Core Page
PartI- Egypt
Part II - Greece
Part III - Rome
Part IV -  Bridges

THE AMAZING ANCIENT WORLD OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION:
ACT I:  
PART I

EGYPT,PREHISTORY,
AND THE "OTHER ANCIENTS"

This Internet Book visited
35,00,000 times (rounded) since April 1997
(as of late 2011)

The PREMIER JOURNEY to The Ancient World, weaving together  the Peoples of those lands and civilizations and the way they lived

 And   - their thoughts, their hopes, their dreams, their lives.

What is the Ancient World?   Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer, Nubia, Persia, Byzantium, Turkey?  Or is it Assyrians, Chaldeans, Hebrews, Hittites, Akkadians, Etruscans, Minoans?  Is it Alexander, Plato, Virgil, Socrates, Hammurabi, Aristotle, Nefertiti, the Pharaohs, Emperors, Caesar, Cleopatra, Sargon, Akhenaton, the Black Athena, Homer? Or is it the dinosaurs, Stonehenge, hunters, slaves, women, rulers, soldiers, or the Iliad, the Aeneid, the Odyssey, the Olympics? Is it found in the ruins, temples, forums, pyramids or in the remnants of ordinary life?  Explore through this Web Book and the Online College Course.

   

Ancient Civilization did not begin in what we think of as the West. It did not start in Paris or Berlin or London or Prague or Brussels or Stockholm. It grew out of the Mediterranean breezes, the sun and desert of Northern Africa, the Persian and West Asian lands. To study Ancient Civilization is to travel - across parts of Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to India. It is a linking voyage, not a reducing trip. It CONNECTS peoples, ideas, patterns, developments, organizations, wars, religions, art, architecture, food and drink. It is a human endeavor about a human story.

I am an historian, not a classicist.  And historians and classicists are not the same.  They focus and work differently.  But the challenge of it all is that understanding can only come by standing on the mountain and looking at the parts in the whole. An historian of this time (from the beginning of time through Egypt, Greece, to the fall of Rome) must be willing and eager to reach out and know that all knowledge is important. I built this Ancient Civilization arena for people - for students, faculty, and ordinary folks who think it is fascinating and can be just plain fun. Just like our lives, in this Arena there is much seriousness but also much joy and animation.

And the wonderful range of things to think about? Culture, archaeology, art, music, theater, books and writing, language, philosophy, politics, peace and war, life and living. Psychology, sociology, history, geometry and astronomy and biology, building and architecture and engineering. Economics and geography, women and men and children, farming and town planning, rivers and deserts and mountains, gods and goddesses. Birth and death, magic and mystery, aspiration and despair, palaces and mud huts, the freedom to rule empires, and the chains of everlasting slavery. Poetry, logic, weaponry, sports, courage and cowardice, love and hate, and genius.

    Return to Master Core - Amazing Ancient World



A FASCINATION WITH THE ANCIENT WORLD
ACT I of the Western Civilization Series

Part I

ALMOST BEFORE TIME BEGAN:  PREHISTORY
From The Dinosaurs To Stonehenge

THE MYSTERY THAT WAS EGYPT

THE COMPLEXITY THAT WAS THE "OTHER ANCIENTS"

Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer, Akkadia, Assyria, Hittites,
Hebrews, Etruscans, Petra, Turkey

Part II
THE GLORY THAT WAS GREECE

PART III

THE POWER THAT WAS ROME
THE CHALLENGE THAT WAS CHRISTIANITY

COLLEGE COURSES : THE ANCIENT WORLD
Go To SYLLABUS FOR WEB COURSE

WESTERN CIVILIZATION: ACT II - MEDIEVAL, RENAISSANCE, ENLIGHTENMENT
A Comprehensive Internet Book and Special Course
WESTERN CIVILIZATION: ACT III - THE MODERN WORLD
A Comprehensive Internet Book and Special Course
(click) MAJOR WEB COLLEGE COURSES
The Spectacular Western Civilization Series

Hist. 4A: Act I - The Ancient World; Hist. 4B: Act II - Medieval to the French Revolution, Hist. 4C: Act III - The Modern World

BOOKS! BOOKS ! RECOMMEND

SURF AND READ - IN ANCIENT, MEDIEVAL, HOLOCAUST 

DEDICATION, CREDITS, COPYRIGHT, AUTHOR


ANCIENT SOURCES:A BEGINNING

The Web teems with the richness of the Ancient World.  So many wonderfully conceived sites representing dedication, scholarship, diversity, determination and exceptional creativity.  At least 400 lists exist for the ancient area. But, what good, I wondered, is yet another list. So this Ancient Arena is explained each step of the way. By looking through the material in the Chapters on this Page, one can attain a general overview of the place, the time, the subject matter, the humans. Then the searcher can move to the areas of interest or even fascination - and begin the in-depth "clicking" and traveling and thinking.  My pledge to the voyager is simple: I place here only those sites and destinations in which I have spent time and thought. I have searched through almost all with some care. Still, readers must use their own validity judgements.

 We begin with the Big Five Destinations:

The Land Almost Before Time

The Mystery that was Egypt

The Glory that was Greece

The Power that was Rome

The Complexity that was the Other Ancients

Everyone has his/her own starting point. So, start anywhere.



ALMOST BEFORE TIME BEGAN:  PREHISTORY

Dinosaurs, mammoths, ice ages, neolithic warriors, Stone Age hunter gatherers. Prehistoric Man, Primitive Man, Neanderthal Man, Paleolithic Man. And the pursuit of the origins of Stonehenge. A great opportunity for a variety of fascinating Internet Field Trips

.

IF YOU ARE TAKING AN ANCIENT HISTORY ONLINE COLLEGE COURSE, STUDENTS SHOULD SKIP THIS SECTION AND START WITH EGYPT.

DINOSAURS AND OTHER FOLKS - AND THEIR LAND

Dinosaur Fun
Create-a-saurus - build and create your own dinosaur! Zoom Dinosaurs is a comprehensive on-line hypertext book about dinosaurs. Designed for students of all ages and levels of comprehension.
Mongolian dinosaurs, pleistocene mammals, tertiary mammals            
Of Mastodons, Mammoths and Other Giants of the Pleistocene                     
UC Museum of Paleontology Public Exhibits
Virtual Exhibits from UC. Excellent for geological ages and environments of t he past.

LIFE AS IT WAS

Discovery of a Paleolithic painted cave at Vallon - Pont-d'Arc ( Ardèche )
"An exceptionally important archaeological discovery has recently been made in Southern France,... in the form of a vast underground network of caves decorated with paintings and engravings dating from the Palaeolithic age." Now we have an opportunity for study aiming at "retracing the evolution of natural environment during the last Ice Age." The findings are stunning.
Could You Survive as a Hunter-Gatherer? - TAKE THE TEST
"The hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age did not plant their own crops, but lived off the plants which grew around them, taking fungi, leaves and flowers, and nuts and berries . Some are good to eat, but some are poisonous. To survive as a hunter-gatherer you have to know which you can eat and which to avoid."
The Hunter Gathers Food: Do the Quiz
Would you survive? All Western Civilization.  Students should take this quiz.
Life in The Day of a Hunter-Gatherer

STONEHENGE

Archaeoastronomy at Stonehenge
Stonehenge - Mystic Places
History of Stonehenge
Magical History Tour
"Stonehenge is surely Britain's greatest national icon, symbolizing mystery, power and endurance." Was it a temple for the worship of ancient deities, an astronomical observatory, a sacred burial site?

           



THE MYSTERY THAT WAS EGYPT


The Egyptians carry a fascination for us that transcends time. And always the sense of strangeness and mystery. Videos, TV programs from Omar Shariff and the "Mysteries of the Pyramids," to Charleton Heston and "The Mystery of the Sphinx," and "Cleopatra: Destiny's Queen," and the "Chariots of the Gods," and the "Visit of the Aliens." How could the history of one nation span 3000 years? How did they build such remarkable monuments to antiquity? Why did intelligent humans mummify themselves? Where did their genius come from? Why do most history books on Western Civilization allot this culture only a scant twenty pages at best? Why do many people "forget" that Egypt is and always has been in Africa?

The themes which follow give credence to the richness of the Egyptian civilization AND to the Web. In categories that I think important but to which the Web makes no contribution, I leave blank - but urge referral to articles and books focusing on those subjects - such as Slavery.

