Ancient Kingdoms & Empires of the Middle East
Ancient Kingdoms & Empires of the Middle East HIST 1010
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Myrissa Webb on Monday August 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1010 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Bohannan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 11 views.
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Date Created: 08/29/16
Ancient Kingdoms & Empires of the Middle East Hebrews. A group of people who originated in Mesopotamia. 1900 BCE they migrated out of Mesopotamia and headed West to Canaan (Palestine) under the leadership of Abraham. Some decided not to migrate west and instead went east to Egypt and became slaves. Later, Moses lead the Hebrew out of slavery in Egypt back to Canaan. As they were heading there they crossed the Sanai Peninsula. On Mount Sinai, Moses received the 10 Commandments. When arrived in Canaan, they established a Hebrew King. David. One of the most famous kings. He made Jerusalem his capital. He then was succeeded by his son, Solomon, the wisest king. He centralized government more fully. He made it more united. He also built the temple. David and Solomon were hugely important to the construction of Israel. After them there were many kings that led Israel downhill. Babylonian Captivity. They eventually split into 2 regions, Israel in the North and Judah in the South. The North was more urban and commercial. The south was more agricultural. Being Split left them more vulnerable for outside attacks. The north was captured by the Assyrians for a while. Eventually they would be captured by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He would come in, take captives, and make them slaves in Mesopotamia. He tore down Solomon's temple. Religion. Ethical monotheism. Abraham lead the Hebrew to follow just one God (Yahweh, Messiah). The interpretation of God was different than the earlier gods. The Hebrew God is above nature, created nature, controlled nature, but was not a part of nature. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and almighty. The Hebrews didn’t see God as a mean controlling God. They saw him as Just and merciful. They came to believe they had a covenant with God. He asked them to obey his laws (10 Commandments) and He would be their God and protect them. This is no the first written code, however, unlike Hammurabi's, it was more personal. They came to believe that all the bad things (captivity, destruction) were because of their own failures to obey God. Ethical Monotheism is a very new thing because it is more ethical. The Hebrew Bible is the Christian Old Testament. It is looked upon as Canonical (Accepted, Sacred, Holy.) Assyrians. Conquered the North part of the Hebrews for a while. They come from Northern Mesopotamia. About 900 BCE they begin to expand their power and start building an empire. They were pastoralist. Pastoral was agriculture exclusively domesticated animals. They lived a semi- nomadic life. They move where the animals could graze. They had a regular circuit. They relied heavily on horses. Therefore, they had a military advantage. This enables the Assyrians to build rapidly. It doesn’t last very long because the Assyrians relied on cruelty, violence and state-censored terrorism. They used force and intimidation. They were know as the meanest people in the world. Also, The Assyrians didn’t have enough people to protect the border. This combination was fatal because it caused to much unrest and the people eventually got tired of it and took over. Around 750 BCE was when things took a downward spiral. Persia. The Assyrians land was mostly subsumed by the Persians. They came from the modern Iran. They were an Indo-European nation. That was the ethnic linguistic classification. Cyrus was one of the main rulers. They were also equestrians. They didn’t rule like the Assyrians. It was as though Cyrus and Darius took a lesson from the Assyrians and learned from it. Administration. Their style of administration was so sensitive to the local government. Darius lays the blueprint of subsequent administrations. He knew that there were multiple different kind of people living in his empire. Different cultures, different languages, different governments, etc. So he knew he had two choices 1) Make one code of law, one language, one government and make everyone follow it or 2) balance localism (the desire to keep things as they were locally) and provide a central government. He first went in and organized the empire into multiple different Satrapies. Each Satrapy had its own local government and was ruled by a government official, Satrap. He left as much of the local government in place as he could. To make sure that each Satrapy was doing what it should be doing he relied on government spies. One way that he united the empire is making one system of money. This created a better economy and easier taxation process. By having a single kind of money, it made it easier to collect taxes. This was not favorable, change in money and taxes. However, he made it more favorable in that he made taxes regular and predictable. Before this, taxes were just whenever the government needed money. The amount and the time of the money was unpredictable. People liked the idea of being able to plan and adjust to the taxes because they knew when and how much they were going to pay them. This was very forward thinking. Law Codes. Even though he left the local code of law as it was he also made Imperial laws that implied to the empire as a whole. They didn’t have to make laws about everything because the local laws covered most things. When there was a difference between local and empirical laws. The empirical laws succeeded. Roads. He built roads. He made his capital Persepolis. It was a big empire and communication was hard. So Darius made roads to make it easier. There were "rest stops" for people to get fresh horses and for mailing needs. It was a clever way to redesign the logistics. Society and Religion. Society was cosmopolitan. They were tolerant of other cultures. The elite were the well-educated. When the empire was built, it became more urban. Zoroastrianism was the main religion. Around 7,000-6,000 BCE Zarathustra laid the groundworks for this religion. His works included the Gathas. He taught that the world is just this cosmic struggle between food and bad. The god of good is Ahura Mazda. The god of evil is Ahriman (Mainyu, Anora). They believed that when this good vs. bad struggle ended that Ahura Mazda would be the successor and those who followed Ahura Mazda would be granted and eternal reward. Those who followed Ahriman who burn eternally. They believed Ahriman shaped the Christian's "Satan".
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