I. New Civilizations in the Americas and Western Eurasia 1200 – 250 B.C.E. First Civilizations of the Americas A. The Mesoamerican Olmecs, 1200-400 B.C.E. 1. The Western Hemisphere was populated through a series of migrations from the Asian mainland. 2. Some scholars place this migration between 35,000 to 25,000 years ago. 3. Others speculate for an earlier date between 20,000 to 13,000 years ago. Bering Strait Satellite Image 3. Two of the hemisphere’s most impressive cultural traditions developed in Mesoamerica and in the Andean region of South America. 4. Mesoamerica is a region of great geographic and climatic diversity. 5. The most influential early Mesoamerican civilization were the Olmecs. Mesoamerica 6. The cultural core of early Olmec civilization was located in San Lorenzo (1200 – 900 B.C.E.) 7. After the decline of San Lorenzo came La Venta (900 B.C.E.) 8. The staples of the Mesoamerican diet included corn, beans, and squash which was domesticated by 3500 B.C.E. 9. It is believed that Olmec political structure was the combination of religious and secular roles. 10. The Olmec were polytheistic and most of their deities had dual natures (male and female). 11. The best-known monuments of Olmec culture are colossal carved stone heads as large as 11 feet high and weighing many tons. (It is believed to be representations of various rulers.) Olmec Heads B. Early South American Civilization: Chavín, 900-250 B.C.E. 1. Geography played an essential role in the development of human society in the Andes. 2. The region’s diverse environment includes a mountainous core, arid coastal plains, and a dense interior jungle. Chavín 3. The Chavín were the first major urban civilization in South America. 4. Its capital, Chavín de Huántar, was located appx. 10,300 feet in the eastern range of the Andes mountains. 5. Their cultural influence existed roughly about the same time as the Olmecs between 900 to 250 B.C.E. 6. Chavín’s assertion as the center of religious and commercial life was largely dependent on earlier developments in agriculture and trade. 7. The abundance of fish and mollusks along the coast gave the society a ready food supply. 8. The introduction of maize from the north and the development of potatoes and quinoa allowed for the emergence of a merchant and artisan class. 9. Unlike other indigenous populations, the Andean societies had the benefit of the llama to move goods from one place to the other. 10. Llamas were the only domesticated beasts of burden in the Americas. Llama 11. It is believed that metallurgy was first developed in the Andean region. 12. Archaeologists have discovered three-dimensional gold and gold alloy ornaments. 13. There is also strong evidence that there was a clear class distinction between the rulers and the ruled. II. Celtic Europe A. The Spread of the Celts 1. It is important to understand that people have lived in Europe for at least 30,000 years. 2. However, because of the lack of writing little is known about these early Europeans. 3. The term Celtic is a linguistic designation referring to a branch of IndoEuropean family of languages. 4. The designation of this language implies that they are mainly a cultural group that began in Central Europe. 5. The early Celts lived in or near hillforts—lofty natural locations made by earthwork fortifications. Celtic Hill-Fort 6. Moving to the west, their cultural expansion included France, Britain, Ireland, and northern Spain. 7. By the 5th century B.C.E., they moved into northern Italy. 8. They made destructive raids into central Greece, and one group – the Galatians – settled in central Anatolia. Celtic Expansion 9. Greeks and Romans were struck by their physical appearance – burly in size, long red hair, shaggy mustaches, and loud, deep voices. 10. Mediterranean neighbors of the Celts characterized them as wildy fond of war, courageous, impulsive, overly-fond of boasting, yet quick-witted and eager to learn. 11. Our greatest source of knowledge about the Celts comes from Gaius Julius Caesar. 12. Their social structure was divided as follows: Warriors, priests/bards, and commoners. 13. Their priests were called Druids who also served as judges between feuding clans. 14. Religiously, the Celts were polytheistic with at least 400 gods and goddesses. III. The Assyrian Empire A. God and King 1. Western Asia experienced significant change with the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. 1st millennium B.C.E. 2. It is important to realize that even though the word empire can be applied loosely, the Assyrians are believed to have the 1st empire in recorded history. Neo-Assyrian Empire 3. The Assyrians started out just defending their realm but eventually they defeated all the great kingdoms of the day – Elam, Urartu, Babylon, and Egypt. 4. The Assyrian king was both literally and symbolically at the center of the Assyrian universe. 5. They believed that the gods chose the king to rule as their earthly representative and instrument. 6. The revered ancient city of Ashur was the place the king was anointed the new king by the high priest. 7. The duties of the king was enormous including receiving information from messengers, appointing officials, hearing complaints, receiving foreign envoys, and making military decisions. 8. One such duty that took a lot of time was managing the state religion. Assyrian High Priest and King B. Conquest and Control 1. An important factor to Assyrian domination was their superior military organization and technology. 2. Their army consisted of men from two groups: (1) men obligated to give military service due to land grants, and (2) peasants and slaves whose service was contributed by large landowners. 