The First Civilizations : History about Early People

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This booklet reminds us of the prehistory of the First Civilizations, history about Early people, their way of living, settlements, culture, and different aspects.
1. Mesopotamia,
Egypt, and Israel
Each civilization that you will study in this unit made
important contributions to history.
• The Mesopotamians developed the world’s first law codes.
• Egyptians built the pyramids and invented papyrus—the
world’s first paper.
• Israelite scripture influenced religions in Europe and Asia.
8000 B.C. 5000 B.C. 2000 B.C.
First c. 8000 B.C. c. 3200 B.C. c. 1790 B.C.
Civilizations Farming begins in Sumerians in Hammurabi intro-
southwest Asia Mesopotamia duces code of laws
Cha p ter 1
develop writing
Hammurabi stands
before a god
Ancient c. 5000 B.C. c. 2540 B.C. c. 1500 B.C.
Egypt & Kush Hunter-gatherers settle Egyptians complete Queen
Nile River valley building of Great Hatshepsut
C ha p ter 2
Pyramid becomes
Pyramids at
Giza, Egypt
c. 2540 B.C.
Ancient c. 1800 B.C.
Israelites Abraham
enters Canaan
Chap te r 3
Abraham leads
Israelites to Canaan
2. (tl)Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York/Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund/Bridgeman Art Library, (bl)Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY, (others)SuperStock
0° 0 1,000 mi. 30°E 60°E 90°E
Caspian Sea
0 1,000 km ASIA
Mercator projection
Black Sea
Chapter 1
Chapter 3
gri s
Eu us
ph nd R.
W E Chapter 2 Gulf
Nile R.
Sea Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
1000 B.C. 750 B.C. 500 B.C. 250 B.C. A.D. 1
c. 744 B.C. c. 612 B.C.
Assyria expands Chaldeans capture
into Babylon Assyrian capital
Hanging Gardens of
Babylon c. 600 B.C.
c. 1000 B.C. 728 B.C.
Kush breaks Kush
free of Egypt conquers
Kushite king Taharqa
c. 680 B.C.
c. 1000 B.C. 586 B.C. 168 B.C. A.D. 70
King David rules Israel Chaldeans Maccabean revolt Romans
capture destroy temple
Jerusalem in Jerusalem
Solomon’s temple,
Ancient Jerusalem
built c. 950 B.C.
3. 1 Ishtar Gate
Mediterranean Sea
See First Civilizations 3
Chapter 1
Sumerian figures
See First Civilizations
Chapter 1
c. 3300 B.C .
Iceman found in Ruled c. 1792–1750 B.C . Ruled c. 1473–1458 B.C .
the Alps Babylonian king Egyptian pharaoh
Chapter 1, page 129 Chapter 1, page 138 Chapter 2, page 182
4. ASIA 3 Egyptian sphinx
See Ancient Egypt
and Kush Chapter 2
4 Kushite pyramids
See Ancient Egypt
and Kush Chapter 2
Gulf 5 Western Wall
See Ancient Israelites
Chapter 3
Ruled c. 1279–1213 B.C . c. 1100 B.C . Ruled c. 1000–970 B.C .
Egyptian ruler Israelite women King of Israel
Chapter 2, page 185 Chapter 3, page 219 Chapter 3, page 208
(t to b)Sylvain Grandadam/Getty Images, Timothy Kendall/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Gary Cralle/Getty Images, (l to r)O. Louis Mazzatenta/National Geographic Society Image Collection, SuperStock,
5. The First
Ruins of a ziggurat in Iraq
3000 B.C. 2000 B.C. 1000 B.C.
c. 3000 B.C. c. 1792 B.C. 612 B.C.
Bronze Age Hammurabi Nineveh captured;
begins rules Assyrian Empire
Mesopotamia crumbles
6. Chapter Overview
Visit for
a preview of Chapter 1.
Early Humans
Studying the past helps to understand the present. Scientists who
study the past have learned that the earliest humans hunted
animals and gathered plants for food. When farming developed,
people settled in villages and towns.
Mesopotamian Civilization
Religion shapes how culture develops, just as culture shapes how
religion develops. In early Mesopotamian civilizations, religion and
government were closely linked. Kings created strict laws to
govern people.
New Empires
Conflict often brings about great change. New empires arose in
Mesopotamia around 900 B.C. These civilizations included the
Assyrians and the Chaldeans. They used powerful armies and iron
weapons to conquer the region.
View the Chapter 1 video in the Glencoe Video Program.
Compare and Contrast Make this foldable to help you compare and contrast
the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia.
Step 1 Fold a sheet of paper Reading and Writing
Step 2 Turn the paper and
in half from side to side. As you read the chapter,
fold it into thirds.
write notes under each
appropriate tab of your
Fold it so the left foldable. Keep in mind
edge lies about that you are trying to
2 inch from the compare these
right edge. civilizations.
Step 4 Label as shown.
The First Civilizations
Step 3 Unfold and cut
the top layer only along Early Mesopo- New
Humans tamia Empires
both folds. This will make
three tabs.
7. Previewing
Before you read, take time to preview the chapter. This will give
you a head start on what you are about to learn. Follow the steps
below to help you quickly read, or skim, Section 1 on page 123.
