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The past. The present. The future. History of the Earth. Geological Time Scales.

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human evolution

A small African ape living around six Ma was the last animal whose descendants would include both modern humans and their closest relatives, the chimpanzees.Very soon after the split, apes in one branch developed the ability to walk upright. Brain size increased rapidly, and by 2 Ma, the first animals classified in the genus Homo had appeared.

The ability to control fire probably began in Homo erectus, probably at least 790,000 years ago but perhaps as early as 1.5 Ma.

It is more difficult to establish the origin of language; it is unclear whether Homo erectus could speak or if that capability had not begun until Homo sapiens. As brain size increased, babies were born earlier, before their heads grew too large to pass through the pelvis.

Modern humans (Homo sapiens) are believed to have originated somewhere around 200,000 years ago or earlier in Africa; the oldest fossils date back to around 160,000 years ago.

The first humans to show signs of spirituality are the Neanderthals; they buried their dead, often apparently with food or tools. However, evidence of more sophisticated beliefs, such as the early Cro-Magnon cave paintings did not appear until some 32,000 years ago. Cro-Magnons also left behind stone figurines such as Venus of Willendorf, probably also signifying religious belief. By 11,000 years ago, Homo sapiens had reached the southern tip of South America, the last of the uninhabited continents.

Human evolution
the end of last ice age

The last glacial period was the most recent glacial period within the current ice age occurring during the last years (from ≈110 ka to 10 ka ago) of the Pleistocene.

During this period there were several changes between glacier advance and retreat. The maximum extent of glaciation was approximately 18,000 years ago.

From the point of view of human evolution, it sets apart the periods paleolithic and mesolithic (periods of the Stone Age still).

The End of Last Ice Age
Throughout more than 90% of its history, Homo sapiens lived in small bands as nomadic hunter-gatherers. Civilization

Cultural evolution quickly outpaced biological evolution, and history proper began. Somewhere between 8500 and 7000 BC, humans in the Fertile Crescent in Middle East began the systematic husbandry of plants and animals: agriculture. This spread to neighboring regions, and developed independently elsewhere, until most Homo sapiens lived sedentary lives in permanent settlements as farmers.

development of science

Not all societies abandoned nomadism, especially those in isolated areas of the globe poor in domesticable plant species, such as Australia. However, among those civilizations that did adopt agriculture, the relative stability and increased productivity provided by farming allowed the population to expand.

Agriculture had a major impact; humans began to affect the environment as never before. Surplus food allowed a priestly or governing class to arise, followed by increasing division of labor. This led to Earth’s first civilization at Sumer in the Middle East, between 4000 and 3000 BC. Additional civilizations quickly arose in ancient Egypt, at the Indus River valley and in China.

Starting around 3000 BC, Hinduism, one of the oldest religions still practiced today, began to take form. Others soon followed. The invention of writing enabled complex societies to arise: record-keeping and libraries served as a storehouse of knowledge and increased the cultural transmission of information. Humans no longer had to spend all their time working for survival—curiosity and education drove the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

Development of Science

The history of Sumer, taken to include the prehistoric Ubaid and Uruk periods, spans the 5th to 3rd millennia BC, ending with the downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur around 2004 BC, followed by a transition period of Amorite states before the rise of Babylonia in the 18th century BC. The first settlement in southern Mesopotamia was Eridu. The Sumerians claimed that their civilization had been brought, fully formed, to the city of Eridu by their god Enki.


Gilgamesh was the fifth king of Uruk, ruling 126 years, according to the Sumerian king list, placing his reign ca. 2500 BC. Gilgamesh is the central character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the greatest surviving work of early Mesopotamian literature. In Mesopotamian mythology, Gilgamesh is credited with having been a demigod of superhuman strength who built a great city wall to defend his people from external threats and travelled to meet Utnapishtim, the sage who had survived the Great Deluge.

ancient stories

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient poem from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the hero-king Gilgamesh, which were fashioned into a longer Akkadian epic much later.

The Enûma Elish is the Babylonian creation myth. The epic names two primeval gods: Apsû and Tiamat. Several other gods are created who reside in Tiamat's vast body. They make so much noise that the babel or noise annoys Tiamat and Apsû greatly. Apsû wishes to kill the young gods, but Tiamat disagrees. Tiamat, in order to stop this from occurring, warns Ea, the most powerful of the gods. Ea uses magic to put Apsû into a coma, then kills him. Ea then becomes the chief god, and along with his consort Damkina, has a son, Marduk, greater still than himself. Marduk is given wind to play with and he uses the wind to make dust storms and tornadoes. This disrupts Tiamat's great body and causes the gods still residing inside her to be unable to sleep.

