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The Ancient Near East The Ancient Near East Common themes? Differences? Mesopotamia Mesopotamia – “Between the rivers” – Within Fertile Crescent – Accomplished through irrigation, canals agriculture Mesopotamia The Sumerians (ca. 3800-2400 BC) – First great Mesopotamians – Settled in Fertile Crescent – Sumer 30 city-states Common culture, trade City-states often at war Mesopotamia Accomplishments – Inventions: wheel, plow – Agriculture – Writing: CUNEIFORM Tablets with cuneiform Mesopotamia Government – MONARCHY, by 2700 BC – Almost always kings – Functions King Sargon II (r. 722-705 BC) Representatives of gods Legislators Justice Patrons Mesopotamia King Hammurabi (r. 1792-1750 BC) – Ruler of Amorites – Conquered all Mesopotamia – Capital: Babylon – Great legislator Mesopotamia The Code of Hammurabi – 282 legal rulings – Violent punishments! – Hammurabi and Shamash depicted – “When the god Marduk commanded me to provide just ways for the people of the land in order to attain appropriate behavior, I established truth and justice as the declaration of the land, I enhanced the well-being of the people.” Mesopotamia The Code of Hammurabi – “196. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. – 197. If he break the other man’s bone, his bone shall be broken. – 198. If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man, he shall pay one gold mina. – 199. If he put out the eye of a man’s slave, or break the bone of a man’s slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.” Mesopotamia Religion – POLYTHEISTIC – The gods ANTHROPOMORPHIC Immortal, powerful Feared – Afterlife Hammurabi and Shamash Mesopotamia Statuettes of worshipers from the Square Temple at Eshnunna (ca. 2700 BC) Mesopotamia Ziggurat – “Towering” structures – Temple on top – Nucleus of city Mesopotamia Nanna Ziggurat, Ur (Muqaiyir, Iraq), ca. 2100 – ca. 2050 BC Mesopotamia Literature – Epic of Gilgamesh (ca. 2500 BC) About semi-divine king of Uruk, friend Enkidu Enkidu’s death Gilgamesh’s pursuit of immortality – Enuma Elish (ca. 11th-cent. BC) Origins Cosmic battle between gods creation Enkidu and Gilgamesh Mesopotamia Questions? Egypt Ancient Egypt – The Nile Flowed from Nubia to Delta Flooded annually fertility, prosperity Symbol of life – Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt unified state (ca. 3100 BC) Egypt The Pharaoh – Egypt’s monarch – Divine offspring of sun god – Ruled through bureaucracy – Worshiped after death Pharaoh Tutankhamun (r. 1333-1324 BC) Egypt Religion – Very spiritual people – Polytheistic Egypt The Afterlife – Ka lives on after death – Judgment before divine tribunal – Mummification Egypt Mummies, British Museum, London Egypt Egypt Mummy with amulets, Vatican Museum Egypt Egypt Writing – Papyrus – HIEROGLYPHICS Egypt The Rosetta Stone at the British Museum Egypt The Pyramids – Purpose: pharaohs’ glory, tombs – Great Pyramids, Gizeh (ca. 2500 BC) Near Cairo Gold once visible Aligned with stars? Great Pyramids, Gizeh, Egypt Tombs of Menkaure, Khafre, Khufu (ca. 2500 BC) Egypt The Great Sphinx (ca. 2500 BC) – Lion, human head – Guardian Egypt The Egyptian Empire (ca. 1550-1075 BC) – Borders: Euphrates to Nubia – Capital: Thebes Egypt Hatshepsut (r. 1479-1457 BC) – Widow of Thutmose II, regent to Thutmose III – Declared herself pharaoh! – Peaceful reign – Building project – Thutmose sought to destroy memory of her Egypt Decline of Egypt (ca. 1076 BC) – Pharaohs lost power to priests – Empire disintegrated – Prominent international role lost – Suffered invasions, occupations Egypt Questions? Israel Israel – “The Hebrews” – First recorded national history – Founders of “Western religious tradition”: MONOTHEISM Israel The Patriarchs (ca. 2000-1500 BC) – – – – Abraham Isaac Jacob Twelve tribes, *Joseph Abraham and Isaac Israel The Exodus (ca. 1300 BC) – Israelites oppressed in Egypt – Moses led them out – Journey through wilderness “Promised Land” – THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Moses and the Ten Commandments Israel Israel Israel Religion – Hebrew God: YHWH Creator, redeemer No images! – Cult Male priesthood Tabernacle, altars Holy days – Sacred text: TORAH Israel Israel Government – Confederation of tribes, at first – United monarchy (ca. 1020-928 BC) – Hebrew kingship Not divine YHWH’s servant, vassal Bound by Law Israel The United Kingdom – KING DAVID (r. 1004-965 BC) Origins: shepherd, mercenary Expansion, conquest Capital: Jerusalem – KING SOLOMON (r. 965-928 BC) David Israel at its zenith Wealth! Temple Israel Edward Poynter, The Queen of Sheba before Solomon (1890) Israel Solomon’s Temple, Jerusalem Israel The Divided Kingdom (928-722 BC) – Had been ruled by kings in Judah – Northern tribes broke away Kingdom of Israel Idols Conquered by Assyria (722 BC) – Kingdom of Judah Monotheism, idols too Conquered by Babylon (598-586 BC) Israel Questions? Persia The Persian Empire (559-331 BC) – Iran: home of Medes and Persians – The Empire King Cyrus the Great Initiated by Cyrus the Great (r. 559-530 BC) Conquered Medes, Babylon, beyond Largest empire yet Persia Persia The Military – Ruled by warrior aristocracy – 300,000 soldiers! – Cavalry – First great navy Persia The King – – – – “King of kings” Had khvarna Brilliant in appearance! Bound by rule of law, nobility King Darius I (r. 521-486 BC) Persia Royal Road Ruling the Empire – – – – Strategy: tolerance, humane rule Divided into 20 satrapies Systems of roads Main language: Aramaic Persia Religion – Initially polytheism – Zoroastrianism Prophet: Zarathustra (ca. 1000-550 BC) Ethical, inward-looking Dualistic: Light vs. Darkness Magi Open-air fire altar dedicated to Supreme Creator Persia Questions? The Ancient Near East Common themes? Differences?