Following Egypt, we must journey to the basis for much of civilization - Mesopotamia and integrate it and all its complexities and parts into our analysis of the early cultures and what they left us.

SPECIAL PLACES

Akhet Internet :  SPECIAL FOCUS  
Where to begin with this exceptional site? Start By studying the mysteries of Akhenaten . Egyptian Art, Sculpture and Furniture. Coffin, funerary art; mummy masks. British, Luxor, Cairo Museums. Akhenaten and the Amarna Period. Gods and Goddesses. The Clickable Mummy.   Dynasty by dynasty list of the Pharaohs. Mythology,   Tombs & Temples.  King Tut - the most famous of the pharoahs but insignificant. His life and treasures.   The SPECIAL FOCUS - Akhenaten.  Akhenaten gallery - Pictures and information about the "Heretic Pharaoh."   Who was he?  Nefertiti.
The Galleries of Egypt Art - A Special Creation
The Richard Deurer Galleries.  The Time Warp Gallery - An Odd Special Place I really like!   His paintings are a special, humorous look at our modern world as it might appear through the eyes of the ancient Egyptians. Late for Work, Ship of Fools, The First Brunch, and so on.   Then take a photgraphic and map tour of Egypt with excellent explanations. Visit all the major places and then cruise the Nile. Next visit the Ancient Art Gallery, followed by a beginner's guide to the fascinating world of Egyptian myths and legends. Includes pictures and descriptions of the gods and goddess.  Description and explanation of mummies and mummification. Hieroglyphic Directory is first rate and fun HERE.  Check out the Egyptian fashions and design that were "in" 3500 years ago.
Guardian's Egypt - Main Gate: A SPECIAL EXPLORATORIUM
Simply the best there is. Take the remarkable CyberJourney through pyramids. Pharaohs, news, tombs, hieroglyphs, art, music.  You could spend a lifetime here.  It is such a busy site that often it is difficult to connect.  Have patience.  IT IS THERE!
Odyssey's Egypt - From Emory University and the University of Rochester
"When we think about Egypt, camels, pyramids, and mummies often come to mind! No one knows exactly what life was like in ancient Egypt, but these objects tell us a lot. Egyptian fashion, religious beliefs, recreational activities, and much more can be explored through the art they created and included in their burials. Go to the Map - click for pronunciation and notice where the cities in ancient Egypt were located. People - People usually married within their social group and continued in the same job as their parents. People from all social groups represented in Egyptian art. Nobles & Priests, Soldiers, Scribes, Merchants, Artisans, Farmers, and even Slaves & Servants depicted in sculpture or paintings that illustrate scenes of rituals and everyday life. Mythology - In ancient times each Egyptian city or region had its own god and worshipped many others. Learn a few general things about ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. Who did they worship? Daily Life - Where did they live, what did they wear?" The range of life in Ancient Egypt.
The Thebian Mapping Project :   SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY
One of the finest sites on Egypt. Tour the Necropolis - "The Theban Necropolis on the West Bank of the Nile across from the modern city of Luxoris probably the richest archaeological site on earth and one of the largest. Covers 6 square kilometers (just over two square miles), and was the burial-place of Egypt's New Kingdom pharaohs, noblemen, officials and priests. Explore the History of Thebes. Tour the principal monuments in Theban Sites. See the Theban Necropolis in Virtual Reality through QTVR. The Valley of the Kings - Follow the Exploration of the Valley. Visit the tombs individually in KV Sites. Trace the Family Tree of Rameses the Great and his sons. Meet the ancient Egyptians buried here in Personal Profiles. Trace the year-by-year History of KV 5's discovery. Take a Tour of the tomb and its many chambers."
A Slice of Time: Ancient Egypt - SUPERB - Explore It All
The Tomb of the Chihuahua Pharaohs - JUST A VERY SPECIAL PLACE
Wonderful Egyptian graphics , great stuff for students and teachers, and an excellent section on why and how the Egyptians mummified their dead.

GENERAL SITES AND HISTORY

Ancient Egypt - History
"Travel back in time to a place that has left its imprint and impact on humanity forever.. . At no other period of known history has a civilization left behind so many clues and riddles that could answer mankind's deepest searchings of today."  
Ancient World Cultures: Ancient Egypt
Brief essay and links introducing Egypt. Use the Ancient World Site for links, quizzes, chronology.
Rigby's World of Egypt
Extensive tour of the monuments, palaces, temples.  Chronology, antiquities, King Tut, major museums. "Take a tour of the country, relish ancient poetry, Egyptian antiquities, see Egypt from  space." The tour is special.

CREATING

The British Museum - The Remarkable "Place"
"Illuminating world cultures."  And here is their fine Interactive Egypt Learning site.
Carlos Museum - Ancient Egyptian Art   - For Art Lovers
Emory University's outstanding collection of Egyptian art.
Oriental Institute Museum Highlights.
Fine virtual museum with changing exhibits. Faces of Ancient Egypt. Collections highlighted by geography and subject.
Web site of the prestigious ancient Near East museum of the University of Chicago.  The Egyptian Collection.
 

LIVING           

Egypt: Daily Life
Family life, marriage, food and cooking, cosmetics, hair, jewelry, clothing, housing and furniture, entertainment, government.
Daily Life
"Daily life in ancient Egypt revolved around the Nile and the fertile land along its banks. The yearly flooding of the Nile enriched the soil and brought good harvests and wealth to the land."  Learn about a day in the life of two ancient Egyptian families. Experience the world of an ancient Egyptian nobleman.
.

THINKING, WRITING, SPEAKING

The Ancient Egypt Site
Rich site.  Egyptian history, language and culture.  Ancient Egypt from A-Z.  about.
Discovery of Writing
"The ancient Egyptians knew full well that writing was the mainstay of civilised life. A seated scribe holding a papyrus roll was one of the most popular subjects in their early art. He was revered and honoured, for the early Egyptians recognised that writing was the foundation of ordered life and government and, to some extent, transcended death itself."
Hieroglyphics
In the beginning hieroglyphic signs were used to keep records of the king's possessions. "Scribes could easily make these records by drawing a picture of a cow or a boat followed by a number. But as the language became more complex more pictures were needed. Eventually the language consisted of more then 750 individual signs." First rate introductory site.   "All these texts somehow serve to reconstruct ancient civilization at large, its social, economic, political, legal, religious, linguistic and even medical history, from a far more authentic angle than is otherwise possible through the written word. Usually we have only the works of biased classical authors to tell us what their life was like. Papyri, however, were not written for us but for the use of the ancients themselves. This gives them their unique freshness and directness. Their interest is even greater when they are part of one and the same private archive, because in that case we can follow the ups and downs of a family through several decades, or even centuries."
The Greatest Library -  Alexandria From History Magazine
"That library, of course, was the Great Library of Alexandria, a public library open to those with the proper scholarly and literary qualifications, founded about 300bc. When Egypt's King Ptolemy I (305-282bc) asked, "How many scrolls do we have?", Aristotle's disciple Demetrius of Phalerum was on hand to answer with the latest count. After all, it was Demetrius who suggested setting up a universal library to hold copies of all the books in the world. Ptolemy and his successors wanted to understand the people under their rule and house Latin, Buddhist, Persian, Hebrew, and Egyptian works - translated into Greek."
The Burning of the Library of Alexandria   
The loss of the ancient world's single greatest archive of knowledge, the Library of Alexandria, has been lamented for ages. But how and why it was lost is still a mystery. The mystery exists not for lack of suspects but from an excess of them. Alexandria was founded in Egypt by Alexander the Great. "
What Happened to the Great Llibrary of Alexandria?
"Libraries date back to earliest historic times. Archaeologists have found libraries--that is, storage places for clay tablets carved in cuneiform--in Mesopotamia, dating from around 2000 BC. As clay tablets and cuneiform gave way to scrolls and an alphabet, Greek authors and scholars around the 5th century BC began to develop history and philosophy, and the evidence strongly suggests they had access to libraries. . . The Alexandrian library flourished for several hundred years, and was the center of cultural development in the west. Scholars from every field of knowledge and every corner of the Hellenistic world came to learn, study and teach at Alexandria. Paid staff included grammarians, historians, astronomers, geographers, mathematicians, physicians, and poets. They studied and revised the works of earlier writers, beginning with Homer--the division of Homer's works into separate books is thought to be a product of the library. Scholarship consisted mostly of compiling, editing, criticizing and commenting on older texts, rather than composing new ones. . . .Now to your question: How did it come to an end? We don't know exactly--in fact, we know very little about the library's history. That hasn't prevented historians over the centuries from proposing various scenarios. The three main suspects are Julius Caesar, Bishop Theophilus, and Caliph Omar. Contrary to myth, there wasn't one great fire that destroyed the library, but instead several documented fires over a span of centuries. It seems likely, then, that the destruction of the library was gradual. The problem is that we have few contemporary accounts, and later writers often have some axe to grind. "
Great Library of Alexandria
"Being one of the two most important libraries in the world, the library obtained any scrolls of any consequence, and eventually contained over 700,000 volumes. Founded around the year 300B.C. by Ptolomy I, the library was destroyed in 391A.D. by religious fanatics after 700 years of operation. Only a small portion of its knowledge managed to survive, giving us a small glimpse of what wonders it contained.  With the destruction of the Library in Alexandria, we lost great works of drama, comedy, poetry, and other texts by philosophers and historians that we may no nothing about. Information from other cultures, most likely including the secret of the pyramids, why they were built, and how were also probably included. Also other great records from Babylonian, Europe, North Africa, and Mesopotamia have been lost."
The Revival of the Ancient Library of Alexandria
"At the meeting point of the three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe, Egypt has been the cradle of civilizations since ancient times. The ancient city of Alexandria was at the beginning of the third century B.C. the birthplace of the great plan to build a library. But a fire, which ravaged Alexandria, destroyed the library, this vast storehouse of learning. The Egyptian Government, in co-operation with UNESCO, has decided to resurrect the old dream to endow this part of the world with an important focal point for culture, education and science."
Ancient Egypt Literature
Book of the Dead, Coffin Texts, Creation Myths, Instruction for Behavior, Pyramid Texts, Spells, Stories, Verse.
Literature of Ancient Egypt
"The religious literature of ancient Egypt includes hymns to the gods, mythological and magical texts, and an extensive collection of mortuary texts. The range of secular literature includes stories; instructive literature, known as wisdom texts; poems; biographical and historical texts; and scientific treatises, including mathematical and medical texts. Notable also are the many legal, administrative, and economic texts and private documents such as letters, although not actually literature."  Thoughtful site.
Love Poems from Ancient Egypt  - WONDERFUL
"The ancient Egyptians left behind various love poems which relate the emotions felt all those thousands of years ago. And yet, they can be read as if they apply to us in the 20th century - has anything really changed?"

