Ancient Eastern
Mediterranean
Mr. Stikes
SSWH1 The student will analyze the origins, structures,
and interactions of complex societies in the ancient
Eastern Mediterranean from 3500 BCE to 500 BCE.
a. Describe the development of Mesopotamian societies;
include the religious, cultural, economic, and political facets
of society, with attention to Hammurabi’s law code.
b. Describe the relationship of religion and political authority in
Ancient Egypt.
c. Explain the development of monotheism; include the
concepts developed by the ancient Hebrews, and
Zoroastrianism.
d. Describe early trading networks in the Eastern
Mediterranean; include the impact Phoenicians had on the
Mediterranean World.
e. Explain the development and importance of writing; include
cuneiform, hieroglyphics, and the Phoenician alphabet.
Goal
To analyze the origins, structures, and
interactions of complex societies in the
ancient Eastern Mediterranean from
3500 BCE to 500 BCE
WHO?
Who?
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•
•
•
•
•
•
Egyptians
Babylonians
Sumerians
Akkadians
Hebrews
Persians
Phoenicians
WHERE?
The Mediterranean
The Eastern Mediterranean
Greece
IRAQ
WHEN?
3500 BCE – 500 BCE
• BCE
– Stands for “Before Common Era”
– Equivalent to B.C.
Development of
Mesopotamian Societies
PURPOSE OF SECTION:
•
Describe the development of
Mesopotamian societies; include the
religious, cultural, economic, and political
facets of society, with attention to
Hammurabi’s law code.
Development of
Mesopotamian Societies
• How did Mesopotamian societies begin
develop?
– Immigration into the
region
• Nomads moved south
from the Anatolia
• Settled in Mesopotamia
– “land between the rivers”
Where is Mesopotamia?
• Eastern
Mediterranean
• Between the Tigris
and Euphrates Rivers
Why Mesopotamia?
• Fertile land for
agriculture
• Easy access
to natural
resources
“Fertile Crescent”
• Mesopotamia is
sometimes called
the Fertile Crescent
• The Fertile
Crescent extends to
the Mediterranean
Sumerian Civilization
• Settled in lower portion of Tigris-Euphrates river
valley
• Sometimes called:
– “birthplace of cities”
– “cradle of civilization”
Sumer
• By 3000 B.C., at least twelve city-states
had been founded by the Sumerians.
• Cities were walled
• Each worshipped an individual deity
– Each had a ziggurat in the center of the city
ZIGGURATS
A ziggurat was a temple made
of sun-dried bricks and
probably decorated with
colored tiles. Each was
dedicated to a particular deity.
Only a priest was allowed at
the top of a ziggurat.
Sumerian Religion
• Polytheistic
• Viewed deities as unpredictable
• Religious ceremonies and rituals as a way to
keep gods/goddesses happy
• Believed in afterlife with no light/air
• Important Deities: (and area of responsibility)
– An – Seasons, sky
– Enlil – Winds and agriculture
Sumerian Government
• Sumerian cities were self-governing.
• Originally, a council of nobles or an
assembly of citizens ran the government.
• Eventually, military leaders were selected
as kings.
• Kingship became hereditary.
• A Sumerian king was also the high priest
Unification of Sumer
• The Sumerian city-states were first unified
by Etana, the king of the city-state of Kish,
c. 2800 B.C.
• In the aftermath, four major city-states
(Kish, Erech, Ur and Lagash) would fight
for control of all the Sumerian city-states,
causing internal weaknesses.
Sumerian Accomplishments
• Technological Advances
– Bronze
– Wagon wheel
– Arch
– Metal Plow
– Potter’s wheel
– Sundial
– Number system based on 60
– 12 month calendar based on cycles of moon
Sumerian Accomplishments
• In society
– First codes of law
– First city-states
– Epic Poetry (Epic of Gilgamesh)
– Written Language (cuneiform)
Epic of Gilgamesh
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•
•
•
Epic Poem
Oldest story in the world
c.1850 B.C.
Gilgamesh was a young king
of Uruk
– Epic follows his search for
immortality
– Contains a flood story
reminiscent of the Noah in the
Bible
Writing
• Cuneiform dates to c.3100 B.C.
