About This Chapter
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Topics from your homework you'll be able to complete:
- The fertile crescent
- The Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites and Hurrians
- The dawn of law and Hammurabi's Code
- Monotheism and polytheism
- The Hebrews and their faith
- Egyptian achievements and social structure
- Empires of the Iron Age
- Mesopotamian kingdoms
- Indus Valley 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.
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.
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.
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.
5. What's the Difference Between Polytheism and Monotheism?
This lecture discusses the origins of monotheism. It then compares monotheism to polytheism, with especial emphasis on the problematic nature of holy law. Finally it uses the Greek story of Hippolytus to compare the ancient polytheistic perspective to a modern christian perspective.
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.
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.
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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
16. Abjad Alphabet: Letters & Numerals
In this lesson, we explore some of the languages that use an abjad alphabet. Used not just today but throughout history, understanding abjad notation is key to understanding languages spoken in the Middle East.
17. Ancient Babylon: History, Timeline & Hanging Gardens
In this lesson, we'll learn about Babylon, whose hanging gardens were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Explore the history of this ancient city, from its origins under the Akkadians to its rise to prominence in the Neo-Babylonian Period.
18. Ancient Egyptian Papyrus: Paintings & Scrolls
In this lesson we explore ancient Egyptian papyrus. One of the oldest writing mediums ever used, papyrus was highly prized in ancient Egyptian culture and its manufacture a closely guarded state secret.
19. Ancient Thebes: History & Facts
In this lesson we will explore the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. As one of the primary cities of ancient Egypt, Thebes saw several periods of growth and decline in its history, and it featured an enormous necropolis, now a UNESCO world heritage site.
20. Elamite: Empire, Language & Warriors
In this lesson we explore the ancient Middle Eastern empire of Elam. We discover its importance as an example of ancient cultural exchange and the impact of local politics, resources, and alliances.
21. Philosopher Anaximenes: Theory & Quotes
We all know that air is essential for life, but could air be the source of all life? The ancient philosopher Anaximenes thought so. Learn more about his interesting theory in this lesson!
22. The Luxor Temple in Egypt: Facts & Overview
The Luxor Temple was a religious temple complex built in honor of the Egyptian god Amon-Ra. Learn the features of the Egyptian temples by exploring the design of the Luxor Temple.
23. Tigris River in History: Facts & Map
In this lesson, we explore the Tigris River and its impact on history. Along with its sister channel, the Euphrates, the Tigris fostered the growth of some of humankind's earliest civilizations in Sumer and Mesopotamia.
24. Who Was Gilgamesh? - Hero, King & Character
Learn about Gilgamesh, a hero in an ancient Babylonian epic poem. Explore the world of this legendary hero and experience two of his amazing adventures.
25. Arabic Numerals: Definition, History & Example
In this lesson you will find a brief history of how the Arabic numeral system came to its present form. The system is defined and distinguished from all other numeral systems by its specific qualities.
26. Book of Deuteronomy: Definition, Summary & Author
Its name is an English rendition of a Greek translation, but the Book of Deuteronomy is an important part of Jewish theology and heritage. Learn more about the 'Second Law' in this lesson, with a summary of the book and a discussion of its authorship!
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