HEALING AND DISCOVERING:  SCIENCE AND MEDICINE

Earliest Egyptian Chemical Manuscripts
Egypt is generally recognized as the mother of chemical and alchemical arts.  Site contains  important ideas and discoveries.
Egyptian Mathematics
Try your hand at solving Egyptian math problems!  The ancient Egyptians were possibly the first civilisation to practice the scientific arts. Indeed, the word chemistry is derived from the word Alchemy which is the ancient name for Egypt.Where the Egyptians really excelled was in medicine and applied mathematics.
Historical Astrology in Ancient Egypt
"Astrology has played a major role in society since the beginning of civilization, and maybe even before that. Astrology's history is a long one, and common belief is that its origins lie with the Greeks. However, a closer look shows that the foundations for astrology were laid much earlier than that, and the Egyptians had much to do with this."
Medicine in Ancient Egypt - Summary of Research Thrusts.
Research in polio, TB, dwarfism.
Medicine in Old Egypt - Excellent Article
Papyrology Home Page
Best Index of Papyrus in existence probably. Important medical information. "With the turn of the century, . . new life was breathed into the study of disease and health in the ancient Nile Valley. Academic study of Egyptian disease segregated into three categories. First - medical Papyri. Early on it was recognized that the textual material of the Dynastic Period pertaining to the recognition and treatment of disease was extremely important for understanding the state of health as well as the concept of disease in Egypt. Second - the artistic representation of disease in the Nile Valley. The Egyptian's predilection to portray life in a relatively realistic manner offers an excellent opportunity for the study of disease."
Science in Ancient Egypt
"It is universally agreed that in technical arts Egyptian workers pointed the way to the rest of the world, and it is to them that all must turn for the first discovery of those facts that made science possible." Technical arts related to alchemy, glassmaking, dying, metallurgy, gold, textiles, copper and iron extraction.

BELIEVING, BELONGING, AND THE GODS

Ancient Egyptian Religion: Tombs, embalming, funerals
"Religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. Egyptian religion was based on polytheism, or the worship of many deities, except for during the reign of Akenaton. The Egyptians had as many as 2000 gods and goddesses. Some were worshipped throughout the whole country, while others had only a local following. Often gods and goddesses were represented as part human and part animal."
Directory of Ancient Egyptian Gods - Excellent List and Description
"Unlike the later myths of the Greeks and Romans, the Egyptian gods do not have their own dominions, There is no one god that represents the sun, no strongest, no most beautiful. It is not that simple, Egyptian deities at times seem to share the same attributes and sometimes even the same appearance. Due in part to the Egyptian respect of traditions which made them slow, even reluctant to change their old ideas and myths, even as they were adopting new ones. This made their mythology more and more complex as time went by."
Egyptian Mythology
Overview "to explain some of the basic concepts and to introduce some of the gods. Religion in ancient Egypt was not unlike modern times. . . Individual kings worshipped their own gods, as did the workers, priests, merchants and peasants. . . . The gods lived, died, hunted, went into battle, gave birth, ate, drank, and had human emotions. The gods reigns overlapped, and, in some instances, merged. There was no organized hierarchy structure of their reign. The dominance of the gods depended on the beliefs of the reigning king. Likewise, the myths changed with the location of the gods, as did their names."

RULING

What did we lose in the destruction of the museum artifacts in the recent revolution?  Well,  An announcement of what WAS in the Cairo Museum
Egyptian Kings - From the Egypt Home Page
Vignettes on almost every king in every dynasty.  Was the Pharaoh divine?  Royal regalia? A tour de force.
Mark Millmore's Ancient Egyptian Page
Attractive, well-designed and informative site: kings and queens, pyramids, the "Napoleon of Ancient Egypt."

Akhenaton
Background, and The Mystery of Akhenaten: Genetics or Aesthetics?
Akhenaton - Ancient Revolutionary
"When we place the revolutionary movement of Akhenaton against this background of popular discontent and then add to it the secret opposition of a powerful priesthood, a powerful army which disliked the king's peace policy, we begin to appreciate the powerful individuality of this first intellectual leader in history. His reign was the earliest age of the rule sf ideas. Akhenaton was the world's first revolutionary, and he was fully convinced that he might entirely recast the world of religion, thought, and life by the invincible purpose he held. Like all true revolutionaries at all times Akhenaton was fully persuaded that his ideas were right and that all men would eventually benefit by them."
Amara:  The Land of the Aten
Akhenaton, "perhaps one of the most studied, despised, loved figures of ancient Egypt - and his queen Nefertiti.  Hymn to Aten, details of the City of Akhenaton, map, the royal tomb (pictures and commentary).  The mother of Tut, Tut, Ay, Horemheb - "Evil Madman or Misunderstood General."  Pictures, descriptions of objects in Tut's tomb linked to Akhenaton and Amara period. And the 1920 record of Sir Wallace Budge and the discovery of the Amarna Tablets. Basic family tree of the 18th Dynasty.

