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Intro

 Civilization in Mesopotamia
developed about six thousand
years ago(5300b.c.).
 Mesopotamia is located on a
fertile crescent, and is located
mainly in Iraq.
 Today, much of Mesopotamia
is under sand.
 Mesopotamia means “land
between rivers”
Social Structure

 With people moving to towns and governments being formed, society was
dividing into different classes of people for perhaps the first time.
 At the top of society was the king and his family. The priests were considered
near the top as well.
 The rest of the upper class was made up of the wealthy such as high level
administrators and scribes.
 Below the upper class was a small middle class made up of craftsman,
merchants, and civil servants. They could make a decent living and could work
hard to try and move up in class.
 The lower class was made up of laborers and farmers. These people lived a
harder life, but could still work their way up with hard work.
 At the bottom were the slaves. Slaves were owned by the king or bought and
sold among the upper class. Slaves were usually people who were captured in
battle.
Marriage

 In Ancient Mesopotamia
wives were bought and
sold(picture to right is
marriage market).
 Wives were capable of filing
a divorce.
 Marriages were arranged by
the bride and the grooms
family.
 The western civilization has
learned its ways of marriage
from ancient Mesopotamia
especially the Babylonians.
Family Life

 In a Family men had more
power than women.
 Boys were taught their
family trading business
 Girls stayed home and
learned how to housekeep
and cook for the family.
 One right that a women
have is that they can get a
divorce.
 Men were the masters of the
house.
Women and Family

• Children generally, well cared for, also could be sold into slavery for debt payments. Women held many
equalities with men. A mother even could disinherit an undutiful son, brand him, and banish him from the
city.
• In Sumer, women could learn to read and write, own and run a business, buy and sell property, testify in a
court case, borrow and lend money, and be priestesses in a temple. One Sumerian proverb advised people,
"Pay heed to the word of your mother as though it were the word of god.“
•Amazingly, women of Sumer 6 millenia ago enjoyed far more legal rights than modern women of the 1920's
in North America and Europe only 90 years ago.
• On the other hand, a man, without much reason, could divorce a woman, particularly if she did not
produce children, and sell her into slavery for three years for payment of debts, unless protected by special
clauses in a marriage contract. Richer women probably maintained such agreements before marriage.
• If a woman married another man, she was stoned or whipped to death. If a woman did not produce
children, a man often divorced the woman, and reclaimed the dowry from the wife's family.
•Otherwise, the man took on another second wife, often chosen by the first wife as to avoid rivalries and
conflicts; the second, bore children yet remained lower in status to the first wife; the man safeguarded and
provided for both wives, and established a written agreement, whereby the level of subservience of the
second wife to the first was specified, who might, as attested in some records, "wash her feet and carry her
belongings around for her.“
•A male suitors bride price consisted of cattle, goats, sheep, grain, jewelry, or furniture.
Childhood

 Rich boys were taught how
to read and write in school.
 In the lower class, boys
were taught there fathers
and family trade like
fishing.
 Girls, rich and poor stayed
home with their mother to
learn housekeeping and
cooking.
 Girls were also taught to
take care of children.
School

 Record keeping was very
important to ancient
Mesopotamians, they wrote
everything down.
 There written language was
called cuneiform.
 Schools were attached to
temples, and only boys had the
privilege of going to school.
 Students had to do a perfect job
or they were beaten as
punishment.
 Most students wanted to go to
school in spite of punishments.
Housing

 The upper class lived in
large homes that were
wide and nearly three
stories high.
 The materials used to
make houses was sundried brick, because there
was little wood and stone.
 The roofs were flat, so
that it was like a fourth
floor.
 The most important floor
in the house is the first
floor.

Houses
 Mashkinu (middle class) houses
usually consisted of one story mud
brick houses, in all six rooms,
sharing walls with neighbors,
facing small courts. Affluent Amelu
officials afforded two story
dwellings featuring twice as many
rooms plastered inside and out
with whitewashed adobe.

