Middle East and Africa

This page will talk about Middle East and Africa.

First Empires and Civilization

Middle East and Africa

At about 5000 BC (Before Christ), farmers settled in the fertile land of southern Mesopotamia and now Iraq. This land Sumer is where this is where civilization began. This land between Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamia literally means "land between two rivers". This area is known as the cradle of civilization. It was abundant in crops and grains. They traded this food to their neighbors for other goods such as metals and wooden items. By 3000 BC, a number of city states developed their own set of writing and this is were writing first developed. The first legal system were developed here.

In Ancient Egypt known as the old kingdom a number pharaohs were in charged and they brought Egypt to prosperity after the country had been ravaged by severe drought and famine. Political power moved to the city of Babylon. That era lasted under King Hammurabi. During his rule, the empire expanded to include southern Mesopotamia. He promoted the worlds first set of laws and also promoted science and scholarship. After his death, the Babylon empire declined and began to be dominated by the Hittites.

The Hittites were the first civilization to produce iron. The Hittites were the empire that made there weapons out of iron. In 559 BC , Cyrus the Great (also called Cyrus II) built an empire that ruled over one fifth of the world. The dynasty of Persia was called Achaemenid. Around 500 BC, Cyrus conquered the Medes in northern Iran also acquired Assyria, Cyrus captured Babylon in 539 BC. Cyrus then allowed the Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild their temples. Cyrus died in 529 BC after expanding his empire to include India.

By the time of Darius I, the empire included Egypt and went from India to Turkey, the largest empire in the world had seen yet. King Darius I taxed the people and built a 1500 mile road from Susa to Ephesus in Turkey. Zoroastrianism was their religion. It had concepts of resurrection, judgment, heaven, and hell that would influence the religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

The Parthian Empire

After Greek rule, Iran was ruled by Parthia north of Persia. One of the Parthian rulers was Mithridates I. Under his rule, the army had considerable skills and warfare and horsemanship being able to shoot as they rode which made them good soldiers. They eventually fought with Rome over control of Armenia. Parthia collapsed finally because the fighting between its own leaders.

The Hebrews

The Hebrews were Semitic nomads came to Canaan from the east second millennium BC. After the defeat of the Philistines (sea people), King David formed a unified Palestine. Jerusalem was the capital. In 1721 BC, Assyria took control of Israel and in 586 BC. Judea was ruled by Babylon and Jerusalem was destroyed. The Jews were held captive in Babylon and began to write down their history and became the Jewish Torah. That tome became the first books of the Christian Bible. After the Jews returned to Jerusalem, the foundation of Judaism, they believed themselves to be chosen people of God.

In 333 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Palestine and they were ruled by the Romans.

Christianity was born

In about 30 AD, a Jewish carpenter named Jesus who lived Galilee began preaching of a merciful God who ruled every person. He taught charity, humility, and sincerity. This brought him in conflict with Pontius Pilate. Pilate ordered Jesus crucified and Jesus' followers known as the twelve apostles claimed that rose from the dead three days later which made him known as the Messiah (The Anointed One). The next 200 years, the gospels of the new testament spread around the roman world.

The writings of Saint Paul made up thirteen books of the new testament. Roman leaders tried to stamp this religion which they considered a dangerous cult. In 313 AD, the emperor Constantine issued an edict of toleration and began making the Christian religion the official religion of the roman empire. After that, Christianity spread like wildfire and it was one of the major influences of western civilization.

References

  • The History of the World in Bite-Sized Chunks. Marriott, Emma. MJF Books. New York. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-60671-187-3