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Ch 2: Civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt & Kush

About This Chapter

Watch fun video lessons and learn about key events, developments and people in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Kush. Take quick quizzes to make sure you've retained critical info about this subject.

Civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt & Kush - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Get an in-depth look at early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Kush in this chapter, which introduces you to the major river systems of these areas, tools used to build empires and evolution of language in ancient civilizations. Experienced instructors present lessons on the kings of Mesopotamia, Egyptian leaders and the relationship between Kush and Egypt. When you've finished all the lessons in this chapter, you'll be familiar with:

  • Development of hierarchical structures
  • Agricultural growth in Egypt and Mesopotamia
  • Invention of cities
  • History of money
  • Egyptian trade methods
  • Expansion of Iron Age empires

Video Objectives
Major River Systems of Mesopotamia and Egypt Explore the river systems that fed the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt.
How Physical Settings Supported Permanent Settlement and Civilization Learn more about the physical settings that were used to establish permanent settlements.
Development of Hierarchical Structures: Chiefs to Emperors in History Examine different types of hierarchies and why they're needed in society.
The Growth of Agriculture in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt Investigate the agricultural methods that were developed in these early civilizations. Discuss the ways these developments led to economic surplus.
The Great Flood and Population Migrations Analyze the myth of the Great Flood and other flood myths. See historical accounts of the Great Flood and discuss its benefits.
Villages to Cities: How Cities Were Invented Learn about early villages and the issues that villagers faced. Determine how these issues led to development of cities.
Walls, Roads & Bronze: Tools of Empire Creation Discover how walls, roads and bronze were effective tools used in the development of empires.
The Horse and Chariot: Tools of Empire Creation Examine the role that horses played in warfare. Describe the development of the chariot and its benefits.
Horse People and Nomadic Pastoralism: What is Civilization? Explore alternatives to civilization and the conflicts that occur between groups and settlements.
The Evolution of Language in Ancient Civilizations Delve into the importance of language in early civilizations.
How Writing Was Invented Detail the events that led to the invention of writing.
The History of Money and Rise of Complex Economies Find out why money was developed and how it has been used throughout history.
The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization Discover the reasons this area was ideal for forming the first civilizations.
Mesopotamian Kings: History, Politics & Religion Assess the connection between politics and religion in ancient Mesopotamia.
Hammurabi's Code: The Advent of Law, Prerequisites and Implications Learn more about the need for laws and judges and discuss some early legal codes.
Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age Discuss the geographical advantages held by Egypt and review the six periods of Egyptian history.
Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style Describe Egyptian paintings, sculptures and pottery. Determine how styles of Egyptian art changed based on time periods.
Ancient Egyptian Architecture: History, Characteristics & Influences Uncover the temples, pyramids and structures that comprised Egyptian architecture.
Egyptian Trade in the Eastern Mediterranean and Nile Valley Assess the role that trade played in these areas.
Queen Hatshepsut and Ramses the Great of Egypt Characterize the significance of Queen Hatshepsut and Ramses the Great.
What Is the Kush Civilization? Determine the location of the Kush civilization.
The Kush Civilization & its Relationship with Ancient Egypt Learn more about Kush's political, cultural and commercial relationship with Egypt.
Iron Age Empires: Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian and Persian Empires Depict the founding of the Persian Empire and detail its expansion and political organization.

24 Lessons in Chapter 2: Civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt & Kush
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Development of Hierarchical Structures: Chiefs to Emperors in History

1. Development of Hierarchical Structures: Chiefs to Emperors in History

Different hierarchical structures have developed over history to divide leadership responsibilities among capable individuals. Learn about the rules of a hierarchy, aristocracy, Moses' religious theocracy, and a brief history of the development of hierarchical structures throughout time.

The Great Flood and Population Migrations

2. The Great Flood and Population Migrations

The Great Flood has been a myth in numerous cultures for thousands of years. Discover how there may be some truth behind the myth, historical accounts, and the effects the Great Flood may have had on humans and their migration.

Villages to Cities: How Cities Were Invented

3. Villages to Cities: How Cities Were Invented

Cities have not always existed throughout history, and in fact, are a relatively new phenomenon. Learn about how cities were invented, by first reading about the first farmers and problems with being a lone farmer. Then, read about how this led to the first villages, and then cities, such as the example of the city of Uruk and larger populations. Finally, learn about how some cities worked on becoming an empire.

Walls, Roads & Bronze: Tools of Empire Creation

4. Walls, Roads & Bronze: Tools of Empire Creation

The invention of walls, roads, and bronze paved the way to larger settlements, safer cities, and the growth of empires. Explore some of the oldest walls in Jericho, discover ancient uses for waterways and roads, and learn how bronze revolutionized warriors' armor.

The Horse and Chariot: Tools of Empire Creation

5. The Horse and Chariot: Tools of Empire Creation

The horse and chariot revolutionized warfare and became the tools of empire creation. Explore the root of this combination of ancient weapons of mass destruction but also contributed to road building and the expansion of the then-known world.

Horse People and Nomadic Pastoralism: What is Civilization?

6. Horse People and Nomadic Pastoralism: What is Civilization?

The ancient horse peoples were nomadic pastoralists, hunters, and warriors sometimes described as a historical alternative to agrarian civilizations. Learn about the pros and cons of settled agriculture eschewed by the horse peoples as well as their endurance built upon the supremacy of the horse archer and battle strategies.