They persuade Tiamat to take revenge for the death of her husband, Apsû. Her power grows, and some of the gods join her. She creates 11 monsters to help her win the battle. Marduk offers to save the gods if he is appointed as their leader and allowed to remain so even after the threat passes. When the gods agree to Marduk's conditions he is selected as their champion against Tiamat, and becomes very powerful. Marduk challenges Tiamat to combat and destroys her. He then rips her corpse into two halves with which he fashions the earth and the skies. Marduk then creates the calendar, organizes the planets, stars and regulates the moon, sun, and weather.

Ancient Stories

The Nile has been the lifeline for Egyptian culture since nomadic hunter-gatherers began living along the Nile during the Pleistocene. Along the Nile, in the 12th millennium BC, a grain-grinding culture using the earliest type of sickle blades had been replaced by another culture of hunters, fishers, and gathering people using stone tools. Geological evidence and computer climate modeling studies suggest that natural climate changes around 8000 BC began to desiccate the extensive pastoral lands of northern Africa, eventually forming the Sahara (c.2500 BC). There is evidence of pastoralism and cultivation of cereals in the East Sahara in the 7th millennium BC.

By about 6000 BC, organized agriculture and large building construction had appeared in the Nile Valley. At this time, Egyptians in the southwestern corner of Egypt were herding cattle and also constructing large buildings. Mortar was in use by 4000 BC. Between 5500 and 3100 BC, during Egypt's Predynastic Period, small settlements flourished along the Nile, whose delta empties into the Mediterranean Sea. By 3300 BC, just before the first Egyptian dynasty, Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, known as Upper Egypt, and Lower Egypt. The historical records of ancient Egypt begin with Egypt as a unified state, which occurred sometime around 3150 BC. According to Egyptian tradition Menes, thought to have unified Upper and Lower Egypt, was the first king.

egypt old kingdom

The Old Kingdom is most commonly regarded as spanning the period of time when Egypt was ruled by the Third Dynasty through to the Sixth Dynasty (2686 BC – 2134 BC). The royal capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom was located at Memphis. The Old Kingdom is perhaps best known, however, for the large number of pyramids, which were constructed at this time as pharaonic burial places.The Old Kingdom and its royal power reached their zenith under the Fourth Dynasty. Sneferu, the dynasty's founder, is believed to have commissioned at least three pyramids; while his son and successor Khufu erected the Great Pyramid of Giza, Sneferu had more stone and brick moved than any other pharaoh. Khufu, his son Khafra, and his grandson Menkaura, all achieved lasting fame in the construction of their pyramids. To organize and feed the manpower needed to create these pyramids required a centralized government with extensive powers, and Egyptologists believe the Old Kingdom at this time demonstrated this level of sophistication. Although it was once believed that slaves built these monuments, a theory based on the biblical Exodus story, study of the tombs of the workmen, who oversaw construction on the pyramids, has shown they were built by a corvée of peasants drawn from across Egypt. They apparently worked while the annual Nile flood covered their fields, as well as a very large crew of specialists, including stone cutters, painters, mathematicians and priests.

Egypt – Old Kingdom
bronze age india

The Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BCE with the early Indus Valley Civilization. It was centered on the Indus River and its tributaries which extended into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley, the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, Gujarat, and southeastern Afghanistan.

Bronze Age India

The civilization is primarily located in modern-day India and Pakistan. Historically part of Ancient India, it is one of the world's earliest urban civilizations, along with Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft, and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin.

The Mature Indus civilization flourished from about 2600 to 1900 BCE, marking the beginning of the urban civilization on the subcontinent. The civilization is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multistoried houses.

the beginning of writing

The writing process first evolved from economic necessity in the ancient near east. The clay tokens were used to represent commodities, and perhaps even units of time spent in labor, and their number and type became more complex as civilization advanced. A degree of complexity was reached when over a hundred different kinds of tokens had to be accounted for, and tokens were wrapped and fired in clay, with markings to indicate the kind of tokens inside. These markings soon replaced the tokens themselves, and the clay envelopes were demonstrably the prototype for clay writing tablets.

