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Early Civilizations of the Middle East


Early Civilizations of the Middle East Chapter 25, Section 2 Birth of Civilization The first evidence of human civilization appeared in the Tigris and Euphrates river ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Early Civilizations of the Middle East

Early Civilizations of the Middle East
  • Chapter 25, Section 2

Birth of Civilization
  • The first evidence of human civilization appeared
    in the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys.
  • This fertile river valley had excellent farmland
    because of the flooding of the rivers.
  • The Greeks termed this area Mesopotamia which
    means the land between the rivers.
  • People began to settle down in this area as a
    result of the development of farming and the need
    for protection.

The Fertile Crescent
The Sumerians
  • Sumerian civilization emerged around the year
    3500 B.C.E. in southern Mesopotamia.
  • Sumer is a Greek word meaning southern.
  • The Sumerians developed city-states with a
    priest-king as their leader.
  • The major Sumerian cities were located at Ur,
    Uruk, and Eridu.

Sumerian Accomplishments
  • The Sumerians developed several key advancements.
  • Ziggurat huge mud-brick temples which were the
    focal point of Sumerian worship.
  • Cuneiform the first written language that was
    created by pressing a reed into a clay tablet.
  • Wheels the Sumerians were the first to create
    the wheel which they originally used to make
  • Number system based off of 60 (our modern units
    for a 60-second minute and 60-minute hour are
    derived from this)

Conflict in Mesopotamia
  • Due to the limited natural barriers for
    protection the civilizations of the Middle East
    faced constant threats from foreign powers.
  • Eventually the Sumerians are overthrown by a
    group called the Akkadians.
  • Under the rule of their king, Sargon I, the
    Akkadians created the first empire in history.
  • The Akkadians used their professional army to
    defeat their opponents and control their lands.

The Emergence of Order
  • Over time the chaos of Mesopotamia resulted in
    stronger central governments asserting their
  • One power, the Babylonians, developed the first
    code of laws.
  • This code of laws, known as Hammurabis code,
    were displayed in public for all to see.
  • One famous law from Hammurabis code was an eye
    for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Cultural Diffusion
  • The advancements made by the Mesopotamians were
    spread all throughout the ancient world.
  • The smelting of iron weapons was created by the
    Hittites who used this specialized technology to
    forge their empire.
  • The Phoenicians developed an alphabet with 22
    characters for help in their business dealings.
    This alphabet was later adopted by the Greeks and
    is the ancestor of our modern alphabet.

Rise of the Persian Empire
  • By the year 500 B.C.E. most of Asia Minor was
    controlled by a group known as the Persians.
  • The Persian king Cyrus the Great used his
    military and political power to topple the
    Mesopotamian civilizations and create one of the
    most powerful empires in the ancient world.
  • The Persians divided their empire into provinces,
    each with its own satrap, or governor, to rule
  • The Persians treated the people they conquered
    kindly as long as they were loyal to the Persian

Persian Empire
Persian Developments
  • The Persians created a road network which
    connected the vast reaches of their empire.
  • Along the main highway, the Royal Road, the built
    relay stations where messengers could get new
    horses to continue their journey.
  • This relay system helped to vastly improve
    communication and governmental authority.
  • The Persians also created standard languages
    (Aramaic) and coinage for use throughout their

Overthrow of the Persian Empire
  • The Persian Empire will eventually be conquered
    by a group called the Macedonians.
  • Their leader, Alexander the Great, invaded Persia
    to avenge the Persian invasions of Greece in 490
    and 480/79 B.C.E.
  • Alexander annihilated the Persian armies sent to
    oppose him and was eventually crowned king of the
    Persian empire.

  • Alexander spread the concept of Hellenism
    throughout his newly-conquered empire.
  • Hellenism comes from the term Hellenes, which is
    what the Greeks called themselves.
  • Hellenism, therefore, is the spread of Greek
    culture throughout Alexanders empire.
  • Under Hellenism Greek art, architecture,
    literature, technology, and ideas were integrated
    into the Middle East
  • This culture diffusion continued well after
    Alexanders abrupt death in 323 B.C.E.

Roman Conquest
  • Eventually another Mediterranean civilization,
    Rome, conquered all the lands around the
    Mediterranean rim.
  • Under Roman rule trade flourished throughout the
    Middle East.
  • Roman rule also brought with it an extensive law
    system, road network, national security force,
    and economic stability.
  • By 395 C.E. the Roman Empire split into two
    halves, the Roman and Byzantine Empires.
  • The Byzantine Empire continued to ruler over
    parts of Asia Minor for the next 1000 years.

Roman Empire
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