About This Chapter
AP World History: Ancient Middle East - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives
The Middle East was an area of great prosperity for the earliest civilizations on Earth. In this chapter, our knowledgeable and engaging instructors will inform you about these various civilizations, including what they built, what they believed, and how they lived. You'll learn about early Egyptians, Indians, and Hebrews and the characteristics of the societies they formed. Our lessons each focus on a specific subject, so you'll learn about the Bronze and Iron Ages by looking at the people who lived during them. After completing this chapter, you should be able to:
- Explain why the areas in the Middle East were ripe for civilization
- Talk about some early writings found in these civilizations
- List aspects of ancient Middle East societal structures
- Elucidate various religious beliefs of the era and region
|The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization||Explore the features that made the Fertile Crescent such a lovely place to build a civilization and which kingdoms dominated there.|
|The Epic of Gilgamesh||Learn about the Sumerians' view of the gods in this ancient myth that questions whether or not immortality can be achieved.|
|Heirs of the Sumerians: Babylonians, Hittites, Hurrians, and Assyrians||Discover the culture, technology, art, and architecture of these kingdoms in the region.|
|Hammurabi's Code: The Advent of Law, Prerequisites, and Implications||Examine this ancient text that is one of the first instances of written law in civilization.|
|What's the Difference Between Polytheism and Monotheism?||Compare and contrast polytheistic and monotheistic religions, categorizing some of the more prevalent ones.|
|The Hebrews and Their Beliefs||Take a look at the main beliefs and laws of Judaism, including the Jewish holy texts of the Torah and the Talmud.|
|Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age||Understand Egyptian society and what was accomplished by this civilization at the height of the Bronze Age.|
|The Achievements of the Egyptians||Explore the achievements of kings and pharaohs, including the use hieroglyphs, the construction of the pyramids, and the creation of a calendar.|
|Egyptian Women: Royalty, Privileges, and Tradition||Compare and contrast the roles, responsibilities, and rights of Egyptian women as compared to their Mesopotamian counterparts.|
|The Egyptian Social Structure||Understand the structure of society in Egyptian culture, which can be thought of like a pyramid.|
|Iron vs. Bronze: History of Metallurgy||Learn about the differences between iron and bronze and how different metals were discovered and used.|
|Iron Age Empires: Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian, and Persian Empires||Discover the three empires that emerged after the Bronze Age collapse and what they are known for.|
|Cult of Mithras: Myth and History||Examine this Roman mystery cult, what myths are at its core, and how its followers worshiped.|
|Zoroastrianism: Definition, Beliefs, and History||Take a look at this ancient religion and philosophy with two opposing forces at its core.|
|Mesopotamian Kings: History, Politics, and Religion||Explore the kings who ruled Mesopotamia and how they used religion to justify and secure their power.|
|Indus Valley Civilization||Understand this Bronze Age society in India and why this was also a great place to start a civilization.|
|The Aryans Arrive||Learn about the Aryans and what happened when they arrived in the Indus Valley. Take a look at the caste system in this society.|
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. Mesopotamia: Culture, Facts & History
Ancient Mesopotamia, a region located in modern day Iraq, was a rich and diverse culture. In this lesson we will explore some of the major events and most interesting facts about Ancient Mesopotamia.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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.
6. Agriculture in Ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia
Both the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians used rivers to develop impressive agricultural systems. However, each culture used rivers differently and, as a result, often had a very different relationship with the waters that nourished their fields.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
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.
11. 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.
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. 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.
14. How Writing Was Invented
Writing was literally an invention that not only changed history, but made its study possible. The Egyptians and the Mesopotamians were two of the first civilizations to invent writing. Learn how and why in this lesson!
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Other chapters within the AP World History: Exam Prep course
- AP World History: Foundational Concepts
- AP World History: Major Belief Systems
- AP World History: Ancient Times
- AP World History: Ancient China, Africa, India & America
- AP World History: Ancient Greece
- AP World History: Hellenism and Athenian Philosophy
- AP World History: The Rise of the Roman Republic
- AP World History: The Fall of the Roman Empire
- AP World History: The Dark Ages
- AP World History: Early Middle Ages
- AP World History: The Medieval Warm Period
- AP World History: The High Middle Ages
- AP World History: Asia, Africa & America (1000-1300 CE)
- AP World History: The Late Middle Ages
- AP World History: The Renaissance
- AP World History: The Age of Exploration
- AP World History: The Reformation Across Europe
- AP World History: The Elizabethan Era
- AP World History: The Enlightenment
- AP World History: Political, Technological, and Intellectual Developments (1750-1914)
- AP World History: Colonialism
- AP World History: Imperialism
- AP World History: World War I
- AP World History: World War II
- AP World History: The Cold War and Other 20th Century World History
- AP World History: A Globalized World - 1980 & Beyond
- Portions of the AP World History Exam
- How to Write a Good Essay on Your AP Exam
- Developing and Writing Your AP Exam Essay
- AP World History Flashcards
- Additional AP World History Flashcards