Ancient River Valley Civilizations- Unit Sheet

Unit 2

Early River Valley Civilizations

 

About 5,000 years ago, the first civilizations began to develop along river vallies.  The rich, fertile farmlands of river valleys helped these civilizations to thrive. 

These early civilizations relied on a traditional economy based on farming.  Many developed into cities with systems of government, social structures, and belief systems, laying the foundations for later civilizations.  Through warfare and trade, these and other cultural achievements spread to new lands.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers supported the development of Sumerian civilization. The need to cooperate for irrigation and flood control led the Sumerians to form city-states with strong governments. The Sumerians' relationship with the land was reflected in their religious beliefs and their worldview. The Sumerians developed cuneiform, basic algebra, and geometry, and made advances in medicine, geography, and astronomy.

The Hebrews developed Judaism, a monotheistic religion based on the worship of one God, whose laws are set out in the Torah and the Ten Commandments.

In Egypt, the benefits of the Nile River supported the development of early civilization. The history of ancient Egypt is divided into three periods: Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and New Kingdom. Religious beliefs about gods, values, and life after death profoundly affected ancient Egyptian life. Scribes used a system of hieroglyphics to make written records. Other Egyptians made advances in science, mathematics, art, and literature.

The vast Indian subcontinent is a land of mountains, fertile plains, and arid regions. In the Indus River valley, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of India's first civilization. This civilization, which is thought to have flourished for about 1,000 years, eventually fell to the Aryans, who invaded India and destroyed many Indus Valley cities. Over the centuries, they abandoned their nomadic life, interacted with the people they conquered, and developed a new Indian civilization.

Geography isolated early Chinese civilization, yet the people developed a writing system, literature, silk making, and other arts. They honored nature and ancestor spirits.

 

 

 

 

Vocabulary:

 


Irrigation

Ziggurat

Cuneiform

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Satrap

Barter economy

Hammurabi’s Code

Metallurgy

Dynasty

Old Kingdom

Middle Kingdom

New Kingdom

Pharaoh

Vizier

Pyramids

Mummification

Hieroglyphics

Ideogram

Papyrus

Afterlife

Hierarchy

Monsoon

Veneration

Dravidians

Aryans

Caste

Brahman

Rajah

Vedas

Brahmins

Kshatriyas

Vaisyas

Shudras

Sanskrit

Samsara

Karma

Darma

Brahman

Reincarnation

Hinduism

Indra

Yellow River

River of Sorrows

Silt

loess

Xia Dynasty

Shang Dynasty

Zhou Dynasty

Oracle bone

Yin and Yang

Calligraphy

Dynastic cycle

Mandate of Heaven

Warring States Period

Feudalism

Legalism

Daoism

Confucianism

Torah

Ten Commandments

Monotheistic

Polytheistic

Covenant

Prophets

 


 

Objectives:

 

·         How did geography affect the development of ancient civilizations?

·         How did geography affect the development of the economic systems in ancient civilizations?

·         What were the main features and achievements of the world’s ancient civilizations?

·         How did invasions affect the development of ancient civilizations?

·         How did geography affect the development of belief systems in ancient civilizations?

·         Why did different cultures develop in each ancient civilization?

·         How did diversity emerge and impact in each location?

·         How did ideas and technology spread?

·         How do legal systems reflect the values of societies?

·         How did writing systems reflect the values of societies?

·         How did geography affect the development of social classes in ancient civilizations?

·         Is Egypt an African or a Mediterranean civilization?

·         How did Aryan migration effect the Indus river valley civilization?

·         How did the caste system influence Indian society?

·         How is the dynastic cycle reflected in the Shang and Zhou dynasties?

·         Why did a system of feudalism develop in China?

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