ERA 2:


EARLY CIVILIZATIONS AND THE EMERGENCE OF PASTORAL PEOPLES, 4000-1000 BCE

Giving Shape to World History

When farmers began to grow crops on the irrigated floodplain of Mesopotamia in Southwest Asia, they had no consciousness that they were embarking on a radically new experiment in human organization. The nearly rainless but abundantly watered valley of the lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers was an environment capable of supporting far larger concentrations of population and much greater cultural complexity than could the hill country where agriculture first emerged. Shortly after 4000 BCE, a rich culture and economy based on walled cities was appearing along the banks of the two rivers. The rise of civilization in Mesopotamia marked the beginning of 3,000 years of far-reaching transformations that affected peoples across wide areas of Eurasia and Africa.

The three standards in this era present a general chronological progression of developments in world history from 4000 to 1000 BCE Two major patterns of change may be discerned that unite the developments of this period.

Societies exhibiting the major characteristics of civilization spread widely during these millennia. Four great floodplain civilizations appeared, first in Mesopotamia, shortly after in the Nile valley, and from about 2500 BCE in the Indus valley. These three civilizations mutually influenced one another and came to constitute a single region of intercommunication and trade. The fourth civilization arose in the Yellow River valley of northwestern China in the second millennium BCE. As agriculture continued to spread, urban centers also emerged on rain-watered lands, notably in Syria and on the island of Crete. Finally, expanding agriculture and long-distance trade were the foundations of increasingly complex societies in the Aegean Sea basin and western Europe. During this same era, it must be remembered, much of the world's population lived in small farming communities and hunted or foraged. These peoples were no less challenged than city-dwellers to adapt continually and creatively to changing environmental and social conditions.

In this era pastoralism -- the practice of herding animals as a society's primary source of food -- made it possible for larger communities than ever before to inhabit the semi-arid steppes and deserts of Eurasia and Africa. Consequently, pastoral peoples began to play an important role in world history. In the second millennium BCE migrations of pastoral folk emanating from the steppes of Central Asia contributed to a quickening pace of change across the entire region from Europe and the Mediterranean basin to India. Some societies become more highly militarized, new kingdoms appeared, and languages of the Indo-European family became much more widely spoken.

Why Study This Era?

What Students Should Understand

Standard 1: The major characteristics of civilization and how civilizations emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus valley.

A. How Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley became centers of dense population, urbanization, and cultural innovation [CORE]

B. How commercial and cultural interactions contributed to change in the Tigris-Euphrates, Indus, and Nile regions [RELATED]

Standard 2: How agrarian societies spread and new states emerged in the third and second millennia BCE

A. The emergence of civilization in northern China [CORE]

B. How new centers of agrarian society arose in the third and second millennia BCE [RELATED]

Standard 3: The political, social, and cultural consequences of population movements and militarization in Eurasia in the second millennium BCE

A. How population movements from western and central Asia affected peoples of India, Southwest Asia, and the Mediterranean region [CORE]

B. The social and cultural effects that militarization and the emergence of new kingdoms had on peoples of Southwest Asia and Egypt [CORE]

C. The expansion of urban society in the Aegean region in the era of Mycenaean dominance [RELATED]

  1. The development of new cultural patterns in northern India [RELATED]

STANDARD 1

Students Should Understand: The major characteristics of civilization and how civilizations emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus valley.

Students Should Be Able to:

1A Demonstrate understanding of how Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus valley became centers of dense population, urbanization, and cultural innovation in the fourth and third millennia BCE by:

5-12 Analyzing the various criteria that have been used to define "civilization" and explaining fundamental differences between civilizations and other forms of social organization such as hunter-gatherer bands and Neolithic agricultural societies. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

5-12 Analyzing how the natural environments of the Tigris-Euphrates, Nile, and Indus valleys shaped the early development of civilization. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]

5-12 Comparing the character of urban development in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus valley, including social hierarchy, occupational specialization, and differentiation of the roles of men and women. [Compare and contrast differing values and institutions]

5-12 Comparing the forms of writing that developed in the three civilizations and how written records shaped political, legal, religious, and cultural life. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, and institutions]

7-12 Comparing the development of religious and ethical belief systems in the three civilizations and how they legitimized

the political and social order. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]

9-12 Analyzing the character of government and military institutions in Egypt and Mesopotamia and ways in which central

authorities commanded the labor services and tax payments of peasant farmers. [Consider multiple perspectives]

9-12 Describing architectural, artistic, literary, technological, and scientific achievements of these civilizations and relating

these achievements to economic and social life. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1A include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1A include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1A include:

Students Should Be Able to:

1B Demonstrate understanding of how commercial and cultural interactions contributed to change in the Tigris-Euphrates, Indus, and Nile regions by:

5-12 Analyzing the importance of trade in Mesopotamian civilization of the fourth and third millennia and describing the networks of commercial exchange that connected various regions of Southwest Asia. [Interrogate historical data]

5-12 Assessing the importance of commercial, cultural, and political connections between Egypt and peoples of Nubia along the upper Nile. [Identify issues and problems in the past]

7-12 Tracing the network of trade routes connecting Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus valley in the third millennium and assessing the economic and cultural significance of those commercial connections. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1B include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1B include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1B include:


STANDARD 2

Students Should Understand: How agrarian societies spread and new states emerged in the third and second millennia BCE.

