The following Internet activities
will help reinforce issues and themes presented in Chapter 2 of McKay, A
History of World Societies
(Sixth Edition). One of these major themes
is interaction. For a thousand years, roughly from 1500 to 500 B.C.,
the various civilizations and Neolithic communities of the Near East came
into regular, sustained, and organized contact with one another. Your task
is to understand the various reasons for this development and to analyze its
impact on world history.
- You may want to begin by printing this page. As you explore
different sites, use the printout to refer back to the instructions and
questions detailed in each activity.
- On many web sites you can increase the size of the images
by clicking on them. Whenever possible, use the larger images to examine
- Studying maps, whether current depictions of the past
or ancient cartography, can illuminate historical eras. Start off by looking
at the map at Babylonian
Clay Tablet World Map, 600 B.C. Be sure to click on the monograph section
at the bottom of the page. Now look at Turin
Papyrus, 1300 B.C. Be sure to look at the interpretive drawing and monograph.
Use McKay, A History of World Societies (Sixth Edition), to put each
map in its proper historical context. How do these maps help us understand
Egyptian and Babylonian concepts of space? What, if anything, do they
reveal about these peoples' views of their own positions in the world? Do
either of these maps reveal any interaction with neighboring groups? Write
a paragraph that answers these questions.
- After completing the first activity, examine maps of
West Asia and North Africa that use modern cartography. Go to Map
1. What is depicted there? From what time period? After analyzing
this map, can you suggest how the natural resources of the Near East promoted
contact between various communities? Now look at Map
2. Do the rise of these political entities make any more sense
when you compare and contrast Map
1 and Map
- Locate where each of the kingdoms on Map
2 is explained in Chapters 1 and 2 of McKay, A History of World Societies
(Sixth Edition). Do the same thing for Map
3. (This is an interactive map that requires you to download Shockwave
if it is not already on your computer.) To manipulate this map, place the
cursor on the image and hit the left mouse button. Move the cursor to the
empire that you wish to view.
Upon completion of Activities One
and Two, you should see the connections between the dynamic political situation
in the Near East from 1500 to 500 B.C. and long–distance trade. As a map of
Empire of Cyrus II
of Persia reveals, many of the political states that
rose and fell during this time were attempts to control access to natural
resources or to control trade routes.
- Review pages 44–49 in McKay, A History of World
Societies (Sixth Edition), and take a look at The Persian Empire
at its Height. Also review Map
1 from Activity Two. What resources and trade routes did the Persian
Empire control? In light of your discoveries, why does McKay describe Persia
as a "world empire" on page 47?
- Now that you have seen how trade routes and empires
emerged in West Asia and North Africa during this period, examine some of
the byproducts of these exchanges. Remember that this region became increasingly
cosmopolitan between 1500 and 500 B.C. By cosmopolitan we mean that people
became more exposed to new people, ideas, and technologies. What was the
long–term impact of this development?
- One way of answering the final question in Activity
Three is to examine the relationship between Egypt and Nubia during the
years 1500 to 500 B.C. Begin by reviewing pages 32–36 in McKay, A
History of World Societies (Sixth Edition). Next go to Nubia
and explore this site. List and explain three major ways that extended contact
with each other influenced Egypt and Nubia. Which culture had greater influence
on the other? Why do you think this was so? What does this relationship
tell you about trade and the spread of civilization?
Cultural interaction along the routes
of trade and conquest produced continuities in artistic styles among the various
civilizations of the Near East. For example, as you read in McKay, A History
of World Societies
(Sixth Edition), Persian art drew upon Assyrian models.
Review the images on pages 41 and 47 of McKay. What similarities and differences
can you notice between these examples of Assyrian and Persian art? What do
these similarities and differences reveal about how Assyrian and Persian kings
viewed themselves and how they wished to be viewed by others? Now consider
two other examples.
- One of the civilizations annexed into the Assyrian Empire
was Egypt. Examine the following pieces of Egyptian art: Relief
of Nebhepetre Menuhotep, Sphinx
of Senwosret III, and Ostracon
of a king. Compare these with the following Assyrian sculptures: Lamassu
and Attendant. How do Egyptian and Assyrian pieces resemble and differ
from one another? What do these similarities and differences suggest about
how the Egyptians and Assyrians viewed kingship?
- Now examine Striding
Lion, an example of Neo-Babylonian art (the Neo-Babylonian Empire was
conquered by the Persians, and the following two examples of Persian art:
bearing food and drink and the Archers
of Darius. Compare these pieces to those you examined above and to the
images on pages 41, 43, and 47 of McKay (Sixth Edition). How do the Neo-Babylonian
and Persian artifacts resemble and differ from each other, and from the
Egyptian and Assyrian pieces? Make a list of the artistic elements that
these civilizations shared, and a list of the elements that seem to you
unique to each civilization.
- Make a topical list of how the growth of long–distance
trade and empires shaped the Near East between 1500 and 500 B.C. For example,
one topic might be the spread of religion. Another might be the spread of
technology. Keep this list where you can refer back to it in later chapters.
The impact of long–distance trade and empires will be a theme throughout
your study of world history.