Tutankhamun
Well designed portrait. "Tutankhamun was a shadowy and little known figure of the late 18th Dynasty. To a certain extent he still is, despite the prominence he has acquired from the contents of his tomb."  Actually, he would have been considered a very brief, unimportant pharaoh.  But we discovered his tomb, so....... we know more about him!
King Tut - The Boy King - Fine site by Guardian, and for Family Secrets .
King Tut - How Did He Die?
Ever since the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun there has been speculation about the king's death - was he a victim of the backlash against the Akhenaten / Amarna heresy? Had he been murdered to allow his courtiers access to the throne? Or was he a sickly young man whose genes had been affected by generations of in-breeding by previous Egyptian pharaohs? Some say he was as "Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred."
National Geographic Presents:  At The Tomb of Tutankhamen  
WONDERFUL SITE.  Feb. 1923.  The NG correspondent arrives in Luzor, at the Tomb and enters.  His articles.  Photos. Preview IMAX film, Mysteries of Egypt. "What would it be like to be there as the pyramids rise above the dunes, as stoic priests lay their pharaoh to rest, as an obsessed archaeologist finally finds the treasure that had eluded him for so long? Sift through stills."
The Black Pharaohs
"An ignored chapter of history tells of a time when kings from deep in Africa conquered ancient Egypt."  Important site. "Piye was the first of the so-called black pharaohs—a series of Nubian kings who ruled over all of Egypt for three-quarters of a century as that country’s 25th dynasty. Through inscriptions carved on stelae by both the Nubians and their enemies, it is possible to map out these rulers’ vast footprint on the continent. The black pharaohs reunified a tattered Egypt and filled its landscape with glorious monuments, creating an empire that stretched from the southern border at present-day Khartoum all the way north to the Mediterranean Sea. They stood up to the bloodthirsty Assyrians, perhaps saving Jerusalem in the process. Until recently, theirs was a chapter of history that largely went untold. Only in the past four decades have archaeologists resurrected their story—and come to recognize that the black pharaohs didn’t appear out of nowhere. They sprang from a robust African civilization that had flourished on the southern banks of the Nile for 2,500 years, going back at least as far as the first Egyptian dynasty."  

BBC's Ramesses the Great
"Is he the Pharaoh of the Bible's Exodus story? Known today by the majestic temples and colossal monuments that still rise above the Nile; proclaiming, as they have for more than 3,000 years, the greatness of Ramses II, "Son of Ra", the sun god and the warrior king of Egypt. More modern traditions that seek to identify him as the unnamed Pharaoh of the Exodus."
Egypt's Golden Empire - Ramesses II
"Despite a very shaky start, Ramesses II (reigned c1279 - 1212 BC) used diplomacy, a massive building program and endless propaganda to become the greatest pharaoh of the New Kingdom, Ancient Egypt's Golden Age. "
Hatshepsut - female Pharaoh of the New Kingdom
"Maatkare Hatshepsut was the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut is generally regarded by modern Egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, ruling longer than any female leader of Egypt other than Cleopatra"

Ancient Egyptian Military
"The fertile Nile Valley attracted invaders from other territories where there was famine and drought. The West Delta of the Nile was threatened by these desert raiders. The East Delta of the Nile was threatened by invaders from Asia - first the Hittites from Palestine and Syria. The Hyksos were also invaders from Asia, who reached Egypt via Syria and Palestine invading the Delta at the end of the Middle Kingdom. The Hyksos brought with them new bronze weapons and the chariot and horse, neither of which were known to the Egyptians. Following the wars with the Hyksos the weapons and style of fighting changed to incorporate the use of the chariot and new weapons. The Mitanni also mounted invasions from northern Mesopotamia. To the North the Mediterranean Sea was at risk from the interest of Europe which eventually brought the armies of the Greeks under Alexander the Great and the Romans under Julius Caesar. And to the south was the barren lands of Nubia with its valuable trade routes bringing treasures from the Sudan. "
The Armed Forces of Ancient Egypt - Extensive Analysis
The Evolution of Warfare
  Egypt was considered to be the most peaceful country in the ancient world. Its natural boundaries (the First Cataract on the Nile at Aswam , the deserts east and west of the Nile Valley, and the Mediterranean coast to the north) provided plenty of protection from outsiders, and Egyptians themselves were not a society of invaders or conquerors. Therefore, the country didn’t consider the need for a professional army – until the invasion of the Hyksos during the 15th Dynasty in the Second Intermediate Period.
 

BUILDING: The Pharaohs, Their Tombs, Their Temples

Great Pyramid: A Dreamland Report
"The world's oldest structure is so advanced that it can't be duplicated today, even using current technology." Details, challenges.
Construction of the Pyramids Overview - and "the recent robotic explorations of the 'air-shafts' in the Great Pyramid have demonstrated that there are still many mysteries surrounding the ancient monument."  So how do you build a pyramid:  Construction Techniques.   And  Special Museum.
Architectural Composition of a Pyramid 
Good directions!
 
Archimedia - Includes Giza Plateau Mapping Project
Project's object is to assist students in understanding what ancient buildings looked like and how they were constructed. Displays numerous views, plans and sections, as well as computerized reconstructions. Concentrates on buildings from Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia. Pyramid, ziggurat, mycenaen palace. Includes the important Giza Plateau Project.
Guardian's Great Pyramid
Guardian's Meidum Homepage
Good site for the mystery pyramid. Interactive elements allow one to enter and explore.
What Happened to the Nose of the Sphinx?
The Sphinx of Giza
Guardian's CyberJourney
Take a well-done trip to the pyramids, tombs, temples.
Nova Online/Pyramids/Explore the Pyramids
Great online interactive site. Explore the Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, Menkaure, Sphinx. History, builders, science, age. Enter each one in this miltimedia effort. Then follow the excavation. Resources, guides.
Temple Palace of Ramses III - Good Pictures
Thebes Photographic Project
Quite a remarkable project by Tom Van Eynde. "130 years after Francis Frith began his photographic expedition in Luxor, Egypt. I followed, continuing the work the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute's Epigraphic Survey at Luxor. My goal being to photograph the ancient capital of Thebes, and its sites, both, the little known, as well as the popular tourist attractions - to record the topography of the ancient sites in their present state, as well as, the interrelationships that they form with the landscape."
Valley Of The Kings
The Pharoahs in all their glory. Pictures, history.
 
 
 

DYING, DEATH AND "MUMMIFYING"

The Clickable Mummy - Fascinating!
Death in Ancient Egypt
From the research archives of the Oriental Institute in Chicago. Background, history, tomb scenes, supplies for the After-life.
Egyptian Mummies - From the Smithsonian
Mummies of Ancient Egypt
What are mummies?  How are they made?  Who were they?  The Afterlife.  
The Mummy Page
The ambition of every Egyptian was to have a well mummified body and a perpetually cared-for tomb. The children of the deceased were charged with the maintenance of this home on earth and the observation of all attendant ceremonies. In the case of a favored government official a portion of the state revenue might be assigned as an endowment for the care of the tomb. As the number of deceased ancestors and officials multiplied, however, and the consequent cost of tomb maintenance became excessive, the tendency was to neglect those of the remote past and to concentrate attention on those of the more recently deceased.

AND THE RIVER

Bounty of Black Earth
" Egypt is the 'gift of the Nile' and her harvests depend on its floodwaters. Fundamental pacemaker of the Egyptian farmer's life."
History of Plumbing in Egypt
"From ancient times, the rise and fall of the River Nile portended periods of famine or good fortune for the peoples of Egypt. Other than wells, the River Nile is the only source of water in the country. During an idyllic year, the flooding of the Nile would begin in July, and by September its receding waters would deposit a rich, black silt in its wake for farming. Before taming the river, however, the ancient Egyptians had to overcome the river's peculiar problem. When the Nile is the lowest, the ground completely dries up. When it floods, the water seeps into the dry soil and causes the ground to rise as much as a foot or two."
Wild Egypt
The Nile - an online safari for all ages.  "The Nile River is possibly the most famous river in history. It was by its banks that one of the oldest civilizations in the world began. Not surprisingly, the Nile teems with life. Many different types of animals, birds, and fish all call the Nile River home. Hundreds of years ago, even hippos and lions could be found here in the Nile Valley."

 

AND THE SLAVES

Slavery colors ancient civilization as a continuing theme.  Important as is the issue, the Web offers only minimal assistance.  Look to more recent books and special articles.
Slavery in Egypt
"There is some controversy whether there was slavery at all in ancient Egypt. The differences of opinion stem mostly from how slavery is defined. Theory and practice of Egyptian slavery were, as far as we can ascertain, very different from those of Greece, Rome or the southern states of the USA, where slaves were wholly at the mercy of their owners with little protection from society, and more in line with the kind of slavery practiced in the rest of Africa."  Excellent, ranging article.
It Did Exist But Not A Dominant Feature!
Egypt FAQ
" Slavery in ancient Egypt was different from the kind of slavery we have come to recognize, and certainly different from slavery in Mesopotamia or Rome at the same time. Egyptian slaves were more like the indentured servants of colonial America. They were able to buy or work their way to freedom, and were usually well cared for. They could hold important advisory positions in government, and there were several well-known slaves who became high officials in the Pharaoh's court. Prisoners were sent to work in the various mines which Egypt owned. The Pyramids, by the way, were NOT built by slaves, but by paid workers who were very proud of their work. The workers put their names and the names of their work teams on the insides of the blocks of stones, and they were allowed to build their own tombs within sight of the Pyramid, which was quite an honor. In those ancient times, you were better off as a slave in Egypt than as a free but poor person anywhere else."