Students Should Be Able to:

2A Demonstrate understanding of how civilization emerged in northern China in the second millennium BCE by:

5-12 Explaining the fundamentals of bronze-making technology and assessing the uses and significance of bronze tools, weapons, and luxury goods in the third and second millennia BCE. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

5-12 Comparing the climate and geography of the Huang He (Yellow River) valley with the natural environments of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus valley. [Clarify information on the geographic setting]

9-12 Describing royal government under the Shang Dynasty and the development of social hierarchy, religious institutions, and writing. [Evidence historical perspectives]

5-12 Inferring from archaeological or written evidence the character of early Chinese urban societies and comparing these centers with cities of Mesopotamia or the Indus valley. [Formulate historical questions]

9-12 Assessing the part that Chinese peasants played in sustaining the wealth and power of the Shang political centers. [Consider multiple perspectives]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2A include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2A include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2A include:

Students Should Be Able to:

2B Demonstrate understanding of how new centers of agrarian society arose in the third and second millennia BCE by:

5-12 Describing the relationship between the development of plow technology and the emergence of new agrarian societies in Southwest Asia, the Mediterranean basin, and temperate Europe. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

7-12 Analyzing how an urban civilization emerged on Crete, and evaluating its cultural achievements. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]

9-12 Explaining the development of commercial communities in such Mediterranean cities as Byblos and Ugarit, and analyzing the cultural significance of expanding commercial exchange among peoples of Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the Aegean Sea. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]

5-12 Inferring from the evidence of megalithic stone building at Stonehenge and other centers the emergence of complex agrarian societies in temperate Europe. [Draw upon visual sources]

9-12 Analyzing evidence for the growth of agricultural societies in tropical West Africa and Southeast Asia in the second millennium BCE. [Interrogate historical data]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2B include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2B include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2B include:


STANDARD 3

Students Should Understand: The political, social, and cultural consequences of population movements and militarization in Eurasia in the second millennium BCE.

Students Should Be Able to:

3A Demonstrate understanding of how population movements from western and central Asia affected peoples of India, Southwest Asia, and the Mediterranean region by:

5-12 Defining pastoralism as a specialized way of life and explaining how the climate and geography of Central Asia were linked to the rise of pastoral societies on the steppes. [Analyze multiple causation]

7-12 Identifying the probable geographic homeland of speakers of early Indo-European languages and tracing the spread of Indo-European languages from north of the Black and Caspian seas to other parts of Eurasia. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]

5-12 Explaining the concept of kinship as the basis of social organization among pastoral peoples and comparing the structure of kinship-based societies with that of agrarian states. [Compare and contrast differing behaviors and institutions]

9-12 Describing major characteristics of economy, social relations, and political authority among pastoral peoples and analyzing why women tended to enjoy greater social equality with men in pastoral communities than in agrarian societies of Eurasia. [Identify issues and problems in the past]

9-12 Analyzing why relations between pastoral peoples and agrarian societies have tended to involve both conflict and mutual dependence. [Consider multiple perspectives]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3A include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3A include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3A include:

Students Should Be Able to:

3B Demonstrate understanding of the social and cultural effects that militarization and the emergence of new kingdoms had on peoples of Southwest Asia and Egypt in the second millennium BCE by:

5-12 Analyzing ways in which chariot transport and warfare affected Southwest Asian societies. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

7-12 Analyzing the origins of the Hittite people and their empire in Anatolia and assessing Hittite political and cultural achievements. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]

7-12 Describing the spread of Egyptian power into Nubia and Southwest Asia under the New Kingdom and assessing the factors that made Egyptian expansion possible. [Analyze multiple causation]

9-12 Explaining the religious ideas of Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV) and assessing the viewpoint that Atonism was an early form of monotheism. [Interrogate historical data]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3B include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3B include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3B include:

Students Should Be Able to:

3C Demonstrate understanding of how urban society expanded in the Aegean region in the era of Mycenaean dominance by:

5-12 Describing the political and social organization of the Mycenaean Greeks as revealed in the archaeological and written record. [Interrogate historical data]

7-12 Assessing the cultural influences of Egypt, Minoan Crete, and Southwest Asian civilizations on the Mycenaeans. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

9-12 Analyzing the impact of Mycenaean expansion and city-building on commerce and political life in the eastern Mediterranean. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3C include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3C include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3C include:

Students Should Be Able to:

3C Demonstrate understanding of the development of new cultural patterns in northern India in the second millennium BCE by:

7-12 Inferring from geographical and archaeological information why Indo-Aryan-speaking groups moved from Central Asia into India beginning in the second millennium. [Draw upon visual sources]

9-12 Analyzing possible causes of the decline and collapse of Indus valley civilization. [Hypothesizing the influence of the past]

9-12 Assessing the early political, social, and cultural impact of Indo-Aryan movements on peoples of North India. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3D include:

Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3D include:

Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3D include: