Here we are providing Class 11 History Important Extra Questions and Answers Chapter 2 Writing and City Life. Class 11 History Important Questions with Answers are the best resource for students which helps in class 11 board exams.
Class 11 History Chapter 2 Important Extra Questions Writing and City Life
Writing and City Life Important Extra Questions Very Short Answer Type
What do you understand by the term Mesopotamia?
It is derived from the Greek language which has to means “the middle river”.
What was the land of Mesopotamia civilization at the beginning of recorded history?
It was called Sumer and Akkad.
When did Babylon become an important city?
After 200 BC.
Who had released Babylonia from Assyrian domination?
It was Nabopolassar in 625 BC.
Who was the last ruler of independent Babylon?
Write Geographical feature and extent of Mesopotamia Civilization?
Undulating plains in northeast, flanked by tree-covered mountain ranges, steppe in the North and desert in South- Plains were fertile.
What has been mentioned in the Old Testament about Mesopotamia?
Its book of Genesis refers to ‘Shima’ for Sumer i.e. the land of Mesopotamia civilization. This term has meaning therein explained was “a land of brick-built cities”.
Name the crops grown in Mesopotamia?
Wheat, barley, peas, etc.
Name the industries supported by nature in Mesopotamia?
These were agriculture or farming, animal husbandry (goat and sheep), Dairy, wool, etc.
What is urbanization?
A shift of the economy from primary occupations (Agriculture, fishing, herding, forging) to secondary, occupations (manufacturing, processing, trading) and tertiary i.e. a number of services.
Write the names of necessities imported into Mesopotamian cities’?
These items were-wood, copper, tin, silver, gold, shell, and various types of stone slabs. These were imported from Turkey and Iran.
What was and is the cheapest mode of transport?
It was and is still the transportation over water because it requires nothing to feed while rowing across the river.
What is verbal communication?
It consists of spoken sounds through language and writing.
How is writing a specific verbal communication?
Spoken sounds are represented in visible signs in course of writing.
What are tablets?
Tablets are like written pages with a difference. These were prepared by scribes themselves while writing on them.
What is the style of writing or script used by Mesopotamians?
It is a picture like signs and numbers written on clay tablets. Pictures of oxen, fish, grains, number boats, tools, etc are mainly drawn with various signs.
At what point of need, the writing would have begun in Mesopotamian cities?
Wiping would have begun when society needed to keep ‘ records of transactions.
To what extent the clay tablet did prove helpful to archaeologists?
As written on clay tablets was an easy medium even for a penniless scribe; a giant account of contemporary life, the archaeologists gained through them. This is the reason, more details than Indus Valley Civilization, the archaeologists obtained about the ‘ life of ordinary people in Mesopotamia.
What was the position of literacy in Mesopotamian civilization?
As the syllables were used in place of vowels and consonants in cuneiform signs, very few Mesopotamian could read and write. There were hundreds of signs to learn many of these were complex.
What is meant by the term Uruk?
It means the city par excellence.
Apart from being means of storing information and of T sending messages afar what dignity had the writing acquired in a civilization of Mesopotamia?
The writing was seen as a sign of superiority of urban culture – apart from being a means of storing information and of sending messages.
How many types of settlements formed cities in Mesopotamia?
These were of three kinds –
- settlements developed artistic temples
- settlements developed as centers of trade and
- imperial settlement or cities.
What were the major hazards to agriculture in Mesopotamia?
- Frequent floods in quiet channels of the Euphrates (river) and change, of course, causing immersion of agricultural land forever.
- Misuse of water by the people living in upstream and villages. Downstream were left without water.
- Continuous conflicts among groups of farmers on one or other issues.
How do you think the clashes /conflicts between war leaders in Mesopotamia would have checked?
It could be possible with the creation of new institutions or practices in society such as the judiciary, the government, etc. A change in the attitude of the community would have checked the clashes between the war leaders. Distribution of water resources later-on reduced the possibility of conflict.
Discuss whether city life would have been possible without the use of metals.
Actually, city life first starts with the secondary works, and such power of occupation is possible where different tools of carpentry, carving, inscription, etc. are readily available. Again tools can only be made of metals that were imported by the people of Mesopotamia from Turkey and Iran or across the Gulf. Likewise, exchange was possible because people of those countries were in need of food grains as there was less scope for agriculture but plenty of minerals.