Writing is an extension of human language across time and space. Writing most likely began as a consequence of political expansion in ancient cultures, which needed reliable means for transmitting information, maintaining financial accounts, keeping historical records, and similar activities. Around the 4th millennium BC, the complexity of trade and administration outgrew the power of memory, and writing became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form. In both Mesoamerica and Ancient Egypt writing may have evolved through calendrics and a political necessity for recording historical and environmental events.

The beginning of writing
mesopotamia and china

The original Mesopotamian writing system was derived from this method of keeping accounts, and by the end of the 4th millennium BC, this had evolved into using a triangular-shaped stylus pressed into soft clay for recording numbers. Round-stylus and sharp-stylus writing was gradually replaced by writing using a wedge-shaped stylus (hence the term cuneiform), at first only for logograms, but evolved to include phonetic elements by the 29th century BC. Around the 26th century BC, cuneiform began to represent syllables of spoken Sumerian. Also in that period, cuneiform writing became a general purpose writing system for logograms, syllables, and numbers.

In China historians have found out a lot about the early Chinese dynasties from the written documents left behind. From the Shang Dynasty most of this writing has survived on bones or bronze implements. Markings on turtle shells (used as oracle bones) have been carbon-dated to around 1500 BC. Historians have found that the type of media used had an effect on what the writing was documenting and how it was used.

Mesopotamia and China

There have recently been discoveries of tortoise-shell carvings dating back to c. 6000 BC, but whether or not the carvings are of sufficient complexity to qualify as writing is under debate. If it is deemed to be a written language, writing in China will predate Mesopotamian cuneiform, long acknowledged as the first appearance of writing, by some 2000 years.

egypt indus valley and mesoamerica

The earliest known hieroglyphic inscriptions are the Narmer Palette, dating to c.3200 BC, and several recent discoveries that may be slightly older, though the glyphs were based on a much older artistic tradition. The hieroglyphic script was logographic with phonetic adjuncts that included an effective alphabet.Writing was very important in maintaining the Egyptian empire, and literacy was concentrated among an educated elite of scribes. Only people from certain backgrounds were allowed to train to become scribes, in the service of temple, pharaonic, and military authorities.The world's oldest known alphabet was developed in central Egypt around 2000 BC from a hieroglyphic prototype, and over the next 500 years spread to Canaan and eventually to the rest of the world.

Indus script refers to short strings of symbols associated with the Indus Valley Civilization used between 2600–1900 BC. In spite of many attempts at decipherments and claims, it is as yet undeciphered. The script generally refers to that used in the mature Harappan phase, which perhaps evolved from a few signs found in early Harappa after 3500 BC, and was followed by the mature Harappan script.

A stone slab with 3,000-year-old writing was discovered in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and is an example of the oldest script in the Western Hemisphere preceding the oldest Zapotec writing dated to about 500 BC. It is thought to be Olmec. Of several pre-Columbian scripts in Mesoamerica, the one that appears to have been best developed, and the only one to be deciphered, is the Maya script. The earliest inscriptions which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BC, and writing was in continuous use until shortly after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century AD.

Egypt, Indus Valley and Mesoamerica
to 2400 bc

The Maya make astronomical inscriptions and constructions in Central America

A marked bone from this time found in Zaire is probably used as a record of months and lunar phases (8000 BC)

People in Mesopotamia use clay tokens to record numbers of animals and measures of grain (7000 BC)

The Egyptian calendar, the first known based on 365 days (12 months of 30 days and 5 days of festival) is possibly instituted as early as 4241 BC

The Egyptians develop their number system to the point where they can record numbers as large as necessary (3000 BC)

Metal mirrros are used in Egypt (3000 BC)

Babylonians predict eclipses (2900 BC)

Impressions of clay tokens used in Sumeria for showing measures of grain become standardized as the first numerals; around the same time symbols are introduced for 60 and 360 (2900 BC)

The Great Pyramid of Giza is built as a tomb for Khu-fu (2800 BC)

Units of length, weight and capacity are legally fixed in Mesopotamia (2400 BC)

A form of soldering to join sheets of gold is used by the Chaldeans in Ur (2400 BC)

… to 2400 BC
to 2000 bc

Standard weights used in trade are developed by the Sumerians (2400 BC)

The Chinese introduce a method of taking observations of the sky based on the equator and the poles; this method is not adopted in the West until Tycho Brahe (2300 BC)

