Mid Term Pyramids were funerary monuments for Pharaohs and their families. They were created by the Egyptians in the time period called “The Old Kingdom”, between 2589 and 2566 B.C.E.. Egyptians believed in a life force (ka) which would survive after death. The body was preserved (mummified) and laid to rest in the pyramids surrounded by objects they would need for the afterlife. (Hansen p. 29,31)
Woman with a Horn is a carving in a block of stone of a woman who is possibly pregnant because she is holding her abdomen with one hand and in the other hand, she is holding a horn which is inscribed with calendrical records. This carving was found in a rock shelter in the Dordogne River Valley in France and dates back to between 25,000 and 21,000 B.C.E. (Hansen p. 10,11)
The Harappan Seals are made of clay and symbols are pressed into them. Little is known about the people who occupied the Harappan sites because their script (the seals) have not been deciphered as of yet. “A seal made in the Indus River Valley was found at the Mesopotamian city-state of Ur from a level occupied in 2600 B.C.E. The ancient people of the Indus River Valley were heavily involved in trade, and the people of Mesopotamia were among their most important trading partners” (Hansen p.48,49).
Mandate of Heaven is “the Chinese belief that Heaven, the generalized forces of the cosmos (not the abode of the dead), chose the rightful ruler. China’s rulers believed that Heaven would send signs before withdrawing its mandate” (Hansen p.72). This occurred in China in 1045 B.C.E. after the Shang was overthrown by the Zhou dynasty.
Gilgamesh was the king of Uruk from 2700 and 2500 B.C.E. and the Epic of Gilgamesh was first written around 2100 B.C.E., and is one of the earliest recorded works of literature that captures the experiences of the Mesopotamian people. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story of the changes that the king went through, from starting as a womanizer and evil ruler to becoming friends with a wildman named Enkidu, who taught him to embrace his mortality. (Hansen p. 22-24)
Mid Term Essay
Rivers, deserts and mountains were three major geographical components in the survival of ancient civilizations.
Both Mesopotamia and Egypt were near rivers and depended on them for survival. Mesopotamia was located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers which were responsible for unpredictable floods. Mesopotamians built canals to protect their crops from flooding and channeled the water to the fields when needed. Mounds were built to protect Ziggurat from the flood waters. The rivers gave way for trade with other civilizations such as barley and lapis lazuli. (Weber, lecture).
Ancient Egypt was connected by one body of water, the Nile river (Weber, lecture). “Because almost no rain falls anywhere along the Nile, farmers had to tap the river to irrigate their fields, which were near the river and consisted of very fertile soil, “the black land,” each year renewed by the rivers deposits of silt” (Hansen p.30). They had to build irrigation systems that used walls and basins to contain the flood waters to use throughout the year, which, unlike the Mesopotamians unpredictable flooding, Egypt’s floods occurred annually.
Deserts on either side of the Nile river gave a natural protection to Egypt from enemies and was where metals and stones like lapis lazuli were found and used for trading. (Hansen p. 30 & Weber lecture).
“The waterways of the Indus valley provided an excellent source for trade and commerce all through India’s history” (Weber lecture).
India was also protected by mountains, the Himalayas and other mountain ranges protected against invasion. Not only do the mountains provide a barrier against enemies, they provide a barrier against the monsoon by what is called the Windward-Leeward effect where warm air hits the mountains and loses moisture, one side is moist and the other side is dry. (Weber lecture)
These civilizations worked with what they had; rivers, deserts or mountains and found a way to thrive despite the tough conditions.