2–The 1–Read
under each main Early Humans the main
head tells you the
main point of Paleolithic people adapted to in large red
what you are their environment and invented many tools type. They
about to read. to help them survive. show the
Reading Connection What do you view as the main topics
greatest human achievement—sending people to covered in
3–The Reading the moon, perhaps, or inventing the computer? the section
Connection helps Read to learn about the accomplishments of or chapter.
you to link what people during the Paleolithic Age.
you might already
know to what you History is the story of humans . . .
are about to read.
Tools of Discovery
4–Under each main
head, read the sub-
yo u s k im, also nd
heads in blue type.
As , maps, a
c t u r e s Subheads break down
at pi each main topic into
char ts. smaller topics.
8. Read to Write
Use each main head,
the main ideas, and the
subheads in Section 2
of this chapter to create
a study outline.
New Empires
Skim all of the main heads and main ideas in Section 3
starting on page 142. Then, in small groups, discuss
the answers to these questions.
• Which part of this section do you think will be most
interesting to you?
• What do you think will be covered in Section 3
that was not covered in Section 2?
• Are there any words in the Main Ideas
that you do not know how to pronounce?
• Choose one of the Reading
Connection questions to
discuss in your group.
Hanging Gardens
of Babylon
Skim Section 2 on your own. Write
one thing in your notebook that you
want to learn by reading this chapter.
9. Early Humans
Looking Back, Looking Ahead Content Vocabulary
Today people live in towns and anthropologist
History cities of various sizes. Early humans (AN • thruh • PAH • luh • jihst)
Social Science lived by moving from place to place, archaeologist
Standards forming settlements, and exploring (AHR • kee • AH • luh • jihst)
WH6.1 Students different ways to provide for artifact (AHR • tih • FAKT)
describe what is known themselves and their families.
through archaeological fossil (FAH • suhl)
studies of the early nomad (NOH • MAD)
physical and cultural Focusing on the technology (tehk • NAH • luh • jee)
development of
• Paleolithic people adapted to their
humankind from the domesticate (duh • MEHS • tih • KAYT)
Paleolithic era to the environment and invented many tools
agricultural revolution. to help them survive. specialization
(page 123) (SPEH • shuh • luh • ZAY • shuhn)
• In the Neolithic Age, people started Academic Vocabulary
farming, building communities, task
producing goods, and trading. revolution (REH • vuh • LOO • shuhn)
(page 127)
Reading Strategy
Locating Places Determine Cause and Effect Draw
Jericho (JEHR • ih • KOH) a diagram like the one below. Use it
Çatal Hüyük to explain how early humans adapted
(chah • TAHL hoo • YOOK) to their environment.
Cause: Effect:
Cause: Effect:
8000 B.C. 6000 B.C. 4000 B.C. 2000 B.C.
H¨uy¨uk c. 8000 B.C. c. 6700 B.C. c. 3000 B.C.
Jericho Çatal Hüyük Bronze Age
founded settled begins
122 CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations
10. WH6.1 Students describe what is known through archaeological studies of the early physical and cultural development of humankind
from the Paleolithic era to the agricultural revolution. WH6.1.1 Describe the hunter-gatherer societies, including the development of
tools and the use of fire. WH6.1.2 Identify the locations of human communities that populated the major regions of the world and
describe how humans adapted to a variety of environments. WH6.2.9 Trace the evolution of language and its written forms.
Early Humans
Paleolithic people adapted to their
environment and invented many tools to help them
Reading Connection What do you view as the great-
est human achievement—sending people to the moon,
perhaps, or inventing the computer? Read to learn
about the accomplishments of people during the
Paleolithic Age.
History is the story of humans in the
past. It tells what people did and what hap-
pened to them. Historians are people who
study and write about the human past.
They define history as the period of time Dr. Donald Johanson is shown here in
1982 with the skeletal remains of Lucy,
that began after people learned to write, a 3-million-year-old hominid
about 5,500 years ago. But the story of peo-
ple really begins in prehistory—the time
before people developed writing. In the 1930s, Louis and Mary Leakey
began digging for fossils in the Olduvai
Tools of Discovery What we know about Gorge in Tanzania. Archaeologists know
the earliest people comes from the things that in certain areas of the world, layers of
they left behind. Scientists have worked dirt and rock have been piled up slowly
to uncover clues about early human life. over time by the action of wind and water.
Anthropologists (AN • thruh • PAH • luh • jihsts) If you dig in those places, the deeper you
focus on human society. They study how find things, the older they are, because they
humans developed and how they related were buried further back in time. The
to one another. Archaeologists (AHR • kee • Olduvai Gorge is very deep, and along its
AH • luh • jihsts) hunt for evidence buried in walls are layers of dirt from as far back as 2
the ground where settlements might once million years ago. This made it a very good
have been. They dig up and study artifacts location to look for fossils.
(AHR • tih • FAKTS)—weapons, tools, and other In the 1940s and 1950s, Louis and Mary
things made by humans. They also look for found many fossils of hominids. Hominids
fossils (FAH • suhls)—traces of plants or ani- are creatures that walk on two legs. Human
mals that have been preserved in rock. beings are the only type of hominid still
British archaeologists Louis and Mary alive today. All the others are extinct.
