Advances during the Paleolithic Age:

Advances during the Paleolithic Age:
- Use of stone (and wood) tools
- Use of fire
- Spoken language (to pass on knowledge)
Notes: These are the more important advances. There are others mentioned also, like
weaving baskets to store food, but they are less crucial. You might also mention
“religious beliefs and practices”, but this is iffy. While it is true that this developed
(probably) in the Paleolithic Age, you could argue that it isn’t really an “advance”. The
same for “division of labor by sex” – that was something that happened during the
Paleolithic Age, but I’m not sure it counts as an advance either.
Advances during the Neolithic Age:
- Better stone tools (more specifically: greater precision in chipping and grinding)
- Domestication of animals
- Beginnings of agriculture
- Pottery
- Permanent buildings/settlements
- Flax and wool clothing
Notes: The first three of these are the most important. You won’t lose points for not
mentioning the last three as advances.
How was life different in the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages:
People were hunter-gatherers
People began to grow crops and raise animals
(they got food by hunting, fishing, and
for food (agriculture developed)
gathering, not by growing anything)
They were nomadic
They started to settle in villages, in order to
(they traveled around, searching for and
tend their crops
following food sources)
The population is small and stayed more or
less the same over time
People had less control over nature
The population starts to greatly increase
People had more control over nature
Other things to note:
- Basket-making is an advance of the Paleolithic, not Neolithic Age.
- People made clothes in the Paleolithic Age too. They just started to use certain new
materials in the Neolithic Age.
- Civilization is not something we say happened in the Paleolithic Age or the Neolithic
Age. It came later.
- You can describe Neolithic stone tool technology as “better”, “more sophisticated”, or
“more precise”, but not “more specific”.
- When the question asks you to “compare”, you need to say clearly what is the same and
what is different about the thing you are supposed to compare.
- There was a lot of information in the book about different time periods in both these
regions. The question doesn’t ask you to be that specific – that is, you don’t need to talk
about the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom, or the Sumerians,
the Babylonians, etc., just speak generally about the two regions, Egypt and Mesopotamia.
For example:
Both developed in river valleys -- good locations for agriculture
 However, in Egypt, life was more stable, while in Mesopotamia, it tended to be more
uncertain. Here’s why:
 In both, rivers were a central feature
 The Nile river floods regularly, and right when it was most needed
 The Mesopotamian rivers are much less predictable
 Other geographical features were different
 Egypt was more protected from invaders: on the west by desert, on the south by cataracts in
the Nile (places it’s hard to sail ships past), on the north and east by seas. Mesopotamia was
more open, more subject to invasions from outsiders.
 The Nile was like a big highway that helped unify Egypt quite early in its history, while
Mesopotamia was unified at later points, by successive groups of conquerors.
 Egypt: more stable, secure, optimistic
 Mesopotamia: more unstable, uncertain, pessimistic
You should also talk about at least some of the following:
 Class structure
 Both divided society into classes
 But were there differences between the classes in Egypt vs Mesopotamia?
 Religion
 Egypt: everything was thought of as part of religion; Mesopotamia: religion and other things,
like government, were often more separated
 Egyptian pharaoh was a god; Mesopotamian rulers might be representatives of gods, but
weren’t gods themselves
 Egypt: greatly concerned with afterlife; Mesopotamia: more concerned with problems of now
 etc.
 Role of women
 Slavery
 etc.
Many of you wrote something very close to this:
They succeeded thanks to a large, well-disciplined army and a society that powerfully valued
military virtues. Fierce and cruel, they boasted of their own brutality, at least in part to terrorize
real and potential enemies.
Unlike earlier empires, the Assyrian Empire systematically and profitably exploited the area it
In addition to maintaining their empire, the Assyrians had to defend it against the incursions of
barbarians on its frontiers. In the seventh century BCE this task had so drained the overextended
empire that it was left vulnerable to internal rebellion.
This is a reasonably complete answer, although you should also talk about the effective way they
organized their empire (see pg 28 in your textbooks). You should also include more specific examples.
The Hittite and Egyptian empires are mentioned in the question, you should talk about them in your
answer. You should also say a bit more about the internal rebellion that destroyed the empire.
But the most important thing: Don’t copy whole sentences or phrases directly from the book. You
guys know better by now.
Fundamental beliefs of the ancient Hebrews:
 There is only one god, their God; he is the creator and ruler of the universe (monotheism)
 Other early civilizations (those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, etc., also Greece and Rome) believed
in many gods, although one god might be the most important or main god (polytheism)
 God doesn’t look like a man, or an animal, or a natural force or object (like the winds or the sun); he
is so far beyond and above everything that he can’t be pictured at all
 Other civilizations have paintings, statues, etc. of their gods, which are generally in one of
the forms listed above (or a combination of them)
 God made a covenant (an agreement with promises on both sides) with the Hebrews that they are his
chosen people, who he would protect and reward, as long as they believe in Him and follow His laws
 God is a strict but just judge. He acts righteously and demands that people do the same. He punishes
people for their misdeeds, but will relent if they repent.
 Some gods in other early civilizations punish mankind for bad behavior, but these gods aren’t
bound to behave in any particular way. They can pretty much do whatever they want. A lot
of their actions are because of things like anger, greed, jealousy, love (or lust), just plain
liking or disliking certain people, etc.
Notes: Maybe this wasn’t clear, but for a question like this, you should give specific examples.
It’s true that some elements of religion, philosophy, science, law, political systems, etc. were passed on
to “Western Civilization”, but you should talk about what exactly some of these elements were.