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Ch 4: Ancient Near East Civilizations

About This Chapter

Use these video lessons to review information about the world's first civilizations. Find out facts about Mesopotamian kingdoms, ancient art and writings, and the origins of monotheism.

Ancient Near East Civilizations - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, our instructors review facts about the first known civilizations, in Mesopotamia, with discussions on the politics and religion of this region. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Hittites and Assyrians are among the civilizations examined here.

You will learn about the invention of writing and its impact on civilization, and study what is considered the world's first great literary work. The origins of law are covered, along with the development of religion. Topics covered in these lessons include:

  • Mesopotamian kings
  • The origin of written language
  • The Fertile Crescent
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The heirs of the Sumerians
  • Hammurabi's Code and its influence
  • The Hebrews and their religion

These lively lessons and self-assessment quizzes are available anytime, on a computer or mobile device. Lesson transcripts accompany each lesson. A timeline with links to the video allows you to quickly jump to key points in the lesson that you want to revisit.

12 Lessons in Chapter 4: Ancient Near East Civilizations
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Mesopotamia: The First Civilization

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.

Mesopotamian Kings: History, Politics & Religion

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.

Sumer's Protoliterate Period & the Origin of Writing

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.

The Invention of Writing

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.

Old Sumerian Period: Wars & Expansion

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.

The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization

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.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

7. 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

8. 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.

Assyrian Art and Architecture

9. 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.

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

10. 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?

11. 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

12. 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.

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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