Leakey and their son Richard are probably Anthropologists think that human beings
the most-famous fossil hunters. Their find- developed from earlier types of hominids.
ings convinced many scientists and anthro- In 1959 Mary Leakey discovered the
pologists that the ancestors of human skull of a creature nearly 2 million years
beings first appeared somewhere in East old. This showed that hominids lived at
Africa millions of years ago. least that long ago. In 1974 Donald
CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations 123
11. Johanson, an American anthropologist from hominids had begun walking on two legs
Chicago, made an even more amazing dis- while living in Africa’s rain forests, before
covery. He unearthed nearly an entire skele- they moved out onto Africa’s plains.
ton of a female hominid in Ethiopia. The Based on the work of these and other
hominid was nicknamed Lucy and was anthropologists, many scientists today think
nearly 3 million years old. that the first human beings developed in
Before Lucy was found, anthropologists East Africa. Slowly, over thousands of years,
thought hominids lived in the open on human beings spread out of Africa, probably
Africa’s plains and used tools to hunt other in search of food and new places to live as
animals. They thought hominids had begun their population increased. Gradually, they
walking on two legs so they could carry settled throughout the world.
their tools while they hunted. Lucy’s
remains showed that hominids began walk- Who Were the Hunter-Gatherers?
ing on two legs long before they used tools. Historians call the prehistoric period of
Scientists’ ideas about hominids were human history the Stone Age. The name
changed again in 1992. That year Tim comes from the fact that people during this
White, an anthropologist from California, time used stone to make tools and weapons.
uncovered a hominid that was 4.4 million The earliest part of the period is the
years old. Its teeth and bones showed that Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Paleolithic
Archaeological Dig
Archaeologists use special techniques and tools when carrying
out a dig. Artifacts are photographed or sketched, and their
locations are mapped and noted. Soil is passed through a mesh
screen to collect small fragments of tools or bone. What types
of artifacts do archaeologists look for?
Archaeologists may use plaster LOOKING FOR FRAGMENTS
to make a form or an imprint of This scientist uses a wire mesh
something they have found. screen to sift the soil to
BELOW THE SURFACE discover small fragments
Layers of soil are of artifacts.
deposited one on
top of another. In gen-
eral, the further the
layer is below the sur-
face, the older its soil
and artifacts are.
Grids like these help archaeologists Artifacts must be handled and
record and map any artifacts found. cleaned carefully, often with soft
Michael Holford brushes or other instruments.
12. means “old stone” in the Greek language.
American Museum of Natural History
Paleolithic times began roughly 2.5 million
years ago and lasted until around 8000 B.C. Paleolithic
Try to imagine the world during the
Stone Age, long before any roadways, farms,
Cave Paintings
or villages existed. Early humans spent most The oldest examples of Paleolithic art are
cave paintings found in Spain and France.
of their time searching for food. They hunted
Most of the paintings are of animals.
animals, caught fish, ate insects, and gath- The paintings show that Paleolithic artists
ered nuts, berries, fruits, grains, and plants. often used several colors and techniques.
Because they hunted and gathered food, They sometimes used the uneven surface of
Paleolithic people were always on the the rock to create a three-dimensional effect.
move. They were nomads (NOH • MADS), or
people who regularly move from place to
place without fixed homes. They traveled in
bands or groups of 30 or so members
because it was safer and made the search
for food easier.
Men and women did different tasks
within the group. Women stayed close to the
campsite, which was typically near a stream
or other water source. They cared for the
children and searched nearby woods and
Painting of bison in Spanish cave
meadows for berries, nuts, and grains.
Men hunted animals—an activity that
sometimes took them far from camp. They
had to learn the habits of animals and make Why do you think Paleolithic artists
tools for hunting. At first, they used clubs painted what they did?
or drove the animals off cliffs. Over time,
Paleolithic people invented spears, traps,
and bows and arrows. animals. Food cooked over the fire tasted
better and was easier to digest. In addition,
Adapting to the Environment The way cooked meat could be kept longer.
that Paleolithic people lived depended on Archaeologists believe that early humans
where they lived. Those in warm climates started fires by rubbing two pieces of wood
needed little clothing or shelter. People in together. Paleolithic people later made drill-
cold climates sought protection from the like wooden tools to start fires.
weather in caves. Over time, Paleolithic
people created new kinds of shelter. The What Were the Ice Ages? Paleolithic peo-
most common was probably made of ani- ple needed fire in order to survive the Ice
mal hides held up by wooden poles. Ages. These were long periods of extreme
Paleolithic people made a life-changing cold. The last Ice Age began about 100,000
discovery when they learned to tame fire. B.C. From then until about 8000 B.C., thick
Fire gave warmth to those gathered around ice sheets covered parts of Europe, Asia,
it. It lit the darkness and scared away wild and North America.
CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations 125
13. The Ice Age was a threat to human life. verse. Early people also might have
People risked death from the cold and also thought that painting an animal would
from hunger. Early humans had to adapt bring good luck in the hunt.
by changing their diet, building sturdier
shelters, and using animal furs to make
The Invention of Tools Paleolithic people
were the first to use technology (tehk • NAH •
warm clothing. The mastery of fire helped
luh • jee)—tools and methods that help
people live in this environment.
humans perform tasks. People often used a
Language, Art, and Religion Another stone called flint to make tools. By hitting
advance during Paleolithic times was the flint with a hard stone, they could make it
development of spoken language. Language flake into pieces with very sharp edges. To
made it far easier for people to work make hand axes or hunting spears, they
together and to pass on knowledge. tied wooden poles to pieces of flint that
Early people expressed themselves not were the right shape for the tool.
only in words but in art. They crushed yel- Over time, early people grew more
low, black, and red rocks to make powders skilled at making tools. They crafted smaller
for paint. Then they dabbed this on cave and sharper tools, such as fishhooks and
walls, creating scenes of lions, oxen, pan- needles made from animal bones. They
thers, and other animals. Historians are not used needles to make nets and baskets and
sure why cave paintings were created. They to sew animal hides together for clothing.
may have had religious meaning or been Contrast What is the dif-
used to explain people’s role in the uni- ference between a fossil and an artifact?
learned that grinding, breaking, and
shaping stones to create sharp edges
made them more useful.
As technology advanced, people began
making specific tools such as food
choppers, meat scrapers, and spear points.
In time, people learned that hitting a stone
in a particular way would produce a flake—
Tools One of the most important
a long, sharp chip. Flakes were similar to
advances of prehistoric people was
knives in the way they were used.
the creation of stone tools. Tools
made hunting, gathering, building
shelter, and making clothing much Connecting to the Past
easier. 1. Why do you think early people chose stones to
make their first tools?
The first tools were made of
2. How were flakes created?
stones. Early humans quickly
14. WH6.1.2 Identify the locations of human communities that populated the major regions of the world and describe how humans
adapted to a variety of environments.
WH6.1.3 Discuss the climatic changes and human modifications of the physical environment that gave rise to the domestication
of plants and animals and new sources of clothing and shelter.
The Agricultural Revolution their herds. They also continued to gather
seeds, fruits, and vegetables to eat.
In the Neolithic Age, people started The Mesolithic Age came to an end
farming, building communities, producing goods, when people made another important dis-
and trading. covery. They realized that they could plant
Reading Connection Did you know that, today, more seeds and grow their own food. They may
than a third of the world’s people work in agriculture? have learned this from the seeds they had
Read to learn how farming began and how it changed stored in dirt pits. Some of the seeds might
the world. have sprouted and shown people that if
they put seeds in dirt and waited long
After the last Ice Age ended, people enough, they could grow plants.
entered the Mesolithic Age. Mesolithic With this new knowledge, people could
means “middle stone” in Greek. At this stay in one place and grow grains and veg-
time, people changed from hunting to herd- etables. Gradually, farming began to
ing animals. They began to domesticate (duh replace hunting and gathering for many
• MEHS • tih • KAYT), or tame animals for human people. They began to build villages and
use. Animals provided meat, milk, and claim land for their farms. This changed the
wool. They also carried goods and people way people lived and marked the begin-
and pulled carts. Even so, most Mesolithic ning of the Neolithic Age, or New Stone
people remained nomadic. They moved Age, which began about 8000 B.C. and
from place to place in search of grass to feed lasted until about 4000 B.C.
Why Was Farming Important?
Historians call the changes in the
Neolithic Age the agricultural rev-
olution. The word revolution
Stone refers to changes that greatly affect
tools many areas of life. Some his-
torians consider the farming revo-
lution the most important event in
human history.
Farming did not begin in one
region and spread. People in differ-
ent parts of the world discovered
how to grow crops at about the
same time. In Asia, people grew
wheat, barley, rice, soybeans, and a
grain called millet. In Mexico,
farmers grew corn, squash, and
potatoes. In Africa, they grew mil-
let and a grain called sorghum.
Flaking tools from Farming greatly increased the
a larger stone number of calories that could be
15. produced from an area of land. This made it garbage near their farms. This too helped
possible to feed more people and led to an the spread of disease.
increase in the world’s population. Farming People had to work harder and for much
regions also had a higher population den- longer hours when farming. People had to
sity. People lived closer together and did till the soil in order to plant seeds. They had
not have to spread out as much as they used to weed the fields by hand. Then they had to
to when they hunted and gathered food. gather the crops by hand when they were
Farming also changed the kind of food peo- ready. There were no machines to make the
ple ate. Instead of a diet rich in meat and veg- work quick and easy. People had to walk
etables, people now ate a lot of grain—usually through their fields, often bent over at the
in the form of bread. Anthropologists think that waist, gathering the crops they had grown.
people in the early days of farming were not as Despite the problems of diet and disease
healthy as hunter-gatherers because they did and the hard work people had to do, the
not have enough variety in their diet. farming revolution greatly improved the
Farming required people to stay in one lives of most people. Fewer people starved
place for a long time. This made it easier for to death, and more children lived to adult-
diseases to spread and infect many people. hood. Settling in one place to farm also led
Because people stayed in one place, they to a much more organized society and
also tended to pollute their environment. made possible the world’s first towns and
Their water became dirty, and they left cities.
The Rise of Farming Communities 7000–2000 B.C.
90°W 30°W 30°E 90°E 150°E

0 2,000 mi.
