The first large empires develop
in Africa and Asia between 1570
B.C. and 200 B.C.
 Section
1: The Egyptian and Nubian
 Section 2: The Assyrian Empires
 Section 3: The Persian Empire
 Section 4: The Unification of China
 Two
empires along the Nile, Egypt and
Nubia, forge commercial, cultural, and
political connections.
 As
we learned in Chapter 2, Egyptian
civilization developed along the Nile. It
eventually developed into a kingdom
around 3100 B.C.
 Egypt became rich from trading with
Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley.
 South of Egypt a major kingdom in the
Nubian region, Kush, began to develop
and trade with Egypt.
Nomadic Invaders Rule Egypt
 After the prosperity of the Middle Kingdom, Egypt
descended into war and violence.
 Egypt became weak from the war and violence, power
struggles within the nobility, and weak pharaohs.
• About 1640 B.C., Asian warriors, the Hyksos, use chariots to
conquer Egypt.
Hebrews Migrate to Egypt
• Hebrews move to Egypt from Canaan around 1650 B.C.
• Hyksos invited them in because they were similar races.
• Egyptians would come to resent the presence of Hebrews
and Hyksos in Egypt, but were powerless to remove them.
Expulsion and Slavery
• Powerful war leaders rise in Egypt and are eventually able to
restore power for Egyptians
• Egyptians eventually drive out the hated Hyksos to Sinai
• Hebrews lose protection of Hyksos and become enslaved
After overthrowing the Hyksos the
pharaohs looked strengthen Egypt.
• About 1570 to 1075 B.C. pharaohs create
New Kingdom, a powerful empire, it
became wealthier and more powerful than
ever before.
• Partially this happens because the army
used bronze weapons and chariots to
conquer other lands.
 The Egyptian army consisted of archers,
charioteers, and foot soldiers.
Hatshepsut’s Prosperous Rule
One of the rulers of the New Kingdom was
• Hatshepsut—pharaoh whose reign most
noted for her trade expeditions, not war.
 She took over because her stepson, the
heir to the throne was just a young child
at the time.
Thutmose the Empire Builder
•Thutmose III, was Hatshepsut’s
stepson. He expanded Egypt’s empire.
 He was a much more war-like ruler.
• Invades Palestine, Syria, and Nubia
region around the upper Nile River.
• Egypt most powerful and wealthy during
reign of New Kingdom pharaohs, like
The Egyptians and the Hittites
 Egypt’s conquest of parts of Syria and Palestine
around 1400 B.C. bring them into conflicts with
the Hittites.
• Around 1285 B.C. Egyptians battle the Hittites in
• Egypt’s pharaoh, Ramses II, and the Hittite king sign
a peace treaty
An Age of Builders
• Just like those of the Old Kingdom, the New Kingdom
pharaohs built great palaces, magnificent temples
• Valley of the Kings near Thebes is home to royal
• Ramses II built impressive temples with enormous
statues of himself
The empire built Thutmose III and Ramses II would
soon be challenged by other strong civilizations.
Invasions by Land and Sea
• “Sea Peoples” (possibly Philistines) invade Egypt
and cause great destruction.
• Libyan raids on villages and Palestine rebellions
weaken empire greatly.
Egypt’s Empire Fades
• After the invasions, the weakened empire breaks
into smaller kingdoms.
 Egypt’s smaller kingdoms eventually fall to the
• From around 950 to 730 B.C. Libyan pharaohs rule
Egypt, erect cities.
Egypt and Kush
• From 2000 to 1000 B.C., Egypt
dominates kingdom of Kush in Nubia.
 As Egypt fell into decline during the
Hyksos period, Kush began to emerge
as a regional power.
 Kush would eventually establish its own
Kushite dynasty on the throne of Egypt.
The People of Nubia
• Lived south of Egypt near division of
Blue Nile and White Nile
• Nile River is a great trade route for
goods and ideas
• Nubians linked Egypt and
Mediterranean to African interior
through trade
The Interaction of Egypt and Nubia
 During the New Kingdom, pharaohs forced
Egyptian rule on Kush.
• Egyptian culture influences Nubia and beyond to
southern Africa
• About 1200 B.C., Nubia gains independence but
keeps Egyptian culture, to protect the culture
from the Libyans.
Piankhi Captures the Egyptian Throne
• In 751 B.C., Kushite king Piankhi conquers Egypt,
ousts Libyans, united entire Nile Valley.
