Development of sumerian cities especially uruk ca

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Unformatted text preview: nd Empire ca. 2125–2027 B.C.E. Third Dynasty of Ur ca. 2000–1800 B.C.E. Establishment of Amorites in Mesopotamia ca. 1792–1750 B.C.E. Reign of Hammurabi ca. 1550 B.C.E. Establishment of Kassite Dynasty at Babylon Making Bread. A hallmark of the early river civilizations was the development of techniques to increase harvests. This statue from the Old Kingdom in Egypt (ca. 2700–2200 B.C.E.) shows a woman kneading dough for bread. CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 15 Chapter 1 The Birth of Civilization 15 Pyramids at Giza. The three largest pyramids of Egypt, located at Giza, near Cairo, are the colossal tombs of pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty (ca. 2640–2510 B.C.E.): Khufu (right), Chafre (center), and Menkaure (left). The small pyramids and tombs at their bases were those of the pharaohs’ queens and officials. Pictor/Uniphoto Picture Agency. The Egyptians recognized two sets of geographical divisions in their country. Upper (southern) Egypt consisted of the narrow valley of the Nile. Lower (northern) Egypt referred to the broad triangular area, named by the Greeks after their letter delta, formed by the Nile as it branches out to empty into the Mediterranean. The Egyptians also made a distinction between what they termed the “black land,” the dark fertile fields along the Nile, and the “red land,” the desert cliffs and plateaus bordering the valley. The Nile alone made agriculture possible in Egypt’s desert environment. Each year the rains of central Africa caused the river to rise over its floodplain, cresting in September and October. In places, the plain extends several miles on either side; elsewhere the cliffs slope down to the water’s edge. When the floodwaters receded, they left a rich layer of organically fertile silt. The construction and maintenance of canals, dams, and irrigation ditches to control the river’s water, together with careful planning and organization of planting and harvesting, produced agricultural prosperity unmatched in the ancient world. The Nile served as the major highway connecting Upper and Lower Egypt (see Map 1–3 on page 16). There was also a network of desert roads running north and south, as well as routes across the eastern desert to the Sinai and the Red Sea. Other tracks led to oases in the western desert. Thanks to geography and climate, Egypt was more isolated and enjoyed far more security than Mesopotamia. This security, along with the predictable flood calendar, gave Egyptian civilization a more optimistic outlook than the civilizations of the Tigris and Euphrates, which were more prone to storms, flash floods, and invasions. The 3,000-year span of ancient Egyptian history is traditionally divided into thirty-one royal dynasties, from the first dynasty, said to have been founded by Menes, the king who originally united Upper and Lower Egypt, to the last, conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.E. (as we shall see in Chapter 3). Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals, founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty, whose last ruler was Cleopatra. In 30 B.C....
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