On the above premise, we can see that city life in Mesopotamia was impossible without metals which they imported from other countries.
Writing and City Life Important Extra Questions Short Answer Type
What are the components that constitute urbanization? Discuss.
Urbanization grows only when an economy is developed in spheres other than food production. Urban economics comprise besides food production, trade, manufacturers, and services viz. secondary and tertiary occupations. Again, urbanization takes place only in a.country where the raw material is sufficient, self-sufficiency in food grain production achieved and people generally have come under influence of the countries other than their own where several arts likes, sculpture, handicrafts, masonry, architecture, etc. have grown in fact and the people there are benefited.
One should keep in mind that division of labor is the vital constituent of urbanization. It means, even works is divided into several segments e.g, one will quarry the stone, the other will fetch the same to road or path made for cart or vehicle. Some others will do loading on the car, cart driver will fetch the load to destined place, another person v 11 give it proper shape under the expert guidance of artisan, the sculptor will carve it and then some other person will put the same at an appropriate place. Thus, a single work is divided into a number of units and a particular group of people will act upon it till it is completed. Transport is also a major constituent of urbanization.
How can you say urbanization an agglomeration of distinct artisans, craftsmen, and artists?
We hardly see primary jobs like daily, agriculture, etc. in cities. The cities, actually are a grid of craftsmen and traders engaged in secondary and tertiary occupations. Interdependence can be seen in the cities-as city people cease to be self-sufficient and depends on the products or services of other people. For instance, a stone carver requires bronze tools, specific stone slabs, which he would get through traders. On-premises above, we justify the statement that depicts urbanization as an agglomeration of distinct craftsmen and artisans.
Whether city life would have been possible without the use of metals?
No, certainly not. Metals are key factors in the formation of urbanization. All arts and artifacts require the use of metal one way or the other. In the case of Mesopotamia cities, the scribes would have not composed epics and other documents had there been no tools for digging soil, sieving the same, kneading. Similarly, a trade would have not been possible without vessels that require carpentry and tools for this craft. The reed used for writing would have not got tip oblique cut, in the absence of a knife made up of iron or bronze.
What, was the importance of writing to city life in Mesopotamia? Explain.
We know that all societies have languages in which certain spoken sounds convey certain meanings. It is called verbal communication. Writing is also verbal communication but in different ways. In this manner of verbal communication, spoken sounds are represented in visible signs.
Mesopotamia had invented some signs and numbers to convey their messages, to keep a record of transactions in business, and to record events of the contemporary period. It is natural for city dwellers to keep, records of transactions that occurred at different times which involved many people and a variety of goods. Mesopotamia used to write on clay tablets as we find hundreds of written clay tablets in Mesopotamia sites. These tablets were the precious source from which everything pertaining to that period has become apparent before archaeologists.
Subsequently, the writing was used not only for keeping records but also for making dictionaries, giving legal validity to land transfers, narrating the deeds of kings, and announcing the changes, a king had made in the customary laws of the land. It was Sumerian language till 2400 BC but replaced then by the Akkadian language. This language continued for more than two thousand years i.e. up to the 1st century CE.
Literature in Sumerian language, we also see; in the form of Epic above – Enmerkar, one of the earliest rulers of Uruk. Thus, we can say that writing became an integral part of Mesopotamians.
What was an urban artifact found in Mesopotamia? Describe the structure, appearance of the same, and the purpose for which it was used.
Mesopotamia’s urban artifact was that of seal making. These were made of stone in a cylindrical shape. Every seal has been pierced down at the center and fitted with a stick. Pictures have been carved on these stone seals. People of Mesopotamia used to roll them over wet clay in order to create continuous pictures. Some seals are found with cuneiform writing i.e. the script used by them.
These seals were used for authentication of the purity of contents in bags, sachets, and cloth package. In course of sealing, wet clay would be spread on the package or on the mouth of a pot, and then it would get seal rolled through. the stick fitted with the seal. These seals were used equally on a clay tablet duly engraved with a cuneiform script in order to give it authenticity. Thus, we can state that seal was the mark of a city dweller’s role in public life.
Write about the family norms of Mesopotamia?
