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Who were the Sumerians? Mesopotamia – West Asian history

By |2018-05-01T10:04:42+00:00September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Sumerians - Head of a woman from Warka, about 3000 BC About the same time as the first Pharaohs were coming to power in Egypt, around 3100 BC, a group of people we call the Sumerians were living in Mesopotamia. That's the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, in West Asia (modern Iraq). The Sumerians themselves [...]

Hammurabi of Babylon – Mesopotamia – West Asian history

By |2018-04-25T23:49:52+00:00September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Code of Hammurabi (1700s BC) About 1700 BC, a new king in Babylon pulled all the scattered cities of Mesopotamia back together into one empire. That's the Babylonian Empire. The king's name was Hammurabi. It's an Amorite name, so Hammurabi probably had Amorite ancestors. This is another episode in a regular West Asian cycle. Empires form under a strong ruler. [...]

Early Dynastic Mesopotamia – West Asian history

By |2018-04-25T23:42:17+00:00September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

A statue of a worshipper from Mari, on the Euphrates river in Mesopotamia (modern Syria). Around 2900 BC, after the flood, comes a time period called Early Dynastic, which lasts for about 600 years (there is a good deal of disagreement). It corresponds to the Old Kingdom in Egypt and to the Early Bronze Age in Greece. The civilization [...]

West Asian government – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-25T23:41:44+00:00September 13th, 2017|Government, West Asia|

West Asian government: the stele of Naram-Sin shows the king leading his troops to victory. Empires and city-states Since the time of the Akkadians, about 2300 BC, West Asian government has cycled back and forth between unity and disunity. Sometimes there are big empires ruled by a "king of kings". Other times there are smaller kingdoms [...]

Cherokee history – Native American history

By |2018-04-07T17:05:33+00:00August 8th, 2017|History, Native American|

Cherokee history: statues from Etowah (now northern Georgia) from about 1300 AD The Ani Chota The Cherokee nation was the largest nation of eastern North America.  They were probably also the most important. But they did not call themselves the Cherokee. They called themselves the Ani Chota. That means the people of Chota, [...]

Yayoi – Iron Age Japan

By |2018-04-18T09:53:57+00:00July 27th, 2017|History, Japan|

Yayoi pottery, ca. 100-200 AD By about 800 BC, most people in Japan were shifting from Stone Age hunting and gathering to farming rice for most of their food (but they were still also eating a lot of fish). People in Japan started raising pigs at this time, too, brought over from China. Like farmers everywhere, people in Japan started to fight over land, and [...]

Ancient Greek soldiers: the Greek hoplite phalanx

By |2018-05-04T23:13:29+00:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Ancient Greek soldiers - Greek hoplites in a phalanx formation (Chigi Vase, ca. 650 BC) Before the hoplite phalanx In the Bronze Age, and in the early part of the Archaic period, Greek soldiers fought their battles the same way most other soldiers did in the Mediterranean and West Asia. They learned to [...]

Xenia – guests and hosts in ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T10:13:16+00:00July 12th, 2017|Greeks, People|

Kidnapping Helen of Troy (from Pompeii) In ancient Greece, xenia meant "the way you treat strangers or foreigners". It comes from a very old Proto-Indo-European (Yamnaya) word that means "stranger" but also "guest" and "host" and "foreigner" and sometimes "enemy". Do those words all seem very different to you? That's the point they're [...]

Greek history – Ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T07:11:04+00:00July 7th, 2017|Greeks, History|

Satellite view of Greece Greece is near West Asia, and at the edge of Europe. Being outsiders, though, has given people who live there more freedom to experiment with new ideas and new ways of doing things, to combine old ideas in new ways. A lot of new ideas - like organized troops of [...]

What is a city-state? Definition

By |2018-04-23T06:36:29+00:00June 29th, 2017|Government, Greeks|

The Standard of Ur, from West Asia (2000 BC) What is a city-state? A city-state (what the Greeks called a polis, which is where our word politics comes from) is like a very small country, with just one city in it. There are still some city-states in the world today, like Monaco or [...]