• Assyrians, a war-like people, would overcome
Kushites and take Egypt. Forcing the Kushites to
retreat back to the southern part of the Nile.
• After defeat by the Assyrians, Kushites settle in
Meroë; there they join in trade with Africa, Arabia,
The Wealth of Kush
• Meroë becomes important center for iron weapons
and tools, because of a large amount of iron ore.
• Iron products transported to Red Sea, exchanged for
luxury goods
The Decline of Meroë
• Meroë thrives from about 250 B.C. to A.D. 150, then
• Aksum, 400 miles southeast, dominates North African
• Like Kush, Aksum has a port on Red Sea, and would
defeat Meroë in A.D. 350.
 Assyria
developes a military machine
and establishes a well-organized
 For
more than two centuries, the Assyrian
army advanced across Southwest Asisa.
 It overwhelmed its enemies with military
 The Assyrians would even eventually
sieze control of Egypt after defeating the
Assyria uses military might to acquire empire across
Southwest Asia, making it the greatest power there.
The Rise of a Warrior People
• After many invasions in Mesopotamia, Assyrians develop
warlike behavior in response to the constant threats.
 Through constant warfare, Assyrian kings build an empire
from the Tigris to Egypt.
• One of the Assyrian kings, Sennacherib brutally destroys
enemies. He bragged of destroying 89 cities and 820
villages, while killing most of the inhabitants.
Military Organization and Conquest
 Assyrian society glorified military strength.
• Armies wear metal armor, copper helmets, leather protection
• Use iron weapons, engineering skill, and brute force to
conquer cities
 Advanced planning and technical skill allowed the
Assyrians to lay siege to opposing cities.
• They would kill, enslave, or banish captive peoples to distant
Kings of Assyria ruled lands that extended far beyond Fertile
Cresent into Anatolia and Egypt.
• They were able to do this by defeating Syria, Palestine, Babylonia
between 850 and 650 B.C.
Assyrian Rule
• Created central authority over local governors of dependent
regions, by picking their rulers or supporting kings who aligned
with the Assyrians.
• Collected taxes and tribute from conquered lands, if the conquered
didn’t pay, the Assyrians would destroy their towns and send them
into exile.
Assyrian Culture
• Rulers not only were fearsure warriors, but also build great cities,
including capital at Nineveh. The walled city was the biggest of its
time and was also walled.
• Within Ninveh, they had carved sculptures of military campaigns
and the lion hunt
• King Ashurbanipal built library of 20,000 tablets; which had
history and literature like the Epic of Gilgamesh. The library was
split up by subject and even had cataloging
Early Warnings
• The Empire had spread thin,
cruelty during war earned them
many enemies, after
Ashurbanipal dies, Nineveh would
Decline and Fall
• Army of Medes and Chaldeans destroys Nineveh by fire (612 B.C.);
library survives because tablets were oven baked.
Most rejoiced at the fact the Nineveh had been destroyed.
Rebirth of Babylon Under the Chaldeans
• After defeating the Assyrians, Chaldeans make Babylon capital of own empire
• King Nebuchadnezzar builds legendary hanging gardens of Babylon
• Built tall ziggurats, there astronomers make discoveries about solar system
• Chaldean Empire falls to Persians; they adopt Assyrian inventions
By governing with tolerance and wisdom, the
Persians establish a well-ordered empire that lasts
for 200 years.
Persia began to grow around the same time that the
Chaldeans and Medes defeated the Assyrians.
Unlike the Assyrians, the Persians based their
empire on tolerance and dipolmacy. They only
relied on their military to back up their policies.
The Persian Homeland
• Persia (ancient Iran) had fertile land and minerals
• Both the Medes and Persians rise to power there
In time, a remarkable would lead Persia to dominate
the Medes and form a huge empire.
Cyrus the Great Founds an Empire
• Starting in 550 B.C., Persian king Cyrus starts to
conquer neighboring lands
• He was a military genius, controlling an empire that
spanned over 2,000 miles.
• Governed with tolerance toward conquered peoples
• Honors local customs, including religious ones
• Allows Jews to return to Israel and rebuild temple of
• Would eventually be killed fighting nomadic invaders
on the eastern border of his empire.
The task of unifying conquered territories fell to rulers who followed
Cryus. They succeeded by combining Persian control with local
Cambyses and Darius
• Cyrus’s son, Cambyses, conquers Egypt but rules unwisely, orders
all images of Egyptian gods to be burned.
•After Cambyses dies, the empire starts to lose order.
