FC: River Valley Civilizations | By: Erica Elliott
1: Table of Contents | Mesopotamia.... pages 2-5 Egypt..... pages 6-11 Indus...... 12-15 China....16-19
2: Mesopotamia | Mesopotamia lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, corresponding to present day Iraq. | Mesopotamia means “land between the rivers” but was referred to as the Fertile Crescent. The Fertile Crescent region is now often said to be the cradle of civilization.
3: Mesopotamia was also said to be the birthplace of writing (cuneiform), and the wheel as well as a sail to make transportation easier. | Sumeria and Babylon relied on a sort of Theocratic city-state government, where each worshiped a separate god, meaning they were polytheistic, and had a separate governor. Although all paid tribute to a single king living in their capital, of whom they considered to be a god too. | Mesopotamia consisted of two city-states, Sumaria and Babylon.
4: Samarians created the 60 second time unit and the once ruler of Babylon, Hammurabi, created Hammurabi’s code. | Hammurabi’s code was the first known written laws in human history. Consisting two hundred eighty-two laws based upon “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” | By about 2000 B.C. Mesopotamians began to build mud-brick ziggurats, which were believed to be the dwelling places of Gods. Mesopotamians believed that the ziggurats gave the Gods a chance to be close to mankind.
5: Environmentally, Mesopotamia’s rivers, the Ganges and Euphrates, flooded which produced silt (dark, rich soil). Silt created problems for Mesopotamia’s irrigation system but enabled the land to farm various crops. | Mesopotamia’s levels of society began with the government officials, priests, and soldiers. The society’s second level was made up of merchants, teachers, laborers, farmers, and craftsmen. At the bottom of society were the slaves.
6: Egypt | Egypt is based around the Nile River which is the longest river in the world and is also the only river that flows south to north.
7: Ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being divided into two types of land, the black land and the red land. | The black land was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile. Egyptians used this area from growing crops. (above) | The red land was the barren desert that protected Egypt on two sides. These deserts separated Egypt from surrounding countries (below)
8: Egyptians mummified the bodies of their dead; the entire process took seventy days. The process included embalming the bodies, drying up the bodies by using Natron (special salt), wrapping them in stripes of linen and covering with a sap to hold the bandages together. | Egyptians built pyramids as tombs to bury their pharaohs and queens.
9: Egyptians were Polytheistic; each of their Gods played a role in maintaining peace and harmony over the land. | The pharaoh was the most powerful in Egypt; he was the political and religious leader of the land. He owned all the land, made laws, and collected taxes. Then the merchants came followed by farmers, laborers and slaves.
10: Egyptians believed that temples were the homes of Gods and Goddesses. Every temple was dedicated to a God or Goddesses and was worshiped there by the pharaoh and priest.
11: Egyptians believed it was important to record information about religion and government. They invented writing called hieroglyphics, which were pictures that represented ideas and sounds, and began to record on tombs, temple walls and papyrus scrolls
12: Indus | Indus is a subcontinent that lies between the Indus and Ganges Rivers, these rivers ran across the land making the soil rich. | Indus was the largest of the four river valley civilizations.
13: Indus planned their cities on a grid system, with major building located in the center. | The Indus civilization was polytheistic, and began the Hindu culture. | The Indus civilization also created a plumbing and sewage system which consisted of underground drains built with brick with multiple reservoirs.
14: Unpredictable monsoon cycles invaded Indus and caused food shortage and complete village wipe out. | Indus had a very strong centralized government based of theocracy. They invested all their power into their gods. | The Gods told the priests of Indus the laws, and the priests brought the laws to the people
15: The Indus people were the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures. | Indus social classes consisted of Gods and Goddesses first, Priests and scholars second, Rajas and noblemen third, Merchants, craftsmen, farmers, and land owners fourth, and servants, workers and wage earners on the bottom.
16: China | China was located between the Huang He (yellow) River and the Yangtze River. These rivers would flood leaving behind loess (fertile soil). | The Himalayas lie to the south and the Gobi desert lie to the north of China.
17: China saw their civilization as the center of the civilized world. They believed that Mandate to Heaven was ruler and had divine approval. | China withheld feudalism which was when the king gives noble land and noble gives military service to the king. | The Chinese were Polytheistic; they believed in gods such as the sky and weather god but also believed in a higher god, called Shang-Ti.
18: The Chinese social classes consisted of the emperors and Empresses at the top following with peasants who ran the economy of China. The third level were the craftsmen and artisans followed by the lowest level of society which withheld the merchants and traders | Chinese writing consisted of thousands of characters that represented words or actions.
19: Families in China were patriarchal and believed that their ancestors brought blessing or curses upon them. | China used an irrigation system and was able to control the flooding of the Huang He and Yangtze Rivers. | Cowry shells were believed to be the first currency used in China.