About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the Ancient Civilizations in the Near East chapter into two 5-day school weeks. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Day 1|| Mesopotamia|
Sumer's Protoliterate Period
|Why the first civilizations developed in Mesopotamia;|
Roles of Mesopotamian kings and how they held power through religion;
Early civilization in Sumer
|Day 2|| Origins of writing|
Old Sumerian Period
The Fertile Crescent
|How writing influenced civilization;|
Wars and cities in the Old Sumerian Period;
Why the Fertile Crescent was suited to civilization, with an overview of early kingdoms
|Day 3||Akkadian Civilization|
Heirs of the Sumerians
|The Akkadians and their move to Mesopotamia;|
Life in the city of Ur;
The Babylonians, Hittites, Hurrians and Assyrians
|Day 4||Assyrian Art and architecture|
The Epic of Gilgamesh
|Development of architecture and art in Assyria;|
The origins of law and its influence;
Sumerian gods and mythology
|Day 5||Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age|
Ancient Egyptian Art
Ancient Egyptian Architecture
|Achievements of Egyptian civilization;|
History and style of Egyptian art;
History, characteristics and influence of ancient Egyptian architecture
|Day 6||Egyptian achievements|
Egyptian social structure
|Unificiation, hieroglyphics, calendars and unificiation;|
Rights of women, women rulers;
How Egyptians lived, from slaves to the Pharaoh
|Day 7||Iron Age empires||Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian and Persian Empires|
|Day 8||Polytheism and monotheism|
The Hebrews and their religion
|How monotheism and polytheism differ, with a look at Judaism;|
Beliefs of Judaism, influence of the Torah and the Talmud
|Day 9|| Iron vs. bronze|
Ancient Persian art and architecture
|Advantages of iron over bronze, overview of metallurgy throughout history;|
History and style of Persian art and architecture
|Day 10|| Zoroastrianism|
Cult of Mithras
|Beliefs and history of Zoroastrianism;|
Origins and beliefs of the Cult of Mithras
1. Mesopotamia: The First Civilization
In this lesson, we explore the beginning of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Mesopotamia. We specifically discuss the factors that encouraged settlement in the region.
2. Mesopotamian Kings: History, Politics & Religion
Ancient Mesopotamia was a land of chaotic weather and inner turmoil. Religion became a political weapon for fighting among the city-states. This lesson explores the link between religion and politics in the ancient land.
3. Sumer's Protoliterate Period & the Origin of Writing
In this lesson, we explore the Sumerian development of writing and the important cultural factors that led to its usage, as well as some of the practices in which it was quickly utilized. After, feel free to test yourself on the brief quiz.
4. The Invention of Writing
Writing, the original IT: This lecture covers the limitations and obstacles of aural transmission. It describes the invention of Cuneiform in the fertile crescent. Finally, it explains how writing enabled literate societies to dominate their pre-literate neighbors.
5. Old Sumerian Period: Wars & Expansion
In this lesson, we explore the Old Sumerian Period, a period of Mesopotamian history where the growth of prosperous city-states led to intermittent periods of warfare.
6. The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization
Complex civilization wasn't always the norm. In this lesson, we are going to check out the origins of civilization as we know it, and see where, when, and how this new system of living first began.
7. Akkadian Civilization: Culture, Art & Religion
In this lesson, we explore the Akkadian empire of ancient Sumer. Possibly the first 'empire' to ever exist in the ancient world, Akkadian kings dominated Sumer for over a century.
8. Neo-Sumerian Period: Lifestyle, Peace & Prosperity
In this lesson, we explore the Neo-Sumerian Period, a relatively short period in Sumerian history but one of immense economic and cultural growth and prosperity.
9. Heirs of the Sumerians: Babylonians, Hittites, Hurrians and Assyrians
This lecture covers the history of Mesopotamia from the disintegration of the Sumerian Empire to the great Bronze Age collapse. We'll explore the destructive force of the Elamites and the Hittites as well as the imperial ambitions of the Babylonians, the Mittani and the Assyrians.
