6th grade study guide Mesopotamia Geography Mesopotamia is the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is divided into a rugged plateau to the north and silt-covered plains to the south. The Tigris and Euphrates flooded each year. These floods brought water and silt to Mesopotamia. Floods in Mesopotamia were often destructive and badly timed for farmers. Farmers in southern Mesopotamia worked cooperatively to build canal systems to control flooding and to water their crops. The organization required to build the canals helped promote the development of civilization in the region. Also, farmers were able to produce a surplus of crops, which supported the development of the Sumerian civilization. Civilization and Government By 3,000 B.C. about a dozen city-states, such as Ur and Lahgash, dotted the plains of southern Mesopotamia. These cities based on the agricultural surplus produced by farmers, displayed the 5 traits of civilization. 1. Stable Food Supply, 2. Social Hierarchy, 3. Organized Religion, 4. Advanced Culture (art, writing), and 5 Specialization of Labor. Cuneiform, the Sumerian writing system, first developed as a way to record farm surpluses. First, the writing was in pictography form but later symbols represented not just objects but sounds as well. Only, highly trained scribes mastered this demanding writing system. Thus, most Sumerians were illiterate. Eventually, cuneiform was used to write all kinds of things from letters to epic poems like Gilgamesh. Not all Sumerians were equal. Some were slaves, and women didn’t have the same rights as men. The king was the high priest, general, canal planner and judge. Sargon of Akkad became the world’s first emperor when he conquered and then unites Sumer’s independent city-states. Hammurabi, the kind of Mesopotamian city Babylon, created on of the world’s oldest codes of law (written list of laws). It is known as the Code of Hammurabi. The empire Assyria had its roots in northern Mesopotamia. It shared traditions of religion and writing in common with Babylonia, an empire based in southern Mesopotamia. Religion A ziggurat was a large building with a temple on top. Most city-states had a ziggurat at its center, showing the importance of religion. Sumerians had polytheism, among their gods and goddesses were: Enki the god of water and Ishtar goddess of love and war. Gods controlled the health and wealth of each city and family. Angering gods could cause disaster. Achievements Achievements include: the Hanging Gardens of Babylonia, calendars based on the phases of the moon, division of the hour into 60 minutes and the wheel. Egypt Geography and Agriculture Egypt is located along the Nile River. The Nile is the world’s longest river, stretching over 4,000 miles of northeast Africa. The Nile forms a fan-shaped delta where it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Egyptians took advantage of annual Nile flooding, which provided water and silt, to turn the desert into very productive farmland. Egyptian farmers developed a system of agriculture based upon the Nile’s annual flood cycle. June-September the Nile flooded. In October, flooded land began to dry so farmers planted wheat, barely, vegetables, and flax. March-June was harvest time. Egyptian farmers created irrigation systems to water their crops. These included using levees, canals, basins, and the Shadouf (a bucket lifter still in use today). Egyptian farmers created a surplus of gain making specialization and civilization possible in Egypt. Religion and Government The pharaoh was the supreme ruler of Egypt. His or her actions shaped all of Egypt. Local governors would carry out the pharaoh’s directions from the highest to the lowest levels. Power was passed on through the family line (dynasty). The pharaoh also had great religious power. In fact, the pharaoh was believed to be a god by the Egyptians who associated the Pharaoh with the sky god Horus and the sun god Ra (Re). The people saw the pharaoh as a giver of life and worthy of worship. The religion of ancient Egypt was polytheism (a belief in many gods). Ra was the most important god. Other gods were Isis, who protected people from sickness and harm, and her husband Osiris, who represented the dead waiting rebirth. Belief in the afterlife was central to the religion of Egypt. Egyptians believed that after a person died, he or she would go on to the “Next world.” People were buried with food and objects that they believed they could take to the next world. Mummification was also practiced so that a dead person’s body would be preserved for the afterlife. Art and Architecture During the Old Kingdom pharaohs ordered the building of pyramids to serve as tombs for themselves. Pharaoh Khufu ordered the construction of the Great Pyramid. This massive pyramid took 22 years to build. Ordinary people were called on to work on huge government projects such as the Great Pyramid. Some of the finest examples of Egyptians Art can be found on tomb walls. Tomb paintings depict scenes of daily life. These paintings were believed to provide a happy life for the dead in the afterlife. Temple statues such as the four colossal statues of Ramses the II at Abu Simbel are another example of the Egyptians’ artistic achievement. Art was created for religious purposes or to serve the kind of community. Pharaohs Hatshepsut, the daughter of Thutmose I, took over as leader of Egypt during the New Kingdom, when her half brother Thutmose II died. Thutmose III, the next male in the dynasty was only 10. Hatshepsut resigned for 20 years. Her legacy includes two major obelisks and a magnificent temple. She expanded trade by sending expeditions to Punt. She also commanded public projects