ch02 - Chapter 2 The Rise of Civilization in the Middle...

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Chapter 2 The Rise of Civilization in the Middle East and Africa CHAPTER SUMMARY Full civilizations emerged first in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, by 3500 B.C.E., and in Egypt by 3000 B.C.E. along the Nile. The two very different civilizations had distinct political and cultural characteristics which influenced both neighboring and distant succeeding generations. Both civilizations encountered difficulties around 1000 B.C.E. as the rivervalley period ended, but by then they produced offshoots in neighboring regions. Setting the Scene: The Middle East by 4000 B.C.E. The first civilizations developed through gradual agricultural consolidation and technical advance. The resulting more complex economy created the need for more developments in government, communication and record-keeping. . Agriculture and the Rise of Civilization. Civilization gradually emerged in the Middle East and northeast Africa along great river systems as sedentary agricultural societies increased production and developed new forms of social organization. Rights over property stimulated improvements that passed on to heirs and led to more extensive government. Irrigation projects along major rivers required cooperation among farmers, a large labor supply, and political and economic organization to manage the systems. Innovation, Specialization, and Productivity. New inventions created the surpluses making civilization possible. . The potter's wheel facilitated faster and higher-quality pottery for more secure food storage. Specialized workers produced pots and exchanged them for food from other communities. Better tools improved wood or stone products. The invention of the wheel allowed movement of huge stones for monumental construction. The Middle East was the first region to move from the stone tool age to the Bronze Age. The improved tools and weapons increased food production and stimulated commerce. Civilization in Mesopotamia. The first civilization appeared around 3000 B.C.E. and generated the characteristic features of writing, expanded cities, complex social structure, and distinctive religious beliefs and artistic styles. The Sumerians. Civilization began in the Fertile Crescent, the arable plain of the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys. The rivers deposited fertile soil in a rainfall-scant region. Irrigation and technological advances produced food surpluses for population growth. Sumerians, migrating from the north about 4000 B.C.E., mixed with local groups to establish Mesopotamian civilization. Sumerian Political and Social Organization. Political organization was based on city-states; their leaders - kings and local councils - ruled agricultural hinterlands. The government defined state boundaries, regulated and enforced religious duties, and provided court systems for justice. Kings were responsible for defense and warfare, and, along with priests, ; controlled land worked by slaves. Political stability and the use of writing allowed urban growth, and agricultural, commercial,
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ch02 - Chapter 2 The Rise of Civilization in the Middle...

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