10. Assyrian Art and Architecture
This lesson explores the unique characteristics of a fierce and violent culture: the Assyrians. The Assyrians were a warrior culture living in ancient Mesopotamia who used art and architecture to display their power.
11. Hammurabi's Code: The Advent of Law, Prerequisites and Implications
This lecture discusses the need for law and the benefits of a judicial system. Next, it reviews the history of early law codes, like those of Ur-Nammu and Hammurabi. Finally, we look at the implications of law for kings.
12. The Epic of Gilgamesh
Witness the Epic of Gilgamesh, a story of adventure, love and friendship. This long poem will help us examine the hallmarks of civilization for a Sumerian and the importance of dreams. We'll also cover the Sumerian contributions to the epic form of literature.
13. Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age
This lecture first compares the natural features of the Nile valley to those of Mesopotamia, enumerating the advantages that geography offered the Egyptians. This is followed by a brief discussion of why Egyptian material culture survives while so much of Mesopotamian culture has been lost. The lecture ends with a a whirlwind tour through 3,000 years of Egyptian history broken up into traditional historical periods.
14. Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style
This lesson provides a brief look at the exquisite art of the Ancient Egyptians. Egyptian art contains images of people and deities that represent the culture in which they lived.
15. Ancient Egyptian Architecture: History, Characteristics & Influences
This lesson explores the architectural wonders of ancient Egypt. Some of these structures include temples, pyramids and monumental statues constructed long ago and surviving into modern times.
16. Iron Age Empires: Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian and Persian Empires
This lesson is a survey of the three empires that emerged after the Bronze Age collapse. Parts of the survey are viewed from the perspective of the Israelites, who found themselves the playthings of powerful empires. The lecture focuses on a few specific rulers and their impact on their empires. It also traces patterns of imperial tactics throughout this period and region.
17. What's the Difference Between Polytheism and Monotheism?
There have been many religions throughout human history, and each one has had a unique set of beliefs. In this lesson, we're going to look at the two main categories into which most of the world's religions fit and then compare them to each other.
18. The Hebrews and Their Beliefs
This lesson covers the Hebrews and their beliefs. We look at the core tenets of Judaism and explore some of the stories from the Torah. Finally, we see how the Hebrews' history of oppression impacted their religion and the world today.
19. Iron vs. Bronze: History of Metallurgy
This lecture explores the transition from the bronze age to the iron age. The difficulties of working with iron are enumerated. The properties of iron and steel are compared to those of bronze. Finally the implications for this transition on civilization are considered.
20. Ancient Persian Art and Architecture: History & Style
This lesson explores the artwork of one of the most powerful and expansive empires in history: the Persian Empire. Persian artwork contained vivid imagery that recorded the success of the Persian kings in battle and their cultural tendencies.
21. Zoroastrianism: Definition, Beliefs & History
Major religions, like Christianity and Islam, have been popular since ancient times, but what religion was popular before these belief systems developed? This lesson explores the beliefs of Zoroastrians, one of the earliest forms of organized religion.
22. Cult of Mithras: Myth & History
The Cult of Mithras was a mysterious religion popular in Rome in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries. This lesson explores the secretive beliefs, practices, and history of the cult and its initiates.
23. Egyptian Social Structure: From Slaves to Pharaoh
In this lesson, we will explore ancient Egypt's social structure. We'll start at the top of this great pyramid with the Pharaoh and work our way to the bottom, where we'll find peasants and slaves.
24. Egyptian Women: Royalty, Privileges & Tradition
In this lesson, we will study ancient Egyptian women. We will focus especially on the rights and privileges they enjoyed in the legal, economic, and social realms, and we will meet Egypt's most famous female ruler.
25. Egyptian Achievements: Unification, Pyramids, Hieroglyphics & Calendar
In this lesson, we will discuss some of the major achievements of ancient Egypt, including its unification by King Menes, the pyramids, hieroglyphics, and the Egyptian calendar.
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