Social science and history is dedicated to provide good and complete notes of each lesson and question answer according to CBSE new pattern. It also provide worksheet, practice papers,question with answers, map practice etc.which will be very helpful for students. Thanks


Tuesday, 18 August 2020

THEME 2. WRITING AND CITY LIFE (ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA) (LESSON NOTES)

 

THEME 2.

WRITING AND CITY LIFE

(ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA)

(LESSON NOTES)

__________________________________________________________

v INTRODUCTION

Ø There were many ancient civilization developed along the banks of rivers in the world as Harappan civilization In India-Pakistan, Egyptian on Nile river, Greek civilization in Europe, Mesopotamia in middle east, Maya civilization, Hwang ho in China etc.

Ø Mesopotamia is oldest civilization where writing and city life started firstly. It derived from two Greek words mesos meaning middle and Potamas meaning river.

Ø Mesopotamia means land between two rivers-Euphrates and Tigris. Today it is part of Iraq.


Ø Mesopotamia was known for its Writing, City life, Trade Literature, Mathematics, Astronomy etc.


v NAMES AND LANGUAGE FOR THIS AREA

Ø This land was called by many names in different time period in recorded history and the people also used different languages as-

Names For This Regions

Time Period

Language

Sumer

3500-2300 BC

Sumerian-First Known language

Akkad

2300-1900 BC

Akkadian-around 2400 BC started to used

Babylonia

1900-1100 BC

Aramaic-from 1400 BC

Assyrians

1100-612 BC

 

 

v SOURCES ABOUT MESOPOTAMIA

Ø The excavation of these sites for long years which started from 1840 provides the details about the buildings, ornaments, graves, tools, etc.

Ø The European has showed much interest to know about this site as they believed that it was their ancestral land, according to Old Testament.

Ø So after that the written records (Tablets) were founded in large scale, which provides details about the lives of the ordinary people.

v MESOPOTAMIA AND ITS GEOGRAPHY

Ø The land of this area have diverse environments

Ø In the North east there are green undulating plains, tree-covered mountain ranges with streams. This areas receive enough rainfall to grow crops. Here, Agriculture began between 7000 and 6000 BCE.

Ø In North-there is a stretch of upland grasslands called a steppe, where people keep sheep and goats and produced meat, milk and wool in abundance.

Ø In the East-tributaries of the Tigris provide routes of communication in to mountains of Iran

Ø In the South there is a desert. It was the place from where the cities and writing emerged. Euphrates and Tigris carry loads of silt and deposited in this areas.

v OCCUPTION OF THE PEOPLE

Ø The people of Southern Mesopotamia grow wheat, barley, peas or lentil.

Ø Though it was rain scanty area but the channels of Euphrates and Tigris functioned as irrigation canals here.

Ø People also keep sheep and goat in steppe grass land, northeastern plain and on mountain slopes. They produced meat, milk and wool in large amount.

Ø  Fish was also available in rivers and date-palms gave fruit in summer.

v FEATURES OF URBANISATION

Ø The earliest cities developed in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE in Bronze Age Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin.In the cities more number of people living. They did not produce the food grains but produced many other things. There are many significance of urbanization-

§  The economics of urban areas depend on different activities like trade, manufactures and different services.

§  They depend on other people for different services. No one is self sufficient.

§  The division of labour is the important feature of urban life. Various people do different jobs and provide different services.

§  Raw material comes from different places for city manufacturers. It required organized trade and storage facilities and also the people who control on all these activities.

§  It developed the social organisation in the cities.

§  The urban economics also required to keep the written records.

v MOVEMENT OF GOODS INTO CITIES

Ø Mesopotamia produced large amount of food grains and textiles but lack of mineral resources, metals, stones, and wood.

Ø So they imported wood, copper, tin, silver, gold, shell, stones from Turkey and Iran by exchange their own products.

Ø Transport is very important for urban development to carry grains and charcoal into cities.

Ø Animal and bullock Carts were used as transports but the canals and natural channels provides the cheap mode of transportation.

Ø Euphrates became a world route.

 

v THE DEVELOPMENT OF WRITING

Ø Scripts  or writings mean that spoken words were represented by visible sign. The script of Mesopotamia is known as cuneiform.

Ø Cuneiform is derived from the Latin words cuneus, meaning 'wedge' and forma, meaning 'shape’. The word cuneiform means wedge-shaped letters.

