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					Cradles of Civilization

The Near and Middle-Eastern
 Origins of Human Society
             Myth & history
       The Epic of Gilgamesh   2100 BCE


Gilgamesh
Enkidu




mythopoeic
I. Neolithic Era
 10,000 – 3300 BCE
     A. The Fertile Crescent

1. Nutritious plants
   - cereal grains


2. Cooperative animals
   - “big four”


Geographical determinism?
        B. Prelude to Civilization

1. Division of labor
      - spare time
      - fired-pottery
      - copper


Jericho, 8400 BCE
Catalhöyük, 7400 BCE


communal, subsistence oriented
2. “Eden”
       - alluvial plain



Physical, metaphorical
place of transition
3. Hydraulic Societies
                         Karl Wittfogel
4. Flood culture

 - Flood Myth – “divine right” (3000 BCE)
 - historicism – cycles, determinism
 - pessimism – the gods must be crazy
           Terms         (from notes and text)

•   Epic of Gilgamesh        • Old/Middle/New Kingdoms

•   Fertile Crescent         •   Narmer Palette
•   Hydraulic Society        •   Imhotep
•   Mesopotamia              •   Maat (ma’at)
•   Sumer                    •   Hatshepsut
•   Bronze/Iron Ages         •   Upper / Lower Egypt
•   Cuneiform writing        •   The Nile River
• Indo-European “sky gods”   •   Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV)
• Code of Hammurabi          •   Osiris
• Sargon the Akkadian
• Old Babylonians
II. Mesopotamia
The Land Between the Rivers
          A. Hot in the city
1. Sumer      3200-2360 BCE   Ur, Uruk, Eridu



2. Good neighbors
  - household rule
         ↓
       kings
          ↓
      dynasties
               B. Tools
1. Bronze Age (3300BC – 1300BC)
2. Cuneiform Writing            (Sumerians, 3500 BCE)




             “Whoever has walked with Truth generates life”

Evolved Hieroglyphs – separate meaning from symbol


  Alphabets (Phoenicians) 1600 BCE
               C. Religion
1. Gods and goddesses
     - bound to “cycles”
     - impersonal
     - “un” ethical

See Hammurabi’s Code




                           Inanna
2. Indo-Europeans               ca. 2200-2000 BCE

       “Sky gods”


exs. Enlil & Anu,   Ra or Amon-Re, El, Zeus, Yahweh




       - external morality/social order
    D. Consolidation and fall

1. Akkadian Empire      2300-2200 BCE

                       standing army
                       nepotism
                       soil salinity




            Sargon the Akkadian
                     “basket case”
2. Old Babylonian Empire

Hammurabi’s Code (1700s BCE)
“If…then…”
III. Egypt
          A. Land of the Nile
1. Ecological stability

2. Semi-isolation

3. Early Dynasties
   3100-2700 BCE
   god-kings
   less innovative
   B. Old Kingdom         2700-2200 BCE


1. Old Pharaoh
   Maat (ma’at)
  - optimism / eternity


2. Bureaucracy
3. Life and death
 - Nation-building             “out of many, one”
 - orderly universe



 Djoser / Imhotep   2650 BCE
 C. Middle Kingdom       2025-1630 BCE


1. Economic expansion

2. Literature

3. Resurrection cults
   - Osiris / Isis
   - funeral culture

   Hyksos ca. 1600 BCE
      D. Imperial Egypt    1550-1075


1. Beyond the Nile
    - Hittites
    - Phoenicians
    - Hebrews
    - Assyrians
    - Greeks


Thutmose I 1504-1492 BCE
2. Power and purpose
  - Hatshepsut 1478-1458 BCE




                  She is one girl, there is no one like her.
                  She is more beautiful than any other.
                  Look, she is like a star goddess arising
                  at the beginning of a happy new year.
3. Limits to power
  - Amenhotep IV / Nefertiti (ca. 1350s BCE)
  - Aten Cult “Sky god”?



King Tut

  cultural lethargy

				
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