such as restoration of temples and reestablishing mining in the desert for ores. Ramses the II ruled during the New Kingdom in the 200s. He continued to expand Egyptian territory through military conquest as previous New Kingdom pharaohs had. He also ordered the building of impressive monuments such as the temple built in his honor. During his reign Egypt had many trade partners such as Greece, Mesopotamia, and Harrapa (India). Paleolithic Era Hominid species Australopithecus This hominid lived only in Africa between 3.75 and 1 million years ago. Remains of individuals such as Lucy, show that Australopithecus could walk upright and had a brain 1/3 the size of modern humans. Homo Habilis A direct ancestor of humans. This species name means handy man because, as far as we know, Homo habilis was the first tool maker. Lived in Africa between 2.5-1.5 million years ago. Neanderthal Species with a brain size at least as large as modern man’s. Evidence suggests Neanderthal had a strong sense of community, as sick members were cared for by others. Also, Neanderthal left behind evidence of funeral ceremonies, suggesting a spiritual awareness. Neanderthal lived in Africa, Europe, and Asia between 200,000 and 35,000 years ago. Cro-Magnon Physically Cro-Magnon looked like people today. They created an advanced culture as evidenced by their complex tools and art (cave paintings and figures) Appeared 40,000 years ago, lived on all continents. Key Ideas Early people survived by hunting and gathering. Technology began with the creation of tools out of stone. Creations, such as the Lascaux cave paintings and jewelry, show that art became a part of human life during the Old Stone Age. Language improved stone tools helped Stone Age people adapt to the environments of six continents. Archaeological evidence indicates that early humans probably first migrated out of Africa to other continents. Scientists believe that the first people in the Americas probably crossed from Asia using a land bridge called Beringia. From Hunting and Gathering to Farming About 12,000 years ago, Earth’s cool climate began tow arm. The number of plants and animals began to soar. Hunters and Gatherers began to build permanent homes in areas rich with wild grains and animals. These groups began agriculture. Domestication, the taming of wild plants and animals for human use, was a key step in the development of agriculture. Agriculture gave rise to new sources of clothing such as wool, and new types of shelter such as the brick buildings of Catal Huyuk. Agriculture made it possible for a few people to raise food for an entire group. Others could specialize, or concentrate on other tasks. Ancient India Geography Indus River Valley: River valley is where early farmers/first cities began. Subcontinent: India is separated from the rest of Asia by the Himalaya and Hindu Kush Mountain ranges – the 2 highest ranges in the world. Key People Aryans: Nomadic people from Europe who tamed horses, developed chariots and metal weapons and migrated into India around 2000 B.C. They also brought the Vedas, songs that taught their religion – the beginning of Hinduism. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha: Born a prince, he gave up his crown and all possessions after he saw an old man, sick man, dead man, and holy man. He left to seek a way to end human suffering. After he found the answer within himself through intense meditation, he became known as the Buddha (enlightened one) and spent the rest of his life teaching away. Ashoka: A fierce Maurya warrior king, who caused the death of thousands of needless wars, then became Buddhist and dramatically changed his ways. He spread the message of Buddhism throughout India and sent missionaries into South East Asia and China, thereby spreading the influence of Buddhism throughout Asia. Key Beliefs/religions Hinduism: Brahman: The supreme God who creates, destroys, and recreates everything in the universe. Everything is a part of Brahman. Multiple Gods: Thousands of gods represent all the aspects of Brahman. Dharma: Dharma is one’s duty – to follow the basic moral law of the universe and to follow the rules of your caste. Caste System: Whatever level of society your parents are in, you must be in also. If you tried to work or marry outside your caste, you would become an outcast or an untouchable, and so would your children and all your descendents. Highest to lowest: Priests, Warriors/Government workers, Merchants, Farmers/Slaves-Outcasts. Reincarnation: The belief that life is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The soul is reborn countless times until it reaches perfection. Karma: The belief that all your good and bad actions travel with your soul into your next life and influence whether that will be a good or bad life. Buddhism: A religion begun by Siddhartha Gautama that also believes in reincarnation and karma, but not the caste system. He taught the best way was the Middle way, not too much or too little of anything. He also taught the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, as ways people could learn to overcome suffering. Meditation is important to Buddhism and Hinduism. Cities/Architecture Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa: Cities from ancient India excavated in the Indus River Valley. Many clues show they were an advanced civilization: a written language (no one has deciphered it yet), large cities made of same-sized bricks, sophisticated sewer systems, large baths, huge citadels (forts). Historians do not know why they became ghost cities. Legacies Math – They invented our decimal system of 9 digits and the concept of zero. Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) literature and poems – the Mahabharata and the Ramayana: are ancient poems and epics that are still used today. Ancient China Geography China had many natural barriers that isolated them from other civilizations. The Himalayas in the southwestern part of China are the world’s highest mountains. Deserts such as the Gobi also cause barriers within China. On the other hand, the rivers helped link them. The Huang He, meaning the “Yellow River” gets its name from the loess, a dusty, yellow, soil that it leaves behind when it overflows the banks. The Huang He is also nicknamed “China Sorrow” because of the property destroyed and the lives it has taken. Key People Laozi: was the founder of Daoism who may or may not have existed. Shihuangdi: meaning the “first emperor” was a Chinese emperor who founded the Qin dynasty and unified China with a standardized system of writing and money. His tomb was filled with 6,000 life sized clay warriors, horses, and chariots to protect him in the afterlife. Confucius: was a philosopher who stressed the need to respect tradition; his teachings discussed the right and wrong uses of power. Han Gaozu: was a framer turned general who overthrew the Qin dynasty and founded the Han dynasty. The Shang Dynasty took over control of the Huang He religion. They believed in many gods. Oracle bones were used to predict the future. The capital city was Anyang where the grave of Fu Hao was discovered. She was a ruler who led 10,000 troops into battle. The Shang Dynasty used writing as away to protect important events. The Zhou Dynasty was the longest lasting Chinese Dynasty. King Wu of Zhou conquered the Shang. The Zhou period was filled with unrest because the nobles ruled as kings and became greedy and wanted more power. Despite the wars, two important schools of thought emerged, Confucianism and Daoism. There was also the belief in yin and yang; the opposite forces depend on each other. Confucianism taught the importance of loyalty and love of others. Filial piety or the respect of children toward their parents was followed. Confucius believed government should be based on virtue, or goodness, not on laws and punishment. His thoughts were recorded in a book called The Analects. Daoism was based on the belief that the tao, or way to truth could not be found in everyday concerns. Daoists believe you should be one with nature and be left alone by the government. During the Han Dynasty Confucianism became widely accepted again. This was a time of creativity which included inventions such as the seismograph, paper, and silk. Wudi, the emperor set up the Grand School to educate students to work for the government. The Great Wall of China was built under the Shihuangdi. It winds through the mountains of China for more than 1,500 miles. It was built for two reasons. First it was meant to keep in peasants who might leave their farms and become nomads. Second, it was built to keep out enemy invaders. The Silk Road linked China with the Middle East and Europe. It was an important trade route. Ancient Israel Geography Located in a small but very important crossroads between Africa (Egypt) and Mesopotamia (Middle East), Israel became an important trade route. The geography was quite varied, from fertile plains and grassy slopes to rocky hills and deserts, which meant people, became traders, farmers, and herders. Because there was no main river valley, no single central government formed in ancient times. Main bodies of water: Jordan River, with the Sea of Galilee to the north and the Dead Sea at the southern end. Key people (known as Israelites, Jews, or Hebrews) Abraham: Founder of Judaism made a covenant, or sacred agreement, with God. God commanded him to go to Canaan (Israel) where God would guide and protect the Jewish people if they followed his laws and Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Moses: Although raised in the pharaoh’s household, Moses was an Israelite who later led his people out of Egypt where they had been slaves for 400 years. On the 40 -year long journey back to Israel, known as the Exodus, Moses received the 10 commandments which became a key part of their teachings. David: 2nd king of the Israelites, he killed Goliath and captured Jerusalem as the capital of the Israelite kingdom. Solomon: 3rd king, David’s song, who was known for bringing peace to the land and for building magnificent temple in Jerusalem. Key events 1900 B.C. Abraham moves from Ur to Canaan (ancient name for Israel) 1700 B.C. Famine in Canaan – Hebrew people migrated to Egypt where they ultimately became slave. 1250 B.C. Moses leads the Exodus out of Egypt. 1000 B.C. Davis becomes king. 920 B.C. Israel divides into 2 kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. 721 B.C. Assyria conquers Israel – 30,000 taken as slaves. 586 B.C. Babylonia conquers Judah, destroys the temple, and takes the Israelites as slaves. 540 B.C. Jews were allowed to return to Judah and rebuilt their temple under the rule of the Persians. 