SARGON, the ruler of neighboring Akkad, invaded and conquered the citystates of Sumer around 2300 B.C.E.

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1 SARGON, the ruler of neighboring Akkad, invaded and conquered the citystates of Sumer around 2300 B.C.E. He built the first EMPIRE, known to history. An empire is several states and/or territories controlled by a single ruler HAMMURABI,king of Babylon, took steps to unite the Babylonian empire about 1790 B.C. His lasting contribution was the CODE OF HAMMURABI. He had artisans carve nearly 300 laws on a stone pillar. He proclaimed that his goals were to cause justice to prevail in the land/to destroy the wicked and evil/that the strong may not oppress the weak. Hammurabi was the first ruler to CODIFY, or arrange and set down in writing, all of the laws that would govern a state. 1

2 CRIMINAL LAW deals with offenses against others such as robbery, assault, or murder. Earlier traditions often permitted victims of crimes or their families to take the law into their own hands. Hammurabi's Code limited personal vengeance and encouraged social order. The punishments in Hammurabi's Code followed the principle of an eye for an eye and a life for a life. CIVIL LAW deals with private rights and matters, such as business contracts, property inheritance, taxes, marriage, and divorce. Much of Hammurabi's civil code was designed to protect the powerless, such as slaves or women. Some laws, for example, allowed a woman to own property and pass it on to her children. Conquerors often uprooted the peoples they defeated, helping to spread ideas. Other conquerors, like the Hittites, brought new skills to the region. Hittites made tools and weapons with iron. The new knowledge spread, ushering in the IRON AGE The HITTITES conquered parts of Mesopotamia about 1400 BCE The Hittites adopted many parts of Mesopotamia culture especially the writing system 2

3 Lived on the upper Tigris and learned to forge iron weapons. By 1100 BCE, they began expanding across Mesopotamia. For 500 years, they earned a reputation for being among the most feared warriors in history. Assyrian rulers encouraged a well-ordered society. Being a scribe was an entirely viable profession for the youngest son in a wealthy or elite family. One of the great Assyrian kings, Ashurbanipal, himself the youngest son and therefore least likely to inherit the throne, was trained in the scribal arts of writing, reading and other educational pursuits. Once Ashurbanipal became king he collected one of the greatest libraries in the ancient world, at Nineveh. A significant portion of what we know of the ancient Middle East is due to Ashurbanipal s literary preservation effort. In 612 BCE, NEBUCHADNEZZAR (neh buh kuhd nehz uhr), revived the power of Babylon by overthrowing the Assyrians. Babylon fell to the armies of Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE Cyrus and his successors created the largest empire to date Near his chief palace were the famous HANGING GARDENS, known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Nebuchadnezzar had the gardens built to please his wife, who was homesick for the hills where she had grown up. Persian kings practiced TOLERANCE, or acceptance, of the people they conquered. DARIUS set up a government that became a model for later rulers. He divided the Persian empire into provinces Each province was headed by a governor called a SATRAP. Special officials, spies, were the Eyes and Ears of the King, which visited each province to check on the satraps. To unite the empire, Darius: adapted laws from the people he conquered and drew up a single code of laws for the empire had hundreds of miles of roads built or repaired set up a common set of weights and measures encouraged the use of coins, creating a MONEY ECONOMY. In this system, goods and services are paid for through the exchange of some token of an agreed value, such as a coin or a bill. 3

4 ZOROASTER (zoh roh as tuhr) created a new religion that helped to unite the empire. He rejected the old Persian gods. He taught that a single wise god ruled the world. This god was in constant battle against the prince of lies and evil. Each individual had to choose which side to support. In the end good would triumph over evil. On the Judgment Day, those who had done good would enter paradise. Evil-doers would be condemned to eternal suffering. Two later religions that emerged in the Middle East, Christianity and Islam, stressed similar ideas about heaven, hell, and a final judgment day. Gained fame as sailors and traders. They occupied cities along the eastern Mediterranean coast, in the area that is today Lebanon and Syria. They made clear glass from coastal sand. They produced a purple dye which was so expensive only royal families could afford it Phoenicians also used papyrus from Egypt to make scrolls, or rolls of paper, for books. The words Bible and bibliography come from the Phoenician city of Byblos. A COLONY is a territory settled and ruled by people from another land. A few Phoenician traders braved the stormy Atlantic and as far as There, exchanged from the tin. sailed England. they goods Mediterranean for Historians have called the Phoenicians CARRIERS OF CIVILIZATION. Phoenicians made their own contribution to our world, giving us our alphabet. An ALPHABET contains letters that represent spoken sounds. They developed a system of 22 symbols for consonant sounds. Later, the Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet and added symbols for the vowel sounds. From this Greek alphabet came the letters in which this book is written. The Israelites, or HEBREWS, believed that God was taking a hand in their lives. They recorded events and laws in the TORAH, their most sacred text. ABRAHAM is considered the founder of the Israelite nation after he and his family migrated from Ur in Mesopotamia. The Book of Genesis tells that a famine later forced many Israelites to migrate to Egypt. There, they were eventually enslaved. MOSES led the Israelites in their escape, or EXODUS, from Egypt. After Moses died, they entered Canaan, the land they believed God had promised them. 4

5 By 1000 BCE, the Israelites set up a kingdom called Israel. David, a strong and shrewd king, united the feuding Israelite tribes into a single nation. David's son Solomon turned Jerusalem into an impressive capital, with a splendid temple dedicated to God. SOLOMON won fame for his wisdom and understanding. In 722 B.C.E., Israel fell to the Assyrians. In 586 B.C.E., Babylonian armies captured Judah. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the great temple and forced many Israelites into exile in Babylon. During this period, called the BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY, the Israelites became known as the JEWS. Israelites were MONOTHEISTIC, believing in one god Their God was all-knowing, all-powerful and present everywhere They believe that God made a COVENANT, binding agreement, with ABRAHAM, who is considered the father of the Hebrews MOSES later renewed this covenant as the Hebrews were escaping from Egypt causing the Hebrews to believe that they were a CHOSEN PEOPLE The concept of law is central to the Israelites The TORAH contains most of Hebrew law Israelite society was PATRIARCHAL, fathers and husbands held great legal and moral authority The TEN COMMANDMENTS are the heart of Judaism that were given by God through Moses to the Jews The first four commandments deal with religious duties such as keeping the SABBATH, a holy day each week, for rest and worship The rest relate to conduct towards other people such as Honor thy father and mother and Thou shalt not steal They believed in PROPHETS, spiritual leaders, who interpreted God s will, to often warn the Jews about their failure to follow God s laws often with dire consequences The prophets also taught a strong code of ETHICS, or moral standards All people were equal before God Rich and powerful protected the poor and weak 5

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