Rise of Civilization
Ancient Law and Government
World Religions
The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indian subcontinent, China, et al. all developed in proximity to this "watery" geographic feature.
What are rivers (or river valleys)?
Most ancient civilizations adopted this form of government, characterized by the rule of kings and queens.
What is monarchy?
This religion, which claims 2.2 billion followers, is monotheistic; it originated approximately 2000 years ago in present-day Israel (or Palestine); practitioners attend church, read the bible, and worship the Holy Trinity; its biggest "branch" is Catholicism.
What is Christianity?
This civilization is best known for its hieroglyphics, mummification, mastabas and pyramids, papyrus, and farming ingenuity.
What is Ancient Egypt?
Like Ancient Greece, it was an enterprising maritime trading culture comprised of city-states that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550 BC to 300 BC. They are credited with numerous innovations in ship-building and navigation. Their phonetic alphabet is generally believed to be the ancestor of almost all modern alphabets.
What is Phoenicia?
Mesopotamia is known as the "land between rivers" (Tigris and Euphrates), the "cradle of civilization" and this, for its reputation as the birthplace of farming.
What is the Fertile Crescent?
The codified laws (c. 1772 BCE) of a Babylonian king--it demanded harsh punishments such as "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," and covered such topics as contracts, wages, trade, property, family life, and social norms.
What is Hammurabi's Code?
This religion was founded in the 7th century BCE by the Prophet Mohammed on the Arabian Peninsula; it is the fastest-growing religion; practitioners read the Koran, worship in mosques under the guidance of imams, and follow the 5 Pillars: one God (Allah) and His Prophet (Mohammed), prayer 5 times/day in the direction of Mecca, charitable giving, fasting during Ramadan, and religious pilgrimage (hajj).
What is Islam?
This civilization is known for its Four Great Inventions: the compass, gunpowder, paper-making, and printing. It is also recognized for the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and entombed terracotta warriors.
What is Ancient China?
An ancient, yet contemporary Indian social hierarchy included a class of "untouchables" into which one was born and could never escape, except in another life, following reincarnation.
What is the caste system?
This is the artificial application of water (often via ditches or canals) to the land or soil for the efficient production of crops.
What is irrigation?
The ancient legislation that was the foundation of Roman law: a "legal dozen" resulting from the social struggles of patricians (aristocrats or nobles) and plebeians (commoners).
What are the Twelve Tables?
This monotheistic religion originated in present-day Israel (or Palestine) approximately 3500 years ago; practitioners read the Torah and Talmud and worship in synagogues under the tutelage of rabbis; those who practice (or who have been identified as such) have been the targets of violence and persecution since its inception.
What is Judaism?
This Empire was established in the Valley of Mexico. Its massive temples and pyramids were inspired by the Toltecs, and its capital Tenochtitlan was built in the middle of Lake Texcoco by constructing chinampas (artificial islands) to expand and canals to navigate within. The city and civilization was destroyed by Hernan Cortes and his army of conquistadors in 1521.
What is the Aztec Empire?
King of Greek Macedonia, his empire stretched from Greece to the west, Egypt to the south and the Indian Himalayas to the east. He was undefeated in battle but died young of disease in 323 BCE.
Who is Alexander the Great?
Prior to the domestication of plants and animals and the formation of permanent settlements, most ancient humans survived by following the food source, better known as this.
What is hunting and gathering?
A line of hereditary rulers, often "divine," as in the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt or the emperors of Ancient China.
What is a dynasty?
This religion formed approximately 4000 years ago on the Indian subcontinent; it has no one founder or prophet and worships no single god, but one supreme spirit (Brahman) that takes many shapes (e.g. Vishnu and Shiva); Vedas are its holiest scriptures; most practitioners believe in karma and reincarnation; gurus teach the principles, including meditation and Moksha; some become sadhus (or ascetics) to demonstrate their faith.
What is Hunduism?
This Mesoamerican civilization collapsed mysteriously over 1000 years ago. Inspired by the Olmec, it constructed enormous temples, cities, and statuary in the rain forest; filled codices (foldable books) with pictographs; conceptualized zero; and predicted astronomical events.
What is the Maya civilization?
The first of its empires (the Achaemenid) was established in 550 BCE in present-day Iran; it lasted over 1000 years and continued under dynastic rule until 1979.
What is the Persian Empire?
The domestication of plants and animals for food and for labor led to a surplus of food, the abandonment of nomadic lifestyles, occupational "specialization," and the rise of civilization, a "revolutionary" event known as this.
What is the Agricultural (Neolithic) Revolution?
A collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence (study or theory of law), issued from 529 to 534 CE by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor.
What is the Code of Justinian (or Justinian's Code)?
This religion focuses on the teachings of Siddhartha Guatama (the Buddha); followers seek enlightenment and nirvana, following the 4 Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path; monks devote their lives to meditation and prayer, often living in temples (pagodas and stupas).
What is Buddhism?
This great but short-lived Peruvian "Kingdom in the Clouds" lasted until Francisco Pizarro conquered it in the 1530s. It is best known for its system of roads and walled and terraced cities (including Machu Picchu and Cuzco) constructed of quarried stones (weighing as much as 100 tons), some of which were built on mountaintops.
What is the Inca Empire?
5 of 8 characteristics common to "civilizations" across time and place.
What are cities, government, religion, job specialization, social (and economic) classes, writing, art and architecture, and public works?
Click to zoom