Pr01b1_City-States Rise in Mesopotamia (Text-based narration)
To pair the following narration with the relevant slides in Pr01b1a (presentation on Tigris-Euphrates River Valley Civilizations), setup your screen so that half the screen shows this narration and the other half shows the presentation. Please help your classmates who may not know how to do this.
Introduction: The journey of Neolithic man brought him to many points in the Eastern hemisphere. However, the Tigris-Euphrates was one of several regions that sustained conditions that would change Neolithic Man’s lifestyle forever. This region became the cradle for the Mesopotamian civilizations.
NOTE: We are using the Ancient Egyptian civilization as our case study. You should be able to identify many of the foundational elements of a civilized society in this region (Mesopotamia) that were also evident in Ancient Egypt. Like myths, many common forces (natural and artificial) produce similar societal responses.
Slide 01: Cover slide of presentation. An artist’s rendition of a Ziggurat.
Slide 02: A composite satellite image of the world. The region of Mesopotamia is highlighted.
Slide 03: Closeup Satellite image of the region.
Slide 04: The same image as the last slide. However, some annotations are included. Be sure your personal map of the region shows this data.
Slide 05: This slide has the name of many of the towns/ cities that currently exist in this region. You can see that the region is heavily inhabited in the areas around the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers. The desert areas have a low population density.
Slide 06: The satellite image is annotated with the names of city-states during the birth of the first civilizations. The area encircled in the South is ‘Sumer’. This area is the homeland of the first Mesopotamian civilization. Thus, it has the oldest city-states.
City-States become the preferred political organization partially because the environment does not ‘encourage’ unity between distant settlements. The city-state of Ur, in Sumer, is one of the most famous from this period. That city has a rich archaeological/ biblical background.
The terrain that dominates Sumer is flat and subject to unpredictable flooding. The flat, open terrain also doesn’t do much to block possible invaders. The surrounding desert, however, does offer some buffer.
Over time, the Sumerian civilization diffuses North along the Tigris-Euphrates and influences future city-states. Among those future city-states we must include Babylon and Nineveh.
Slide 07: An aerial view of an archaeological site showing the remains of a Ziggurat. Much of Mesopotamia falls within the borders of modern-day Iraq. A Ziggurat is a typical large scale monument that has become a hallmark of all civilizations since Sumer. Think of Ancient Egypt and the United States. Large monuments become legacies of civilizations.
Slide 08: A compilation of images (artist renditions, dioramas, US Soldiers in Iraq climbing the steps of a Ziggurat).
Slide 09: Babylon, further North of Sumer, develops much later than the city-states of Sumer. However, it becomes one of the first civilizations to attempt the building of an empire. Empire building is difficult because of the vast distances within the borders of the empire as well as the different cultures that the empire now rules over. In response to these new challenges, legal codes (codes of conduct) were developed. The most famous and earliest of these was Hammurabi’s Code. In this slide you see that King Hammurabi chose to inscribe the code on stone stelae. Then he scattered the stelae throughout the Babylonian Empire.
Slide 10: A list of Semitic languages that came from Mesopotamia.
Slide 11: The Mesopotamian Family Tree. Remember, Sumer is the ‘Mother’ civilization of Mesopotamia. It influenced all the others that came later. Sumerians were Mesopotamian. But, not all Mesopotamians were Sumerian.
Slide 12: Another image of a stone Stelae with Hammurabi’s Code inscribed on it.