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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 1 - THE BIRTH OF CIVILIZATION CHAPTER SUMMARY This chapter relates the development of human culture in the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages and discusses the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Near East (Hittites, Kassites, Mitanni, Assyrians and Israelites). It also contrasts the world view of these Near Eastern civilizations with that of the Greeks. The chapter begins by describing the tools and implements used by Paleolithic man in his hunter-gatherer existence. This is contrasted by the Neolithic Revolution which occurred about 6000 B.C.E. and brought with it agriculture, the domestication of animals, and other attendant social, labor and role changes. This agricultural revolution enabled people to live in more or less permanent settlements which were established first in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valleys in Mesopotamia (about 3500 B.C.E.) and shortly afterwards along the Nile River in Egypt. The Sumerian culture grew in southern Mesopotamia, near the Persian Gulf. They established the social, economic and intellectual foundations of Mesopotamian culture and were followed by Akkadians and Babylonians who united the region. These peoples contributed important advances in technology (bronze tools and weapons), in writing (cuneiform), law, education and religious thought. Hammurabi's law code reflects the desire for discipline and order in society and yet, Mesopotamian civilization is pessimistic in outlook. Egyptian civilization developed somewhat differently from Mesopotamian. Its geographical isolation, bordered as it is by desert and water, and the unity encouraged by the Nile River, gave rise to centralized political control....
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- