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Chapter 4


Silt small particles of fertile soil
Irrigation a system that supplies dry land with water through ditches, pipes, or streams
Surplus an amount that is left over after a need has been met
City-state a city that governs itself and its surrounding territory
Polytheism a belief in more than one god
Ziggurat a pyramid-shaped structure with a temple at the top
Cuneiform a system of writing developed by the Sumerians that used wedge-shaped marks made in soft clay
Scribe a person who copies or writes out documents; often a record keeper
Epic a long poem that records the deeds of a legendary or real hero
Empire a large territory or group of many territories governed by one ruler
Tribute a payment made to a ruler or state as a sign of surrender
Province a territory governed as a political district of a country or empire
Caravan a group of merchants travelling together for safety, usually with a large number of camels
Astronomer a person who studies planets and stars