Ø These were written on tablets of clay. The Mesopotamian tablets contained picture like signs and numbers.

Ø Writing began in 3200 BCE in these cities when society needed to keep record of transactions.

Ø Scribe impresses the wedge shaped signs on wet clay with the sharp end of a reed.

Ø Once written, tablets were dried hard in the sun and it would be almost indestructible. It can’t use again. So each transaction required a separate written tablet.

Ø That is why hundreds of tablets found from Mesopotamian sites.

Ø By 2600 BCE language was Sumerian which was replaced by Akkadian after 2400 BCE.

 

v USES OF WRITING

Ø For the city life trade and writing was very important. Importance of writing was mentioned by a Sumerian epic related to ancient ruler of city Uruk, Enmerkar. He sent his messenger to Aratta for  precious stone Lapis Lazuli but he failed to bring the stone. Finally the ruler sent the Tablet through his messenger. It shows the importance of writing. Initially writing was started to keep the list of transactions but later on it was used for different purposes as-

§  To Keep records

§  To Make dictionaries

§  To give legal validity to land transfers

§  To Narrate the deeds of kings

§  To announce the changes made in the customary laws of the land by kings.

§  To store information and to send messages.

v THE SYSTEM OF WRITING

Ø The sound that a cuneiform sign represented was not a single consonant or vowel as M or U but syllables like say, put, or in.

Ø For the different syllables different sign or pictures were used.

Ø So scribe had to learn hundreds of signs.

Ø He had to handle a wet tablet and get it written before it dried. So writing was a skilled craft.

Ø It conveys visual form of system of sounds of a particular language.

v LITERACY

Ø In Mesopotamia the literacy was very less. Only Kings and Very few people could read and write.

Ø There were hundreds of signs to learn and many of these were complex.

Ø If a king could read, that was recorded in his boastful inscriptions.

Ø Writing reflected the mode of speaking.

 

v URBANISATION IN MESOPOTAMIA: TEMPLES & KINGS

v KINDS OF CITIES

Ø The settlements began in southern Mesopotamia by 5000 BC. The earliest cities emerged from some of these settlements. There were mainly three kinds of cities

§  Cities that developed around temples-

·       Uruk was one of the earliest temple town. It was extended from 250 hectares to 400 hectares during 4200 BCE to 400 CE The archaeologists found the evidences that due to this extension dozens of small village were deserted. They also found many pictures of armed heroes and their victims.

§  Cities that developed as centres of trade

§  Imperial cities

v CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF TEMPLES

Ø The early settler began to build temple in some places in their village. These temples were small shrine made of unbaked bricks.

Ø Temples were the residence of various gods:

§  Moon God of Ur and

§  Inanna the Goddess of Love and War.

Ø Temples became larger over time with several rooms around open courtyards.

Ø Temples always had their outer walls going in and out at regular intervals.

Ø The god was the focus of worship. So People brought grain, curd and fish to god.

Ø The god was the theoretical owner of the agricultural fields, the fisheries, and the herds of the local community.

Ø Production process such as oil pressing, grain grinding, spinning and weaving of woolen cloth also done in the temple.

Ø Thus temple became the main urban institution by organizing production, employing merchants and keeping records of distribution and allotments of grain, plough animals, bread, beer, fish etc.

 

v ROLE OF KINGS IN CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF TEMPLES IN MESOPOTAMIA

Ø Archaeological records show that villages were periodically relocated in Mesopotamian history because of flood in the river and change in the course of the rivers.

Ø There were also manmade problems as well. Those who lived on the upstream stretches of a channel could divert so much water in to their fields that villages of downstream were left without water. There was continuous war fare in Mesopotamian villages for land and water.

Ø The victorious chiefs distributed the loot among their followers and took prisoners from the defeated groups. They were employed as their guards or servants.

Ø The chiefs also offer precious booty to the gods to beautify temples. He organize the distribution of temple wealth by keeping records. This gave the king high status and authority.

Ø War captives and local people had to work for the temple, or for the ruler. Those who were put to work were paid rations, clothes and oil. The archaeologist found ration list from here.

Ø Hundreds of people were put to work at making and baking of clay bricks, cones, woods, metal ore, pots, bronze tools etc. for temples

v LIFE IN THE CITY

v URBAN SOCIETY

Ø In the society the ruling elite class emerged in this time.

