River Valley Civilization

By: Nadia M, Julia S, Avery P, and Emily Z

Mesopotamia


Culture-art:



  • Most Mesopotamian art was made of limestone
  • They used art to glorify powerful rulers and their connection to divinity
  • Earliest surviving art
  • Meant to embody the subject rather than the creator
  • Art from Mesopotamia includes cylindrical seals, steles, narrative relief sculptures, and lavishly decorated tombs



Writing:


  • The Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia are credited with the earliest form of writing
  • They wrote on clay tablets and had pictures or pictograms that represented an object or an idea. Eventually these pictures were reduced to a series of wedge shaped signs called cuneiform.
  • They originally invented writing to use in record keeping.




Cities:


  • The hearth of urbanization, in present-day Iran.
  • Good weather created prosperous agriculture and many developed settlements.



Government:


  • The Mesopotamians were generally ruled by a monarch who claim divine right to the throne.
  • Religion was a major factor.
  • The Assyrians, Sumerians, Babylonians and Persians were among those to rule this civilization.


Social Structures:

  • a gap between poor and wealthy people began
  • Wealthier families could afford to eat meat regularly


Culture-Religion:

  • Monotheistic Hebrew community, which was very different from the other early civilizations
  • They believed they had a covenant with God, if they submitted to Him then they would be granted favors from Him
  • They were constantly aware of their loyalty to God

Egypt (Nile River)

Culture-art:


  • Included painting, sculpture, hieroglyphs, papyrus, pottery, and architecture
  • Most of the art from ancient Egypt is highly symbolic
  • Both colors and Animals were used to symbolize power and divinity
  • Characterized by detailed depiction of gods, human beings, heroic battles, and nature
  • Many artworks were intended to provide solace and utility to the deceased in the afterlife
  • Created using media ranging from papyrus drawings to pictographs
  • Displays an extraordinarily vivid representation of the Ancient Egyptian’s socioeconomic status and belief systems



Writing:


  • Used to record and communicate about religion and government
  • Invented written scripts that could be used to record this information
  • Most surviving scripts were written in hieroglyphs
  • Another system of writing used is called hieratic
  • Majority of hieroglyphs do not represent the objects they depict, rather they represent the sounds



Cities:


  • Some of the first urbanized settlements modeled after those along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.


Government:

  • Some of the first monarchs, called Pharaohs. The most famous are Kings Tutankhamen, Khufu and Cleopatra, dubbed "Queen of the Nile."



Social Structures:


  • Pharaohs were the equivalent of kings in the Egyptian kingdom
  • the pharaoh was the connection between the earth and the gods



Culture-Religion:


  • Egypt was a polytheistic religious community.
  • They believed that one must die to be reborn, making the gods along with the dead never too far
  • As a part of daily life, they gave offerings to the gods and loved ones who were dead



Indus River valley

Cities:


  • Spread across present-day India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Large cities followed a two-part plan; one for housing and stores and one with buildings for recreational or agricultural purposes, like community baths or crop storage. Bricks of the same shape and size were used to build all the structures. The largest known city was Harappa.



Government:


  • A lot is unknown about the Indus' government. It is presumed there was some sort of centralized government with a ruler or rulers because of all the consistency and organization of the civilization.



Culture-art:


  • Mainly pottery, painting, jewelry, and sculpture
  • Most artwork was of men, birds, and animals
  • Famous for their enigmatic seals which ususally had an image of a human or animal on them followed by some sort of script
  • Small figures of metal and clay portraying humans and animals


Writing

  • Done using a pointed stick in soft clay or a sharp tool on stone or metal
  • Only a few knew how to read and write, these people were called scribes
  • Most of the writing had to do with trade, religion, and government.
  • First line was written left to right, second right to left, and so on


Social Structures:



  • no apparent social separation (besides the cities and farms) due to the lack of knowledge about the area
  • the caste system was not officially acknowledged until long after the ancient civilization was supposedly raided



Culture-Religion:


  • There is not many artifacts that have been found to explain the religion of the Indus River region
  • Some statues and seals have shown that the people may have worshiped gods and goddesses





China (yellow river)



Cities:


  • Though it covered a small territory in present-day China, the Yellow River Valley spread across its borders. The Shang and Zhou dynasties were both similar and it showed in the structure and culture of their cities.



Government:


  • This civilization had a strong, central government ruled by a monarch and a hierarchy based on religion and politics. The Zhou Dynasty ruled from 2200-1750 BCE until the Shang Dynasty took over from 1766-1122 BCE.



Social Structures:


  • the cities were separated into territories
  • the territories were ruled by warlords



Culture-Religion:


  • the king would give sacrifices
  • he would also read the cracks in the oracle bones that were used in a religion practice