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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. Nutritious plants - cereal grains Cooperative animals - “big four”

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Cradles of Civilization

The Near and Middle-Eastern Origins of Human Society


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Myth & history

The Epic of Gilgamesh 2100 BCE

Gilgamesh

Enkidu

mythopoeic


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I. Neolithic Era10,000 – 3300 BCE


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A. The Fertile Crescent

Nutritious plants- cereal grains

Cooperative animals- “big four”

Geographical determinism?


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B. Prelude to Civilization

  • Division of labor

    - spare time - fired-pottery - copper

    Jericho, 8400 BCECatalhöyük, 7400 BCE

    communal, subsistence oriented


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2. “Eden”- alluvial plain

Physical, metaphoricalplace of transition


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3. Hydraulic SocietiesKarl Wittfogel


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4. Flood culture

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


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Terms (from notes and text)

  • Epic of Gilgamesh

  • Fertile Crescent

  • Hydraulic Society

  • Mesopotamia

  • Sumer

  • Bronze/Iron Ages

  • Cuneiform writing

  • Indo-European “sky gods”

  • Code of Hammurabi

  • Sargon the Akkadian

  • Old Babylonians

  • Old/Middle/New Kingdoms

  • Narmer Palette

  • Imhotep

  • Maat (ma’at)

  • Hatshepsut

  • Upper / Lower Egypt

  • The Nile River

  • Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV)

  • Osiris


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II. MesopotamiaThe Land Between the Rivers


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A. Hot in the city

  • Sumer3200-2360 BCEUr, Uruk, Eridu

  • Good neighbors- household rule↓ kings↓dynasties


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B. Tools

1. Bronze Age(3300BC – 1300BC)


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2. Cuneiform Writing (Sumerians, 3500 BCE)

“Whoever has walked with Truth generates life”

Evolved Hieroglyphs – separate meaning from symbolAlphabets (Phoenicians) 1600 BCE


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C. Religion

  • Gods and goddesses- bound to “cycles” - impersonal - “un” ethical

    See Hammurabi’s Code

    Inanna


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2. Indo-Europeansca. 2200-2000 BCE

“Sky gods”

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

- external morality/social order


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D. Consolidation and fall

  • Akkadian Empire 2300-2200 BCE standing army nepotism soil salinity

    Sargon the Akkadian “basket case”


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2. Old Babylonian Empire

Hammurabi’s Code (1700s BCE)

“If…then…”



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A. Land of the Nile

  • Ecological stability

  • Semi-isolation

  • Early Dynasties3100-2700 BCEgod-kingsless innovative


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B. Old Kingdom 2700-2200 BCE

  • Old PharaohMaat(ma’at)

    - optimism / eternity

    2. Bureaucracy


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3. Life and death

- Nation-building “out of many, one”- orderly universeDjoser / Imhotep 2650 BCE


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C. Middle Kingdom 2025-1630 BCE

  • Economic expansion

  • Literature

    3. Resurrection cults- Osiris / Isis- funeral cultureHyksos ca. 1600 BCE


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D. Imperial Egypt 1550-1075

  • Beyond the Nile- Hittites- Phoenicians- Hebrews- Assyrians- Greeks

    Thutmose I 1504-1492 BCE


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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 arisingat the beginning of a happy new year.


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3. Limits to power

- Amenhotep IV / Nefertiti (ca. 1350s BCE)

- Aten Cult “Sky god”?

King Tutcultural lethargy