0 2,000 km
Mercator projection
Barley Maize Potatoes Sweet potatoes
1. Human/Environment Interaction According to Beans Millet Rice Tea
the map, what crops were grown in North Cocoa OA
TS Oats RY
Rye Tomatoes
America? Coffee Olives Soybeans Vanilla
2. Region What are the major regions of the Cotton Onions Squash Wheat
world where farming communities appeared?
Emmer Peanuts Sugarcane Yams
Find NGS online map resources @ Flax Peppers Sunflowers
128 CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations
(tr)Giansanti Gianni/CORBIS Sygma, (bl)Kenneth Garrett
16. 6.4.6. Compare and contrast life in Athens
WH6.1.2 Identify the locations of human
and Sparta, with emphasis on their rules in
communities that populated the major regions of
the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars.
the world and describe how humans adapted to a
variety of environments.
WH6.1.3 Discuss the climatic changes and
human modifications of the physical environment
that gave rise to the domestication of plants and
animals and new sources of clothing and shelter.
c. 3300 B.C.
How do archaeologists and historians know so
much about how people lived in the Stone Age? In
addition to studying fossils, they have had the chance
to study an actual person from the Neolithic Age and
his tools. In A.D. 1991 two hikers discovered the frozen
body of a man near the border between Austria and Italy.
The man was called “Ötzi” after the Ötztal Alps, the
mountains where he was found. Scientists studied
Ötzi’s body, his clothes, and the items found with him
and learned that he lived 5,300 years ago, during the
Neolithic Age.
Ötzi was dressed warmly because of the cold
climate. He was wearing a fur hat and a long grass
cloak. Under the cloak was a leather jacket that was
Scientists created this
well-made but had been repaired several times. To keep reproduction to show what
his feet warm, he had stuffed grass in the bottom of his Ötzi may have looked like.
leather shoes. Ötzi was carrying a bow and arrows, a
copper ax, and a backpack. Experts believe Ötzi was a
shepherd who traveled with his herd. He probably
returned to his village only twice a year.
From recent tests, scientists have learned more about the last hours of Ötzi’s life.
Shortly before he died, Ötzi ate a type of flat bread that is similar to a cracker, an herb or
other green plant, and meat. Pollen found in Ötzi’s stomach showed that he ate his last
meal in the valley, south of where he was found. When Ötzi finished eating, he headed up
into the mountains. Eight hours later, he died. Scientists believe that Ötzi’s last hours
were violent ones. When found, he had a knife clutched in his right hand. Wounds on his
right hand suggest that he tried to fight off an attacker. His left shoulder had been deeply
pierced by an arrow. Some scientists think Ötzi may have wandered into another tribe’s
territory. Ötzi is now displayed at the
South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
in Bolzano, Italy.
If scientists 5,300 years from now discovered
the remains of someone from our time, what
might they conclude about our society?
17. Comparing the Neolithic and Paleolithic Ages
Paleolithic Age Neolithic Age
Description Paleolithic people painted cave Neolithic people made pottery and
of Art and walls. They usually painted carved objects out of wood. They
Crafts animals. also built shelters and tombs.
How Humans People hunted animals and People began to farm in permanent
Obtained Food gathered nuts, berries, and grains. villages. They continued to raise
and herd animals.
How Humans People learned to make fire, People built mud-brick houses and
Adapted created a language, and places of worship. They specialized
made simple tools and in certain jobs and used copper and
shelters. bronze to create more useful tools.
Work of Women Women gathered food and cared Women cared for children and
and Men for children. Men hunted. performed household tasks.
Men herded, farmed, and protected
the village.
Humans made great advances from the
Paleolithic Age to the Neolithic Age.
1. How did the work of men change from the
Paleolithic Age to the Neolithic Age? Mexico. Some of the earliest known commu-
2. Describe What advances were made in nities have been found in the Middle East.
toolmaking between the Paleolithic and One of the oldest is Jericho (JEHR • ih • KOH) in
Neolithic Ages? the West Bank between what are now Israel
and Jordan. It dates back to about 8000 B.C.
Another well-known Neolithic commu-
The Growth of Villages People who nity is Çatal Hüyük (chah • TAHL hoo •
farmed could settle in one place. Herders YOOK) in present-day Turkey. Little of the
remained nomadic and drove their animals community remains, but it was home to
wherever they could find grazing land. some 6,000 people between about 6700 B.C.
Farmers, however, had to stay close to their and 5700 B.C. These people lived in simple
fields to water the plants, keep hungry ani- mud-brick houses that were packed tightly
mals away, and harvest their crops. They together and decorated inside with wall
began to live in villages, where they built paintings. They used other buildings as
permanent homes. places of worship. Along with farming, the
During the Neolithic Age, villages were people hunted, raised sheep and goats, and
started in Europe, India, Egypt, China, and ate fish and bird eggs from nearby marshes.
