Class 11 History - Chapter 2 - Writing and City Life

List of Questions and Answers

1.Which was the earliest civilization of Mesopotamia?
a) Sumerian civilization
b) Babilonian civilization
c) Caldian civilization
d) Assyrian civilization
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: a) Sumerian civilization

2. The type of writing used to record information on tablets by Mesopotamians was____________________
a) Cuneiform
b) Calligraphy
c) Cursive
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: a) Cuneiform

3. Craft, trade and efficient transport were not important for urban development.(True/False)
(Chapter 1 : From the Beginning of Time)

Ans: False

4. The tool used to press signs on the tablets was ________.
a) Reed
b) Microlith
c) Wood
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: a) Reed

5.On what did the Mesopotamians write ?
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: Mesopotamians wrote on tablets of clay.

6. King Assurbanipal had collected a library at his capital _________.
a) Uruk
b) Mari
c) Nineveh
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: c) Nineveh

7.Writing was a skilled craft in Mesopotamia. (true/False)
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: True

8.Explain the procedure of marriage in Mesopotamia.
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)


  • When the bride's parent gave their consent for marraige , a declaration was made about the willingness to marry.
  • Then a gift was given by the groom’s people to the bride's people.
  • When the wedding took place, gifts were exchanged by both parties, who ate together and made offerings in a temple.
  • When her mother-in-law came to fetch her, the bride was given her share of the inheritance by her father.
  • The father's house, herds, fields, etc., were inherited by the sons.

9.Why there was a need for movement of goods in Mesopotamian
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)


  • Mesopotamia had abundant agriculture and textile produce, but was low on mineral resources.
  • The south lacked stones for tools, seals and jewels; the wood of the Iraqi date-palm and poplar was not good enough for carts, cart wheels or boats; and there was no metal for tools, vessels or ornaments.
  • The ancient Mesopotamians traded their abundant textiles and agricultural produce for wood, copper, tin, silver, gold, shell and various stones from Turkey and Iran, or across the Gulf as they had abundant mineral resources, but much less scope for agriculture.

10.Why was Mesopotamia important to Europeans?
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)


  • Mesopotamia was important to Europeans because of references to it in the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible.
  • Travellers and scholars of Europe looked on Mesopotamia as a kind of ancestral land.
  • When archaeological work began in the area, there was an attempt to prove the literal truth of the Old Testament.

11.Describe 'Mari City' of Mesopotamian Civilization.
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)


  • Mari was a famous city in Mesopotamia located near the west bank of Euphrates River.
  • The city is a good example of an urban centre prospering on trade in wood,copper, tin, oil, wine, and various other goods that were carried in boats along the Euphrates.
  • Boats carrying grinding stones, wood, and wine and oil jars, would stop at Mari on their way to the southern cities.
  • The kingdom of Mari was not militarily strong, it was exceptionally prosperous.
  • The kings of Mari, however, had to be vigilant; herders of various tribes were allowed to move in the kingdom, but they were watched.
  • Some communities in the kingdom of Mari had both farmers and pastoralists, but most of its territory was used for pasturing sheep and goats.

12.Explain the contribution of the Mesopotamians in the field of Mathematics.
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)


  • Multiplication , division tables, square- and square-root tables, and tables of compound interest were written on the tablets during 1800 BCE.
  • The square root of 2 was given as: 1 + 24/60 + 51/602 + 10/603. The answer of the equation is 1.41421296, only slightly different from the correct answer, 1.41421356.
  • Students had to solve problems such as the following: a field of area such and such is covered one finger deep in water; find out the volume of water.
  • The division of the year into 12 months according to the revolution of the moon around the earth, the division of the month into four weeks, the day into 24 hours, and the hour into 60 minutes – all that we take for granted in our daily lives – has come to us from the Mesopotamians.

13.How were the writing tablets created in Mesopotamians ?
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: Mesopotamians wrote on tablets of clay. A scribe would wet clay and pat it into a size he could hold comfortably in one hand.He would carefully smoothen its surfaces. With the sharp end of a reed cut obliquely, he would press wedge-shaped (‘cuneiform*’) signs on to the smoothened surface while it was still moist. Once dried in the sun, the clay would harden and tablets would be almost as indestructible as pottery.

14. Explain the uses of writing to the Mesopotamians.
Why was writing useful to the Mesopotamians ?
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: Writing was used for keeping records, 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. Besides being a means of storing information and of sending messages afar, writing was seen as a sign of the superiority of Mesopotamian urban culture.

15."Very few Mesopotaminas could read and write".Clarify
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)


  • Mesopotamians wrote on tablets of clay.
  • The first Mesopotamian tablets, written around 3200 BCE, contained picture-like signs and numbers.
  • There were hundreds of signs to learn, many of these were complex.
  • If a king could read, he made sure that this was recorded in one of his boastful inscriptions.

16.What was the norm of the Mesopotamian Family?
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: In Mesopotamian society the nuclear family was the norm, although a married son and his family often resided with his parents.The father was the head of the family.

17.Explain the features of town planning in Ur?
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)


  • In Ur the streets winding was narrow winding and had irregular shapes of house plots that indicate an absence of town planning.
  • There were no street drains instead drains and clay pipes were found in the inner courtyards of the Ur houses and it is thought that house roofs sloped inwards and rainwater was channelled via the drain pipes into sumps in the inner courtyards.
  • This must have been done as a way of preventing the unpaved streets from becoming excessively slushy after a downpour.
  • The people swept all their household refuse into the streets, to be trodden underfoot!
  • This made street levels rise, and over time the thresholds of houses had also to be raised so that no mud would flow inside after the rains
  • Light came into the rooms not from windows but from doorways opening into the courtyards: this would also have given families their privacy.

18.Why was writing considered a skilled craft in Mesopotamia?
(Chapter 2 : Writing and City Life)

Ans: The sound that a cuneiform sign represented was not a single consonant or vowel (such as m or a in the English alphabet), but syllables (say, -put-, or -la-, or –in-). Thus, the signs that a Mesopotamian scribe had to learn ran into hundreds, and he had to be able to handle a wet tablet and get it written before it dried. So, writing was a skilled craft but, more important, it was an enormous intellectual achievement, conveying in visual form the system of sounds of a particular language.

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