Western Civilization Chapter 1 Summary

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In Chapter 1, the cultures and societies discussed include Mesopotamian civilization, Egyptian civilization, the Hittite empire, and the Persian Empire. Major influences from these civilizations and empires have contributed to Western Civilization.
Mesopotamian civilization developed between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers and evolved to three definite societies: Sumer (2000s B.C), Babylonia (1000s B.C.), and Assyria (after 700s B.C.). The first known cities were founded by the Sumerians using architecture of mud and brick. The location of the cities was extremely important due to the availability of water. The need for water in agriculture caused the Sumerians to create irrigation systems necessary for a dependable food supply for the
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They believed in all-powerful, immortal gods whom they aspired to please so they would not be punished. Theology was motivated by myths. The Mesopotamian religious beliefs had later influence on the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions. Furthermore, their religious beliefs affected literature and art, which allowed Mesopotamians to write the first epic poem, the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” regarding profound moral values. The Sumerians developed a priesthood from their religious beliefs and structures like the ziggurat. Another major development from Mesopotamian society was the first legal system based on justice and a code of rules called Hammurabi’s code. Hammurabi’s code was a system of harsh laws using the concept of judges to resolve disputes that dealt with everything from commerce to property to family. The code varied based on a person’s social position, i.e. no equality before the law, and used punishment to fit the crime. Individuals represented themselves where fair trials were assured and the innocent had protections. It was used by the Babylonians with origins developed from the Sumerians. This was the predecessor of the current legal

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