01b - First River-Valley Civilizations, 3500 - 1500 B.C.E.

01b - First River-Valley Civilizations, 3500 - 1500 B.C.E....

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11Chapter 2 (second part of chapter 1 in textbook) - The First River-Valley Civilizations, 3500–1500 B . C . E . II1. Mesopotamia B2. Settled Agriculture in an Unstable Landscape 31. Mesopotamia is the alluvial 1° °;n ² } ‚ “ plain area alongside and between the Tigris n ² } ‚ “ and Euphrates n ² } ‚ Rivers. The area is a difficult environment for agriculture because there is little rainfall, the rivers flood at the wrong time for grain agriculture, and the rivers change course unpredictably. 42. Mesopotamia does have a warm climate and good soil. By 4000 B . C . E . farmers were using cattle-pulled plows and a sort of planter to cultivate barley. Just after 3000 B . C . E . they began constructing irrigation canals to bring water to fields farther away from the rivers. 53. Other crops and natural resources of the area included date palms, vegetables, reeds and fish, and fallow 1 ° °land for grazing goats and sheep. Draft animals included cattle and donkeys and, later (second millennium B . C . E .), camels and horses. The area has no significant wood, stone, or metal resources. 64. The earliest people of Mesopotamia and the initial creators of Mesopotamian culture were the Sumerians, who were present at least as early as 5000 B . C . E . By 2000 B . C . E . the Sumerians were supplanted 1 ° ; 1 ° by Semitic 1 ° ° ° , ‚ ² } ‚“ - speaking peoples who dominated and intermarried with the Sumerians but preserved many elements of Sumerian culture. C7. Cities, Kings, and Trade 85. Early Mesopotamian society was a society of villages and cities linked together in a system of mutual interdependence. Cities depended on villages to produce surplus food to feed the nonproducing urban elite and craftsmen. In return, the cities provided the villages with military protection, markets, and specialist- produced goods. 96. Together, a city and its agricultural hinterland 1 ° formed what we call a city- state. The Mesopotamian city-states sometimes fought with each other over resources like water and land; at other times, city-states cooperated with each other in sharing resources. City-states also traded with one another. 107. City-states could mobilize human resources to open new agricultural land and to build and maintain irrigation systems. Construction of irrigation systems required the organization of large numbers of people for labor. 118. Although we know little of the political institutions of Mesopotamian city-states, we do have written and archeological records of two centers of power: temples and palaces. Temples were landholders, and their priests controlled considerable wealth. Their religious power predates the secular 1 ° ° ; 1 ° ° ; 1 ° ° 1 power of the palaces. 129. Secular leadership developed in the third millennium B . C . E . when “big men” ( lugal ), who may have originally been leaders of armies, emerged as secular leaders. The lugal ruled from their palaces and tended to take over religious control of institutions. The Epic of Gilgamesh provides an example of the exercise of secular power.
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