or ___________________________________

      1. Roads were built to connect each province and the king chose officials to collect_________________ and ______________________________________ in each province.

  4. Life in Assyria

    1. ____________________ were built based on what they learned from Mesopotamian people

      1. Had ____________________________________ with harsh punishments

      2. Writings were based on Babylonian writing

      3. Worshipped many of the same Gods

      4. Assyrians wrote and collected stories

        1. Built one of the worlds first __________________________________

      5. Farming and trade were both very important

        1. Brought in wood and metal from war away to supply their empire with building materials

The Chaldean Empire


  1. In about 650 B.C., fighting broke out to determine who would be the next Assyrian ruler.

    1. While Assyria was in turmoil, the Chaldean’s took power

  2. A New Empire

    1. About _________ B.C., the Chaldeans moved to __________________________________ and were immediately conquered by the Assyrians. The Chaldeans hated their new rulers and never fully submitted to the Assyrian empire

    2. Around 627 B.C. another group who wanted to break free from Assyrian rule, the Medes, joined the Chaldeans

      1. In 612 B.C., together they burned the Assyrian capital. The Assyrian empire quickly _______________________________________

    3. Most of the Chaldeans were ________________________________ of the Babylonians

      1. The city of Babylon was chosen to serve as their capital, and because of this, the Chaldean empire is sometimes called the New Babylonian Empire

  3. The Greatness of Babylon

  1. King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans rebuilt Babylon making it the largest and richest city in the world

    1. Babylon featured:

  1. Grand Palaces and ________________________,

  2. A 300-foot ziggurat with a gleaming gold roof

  3. Gardens built like huge steps made up the _______________________________, considered one of the seven wonders of the world

  4. Many new canals, making the land more fertile

  1. To pay for all these building projects, and to maintain his army, Nebuchadnezzar had to collect very high _________________________

  2. Merchants came to the city in caravans to buy Babylonian goods –pottery, cloth, baskets, and jewelry

  1. Trade made Babylon wealthy

  1. Advancements under the Chaldeans included the invention of the __________________ to tell time, and being the first civilization to follow the seven-day week




  1. The Fall of the Empire

    1. After Nebuchadnezzar died, a series of weak kings ruled the empire

    2. _______________________________________ and slow trade further weakened the empire

      1. In 539 B.C. The _________________________took advantage and captured Babylon and made Mesopotamia part of their empire while allowing the Chaldeans to maintain their culture


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