130 CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations
(l)Michael Holford, (r)Ron Sheridan/Ancient Art & Architecture Collection
18. The Benefits of a Settled Life Neolithic use wool and other fabrics for clothes as well.
people found greater security by living in These craftspeople, like farmers, also took
settled communities. Steady food supplies part in trade. They exchanged the things they
led to healthy, growing populations. Soon made for goods they did not have.
villagers produced a food surplus. That is, In late Neolithic times, people contin-
they grew more food than they needed. ued to make advances. Toolmakers created
They were able to trade their extra food for better farming tools, such as the sickle for
other goods made by people in their com- cutting grain. In some places, people began
munity or who lived nearby. to work with metals. At first they used cop-
The food surplus made it possible for per. They heated rocks to melt the copper
people to practice specialization (SPEH • shuh • inside and then poured the melted copper
luh • ZAY • shuhn), or the development of differ- into molds for tools and weapons.
ent kinds of jobs. Because not everyone was After 4000 B.C., craftspeople in western
needed for farming, some people had the Asia mixed copper and tin to form a metal
time to develop other types of skills. They called bronze. Bronze was harder and
made pottery from clay to store their grain longer lasting than copper. It became
and other foods. Others used plant fibers to widely used between 3000 B.C. and 1200
make mats and to weave cloth. This led to a B.C., the period known as the Bronze Age.
new type of clothing. Early humans had Compare How did the
worn only animal skins. Now people could Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages differ?
Study Central Need help understanding
the lives of early humans? Visit
and click on Study Central.
What Did You Learn?
Reading Summary 1. Who are archaeologists, and
what do they study?
5. Compare Compare the tech-
nology of the Paleolithic Age
Review the
2. How did domesticating animals with that of the Neolithic Age.
• Early humans were nomads who help the Neolithic people? CA CS1.
moved around to hunt animals 6. Analyze Why was the ability
and gather food. They built
Critical Thinking
to make a fire so important?
shelters and used fire to survive. 3. Determine Cause and CA HI2.
In time, they developed language Effect Draw a diagram like the
and art. one below. List some of the 7. Previewing
effects that farming had on Create a three-column chart.
• During the farming revolution, people’s lives. CA HI2. In the first column, write what
people began to grow crops Effect: you knew about early humans
and domesticate animals, Cause: before you read this section.
which allowed them to settle Farming Effect: In the second column, write
in villages. begins what you learned after reading.
In the third, write what you
4. How do changes still would like to know.
in the Neolithic Age still affect CA 6RC2.4
people today? CA HI2.
CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations 131
19. Mesopotamian
Looking Back, Looking Ahead Meeting People
In Section 1, you learned how Sargon (SAHR • GAHN)
History farming allowed people to settle in Hammurabi (HA • muh • RAH • bee)
Social Science one place. Some people settled in an
Standards area called Mesopotamia. Content Vocabulary
WH6.2 Students civilization
analyze the geographic, Focusing on the (SIH • vuh • luh • ZAY • shuhn)
political, economic,
religious, and social • Civilization in Mesopotamia began irrigation (IHR • uh • GAY • shuhn)
structures of the early in the valleys of the Tigris and city-state
civilizations of Meso- Euphrates Rivers. (page 133) artisan (AHR • tuh • zuhn)
potamia, Egypt, and
Kush. • Sumerians invented writing and cuneiform (kyoo • NEE • uh • FAWRM)
made other important contributions scribe (SKRYB)
to later peoples. (page 136) empire (EHM • PYR)
• Sumerian city-states lost power Academic Vocabulary
when they were conquered by complex (kahm • PLEHKS)
outsiders. (page 139) consist (kuhn • SIHST)
Locating Places code (KOHD)
Tigris River (TY • gruhs)
Reading Strategy
Euphrates River (yu • FRAY • teez) Sequencing Information Use a
Mesopotamia diagram to show how the first empire
(MEH • suh • puh • TAY • mee • uh) in Mesopotamia came about.
Sumer (SOO • muhr)
Babylon (BA • buh • luhn)
3000 B.C. 2250 B.C. 1500 B.C.
3000 B.C. c. 2340 B.C. c. 1792 B.C.
City-states Sargon conquers Hammurabi rules
arise in Sumer Mesopotamia Mesopotamia
132 CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations
20. WH6.2.1 Locate and describe the major river systems and discuss the physical settings that supported permanent settlement and
early civilizations. WH6.2.2 Trace the development of agricultural techniques that permitted the production of economic surplus and
the emergence of cities as centers of culture and power. WH6.2.3 Understand the relationship between religion and the social and
political order in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
easy to feed large numbers of people. The
Mesopotamia’s Civilization rivers also provided fish and freshwater to
Civilization in Mesopotamia began in drink, and made it easy to get from one place
the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. to another and to trade. Trade enabled
Reading Connection Do you live in a region that goods and ideas to move from place to
receives plenty of rain or in a region that is dry? Think place. It was no accident, then, that cities
about how that affects you as you read how the grew up in these valleys and became the
Sumerians’ environment affected them. centers of civilizations.
As cities took shape, so did the need for
Over thousands of years, some of the organization. Someone had to make plans
early farming villages developed into civi- and decisions about matters of common
lizations. Civilizations (SIH • vuh • luh • ZAY • concern. People formed governments to do
shuhns) are complex societies. They have just that. Their leaders took charge of food
cities, organized governments, art, religion, supplies and building projects. They made
class divisions, and a writing system. laws to keep order and assembled armies to
defend themselves from enemies.