 Common features of the Sumerian
house usually contained a kitchen,
servant quarters, bathroom, sitting
rooms, and a private chapel. The
dry climate of Mesopotamia did not
permit many large trees to grow in
the region, limiting the strength
and quality of furniture. Tables,
chairs, and beds consisted of woven
reeds about frames.
 People dumped waste outside with
pots, no stone drainage system
existed at the cities to carry away
waste water. The residents packed
clay over the waste to minimize the
smell, creating large hills near the
houses. Over time, the residents
used ladders to get into the house.
Food

 The average person in
Mesopotamian ate about two
meals a day except for the rich
who ate three.
 Lots people ate unleavened
bread, and drank large amounts
of beer(up to a whole gallon a
day).
 Meat was expensive so most
people ate vegetables and stews
 There were cakes for special
occasions were also made with
butter, raisins, dates, flour, and
cheese.
 A popular treat was the Kafta
kabob ( in picture to right).

Cooking
In the kitchen, the Sumerians spared no expense at the dinner table. The people prepared mutton, farmed fish,
geese, ducks, cattle, and poultry sprinkled with cumin spices, salt, pepper, mustard, fennel, marjoram, thyme,
mint, and rosemary. Over 300 different kinds of bread were baked in flat loaves mostly, much like the modern
matzoh pita, composed of emmer, barley, flax, or several grain combinations. Hot cereal was not uncommon
either. For desert, sweet cakes baked with honey, eggs, grain, and spices.
At times, the Sumerians indulged in a light snack; servants brought grasshoppers wrapped in pastry to noble
dinners. The people also stuffed intestine casings with meat, creating the first known sausage links.
Due to the unforgiving dry climate of the Sumerian desert, the people learned to preserve meats with salt and
spices, drying the bits in the sun, and smoking the outside over charcoal fires. For the most part, only the rich
enjoyed meats on a regular basis. In such cases, the people partook in the luxury of barbecuing over open coals.
Clothing

• The majority of men and women wore shirts of sheepskin, the
wool tufts facing outward, and the smooth skin the inside.
• Skirts extended down the knees in the mashkinu classes, but
went all the way to the ankles among the amelu.
• Even when weaving fabric garments entered the scene in
2500BC, the texture of wool tufts on the outside remained
fashionable.
• The amelu additionally wore wigs, and elaborate headdresses
adorned with lapis lazuli stones with inlaid gold.
• An ornate golden brooch pin held an open sheepskin cloak
together.
• Carnelia stone (orange in appearance) bracelets, necklaces, and
pendants were popular also.
Religion
 The Mesopotamians religion
was the first to be recorded.
 Mesopotamians believed in
gods and goddesses that had
their divine natural forces.
 There were four creator gods
Anu sky god, Enlil storms
and helping people, Ninkhursag earth goddess, Enki
water god and patron of
wisdom.
 Priests in Mesopotamia were
responsible for sacrifices and
ritual that they thought the
gods needed.
Celebrations

 Mesopotamians
celebrated Akitu which is
the earliest new year’s
festival.
 Every month the
Mesopotamians had a
ceremonies to determine
the six important factors
 The Mesopotamians
celebrated the Moon,
solstices, and equinoxes.
Death

 For ancient Mesopotamians
Male worshiper (praying for afterlife)
death and sickness were
terrible sins.
 In ancient Mesopotamia they
buried the bodies though no
matter what no attempts were
made to preserve their bodies.
 For Mesopotamians the
reason of life was to serve the
gods so when you died you
were worthless.
 A major sin that could
sentence people to death was
“Making Offerings To The
Dead”.
Art

 Sumerians made jewelry
from gold and lapis, but
they weren’t good at
molding stone sculptures.
 Sumerians also created
beautiful mosaics that had
colourful patterns, helmets,
harps, jewelry, and
decorated tablets.
 The Babylonians made
massive sculptures
including huge gates, all of
the sculptures were for
special events honoring
gods.
 The Assyrians used art
for military achievements
and daily life.
 They also carved and
painted.
Music

 Music in Sumerian was used
in religious and civic life
and wherever music was,
dancing was usually near.
 Musicians were rich because
they went to school.
 Instrument that
Mesopotamians use include
harps, lyres, lutes, reed
pipes, and drums.
 Singers tried to express
emotion through their song.
Extra Facts

 The Mesopotamians
written language is called
cuneiform, which was
shapes and symbols.
 Cuneiform was created in
5000 BCE, which was
about when Sumer stated
to downfall.
 Thanks to Cuneiform our
Era knows more about
Mesopotamia.
 King Hammurabi is
famous for the Code of
Hammurabi which is one
of the earliest set of laws
found. (created in 1780
BCE) It had about 200
laws in it.
Fact Bibliography

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"

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