Ø This section has large share of the wealth as archaeologist found jewellery, gold vessels, musical instruments, white shells, lapis lazili etc from graveyard.

Ø The common persons were not so rich.

 

v FAMILY AND MARRIAGE

Ø We know about the common life of people from the legal text found by archaeologist.

Ø In Mesopotamian society the nuclear family system was the norm. The father was the head of the family.

Ø We know little about the procedures of marriage also.A declaration was made about the willingness to marry by the bride's parents.

Ø In marriage both parties ate together, exchange the gifts and made offerings in a temple.

Ø The bride was given her share of inheritance by her father. The father's house, herds, fields etc. were inherited by the sons.

v HOUSINGS IN UR

Ø Ur was one of the earliest cities excavated in the 1930s . From the excavation of this city we come to know about the houses of ordinary people.

Ø In the city Ur there was no town planning which was found in the contemporary Harappan cities.

Ø Here the streets were very narrow so the wheeled carts could not have reached many of the houses.

Ø Sacks of grain and firewood would have reached on donkey back.

Ø Here the shapes of house were very irregular.

Ø There was no street drains found. Instead of drains clay pipes were found in the inner courtyards of houses.

Ø House roofs sloped inwards and rainwater was channelled via the drain pipes in to sumps (covered basin) in the inner courtyards.

Ø People had swept their house hold and put it in to the streets. This made street level rise, and overtime the thresholds of houses had to be raised. So that no mud would flow inside after rains.

v HOUSES IN UR

Ø The archaeologist found that most of the house has no windows.

Ø The door of houses opens in their courtyard only.

Ø It was done to keep the privacy.

Ø Archaeologist found some tablets which present that people believe in some superstitions about houses like-

§  A raised threshold brought wealth.

§  A front door that did not open towards another house was lucky.

§  If the main door of a house open outwards, the wife would be a torment to her husband

v TOWN CEMETERY AT UR

Ø The graves of royalty and commoners have been found there.

Ø Very few individuals were found buried under the floors of ordinary houses.

 

v A TRADING TOWN IN A PASTORAL ZONE- MARI

 

v LOCATION OF CITY -MARI

Ø The royal city of Mari flourished after 2000 BC.

Ø Mari was located on the upstream of Euphrates.

v OCCUPATION OF PEOPLE

Ø In this region both agriculture and animal rearing were carried out by people.

Ø Some communities in the kingdom of Mari had both farmer and pastoralists but most of the region was used for pasturing sheep and goats.

Ø Herders exchanged animals, cheese, leather and meat in return for, grains, metal tools etc. with the farmers.

v CONFLICTS WITH FARMERS

Ø Though they exchange their products with farmers but some time there may be conflict among them.

Ø Shepherd may take his flock from a sown field, to the ruin of the crop.

Ø Sometimes herdsmen raid on agricultural villages and seize their stored goods.

Ø Sometimes settled groups deny pastoralists access to river and canal water along a certain set of paths.

Ø Nomadic groups of the western desert filtered into the prosperous agricultural land.

v KINGS OF MARI

Ø In these areas people come as herders, harvest labourers or hired soldiers. Occasionally they become prosperous and  settled down here.

Ø These included the Akkadians, Amorites, Assyrians and Armaneans.

Ø The kings of Mari were Amorites and raised a temple at Mari for Dagan, god of steppe.

Ø It shows that Mesopotamian society and culture were open to different cultures. Thus the vitality of the civilization was of course an inter mixture culture.

Ø  The rulers of Mari to be very vigilant. Herders of tribe were allowed but they were watched by kings and officials.

v TRADING CENTER

Ø Mari is a good example of an urban centre prospering on trade.

Ø It was located on the Eupharates in prime position of trade in Wood, copper, wine, tin, oil, etc. were carried in boats along the Euphrates between the south and Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.

Ø Boats carrying grinding stones, wood, and wine and oil jars, would stop at Mari on their way to southern cities.

Ø Officers of this town would go abroad, inspect the cargo and levy a charge of about one-tenth the value of the goods.

Ø Thus, although the kingdom of Mari was not militarily strong but it was exceptionally prosperous.

v CITIES IN MESOPOTAMIAN CULTURE

Ø Mesopotamians valued city life. Many communities and cultures lived side by side.

Ø After cities were destroyed in war, they recalled them in poetry.