A nuclear family consisting of a man, his wife, and children was the family norm in Mesopotamia. Married son and his family somewhere often resided with his parents. An offer from the bridegroom party and acceptance of the bride’s party was necessary. Groom’s party would offer gifts to the bride’s party. They would eat together on the wedding day and the offering would be made in a temple. Dowry system was also in vogue there in the form of herds, fields, or in cash.
Describe the settlements and structure of colonies in Mesopotamia as discovered by archaeologists in the 1930’s.
The archaeologists excavated ordinary houses in Ur, a town in Mesopotamia during the decade of 1930. They found narrow winding streets and irregular shapes of house plots there. It indicates that no town planning was adopted by those people. Drains and clay pipes were found in inner courtyards and it is thought that house roofs sloped inwards and rainwater was channeled via drainpipes into a basin-like safety tank. There was no light from the front side but it has been guessed that these were backdoors allowing sunlight to enter into rooms.
There has. been seen no provision of windows or ventilation in houses found in these colonies. Archaeologists consider this system would also have given families their privacy. The threshold of these houses was raised and as archaeologists have found, a clay tablet, it says, the raised threshold would bring wealth to the house. The said tablet reveals the front door not opening towards another was considered auspicious. According to archaeologists, these were superstitions prevailing in the populace there. They state further that the cemetery was only for the noble or rich people and ordinary were buried under the floors of ordinary houses.
How skillfully the archaeologists have excavated and traced a small town at Abu Salabikh and what conclusion from the remains had they arrived at?
Unlike the excavation of the Indus Valley civilization, the Mesopotamia excavators have a much higher standard of accuracy and care. They have excavated this small town about 10 hectares in an area pertaining to the period of 2500 BCE with a population of less than 10,000. They aptly scraped surfaces and the top few millimeters of the mud and could make out different colors, textures, and rows of brick walls or pits and other features. They sieved tons of earth to recover plants and animal remarks.
Thus, carefully they identified species of plants and animals and charred bones of fish, kitchens were identified because they searched out carbonized seeds and fibers at those places. As they found teeth of young pigs on the streets, it was concluded that pigs must have roamed freely here. Again they found pig bones in a burial. The archaeologists made microscopic studies of room floors to decide which rooms in a house were roofed and which were open to the sky.
What source of study does reveal the fact that Mesopotamians were proud of city dwelling? Explain.
Mesopotamians had to fight wars from time to time against pastoralists and nomadic communities of the Western desert and thus, the cities destroyed in war; yet they recalled them in their epics namely Gilmesh and Enmerkar. These are in long poems. The former epic says that the ruler of Uruk Enmerkar wanted lapis lazuli and precious metals for the beautification of a city temple and had sent his messenger to Aratta, a distant country but he could not convince the ruler of Aratta, he frequently went there and came back to the king. At last, the message was communicated through a letter inscribed on a clay tablet.
The letter epic says that Gilgamesh conquered several kingdoms, but in a historic battle, his fast friend was killed. That event filled his heart with agony so large as he renounced the kingdom and set out to find the secret of immortality. After his journey to far-off places, he at last returned and could console himself by walking along the city wall. He admired the foundations made of fired bricks that he had put into place. He takes consolation in the city that his people had built. This narration confirms the fact that Mesopotamians were proud of their city more than anything else they had.
Narrate how were the Mesopotamians first to calculate time and mathematics.
We know that the events and happening may be transmitted to next generations orally and it requires least records to black and white. However, this may not be the case with scientific and mathematical calculations. A written record is a must for the same. As the remains found by archaeologists, we may assume automatically that the greatest legacy of Mesopotamian to the world is its scholarly tradition of time reckoning and mathematics.
It is surprising to know that around 1800 BCE are tablets with multiplication and division tables, square root tables, and tables of compound interest. The square root of 2 was given as 1+24/ 60+51 /602+10/603. Its answer is 1.41421296 i.e. slightly different from the correct answer 1.41421356. in the urban institution of schools, the students those periods had to solve problems like a field of an area such and such is covered one finger deep in water; find out the volume of water.
We can state in brief that Mesopotamians were known to division the year into 12months, the division of the month into four weeks, the day into 24 hours, and the hour into 60 minutes. The successors of Alexander adopted these time divisions and they transmitted to the Roman world, the world of Islamic, and to medieval Europe in an orderly manner. Archaeologists had concluded on the basis of their finding that Mesopotamians were also known to solar and lunar eclipses, the position of stars, and constellations in the night sky. These all achievements were ascribed to writing. Hence, the writing system was the nucleus around which likewise discoveries had revolved.
