Sunday, March 25, 2007


Western civlization rests upon the achievements of far more ancient societies.
Long before the Greeks or Romans, the peoples of the ancient Near East had learned to domesticate animals, grow crops, and produce useful articles of pottery and metal.
The ancient Mesoptamians and Egyptians developed writing, mathematics, and sophisticated methods of engineering while contributing a rich variety of legal, scientific, and religious ideas to those who would come after them.
The Phoenicians invented the alphabet and facilitated cultural borrowing by trading throughout
the known world, and ancient Israel gave birth to religious concepts that form the basis of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

We will look briefly at life in the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age before examining the Neolithic revolution and its material consequences, including its impact on diet, demography, and the advent of warfare. It will then describe the development and structure of two great ancient socieities, the Mesopotamian and the Egyptian, before concluding with descriptions of the Phoenicians and of the life and religion of ancient Israel.

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