Chapter 2: Early Societies in Southwest Asia and Indo-European Migration 1. In Mesopotamia, the most important geographic features were the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Because Mesopotamia was on a flat land between two rivers, as so named, the Mesopotamians had to adapt. One Adaptation was irrigation. The use of irrigation helped Mesopotamians develop a wealthy agricultural society.
Another adaptation was boundaries such as city walls.Without natural boundaries to protect their cities, Mesopotamian noblemen and kinds ordered city walls to be erected both to protect the city-states wealth and from nomadic peoples trying to invade and gain control. The geographic features helped to mold Mesopotamia into stable city-states dependent on agriculture because of the necessity of adaption, due to the lack of naturally convenient water sources. 2. Mesopotamia was ruled by kings and noblemen. The government was organized by social classes. The social classes with the most wealth had the most power, and the poor people, such as slaves, held no power.
Ruling city-states changed throughout Mesopotamian history, depending on which cities were the strongest economically, socially and had strong religious centers. Important Mesopotamian leaders include Sargon of Akkad, who conquered many cities. The Babylonian king Hammurabi, who created a code of laws designed to punish crimes, was another important leader in Mesopotamia. 3.
Hammurabi was a Babylonian ruler who reigned from 1792B. C. E. to 1750B. C. E.
Hammurabi developed a system of laws of retaliation, punishing unaccepted behaviors with heavy fines and often a death penalty.Hammurabi’s rule set rigid ideas of what was acceptable in the communities. Hammurabi’s code showed that Mesopotamian society would punish women more heavily than men in instances in which a man and woman broke a law. Hammurabi’s laws reveal a society more lenient towards men and harsher towards women. 4. The economy of Mesopotamia was driven by agriculture. Once farming was only needed from a few citizens, others were able to break off into specializations.
Specializations included metallurgy and creating weapons and tools out of iron.Other specializations included textiles and shipbuilding. Ships were important to trade on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamians traded textiles, as well as silver and other metals. Mesopotamia because heavily dependent on trade for supplies they couldn’t get locally or make for themselves. 5.
Mesopotamia was a patriarchal society, meaning it was ruled by men, who had control over everything. Women had very small roles in society, though some were important, such as educated scribes. Women’s roles were small compared to men, who alone ruled Mesopotamia.Men were also favored in society, receiving less punishment for equal crime.
Men could also sell their wives and children as slaves to pay off debts. The shows that a man’s financial standings were of higher importance than his family. 6. The earliest Mesopotamians were polytheistic. They believed there were several gods, each with their own responsibilities. When monotheism was introduced through Judaism there were several similarities. Both types of religion brought stories that taught lessons and often had stems from early Mesopotamian life.Similar morals and lessons of god-fearing ways were taught to those who followed the religions.
With the exception of the number of gods, the Mesopotamian pantheon and Judaism were very much alike. 7. Mesopotamians began writing with pictures, and eventually developed cuneiform writing, which involved pictures and wedge-shapes.
The Syrians and Phoenicians were two of many peoples to develop a simpler form of cuneiform, which consisted of twenty-two letters and has been adapted over time into today’s alphabet.This alphabet was much simpler than cuneiform, so more people than ever were able to be educated and become literate, because of this new alphabet. 8. The Indo-Europeans expanded to Europe, the British Isles, Anatolia, Persia, India and the Himalayas. The Hittites were the most important Indo-Europeans because they developed cuneiform, traded with Babylonians and Israelites and had a close relationship with Mesopotamia. In the east in China, European people resided, due to the expansion. Other peoples moved west into Greece, where civilizations were established near the Mediterranean Sea.The Gilgamesh Epic 1.
The flood story of the Gilgamesh Epic features a man who is foretold by one of the gods of a flood that will be coming. The man is told to forget all possessions and build a large boat. He does as he is told in the creating the boat, so the man survives the torrential rain. However, he did not forget greed; instead he brought his valuables with him onto the boat. Due to this, the gods did not let the flood recede. The man sacrifices himself, and the gods are left with a world free of corruption. 2. The story of the Gilgamesh Epic teaches about selfishness versus selflessness nd the greed and corruption of humanity.
It is meant to impress selflessness upon those who hear it. Another value is sacrifice: if the man had left his valuables behind before the flood, he would not have had to sacrifice himself in the end. 3. The Gilgamesh Epic teaches that the gods punished people. It did not show them to be forgiving.
One of the gods is even portrayed as evil. The humans seem to have been at one time god-fearing but now greedy. They are depicted as out of touch with their morality and unaware of their greed.