Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Teotihuacan and the Olmec Peoples

Lesson 10 Essay

         Mesoamerica, or Central America, extended to the south and to the east of central Mexico. Mexico had many civilizations including the Teotihuacan and the Olmec people. Although these civilizations were in Mexico, they didn't develop the same, but they had a few similarities. Let me explain.

        The Teotihuacan, established around 100 BC, were located in the valley of Mexico. They built very grid-like cities with streets going north-south and east-west directions. They continued to build their cities until around 250 AD. The city was, at it's peak, much larger than the city of Rome. They built adobe huts for the poor and the richer people got single story houses.
        The Teotihuacan were very famous for the stepped pyramids with temples at the top that they built. The largest of these temples is the Pyramid of the Sun.
                                                                Pyramid of the Sun
        They also had multiple trades: They were very agricultural. They were merchants in the salt trade. They were also very good potters; they had a thin orange pottery style that spread through Mesoamerica. They made weapons and tools from obsidian. Onyx and jade were used for decoration, along with carved shells and ear spools.

        Sadly though, the Teotihuacan civilization was destroyed by fire in 750 AD. They left no written records except calenders.

        The Olmec people were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in a tropical, jungle region of South-central Mexico. They had three major religious centers: San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes. The Olmec also built stepped pyramids with temples on top like the Teotihuacan. Their gods were animal heads carved out of of stone. These heads can be found on the walls of the temples.

        The Olmec are most known for their huge, artful head statues carved from volcanic rock. Their writing was much like the Egyptian writing. They used hieroglyphs, but, instead of one hieroglyph per one word or phrase, the Olmec used one hieroglyph per syllable.

                                                              Olmec  statue
        The majority of the Olmec people lived in villages. These villages were located on higher ground and consisted of several scattered houses. A modest temple may have been associated with the larger villages. The individual dwellings would consist of a house, an associated lean-to, and one or more storage pits. They traded for obsidian, basalt, and jade.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week One Essay: The Ancient Egypt Civilization

 Lesson 5 Essay

      Rule of Egypt: Ancient Africa had several civilizations, some of them strong and some of them weak, but the strongest and most well known of them was Ancient Egypt. The pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx of Giza are Egypt's most notable structures. For most of its existence pharaohs ruled over Egypt. The country was formed as an agricultural society based around the Nile River. The Nile is really unique because it is the longest river in the world and it runs from south to north.

     The history of Egypt is divided into a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of instability known as Intermediate Periods, because their power fluctuated from strong, to weak, to strong again. The Middle Kingdom, one of these periods, marked the point where Egypt was reunited and became strong again. The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians at this time.

     Nearing the end of the Middle Kingdom the Hyksos, another civilization, invaded Egypt. However, the Hyksos were easily defeated and the New Kingdom began. This was Egypt's Golden Age, the pinnacle of Egypt's power. With their new-found glory, the Egyptians expanded their territory. But as soon as the strong line of pharaohs died off, Egypt slowly fell into an enormous decline in power that it never recovered from. Assyria, another civilization, eventually took over Egypt and then later the Persians ruled.

     A man known as Alexander the Great, king of Macedon in northern Greece, came to Egypt and conquered one of its cities. He named the city Alexandria, after himself. One of Alexander's generals, Ptolemy Soter, established himself as the new pharaoh of Egypt. This Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt for nearly 300 years until 30 BC, when, under the pharaoh Cleopatra VII, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.

                                                             The Pyramid and Sphinx of Giza
    Egyptian Culture: There was a huge contrast in the rich and poor citizens of Egypt. The poor had to work for their food and housing. Food was probably very scarce for most people in the lower parts of Egypt. While the poor were busy with their own lives, they also had to serve the upper class which included the nobles and the pharaohs, which were worshiped as gods . Egypt invented "papyrus" as an early form of paper for writing scrolls. They also invented "hieroglyphics", a complete form of writing.
                                                                  Egyptian hieroglyphs