Mesopotamia Ancient Egypt Lecture Notes

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Lecture notes by Eric Snow, for Western Civilization/Humanities classes

History begins with written documents being available c. 3100 to 3000 b.c. Shift from pastoral nomads (more militaristic, aggressive) to agricultural life, settled villages (more peaceful, passive). Before 3000 b.c., cows/oxen, plows in Neolithic villages.

Conventions from Sumerians in math: Created multiplication, division, square cube roots. y used a 10-base/decimal system of math plus a 60-base system to use 60 seconds/minute, 60 minutes/1 hour. Used 60-base system in geometry to make a circle of 360 degrees.

Division of Labor: Not fully possible in villages, need cities, coordinating class at top that doesn’t farm for a living. Peasants had to cooperate. Priests guide, administer: masses of men labor to build ditches, cities, temples. Sumeria religion centered, work done for gods.

Why did civilization begin in river valleys? (Put up overhead) Rich soil, silt automatically deposited, so didn’t need to know about rotation, irrigation provides water. Denser population resulted, also need more coordination stock raisers, hunters in bayous, farmers with complicated ditch...
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