Prose Summary to Bullet Points
Mesopotamia is the term used to describe the
area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
The earliest known civilizations began in this
region around 2300 B.C. They had an
agricultural-based economy because of the
fertile soil. Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria
were successive civilizations and empires in
Irrigation: Early civilizations usually formed
along rivers, but technology was still needed to
bring the water from these rivers to where it
could be used to grow crops. Every major
agricultural civilization used some form of
Slavery: Prisoners of war were forced into
slavery. Some slaves were also criminals who
were being punished for crimes they had
committed. A Mesopotamian could even be
forced into slavery if he owed money. Slaves
could pay their debt, or money they owed to
others, by selling their wife and children into
slavery for a certain amount of time.
Polytheism: Polytheism is the belief in more
than one god or several gods. Most ancient
cultures were polytheistic, believing that
different gods controlled different aspects of
nature and everyday life.
Good and Evil: Religion was very important
in the Mesopotamian civilization. Priests were
very powerful because they influenced how
people viewed the gods. These people thought
the gods were responsible for good and evil.
They were concerned about demons. To keep
demons away, they would put up statues and
pictures to scare the demons away.
The Wheel: Ancient Sumer was located in
southern Mesopotamia and may have been the
first civilization to use the wheel. Sumerian
pottery wheels made the practice of pottery
easier. Wheeled carts and wagons helped carry
things. Early wheeled chariots let soldiers
move faster in battle.
Bronze: The Mesopotamians were the first to
use bronze, a metal alloy made by combining
copper and tin. Bronze was an important
discovery. It is more durable and stiff than
copper and was used to make weapons and
jewelry. This discovery also ushered in the
Hammurabi, ruler of Ancient Babylon,
introduced what is believed to be the first
example of written legal laws by writing on
stone. This set of rules came to be known as
Hammurabi's Code.The ancient Egyptians
were very advanced. They developed irrigation
techniques to help their crops grow in dry
areas, had a structured system of politics based
on religion, and were involved in trade with
Hammurabi's Code--Created around 1780
B.C. Set of laws from Ancient Mesopotamia.
Deals with criminal and civil matters. Laws
and punishments were different for different
groups of people. Serious crimes were
punished with death. Numbered from 1 to 282
(numbers 13 and 66-99 are missing).Written in
Old Babylonian cuneiform script. Inscribed on
an 8 foot tall stone slab and displayed in public
for all to see
Prose Summary to Bullet Points
The Pharaoh--The early Egyptian pharaohs
were a combination of god, priest, and king.
The pharaoh decided what was right or wrong.
The pharaohs collected taxes from the peasant
farmers. The title of king was passed down
from father to son.
Ramses II--This pharaoh was also known as
Ramses the Great. Ramses II reigned for 67
years (longer than the average age of Egyptians
in Ancient Egypt). He was the first king we
know of to have signed a peace treaty, signing
one with the Hittites. He built more temples
and monuments than any other pharaoh and
constructed the rock monument Abu Simbel in
Hatshepsut--She was known as a builder
pharaoh because of the many building projects
begun or completed during the years 1503 B.C.
to 1482 B.C. Hatshepsut was the first woman
to be named king of both Upper and Lower
Egypt. She reestablished trade routes and
reigned in relative peace for 22 years.
Slavery--Slave labor was used to build temples
and pyramids in Ancient Egypt. Building a
pyramid took many years because of the lack
of technology during this time period.
Agriculture--Farming was very important to
the ancient Egyptian society, and a large
number of Egyptians were involved with
farming. By understanding the seasonal
flooding of the Nile, the ancient Egyptians
were able to increase their agricultural yield
and produce more grain than they could use.
This extra grain was either exported or stored
for future use.
Trade--Egyptian trade extended up and down
the Nile, including trading with Kush at the
southern end of the river. They also traded with
people along the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in
regions such as Crete and Greece. At a time
when travel was difficult, trade between Egypt
and its neighbors helped Egypt prosper and
Ancient Egyptian culture has influenced art,
architecture, religion, agriculture, and writings
for centuries. The Ancient Egyptians were
responsible for many achievements.