Positional notation is developed in Mesopotamia; unlike most other systems, the Sumerian system has a base of 60 instead of 10 (2400 BC)

Chinese observers record a comet in 2296 BC, the earliest known record of a comet sighting

The oldest preserved standard for length is the foot of the statue of the ruler Gudea of Lagash (2000 BC)

Mesopotamian cultures learn to solve quadratic equations; that is, equations in which the highest power is two (2000 BC)

… to 2000 BC
the world in 2000 bc

Minoan Civilization in Crete

Old Babylonia in Mesopotamia

Harappa Period in India

Middle Kingdom in Egypt

Xia Dynasty in China

Olmec Civilization in Mesoamerica

The World in 2000 BC

Assyria was a kingdom centered on the Upper Tigris river, in Mesopotamia (Iraq), that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur. The term Assyria can also refer to the geographic region or heartland where these empires were centered.


During the Old Assyrian period (20th to 15th centuries BC), Assur controlled much of Upper Mesopotamia and parts of Asia Minor. In the Middle Assyrian period (15th to 10th centuries BC), its influence waned and was subsequently regained in a series of conquests. The Neo-Assyrian Empire of the Early Iron Age (911 – 612 BC) expanded further, and under Ashurbanipal (r. 668 – 627 BC) for a few decades controlled all of the Fertile Crescent, as well as Egypt, before succumbing to Neo-Babylonian and Median expansion.


Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi (fl. ca. 1696 – 1654 BC, short chronology) created an empire out of the territories of the former Akkadian Empire.


Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no longer a spoken language. The Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under outside rule, throughout the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age.

Hammurabi is known for the set of laws called Hammurabi's Code, one of the first written codes of law in recorded history. These laws were written on a stone tablet standing over eight feet tall (2.4 meters) that was found in 1901.

the sack of babylon

The date of the sack of Babylon by the Hittite king Mursilis I is considered crucial to the various calculations of the early chronology of the ancient Near East, since both a solar and a lunar eclipse are said to have occurred in the month of Sivan that year, according to ancient records.

The fall of Babylon is taken as a fixed point in the discussion of the chronology of the ancient Near East. Suggestions for its precise date vary by as much as 150 years, corresponding to the uncertainty regarding the length of the "Dark Age" of the ensuing Bronze Age collapse, resulting in the shift of the entire Bronze Age chronology of Mesopotamia with regard to the chronology of Ancient Egypt. Possible dates for the sack of Babylon are:

* ultra-short chronology: 1499 BC

* short chronology: 1531 BC

* middle chronology: 1595 BC

* long chronology: 1651 BC

The sack of Babylon
minoan civilization

The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. Crete reached the peak of its power around 2000 BC. It dominated the Aegean Sea and its coastlines from the capital Knossos.

By 1600 BC invading tribes from the north entered Greece and they were the people we call Greeks. The early Greeks had as their chief city, Mycenae, in the northeast corner of the Peloponnesus, therefore referred to as Myceneans. Crete held the Myceneans in subjection. However around 1500 BC, a major volcanic explotion on the island of Thera (Santorini today, 130 kms north of Crete) weakened Minoan civilization. This might also be the Greek legend of Atlantis.

With Crete shaken by the volcanic explosion of Thera, the Mycenean Greeks were able to take over the island. The Myceneans attempted to spread eastward into Asia Minor as well. The commercial city of Troy in the northwest corner of Asia Minor was besieged and destroyed. This was eventually magnified into a great 10-year war and the poetry of Homer made the incident world-famous. The siege took place about 1200 BC.

Minoan Civilization

The "Hittites" were an ancient Anatolian people who spoke a language of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family and established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia ca. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height ca. the 14th century BC, encompassing a large part of Anatolia, north-western Syria about as far south as the mouth of the Litani River, and eastward into upper Mesopotamia. After ca. 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some surviving until as late as the 8th century BC.


The Hittites became a great power under Suppilulimas I (1375-1334). Under his son, Mussilish II (1334-1306), the Hittites raided Babylon. Under Muwatallish (1306-1282), they fought the Battle of Kadesh (1298 BC) against Rameses II and won. About 1200BC, when tribesmen called “Phyrigians” invaded Asia Minor, their empire came to an end.