AND THE WOMEN

Ankhesenamun:  Princess of Armana, Queen of Destiny - Fictional and Factual
Ankhesenamun - Wife of Tutankhamun, Daughter of Akhenaten?

Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis:  A Royal Feud?
Outstanding article by Dr. J. Tyldesley.  After her death, the female king vanished from Egyptian history.  Was her stepson to blame?  Read on.
Maatkare Hatshepsut. Ancient Egypt
Hatshepsut had herself portrayed in the royal headdress, sometimes as a woman with prominent breasts but more often as male in body as well as costume. Her self-promotion, which extended to a miraculous conception and fictitious coronation in childhood, involved deliberately obscuring the rightful ruler, Tuthmosis III, who was a man by the time he succeeded to unfettered rulership in 1483 BC. Hatshepsut accomplished what no woman had before her. She ruled the most powerful, advanced civilization in the world. Her consort and true love was her advisor, Senmut.
Hatshepsut - 1473 - 1458 BC
The end of Hatshepsut - "Towards the end of her reign, the Asiatic peoples staged a revolt centered on the city of Kadesh, Tuthmosis III himself led the Egyptian to quash this uprising and Hatshepsut disappeared. Tuthmosis III was finally able to claim his rightful place as King of Egypt, now came vengeance - all images of Hatshepsut were attacked; statues, reliefs and shrines all were defaced."
Hatshepsut
The first oceanographic cruise? Queen Hatshepsut ruled Egypt from ca. 1503 to 1480 B.C. In contrast to the warlike temper of her dynasty, she devoted herself to administration and the encouragement of commerce. In the summer of 1493 B.C., she sent a fleet of five ships with thirty rowers each from Kosseir, on the Red Sea, to the Land of Punt, near present-day Somalia. It was primarily a trading expedition. "Crew brought back exotic goods like ivory, myrrh, wood, monkeys, and gold. Hatshepsut was able to open and increase trade expansion, keep a country at peace for the length of her rule, and begin to perfect domestic advancement. Cottrell (1960) believed Hatshepsut was loved by many due to the thousands that worked for and supported her every day of her rule. However it is not understood what happened to the powerful Hatshepsut. Some think she was either poisoned by Thutmosis III or left the country."

Nefertiti - Queen of All Lands
Nefertiti: The Beautiful One Has Come    
"Famed throughout the ancient world for her outstanding beauty, Nefertiti remains the one of the most well known Queens of Egypt. Though Akhenaten had several wives, Queen Nefertiti was his chief wife. Nefertiti is remembered for the painted limestone bust depicting her, in one of the greatest works of art of the pre-modern world. Exhibited in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin. The Berlin bust, seen from two different angles, is indeed, the most famous depiction of Queen Nefertiti. Found in the workshop of the famed sculptor Thutmose, the bust is believed to be a sculptor's model."  

The Egyptian Economy and Non-royal Women
Their Status in Public Life.  NEH lecutre by Dr. Ward of Brown University. "The best I can offer as a general rule of thumb: public life was the domain of men, women had the vast responsibility of private life. The number of women who were able to move into the public professional sector was relatively small and those that we can identify are the exceptions."
Egyptian Women in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt                
Interesting dissertation summary by A. O'Brien. "The history of women in the ancient world has been, until recently, a neglected topic, and it seems that women in ancient Egypt suffer from an even greater lack of attention than their contemporaries elsewhere in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean region."
From Warrior Women to Female Pharaohs - Careers for Women in Ancient Egypt
Excellent BBC-sponsored article on the "equality" of women.
Status of Women in Ancient Egypt
Important article by Joyce Tyldesley.  "Unlike the position of women in most other ancient civilizations, including that of Greece, the Egyptian woman seems to have enjoyed the same legal and economic rights as the Egyptian man-- at least in theory. This notion is reflected in Egyptian art and historical inscriptions. It is uncertain why these rights existed for the woman in Egypt but no where else in the ancient world."
Women in the Ancient Near East: Bibliography
Select bibliography of recent sources in The Oriental Institute Research Archives at the University of Chicago. Subject index alone is 18 pages - and helpful. Much has been researched lately on women in this time. The most important literature is found in a few books and the 500 articles listed here.
Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt
Kelsey Museum exhibit.  Gender ambiguity, and power, religion, engendered  protection. Gender, mortality, and demographics. Faces of gender.   Gender in the Archaeological Record.

Cleopatra:  The Last Pharaoh
"When Cleopatra VII ascended the Egyptian throne, she was only seventeen. She reigned as Queen Philopator and Pharaoh between 51 and 30 BC, and died at the age of 39."
Cleopatra
"She was a quick-witted woman who was fluent in nine languages. She was a mathematician and a very good businesswoman. She had a genuine respect for Caesar, whose intelligence and wit matched her own. Antony on the other hand almost drove her insane with his lack of intelligence and his excesses. She dealt with him and made the most of what she had to do. She fought for her country. She had a charismatic personality, was a born leader and an ambitious monarch who deserved better than suicide."
Cleopatra from the BBC
The real Cleopatra.  "If you believe what you read, Cleopatra was the beautiful Egyptian queen who seduced the Romans, fascinated the French philosopher Pascal, and inspired the writings of Shakespeare, the paintings of Tiepolo and a fair few Hollywood blockbusters. . . . However, a new book by Joyce Tyldesley, a lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester, challenges that popular portrait of the Ancient World’s most famous female monarch. Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt takes issue with almost everything that is attached to her, from her reported beauty and powers of seduction to her motives and abilities. Indeed, Joyce says in order to understand the real Cleopatra, we must disregard everything we know about her, beginning with that alleged promiscuity.  "Who she wasn’t was this glamorous seductress that film-makers seem to like so much. There’s no evidence that she had more than two sexual partners - Julius Caesar, who she was faithful to until he died, and Mark Antony - but I think we like to see her that way – there’s something appealing about it, but it’s most unfair."


AND NUBIA - THE "REST" OF EGYPT

1987 Nubian Exhibition: Brochure
"Nubia - Its Glory and Its People." The outstanding 1987 exhibition of the Univ. Chicago Oriental Institute Museum.
Nubian Homepage
The section on "Nubia in the Old Days."  Links, chronology, map.  "For unjustifiable reasons Nubian Civilization has been overlooked in favor of the another Great Egyptian Civilization. All findings in the past have been attributed to Egypt, while Egypt's High Dam made it impossible for current excavations. More than 100 of Nubian villages in (most of them in Sudan )with all onuments,tombs,temples were flooded by the waters of Nasser Lake after the construction of this High dam. Very few monuments (only 4)of Nubia of Sudan were saved during an international campaign by world community to salvage Nubian Culture."
Vanished Kingdoms of the Nile:   The Rediscovery of Ancient Nubia
1992 Oriental Institute Exhibition.  "Nubia is located in today's southern Egypt and northern Sudan. This land has one of the harshest climates in the world. The temperatures are high throughout most of the year, and rainfall is infrequent. The banks of the Nile are narrow, making farming difficult. Yet, in antiquity, Nubia was a land of great natural wealth, of gold mines, ebony, ivory and incense which was always prized by her neighbors. Nubia is the homeland of Africa's earliest black culture with a history which can be traced from 3100 B.C. onward through monuments and artifacts, as well as written records from Egypt and Rome."
Racisim and the Rediscovery of Ancient Nubia
The Black Pharoahs - From National Geographic - Very IMPORTANT
"An ignored chapter of history tells of a time when kings from deep in Africa conquered ancient Egypt." And the Photo Gallery

 

AND THEIR CITIES AND TOWNS

Alexandria
Basic antiquity reference. History of Alexandra, people, events, geography.
Cairo History Guide
Cairo's deep-rooted history. "When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, Cairo was older to him than he is to us." Takes viewer on long journey from 3500 BC to today.