3. At its peak, they were able to mobilize a half-million troops. 4. Some of the technologies employed by the Assyrians included Iron weapons, effective use of cavalry, mobile towers to position archers, and rams to batter weak points. 5. The Assyrian also used mass deportation – the forcible uprooting of large numbers of people – as a means to accomplish a number of objectives. 6. The Assyrians controlled a large region, which composed of many different ethnic groups. This posed a problem for them. Israeli Mass-Deporation C. Assyrian Society and Culture 1. Assyrian society contained three basic classes: (1) Free, landowning citizens (2) farmers and artisans (3) slaves. 2. The Assyrian government normally did not distinguish between natives and an increasing numbers of subjects and deportees. 3. The vast majority of people in the Assyrian empire worked on the land. 4. They produced so much food that there was an increasing number of specialized jobs. 5. They used a basic medium of exchange, silver, which was weighed out for the purposes of transaction. IV. Israel A. Origins, Exodus, and Settlement 1. During the time period of which we speak, Israel would probably seem to be quite unimportant. 2. But they were destined to play an important role in world history. 3. The people that inhabited the land known as Israel have gone by many names: Canaan, Israel, Palestine, Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews. Ancient Israel 4. The history of ancient Israel comes from archaeological excavations, references from Egyptian and Assyrian documents, and the problematic collection of the Hebrew Bible. (called the Old Testament by Christians) 5. Historical Israel can be traced from about 2000 B.C.E. to 500 B.C.E. 6. The Hebrew language is Semitic and closely related to Phoenician and Aramaic. More distantly related to Akkadian and Arabic. 7. The early male leaders of the Hebrew Bible include the figures of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). 8. Abraham was born in the southern Mesopotamia in the city of Ur and was disgusted by the idol worship practiced in his homeland. 9. According to Biblical accounts, he travels west through the desert until arriving in the “promised land” given to him as part of a covenant with the Israelite god, Yahweh. Promised Land B. Rise of Monarchy 1. Around 1200 B.C.E., troubles began to arise around the eastern Mediterranean. 2. Philistines, who are possible connected with the pre-Greek populations of the Aegean Sea, occupied the coastal plain of Israel. 2. Because of the constant war, a religious leader named Samuel recognized the need for a strong central authority. 3. Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel in 1020 B.C.E. 4. Saul had mix success, and when he died in battle, he was succeeded by David. 5. David’s most enduring legacy was to complete Israel’s transition from tribal confederacy to unified monarchy. C. Fragmentation and Dispersal 1. After the death of David’s son Solomon (920 B.C.E.), the monarchy divided into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. 2. This period saw the crystallization of Monotheism (the belief in one god). 3. Many Israelites were attracted to the ecstatic religion of the storm-god Baal and the fertility god Astarte, while Judah remained loyal the belief in the all-powerful god Yahweh. 4. The Neo-Assyrian empire destroyed Israel in 721 B.C.E. deporting many of its population east. 5. The Neo-Babylonian kingdom captured Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, in 527 B.C.E. destroying the first temple. 6. The deportation of both peoples from their homeland became the origin of the Jewish Diaspora – a Greek word meaning “dispersal” or “scattering”. V. Phoenicia and the Mediterranean A. The Phoenician City-States 1. The ancient inhabitants of presentday Syria, Lebanon, and Israel are commonly designated Phoenicians. 2. They probably referred to themselves as “Can’ani” – Canaanites. Ancient Phoenicia 3. Due to a series of invasions by both Israelites and Philistines, the land of the Canaanites was no more than a narrow strip of land. 4. The Greek term Phoinikes may mean “red men” which either refers to their skin or the purple pigment they used to make expensive garments. 5. The most important city-states of Phoenicia was Aradus, Byblos, Berytus, Sidon, Sarepta, and Tyre. 6. The had the first alphabetical system of writing which was considerably more advanced than that of Cuneiform and hieroglyphics. 7. Byblos was the most important city-state during the 2nd Millennium B.C.E. because it was a major distribution center for cedar timber. (the Greek word biblion, meaning “book written on papyrus from Byblos,” comes down as our word bible) B. Expansion into the Mediterranean 1. In the 9th century B.C.E., Tyre began to colonize west. 2. Phoenician merchants sailing the Aegean Sea are mentioned in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. 3. The Phoenician triangle composed of (1) North Africa (2) Spain, and (3) major Mediterranean islands. Phoenician Colonies 4. Eventually, the most important colony of the Phoenicians was Carthage. 5. It was established at a strategic location where the sea crossing from Europe to Africa was the narrowest. 6. With a population of roughly 400,000, Carthage was one of the largest cities in the world in the 1st millennium B.C.E. 7. The most important arm of Carthaginian power was the navy. 8. Foreign policy was intimately linked to its economic interests. 9. The Carthaginians were polytheistic – the chief deities including Baal and Tanit – and the elites sacrificed their own male children at times of crisis.