The First Intermediate Period ushered in a time of political upheaval for about 150 years (ca. 2181-2055 BC). Stronger Nile floods and stabilization of government, however, brought back renewed prosperity for the country in the Middle Kingdom c. 2040 BC, reaching a peak during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat III. A second period of disunity heralded the arrival of the first foreign ruling dynasty in Egypt, that of the Semitic Hyksos. The Hyksos invaders took over much of Lower Egypt around 1650 BC and founded a new capital at Avaris. They were driven out by an Upper Egyptian force led by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty and relocated the capital from Memphis to Thebes.

The New Kingdom (c.1550−1070 BC) began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, marking the rise of Egypt as an international power that expanded during its greatest extension to an empire as far south as Tombos in Nubia, and included parts of the Levant in the east. This period is noted for some of the most well-known Pharaohs, including Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. The first historically attested expression of monotheism came during this period as Atenism. Frequent contacts with other nations brought new ideas to the New Kingdom. The country was later invaded and conquered by Libyans, Nubians and Assyrians, but native Egyptians eventually drove them out and regained control of their country, but the strain of doing so finally wore them out. By 1000 BC, the Egyptian Empire was no more, and Egypt remained a minor power thereafter.


Phoenician civilization was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean during the period 1550 BC to 300 BC. Though ancient boundaries of such city-centered cultures fluctuated, the city of Tyre seems to have been the southernmost. Sarepta (modern day Sarafand) between Sidon and Tyre is the most thoroughly excavated city of the Phoenician homeland. The Phoenicians often traded by means of a galley, a man-powered sailing vessel, and are credited with the invention of the bireme.

It is uncertain to what extent the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single ethnicity. Their civilization was organized in city-states, similar to ancient Greece. Each city-state was an independent unit politically, and they could come into conflict and one city could be dominated by another city-state, although they would collaborate in leagues or alliances.

The Phoenicians were also the first state-level society to make extensive use of the alphabet. The Phoenician phonetic alphabet is generally believed to be the ancestor of almost all modern alphabets. Phoenicians spoke the Phoenician language, which belongs to the group of Canaanite languages in the Semitic language family. Through their maritime trade, the Phoenicians spread the use of the alphabet to North Africa and Europe, where it was adopted by the Greeks, who later passed it on to the Romans and Etruscans.

israelites and philistines

The Israelites laid the foundations for the most important religions in the world. Their legends describe a period of slavery in Egypt. There they may have picked up monotheist notions from Akhenaton. About 1200 BC (after the reign of Rameses II), groups of Israelites managed to escape from the land (Exodus) under the leadership of Moses, to join other tribes that were invading Canaan (modern day Palestine territories+Israel+southern part of Lebanon). While the Israelites were coming from the east and south, another wave of Myceneans and Phyrigians, that had struck Asia Minor was landing on the Canaan cost from the west. They were Philistines (who eventually gave the land its name Palestine).

For two centuries, the invading Israelites and Philistines tore at Canaan. For a while, the Philistines, who had iron weapons, dominated the Israelites and Canaanites alike; however, about 1000 BC, the Israelites had gained iron weapons for themselves. David, of the southern tribe of Judah, managed to seize the Israelite throne and to defeat the Philistines, who effectively disappeared from history thereafter.

Israelites and Philistines
to 1000 bc

Around 1950 BC, a copper bar from Nippur 110.35 cm long is an early standard measure; it is divided into 4 “feet” and 16 “inches” each.

Around 1900 BC, Mesopotamian mathematicians discover what is now known as the Phytagorean theorem (but this was purely mathematical).

Around 1800 BC, multiplication tables appear in Mesopotamia.

Around 1750 BC, under Hammurabi, star catalogs and planetary records are compiled.

Around 1700 BC, Egyptians possedded considerable knowledge of geometry, including a formula for the volume of a truncated pyramid (source Moscow and Rhind papyruses).

Around 1700 BC, the Phoenicians are writing with a 22-letter alphabet.

Around 1600 BC, the zodiac is identified by Chaldean astrologers.

Around 1550 BC, true plows made of bronze are in use in Vietnam.

Around 1500 BC, the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus is written; the papyrus is a scientific treatise on surgery.

Around 1500 BC, liquor is distilled in parts of Asia.

Around 1500 BC, the Sumerians invent the single tube seed drill.

Around 1450 BC, Thutmosis III erects in Heliopolis the “Needle of Cleopatra”; its shadow is used to calculate the time, season and solstices.

Around 1400 BC, Egyptians build water clocks.

Around 1350 BC, the Egyptians and Mesopotamians produce glass.