• Wedge-shaped markings on wet clay,
which was then dried or baked until hard
• Began with pictograms, but eventually
developed complex symbols
Akkadian Empire
• Around 2300 B.C.E., Sargon I assumed
power in Akkad, a city north of Sumer
– According to legend, Sargon’s mother set him
afloat in a reed basket shortly after his birth.
He was found and raised by a farmer
downstream.
Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Empire
• Akkadians were ethnically different from
Sumerians.
– Akkad – Semitic
• The Akkadians adopted the Sumerian
religion, but kept their own language
• Sargon I built the first empire in the world
Babylon
• The next great
empire was that of
the Babylonians
• Hammurabi, the
most famous King
of Babylon, ruled
from c. 1728-1686
B.C.
Hammurabi’s Law Code
• Hammurabi is most famous for his law
code
• Hammurabi created a law code of 282
laws written on 12 tablets
• The laws were written in Akkadian, the
language of the people
Hammurabi’s Law Code
• For each offense, there was a specified
punishment
• Hammurabi’s laws were rather harsh
– Generally were “eye for an eye”
• Notable Features:
– Innocent until proven guilty
– Able to introduce evidence to support you
– Divided society into 3 social classes
• Rich/Patrician
• Landless Freemen
• Slaves
Hammurabi’s Law Code
• Written on a stele (large
monument of stone) and
placed in the center of the
city
• Had picture of a god
giving laws to Hammurabi,
perhaps signifying that no
king is above the law
Conclusion
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Religion in Mesopotamia
Economics in Mesopotamia
Culture in Mesopotamia
Politics in Mesopotamia
Conclusion: Religion
• Sumerian religion dominated the region
• Polytheistic
• Sense of hopelessness based on
unpredictability
Conclusion: Economics
• Sumer was the first civilization to develop
widespread, permanent agriculture
• Sumer developed the first cities
• In Mesopotamia, the economy depended
on agriculture.
Conclusion: Economics
• Excess food supplies were traded to
nearby peoples for metals and other
natural resources
• The development of cities and empires
encouraged trade
Conclusion: Culture
• Mesopotamian society was divided:
– Top – nobles
– Middle – merchants, landless citizens
– Bottom – slaves
• Writing developed
Conclusion: Politics
• Sumer
– Developed city-states
• Akkadian Empire
– Sargon I is first to establish an empire
• Code of Hammurabi
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–
–
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Influenced modern law codes
“Eye for an eye”
Concept of innocent until proven guilty
Evidence must be presented to prove guilt
Religion and Politics in Ancient
Egypt
PURPOSE OF SECTION:
• Describe the relationship of religion
and political authority in Ancient Egypt
Where is Egypt?
Egypt Basics
• Unified first by Narmer (or Menes)
• Capital at Memphis
• Dynasty – a line of rulers from one family
• Theocracy – government headed by religious
leaders
• Pharaoh – Egyptian king
Egypt Basics
• Organized into three periods called
kingdoms:
– Old Kingdom
• Pyramids
– Middle Kingdom
• Moved capital to Thebes
• Defeated by Hyksos
– New Kingdom
• Ramses the Great
• Akhenaton and Tutankhamen
Pyramids
• Pyramids were tombs for Pharaohs
• Writing
Egypt Basics
– Hieroglyphics for official
works (usually carved
on stone)
• Hieratic for daily religious
use
• Demotic for daily
government use
– Rosetta Stone
• Found by French under
Napoleon
• Allows us to read
hieroglyphics
Egyptian Politics
• Pharaoh as sole ruler
• Developed bureaucracy to support the
central government
Egyptian Religion
• Polytheistic
• Often represented as part human and part
animal
• Important deities
– Ra – sun god
– Osiris – god of the Nile and of all living things
– Isis – wife of Osiris
Egyptian Religion
• Stresses the importance of the afterlife
• Nile flooding was consistent, leading
Egyptians to believe that the gods and
goddesses were fair and could be
persuaded through worship
Relationship Between
Religion and Politics
• Pharaoh is both king and god
• Religion and Politics are intertwined
– Disobeying a law from Pharaoh meant
disobeying a god
Early Trading Civilizations of the
Eastern Mediterranean
PURPOSE OF SECTION:
• Describe early trading networks in the
Eastern Mediterranean; include the impact
Phoenicians had on the Mediterranean
World.
