The First Civilizations .

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1004.1.6 : The First Civilizations (through 250 BCE)

The graduate examines how primary characteristics (political, religious, and geographical features) of the first civilizations (Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China) contributed to the development of these societies.



The first human civilizations emerged in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern and East Asia approximately five thousand years ago. The civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China were all significantly influenced by their respective geographical surroundings, and they structured their agricultural practices, trade patterns, and even religious beliefs around the natural world. Members of these early communities crafted unique social, cultural, and political institutions that reflected their relationship with nature and with each other.

In this task, you will be required to describe the key geographical features, religious beliefs, political structures, and social structures of ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China. You will then compose a brief essay that compares your choice of two of these civilizations by using one characteristic from the table.

Your submission must be your original work. No more than a combined total of 30% of the submission and no more than a 10% match to any one individual source can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. An originality report is provided when you submit your task that can be used as a guide.

You must use the rubric to direct the creation of your submission because it provides detailed criteria that will be used to evaluate your work. Each requirement below may be evaluated by more than one rubric aspect. The rubric aspect titles may contain hyperlinks to relevant portions of the course.

A. Describe each of the following characteristics of the four early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China, using the attached “Early Civilizations Table” or similar document:

1. key geographical features

2. religious beliefs

3. political structures

4. social and/or cultural characteristics

Note: You may include a short paragraph in each cell or a thorough bulleted list with significant key terms. Please be sure to include appropriate source references for the information in your chart.

B. Write a brief essay (suggested length of 2–3 paragraphs) in which you compare similarities and differences of two civilizations from part A using one characteristic described in the attached “Early Civilizations Table” or similar document.

C. Provide acknowledgement of source information, using in-text citations and references, for quoted, paraphrased, or summarized content.

1. Include the following information when providing source references:

• author

• date

• title

• location of information (e.g., publisher, journal, or website URL

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