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Humanities Libertexts

2: Early Middle Eastern & Northeast African Civilizations

  • Page ID
    1183
    • 2.1: Chronology
    • 2.2: Introduction - Defining Civilization
    • 2.3: Questions to Guide Your Reading
    • 2.4: Key Terms
    • 2.5: Ancient Mesopotamia
      Mesopotamia is located in an area known as the Fertile Crescent. Archeologists have found some of the earliest known sites of agricultural production in the Fertile Crescent. Although much of this region received little or irregular rainfall, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers provided large amounts of freshwater, facilitating agricultural production and the development of early civilizations. The Greeks referred to the region as “the Land between the Rivers” or Mesopotamia.
    • 2.6: Sumerian City-States
      Lower Mesopotamia drew settlers, who moved to take advantage of rich soils and the availability of water in the area commonly known as Sumer. The people who lived in Sumer are generally referred to as Sumerians. Prior to 3,000 BCE, Sumerians, whose origins remain a subject of debate, founded a number of independent cities in Lower Mesopotamia. In these cities, Sumerians had organized religions, centralized governments, social hierarchies, and access to trade networks.
    • 2.7: Mesopotamian Empires
      In the second half of the third millennium BCE, Sumerian city-states fought each other, and dynasties rose and fell. Kings consolidated power over multiple city-states in the region. Then, King Sargon of Akkad enlarged the scale by conquering the Sumerian city-states and parts of Syria, Anatolia, and Elam. In doing so, he created one of the world’s first empires in approximately 2334 BCE. For generations, Mesopotamian literature celebrated the Akkadian Empire (c. 2334 – 2100 BCE) that King Sargo
    • 2.8: The Significance of Mesopotamia for World History
      Mesopotamia saw the emergence of some of the first cities and the world’s first empires. The city-states of the region flourished from about 3000 to 2300 BCE. Then, Sargon of Akkad and subsequent rulers built empires, expanding their control and influence over even larger territories.
    • 2.9: The Israelites and Ancient Israel
      The Israelites, “or children of Israel,” were Semetic-speakers who lived in Canaan and traced their descent back to Abraham through his grandson Israel. Hebrew tradition begins their history with Abraham’s departure from Ur in southern Mesopotamia. Therefore, Abraham is important in Jewish tradition, as he has been recognized as the first Jew, the patriarch from whom all Jews trace their descent, and a role model.
    • 2.10: Early Israelites
    • 2.11: The United Kingdom of Israel
      After Exodus, the Israelites resettled in Canaan and in time began to unify. They formed kingdoms in the Levant just prior to 1000 BCE. King Saul (c. 1030 – 1009 BCE), a member of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, established the first Israelite monarchy, but ruled over a fairly limited territory and died in battle with the Philistines. He was crowned king and began the process of unification, but did not completely defeat his enemies and finish unification before he died.
    • 2.12: The Importance of the Israelites and Ancient Israel
    • 2.13: Ancient Egypt
    • 2.14: Dynastic Egypt
    • 2.15: Nubia- The Kingdoms of Kerma and Kush
    • 2.16: Summary
    • 2.17: Works Consulted and Further Reading
    • 2.18: Links to Primary Sources

    Thumbnail: Golden Mask of Tutankhamun | Because his tomb was found mostly intact in 1922, King Tutankhamen (or King Tut) has become one of our most familiar images from dynastic Egypt. Author: Carsten Frenzl Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC BY 2.0

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