Unit 3: Ancient River Civilizations

Read the short descriptions and click on the available links to view the study maps of this unit's content.

WHI 3a Four Ancient River Valley Civilizations: 4 Civs
  • During the New Stone Age, permanent settlements appeared in river valleys and around the Fertile Crescent.
  • River valleys provided rich soil for crops, as well as protection from invasion.
WHI 3a Groups of People From Other Early Civilizations People
WHI 3b, c Characteristics of the Four Civilizations Characteristics
  • River valleys were the “Cradles of Civilization.” Early civilizations made major contributions to social, political, and economic progress.
  • Religion was a major part of life in all early civilizations.
WHI 3d Judaism Judaism
  • The monotheism of Abraham became the foundation of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – religions that changed the world.
  • The Hebrews were the first to become monotheists.
WHI 3e Language and writing were important cultural innovations.

Unit Vocabulary and Definitions: Read the vocabulary and definitions for this unit. Click on the links for more information on selected topics.

Mesopotamia: ancient region of southwestern Asia in present-day Iraq, lying between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
mesopotamiamap.gif (Source: http://www.crystalinks.com/mesopotamia.html)
Statue of Gudea of Lagash (Source: http://www.dia.org/ Detroit Institute of Art)
Mesopotamian 2141-2122 BCE

Fertile Crescent: crescent shaped area of fertile land in the Middle East that extends from the eastern Mediterranean coast through the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to the Persian Gulf; Center of the Neolithic development of agriculture.
(Source: http://www.utexas.edu/courses/classicalarch/images2/mapane.jpg)
Nubia: ancient region of southern Egypt, located on the Upper Nile
Short History of Nubia Nubia
Timeline of Ancient Nubia Time
Kush, Meroe, and Nubia Kush, etc.
Ancient Nubian Pyramids Pyramids
pyr5.jpg (Source: http://wysinger.homestead.com/nubian105.html)

Social patterns: dealing with society

Political patterns: dealing with government

Economic patterns: dealing with money

City-state: a city with its surrounding territory forms an independent state

Kingdom: a country, state, or territory ruled by a king or queen

Empire: an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority

Centralized government: located in one area

Ten Commandments: one of the first written law codes Ten Commandments

Code of Hammurabi: one of the first written law code Code description

Surplus: excess

Polytheism: belief or worship of more than one god Discussion

Monotheism: belief or worship of one God Discussion

Hebrews: scripture and traditions come from the Jewish religion

Judaism: monotheistic religion of the Jews
Read more about Judaism by turning the pages in this interactive book. Book

Jerusalem: city located in Judean hills near Jordan River. Holy city for Jew and scared for Christians and Muslims
Torah: Jewish holy book Torah Discussion
440px-Köln-Tora-und-Innenansicht-Synagoge-Glockengasse-040.JPG (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torah)

Exile: being barred from one's native country

Diaspora: the dispersion on any person from their homeland, ex: the Jews out of Israel Jewish Diaspora
jewish_diaspora.jpg(Source: www.eduplace.org)
Pictograms: a pictorial symbol for a word, earliest form of writing

Hieroglyphics: picture representing a word, used in Ancient Egypt General Egyptian

Cuneiform: wedge-shaped writing system used in ancient Mesopotamia Ancient Scripts
Sumerian_26th_c_Adab.jpg(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sumerian_26th_c_Adab.jpg)

Image Of A Sumerian Inscription

Alphabet: letters that represent sounds, rooted in Phoenician writing Phoenician
alphabet.gif(Source: http://elizabethxto.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/phoenician-alphabet-1050-bce-7-bce/)

Introduction to River Valley Civilizations: Click on the pdf link to view some basic information about these early civilizations. There is a short quiz following the discussion of each civilization: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley, China. Answer the questions for each of the four quizzes in your notebook or on a paper to be turned in.
(Source: www.worldofteaching.com/powerpoints/)

Maps, Maps, Maps: The following link connects you to interactive maps about these ancient sites. Click on the map that you want to view and click on the arrow to read the discussion. The maps include Mesopotamia, Egypt, Fertile Crescent, Jewish Diaspora, Ancient India, and Ancient China.
Here are some examples---
The map of Mesopotamia explains the Fertile Crescent and development of Sumer.
The map of the Fertile Crescent goes on to show the Babylonian Empire.

Other maps are Persian Empire, Ancient Egypt, and New Kingdom Trade Routes.
Anc_Egyp_map.jpg The map for Ancient Egypt has an audio tour.

Ancient India

Ancient China


Click below to link to the maps.
Maps Links

Read about the religious thought of the Ancient Cultures

Below is a series of readings about the religious cultures of these ancient civilizations. They reveal much about life in those cultures. Take notes on the readings assigned by your teacher. Do this by recording one important fact from each paragraph of the reading. You should have a list of facts when you're finished. Then use the facts to write a one paragraph summary of the reading. Take your notes on the front of a sheet of paper and write your paragraph on the back. Remember to include an introductory and a concluding sentence in your paragraph.

1. Egyptian Culture Reflected in Worship Egypt
2. Fertile Crescent: Storytelling and the Epic of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh
3. India: The Dhammapada India
This is an anthology of 26 sets of proverbs. Read the background and take notes on it. Then choose and list one proverb from each of 10 of the topics. Give your interpretation of the meaning of the proverb.
4. China: Essay Reflections on the Tao China

Use your notes and summary to create a folded book about the four cultures. Use an 11" X 14" sheet of unlined paper to follow these directions for making the book. Folded Book
Create a cover with a title for your book. Write your name on the upper left side of the cover.
Create one page in the book for each culture. Include the following information about each culture:
1. Name of the culture
2. Summary from your readings.
3. Draw one illustration that reflects what you've read.
4. Use five colors in your illustration and write your information in ink.
Your teacher will give you the grading rubric for this activity.
As an alternative to the folded book, your teacher may assign a powerpoint presentation, an online comic (comic creator link Toondoo), or another online process like Glogster