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Unit #1 Assignment #1

Akkadians

Semitic people of northern Mesopotamia who conquered the city-states of Sumer in 2334 B.C. and controlled the region for about 20 years until the Sumerians regained their independence.

Anatolia

the larger part of moder Turkey in Asia; term commonly used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for what is now Turkey; also called Asia Minor.

anthropologist

a social scientist who studies humankind and human cultures; physical anthropologists specialize in the origins and classifications of human; culture anthropologists study the societies and cultures of humans, often by living among the people they are studying.

Aramaic

a Semitic language widely spoken in the Fertile Crescent in ancient times until replaced by Arabic; the lingua franca of the region from the 7th century B.C. to the 7th century A.D.

archaeologist

a social scientist who studies objects such as fossils, bones, tools, weapons, pottery, and remains of structures to learn about past human life and activity.

artifacts

hand-made objects such as tools or decorations that are representative of a human culture at a particular stage of its development.

artisan

a skilled worker; one who can create objects of beauty or usefulness by hand and by using tools.

Assyrians

Semitic people who originated thousands of years ago along the upper Tigris River and used iron weapons and chariots from 800 B.C. to 600 B.C. to conquer a large empire that included the Levant, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and parts of Anatolia and Persia.

barter

an exchange of items for other items; medium of commercial transactions before the use of coins.

bronze

an alloy of copper with tin added to make it harder than copper alone; developed by Neolithic people in prehistoric times to use in making tools and weapons.

Bronze Age

period between the discovery that copper could be combined with tin to form bronze and the beginning of the Iron Age; c. 3000 B.C. to c. 1200 B.C.

Canaan

in ancient times the land later called Palestine that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and Dead Sea; the biblical land to which the Israelites came after they fled from Egypt.

Carthage

the North African empire established in the 9th century B.C. by Phoenician traders from the Middle East who settled in what is now Tunisia.

Chaldeans

Semitic people who established a new Babylonian Empire in Mesopotamia by defeating the Assyrians; people who flourished under King Nebuchadnezzar until the empire was conquered by the Persians.

Christianity

religion that evolved from Judaism and centered on a belief in the divinity of Jesus; developed after the death of Jesus when disciples spread his teachings beyond Palestine to gentiles in Anatolia, Greece, and Rome.

city-state

an independent political unit made up of a city and surrounding farmland; a small nation with only one city.

cultural diffusion

the spread of beliefs, institutions, or skills of one society to another, usually by trade, migration, or conquest.

cuneiform

wedge-shaped characters, usually pressed into clay with a stick; one of the first forms of writing developed by the Sumerians around 3300 B.C.; symbols could represent objects and ideas; the prevailing form of writing in the Middle East for thousands of years.

Diaspora

the forced dispersal of the Jews from their homeland in Palestine, first by the Chaldeans in 586 B.C. and then by the Romans in 70 A.D.; the establishment of Jewish communities throughout the Roman Empire and later throughout Europe.

dynasty

a succession of rulers of the same descent; a powerful family or group that holds power for a long time.

Fertile Crescent

a semi-circular belt of land that can support agriculture in a region of Southwest Asia that is mostly desert or semi-arid land; an important route for cultural diffusion and migration in ancient times; the western part of the Fertile Crescent receives adequate rainfall from the Mediterranean Sea; the region at the north of the crescent also receives rainfall because westerly winds are not blocked by mountains; the eastern part of the crescent between the Tigris River and Euphrates River is a plain that can support agriculture with irrigation from the rivers.

gentiles

those who are not Jewish.

Hebrew

the Semitic language of the Jews in biblical times that fell into disuse for 2,500 years after the Babylonian Captivity, except as the language of religion, learning, and literature; revived as the official and the spoken language of Israel.

hieroglyphics

a system of writing developed in ancient Egypt in which pictorial symbols are used to represent objects, ideas, and sounds.

Hittites

civilization from 1600 B.C. to 1200 B.C. centered in Anatolia that established an empire in Southwest Asia; believed to be among the first people who learned how to smelt iron.

Indo-Europeans

tall, fair-skinned people who originated in the Caucasus region and spread west throughout Europe and east to Persia and India between 2000 B.C. and 1500 B.C.; their family of languages comprise most of the languages of Europe, Farsi, and other languages of Iran, and languages on the subcontinent of India; the ancestors of the Persians and Hittites of ancient times; sometimes called Aryans.

Iron Age

the period after the Stone Age and the Bronze Age when early humans learned to smelt and forge iron; a period in human history when humans made tools and weapons of iron that were superior to earlier bronze implements; spread throughout Southwest Asia and Egypt by 1200 B.C. and signaled the end of the Neolithic period.

irrigation

to supply land with water by artificial means, usually to grow crops in regions with limited rainfall; diverting water from rivers into channels through farm fields.