Around 1050 BC, the Duke of Chou in China builds the first magnetic compass.

… to 1000 BC
old babylonian astronomy

Old Babylonian astronomy refers to the astronomy that was practiced during and after the First Babylonian Dynasty (ca. 1830 BC) and before the Neo-Babylonian Empire (ca. 626 BC).

The Babylonians were the first to recognize that astronomical phenomena are periodic and apply mathematics to their predictions. Tablets dating back to the Old Babylonian period document the application of mathematics to the variation in the length of daylight over a solar year. Centuries of Babylonian observations of celestial phenomena are recorded in the series of cuneiform tablets known as the Enûma Anu Enlil—the oldest significant astronomical text that we possess is Tablet 63 of the Enûma Anu Enlil, the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa, which lists the first and last visible risings of Venus over a period of about 21 years. It is the earliest evidence that planetary phenomena were recognized as periodic.

The MUL.APIN (a Babylonian compendium that deals with many diverse aspects of Babylonian astrology) contains catalogues of stars and constellations as well as schemes for predicting heliacal risings and settings of the planets, and lengths of daylight. There are dozens of cuneiform Mesopotamian texts with real observations of eclipses, mainly from Babylonia.

Old Babylonian astronomy
old babylonian astronomy1

Planetary theory

The first civilisation known to possess a functional theory of the planets were the Babylonians. The oldest surviving planetary astronomical text is the Babylonian Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa, a 7th century BC copy of a list of observations of the motions of the planet Venus that probably dates as early as the second millennium BC. The Babylonian astrologers also laid the foundations of what would eventually become Western astrology. The Enuma anu enlil, written during the Neo-Assyrian period in the 7th century BC, comprises a list of omens and their relationships with various celestial phenomena including the motions of the planets.

The Sumerians, predecessors of the Babylonians who are considered to be the first civilization and are credited with the invention of writing, had identified at least Venus by 1500 BC. Shortly afterwards, the other inner planet Mercury and the outer planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were all identified by Babylonian astronomers. These would remain the only known planets until the invention of the telescope in early modern times.

Old Babylonian astronomy
1000 bc

In Israel, David is the king

Egypt is a minor power

Alphabet is developed by the Phoenicians

Midas is the king in Phrygia

Dorians invaded Greece

Chou Dynasty in China

1000 BC

David, who reigned over Israel from 1000 to 960 BC, extended Israelite territory from Egypt to the upper Euphrates River. The entire eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea was Israelite, and this has been always remembered by the Jews as their “natural boundaries”. This, in fact, is one of the miseries of history. Every nation remembers how things were at the time of its maximum extent and glory, which is what it considers just and natural. Naturally, there are overlappings in every direction and the territorial quarrels never end.

Solomon, David's son and successor, reigned from 962 to 922 BC. He attempted no further conquests, but lived in peace. He built a temple to the Israelite god; one that was unique in the ancient world because it contained no sculptured representations of any god-figure.

Finally Nabucadrezzar II of the Chaldean Empire took Jerusalem in 586 BC and destroyed Solomon's temple. He also deported the chief families of Judah into Babylonia as, a century and a half earlier, the chief familes of Israel had been deported into Assyria. But the treatment of the Chaldeans was benign and they prospered in Babylonia.


The Neo-Assyrian Empire is usually considered to have begun in 911 BC, lasting until the fall of Nineveh at the hands of the Babylonians, Medes, Scythians and Cimmerians in 612 BC.Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II, Assyria became a great power, growing to be a serious threat to 25th dynasty Egypt. It began reaching the peak of its power with the reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III (ruled 745 – 727 BC). This period, which included the Sargonic dynasty, is well-referenced in several sources, including the Assyro-Babylonian Chronicles and the Hebrew Bible. At its height Assyria conquered Egypt, Babylonia, Chaldea, Elam, Media, Persia, Urartu, Phoenicia, Aramea, the Neo-Hittites, Hurrians, northern Arabia, Gutium, Palestine, Israel, Judah, Moab, Edom, Corduene, Mannea and parts of Ancient Greece, and defeated Scythia, Cimmeria, Lydia, Nubia and others.


Around 900 BC, Assyrian army was the first to be completely outfitted with iron weapons. They also learned how to mount and control a horse, hence the chariot disappeared in warfare.

Assyria finally succumbed with the sack of Nineveh in 612 BC by a coalition of Babylonians, Medes, Scythians and Cimmerians.