Architecture--Buildings were usually made
with mud brick and stone because wood was
hard to find in Egypt. Large blocks were cut to
fit together without the use of mortar. Ancient
Egyptian engineers used mathematics and
technology to design their grand structures.
Many religious monuments were built that still
exist today. The pyramids and the Sphinx are
the two most well-known examples of
Egyptian architecture. People still consider the
pyramids to be one of the world's best
architectural achievements. The mathematical
calculations used for building pyramids were
Art--The paintings were highly symbolic.
Clear and simple lines and shapes and flat
areas of color created a sense of order and
balance in the art. Figures were not drawn
based on their actual size and distance from the
artist, but based on their importance. Pharaohs
would be drawn the largest figure, and greater
gods would be drawn larger than lesser gods.
Egyptians used gold, ivory, and other precious
metals to make small works of art like jewelry
Writing--The Egyptians created a type of
paper called papyrus. It was made from a reed
called papyrus. Egypt's dry climate has helped
protect some of the Ancient Egyptian writings
so well that they can still be read today. The
Ancient Egyptians invented written
pictographs known as hieroglyphics. These
pictographs were used to record information
about religion and government. The individual
symbols are called hieroglyphs.
Agriculture--Life in Ancient Egypt was
largely focused on agriculture. The majority of
the people supported themselves through
farming. In Ancient Egypt, the Nile River
flooded each year in June. The Nile floods left
nutrient-rich soil on the land. After the water
levels decreased, the Egyptians would plant
their crops in the moist soil.
Religion--Death and the afterlife was an
important part of Egyptian culture. There were
elaborate rituals for preparing the body and
soul for a peaceful life after death. The Ancient
Egyptians believed the process of
mummification helped that person enter the
afterlife more smoothly. The Ancient Egyptian
culture worshiped many gods, mostly related to
natural occurrences like rain, water, crops, and
death. This is called polytheism. Ancient
Egyptians used creation myths to explain their
place in the world. Various gods and goddesses
were introduced as a result. The Great Ennead
was a family of nine gods who the Egyptians
worshiped. Among the gods were Atum, Isis,
Geb, and Shu. Later gods like Re, Thoth, and
Nun would also be part of Egypt's gods.
Animals were an important part of Egyptians'
god mythology. Some gods were represented
by animals such as the falcon, alligator, or
beetle. Other gods had half human
characteristics and half animal characteristics.
The Egyptian pharaoh was also considered a
god. He was said to control the flooding of the
Nile River each year. Because the Nile's
flooding was reliable and always came at about
the same time, Egyptians believed that the
pharaoh really was controlling it. Ancient
Egyptians considered Osiris to be the god of
the harvest and of eternal life. Legend says that
he gave his people laws to follow and taught
them about farming. He and his wife Isis were
thought to be the rulers over the dead. Horus is
the son of Osiris and Isis according to legend.
He is often identified by having a falcon's head
instead of a human head. He has several godly
titles: the god of the living, the sun god, and
the sky god.
Other Contributions--The Egyptians created
the first working and usable calendar. It was
based on the phases of the moon, and it
predicted the seasons and cycles of the Nile
River. The Great Pyramids at Dashur and Giza
were built during the Old Kingdom period.
These pyramids are an architectural wonder.
The Egyptians built the world's largest library
and the largest lighthouse in the city of
Prose Summary to Bullet Points
The Nile River supported many civilizations in
northeast Africa including both Nubia and
Egypt. The ancient Nubians and the Kingdom
of Kush were successive civilizations that
centered in the region of Nubia.
The Nubian and Kush Civilizations--Cities
developed near the rivers because that is where
the food production was found. The ancient
Nubians had a rich trade economy because of
their valuable natural resources. They traded
items such as ivory, ebony wood, and gold
with Egypt and other nations. Many of these
items are found in Egyptian archaeological
sites. The Nubians were greatly influenced by
Egyptian culture. The pyramids of Meroë were
built after 656 BC/BCE, after Kush had
conquered and controlled Egypt for a short
time. Even though Egypt had stopped building
pyramids long before this time, the Kush began
building pyramids in which to bury their own