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Ch 4: Ancient Middle East: AP World History Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The Ancient Middle East chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach about ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamia in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the AP Ancient Middle East chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

DayTopicsKey Terms and Concepts Covered
MondayCradle of Civilization and the Epic of GilgameshThe tradition and privileges of Egyptian women, the Fertile Crescent and the Epic of Gilgamesh
TuesdayThe Sumerians and Hammurabi's CodeThe roots of modern day law, the difference between monotheism and polytheism and the heirs of the Sumerians
WednesdayThe Hebrews and the Ancient EgyptiansAncient Egyptian culture during the Bronze Age, Egyptian achievements and the beliefs of the Hebrews
ThursdayEgyptian Social Structure and Metallurgy The social structure of the Egyptians, the history of metallurgy in the Iron and Bronze Ages and the empires of the Iron Age
FridayCult of Mithras, Mesopotamian Kings and Zoroastrianism Mithraic mysteries; the history, politics and religion of Mesopotamian kings; and the history of Zoroastrianism

15 Lessons in Chapter 4: Ancient Middle East: AP World History Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization

1. 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.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

2. 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.

Heirs of the Sumerians: Babylonians, Hittites, Hurrians and Assyrians

3. 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.

Hammurabi's Code: The Advent of Law, Prerequisites and Implications

4. 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.

What's the Difference Between Polytheism and Monotheism?

5. 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.

The Hebrews and Their Beliefs

6. 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.

Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age

7. 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.

Egyptian Achievements: Unification, Pyramids, Hieroglyphics & Calendar

8. 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.

Egyptian Social Structure: From Slaves to Pharaoh

9. 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.

Egyptian Women: Royalty, Privileges & Tradition

10. 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.

Iron vs. Bronze: History of Metallurgy

11. 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.

Iron Age Empires: Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian and Persian Empires

12. 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.

Cult of Mithras: Myth & History

13. 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.

Zoroastrianism: Definition, Beliefs & History

14. 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.

Mesopotamian Kings: History, Politics & Religion

15. 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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the AP World History Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course

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