The History of Money and Rise of Complex Economies

7. The History of Money and Rise of Complex Economies

The history of money started through the trading of necessary resources among people, and the trading further developed which gave way to the rise of complex economies. Get to know more about debt economy, commodity economy, ingots and shekels, currency in the early times, and the first coin ever.

The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization

8. The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization

The Fertile Crescent covers an area of rich land from the Mediterranean Coast to the Persian Gulf. Explore this region also known as the Cradle of Civilization and how it gave rise to a more permanent and sedentary culture and society that was a departure from a nomadic way of life.

Mesopotamian Kings: History, Politics & Religion

9. Mesopotamian Kings: History, Politics & Religion

Ancient Mesopotamia was a region without a centralized form of government; instead, several city-states were each governed by their own kings. Explore the history of Mesopotamia, including religious beliefs and anthropomorphic gods, religion's relationship to politics, the building of ziggurats, and famous rulers like Sargon and Hammurabi.

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

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

Hammurabi's Code contains an organized and detailed set of 282 laws written thousands of years ago by a Babylonian king. Learn about the need for laws, their creation, evolution, and use; as well as their importance and implications on justice systems and societies.

Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age

11. Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age

Ancient Egypt was one of the most influential civilizations of the Bronze Age. Explore the benefits of the Nile Valley, discover technological achievements like papyrus and Egyptian stonework, then review the six periods of early Egyptian history and the nation's eventual fall.

Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style

12. Ancient Egyptian Art: History and Style

Ancient Egyptian sculpture, painting, and pottery have provided insight into the culture, lifestyle and beliefs of ancient Egyptians for centuries. Learn how Egyptians used these artistic mediums to communicate within this life and the next.

Ancient Egyptian Architecture: History, Characteristics & Influences

13. Ancient Egyptian Architecture: History, Characteristics & Influences

The ancient Egyptians built elaborate temples and pyramids that continue to impress innumerable tourists and archeologists every year. Learn about the history and characteristics of ancient Egyptian architecture, the Old Kingdom vs. the New Kingdom, the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor, and how religion influenced architecture in ancient Egypt.

Major River Systems of Mesopotamia & Egypt

14. Major River Systems of Mesopotamia & Egypt

Major river systems have had significant influence on the successful growth of cultures, especially those of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Learn about the importance of rivers and how they impacted the development of Egyptian and Mesopotamian societies.

How Physical Settings Supported Early Civilizations

15. How Physical Settings Supported Early Civilizations

The development of civilization was impacted by the landscape and habitat in which people groups settled. Discover the impact of landforms, climate, and neighbors on the early domestication of civilization.

Agriculture in Ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia

16. Agriculture in Ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia

The ancient civilizations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia thrived in large part because they were settled near waterways. Learn more about Eygpt and other Mesopotamian civilizations and discover how they used the flooding patterns of the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates rivers to sustain agriculture.

The Evolution of Language in Ancient Civilizations

17. The Evolution of Language in Ancient Civilizations

The civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia held so much power in the ancient world that they even had hands in the evolution of language through practices such as trade, warfare, and culture. Discover more about how these civilizations shaped communication and the development of the commonly understood languages of the time.

How Writing Was Invented

18. How Writing Was Invented

One of the earliest forms of writing was called cuneiform and was developed by the ancient Mesopotamians and the Egyptians as a way of record keeping. Learn more about the invention of writing and its early stages, such as cuneiform and hieroglyphs.

Egyptian Trade in the Eastern Mediterranean & Nile Valley

19. Egyptian Trade in the Eastern Mediterranean & Nile Valley

Egyptian trade flourished in the eastern Mediterranean and Nile Valley thanks to Egypt's many ports and abundant goods. Explore the resources that Egypt offered the world, and discover how it interacted and traded with its neighbors in the Near East, Africa, and Yemen.

Queen Hatshepsut & Ramses the Great of Egypt

20. Queen Hatshepsut & Ramses the Great of Egypt

Although they lived and reigned centuries apart, Queen Hatshepsut and Ramses the Great were two of Egypt's most successful pharaohs. Learn about their accomplishments, such as Hatshepsut's notability as a woman in power and Ramses II's military might, and examine their strategies to lead Egypt into prosperity.

What Is the Kush Civilization?

21. What Is the Kush Civilization?

The Kush civilization emerged from a group of workers at an Egyptian trade outpost along the Nile River, where their daily life and culture was influenced by their environment, resources, and influences from surrounding countries. This lesson will illustrate the origins and history of the Kush Civilization, as well as their complex relationship with Egypt, which ranged from admiration to conflict and war.

The Kush Civilization & Ancient Egypt

22. The Kush Civilization & Ancient Egypt

In Africa, the Kingdom of Kush was a significant culture that was under Egyptian control for many years before ruling Egypt. Explore this complex relationship, learn about the Kush civilization and ancient Egypt, review trading and political ties with Egypt, and examine cultural administration to understand how the Kush were both ruled by and rulers of Egypt.

The Neo-Babylonian & Neo-Assyrian Empires

23. The Neo-Babylonian & Neo-Assyrian Empires

The Neo-Assyrian Empire dominated Mesopotamia due in large part to iron tools and weapons and their superior skills in making and using them. Learn about people's lives prior to the Neo-Assyrian Empire and explore the history of their Neo-Babylonian successors.

History of the Persian Empire

24. History of the Persian Empire

Examine the history of the Persian Empire from its founding by Cyrus the Great through Alexander the Great. Discover how Cyrus the Great founded the empire around 550 BC, see how the empire expanded, explore its politics, and see later Shahanshas.

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