The Chaldeans had dominated Babylonia for over two centuries but had lived in the shadow of Assyria until the death of Ashurbanipal in 625 BC. The governor of Babylon, Nabolassar, attacked the Assyrians, and Assyria was wiped out. After Nabolassar, his capable son, Nabuchadrezzar II succeeded and he formed the Chaldean, or Neo-Babylonian Empire. By 600 BC, they ruled over much of the territory that Assyria had ruled over in 700 BC.

Besides this, Nebuchadrezzar completed a large ziggurat in Babylon. It had stood for a long time unfinished and had served as the inspiration for the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel. When the ziggurat was completed, it was about 100 m tall, shorter than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

In 539 BC, the Persians, under one of Cyrus's generals attacked Babylon, and the Chaldean Empire was destroyed.

median empire

The Medes were an ancient Iranian people who lived in the northwestern portions of present-day Iran. This area is known as Media. They entered this region with the first wave of Iranian tribes, in the late second millennium BC (the Bronze Age collapse). By the 6th century BC, after having together with the Babylonians defeated the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Medes were able to establish their authority, lasting for about sixty years, from the sack of Nineveh in 612 BC until 549 BC when Cyrus the Great established the Achaemenid Empire by defeating Astyages, king of Media.

During the deciding battle of the war between the Medes and Lydians, a sudden solar eclipse took place. Both armies took this as a sign from the gods and they made peace. The chief result is that the date of this aborted battle is the earliest event in human history that we can confidently say happened on a particular day, and no other. That day was May 28th, 585 BC.

Median Empire
persian empire

The Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC), also known as the Persian Empire, was the successor state of the Median Empire, ruling over significant portions of what would become Greater Iran. The empire took its unified form with a central administration around Pasargadae erected by Cyrus the Great. Cyrus II conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylon. Cyrus was politically shrewd, modeling himself as the "savior" of conquered nations. To reinforce this image, he instituted policies of religious freedom, and restored temples and other infrastructure in the newly acquired cities.

His immediate successors were less successful. Cyrus' son Cambyses II conquered Egypt, but died in July 522 BC and was succeeded by his brother-in-law, who reigned as Darius I (550-486 BC) and is sometimes called Darius the Great.

The Achaemenids thereafter consolidated areas firmly under their control. It was Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great who, by sound and farsighted administrative planning, brilliant military maneuvering, and a humanistic world view, established the greatness of the Achaemenids and, in less than thirty years, raised them from an obscure tribe to a world power. It was during the reign of Darius I that Persepolis was built (518–516 BC) and which would serve as capital for several generations of Achaemenid kings. Darius I attacked the Greek mainland, which had supported rebellious Greek colonies under his aegis; but as a result of his defeat at the Battle of Marathon, he was forced to pull the limits of his empire back to Asia Minor.

Persian Empire

Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in an area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. Their origin is unknown. But one hypothesis is that by 1000 BC, refugees of the Phyrigian invasion from Asia Minor had reached the western shores of Italy and settled there.

Around 800 BC, Etruscan power expanded along the west-central coast of Italy. On the Tiber River, at the southern rim of Etruscan power, the city of Rome was founded. The traditional date was 753 BC. Until 600 BC, Etruscans continued to expand their territories, especially northward into the Po River valley. Rome was ruled by Etruscan kings.

Phocaea (modern-day Foça in Turkey) was an ancient Ionian Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia. Greek colonists from Phocaea founded the colony of Massalia (modern day Marseille, in France) in 600 BC, Emporion (modern day Empúries, in Catalonia, Spain) in 575 BC and Elea (modern day Velia, in Campania, Italy) in 540 BC.

The naval battle in history, Battle of Alalia took place between 540 BC and 535 BC off the coast of Corsica between Phocaeans and allied Etruscans and Carthaginians. The Punic-Etruscan fleet of 120 ships defeated the Greek force of sixty ships and the nearby colony of Alalia was taken over by the Etruscans.

According to tradition the Roman Republic was established around 509 BC, when the last of the seven kings of Rome, Tarquin the Proud, was deposed, and a system based on annually elected magistrates and various representative assemblies was established. A constitution set a series of checks and balances, and a separation of powers. The most important magistrates were the two consuls, who together exercised executive authority as military command. The consuls had to work with the senate, which was initially an advisory council of the ranking nobility, or patricians, but grew in size and power.


