Ancient History/Ancient Near East

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Introduction - The Ancient Near East

The ancient Near East refers to early civilizations in a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia (modern Iraq and Syria), Anatolia (modern Turkey), the Levant (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan), as well as Persia (modern Iran), and Ancient Egypt, from the beginnings of Sumer in the 6th millennium BC until the region's conquest by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. This chapter will discuss the first three, while information on the latter two can be found in chapters nine and four, respectively.

The ancient Near East is considered the cradle of civilization. It was the first to practice intensive year-round agriculture; it produced the first writing system, invented the potter's wheel and then the vehicular- and mill wheels, created the first centralized governments, law codes and empires, as well as introducing social stratification, slavery and organized warfare, and it laid the foundation for the fields of astronomy and mathematics.

Due to the broad scope of this chapter, it is divided into three parts: Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and the Levant.

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Part 1 - Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia, the "land between the rivers" lies in modern-day Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. Here the first cities and the first civilizations began to emerge between four thousand and six thousand years before the present.

  1. Sumer, Akkad and the First Civilizations
  2. Babylon
  3. Upper Mesopotamia
  4. The Neo-Assyrian Empire
  5. The Neo-Babylonian Empire
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Part 2 - Anatolia

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  1. The Hatti
  2. The Hittites
  3. Syro-Hittite states
  4. Urartu
  5. Phrygia
  6. Lydia
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Part 3 - The Levant

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  1. Early Levantine City-States
  2. Canaan
  3. Phoenicia
  4. The Arameans
  5. Ancient Israel and Judah

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