Why Were River Valleys Important? The With fewer worries about meeting their
first civilizations arose in river valleys basic needs, people in the river valleys had
because good farming conditions made it more time to think about other things. They
Ancient Mesopotamia
30°E 40°E 50°E
C asp
Fertile Crescent 40°N
Se a
dit Eu
O Nineveh
err ph
PO e s R
Tigr i
an S Byblos
ea A S I A
Jerusalem Jordan R. Babylon Susa
EGYPT Dead Uruk
Giza Sea Ur Persian
Eridu Gulf
E Shoreline
1. Location Into what body of water ARABIAN
do the Tigris and the Euphrates DESERT
Rivers flow? 0 500 mi.
2. Place Why do you think the region 0 500 km
of Mesopotamia was so well Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area projection
suited for the growth of
civilization? Sculpture of chariot
from Mesopotamia
CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations 133
Hirmer Verlag
21. placed emphasis, or special importance, on extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the
religions and the arts. They also invented Persian Gulf.
ways of writing and created calendars to Mesopotamia had a hot, dry climate.
tell time. In the spring, the rivers often flooded,
Early civilizations shared another fea- leaving behind rich soil for farming. The
ture—they had a class structure. That is, problem was that the flooding was very
people held different ranks in society unpredictable. It might flood one year, but
depending on what work they did and how not the next. Every year, farmers worried
much wealth or power they had. about their crops.
Over time, the farmers learned to build
The Rise of Sumer The earliest-known civ- dams and channels to control the seasonal
ilization arose in what is now southern Iraq, floods. They also built walls, waterways,
on a flat plain bounded by the Tigris River and ditches to bring water to their fields. This
(TY • gruhs) and the Euphrates River (yu•FRAY• way of watering crops is called irrigation
teez). Later, the Greeks called this area (IHR • uh • GAY • shuhn). Irrigation allowed the
Mesopotamia (MEH • suh • puh • TAY • mee • uh), farmers to grow plenty of food and support
which means “the land between the rivers.” a large population. By 3000 B.C., many cities
Mesopotamia lay in the eastern part of the had formed in southern Mesopotamia in a
Fertile Crescent, a curving strip of land that region known as Sumer (SOO • muhr).
Sumerian Ziggurat
The top of the ziggurat was considered to be a holy place, and the area around
the ziggurat contained palaces and royal storehouses. The surrounding walls
had only one entrance because the ziggurat also served as the city’s treasury.
How did people reach the upper levels of the ziggurat?
Statues of Sumerians
Scala/Art Resource, NY
22. What Were City-States? Geography waterproof bricks were used for walls, as
helped to isolate Sumerian cities from each well as homes, temples, and other buildings.
other. Beyond the areas of settlement lay Gods and Rulers The Sumerians believed
mudflats and patches of scorching desert. in many gods. Each was thought to have
This terrain made travel and communica- power over a natural force or a human activ-
tion difficult. Each Sumerian city and the ity—flooding, for example, or basket weav-
land around it became a separate city-state. ing. The Sumerians tried hard to please their
Each city-state had its own government and gods. Each city-state built a grand temple
was not part of any larger unit. called a ziggurat (ZIH • guh • RAT) to its chief
Sumerian city-states often went to war god. The word ziggurat means “mountain of
with one another. They fought to gain glory god” or “hill of heaven.”
and to control more territory. For protec- With tiers like a giant square wedding
tion, each city-state surrounded itself with a cake, the ziggurat dominated the city. At
wall. Because stone and wood were in short the top was a shrine, or special place of
supply, the Sumerians used river mud as worship that only priests and priestesses
their main building material. They mixed could enter. The priests and priestesses
the mud with crushed reeds, formed bricks, were powerful and controlled much of the
and left them in the sun to dry. The hard land. They may even have ruled at one time.
A portion of the Royal
Standard of Ur, a deco-
rated box that shows
scenes of Sumerian life
These ruins are from the
Sumerian city-state of Uruk.
What was a city-state?
CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations 135
(l)Nik Wheeler/CORBIS, (r)Michael Holford
23. WH6.2.2 Trace the development of agricultural techniques that permitted the production of economic surplus and the emergence
of cities as centers of culture and power. WH6.2.3 Understand the relationship between religion and the social and political order in
Mesopotamia and Egypt. WH6.2.9 Trace the evolution of language and its written forms.
Later, kings ran the government. They led
armies and organized building projects. The
A Skilled People
first kings were probably war heroes. Their Sumerians invented writing and made
position became hereditary, which meant other important contributions to later peoples.
that after a king died, his son took over. Reading Connection Do you like to read? If so, you
owe a debt to the Sumerians, because they were the first
What Was Life Like in Sumer? While
to invent writing. Read about this achievement and others.