Carthage refers to a city on the Gulf of Tunis, from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC. They are the first civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word "Phoenician") or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the centre of Tunis. According to Roman legend it was founded in 814 BCE by Phoenician colonists from Tyre under the leadership of Elissa (Queen Dido). It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean. By 650 BC, Carthage had its own navy and could hire plenty of mercenary soldiers. It dominated and protected the other Phoenician colonies. It controlled virtually all the north African coast west of Egypt, together with western Sicily and the other western-Mediterranean island. It has bases on the coast of Spain as well.

By 500 BC, the stage was set for a struggle between Carthage and the Greek cities, just as in the east, the stage was set for a struggle between Persia and the Greek cities.


By 1000 BC, the Aegean Sea was surrounded by Greek cities on all its shores and islands but nevertheless, Greece went through a period in which civilization receded.

The city of Athens managed to bring under control the peninsula of Attica, so it was large for a Greek city-state.

In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. From about the 9th century BC written records begin to appear. By 800 BC, Homer had written the Iliad and Odyssey.

A growing population and shortage of land also seems to have created internal strife between the poor and the rich in many city states. In Sparta, the Messenian Wars resulted in the conquest of Messenia and enserfment of the Messenians, beginning in the latter half of the 8th century BC, an act without precedent or antecedent in ancient Greece. This practice allowed a social revolution to occur. The subjugated population, farmed and laboured for Sparta, whilst every Spartan male citizen became a soldier of the Spartan Army in a permanently militarized state.


Even the elite were obliged to live and train as soldiers; this equality between rich and poor served to diffuse the social conflict. These reforms, attributed to the shadowy Lycurgus of Sparta, were probably complete by 650 BC.


Athens suffered a land and agrarian crisis in the late 7th century, again resulting in civil strife. The Archon (chief magistrate) Draco made severe reforms to the law code in 621 BC (hence "draconian"), but these failed to quell the conflict. Eventually the moderate reforms of Solon (594 BC) gave Athens some stability.

By the 6th century BC several cities had emerged as dominant in Greek affairs: Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes. Each of them had brought the surrounding rural areas and smaller towns under their control, and Athens and Corinth had become major maritime and mercantile powers as well.

Rapidly increasing population in the 8th and 7th centuries had resulted in emigration of many Greeks to form colonies in Magna Graecia (Southern Italy and Sicily), Asia Minor and further afield. The emigration effectively ceased in the 6th century by which time the Greek world had, culturally and linguistically, become much larger than the area of present-day Greece.

In the second half of the 6th century, Athens fell under the tyranny of Peisistratos. However, in 510 BC, at the instigation of the Athenian aristocrat Cleisthenes, the Spartan king Cleomenes I helped the Athenians overthrow the tyranny. Afterwards, Sparta and Athens promptly turned on each other, at which point Cleomenes I installed Isagoras as a pro-Spartan archon. Eager to prevent Athens from becoming a Spartan puppet, Cleisthenes responded by proposing to his fellow citizens that Athens undergo a revolution: that all citizens share in political power, regardless of status: that Athens become a "democracy".

to 500 bc

In 876 BC, the symbol for zero is used in an inscription in India, the first known reference to this symbol.

In 763 BC, the Babylonians record a solar eclipse, the oldest eclipse recorded.

Around 720 BC, Chinese start to record solar eclipses.

Around 700 BC, water clocks are used in Assyria.

Around 580 BC, Pythagoras is born on Samos.

Around 580 BC, Thales of Miletus says that water is the basis of all things.

Around 570 BC, Greek philosopher Xenophanes speculates that because fossil sea shells are found on the tops of the mountains, the surface of Earth must have risen and fallen in the past, one of the earliest ideas of earth science.

Around 530 BC, Pythagoras leaves Samos to found a school in Croton in southern Italy.

Around 530 BC, Greek philosopher Anaximenes of Miletus suggests that air is the primary substance; it can be changed into other substances by thinning, forming fire or thickening, forming wind, clouds, rain, hail, earth and rock.

Around 520 BC, Anaximander of Miletus makes the first known attempt to model Earth according to scientific principles; his consept is that the Earth is a cylinder with a north-south curvature.

Around 510 BC, Anaximander believes in an substance that is boundless and eternal but contains the qualities of hot, cold, dry and wet.

Around 500 BC, Pythagoreans are killed and dispersed by a mob in Croton, and Pythagoras flees to Tarentum.

… to 500 BC