Do you think the pre-occupation in the urban world of Mesopotamia is a modern phenomenon? If not so, then why?
No, we cannot imagine so because Babylonia acknowledges as the center of high culture by the great Assyrian Kings like Assurbanipal who ruled during 668 – 627 BCE. It is worth mentioning that he had established a Library at his capital in Nineveh. He had collected hundreds of clay tablets on history, epics, omen literature, astrology, hymns, and poems. Cuneiform tablets were written as far back as 2000 BCE were intelligible because Sumerian and Akkadian languages till then taught in schools there. Vocabulary texts, sign lists, and bilingual tablets, the archaeologists have found in the above-said library. They have also traced cataloging of the tablets kept in a particular basket in that library.
On the basis of the above, we cannot imagine the occupation with the urban world of Mesopotamia as the work of modern historians there.
Why do you think Assurbanipal and Nabonidus cherished early Mesopotamian traditions?
We think so on the basis of the remains of literature available in the library at Nineveh and the accounts given by Nabonidus, the last ruler of independent Babylon, on day tablets. As per discoveries made by archaeologists, Assurbanipal, the last Assyrian king had settled his capital in Nineveh and ruled during 668-627 BCE. Similarly, Nabonidus ruled during 666 – 331 BCE and Babylon was the premier city of the world during his regime. It was spread on land more than 850 hectares with a triple wall, great palaces and temples, a stepped tower, and a professional way to the ritual center.
It has been discovered by the archaeologists that Assurbanipal, above said king, had established a library containing hundreds of clay tablets on history, epics, omen literature, astrology, hymns, and poems. The king himself had declared that he had checked and collected tablets and stored them all in the library for their use in the future. This declaration itself exhibits his interest to keep alive, the Mesopotamian traditions. In a similar way,’ when we talk about Nabonidus, we find by his own writing how he was interested in giving perpetuity to the religion.
It is plausible to mention that he had appointed his daughter as High Priestess and selected her uniform, as he saw on the carved image of the priestess. Again, his interest to restore continuity to Mesopotamian tradition is ex-facie from repair, he got to be done of the broken statue of Sargon, the king of Akkad who ruled around 2370 BCE. He has himself written on one of the clay tablets that in order to maintain reverence for gods and respect for kingship; he would summon skilled craftsmen and get the statute to be repaired immediately.
Why is Mesopotamia known for city civilization? Discuss the main characteristics of that civilization.
In order to answer this question, what needed first is to describe the location of Mesopotamia. In this aspect of the matter, we would like to state that this city presently is part of the Republic of IraQuestion Its geographical location can be represented as under:
Mesopotamia-A land constituting desert, mountains, steppe, and irrigated zone.
As we observe in the map above, there are green plains in the north-east, a stretch of upland i.e. Steppe in the north, tributaries of Tigris in the east, a desert in the south. The desert in the south supports cities because the rivers Euphrates and Tigris carry silt and mud here which has made this desert fertile. Crops grown in this desert are wheat, barley, peas, or lentils. Steppe is the grass-land where cattle like sheep and goats are reared. In its undulating plains, there are trees and wildflowers and this land receives enough rain to grow crops. Tigris and its tributaries provide routes of communication into the mountains of Iran. Assyria, Nineveh, Nimrud, Assur, Baghdad, Babylon, Tell Abusalebikh, Uruk, and Ur were the archaeological sites where this civilization was found.
Mesopotamia thus exists between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and known for its prosperity, city life, rich literature, and its mathematics and astronomy. Eastern Mediterranean, northern Syria, and Turkey followed its writing system after 2000 BCE. The language of this land was Sumerian and Akkadian. It is similar to Hebrew and became widely spoken after 1000 BCE. The important cities were Uruk, Ur, Mari, Abusalebikh, and Assyria.
How the Mesopotamian story and that mentioned in Bible are analogous?
God had ordered Noah, a man in course of the water body gobbling-up the entire surface of the earth which was resulting in the destruction of life, that we should do something which might save the complete extinction of life on earth. He took a vast box containing single species each of all species of organisms comprising of both the plants and animal world, making these species seated within, and rowed across the water on a huge boat. Thus, the giant deluge could not destroy the earth. This same story has been restated in the legend of Mesopotamia except for the ‘slight’ change of the man Utanpishtim for Noah in the Bible.
