Section 1, p. 34
1) Key Terms:
2) What were the characteristics of the world’s first civilization?
A) The world’s first civilization, Sumer, included 12 separate city=stated led by complex governments that oversaw large=scale projects such as the building of city walls; had a social hierarchy and a polytheistic religion; had cuneiform writing; and began to develop astronomy and mathematics.
3) Sumerians faced significant geographic challenges, such as floods. How do you think facing these challenges played a role in the formation of a strong government?
A) Organizing people to face these challenges would have required strong leadership, which could have led to the establishment of a strong government.
4) How might the invention of cuneiform writing have strengthened Sumerian government and religious practices?
A) Government: by allowing it to preserve its records, laws, and achievements; religious practices: by allowing priests to preserve prayers, rituals, and beliefs about gods, goddesses, and the afterlife.
5) Describe ways in which later peoples built on Sumerian learning. Would this have been possible without the invention of writing?
A) It may have been difficult for later peoples to know about so much of Sumerian learning if it had not been written down.
Section 2 Assessment, p. 43
1) Key Terms:
2) How did various strong rulers unite the lands of the Fertile Crescent into well-organized empires?
A) By appointing local rulers to oversee different regions, establishing law codes, building roads to encourage communications, and establishing a single coinage for an empire
3) What do you think was the most important achievement of Sargon? Of Hammurabi? Why?
A) Sargon – establishing the first empire, because it reveals an ability to control resources and organize people; Hammurabi – establishing the law code because it set an examples about the effectiveness of establishing and recording laws.
4) How do you think Persian policy of tolerance helped the empire grow so large?
A) If the Persians had not been tolerant of the customs of the people they conquered, those people might have revolted.
5) One effect of warfare and conquest was the knowledge and beliefs spread among different peoples. How else did people of the ancient Middle East spread their ideas?
A) Through trade and the establishment of colonies
Focus Questions (1-13)
1) Given the physical environment in which the Fertile Crescent lies, why would Mesopotamia be a reasonable place for civilization to arise?
A) Its rivers and its nearness to the Persian Gulf were probably more favorable to sustaining large populations than were the deserts or mountains in the surrounding areas.
2) What geographic challenges did early Sumerians face?
A) They had to learn to control the flooding waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; they had to build with clay, because they lacked timber or stone.
3) In Sumer, which group was larger – artisans or peasant farmers?
A) Peasant farmers
4) What does the answer in number 3 indicate about how the society supported itself?
A) That the society was largely dependent on agriculture.
5) How did religion shape the daily activities of Sumerians?
A) Sumerians focused on pleasing the gods, so they built large ziggurats, prayed, made sacrifices, and performed rituals to honor the gods.
6) Which of the following was the largest: Sumer, Akkadian, or Babylonian Empires?
A) Babylonian Empire
7) Where did the largest lie in relationship to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers?
A) It lay between the rivers as well as beyond them, and it stretched farther along the rivers than the other two civilizations did.
8) How do you think the establishment of a codified law helped Hammurabi control such a large territory?
A) The outlining of clear laws and punishments would have helped to keep order in the empire.
9) Do you think there were advantages to dividing Babylonian law into two categories, civil and criminal?
A) This would have helped law enforcers sort out the different types of situations and simplified the process of establishing punishments for crimes.
10) About how much larger was the Persian empire than the Assyrian empire?
A) About three times larger (Darius maintained control over such a vast area because he visited the regions, built and maintained roads for travel, and set out a code of laws that incorporated laws from conquered peoples.)
11) Why do you think it would be important to respect the customs or laws of those you have conquered?
A) To show you want to make them a part of your community and to keep them happy.
12) Where did the Phoenicians carry and spread Middle Eastern civilization?
A) To the regions on all sides of the Mediterranean, which today are northern Africa, Spain, and Italy; and north to Britain.
13) What piece of culture passed from the Phoenicians to the Greeks and still influences us today?
A) The Phoenician alphabet
1) Fertile Crescent – region of the Middle East in which civilizations first arose
2) Mesopotamia – region within the Fertile Crescent that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; Greek word meaning land between the rivers
3) Sumer – site of the world’s first civilization, located in southern Mesopotamia
4) The Epic of Gilgamesh – Mesopotamian narrative poem that was first told in Sumer
5) Hierarchy – system of ranking groups
6) Ziggurat – in ancient Mesopotamia, a large, stepped platform thought to have been topped by a temple dedicated to a city’s chief god or goddess
7) Cuneiform – in the ancient Middle East, a system of writing that used wedge-shaped marks
8) Sargon – established first known empire by conquering his neighboring city-states of Sumer
9) Hammurabi – ruler of the First Babylonian Empire; first to publish the law; not knowing the law was no longer an excuse for breaking the law
10) Codify – to arrange or set down in writing
11) Civil law – branch of law that deals with private rights and matters
12) Criminal law – branch of law that deals with offenses against others
13) Nebuchadnezzar – ruler of Second Babylonian Empire; rebuilt Babylon as his capital; given credit for building the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
14) Barter economy – economic system in which one set of goods or services is exchanged for another
15) Money economy – economic system in which goods or services are paid for through the exchange of a token of an agreed value
16) Zoroaster – Persian philosopher who taught of Ahura Mazda as a monotheistic god who fought evil; help to unite the large Persian Empire
17) Colony – territory settled and ruled by people from another land
18) Alphabet – writing system in which each symbol represents a single basic sound