• Darius seizes control in somewhat of a mystery, but he establishes
stability; expands empire to India.
• His only failure is not being able to conquer Greece.
Provinces and Satraps
• Darius divides empire into 20 areas of local administration. Were
able to practice own religion and speak own laguages.
• Appoints satraps—governors—to rule each area. Made sure that
leaders collected taxes and were loyal to him by sending out
• Built Royal Road to make communication within empire easier and
• Issues coins that can be used throughout empire to make trading
After all the suffering many people of the Fertile Cresent had
endured, they begin to ask them selves, “Why should so
much suffering and chaos exist in the world?”
•Zoroaster, a Persian thinker, tries to answer the question.
• Zoroaster develops new religion.
Zoroaster’s Teachings
• Life is a battleground between good and evil
• One god will judge us by how well we fight for good
• Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Political Order
• Through tolerance and good government, Persians bring
political order
• Persians preserved earlier cultures, and would find new ways
to live and rule
 The
Zhou Dynasty lasted for at least eight
centuries. For 300 years of their long
reign, the Zhou kings controlled a large
empire full of local leaders. By the latter
years, the local leaders began to think of
themselves as kings. This fighting over
power became a constant conflict.
 The
social disorder of the warring states
contributes to the development of three
Chinese ethical systems.
Zhou Dynasty
• Lasted 1027 to 256 B.C.; ancient values of social order, harmony, and
respect for authority decline near the end of the Dynasty. Chinese
scholars and philosophers developed different solutions to restore
these values.
Confucius Urges Harmony
• Confucius was the most influential scholar.
• Lived in the End of Zhou Dynasty when it was a time of disorder.
• Confucius wanted to restore order, harmony, good government
• Stresses developing good relationships between ruler and subject,
father and son, husband and wife, older brother and younger
brother, and friend and friend.
• Promotes filial piety—respect for parents and ancestors by
• Hoped to reform society by promoting good government, was even
hired as minister of justice.
• Confucius would leave his minister job and would teach for the
remainder of his life
Confucian Ideas About Government
• Thinks education can transform people
• Teachings become foundation for
bureaucracy, a trained civil service
• Confucianism is an ethical system of right
and wrong, not a religion
• Chinese government and social order is
based on Confucianism
Other scholars and philosophers than Confucius develop
ethical systems.
Daoists Seek Harmony
• Laozi teaches that people should follow the natural order of
• Believes that universal force called Dao guides all things
• Daoism philosophy is to understand nature and be free of
• Daoists influence sciences of alchemy, astronomy, medicine
Legalists Urge Harsh Rule
• A much different thinking group from followers of Laozi and
Confucius arise, they are called the Legalist.
• Legalism emphasizes the use of law to restore order; stifles
• Teaches that obedience should be rewarded, disobedience
An example of this would be a person who traveled outside of
their village without proper permission would have their
ears or nose chopped off.
I Ching and Yin and Yang
• For those who didn’t follow a
philosopher, life’s questions could
be answered through I Ching and
Ying and Yang.
• I Ching (The Book of Changes)
offers good advice, common sense
• Concept of yin and yang: two powers
represent rhythm of universe
• Yin: cold, dark, soft, mysterious; yang:
warm, bright, hard, clear
• I Ching and yin and yang explain
how people fit into the world
The Qin Dynasty
• Qin Dynasty replaces Zhou Dynasty in third century
B.C. The leaders of the Qin Dynasty put the legalist
ideas to use.
A New Emperor Takes Control
• Emperor Shi Huangdi unifies China, ends fighting,
conquers new lands. Doubled the size of China.
• Moved all the nobles to the city to keep an eye on them
and split of their land. This created 36 administrative
districts controlled by Qin officials.
• With a Legalist prime minister, Shi Huangdi murders
Confucian scholars, and burns most of their books.
• This type of rule established an autocracy, a
government with unlimited power.
Shi Huangdi Wants a Program of Centralization
• Shi Huangdi builds highways, irrigation projects;
increases trade
• Sets standards for writing, law, currency, and weights
and measures
• Harsh rule includes high taxes and repressive
Great Wall of China
• Emperor forces peasants to build Great Wall to keep
out invaders. They were to work or die. Both
scholars and poor people hated Shi Huangdi
The Fall of the Qin
• Shi Huangdi’s son loses throne to rebel leader after
only three years after he takes; The Han Dynasty
then begins.

Chapter 4 First Age of Empires, 1570 B.C.–200 B.C.