Ap world terms Early Civs


Historiography is the study of history and the writing of history. The understanding of historiography is important for students to recognize the multiple perspectives and interpretations that are involved in the writing of history.(Spodek, Introduction p

Cosmo-magical City

A city deemed to be sacred or has a mythological association.The cosmo-magical city Uruk of Mesopotamia is said to have been ruled by the great hero and king, Gilgamesh.


A rectangular tiered temple constructed by the ancient Mesopotamians.The increasing power of priests in ancient Mesopotamia was reflected in the gradual growth in size of the ziggurats they ordered to be built.


King Hammurabi founded the Babylonian Empire, was a skilled military leader and created the Code of Hammurabi.Hammurabi connected Sumer and Akkad, two independent civilizations, into one large superpower. He was known as the "Warrior King" for his many tr


Semites are peoples who speak a Semitic language. Arabs, Aramaeans, Jews, and many Ethiopians are grouped together as semites and they settles in Judea villages and in Palestine. Semites are considered to be descendants of Noah's eldest son, Shem. They we

Ideograms/ pictograms

An Ideogram is a character or figure in a writing system that represents the idea of a thing rather than its name.Sumerians used ideograms to record business transactions on tablets. A Pictogram is a pictorial representation of an object or thought.Early


A group of nomadic and pastoral people who spread to south Asia. They reached the Ganges valley in 1000 B.C.E. and became the successors of the Harappan civilization of India The Aryans had a caste system that ranked people at birth, and it is still being

Rosetta stone

The Rosetta Stone is essentially a rock that is covered in inscriptions of three different forms: hieroglyphics, Egyptian "demotic", and Greek. It was found in Egypt in 196 B.C.E. and allowed scholars to interpret hieroglyphics for the first time.The Rose


The administrative units of Upper Egypt. The nomes in Egypt provided small cities along the Nile with political guidance

Amenhotep IV

Pharaoh of Egypt who challenged the order of Egypt by adopting a new monotheistic religion. Akhenaten conveyed his monotheistic religion through art and architecture.


Mohenjo-Daro was one of the largest city-settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization of ancient India. Mohenjo-Daro was successively destroyed and rebuilt at least seven times. Each time, the new cities were built on top of the old ones.


Any strongly fortified building or place of safety in or near the city. The castle had a citadel to protect it from attacks.

Yellow River

The second longest river in china located in northern china. It was along this river where early chinese civilization developed.The Yellow River is one of the most important civilization fostering rivers in the world.

Zhou Dynasty

The Zhou dynasty was a dynasty in ancient china that lasted from the years 1122 to 480. During which time the dynasty made several advancements in religion and administration. During the later years of the Zhou dynasty the country fell into the waining st


A site created during the bronze age in China, that has a possible connection to the Xia Dynasty. The connection was created through ancient texts that described where the Xia Dynasty was located. Ancient writings were recently found by Archaeologists to


A Central American civilization located in the valley of Mexico, whose city was created around the base of their main god, Quetzalcoatl. The civilization later fell because of invasion of new immigrants.Although the Toltecs were short lived, their rich cu


A 7.5 square mile, 100000+ populated city that marked the first urban revolution in the Americas (550 C.E.). Due to a lack of writing systems, historians only are capable of interpreting artifacts they find. Teotihuacan was one of the first areas of urban


A Meso-American civilization most famous for thriving in the classic phase (300-600 C.E.). The civilization became renowned for its high population density, its developed cities, monumental architecture, temples, numerous amounts of sacrifice, and elabora

The Popul Vul

The Popul Vah is a collection of creation stories created by the Maya people. In these myths is gives us background information about the Gods names and shows the importance of religion in the Maya culture. It is similar to the creation stories in the bib

Niger River

The Niger River was one of the five river valleys that primary urbanization began to first develop. The Niger Valley was first urbanized in 400 C.E. Cities such as Timbuktu, Jenne, and Mopti developed along the Niger River and were used as centers of exch


Archaeology is the scientific study of cultures through the study of their material remains. The modern study of archaeology has explained the evolution of humanity and the development of early civilizations.

