4-8 - From Mesopotamia to Egypt and the Complicated Eastern...

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From Mesopotamia to Egypt and the Complicated Eastern Mediterranean, c. 2000–1000 BCE I. “History is what the evidence makes it possible to believe.” – Thorkild Jacobsen, 20th century scholar of Ancient Mesopotamia II. Mesopotamia: From city-states to Empires A. The development of cities -- "From Hunter Gatherers to City Dwellers" -Creation of cities = "explosion of new needs" -Groups of people joining together leads to specialization of crafts(ex. farmers bakers, blacksmiths, soldiers, generals, kings, etc); division of labor -Gradual process, need for raw materials(precious metals and stones, crops, timber) at times tied to imperialism -Not in all cases, but often tied to it, one place will try to conquer another place to acquire its raw materials Challenges -Environmental challenges for those living in the region -Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were chaotic and unpredictable making it difficult to irrigate crops, and so this posed as an environmental challenge -Consistent threats from outside nomadic groups and other city-states, and so there was a military challenge, -"Fertile Crescent" was accessible from all sides by land -These factors contributed to a "pessimistic" outlook by those living in the region, and a grim view of the afterlife -Various city-states interested in securing dominance: military, political, economic, and religious -Gradually, each city state engaged in creating an empire-building where each eventually came to have a king(formerly called the lugal) -The Largest city states in Mesopotamia: Akkad, Babylonian, Sumer B. Sargon and the Akkadian Empire, 24th century BCE -City state of Akkad dominates Mesopotamia until c. 2200 BCE. -Considered to be the first multi-ethnic empires in world history -City states like Akkad often took turns dominating the region(easier to win supremacy than keep it) -There were endemic challenges, both internal and external to reigning city states -Hammurabi and the Babylonian Empire, 18th century BCE -City state of Babylon dominates the region until about the 16th century -Babylon is then invaded by the Hittites and eventually was occupied by the Kassiites, a nomadic people from the east C. The role of the “good king” in antiquity -Typically the "good king" in antiquity was expected to serve 3 primary functions: 1)lead the army(the king is chief commander or lugal) 2)Dispense justice(the king as chief judge) 3) worship the Gods (the king as chief priest) -The king is the largest figure in society
D. Hammurabi and his Law Code, 18th century BCE

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