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Aim: How much did geography affect early Mesoamerican and African civilizations? Period 1: Technological and Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B. C. E. Key Concept 1. 3. The Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural, Pastoral, and Urban Societies
Mesoamerica Physical Map
The Olmecs 1775 – 400 BCE “Olmec” has been translated to mean “rubber people” or “mouth of the jaguar” in Nahuatl (a language also spoken by the Aztecs who settled in the area much later). They were the first major civilization in Mesoamerica, and therefore often referred to as the “mother civilization” of later pre-Columbian civilizations. They lived close to the Gulf of Mexico.
Olmec Government & Economy City-states ruled by priest-kings. Olmec Culture, Religion, & Society Carved giant stone heads with large lips and noses; possibly to revere rulers. First civilization in Mesoamerica to build step pyramids Created a calendar, but no writing system
Mother Culture, or Only a Sister? “Dr. Blomster's team [of Olmec archaeologists] analyzed the chemistry of 725 pieces of pottery decorated in the Olmec style. . . They determined that most of these were not imitations of the Olmec style made by local potters. In a significant number of pots, the clay matched the chemistry of material found around San Lorenzo. "The evidence is overwhelming that San Lorenzo, the first Olmec capital, was doing the exporting, " Dr. Blomster said. "The Olmecs were disseminating their culture to others. ”… But Dr. Diehl said in an interview that the "connections we are seeing may not have lasted more than a generation, perhaps the time of a particular ruler, and at most, not more than a century or century and a half. ” … Dr. Grove disputed Dr. Blomster's conclusions, saying that the research demonstrated only that Olmec pottery was traded, not that the trade disseminated Olmec political and religious concepts around the region…” – John Noble Wilford, NY Times March 15, 2005 What would it mean if the Olmec pottery was only traded? Would that mean that the Olmecs were not a “mother culture” of Mesoamerica? Would it really matter?
Teotihuacan “It was massive, one of the first great cities of the Western Hemisphere. And its origins are a mystery. It was built by hand more than a thousand years before the swooping arrival of the… Aztec in central Mexico. But it was the Aztec… who gave it a name: Teotihuacan… Teotihuacan reached its zenith between 100 B. C. and A. D. 650. It covered 8 square miles and supported a population of a hundred thousand… "It was the largest city anywhere in the Western Hemisphere before the 1400 s”… Oddly, Teotihuacan, which contains a massive central road (the Street of the Dead) and buildings including the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon, has no military structures—though experts say the military and cultural wake of Teotihuacan was heavily felt throughout the region. ” –www. natgeo. com [*Scholars are still unsure if the Toltec or another culture built it. ]
Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacan, Mexico
Chavin Civilization 1200 BCE – 200 CE Government & Economy Culture, Religion, & Society Ruled by Priest-Kings Polytheistic, with a pantheon of Gods Economy based on hunting, First distinctive art style in Peru made fishing, and irrigation used to farm from metals, including gold Most famous archaeological structure was the complex at Chavin de Huantar
Chavin de Huantar
Chavin de Huantar
III The Empire of Nubia/Kush 3000 BCE – 300 s CE A) Nubia/Kush was an ancient African empire that grew along the upper Nile river valley. It’s northern neighbor was Egypt, which led to a lot of cultural diffusion. B) By 1500 BCE, Egypt had conquered Nubia. However, in 730 BCE Nubia was able to conquer Egypt (for 60 years). C) In the 4 th century CE, King Ezana of Aksum conquered Nubia "Having traversed this part in forty days as I have said, you take a boat again and so travel for twelve days until you come to a great city called Meroë, which is said to be the capital of all Ethiopia. " - Herodotus, ancient Greek Historian A Nubian Pharaoh
The Empire of Nubia/Kush Continued… D) While the Nubians had many things in common with the Egyptians, there were some differences. Ancient Egyptians Nubians Polytheistic Hieroglyphic writing System of writing using an alphabet Built pyramids to house their mummified pharaohs. 81 Egyptian pyramids have been found. Built pyramids, but smaller than those of Egypt. 228 Nubian pyramids have been found.
The Egyptian Pyramids at Giza vs. Nubian Pyramids Are the Nubian pyramids more alike or different from the Egyptian pyramids?
Nubia Today The Aswan Dam was completed in 1970. It controls the flooding of the Nile River, and produces hydro-electric power. Unfortunately it displaced many Nubians, forcing them to move from their traditional homes. Today most Nubians are Egyptian, though many have kept their own language and cultural traditions.
Focus Questions 1. Which civilization had the greater geographical advantage? 2. Was Nubian culture more similar or dissimilar to ancient Egyptian? 3. Why is it that most people are aware of ancient Egypt but not of Nubia? Does Nubian civilization deserve equal status? KEY VOCABULARY Aswan Dam Chavin de Huantar King Ezana Kush Mesoamerica Nahuatl Nubia Olmecs Pre-Columbian Teotihuacan