River Valley Rally
Read the following overview about the Fertile Crescent before you attempt any of the games or quizzes we have for you. This outline has the key information that should spark your memory.
The Fertile Crescent
- The Fertile Crescent is a very fertile (hints the name) and habitable valley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, an area also called Mesopotamia. This is in modern day Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.
-The first known civilization in Mesopotamia was called Sumer. The people in Sumer had their problems, however.There were frequent food shortages, floods, and attacks from neighboring communities.
- Sumerians developed the oldest system of writing in the world called cuneiform. It was used to keep accounts and prepare documents. The wagon, arch, potters wheel, and sundial were all invented by the Sumerians. Specialization of labor was developed when the food surplus enabled other jobs to evolve. Education was important as well as religion. The religion was polytheistic and was based on nature. The government was a theocracy, but city states were not united under a single government.
-After the Sumerians, many civilizations began to take over the Fertile Crescent, the first of which being the Akkadian Civilization. Their most important leader was Sargon.
-The Babylonian Civilization was centered around the large city Babylon. The most important leader was Hammuarbi, who created a code of 282 laws called the Code of Hammuarbi. This is the first known written law code. The laws dealt with almost every aspect of Babylonian culture. The laws were written in an “eye for an eye” style- it was very harsh.
- The Hittite Civilization were extremely advanced in laws and government. They also smelted iron. The Hittites also created a law code, but it was much different than the Code of Hammuarbi. Only major crimes got the death penalty under Hittite Law, which is much looser than Hammuarbi’s Code. Religious freedom was also allowed.
- The Assyrian Civilization were fierce, effective warriors. They were the first to ride horseback and effectively governed a large empire. They had a large and great library. They used terror to control their enemies and enslaved people. They killed enemy soldiers and were very cruel.
- The Chaldean Civilizations had beautiful hanging gardens and architecture, mostly built under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. The Chaldeans made advancements in astronomy and math.
- The Persian Civilization was extremely large. Important rulers included Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and Zoroaster. The government showed great concern for justice. Prisoners and conquered people were allowed to keep their religions and were treated well. They had a road system and used secret agents. The religion was Zoroastrianism- developed by Zoroaster, a prophet. It was about the choices that humans need to make between good and evil. However, the empire declined because of the lack of leadership  of the kings.
- The Phoenician Civilization was very small, but the government was a loose union of city states. Each had their own king, The Phoenicians dominated sea trade- their biggest product being dyes. The Phoenicians developed a 22 letter alphabet that spread because traders saw how useful it was in contracts and bills.
- The Lydians were an important civilization that existed in about 600 BCE. They were the first to have coined money.