Writing and City Life Important Extra Questions Long Answer Type
Narrate the important characteristics of Mesopotamia civilization and explain how archaeologists could explain so many things about the cities, the culture, society, and family traits of that period.
The important characteristics of Mesopotamia’Civilization can be briefed as under –
1. First writing style discovered by archaeologists pertains to the period 3200 BCE. It contains pictures like signs and numbers.
2. It is the first city civilization in the world. It is that of 600 years earlier than the Indus Valley civilization.
3. The first known language here was Sumerian gradually replaced by Akkadian around 2400 BCE.
4. It was the first civilization where the Cuneiform script was used in writing.
5. It was the civilization of pastoral nomads i.e. Akkadians, Amorites, Assyrians, and Aramaeans.
6. The Warka Head i.e. a female head statute exhibits that sculpture had progressed even before 3000 BCE in this civilization. It is a world-famous piece of sculpture admired for its delicate modeling of the woman’s mouth, chin, and cheeks. It was modeled in a hard stone from Turkey. The sculptor has used lapis lazuli, shell, and bitumen decently in order to figurines eyes and eyebrows.
7. This was the .civilization where the first-ever library established by Assurbanipal, an Assyrian king during 668 – 627 BCE. It contained several hundred clay tablets on history, epics, omen- literature, astrology, hymns, and poems. Again, it was the first civilization in which scribes were assigned with the work of writing and patronized by the rulers. They valued the writing system very first.
8. Architecture in its most progressed state, we only see, very first in this civilization. The palace of king Zimrilim at Mari is worth seeing. The plan of the palace exhibits how skillfully, the building has been constructed. The entrance gate, audience hall, outer court, inner court, kitchen, courtyard, scribes office, lavatory, and bath are the features of this splendid building. As described in the theme, these all rooms and halls were beautifully paved, and painting on the walls and ceilings is worth seeing. There were 260 rooms and a covered area of 2.4 hectares.
9. The seals here were of splendid shape and size. These were cylindrically fitted with a stick so that they could be rolled on the objects meant for sealing. Cuneiform writing and pictures of various animals, we can see on them. These seals were inscribed on stones; of special kinds perhaps, imported from Iran.
10. It was the first civilization in which the war leaders began to contribute to temple construction. He would send men out to fetch
five stones and metals for the benefit of the god and community and organize the distribution of temple wealth in an efficient way by accounting for things that came in and went out. They began to build and rebuild temples at selected spots in their villages. Moon god of Ur or Ivanna (the goddess of love and war) were their main gods.
About cities, the culture, society and family traits-
(a) Cities- Cities began to develop from 5000 BCE in Southern Mesopotamia. These were developed around temples, as a center of trade, and imperial cities. These people first began to build temples. The earliest known temple was a small shrine made of unbaked bricks. Actually, temples were the center of all activities like oil processing, grain grinding, spanning, and weaving of woolen clothes. Employer of merchants and keeper of written records of distributions and allotments of grains all settled near temples. Thus, activities gradually developed in the premises of temples, and these became the main urban institutions. Mari was a trading town that was made capital by king Zimrilim during 1810 – 1760 BCE. The subjects were the pastoral people here as agriculture and cattle rearing were the main occupations. Another town was Ur where a dense settlement with unplanned construction, the archaeologist have found.
(b) Societies- As we know, geographical conditions determine the eating habits, dress, houses, or shelters of the people living in a particular land. Mesopotamia civilization developed in a place with grasslands, deserts, mountains, and in the proximity of rivers: Euphrates and Tigris. Hence, nomadic and cattle rearing people used to live here. These included the Akkadians, Amorites, Assyrians, and Aramaeans. For an instance, the kings of Mari were Amorites whose dress differed from that of the original inhabitants. The society there used to live in unplanned colonies except where a royal palace has existed.
(c) Family traits- There were nuclear family systems openly adopted although a married son and his family often resided with his parents. The father was the head of the family. As per written documents in the form of clay tablets discovered by Archaeologists, an arranged marriage system was in vogue there. A declaration was made about the willingness to marry, the bride’s parents giving their consent to the marriage. Then a gift was given by the groom’s people to the bride’s people. The Dowry system was also in vogue as the bride was given her share of the inheritance by the father at the time of marriage.