Fertile Crescent

The Fertile Crescent is a geographical area of fertile land in Western Asia/Middle East stretching from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates. The Fertile Crescent has been considered the birthplace of modern civilization because of its agricultural influe

innovation vs diffusion

Innovation- The independent development of techniques or ideas
Diffusion- The spread of techniques or ideas
Usage: Archeologists wonder which of the first civilizations developed with innovation and which developed with the help of diffusion


An ancient city of Palestine, North of the Dead Sea, formerly in West Jordan; occupied by Israel 1967-94; since 1994 under Palestinian self-rule. Jericho is one of the oldest human settlements and the oldest walled city in history.


Composed of slim triangular or wedge-shaped elements, as the characters used in writing by the ancient Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and others. Cuneiform writing is the earliest known writing system in the world. For many civilizations it


a system of society where the male is the head of the family and holds the most power; the descendant is mainly traced through the male lineage. The laws of Mesopotamia was shaped by patriarchy because women's rights, like that of ownership, were limited.

the book of the dead

A compilation of many ancient Egyptian texts about the security of eternal happiness after death. The Book of the Dead shows the ancient Egyptians belief in the afterworld.


A system of writing derived from pictograms and ideograms. These characters were used by many ancient civilizations such as the ancient Egyptians, Aztec, and Maya. By studying the hieroglyphs that adorn this inside of Egyptian tombs, archeologists can get

Great Pyramid of Khufu

The 450 ft tall pyramid made up of 2,300,000 stone blocks is one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" and is located in Egypt. the pharaoh was seen as a god and was therefore buried in the massive tomb located in the pyramid. The pyramid illustrate

Osiris and Horus

Osiris and Horus are two of the most important gods in the Egyptian civilizations. Osiris represented virtue and order and Horus represents the North. These two gods were used to explain the political unification of the Egypt. The religion explaining unif

Indus river

The Indus River was one of the sites of primary urbanization, its civilizations culture and history having been lost but for a few data points. The Indus River was home to one of the first civilizations of the ancient world.

Shang Dynasty

The Shang Dynasty succeeded the Xia dynasty and was conquered by the Zhou dynasty.Oracle bones were used by Shang dynasty priests.

Yangshao culture

The Yangshao culture were among the first to settle, around the Huang He. This was in the Neolithic age. 5000-3000 BCE The Yangshao are one of the first civilizations in the history of the world.

oracle bones

Pieces of animal bones or turtle shells used by Shang priests to predict the future of their dynasty. The emperor called upon the prophet in order to interpret the oracle bones, which would give him insight on the outcome of the impending war.


An early pre-Incan civilization that flourished from 900 to 200 B.C.E. in northern and central parts of Peru.The Chavin civilization is known today for their achievements in the arts and created beautiful carved stone sculptures and boldly designed cerami


A pre-Columbian, early Mexican civilization that flourished in southern Mexico and where the precursor to the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. The Olmec people were the first to built step prymaids in America.


Small rectangular pieces of land known as "floating gardens" on which meso-american civilizations farmed.Chinampas were used to harvest squash, beans, maize, chili peppers and tomatoes

Jenne Jeno

Jenne-jeno, beginning in 250 B.C.E, was the first known indigenous city in sub-Saharan Africa where the inhabitants lived in neighboring independent clusters rather than a single, core urban center. Jenne-jeno must have engaged in trade because its people

trans-Saharan trade

Trans-Saharan trade occurred because goods such as ivory and gold in West Africa attracted northern trading caravans allowing them to overcome the harsh geography as well as gain new commodities . The trans-Saharan trading routes linked cultures of the Me


The last division of the Stone Age. It is sometimes called the New Stone age. The Neolithic era was named after its tools. For farming there were new stone tools that allowed for more efficient agriculture


The Sumerians created the first cities, in 3500 b.c.e., which were located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Meopotamia. That reigon was later conquered by Sargon of Akkhad, to become the first empire. The sumerians were very andvanced and develo


To train in or devote oneself to a particular area of study, occupation, or activity.The development of agriculture led to the specialization of labor.

