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West Asian mathematics – history of math

By | 2017-09-16T12:05:41+00:00 September 16th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

Sumerian multiplication table (2700 BC) Once people in West Asia figured out how to write down numbers, about 3500 BC, they quickly began to want to use cuneiform to write down other mathematical ideas. The earliest example of this that we have is from about 2700 BC. It shows a multiplication table to help people figure out the area of a space by multiplying width [...]

Zoroastrianism – Iran – West Asian religion

By | 2017-09-15T21:10:54+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

An Iranian fire sacrifice Around 1000 BC (probably), about the same time that people in India were writing the Rig Veda, a man named Zoroaster (also called Zarathustra) was a priest in a small temple in the eastern part of West Asia, in an area with a lot of small kingdoms and no major power. Zoroaster believed that he heard [...]

From Xerxes to Alexander – the later Persian Empire

By | 2017-09-14T17:18:32+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

The Persian shah, Xerxes, from the 400s BC. King Xerxes was killed in 465 BC. His assassin may have been his son Ardashir I (Artaxerxes in Greek), who succeeded him. Ardashir was a weak king, and a lot of the conquered countries revolted while Ardashir was king. By this time, the rest of West Asia [...]

Who were the Persians? Persian Empire – Iran – history

By | 2017-12-22T01:59:32+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia, Where|

The Persians came from the Central Asian steppe The Persians and the Medes Around 1200 BC, some Indo-European people from Central Asia moved south into West Asia. These people were the Persians and the Medes. Nomads and cattle-herders in Central Asia The Persians and the Medes were distantly related to the Scythians, the Hittites, the Greeks and the Romans, and they spoke [...]

Who were the Lydians? West Asian history

By | 2017-09-14T15:27:39+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

A Lydian gold coin About 687 BC, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, King Gyges started the new country of Lydia (LID-ee-ah), in modern Turkey where the Hittites had ruled before the Dark Age. Now that the Assyrian Empire had collapsed, and the Neo-Babylonians were not very strong, it was pretty easy for new countries to get started along the edges [...]

Neo-Babylonians – Mesopotamia – West Asian history

By | 2017-09-13T22:11:36+00:00 September 13th, 2017|History, West Asia|

The Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon, built during the Neo-Babylonian period (600s BC). Now in Berlin. As the Assyrians got weaker, pieces of their empire began to break off. People saw their chance to become independent and grabbed it. Egypt became independent again. So did Israel for a while. But then in the 600s BC a new empire started up. It [...]

West Asian government – Mesopotamia and Iran

By | 2017-09-13T17:42:37+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Government, West Asia|

Stele of Naram-Sin Since the time of the Akkadians, about 2300 BC, the government of West Asia has cycled back and forth between periods of unity under empires ruled by a "king of kings" and smaller kingdoms or city-states ruled by ordinary kings. Most of the time there have been larger empires - the Akkadians, the Assyrians, the Persians, the Parthians, [...]

West Asian economy – Mesopotamia and Iran

By | 2017-09-12T21:42:12+00:00 September 12th, 2017|Economy, West Asia|

Obsidian tools West Asia is located in the middle of the very wide land mass we call Europe and Asia and Africa, and so it has always played an important part in moving things from east to west and from west to east. Beginning as early as the Stone Age, about 7000 BC, people in West [...]

Iron Age timeline – 1000 to 500 BC

By | 2017-09-10T18:11:31+00:00 September 10th, 2017|West Asia|

Zhou Dynasty swimmers (Sichuan bronze vessel, ca. 750 BC) All across Asia, the early Iron Age started out as a time of many small kingdoms and city-states. In China, the Zhou Dynasty ruled loosely over a lot of small kingdoms. India was also divided into many small kingdoms. In West Asia, there were also small kingdoms like Lydia, Phoenicia and Israel (this is the time [...]

Where did Purim come from? Jewish holidays

By | 2017-08-24T15:19:17+00:00 August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Mordecai is leading Esther (on the horse) to talk to the Persian king. A fresco from the world's oldest preserved synagogue at Dura-Europos in Syria (244 AD) At first, maybe as early as the Stone Age, Purim was a Jewish winter festival that was probably related to the Babylonian New Year celebration and the Zoroastrian [...]