70 A.D. Romans destroy the 2 nd temple and drive the last of the Jewish people out of Israel. Jews scattered throughout the world, this is known as the Diaspora. Despite being conquered, enslaved, and moved from their homeland, the Jewish people have kept their identity as one people through their religion. When other people ruled them, they still followed the rules of the Torah and practiced their religion and ideas of social justice. Priests, prophets, their temples, and synagogues (place of worship) kept them together as people. Greece Geography Greece is made up largely of hilly and rocky land that is hard to farm. The Mediterranean Sea was used as a trade route to reach faraway places such as Europe Asia and Africa. Key people Perides – Athenian general who led Athens during the Golden age and made sure the poor as well as the rich citizens could take part in gout. Socrates – Greek Philosopher discussed various issues with students, accused of urging young people to revolt, was sentenced to death. Plato – Philosopher and student of Socrates. Aristotle – Philosopher, private teacher of Alexander the Great. Alexander the great – King of Macedonia who conquered Greece, Persia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley, his conquests helped spread Greek Culture. Euclid – famous mathematician. Thucydides – Greek Historian who lived during the Peloponnesian war. Hypatia - first woman to make a big contribution to the development of mathematics. Key belief/religion Polytheism All Greeks honored Zeus and his family who lived on Mt. Olympus. Each god represented a different aspect of life (ex Poseidon god of the sea, Aphrodite goddess of love) Architecture The Parthenon was a temple built for the goddess of Athena. It was located in Acropolis. There were three types of architectural systems. Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Government There were many different types of government because of the various states. It began with Monarchies (Sparta), Oligarchies, tyrannies, and democracies (Athens) Peloponnesian war A war fought between Athens (powerful Navy) and Sparta (powerful army). Sparta became victorious after cutting off the grain supply Persian Wars As Persia’s Empire was increasing Athens sent soldiers to help the city states fight, which upset Persia. This marked the beginning of the Persian War. Battle of Marathon Darius of Persia sent troops to Marathon where the Athenians were outnumbered. This battle was important because the Athenians were able to defeat the larger Persian Calvary Battle of Thermopylae After Darius’ death his son Xerxes took over This battle was important because the Athenians were able to defeat the larger Persian Calvary Battle of Salamis The Athenians fled to this island where they were able to defeat the Persians in open waters. Rome Geography Rome is located on seven hills. These hills helped protect it from attack. The nearby Latium Plain provided fertile farmland. Located on the Italian Peninsula Rome was within easy reach of Greece, Spain, and North Africa. Mythical and Historical Figures Aeneas Trojan hero in war against Greece; according to legend escaped to Italy where son, Romulus, founded Rome. Romulus and Remus Legendary orphan twins who were raised by a wolf. Years later, according to legend, they decided to build a city. They fought to the death over the location. Romulus won and founded the city Rome on the seven hills. Cincinnatus Citizen Farmer made dictator in 458 B.C. to lead Roman army. Julius Caesar Roman general who ended the republic and ruled as dictator 46 – 44 A.D.; Assassinated. Cicero Master politician and philosopher who lived during Rome’s transition form republic to empire. He staunchly defended the republic system of government. Religion Initially Romans had a polytheistic religion. They worshipped the major gods and goddesses of Greece, giving them Latin Names (e.g. Ares/Mars). Egyptian deities such as Isis were also worshipped. Emperors of Rome were thought to become gods when they died. Christianity began in Roman controlled the Judea during the Pax Romana. The New Testament of the Bible says that followers of Jesus believed that he was the Messiah, the special leader who would lead the Jewish people and set up God’s rule on Earth. Jesus taught using parables, stories that contain a simple message or truth. Jesus taught about love for all men and women, forgiveness of sins, and the Golden Rule. St Paul, once bitterly opposed to the followers of Jesus converted to Christianity. He dedicated the rest of his life to spreading Christianity across the Roman Empire. As Christianity spread through the Roman Empire, Christians became the target of persecution. Some emperors punished Christians for refusing to worship as Romans. In 312 A.D. Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. He promoted Christians to important government positions. Beginning with this, Christianity would change from being a small religion to one that would dominate most of Europe. Government After about 509 B.C. Rome’s citizens created a republic in which citizens elected leader to run the government. The republic would last for nearly 500 years. Wealthy patrician citizens had more power than Plebeian citizens. Plebeians fought for and earned rights. The republic of Rome was a tripartite system. That is it was divided into three main branches: The senate, the citizen assembly, and the consuls. Each part was limited by the other two parts. This mower was spread throughout the government. The republic was based on written law. Beginning with Julius Caesar and then his nephew Augustus Rome was transformed from a republic to an empire. Caesar took Rome by force and made himself a dictator in 46 B.C. Augustus would become the first emperor of Rome and begin an era known as the Pax Romana (Roman Peace). This was a time of peace and prosperity. During Pax Romana, Rome had a strong central government and a single system of money throughout the empire. Over 50,000 miles of roads connected the empire. Trade flourished as well as public works such as aqueducts and amphitheaters. Roman Legacy Millions of people today speak Latin-based languages like Spanish and French. Many governments today are built on the Roman model of a republic. Domes and arches, hallmarks of Roman architecture and engineering, can be seen in building throughout today.
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