• Describe other early civilizations of the
Eastern Mediterranean
Early Trading Civilizations of the
Eastern Mediterranean
•
This section will cover the following
trading civilizations:
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Hittite
Aramaean
Lydian
Phoenician
Assyrian
Chaldean
Persian
Israelite (Hebrew)
Hittites (1650 B.C. – 1200 B.C.)
• First army to use iron weapons
• Used chariots
• Had a legal system that was less harsh
than the Code of Hammurabi
Arameans (1200 B.C. to 800 B.C.)
• Original capital at Damascus
• Decentralization followed, with provincial
leaders becoming powerful
• Spread their language, Aramaic,
throughout the Eastern Mediterranean
– Aramaic became the lingua franca (language
used to communicate between people who
speak different native languages) of the
Eastern Mediterranean
Spread of Aramaic
Lydians (1200 B.C. – 546 B.C.)
• Capital at Sardis
• Built Temple of
Artemis at Ephesus,
one of the Seven
Wonders of the
Ancient World
• Developed the
concept of money
– First coins were an
alloy of gold and
silver
Phoenicians
(1200 B.C. – 539 B.C.)
• Developed loose
confederation of city-states
– Capital at Tyre
• Traded throughout the
Mediterranean
– How did physical geography
encourage trade?
• Founded Carthage and Cadiz
Phoenicians
(1200 B.C. – 539 B.C.)
• Developed the
first modern
alphabet
– This alphabet is
what most
modern
alphabets are
based on
Phoenician
Alphabet
A
Comparison
Phoenicians
(1200 B.C. – 539 B.C.)
• Sailed as far as
Ireland to the north
and Cameroon to the
south
• Established colonies
as far away as Kerne,
at the mouth of the
Senegal River in
Africa
Probable
extent of
Phoenician
knowledge
Phoenicians
(1200 B.C. – 539 B.C.)
• The Phoenician city-states near
Mesopotamia were conquered by Cyrus
the Great in 539 B.C.
• The Phoenician colonies continued to
operate until much later, the greatest being
Carthage
Assyrians (911 B.C. – 612 B.C.)
• Known for strong military
– Improved upon Hittite iron
weapons, used battering
rams
• Treated captured peoples
cruelly
– Depopulated areas
– Enforced large indemnities
Assyrians (911 B.C. – 612 B.C.)
• Best known:
– developing a
road system
connecting
their empire
Chaldeans (731 B.C. to 539 B.C.)
• 11th dynasty of Babylonian kings
• Most famous king = Nebuchadnezzar
• Conquered land as far as Jerusalem
– “Babylonian Captivity” was forced march of
Jewish persons from Jerusalem to Babylon
under the Chaldeans
• Famous for Hanging Gardens of Babylon
and their work in astronomy
Hanging Gardens
of Babylon
• An elaborate park
built for
Nebuchadnezzar's
wife
• One of the original
Seven Wonders of
the World
Persians (550 B.C. – 330 B.C.)
• Under Cyrus the Great, the Persians
conquered land:
– As far west as Egypt, the Anatolia Peninsula
and Macedonia
– As far east as the Indus River
– As far north as the Caucuses Mountains and
into present day Afghanistan
• The empire stretched over 3,000 miles
and contained 50 million people
Persians (550 B.C. – 330 B.C.)
• Persia was divided into smaller
administrative units, with each ruled by a
satrap
– Satraps were monitored by officials from the
king called the “eyes and ears of the king”
• The empire had a complex road system,
improving on that of the Assyrians – one
could travel to any corner in just 15 days
Persians (550 B.C. – 330 B.C.)
• The Persians allowed conquered peoples
to keep their language and religion
• Persians followed a religion called
Zoroastrianism
Persians (550 B.C. – 330 B.C.)
• Persia was the main
adversary of the
Greek city-states
during the
Greco-Persian Wars
Persian Empire at it’s Height
Israelites (Hebrews)
(1900 B.C. – 586 B.C.)
• Traditionally
descended from
Abraham, from Ur
– Made covenant
with monotheistic
Yahweh to move
his family to
Canaan to
become new
nation
Israelites (Hebrews)
(1900 B.C. – 586 B.C.)
