Mesopotamia and Egypt

   1. History begins in Mesopotamia.

   On the map, we can see that between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers is the region of Mesopotamia, where the agriculture and the urban civilization flourished. Towards the mouth of these rivers is the region of Sumer. The earliest writings come from it, so we can say that the history begins here, around the year 5 000 B. C.

   The Sumerians were farmers and traders and were grouped into city-states, ruled by a priest-king. From time to time one city dominated others cities and formed a State like Babylon next to the Euphrates (1800 B.C). The King Hammurabi is the creator of a code of laws, the most famous of antiquity.

  Later the Assyrians (look the map to the north of Mesopotamia) formed an empire that lasted from 1305 B.C. to 612 B.C. They practiced war and sought the looting and the death of the defeated.

   But the Babylonian empire with the king Nabolasar defeated the Assyrians in 625 B.C. Then, With the King Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon becomes the most powerful city in the world, which was embellished with the hanging gardens. Finally, it was destroyed by Cyrus, the great Persian king of 539 B.C.


   2. Answer if these sentences are true or false:
 

History begins in Mesopotamia

The writings date from 1800 B.C.

Between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers

Sumerians were nomadic

They were warriors

They were farmers and traders

They had a priest-king

Hammurabi wrote novels

Assyrians practiced war

Babylon had the Hanging Gardens

Babylon was destroyed by Cyrus






   3. Egypt

   Egypt is between the deserts of Libya and Nubia. Crossing from South to North through the Nile River that flows into the Mediterranean Sea forming a big delta. The Nile valley is like a long oasis (rich in agriculture) where another great ancient civilization grew.

   The pharaoh Menes unified the whole territory and established the capital of Memphis at the beginning of the Nile delta. This happened in 3000 B.C. and since then we the have writings and the archaeological remains that have allowed reconstructing the Egyptian history.

   There are 3 kingdoms in the history of Egypt:

   - The Old Kingdom: the most famous pharaohs were Khufu, Khafra and Menkaure who built the pyramids with their name next to the Memphis.

   - The Middle Kingdom: the capital was established at Thebes. The Egyptians suffered the invasion of the Hyksos, who had bronze weapons and chariots pulled by horses, by which they won easily. But they were defeated by the superior culture of the Egyptians.

   - The New kingdom: the most important pharaohs were Thutmose III, Amenhotep IV and Ramesses II.

   From 671 B.C. the decline began with the invasion of the Assyrians, Greeks and Romans.

    4. Culture and Religion

   The writings were the papyrus, made of the stem of a plant of the Nile. It has a hieroglyphic writing, in which each sign represents a word or an idea. This script was deciphered by the French Champollion thanks to the Rosetta stone.

   They had a polytheistic religion and the most important gods were: Ra, the sun; Osiris, the setting sun; Isis, the moon; and Amon, god of Thebes, capital of Egypt for a long time (look the map to the center of the Nile). They worshiped gods in the temples, For example: Karnak and Luxor near Thebes.

   The Egyptians believed in the life after death and in the immortality of the soul (BHA). For the deceased could survive eternally, they learned to embalm corpses and deposited the mummies in tombs, along with the personal belongings of the dead. The most famous tombs are the pyramids aforementioned. In the New Kingdom, the tomb of Tutankhamen was built near Thebes, which has remained intact to this day and the archaeologists have found valuable art objects.

   The pharaoh was the king who was considered a living god and he was the sole owner of land and hosts. Nobles, priests and officials were at his service but the farmers and slaves lived a miserable life.


   5. Indicate if these sentences refer to Mesopotamia or to Egypt:

The King Menes unified the territory

They had the Tigris and the Euphrates

They had the Nile River

History begins in

They built pyramids

They built hanging gardens

Hammurabi was king of

They wrote on papyrus

They were ruled by a priest-king

They were ruled by a pharaoh

The hieroglyphic was the script

Nebuchadnezzar was king of

Ramses II was

They suffered the invasion of the Hykso



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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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