Themes in ap world History



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Why you should know this: You will be asked to identify and compare characteristics of early civilizations.

Example:

  1. Early urban dwellers

    1. were dominated by peoples in agricultural settlements

    2. left the pursuit of religious practices to agricultural peoples

    3. saw the need for a government

    4. were exempt from taxation

    5. were offered few opportunities to carry out specialized tasks

Knowing the characteristics would help you eliminate all of the answers except for (c).


8. River Valley Civilizations

You are required to know the characteristics of the River Valley Civilizations, which were the first major civilizations in world history






River Valley Civilization

Specific Characteristics

Shared Characteristics

Mesopotamia



    • earliest civilization

    • located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

    • Achievements spread to Egypt and Indus Valley

    • Technology: bronze, copper, irrigation canals

    • ~3500 BCE: Sumerians settle in southern Mesopotamia

  • cuneiform to write

  • ziggurats as religious monuments

  • Epic of Gilgamesh (flood story similar to Genesis)

    • flooding required construction of irrigation canals, which required the formation of government (city-states)

    • Social classes: ruling/elite landowning class, slavery

    • Patriarchal: men dominated government and the family

  • women wore a veil by the 16th century BCE but did have the opportunity to work outside the home in commerce, religious roles, and in record keeping

    • Lack of natural barriers led to frequent invasions of the region: Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians

    • Babylonian King Hammurabi: Code of Hammurabi

  • Distinction between class and gender in punishments



    • community cooperation to build large public works projects, especially irrigation projects

    • need for cooperation led to the development of increasingly centralized governments

    • knowledge of metallurgy (whether independently invented or acquired through diffusion) led to advanced tools, weapons, and art

    • writing system

    • development of social classes

    • use of slave labor

    • patriarchy

    • polytheism

    • trade with neighboring and far-reaching civilizations

    • warfare: internal and external pressures

Shared Characteristics



    • community cooperation to build large public works projects, especially irrigation projects

    • need for cooperation led to the development of increasingly centralized governments

    • knowledge of metallurgy (whether independently invented or acquired through diffusion) led to advanced tools, weapons, and art

    • writing system

    • development of social classes

    • use of slave labor

    • patriarchy

    • polytheism

    • trade with neighboring and far-reaching civilizations

    • warfare: internal and external pressures


Egypt


    • ~3000 BCE

    • Nile River Valley

    • Irrigation canals to channel annual floodwaters, construction of which led to the establishment of government

    • some major cities, but mostly agricultural settlements

    • trade along the Nile connected villages

    • Pharaoh held significant power and authority, constructed pyramids to serve as tombs

    • polytheistic religion

    • mummification exemplifies belief in afterlife

    • Defined social classes, opportunity for commoners to rise in status through government jobs

    • Patriarchal: women rarely served in government (regents of young pharaohs, priestesses, scribes)

    • Gained knowledge of bronze tools from Mesopotamia, iron working from the Kush

    • hieroglyphics developed (possibly) from cuneiform as a result of trade

    • Protected from invasion by surrounding desert

Indus Valley



    • ~2500 BCE

    • Indus River Valley (modern Pakistan)

    • unpredictable flooding of the river

    • Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro: cities with streets in a grid

    • Technology: running water and sewage systems in houses

    • Harappan writing remains elusive (not yet deciphered)

    • Archeological evidence of trade between Mesopotamia and Harappa (Persian Gulf)

    • ~1500 BCE: Aryans invade and conquer Indus River Valley

  • Blending of Aryan and Harappan cultures had significant impact on the future Indian civilization




Shang Dynasty/ Huang He Valley

Shang Dynasty/ Huang He Valley


    • ~1760’s BCE – 1120’s BCE

    • Most isolated: Deserts, mountains, seas

    • Trade: Southwest and South Asia

    • Shang dynasty was earliest to leave written records

    • Technology: bronze (from Mesopotamia by means of migrations), ironworking (~1000 BCE)

    • Flooding of Huang He led to irrigation projects which called for the development of central rule, strengthening Shang power

    • Walled cities along river served as cultural, military and economic centers
      Shared Characteristics

        • community cooperation to build large public works projects, especially irrigation projects

        • need for cooperation led to the development of increasingly centralized governments

        • knowledge of metallurgy (whether independently invented or acquired through diffusion) led to advanced tools, weapons, and art

        • writing system

        • development of social classes

        • use of slave labor

        • patriarchy

        • polytheism

        • trade with neighboring and far-reaching civilizations

        • warfare: internal and external pressures





    • Rulers built elaborate palaces and tombs

    • Early writing used on oracle bones

    • Social classes: rulers, artisans, peasants, slaves

    • Patriarchal, although prior to Shang rule Chinese society was matrilineal

    • Ancestor veneration

    • Shang fell to Zhou: mandate of heaven called for an end to Shang rule, Zhou continued trend of centralization of government

Mesoamerica and Andean S. America



    • developed later than Eastern Hemisphere civilizations

    • developed along smaller rivers and streams as compared to other River Valley civilizations

    • llama was largest animal

    • Technology: copper, irrigation systems

    • Olmecs, Maya constructed pyramids and temples

    • Polytheistic

  • Quetzalcoatl: god that would return to rule people

    • Social classes: ruling elite and priests at top, commoners and slaves at bottom

    • Mayan Innovations: calendar, system of writing using pictographs, idea of zero as placeholder, discoveries and knowledge of astronomy and time

    • Mayan political organization: city-states ruled by kings

    • Mayan kings frequently fought each other, with prisoners of war taken as slaves or for religious sacrifices

    • Andean civilizations isolated by mountains and lack of pack animals

    • Andean government: city-states separated by mountains








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