• Moved into Egypt, eventually as slaves
• Exodus of Moses allows the Israelites
to leave Egyptian captivity
Israelites (Hebrews)
(1900 B.C. – 586 B.C.)
• Entered the period of the Judges
– Judicial and military leaders – not kings
• Around 1020 B.C., a monarchy led by Saul
arose
– David assumed the throne in 1012 B.C. & set
up capital at Jerusalem
– After the death of King Solomon in 922 B.C.,
the kingdom split into northern and southern
parts
Israelites (Hebrews)
(1900 B.C. – 586 B.C.)
• 586 B.C. – Chaldeans
gain control of Jerusalem
and take Israelites
to Babylon
– The Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed
– Known as the Babylonian Captivity
Israelites (Hebrews)
(1900 B.C. – 586 B.C.)
• 539 B.C. – The Persians under Cyrus II
conquer Babylon and allow the Israelites
to return to Israel
– This became known as the Diaspora
(“scattered” in Greek), because many of the
Hebrew people did not return
Conclusion
• We discussed the eight major civilizations
of the Eastern Mediterranean that follow
the Sumerians and Egyptians. On the
next slide, each civilization is listed with
their most important contribution to
contemporary life.
Conclusion
– Hittite: used iron weapons
– Aramaean: Aramaic language, lingua franca of the
region for generations
– Lydian: Concept of money
– Phoenician: Trading networks throughout the
Mediterranean; First alphabet
– Assyrian: Complex road system
– Chaldean: Astronomy, Hanging Gardens of
Babylon, “Babylonian Captivity”
– Persian: large empire with religious freedom;
division into smaller units
– Israelite (Hebrew): Judaism
Development of Writing
PURPOSE OF SECTION:
• Explain the development
and importance of writing;
include cuneiform,
hieroglyphics, and the
Phoenician alphabet.
Development of Writing
Picture writing
Pictograms
h
&
Word writing
Abcd
Sound-based writing
Syllables
Japanese
Katakana
Abdg
Alphabet
Sumerian Cuneiform
• Pictograms
• Use dates from
≈ 3000 B.C. to 500
B.C.
– Use predates
Egyptian
Hieroglyphics
Egyptian Hieroglyphics
• Pictograms
• Use dates from ≈ 3000 B.C. to A.D. 394
• Deciphered by Jean-Francois Champollion
in 1822
Cuneiform v. Hieroglyphics
• Not related
• Similar in that they are both originally
pictographical
– Both develop symbols for non-tangible words
Phoenician Alphabet
• Developed between
1700 B.C. and 1500
B.C.
• Influenced by
Egyptian
hieroglyphics
Question to Think About…
Why is writing
important?
Monotheism
PURPOSE OF SECTION:
• Explain the development of monotheism;
include the concepts developed by the
ancient Hebrews, and Zoroastrianism.
Monotheism
• Monotheism:
– Belief in one god
Origin of Monotheism
• Zoroaster
– Priest, worshipped a god named Ahura Mazda
• Ahura Mazda is worshipped as the only god
• Ahriman is opposite of Ahura Mazda
– Followers have a moral choice
• To do right or wrong
– Right = Supportive of Ahura Mazda
– Wrong = Against the wishes of Ahura Mazda
– Good deeds are rewarded, bad deeds are
punished
• People have only themselves to blame for their
position in life
– Holy book is called the Avesta
Hebrew Monotheism
• Judaism
– One God (Yahweh, YHWH, Adonai)
– Israelites as unique chosen people
– Presence of covenants between Yahweh and man
•
•
•
•
•
Adam – Given life on earth with certain boundaries
Noah – Yahweh to never destroy the human race again
Abraham – Israelites will inherit a “promised land”
Moses – Given the laws as written by Yahweh
David – Royal dynasty to rule forever
Comparison
• Zoroastrianism
• Judaism
– Monotheistic
– Monotheistic
– Concept of dark v. light
– Concept of good v. evil
– Free will of man
– Free will of man
– Judgment Day
– Judgment Day
– Heaven and hell
– Heaven, no hell
– Savior to redeem world
– Savior to redeem world
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Slide 1