Ø The Epic of Gilgamesh remind us the pride of the Mesopotamians who took in their cities.

§  Gilgamesh was the ruler of Uruk and a great hero who subdued people far and wide.

§  He got a shock when his heroic friend died .He then set out to find the secret of immortality.

§  After a heroic attempt, Gilgamesh failed, and returned to Uruk. There he consoled himself walking along the city wall, back and forth.

 

v The Legacy of Writing

Ø The greatest legacy of Mesopotamian was scholarly tradition of time reckoning and Mathematics.

Ø Mathematical contribution – Some tablets have been found which are dated around 1800 BCE. These tablets shows their contribution in mathematics as-

§  Tablets with multiplication and division tables.

§  Tables of square and square-roots.

§  Tables of compound interest.

§  The values of square root of 2 given by them are slightly different from the real value of square root of 2.

Ø Contribution in time reckoning

§  Mesopotamians had divided the year into 12 months according to the revolutions of the moon around the Earth.

§  They divided a month into 4 weeks.

§  The day into 24  hours and the hour into 60 minutes

§  This is the greatest contribution to the world.

 

Ø Contribution in Astrology

§  Mesopotamians people also noted the occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses.

§  They also observed the position of stars and constellations in the night sky and kept their records.

These achievements of Mesopotamia would not have been possible without writing and the urban institution of schools, where students read and copied earlier written tablets, and where some boys were trained to become not record keepers for the administration, but intellectuals who could build on the work of their predecessors.

v IMPORTANT POINTS

Ø The Book of Genesis of the Old Testament refers to 'Shimar'as a land of brick built city was Sumer.

Ø The Mesopotamian tablets refer to copper from 'Alashiya', the island of Cyprus, as a major item of trade contributing to Mari's urban prosperity.

Ø The warka Head (Lady of Uruk) is a world famous piece of sculpture, made of white marble at Uruk before 3000BCE.It is the earliest representation of the woman's mouth, chin and cheeks.

Ø The Palace at Mari of King Zimrilim was the residence of the royal family, the hub of administration, and a place of production. The palace had only one entrance, open courtyards beautifully paved and 260 rooms.

Ø The great Assyrian king Assurbanipal(668-627 BCE) collected a library at his capital Nineveh, possessing tablets on history, epics, omen literature, astrology, hymns and poems.

Ø  Nabonidus was the last Babylonian king who was the world's first archaeologist.

Ø Connection between city life and trade and writing is brought out in a Sumerian epic poem about Enmerkar, the first king of Uruk.

 

 

.

TIME LINE

 7000-6000 BCE -Beginning of agriculture in the northern Mesopotamian plains

c. 5000 BCE -Earliest temples in southern Mesopotamia built

c. 3200 BCE- First writing in Mesopotamia

c. 3000 BCE -Uruk develops into a huge city, increasing use of bronze tools

c. 2700-2500 BCE- Early kings, including, possibly, the legendary ruler Gilgamesh

c. 2600 BCE -Development of the cuneiform script

c. 2400 BCE -Replacement of Sumerian by Akkadian

2370 BCE -Sargon, king of Akkad

c. 2000 BCE -Spread of cuneiform writing to Syria, Turkey and Egypt;

c. 2000 BCE -Mari and Babylon emerge as important urban centres

c.1800 BCE -Mathematical texts composed; Sumerian no longer spoken

c.1100 BCE -Establishment of the Assyrian kingdom

c. 1000 BCE -Use of iron

720 - 610 BCE- Assyrian empire

668 - 627 BCE -Rule of Assurbanipal

331 BCE -Alexander conquers Bablyon

c. 1st century CE- Akkadian and cuneiform remain in use

1850s - Decipherment of the cuneiform script

 

12 comments:

  1. Very good notes

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad to have such notes. It's like a summary of what I have studied yet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me. Lifeguard classes

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am very thankful that I have found such a wonderful and understandable notes. Being history i but tough subject, through these notes anyone can excel in it. Everything is given so clearly. Thank you for making this happen 😊😊😊

    ReplyDelete
  5. DO VISIT MY BLOG GUYS
    https://artsofpen.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

SPL (VIII)- LESSON-6 UNDERSTANDING CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ( QUESTION ANSWERS)

  SPL (VIII)- LESSON-6 UNDERSTANDING CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ( QUESTION ANSWERS) _____________________________________________________...