Sumerian kings lived in large palaces,
ordinary people lived in small mud-brick The Sumerians left a lasting mark on
houses. Most people in Sumer farmed. Some, world history. Their ideas and inventions
however, were artisans (AHR • tuh • zuhns), or were copied and improved upon by other
skilled workers who made metal products, peoples. As a result, Mesopotamia has been
cloth, or pottery. Other people in Sumer called the “cradle of civilization.”
worked as merchants or traders. They trav-
eled to other cities and towns and traded Why Was Writing Important? The people
tools, wheat, and barley for copper, tin, and of Sumer created many things that still affect
timber—things that Sumer did not have. our lives today. Probably their greatest
People in Sumer were divided into three invention was writing. Writing is important
social classes. Generally, a person had to stay because it helps people keep records and
in the social class into which he or she was pass on their ideas to others.
born. Only rarely could someone move up. People in Sumer developed writing to
The upper class included kings, priests, war- keep track of business deals and other
riors, and government officials. In the middle events. Their writing was called cuneiform
class were artisans, merchants, farmers, and (kyoo • NEE • uh • FAWRM). It consisted of hun-
fishers. These people made up the largest dreds of wedge-shaped marks cut into damp
group. The lower class were enslaved people clay tablets with a sharp-ended reed.
who worked on farms or in the temples. Archaeologists have found thousands of
Enslaved people were forced to serve these cuneiform tablets, telling us much
others. Slaveholders thought of them as about Mesopotamian life.
property. Some slaves were prisoners of Only a few people—mostly boys from
war. Others were criminals. Still others wealthy families—learned how to write.
were enslaved because they had to pay off After years of training, they became scribes
their debts. Debts are money or goods (SKRYBS), or record keepers. Scribes held
owed to others. honored positions in society, often going on
In Sumer, women and men had separate to become judges and political leaders.
roles. Men headed the households. They also Sumerian Literature The Sumerians also
could decide whom their children would produced works of literature. The world’s
marry. Only males could go to school. oldest known story comes from Sumer. It is
Women, however, did have some rights. called the Epic of Gilgamesh (GIHL • guh •
They could buy and sell property and run MEHSH). An epic is a long poem that tells the
businesses. story of a hero. The hero Gilgamesh is a
Explain How did Mesopo- king who travels around the world with a
tamian control of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers friend and performs great deeds. When his
benefit their society? friend dies, Gilgamesh searches for a way to
136 CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations
Scala/Art Resource, NY
24. live forever. He learns that this is possible Sumerians developed many mathemati-
only for the gods. This epic poem is still cal ideas. They used geometry to measure
studied today. fields and put up buildings. They also
created a number system based on 60. We
Advances in Science and Math The have them to thank for our 60-minute hour,
Mesopotamians’ creativity also extended to 60-second minute, and 360-degree circle.
technology. You read earlier about Sumerian In addition, Sumerian people watched
irrigation systems. Sumerians also invented the skies to learn the best times to plant
the wagon wheel to help carry people and crops and to hold religious festivals. They
goods from place to place. Another break- recorded the positions of the planets and
through was the plow, which made farming stars and developed a 12-month calendar
easier. Still another invention was the sail- based on the cycles of the moon.
boat, which replaced muscle power with Identify How did the use
wind power. of mathematics benefit the Sumerians?
Students today
In ancient Mesopotamia, only boys from
wealthy and high-ranking families went to the
edubba, which means “tablet house.” At the
edubba—the world’s first school—boys
studied reading, writing, and mathematics
and trained to be scribes. For hours every
day, they copied the signs of the
cuneiform script, trying to master
hundreds of words
and phrases.
Today, both boys and
girls go to school. They study reading,
writing, mathematics, and many other
subjects. As students advance in their
education, they have a great number of
career choices and are able to choose the
career that fits their talents. In what way is
education different today than it was in
Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet Mesopotamia?
CHAPTER 1 • The First Civilizations 137
(l)Mesopotamian Iraq Museum, Baghdad, Iraq/Giraudon/Bridgeman Art Library, (r)Will Hart/PhotoEdit
25. WH6.2.2 Trace the development of
agricultural techniques that permitted the
production of economic surplus and the
emergence of cities as centers of culture and
WH6.2.4 Know the significance of
Hammurabi's Code.
Reigned c. 1792–1750 B.C.
Hammurabi was a young man when he succeeded
his father, Sinmuballit, as king of Babylon. When
Hammurabi became king, Babylon was already a strong
kingdom in Mesopotamia. During his reign, however,
Hammurabi transformed Babylon from a small city-
state into a large, powerful state. He also united the
other city-states of Mesopotamia under one rule.
Hammurabi was directly involved in the ruling of
his kingdom. He personally directed projects, such as
building city walls, restoring temples, and digging and
cleaning irrigation canals. A great deal of planning
went into his projects. City streets, for example, were
arranged in straight lines and intersected at right
angles, much like the way our cities are planned today.
One of Hammurabi’s goals was to control the
Euphrates River because it provided water for
Babylon’s farms and trade routes for cargo ships.
He also needed to control the river’s annual flooding Hammurabi
so that villages and crops would not be washed away.
Hammurabi did this by issuing laws controlling the use
of irrigation ditches. His laws protected the area and
helped bring water to the fields. That was one reason he
developed a strict law code, or collection of laws:
damaged irrigation channels could cause many people
to be injured or even killed.
Hammurabi fought for many years against his
enemies to control the river. He even used water to
defeat them. Sometimes he would dam the river to
withhold water needed for drinking and for
crops, and then release a sudden damaging
flood. Because of Hammurabi’s efforts, the
Find a copy of the Code of Hammurabi, either on-
center of power in Mesopotamia shifted
line or in a reference book. Notice the kinds of
from Sumer in the south to Babylon in
situations and the punishments that are described.
the north where it remained for the next
How do these compare with current laws and
1,000 years.
punishments that exist in the United States?