Tigris/Euphrates Rivers

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers surrounded Mesopotamia creating a fertile crescent. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers which formed the fertile crescent were beneficial to agriculture and made mesopotamia one of the most agriculturally productive civilizatio

city-state/ polis

A city-state is a self-governed state consisting of a city and surrounding territory. Polis is the term used for the city-state of ancient Greece. It comprised not only the town, which was walled with a citadel (acropolis) and a market place (agora), but

Epic of Gilgamesh

The most famous of the remaining Sumerian literature, that weaves together a series of tales about the hero Gilgamesh. The Epic of Gilgamesh presents a world of many gods before whom humans are passive and frightened subjects.

Nile River

The Nile River was one of the most important aspects of the early Egyptian Civilization. The river provided natural irrigation and fertile land. The Nile River floods during the months of July, August, and September, but because this is predictable the fl


The ancient egyptians built many vast pyramids for burial tombs and worship to their gods. Some of the most famous pyramids and burial tombs are located at Giza, which is located near the modern city of Cairo. Giza is home to the sphinx, which is a stone

Old kingdom

Period in Egypt from 2700-2200 B.C.E During this period irrigation projects were started, construction of pyramids, and Egyptian trading, raiding and mining expanded south to Nubia. The fall of the Old Kingdom is attributed to weakened central government,


Considered the "king" of the Egyptian gods, Amon-re was often depicted as ram-headed. Amon-re was the universal god and was present in Egyptian religion from the beginning. Amon-re was also known as a patron of the pharaohs and helped legitimize their pow


One of the largest settlements in the Indus Valley civilization. It was able to hold about 40,000 people. And the city was well-planned and built. The Aryan culture contains many aspects of the Harappan cities. The height of Harappan settlements was in 2,

Xia Dynasty

The Xia Dynasty was a succession of about 16 emperors from c.2070 BC to c. 1600 BC, around the time where neolithic cultures were turning into urban civilization. The Xia Dynasty is known for its bronze and pottery. The Xia Dynasty preceded the Shang Dyna

Longshan Culture

Longshan culture was a more sophisticated, modern improvement of the Neolithic culture; it was located slightly to the northeast of the Neolithic area. Longshan pottery was made on a wheel, while pottery of earlier civilizations was coiled by hand.


Tikal is one of the largest, most elaborate, and most completely excavated of the Mayan cities. Tikal was a spiritual and religious center, but also a large city of considerable regional, political, and economic significance. Tikal was a great Mayan city

Andes Mountains

A major mountain system that runs the length of the Pacific coast of South America. It extends more than 5,000 miles with a continuous height of more than 10,000 feet. Its highest peak is Aconcagua. The home to the early Incan civilization. The Incan empi


A small Mesoamerican civilization located in the Oaxaca Valley of southern Mexico, created around 1500 BCE and peaking at 700 CE. The Zapotecs engaged in frequent trade with their neighbors and contemporaries, the Olmecs.


Stone- walled enclosures or buildings built during the African Iron Age in the region of modern Zimbabwe and Mozambique. They were the courts of local rulers. Also associated with foreign trade, integrated farming, gold production and animal husbandry. Lo


Bantu is used to refer to both the Bantu languages, of which there are over 500 dialects, and the people who speak it who live in central, eastern, and southern Africa. The Bantu peoples incorporated local culture in developing their dialect and identity.


Mesopotamia is located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamia was home to Sumerian and Akkadian empires, as well as the first innovative primary urbanization. Mesopotamia was ideally located for advances in agriculture. The oldest of the sev

New Kingdom

The old Kingdom is a period form 1550 to 1050 B.C.E During this time irrigation technology improved (shaduf irrigation), the construction and destruction of Akenaten, expulsion of the Hyksos, and kings became know as pharaohs. New Kingdom ended due to los