Classical Civilizations Empire – Group of states or territories controlled by one ruler. Civil law



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Classical Civilizations

Empire – Group of states or territories controlled by one ruler.

Civil law – Body of law dealing with the private lives of individuals.

Rule of law - Government by law. The rule of law implies that government authority may only be exercised in accordance with written laws, which were adopted through an established procedure.

Civilization – complex, highly organized social order. Democracy – government in which the people hold ruling power.

Republic – system of government in which representatives are chosen by the people. It is a form of democracy I.

  1. The First Empire Builder

Invasion and conquest were prominent features of the ancient Middle East. About 2300 BC, Sargon, the ruler of neighboring Akkad, invaded and conquered the city-states of Sumer. He built the first empire known to history. II.

  1. Successive Mesopotamian Empires

  1. Babylonian Empire – ca. 1790 BC Hammurabi’s Code

  2. Hittite Empire – ca. 1400 BC

  1. Ironworking Technology

  2. -Attacks of a mysterious sea peoples around 1190 on the Aegean (Greece), Hittite (Turkey), Mesopotamia (Syria), and the Nile River Delta (Egypt) are evidence of a crisis in the Mediterranean world. There was widespread instability of populations driven by hunger and land shortages. This was largely caused by ecological frailty and unstable competitive politics.

C. Assyrian Empire – ca. 1000 BC

Most extensive, except for the Persian Empire Contributions of the Assyrians

1. Improved iron weaponry.

2. Warfare was central to the culture.

3. Encouraged a well-ordered society.

4. First rulers to develop extensive laws regulating life within the royal household.

5. At Nineveh, King Assurbanipal founded one of the first libraries, collecting cuneiform

tablets from all over the empire.

6. Ruled through fear: by 750 B.C.E. King Tiglath-pilaser III adopted the title of king of the Four Quarters (King of the World)

7. The Assyrian Empire fell in the 620’s under Ashurbanipal: Why? The Kings claimed control of nature. Constan rebellions plagued the empire (especially in the cities of ancient Sumeria and Babylonia)

D. Babylon Revisited – ca. 612 BC

King Nebuchadnezzar builds the Hanging Gardens.



Strabo: Babylon has turned to waste by the blows of invaders and the indifference of rulers. The great city has become a great desert.

  1. Greek Civilization 1750 BC – 133 BC

  1. Early Minoan civilization – the forerunner for Greece - began on the island of Crete, around 1700 BC. Evidence shows extensive trade and a very advanced culture, which was exported to mainland Greece at Mycenae. Minoan Civilization was one of the earliest examples of what has come to be called Greek civilization. Minoans were trading at the same time as the Phoenicians, Egyptians and Babylonians. Very unequal social structure with a malnourished lower class. This led to constant revolts and an overthrow of the nobility.

  2. Mycenaean 1600 BC – 1200 BC

Sea traders – beyond Aegean to Sicily, Italy, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Warriors, living in several city states. The Mycenaean city state became the mainland Greek civilization. Best known for Trojan War. 1200 BC Mycenaean Civilization collapsed because of sea invaders. Trade and culture are at a standstill for about 100 years.

  1. Phoenicians – ca. 1200 BC

  1. While powerful rulers subdued large empires, the Phoenicians gained fame as sailors, traders and colonizers. They occupied a string of cities along the coastal Mediterranean and traded as far away as Africa and India.

-Ezekial on Tyre (the Phoenician trading port) “Their ports ring with precious metals, exude aromas of spice, and swirl with dye-steeped textiles. But the basis of everything is shipbuilding; the timbers from Lebanon, the oak for the oars, benches of ivory, sails of Egyptian linen, and mariners and builders from the Phoenician coast”

Contributions of the Phoenicians

B. Traded extensively in the Mediterranean. Trade goods included royal purple dye, glass, rare cedar wood, linen fabric, metal ware and papyrus

C. Introduced the Phoenician alphabet, which we use today.

V. Athens and Sparta 1200 – 0 BC

Greece itself was made up of separate city-states, which were constantly at war.



City-state: Political unit made up of a city and the surrounding lands.

  1. Athens

Government: Limited democracy (only male citizens could participate), Council of 500 which made the laws, voting Assembly.

Soldiers: Citizen soldiers – only during wartime

Slaves: No political rights or freedoms. Owned by individuals

Women: Cared for the home, limited political rights.

Education: Upper class boys only. Military training and preparation for government involvement. Knowledge was important for a democratic government.



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