September 16, 2002

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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Ancient Civilizations

World History - Ancient Civilizations
Sumeria, Mesopotamia
Phoenicians and the Hebrews

Mesopotamia - 4000 BC
The land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. No one knows where they came from. They lived in the lowlands, lower valley people, and were always worried about floods.

Sumerians - 3000 to 2350 BC
Sumeria is a city in lower Mesopotamia. A village is 110 to 500 people, a town is 5000 people, and a city 10,000 people - very specialized. The Sumerians were among the first to control their physical environment. They controlled the rivers through irrigation and built natural dams to control the flood of water. Crops consisted of: barley, wheat, sesame, fruit trees, and vegetables.

Sumerian Wheels
Sumerians Made Solid Wheels From Tree Trunks.

Development of City States
People began to be bound by where they lived.
Territory was important.
Ethnic groups began to spring up.
Each city state had its own farmlands and government, independent of each other.

The Layout of Sumeria
The Ziggurat (temple - home of the gods) was the center of Sumerian life. This may be the reason writing was invented. The Ziggurat stood in the center of the city.

The Upper Class: Merchants, priests, and nobles lived around the ziggurat.

The Middle Class: Commoners lived around the upper class.

The Poor: Serfs and slaves lived at the edge of the city.

The majority of the people farmed and worked on irrigation

Idea of Self
The environment is unpredictable: floods, scorching heat, winds, torrential rains. The forces could destroy everything they owned. These people knew they were insignificant to nature.

Polytheistic - many gods. Man was created to free the gods from working. Man was a slave to the gods under punishment (floods, etc.) that could starve him. Surplus food was stored in the Ziggurat for the priests to live off of while they represented the gods. The priest's job was to keep the gods happy. Each city-state had its own gods. Afterlife was vague and dreary.

The Sumerians were the first to develop writing. Their writing was cuneiform, pressing symbols into wet clay - about 1200 different symbols. It was a very complete system of writing. They had schools for upper class boy to learn cuneiform. Knowledge of reading and writing was the way to power and wealth. At most, one percent of the population was literate.

Leaders chosen by the gods - very primitive and weak democracy.

The Sumerians are given credit for building the first real civilization.

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Mesopotamia and the City of Sumeria

The Fall of Mesopotamia

Who Were the Phoenicians?

History of the Hebrew People

More Information
Compare Phoenician, Greek & Roman Alphabets

Historical Periods of
World History Class Study

| Prehistory | Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
| Ancient Egypt | Greece | Rome |
| Medieval History | Renaissance and Reformation |
| Exploration | National Monarchies |
| The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment |
| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era

Cool Clicks & Related Links:
(Hit your "Back" button to return to this page)

Regional Index: Mesopotamia
Argos Search: Sumeria & Mesopotamia
Hadrianic Baths at Leptis Magna
Archaeology and the Early Old Testament
Time Machine: 3000 Years Ago
Phonecian Alphabet
Creative Impulse: Mesopotamia

The list of links will grow with student participation!
Please e-mail pertinent URLs to Mr. Sedivy at:



Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Modern European History | Advanced Placement European History | Rise of England | World History |
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