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3. History of Civilization (3.3-3.4)
Written by Messiah   
Thursday, 06 July 2006

3.3    The Worlds first Empire

It was the Sumerians who formed the southern parts of Mesopotamia (Sumer). It seems like the Sumerians really was no ethic group, but a common language and culture. Together they called their land Ki-en-gi, “place of civilized lords” and were initially independent city-states, whose limits were defined by canals and boundary stones. Each state had a temple and was ruled by a king or a priest tied to the states religious rites. As these cities developed, they sought to assert primacy over each other, falling into a millennium of almost incessant warfare over water rights, trade routes, and tribute from nomadic tribes. By time one of the states, the Amorites, conquered Sumer and founded the city of Babylon around 2300BC, just north of the today existing Iraqi town al-Hillah.

The sixth ruler of Babylon, Hammurabi ~1780–1750 BC was a very efficient, giving the region stability after turbulent times. Babylon became transformed into the central power of Mesopotamia. One of the most important artifacts found from the area and time is the compilation of a code of laws. The 282 laws were engraved in stone and placed in a public location for everyone to see. Hammurabi required that people were responsible for their actions. Some of Hammurabi’s laws were based on the principle “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. This stone made on Hammurabi’s order and is today viewable for the public at the Louvre museum in Paris, France.

The rule of Babylon was even obeyed as far as the shores of the Mediterranean. But Mesopotamia had no clear boundaries, which made it vulnerable to attacks. Trade and culture thrived for 150 years, until the fall of Babylon in 1595 BC.

Babylonia then lost its empire over western Asia. Syria and Canaan became independent, and the high-priests of Asshur made themselves kings of Assyria. Babylon was renamed to "Kar-Duniash" by the new rulers, the Kassites, and continued to be the 'holy' city of western Asia, where the priests were all-powerful. Through the centuries of Assyrian domination, Babylonia enjoyed a prominent status. Modern Assyrians trace their heritage to an ancient race of the same name, responsible for creating the world's first empire in recorded history. At its peak, the empire encompassed what is now western Iran, all of Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Syria, Palestine, the Armenian highlands and which even threatened Egypt in the 8th and 7th centuries BC. This finally changed in 627 BC with the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal.

3.4    Egyptian civilization

The Egyptian history is magnificent. Just by reading a few lines of Egyptians history make me jealous on archeologists. There is so much to explore and so much is so well preserved. Take the impressive works that are statued by the pyramids for example. The Egyptian history goes back as far as the Mesopotamian, but artifacts show that technology probably evolved earlier in Mesopotamia. Around 4500 BC individual dwelling, towns, and “urban planning” began due to trade. Life still was simple and slowly evolved as threats made tribes work together to gain strength. Some artifacts found prove there also was some trade between Egypt and Mesopotamia. First samples of writing have been dated to around 3500BC proving the division of labor and that the civilized world had found its beginning. It’s likely that civilized life gave society members more value to fight for and unite around. After a long period of raising and falling rulers in different parts of Egypt, everything changed in mid 3100BC when the so called “Scorpion king” unified Egypt.

To the people of Egypt, the ruler, later called pharaoh, was considered by many to be a god. As a god, pharaoh was believed to posses the secrets of heaven and earth. The pharaoh was responsible for all aspects of Egyptian life -- keeping the irrigation works in order, directing the army, keeping peace, and issuing laws. Government and religion were inseparable in Egypt. After this first unification a history of countless numbers of kings and dynasties has ruled Egypt. The first 6 dynasties seem to have established a rather calm life without major conflicts. During 3rd dynasty 2650-2575BC the pyramids was built, which of course demanded enormous devotion. However as a result centralized power collapsed due to internal affairs between 7th and 10th dynasty 2150-2060BC and was replaced with many kings.

Centralized power was regained during 11th to 18th dynasty (2055-1539BC) when an era of foreign trade, enormous building projects along with the use advanced jewelry was created. At the end of the 19th dynasty the priesthoods increasing power corrupts central government and old moral collapse as tomb robbing is done even by officials. The priesthood becomes hereditary and begins to assume secular power. The central government again breaks down around 1070BC. The capital is moved many times and then Assyrians invade Egypt around 590BC. The Greeks help re-establish order. A renaissance in the arts of the 25th Dynasty shows a return to the Old Kingdom style. The 30th Dynasty contains the last of the Egyptian-born rulers. Persian and Greco-Roman rulers are replaced in 332BC by Alexander the great and after him two more Macedonians. The following Ptolemaic dynasty seems a bit merged with the Macedonian and Egypt's authority and wealth was intact until the death of Cleopatra, at which time, Egypt was overpowered by Rome around 30BC.

The Romans later was replaced by the Byzantine/Christians around year 306, lasting to around year 750 when Islamists took over power. Between the years 1174-1192 Egypt was ruled by Saladin, who is also known for his capture of Jerusalem in 1187 between the second and third Christian crusades. In the 14th century the Ottoman Empire had grown to as they conquered what was left of the old Roman Empire. Egypt also was ruled by the Ottomans which Empire lasted for almost 600 years to the early 20th century.



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