Lecture-01–“The Roots of Western Civilization”

Lecture 01: The Roots of Western Civilization
The Ancient Middle East to 500 B.C.
Before Western Civilization
§Out of Africa: The Paleolithic Period, 600,000-10,000 B.C.
Trade Networks
Cave Art
Stone Monuments
§The Neolithic Period, 10,000-3000 B.C.
Domestic Animals
Middle East Plants and Animals
Population Growth
New Warfare
Struggling with Forces of Nature
§The Origins of Western Civilization
Economic Function
§Life in a Sumerian city
Women’s Work
§Gods and Goddesses of the River Valley
§The Development of Writing
Written Records
§Laws and Justice
Code of Hammurabi
Women and Children
§Indo-Europeans: New Contributions in the Story of the West
Indo-European Languages
Mounted Warriors
Rule of the God-King: Ancient Egypt
§Prosperity and Order: The Old Kingdom
Preserving Order
Family Life
§Hieroglyphics: Sacred Writing
§Pyramids and the Afterlife
Burial Rituals
§Changing Political Fortunes
Middle Kingdom
Egypt Conquered
§Political Expansion: The New Kingdom
Egyptian Empire
Empire Building
Biography: Hatshepsut and Thutmose
Powerful Queen and Vengeful Son-in-Law
§The Religious Experiment of Akhenaten
§The Twilight of the Egyptian Empire
Merchants and Monotheists: Peoples of the Mediterranean Coast
§The Phoenicians: Traders of the Sea
Trading Colonies
Phoenician Alphabet
Merchants and Monotheists
§The People of One God: Early Hebrew History
Hebrew Scriptures
Establishing a Kingdom
Dividing a Kingdom
§A Jealous God
The Covenant
Hebrew Laws
§Judaism in Exile
“Second Temple” Period
Hebrew Contributions
Terror and Benevolence:
The Growth of Empires
§The Age of Iron
The Growth of Empires
§Rule by Terror: The Assyrians
Governing an Empire
Preserving Learning
Fall of Assyrians
§Babylonian Rule
Culture and Commerce
Astronomy and Mathematics
§Rule by Tolerance: The Persian Empire
Persian Administration
Contributions from the East--Summary
•Agriculture—barley and wheat
•Major irrigation projects, centralized administration of complex society
•Dominant role of religion in daily life—loyalty to city protected by deity rather
•Development of far-flung trade routes
•Writing—cuneiform—Epic of Gilgamesh—hymns of Enheduanna
•Law code of Uruinimgina (2500 BC)
than family
of Hammurabi (1792-1750)—most complete and famous—permanent
Indo-Europeans (2000 BC)
•Language basis for all European languages (except Finnish, Hungarian,
•Gods of the sky, not the earth
•Hittites—iron forged to carbon steel (1250 BC)
•Spread of knowledge of writing and literature throughout Europe
•Development of pantheon of gods which influenced later European
•King as embodiment of divine power—no need for law codes
•Expansion of trade networks into sub-Saharan Africa and Libya
•Hieroglyphics—pictogram, ideogram, phonogram
•Hieratic and demotic scripts—papyrus
•Massive architecture and sculpture, magnificent art and craft
•Concept of universal god (Aten)
•Spread of
alphabet, completely phonetic, 22 letters
culture throughout Mediterranean and coast of Africa
•Concept of special relationship with single God Yahweh (Jehovah)--covenant
•Religion based on a book, historical events rather than pure myth
•History affected by obedience to God’s laws
•World created at a specific time, not eternal
•Centralized empire, extended lands, different
•Use of Aramaic as common language
•Preservation of Mesopotamian written works
Babylonians (Chaldeans, neo-Babylonians)
•Passion for art and education—culture
•Astronomy, astrology, mathematics
and commerce thrive
•Tolerance in governing
an empire