CONTROVERSIAL EGYPT PAGES

Controversy exists in all scholarly pursuits. It should not surprise us that it does in ancient Egypt. It seems more intense - perhaps because Egypt appears more mysterious than Rome and Greece. Of the many puzzles, the Athena Controversy stands apart - for its seriousness and impact.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt
Great!  And more causes of the Plagues? 

THE BLACK ATHENA CONTROVERSY
This controversy stems from propositions considered controversial: that the ancient Egyptians were black, that ancient Egypt was superior to other ancient civilizations and had a major influence on Europe and Africa, and that academic racists over the years prevented this information from being disseminated. If you want to enter this debate, you need to read carefully the major responses of the participants in this debate. What I should think we would all agree upon is the wonder, richness, and "multiculturality" of the mixture of peoples in the Ancient world.

Afrocentrism Debate
"A heated, racial, academic debate between establishment and other theorists about the role of Egypt and other parts of Africa in the formation of our Greco-Roman heritage."  Several diverse but analytical sites.
Building Bridges to Afrocentrism
Excellent 1995 article, beginning with:  " "What color were the ancient Egyptians?" This is a question that strikes fear into the hearts of most American Egyptologists, since it so often presages a barrage of questions and assertions from the Afrocentric perspective. Few of us have devoted much thought or research to the contentions of the Afrocentric movement, so we nervously try to say something reasonable, and hope that the questioner won't persist and that we won't end up looking
 silly or racist or both."
Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History
The Lefkowitz book title (1996).  And her thesis:  "There are of course many possible interpretations of the truth, but some things are simply not true. It is not true that there was no Holocaust. There was a Holocaust, although we may disagree about the numbers of people killed. Likewise, it is not true that the Greeks stole their philosophy from Egypt; rather, it is true that the Greeks were influenced in various ways over a long period of time by their contact with the Egyptians. But then, what culture at any time has not been influenced by other cultures, and what exactly do we mean by "influence"? If we talk about Greek philosophy as a "Stolen Legacy," which the Greeks swiped from Egyptian universities, we are not telling the truth, but relating a story, or a myth, or a tall tale. But if we talk about Egyptian influence on Greece, we are discussing an historical issue."
What Race Were the Ancient Egyptians?
Another point of view (2000):  "Civilization as it exists today is the culmination of the historical development of mankind, layer upon layer from ancient times to modern, each group contributing its share to the whole. Through human interaction, whether by trade or warfare, ideas, reform, and invention are assimilated, adapted, and again dispersed. It's the nature of history regardless of ethnicity."
Afrocentric Debate Resource  (1997)
ByrnMawr Classical Review (2000)



THE COMPLEXITY THAT WAS THE "OTHER ANCIENTS"

The peoples that "time forgot!" Obscure to the mainstream of classical ancient civilization. But central and contributory to so much. The Web is growing in sites.  I have spent hours going through each one.  A few excellent ones exist, but many are of little value.  I list here only those that are useful.  Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer, King Sargon, Akkadian Empire, Dynasty of Ur, Sumerians, Akkad, cuneiform, Assyria, Hammurabi, Babylon, Chaldeans, Celts.

SPECIAL PLACES

The British Museum:   
  Geography, Gods and Goddesses, Demons, Time, Writing.
Ancient Mesopotamia
Extravagant site. Library, Courtyard, Study, Music Room, Avatars, Royal Tombs of Ur, Tower of Babel, Hanging Gardens, Ziggurats, War Room, Earaly Sumerian Warfare, Assyrian Campaigns, Fall of Nineveh, Babylonian Campaigns, Fall of Babylon, Prelude to Persian Wars, and on and on.  Remarkable "place."
 

MESOPOTAMIA, BABYLON

Map of Ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia - A Large Project
Summary with essays on religion, trade, Assyriology and Archeology, geography, climate, people. 
Mesopotamian Prehistory:  Prehistory Essay
New Societies in West Asia
The successive waves of invaders on the Mesopotamian plains and their legacies.
Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ
Sumerian Mythology FAQ:  Religion, Deities                 Deity
Cuneiform Writing System (Babylonian and Assyrian cuneiform texts)
Structure and use, deciphering.  
The Sumerians and Assyrians - Country Studies
"Cradled by the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in what is today Iraq, the Sumerians of Mesopatamia established the earliest known society in which people could read and write. Although the Sumerian's gift of writing made possible the recording of history, Sumer itself was lost until a century ago, when the translation of cunieform tablets revealed a civilization and a language quite unlike the Semitic tongues of the Babylonians and Assyrians."
Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
World-renowned center for near eastern research.  Click to the Mesopotamian SECTION and then the Assyrian SECTION.
Seven Wonders: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Fruits, flowers, waterfalls, gardens, terraces, exotic animals? Not so. They "might have never existed except in Greek poets and historians imagination."
Babylon, Iraq
"Babylon, the legendary city, is indeed, the most famous ancient city in the whole World. It was the capital of ten Mesopotamian dynasties starting with the dynasty of King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC); the 6th king of the 1st dynasty; reaching prominence as the capital city of the great kingdom of Babylonia. The last dynasty at which Babylon achieved its zenith, is well known particularly of its 2nd king, Nebuchadnezzar II (605-563 BC), to whom most of Babylon's existing buildings belongs."  A rebuilding.
Ancient Babylonia - Good site.  History, rulers, Archaeology, law, economy
Ancient Tablets, Ancient Graves
"Assessing Women's Lives in Mesopotamia."  Women in World History Curriculum - Lesson of the Month . Special article.
Babylonian and Egyptian Mathematics - Fascinating study
History of Plumbing - Babylon
"To the ancient traveler on foot or camel back, the massive walled city of Babylon and its network of canals and verdant crop lands must have loomed like a mirage in the simmering heat of the Near East sun. Adding to a disbelieving eye was a 300-ft. high ziggurat or temple tower in the city's center, surrounded on all sides by lush gardens and date palm trees that swayed upon the terraced city. . . Located some 50 miles south of Baghdad in what is now Iraq, the flat land today is broken only by a series of desolate mounds and occasional patches of green cultivation and small villages. But beneath these mounds or "tells" are shattered remnants of past civilizations, crumbled foundations of clay cities literally layered one on top of the other. What developed in this area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers from about 6000-3000 B.C. were the beginnings of western civilization. . . . Wheeled vehicles became common - and water management evolved into irrigation dams, drains and basins, and personal bathrooms of their era's rich and famous."  Great info.
The Full Code of Hammurabi and Extended Code
Although the myth of the "eye for an eye" came from this code, most of the items deal with civil law and protecting business, property of value (like camels), transactions.  By reading through all the 200+ items, one can be specific about what was important in that society.
Code of Hammurabi, c. 1780 BCE - Ancient History Sourcebook most complete and detailed treatment.  THIS ESSAY IS KEY. 
Hammurabi:  King of Babylon
"Hammurabi is principally known for his codification of Babylonian laws, which was probably not his own creation, but a continuation of older legal systems.Although Hammurabi experienced many military victories during the last period of his reign, he was not a great state builder — principally due to the existence of relatively few models for states and their structure. He did not develop a functional bureaucracy and chose to follow a totalitarian approach to governance."
You be the Judge on Hammurabi's Code - Give it a Try
You decide by clicking to the link to "Solve some problems Hammurabi faced."  See Hammurabi's Code.
Ziggurats
Brief info.  THEN Type the word "Ziggurats" into Google and you will get 264 pictures, photos of them!
Ancient Ziggurats
"Ziggurats were huge 'stepped' structures  and, on their summit, far above the ground, a temple. To the city god. The city ziggurat would easily be the most conspicuous building in the city, towering above any visitors coming to their city. The ziggurat was not just a religious center but also a center of civic pride. Any visitor could not but see the ziggurat. The ziggurats were built on an immense scale: in the time of Hammurapi they would sometimes reach the height of 150 feet. Around the base there might be more temples or in some case accommodation for priests."
Cyrus the Great
"Cyrus was the first Achaemenian Emperor of Persia, who issued a decree on his aims and policies, later hailed for  his charter of the rights of nations. Inscribed on a clay cylinder, thought to be the first declaration of Human Rights, and is now kept at the British Museum. Syymbolizes Multiculturalism, a word coined to express the coexistence and peaceful cohabitation of peoples from different background and culture in one land." And one general view: By pursuing a policy of generosity, instead of repression, Cyrus demonstrated his Greatness. So successful were his policies of conquest, mercifulness and assimilation that the empire continued to thrive for some 200 years after his death. Cyrus' compassionate principles continue to resonate today: his religious and cultural tolerance and commitment to the liberation of enslaved peoples remain an aspiration in our troubled modern world."

