The Ancient Times

By: Ruth F, Toby O, Zhu B, Nino T

Mesopotamia

A birthplace of urban society, writing, agriculture, irrigation, and wheeled transportation. Established the world's first-known civilization: Sumer.


Cities: Babylon

Babylon comes from an analysis of cuneiform texts that were preserved among the ruins of palaces, temples, and administrative buildings.



Government:

Babylon was under rule of King Nebuchadnezzar.


Social Structure:

(Starting from the bottom) Slaves, Commoners (farmers), Merchants and artisans, The scribes (educated and wealthy), The priests ( closer to the gods), King.



Culture:

Religion - Every city had its own patron god/goddess. Marduk- national god for Babylon


Arts - Tools, weapons, and jewelry. Fine jewelry was a status symbol. Clay was the most common material used to create art



Writing:

Cuneiform was created by the Sumerians and used throughout Mesopotamia. It used a wedge-like styli made from reeds to create thousands of abstract characters that were linear lines pressed into clay tablets. This allowed people to record their literature and history, spiritual, social, and political values. In the beginning it was read from top to bottom, but when it became more symbolic it was read from left to right.


China

City:

The Shang Dynasty is thought to have started during the first chinese cities, as imperial capitals that are the palace-temple-cemetery complexes, built within safety-providing fortifications.


Government:

The King had dictator like power over everything and every one, but the aristocrats and beaurocracts helped him discern and dictate the life and work of the peasants and serfs. The king was also a religious leader as well as a political leader.


Social Structure:

The king and his nobles were the most important in the kingdom, while the warriors ran in second, but were still very respected. Artisians also made a very important part of the kingdoms economic structure. The peasants, serfs, and slaves (most) on the other hand had little and barely made enough to get through the kings taxes.


Culture:

Religion - They had special tombs in the Shang dynasty for desceased kings (this turned into ancestor worship), who were treated as gods in their death (slaves and servants died with their masters), and their primary god was called Di or Shangdi, who is responsible for wind and rain. He could bring fortune, or great disaster to the kingdom.



Arts: Their art culture is mostly of bronze ritual items, "These vessels served for ritual purposes during the sacrifices of the ancestor cult to offer wine, water and food, probably also during banquets, and a huge amount of vessels served deceased members of the elite after their death" (Ulrich Theobald, www.chinaknowledge.de). Music instruments were also made, like bells, drums. Ceramics and pottery were also a handiwork of the Shang. Their palaces were huge buildings made entirely made of perishable items.

Writing:

the Zhou period of time housed historical events that were written on strips of bamboo, theyvdid not last, but texts were fortunately passed on through generations. The most important texts in the Zhou dynasty were the Confucian classics; the "Book of Documents" are speeches and discussions from the Xia Dynasty and the Shang Dynasty to the end of the western Zhou period. Many other pieces existed like the "Book of Songs" and the "Book of Changes", all in the Zhou dynasty.


India

City:

Welcome to the earliest civilized civilization of the past!!!!! Archaeological evidence suggests that the quality of urban planning showed impressive architecture builds such as brick platforms,warehouses and even protective walls.The evidence also revealed that the use of drainage and sewage systems were the most advanced in all of middle east and current day India!!!!



Government:

The Government is a monarchy ruled by different Rajas or kings in different cities from time to time. The indus kings did not have the highest power but the Priests did because religion played a big role back then.


Social Structure:

The Social Structure consisted of the caste system with 4 main classes and could not be changed of their role in society. They’re the Brahmins (Priests and Kings), Kshatriyas (warriors and aristocrats), Vaishyas (Cultivators, artisans and merchants) and Shudras (Peasants and Serfs).


Culture:

Religion: Hinduism and Buddhism seem to have existed during this period and proved so through the discoveries of drawings on seals and figurines resembling hindu gods. There was no evidence of Temples back then.



Arts: Art during this age was expressed through jewellery, pottery, figurines, seals and sculptures.They were made in a variety of different materials such as gold, stone and terra cotta.


Writing:

There has been discoveries of over 400 unique indus symbols expressed through art such as seals, ceramic pots and tablets.It expresses family records, documents and contracts. Such a language brought up many arguments and claims that predicted that this language was an isolate or has a connection to a very old indo european language. No confident assumption can be made so thus and hence forth their writing system to this day is undeciphered.


Egypt

City:

In general, Ancient Egyptian sites are some of the most picturesque and dramatic historic places around the globe. The result of a thriving civilization that stood for thousands of years, the sites of Ancient Egypt remain unparalleled in their sheer magnitude. From vast pyramids to mysterious hidden tombs, Ancient Egyptian sites have mesmerized the world for centuries.

Today the sites of Ancient Egypt form some of the most visited historical places in the world and stand as a testament to the achievements of this ancient civilization.

Government

Every civilization is built upon rules and regulations. In ancient Egypt, government revolved heavily around a single figure, the Pharaoh, who the people believed to be a living god. This status basically granted the pharaoh (who was, in almost all cases, a man) virtually limitless power and control over his subjects.

The type of government in ancient Egypt was a theocracy. Even in the New Kingdom, when Akhenaton forced the people to put aside the 'old gods' in favor of a single god, religion and government were tightly entwined

Social Structure

Egyptian Society was a pyramid. The Top tier were the gods: such as Ra, Osiris, and Isis. Egyptians believed that gods controlled their life and the universe. Because the people of Egypt believed that their pharaohs were gods, they entrusted their rulers with many responsibilities. Protection was at the top of the list. No single person could manage all these duties without assistance. The pharaoh appointed a chief minister called a vizier as a supervisor. The vizier ensured that taxes were collected.Right below the pharaoh in status were powerful nobles and priests. Only nobles could hold government posts; in these positions they profited from tributes paid to the pharaoh. Priests were responsible for pleasing the gods. Soldiers fought in wars or quelled domestic uprisings. At the bottom of the social structure were slaves and farmers. Slavery became the fate of those captured as prisoners of war. In addition to being forced to work on building projects, slaves toiled at the discretion of the pharaoh or nobles.


Culture

Religion: Religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. Egyptian religion was based on polytheism, or the worship of many deities, except for during the reign of Akenaton. The Egyptians had as many as 2000 gods and goddesses. Some, such as Amun, were worshipped throughout the whole country, while others had only a local following. Often gods and goddesses were represented as part human and part animal.


Arts: Ancient Egyptian art reached a high level in painting and sculpture, and was both highly stylized and symbolic. Much of the surviving art comes from tombs and monuments and thus there is an emphasis on life after death and the preservation of knowledge of the past.

Writing

The most famous of all ancient Egyptian scripts is hieroglyphic. However, throughout three thousand years of ancient Egyptian civilisation, at least three other scripts were used for different purposes. Using these scripts, scribes were able to preserve the beliefs, history and ideas of ancient Egypt in temple and tomb walls and on papyrus scrolls.