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7th Grade Social Studies / Lesson 10 - City-States of Ancient Summer

  What will we be learning in this unit?
  • How did geographic features influence the civilizations of the Fertile Crescent?
  • What advances in learning did Summerians make?
  • What were the main features of Summerian civilization?




Geography of the Fertile Crescent
  • The city was located between the Tigris and Euphrates river.
  • It's called a crescent because the shape it makes looks like a crescent moon (or half moon).
  • Just like the Nile, these two rivers would flood to help the soil become fertile for planting.

Summerian Civilizations
  • Around 3200, the first Summerian cities appeared.
  • The area was very good for trading, thus the city was very rich.
  • In each city-state, the ruler was responsible for maintaining the city walls and irrigation (water) system.
  • Each city had a distinct hierarchy or social system of rank. The highest was the ruling family and high priest. Next was the lesser priest, scribes, and merchants. The lowest class was peasant farmers, who made up the majority of people during this time.

Summerian Religion
  • The Summerian people worshipped many Gods that controlled every aspect of their life, such as farming, violence, and food
  • The building they built to praise their gods were called ziggurats.

Advances in Learning

  • The greatest achievement during this time was the earliest known system of writing called cuneiform. This system of writing was based on pictures. It took priest many years just to learn this system of writing
  • The Summerians also divided their days into 60 minute hours. This enabled them to make accurate calendars, essential to farming success.