LANGUAGE, MYTHOLOGY, RELIGION, SCIENCE

The Curse of Akkad
"First of the world's empires, Akkad was not the last to blame its fall on sacrilege. In a fit of pique, the author of the curse believed, the Akkadian emperor had destroyed a temple to the sky god Enlil, bringing on a century of drought, famine, and barbarian invasions. How else to explain the empire's sudden, calamitous decline?"
Epic of Gilgamesh - Great YouTube explanation. 
Gilgamesh Page
An almost complete translation.

THE HEBREWS

Dead Sea Scrolls
Are they authentic, who hid them away, what are their secrets, what were the lives like of those who hid them. 2000 year-old documents.
Internet Resources for the Study of Judaism and Christianity - Extensive
Jerusalem Mosaic
"This 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem was found under the floor of Madaba's St George's Church. The mosaic was probably made during the reign of the Emperor Justinian (AD 527-65) and hold significant historical value.  Detailed and beautiful.
Virtual Tour of Jerusalem
Hebrew University takes you through one of the world's oldest and most culturally rich cities. And more Tours.

ASSYRIANS

Assyria 1995: The Glory and Fall of Assyria
Good and interesting summary of the 10th conference on Assyria.
Assyria On Line
One of most informative sites about the Assyrians and their empire. Many links on diiverse subjects such as daily Assyrian life, women, language, holidays, literature, and mythology. Includes real Assyrian yellow pages containing Assyrian affiliates throughout the country and the world.
The Old Testament - Assyria
What is important to remember is that many historians believe from their research that the Assyrians were no more cruel and "awful" than the others in Mesopotamia.  So be careful here.  "Assyria was a kingdom located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that dominated the ancient world from the ninth century to the seventh century B. C. Its capital was Nineveh. In stature the Assyrians were of average modern European height, and were powerfully built. Their complexion was dark, the nose prominent, the hair, eyebrows, and beard thick and bushy. They rarely intermarried with neighboring peoples. The early inhabitants of Assyria were ancient tribesmen (Gen. 10:22) who probably migrated from Babylonia. They grew powerful enough around 1300 B. C. to conquer Babylonia. For the next 700 years they were the leading power in the ancient world, with their leading rival nation, Babylon, constantly challenging them for this position. "
"It was the Assyrians that destroyed the northern kingdom Israel under Shalmaneser IV who besieged Samaria and then died during the siege leaving Sargon II to finish the task and drag Israel into captivity. After defeating the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B. C., the Assyrians carried away thousands of Israelites and resettled them in other parts of the Assyrian Empire. This was a blow from which the nation of Israel never recovered. The ten tribes that were taken to Assyria became the ten lost tribes, for they have never again emerged in world history.  Assyrian policy was to deport conquered peoples to other lands within the empire, to destroy their sense of nationalism, and break any pride or hope of rebellion and replace them with strangers from far away. Assyrians were great warriors. Most nations at that time period were looters, building their state by robbing other nations. Assyria was the most ferocious of them all. Their very name became a byword for cruelty and atrocity. They skinned their prisoners alive, and cut off various body parts to inspire terror in their enemies. There is records of Assyrian officials pulling out tongues and displaying mounds of human skulls all to bring about stark horror and wealthy tribute from surrounding nations. Nowhere are the pages of history more bloody than in the records of their wars. "
Assyrian - From Ancient Civilizations
The Assyrian Empire
Succinct clear history of this empire.  Key.

Assyrians, the Lords of the Massacres

Critical Analysis.  "Assyrians were one of the most warlike people in history, lovers of the violence of the war and hunt. Amongst the people of the ancient Middle East, they were famous for their cruelty. At the peak of its power, Assyria stretched from Egypt to Persian Gulf. Their aggressiveness was partially attributed to their location: Assyria was in northern Mesopotamia, north of Babylon. As no natural bounders like shores or mountains were found there, they were vulnerable to attacks from any direction. This required the presence of a strong and mobile army.
Assyrians were also good traders, and the main trade routes of Mesopotamia passed through Assyria. Their control was a source of richness. . . . The expansionism exhausted the power of Assyria, facing continuously new enemies. During Ashurbanipal, Assyria was at its peak, even if it had lost Egypt. But a weak moment appeared in 620 BC, due to a civil war. The attack of the Medes from the East and Babylonians from the south ended with the fall of the capital, Ashur, in 614 BC and Nineveh and Kalack in 612 BC. This time the massacre was perpetrated on the Assyrians, so badly that they were out of history.
 
An Assyrian Emperor's Resume: Ferocious Conquests a Specialty
Ashur-Nasir-Pal II's bloody activities in his own words. 
Assyrian Dictionary Project.
University of Chicago. Compilation of comprehensive dictionary of the various dialects of Akkadian, the earliest known Semitic language that was recorded on cuneiform texts.
Assyrian King List
The Great Ashurbanipal
"Asurbanipal or Sardanapal, (reigned 669 - 627 BCE), the son of Esarhaddon and Naqi'a-Zakutu, was the last great king of ancient Assyria. He is famous as one of the few kings in antiquity who could himself read and write. . . . The early part of Ashurbanipal's reign, like that of most Assyrian kings, was marked by incessant warfare. He made war on his brother Shamash-shum-ukin, who had been installed as king in Babylon, and who had rebelled against him. The Babylonian king was the leader of a large coalition of peoples from southern Mesopotamia (but including also Egypt). Eventually, Ashurbanipal reconquered Babylon, and the coalition disbanded. Ashurbanipal also crushed a rebellion in Egypt, and conquered Elam, destroying its capital city, Susa. He also conquered a great part of the Arab territories."
Welcome to the Library of King Ashurbanipal
"King Ashurbanipal (ca. 668-627 B.C.) was the ruler of ancient Assyria at the height of Assyrian military and cultural accomplishments. He is known in Greek writings as Sardanapalus and as Asnappeer or Osnapper in the Bible. Through military conquests Ashurbanipal also expanded Assyrian territory and its number of vassal states. However, of far greater importance to posterity was Ashurbanipal's establishment of a great library in the city of Nineveh. The military and territorial gains made by this ruler barely outlived him but the Library he established has survived partially intact. A collection of 20,000 to 30,000 cuneiform tablets containing approximately 1,200 distinct texts remains for scholars to study today. Ashurbanipal's library was not the first library of its kind but it was one of the largest and one of the ones to survive to the present day. Most of it is now in the possession of the British Museum or the Iraq Department of Antiquities.

The importance of Ashurbanipal's Library can not be overstated. It was buried by invaders centuries before the famous library at Alexandria was established and gives modern historians much information about the peoples of the Ancient Near East. The ancient Sumerian "Epic of Gilgamesh" and a nearly complete list of ancient Near Eastern rulers among other priceless writings were preserved in Ashurbanipal's palace library at Nineveh. Ashurbanipal's accomplishments are also of great importance to scholars of library history. As a scholar Ashurbanipal reached greatnesss. Though this library was not the first of its kind, it was one of the largest and the first library modern scholars can document as having most or even all of the attributes one expects to find in a modern library. Like a modern library this collection was spread out into many rooms according to subject matter. Some rooms were devoted to history and government, others to religion and magic and still others to geography, science, poetry, etc. Ashurbanipal's collection even held what could be called classified government materials. The findings of spies and secret affairs of state were held secure from access in deep recesses of the palace much like a modern government archive."
Ashurbanipal II
"Ashurbanipal II, King of Assyria (884 – 859 BC), called himself “trampler of nations”. Blood-curdling inscriptions of his achievements include:
'I besieged and conquered the city… I captured many troops alive. I cut off of some their arms and hands. I cut off others their noses, ears and extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living and one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city. I flayed as many nobles as had rebelled against me and draped their skins over the pile of corpses… I flayed many, right through my land and draped their skins over the walls. I cut off the heads of their fighters and built therewith a tower before the city. I burnt their adolescent boys and girls.'"
Ninevah On Line - History
The Nippur Expedition
Nippur, Sacred City of Enlil
Supreme God of Sumer and Akkad.
Palace of Ashurnasirpal II
3D animated fly-through of Assyrian palace.
Songs of Assyria                      
Stolen Stones: The Modern Sack of Nineveh
Excellent article on the Sack of Nineveh and the finds at the lost palace of Sennacherib.