Jews

Semitic people of ancient times and their modern descendants who in ancient times began as tribes along the Mediterranean coast in what is now Israel, lived for a period of time in Egypt, and returned to establish two kingdoms that lasted for two hundred years until conquered by the Assyrians in the 700s B.C.; forced to leave their homeland by Chaldeans and Romans. Jews dispersed throughout the Middle East, the Roman Empire, and later throughout the world, but retained their common religious beliefs and ethnic identity despite the wide separation of Jewish communities; people whose religious belief in one God and an ethical code had a major impact on the later religions of Christianity and Islam.

Judaism

the religion developed among the ancient Hebrews based on a belief in one God and an ethical code revealed to them by Moses and the prophets, written down in the Torah, and interpreted over the centuries by rabbis; the cultural, social, and religious practices of the Jews.

Kush

the first African kingdom to develop in ancient times after Egypt; the land south of Egypt along the upper Nile conquered by the Egyptians around 1500 B.C. and independent by 1000 B.C.; an empire that continued as a major trading center in what is now Sudan until 350 A.D.

Levant

general term for the eastern Mediterranean coastal region between Egypt and Turkey, now made up of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and northwest Syria.

lingua franca

the common spoken language in a region where many ethnic groups speak their own distinct languages or dialects; the language of commerce and everyday communication for groups speaking different languages.

Lydians

people of a small kingdom in northwest Anatolia who first began using coins made of an alloy of silver and gold as a medium of exchange.

Mesopotamia

Greek for "the land between the rivers"; refers to the region in ancient times between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where civilization first developed between 4000 B.C. and 3500 B.C.; now part of Iraq, Mesopotamia was the homeland in ancient times of the Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, and Assyrians.

monotheistic

a belief in one God instead of many gods; a characteristic common to Christianity and Judaism in ancient times when most religions were polytheistic.

Mosaic law

the laws of Moses; an ethical code and religious beliefs announced to the Jews by the prophet Moses as revelations from God and recited as oral tradition until written down; the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.

Neolithic period

the technical term for the New Stone Age.

New Stone Age

the period about 10,000 years ago when people began farming and domesticating animals; a period in human cultural and economic development that began at different times in different parts of the world.

nomads

members of a social group that regularly migrate over a traditional range in search of pastures for their flocks.

Palestine

meaning "the land of the Philistines," a people who came from the sea in ancient times to control land on the Mediterranean coast; the name used for the region for thousands of years until the independence of Israel; the region that now includes Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and western Jordan; Canaan in ancient times.

Persians

Indo-Europeans who migrated south from the Caucasus region between 4,000 and 3,500 years ago to settle in the region that later became Iran; people who established the largest empire in ancient times before that of Alexander the Great.

pharaoh

a king of ancient Egypt who was also worshipped as a god.

Phoenicians

trading and seafaring people who lived in ancient times on the Mediterranean coast of the Middle East in what is now Lebanon; colonizers who settled on the coast of North Africa in the 9th century B.C. to establish the city of Carthage in what is now Tunisia; people who spread the alphabet throughout the Mediterranean.

polytheistic

the worship of many gods.

prehistoric

the time before written history; all of earth's history before c. 3300 B.C.

prophet

in religious terms, one who receives revelations from God and proclaims them to the people; Moses and Jesus were major prophets.

pyramids

massive monuments of ancient Egypt having a square base and four triangular faces that meet at a single point at the top; built over or around a tomb; the Great Pyramid of Cheops was originally 482 feet high and 756 feet long at each side of the base; it is the only remaining "wonder" of the Seven Wonders of the World.

scribe

in ancient times, a person whose skill was to read and write cuneiform or hieroglyphic writing; one who maintained public records, and reading and writing for the rest of the population that was illiterate.

Semitic

a subgroup of Afro-Asiatic languages that includes Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic; also refers to people who speak Semitic languages.

Sumer

a collective term for the independent city-states that established the first civilizations in lower Mesopotamia.

Sumerians

people of lower Mesopotamia who created the first civilization in human history between 4000 B.C. and 3500 B.C.

Torah

the first five books of the Old Testament, the primary body and wisdom of Jewish law believed by Jews to have been revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and transmitted by him to the Jewish people; the scrolls containing the first five books of the Bible and used in religious rituals.

ziggurats

stepped pyramids made of sun-dried bricks in Mesopotamia that served as temples to the gods; some of the steps were wide enough to form terraces with plantings; a shrine was at the top where priests made offerings to the gods.

Zoroastrianism

a religion founded in the 6th century B.C. that became widespread in Persia and Mesopotamia in ancient times; worship of a supreme god, Ahura Mazda, who enlists the good deeds of followers in the eternal struggle of good against evil and light against darkness; the dominant religion of Persia until the Arab conquest; a religion that influenced Christianity.

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