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Kerala Plus One History Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Chapter 2 Writing and City Life
For recreating Mesopotamian history the most important sources are archaeological evidences. How do you evaluate this statement?
Archaeological excavations were started, in Mesopotamia in the 1840s. Excavations in sites like Uruk and Mari continued for decades. The hundreds of buildings, statues, tombs, tools and seals in Mesopotamia and the thousands of written documents are useful sources in recreating Mesopotamian history.
Iraq is a land with different physical features. Explain.
Iraq is a land with widely different physical features. In its North-Eastern region, there are green plains, rivers with their banks full of trees and hills covered with all sorts of flowers. There is enough rain for cultivating different crops. Agriculture started here between BC 7000 and 6000. On the Northern side of Iraq there is a grassy plain. This place was suitable for grazing cattle. Naturally, the people here got a better life than those of mere agricultural farmers.
In the Eastern side there were the tributaries of River Tigris and they offered excellent travel facilities towards the hilly regions. The southern side is a desert. It is in Iraq that the first writings and urban life started. The fertile silt deposited by Euphrates and Tigris Rivers made this area very suitable for cultivation and therefore it could nurture urban life.
Agriculture was a main occupation of Mesopotamian people. What were their other occupations?
Cattle herding and fishing.
Urban life is very important. Explain the importance of urban life in Mesopotamia.
- Mutual dependence (between cities & cities, between cities & villages).
- Division of labour
- Social organizations.
In Mesopotamia minerals were rare. Examine the validity of this statement.
Mesopotamia was rich in food supplies. But minerals were rate there. In many parts of southern Mesopotamia, there weren’t enough stones to make work tools, seals and ornaments. The wood of the date palms and poplar trees of Iraq was not capable of being used in carts and wheels as it was too soft and brittle.
There weren’t minerals for making work tools, seals, pots, pans, and ornaments. Therefore the Mesopotamians got their clothes, timber, copper, lead, silver, gold, shells and different types of stones from Turkey and Iran.
Prepare a seminar paper on the Mesopotamian writing technique.
Areas to be considered:
- The development of writing
- System of writing
- Uses of writing
The development of writing: AH societies have languages. Certain sounds in the language give certain meanings. This is verbal exchange. When speech sounds are represented in visible forms, we have writing or script. Mesopotamians wrote on clay slates. The writer kneads clay and makes it into a size that he can hold in one hand, The surface would be smoothened. Using a special kind of sharp stiletto he makes wedge-shaped letter marks on the smooth surface. This is called cuneiform writing. After that, the clay-slate is dried in the sun. This way the clay slates become permanent like clay pots. These slates couldn’t be used again for writing other things.
System of Writing: A cuneiform symbol does not represent a mere consonant or vowel sound, but a number of letters. Therefore a Mesopotamian script writer had to leam hundreds of symbols. He should have had the competence to handle a wet clay-slate and write on it before it goes dry. Thus writing on the clay-slate was a highly skilled job. It was an intellectual exercise which translated the sound system of a language into a visible format.
Uses of Writing: Writing has given man invaluable contributions. There was a close tie between the writing of Mesopotamia and its urban life and trade. It was the kings that linked writing with trade.
Writing was used to store information and to exchange messages. Many saw Mesopotamian writing as a sign proclaiming the dominance of Mesopotamian urban culture.
The writing helped in communicating with other regions culturally and economically and to do the buying and selling on the basis of written agreements. In short, writing made trading easier. Writing helped in maintaining accounts and in keeping laws recorded. It was also useful for literary creations.
In South Mesopotamia, there were three kinds of cities. Which were they?
- Cities that grew around temples.
- Cities that grew into commercial and trade centres.
- Imperial Cities.
It was the control over the temples that helped kings to exercise their authority over people. Do you agree with this view? Justify.
In due course, new institutions and traditions developed in the society. Powerful nobles began to work for their own welfare and also for the welfare of their community. The successful nobles attacked the weaker ones and looted precious things from them and gave them to the gods, beautifying the temples. They proclaimed themselves to be kings. They sent people around and got.stones and minerals for the prosperity of the community and also their gods. They also took steps to distribute the temple property efficiently. This helped the kings to get high status and authority over the people. In short, it was their control over the temples that helped them to have power over the people.
There used to be confrontations between the shepherds and farmers of Mari. Why?
When the shepherds passed with their flocks through the sown fields, the plants got destroyed. This destruction of the crops caused conflicts between the shepherds and farmers. Sometimes the nomadic shepherds attacked agricultural villages and forcefully took away things which the villagers had stored. Farmers, on their side, often refused to let the shepherds and their flock move.to the river through their farms. They also refused to give water from their canals to the shepherds and their flocks causing friction.
For the Mesopotamians, urban life was very important. Examine the validity of this statement in the background of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem that shows the love and pride the Mesopotamians felt for their cities. This poem has 12 parts and it is at the end of the poem that their pride for their cities has been shown. Gilgamesh was the king of the city of Uruk. He was a great warrior and he conquered even faraway places.
The death of his close friend was a turning point in the fife of Gilgamesh. f he shock inflicted on him by v the death of his friend persuaded him to embark on a journey seeking the mystery of immortality. He crossed mountains and seas, but his journey was a failure and he returned to his city Uruk. He tried to console and comfort himself by walking on the city wall this way and that way.
The wall was built with baked bricks and he looked at the base of the wall with admiration. He wrote the epic poem sitting on the wall. He was able to find consolation by unburdening his load of sorrow bn the wall which his people had built. The pride he felt helped him to overcome his sorrow. The epic of Gilgamesh makes it clear that the city was like life-giving oxygen to the Mesopotamians.
Describe the power of the Mesopotamian writing in the background of discoveries in the field of mathematics and astrology.
The Mesopotamians gave great contributions in the realm of science. In fact, their contributions in the scientific area can be ascribed to their writing. For science, written material is necessary. Only then future generations of scholars can read it, understand it and improve it. The Mesopotamians have made great contributions in calendar-making, to fix the time of things and mathematics.
In Mathematics they discovered multiplication, division, square, square root and compound interest. Some clay slates where these things are recorded have been discovered. The square root they discovered differs only very slightly from the actual one.
Based on the rotation of the moon around the earth, a year was divided into 12 months, a month was divided into 4 weeks, and a day was divided into 24 hours, and an hour was divided into 60 minutes. This was a Mesopotamian discovery. Thus the calendar which was based on the lunar movement has been approved and accepted by the whole world.