Ch 3: Ancient Near East History

About This Chapter

This chapter is designed to help you improve your knowledge of key developments in the ancient Near East. Our video lessons and quizzes will test your familiarity with the invention of writing, history of money, development of religions, and different types of art in this era as well as their architecture.

Ancient Near East History - Chapter Summary

In this chapter you will learn about essential historical and cultural developments that happened in the ancient Near East. Our instructors explain some of the main events and discoveries that have shaped the ancient civilizations like the Sumerians, Babylonians, Hittites, Egyptians and Hebrews. After completing the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Explain the invention of writing
  • Describe the history of money
  • Understand the development of religion in the Stone Age and Bronze Age
  • List the heirs of the Sumerians
  • Discuss different types of ancient art and architecture
  • Outline some of the main differences between polytheism and monotheism
  • Exhibit knowledge of the Hebrews and their beliefs

We use short, engaging video lessons to simplify the learning process. Video lessons are also available as transcripts, so that you can read them at your own pace. Each lesson includes a quiz that you can take to measure your improvement. If you want to revisit a main point without re-watching the entire video lesson, you'll also find video tags in the Timeline that you can use to quickly access that information. Feel free to contact our subject-matter experts at any time.

14 Lessons in Chapter 3: Ancient Near East History
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Invention of Writing

1. 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.

The History of Money and Rise of Complex Economies

2. The History of Money and Rise of Complex Economies

This lecture covers the development of money in response to the needs of complex economies. It begins with a discussion of gift economies. It then examines the factors that led to the growth of commodity economies. Find out how we came to use money, rather than goods, for commerce.

How Religion Developed in the Stone Age and Bronze Age

3. How Religion Developed in the Stone Age and Bronze Age

Have you ever wondered exactly how religion developed in the ancient world? Check out this lesson to see how the impact of cities, writing and invasion upon religion, the ascent of the sky father and the descent of the mother goddess contributed to the development of religion.

The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization

4. 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.

Sumerian Art and Architecture

5. Sumerian Art and Architecture

This lesson explores the artwork of one of the earliest civilizations: the Sumerians. Sumerians created beautiful works of art that inspired other cultures for centuries after their decline.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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?

10. 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

11. 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

12. 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.

Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style

13. 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.

Ancient Egyptian Architecture: History, Characteristics & Influences

14. 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.

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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