River Valley Civilization Exhibit

Deeksha Sriram,Venki Padala, Parimala Gangaraj,Claire Police

Hello! Welcome! In this flyer, you will learn about the four River Valley Civilizations!

Mesopotamian River Valley

Social Structure- 3 major groups: nobles, commoners, and slaves. Nobles are the royal and religious officials. Commoners worked as farmers, merchants, and craftspeople. Slaves worked into building buildings and belonged to palace officials.

Religion- Each city was believed to be protected by a god. The gods were called dingir. There are four all-powerful gods that are believed to create and control the universe. Sumerians believed that everything happened because of god.

Writing- One of the greatest accomplishments of the Sumerians was the invention of writing. They created written documents by using a triangular shaped stylus to make impressions in soft clay. **Some examples of great religious literature: Enuma Elish and Gilgamesh.

Government- Sumerians go by the Laws of Hammurabi which were based off of the rulings of King Hammurabi. Fun Fact- Following the laws is an epilogue about Hammurabi stating that he was a military leader who brought peace to his subjects.

Art- Mesopotamian art usually represents a situation that has occurred in the civilization. Sumerian typically use unconditional materials such as shells, lapis, lazuli, and limestone. Their art is not just pleasing to the eye, but it has personal meaning as well.

Cities- All of cities in the Mesopotamian River Valley are named in French. Some examples are Qattara, Ninve, Nuzi, Mari, Terqa, etc..

Indus River Valley

Social- Everybody enjoyed social equality.

Government- There were no rulers and the cities ruled over themselves.

Cities- They suggest significant knowledge of municipal city planning and had more complex sewage systems than most modern day cities in that area (modern day India and Pakistan). Main Cities- Harrapa and Mohenjo-Daro

Religion- Hinduism hadn't fully been formed yet, and when the Indo-Europeans arrived, they brought with them one of the most influential/discriminatory parts of the religion- The Caste System.

Art- Various artifacts have been found made of terracotta (such as the Terracotta Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro). Toys have also been found, including dice that are similar to our dice, but with faces on them for 1-6.

Language- The inhabitants of the valley used a fairly complex writing system with 100-600 individual characters. When computer scientists in the modern day analyzed it, they found the characters are not pronounced individually like the English language.

Nile River Valley

Government: The Pharaoh. He was revered as a god: complete control. Egypt was a theocracy; clergy and priests were advisers. Dynasties: series of rulers from one family; line passed down through the sons


1. King /pharoh: special status; female companion; complete control

2. Ruling Class: high importance to to king

3. Craftsman: make weapons/tools; decorations for tombs

4. Farmers: grow food

5. Marginalized groups: military

6. slaves: used/sold; built pyramids

Art: Pyramids; tombs were highly decorated for comfort in the afterlife

Religion: polytheistic; believed to control forces of nature; pharaoh descended front the gods; anyone could appeal to the gods, asking for magic

Writing: began around 1836 BCE, most important text outlined duties and principles of kings

Cities: Abydos; Memphis; Heliopolis; named after gods

Yellow river valley

Cities- The Shang succeeded the Xia dynasty (ca. 2200–1750 BCE), an intervening culture once considered legendary, and which centered upon the site of Erlitou in the city of Yanshi.

Government- Shang had a strong, centralized state governed by a stable, socially stratified, political and religious hierarchy presided over by a monarch.

Social Structure- The Shang King ruled from the capital city of Anyang. His kingdom was divided into different territories that were ruled by aristocratic warlords(military leaders).

The Zhou Dynasty had 5 social classes in its society, namely kings and nobles, scholars, farmers, craftsmen and merchants

Religion- The Shang dynasty had religious practice centered on reverence for one's ancestors and animal spirits. In the Zhou dynasty, the Duke of Zhou may also have developed the philosophy of the mandate of heaven, which justified the legitimacy of Zhou rule. The philosophy stated that heaven gave a mandate, or authority to rule, to a worthy ruler. In order to remain worthy and keep that mandate, kings had to be virtuous and have concern for the welfare of the people.

Art- People found out how to make bronze out of copper and tin. Towards the end of the Shang Dynasty, people began to write messages on these bronze jars and cups using the earliest Chinese pictograms

Writing- The Shang also developed a system of writing that was the foundation of the written Chinese language. This was also the period in which writing emerged that developed into the Chinese logographic system in use today.

Hope you enjoyed learning about the four river vallies!