Suggested writing time—40 minutes Percent of Section II score—33 1/3



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Name: ___________________

AP World History 101

DBQ Assessment

Religion and Power in the Pre-Classical World

Document-Based Question: Part A

(Suggested writing time—40 minutes)

Percent of Section II score—33 1/3

Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying Documents 1-10. (The documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise.)

This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents.

Write an essay that:


  • Has a relevant thesis and supports that thesis with evidence from the documents.

  • Uses all of the documents.

  • Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible. Does not simply summarize the documents individually.

  • Takes into account the sources of the documents and analyzes the authors' points of view.

  • Identifies and explains the need for at least one additional type of document.

You may refer to relevant historical information not mentioned in the documents.

  1. Using the documents, analyze the relationship between religious beliefs and political authority in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Shang or Huang He (Yellow River) before 500 b.c.e. Identify and explain what additional type of document(s) or sources would help in assessing ideas about religion or state authority.

Document 1. Ziggurat (c. 3000 BCE)



A photograph of the remains of the ziggurat at Ur.










  • How does the document above help analyze the relationship between religious beliefs and political authority in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Shang or Huang He (Yellow River) before 500 b.c.e.?



    Is there a point of view contained with this document? What would it be?

    Document 2. Epic of Gilgamesh (2750 B.C.E.)



    Excerpt from The Epic of Gilgamesh, a cycle of stories from Mesopotamian bards whose oral traditions mythologized the life of the fifth king of the city of Uruk who ruled about 2750 b.c.e.

    Supreme over other kings, lordly in appearance,
    he is the hero, born of Uruk, the goring wild bull. 
    He walks out in front, the leader,
    and walks at the rear, trusted by his companions.
    Mighty net, protector of his people,
    raging flood-wave who destroys even walls of stone!
    Offspring of Lugalbanda, Gilgamesh is strong to perfection,
    son of the august cow, Rimat-Ninsun;... Gilgamesh is awesome to perfection.
    It was he who opened the mountain passes, 
    who dug wells on the flank of the mountain. 
    It was he who crossed the ocean, the vast seas, to the rising sun, 
    who explored the world regions, seeking life.
    It was he who reached by his own sheer strength Utanapishtim, the Faraway, 
    who restored the sanctuaries (or: cities) that the Flood had destroyed! 
    ... for teeming mankind. 
    Who can compare with him in kingliness? 
    Who can say like Gilgamesh: "I am King!"? 
    Whose name, from the day of his birth, was called "Gilgamesh"? 
    Two-thirds of him is god, one-third of him is human. 
    The Great Goddess [Aruru] designed(?) the model for his body
    she prepared his form ... 
    ... beautiful, handsomest of men, 
    ... perfect
    ... 
    He walks around in the enclosure of Uruk,
    Like a wild bull he makes himself mighty, head raised (over others). 
    There is no rival who can raise his weapon against him.






  • How does the document above help analyze the relationship between religious beliefs and political authority in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Shang or Huang He (Yellow River) before 500 b.c.e.?



    Is there a point of view contained with this document? What would it be?

    Document 3. Code of Hammurabi (c. 1700 BCE)



    A translation of the Code of Hammurabi.

    When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

    Hammurabi, the prince, called of Bel am I, making riches and increase, enriching Nippur and Dur-ilu beyond compare, sublime patron of E-kur; ... the Sublime, who humbles himself before the great gods; successor of Sumula-il; the mighty son of Sin-muballit; the royal scion of Eternity; the mighty monarch, the sun of Babylon, whose rays shed light over the land of Sumer and Akkad; the king, obeyed by the four quarters of the world; Beloved of Ninni, am I.

    When Marduk sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right to the land, I did right and righteousness in..., and brought about the well-being of the oppressed.







  • How does the document above help analyze the relationship between religious beliefs and political authority in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Shang or Huang He (Yellow River) before 500 b.c.e.?


    Is there a point of view contained with this document? What would it be?


    Document 4. Diagram of the Pyramids (c. 2550 BCE)



    Cross section of the pyramid of Khufu.











  • How does the document above help analyze the relationship between religious beliefs and political authority in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Shang or Huang He (Yellow River) before 500 b.c.e.?



    Is there a point of view contained with this document? What would it be?


    Document 5. Precepts of Ptah-hotep (c. 2200 BCE)
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