Lecture 6 - Chapter 3: Pages 139-179 Sumerian Civilization:...

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Chapter 3: Pages 139-179 Sumerian Civilization: development of urban centers (ex: the Uruk from 3700- 3100 BC). The rise in population coupled with technological and social changes led to the movement from rurality (Ubaid period) into a more unified culture which could have led to an “urban revolution”. Technological changes included the appearance of writing , monumental architecture (seen most readily in Uruk temples) and social changes included differentiation of social rank , job specialization , and a more central role of political and religious power as an organizing force. At Uruk, the transformation to urbanity took 2 centuries at most Theories on the causes of the Urban Revolution o Invading culture: a foreign civilization brought along the major social changes by force. Criticism : there is no evidence of a break in architectural or technological traditions to support this idea. o Wittfogel: Mesopotamia’s irrigation system was the key to the development of urban civilization. Irrigation technology implies that there is a central administration to facilitate the labor needed. Criticism: Some scholars have shown that complex political and economic institutions existed before irrigation systems. o Nomads: villagers and nomads were probably in constant communication and nomads probably acted as intermediaries in exchange between people in different areas of Mesopotamia. Uruk Civilization: o Settled circa 4200 BC by Ubaid people o Development of monumental temples, cylinder seals, and cuneiform writing o The city of Uruk was dedicated to the god Anu and the goddess E-Anna. o Temples came to be so high because of rebuilding temples on top of each other. Temples served as storehouses for agricultural surplus and centers of administrative control o The cylinder seal originated around 3500 BC and their primary purpose was to indicate ownership, but was also used in commercial trade and the specialization of labor. o Writing developed in three stages in Mesopotamia: 1. Geometrically shaped tokens encased in bullae, a clay ball for security. Each geometric shape represented a specific number 2. Complex tokens were placed inside the bullae with simple tokens. They took a recognizable shape and usually represented a specific commodity. Together with the simple tokens, they would represent a certain number of a certain commodity. 3.
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Lecture 6 - Chapter 3: Pages 139-179 Sumerian Civilization:...

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