AKKADIANS

The Akkadians
"A history of ancient Akkad (Akkadians) from its rise to fall including its kings, cities, laws and contributions to civilization. The Akkadians were a Semitic people living on the Arabic peninsula during the great flourishing period of the Sumerian city-states. There are several reasons for taking the year 2350 as a turning point in the history of Mesopotamia. For the first time, an empire arose on Mesopotamian soil. The driving force of that empire was the Akkadians, so called after the city of Akkad, which Sargon chose for his capital (it has not yet been identified but was presumably located on the Euphrates between Sippar and Kish). The name Akkad became synonymous with a population group that stood side by side with the Sumerians. Southern Mesopotamia became known as the "land of Sumer and Akkad"; Akkadian became the name of a language; and the arts rose to new heights."
Sargon The Great
"SARGON OF AKKAD was an ancient Mesopotamian ruler who reigned approximately 2334-2279 BC, and was one of the earliest of the world's great empire builders, conquering all of southern Mesopotamia as well as parts of Syria, Anatolia, and Elam (western Iran). He established the region's first Semitic dynasty and was considered the founder of the Mesopotamian military tradition. Sargon based his empire in the city of Akkad, which became the basis of the name of his people. This great capital of the largest empire humans had ever seen up until that point later became the city of Babylon, which was the commercial and cultural center of the middle east for almost two thousand years."  And Here.
The Story of Sargon's Reign
The Advice of an Akkadian Father to His Son, c. 2200 BCE
"Do not honor a slave girl in your house; she should not rule your bedroom like a wife, do not give yourself over to slave girls....Let this be said among your people: "The household which a slave girl rules, she disrupts." Do not marry a prostitute, whose husbands are legion, an Ishtar-woman who is dedicated to a god, a kulmashitu-woman. . . .When you have trouble, she will not support you, when you have a dispute she will be a mocker."  The rest of the advice is quite "good" also.
Akkad and the Arts
"Sargon of Akkad's (reigned c. 2334-c. 2279 BC) unification of the Sumerian city-states and creation of a first Mesopotamian empire profoundly affected the art of his people, as well as their language and political thought. The increasingly large proportion of Semitic elements in the population were in the ascendancy, and their personal loyalty to Sargon and his successors replaced the regional patriotism of the old cities. The new conception of kingship thus engendered is reflected in artworks of secular grandeur, unprecedented in the god-fearing world of the Sumerians."
Sargon - Legendary King of Mesopotamia
"There are many legends surrounding the birth and upbringing of Sargon, though they probably have varying degrees of truth. When the events from the legends are combined, we see that Sargon’s rise to emperor was a huge accomplishment. While the identity of his father is not clearly known, the legend states that his mother was a temple priestess. Giving birth to him in secret and setting him in a basket to float, she abandoned him to the Euphrates river. Akki, a gardener, rescued him from the river and raised him. After working as a gardener for Akki, Sargon rose to the position of cup-bearer to Ur-Zababa, the king of Kish."
Sargon I of Akkad
"Sargon is the great teacher who taught early mankind how to build an empire."

 

THE HITTITES AND THEIR NEW-FOUND FAME

Focus on Anatolia
Anatolia through the ages, major civilizations and famous settlements, ancient cities from Ephesus to Catal Hoyuk.
Chicago Hittite Dictionary Project
"Hittite language is the earliest preserved member of the Indo-European family of langues...The vast majority of Hittite tablets were excavated from the ruins of the ancient Hittite capital Hattusa located near the modern Turkish town of Boghazkoy." Excavation began in 1906, recovering about 10,000 clay tablets, most in an unknown language (Hittite). By 1916 the language had been deciphered. Gradually knowledge increased. The Chicago Project officially started in 1975.
Great Hittite Kingdom - Summary
Hittites From the Encyclopedia Orient
The Hittite Civilization
"Roaring into history from mysterious origins, the Hittites would rule a great empire that stretched from Mesopotamia to Syria and Palestine. The Hittites are shrouded in fog and mystery; we don't where they came from, and for a long time the language they spoke was undecipherable. In the end, it turns out they were Indo-European, that is, they spoke a language from the Indo-European language family, which includes English, German, Greek, Latin, Persian, and the languages of India. Their invasion spelled the end of the Old Babylonian empire in Mesopotamia (1900-1600 BC), and like so many others before them, the invaders adopted the ways of the conquered; after the conquest of Mesopotamia, the Hittites adopted the laws, religion, and the literature of the Old Babylonians thus continuing the long heritage of Sumerian culture. Their empire was at its greatest from 1600-1200 BC, and even after the Assyrians gained control of Mesopotamia after 1300 BC, the Hittite cities and territories thrived independently until 717 BC, when the territories were finally conquered by Assyrians and others."
 


THE GLORY THAT WAS GREECE

The splendor, the sacrifices, the superstars, the sound and fury, the symbolism - and the men primarily and their slaves who made this possible. Here in this mere spot of land, smaller than some of the states from which we come - extended periodically by stunning conquest, lies a central core to the shaping and future of the Western human and those earthlings who are impacted by these traditions and values.


             To Part II - Greece - here




THE POWER THAT WAS ROME

The land of the citizen statesmen, the Emperors, the warriors, the Caesars. The power of an Empire that conquered most of what we know of as Europe, ruled it, linked its roads and laws with it, exported its culture and language to it. Baths, plumbing, food, religion, architecture, drama, walls, palaces, slaves and servants. Political strategy, diplomacy, and philosophy. Words falter in capturing this mighty civilization with its weaknesses and strengths, its triumphs and its calamities.

                     To Part III-Rome  -  click  here  

 Major Web College History Courses:

The Special Western Civilization Series

Professor Konnilyn Feig

COURSE CENTERS AND WEB INTERNET BOOKS

  • History 4A- WESTERN CIVILIZATION: THE ANCIENT WORLD

    Act I: From Prehistory to the Fall of Rome
    (Fall , Winter , Spring , Summer )
  • History 4B - WESTERN CIVILIZATION: THE MEDIEVAL, RENAISSANCE, REFORMATION WORLD
    Act II: From the Fall of Rome to the French Revolution
    ( Winter )
  • History 4C- WESTERN CIVILIZATION: THE MODERN WORLD
    Act III: From The French Revolution to the Fall of the Berlin Wall
    (Fall , Spring, Summer)
  • 4 Quarter Units Each.
  • Identical in Content, Rigor, Requirements, Assignments, Exams, to On-Campus College Course, fully articulated with all California Universities.
  • The Online Course Information Site and Summary Syllabus for History 4A:  Western Civilization:  The Ancient World - Act I
  • The Online Course Information Site and Summary Syllabus for History 4B:  Western Civilization: The Medieval Renaissance World - Act II
  • The Online Course Information Site and Summary Syllabus for History 4C:  Western Civilization:  The Modern World - Act III
    For Registration and Process/Course Information, Contact Global Access Courses at the FOOTHILL COLLEGE SITE.  

   Internet Book and Site Created, Designed, Executed
By Dr. K. Feig, Professor of History/Political Science. Author, Hitler's Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness. Site  Full Copyright, Dr. K. Feig.
Internet Books and Sites on loan to Foothill College for Web Courses.

I created this site and the online courses, beginning in 1994! - for folks in the Web World who enjoy Ancient history as much as I do: the "public," history buffs, families, students of all ages, elementary and high school teachers, university faculty.  I have tried to be intensely aware of others' work and respect copyrights.  I don't think I have violated anyone's work - and only highlighted the special efforts of others. If anyone feels to the contrary, contact me. I wanted this site to be available for public use, personally or in a classroom - and as a resource for teachers at all levels.

      HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS PAGE

THANKS TO THE FOOTHILL COLLEGE FOLKS:
Dr. Judy Baker,  Dean of Distance Learning;  my History Colleagues (Davison, Ziegenhorn, Pierce); the Dean of BSS; and the President of Foothill College and her support for technology.  

 

   
  
 

Revision Continuously , latest August 2014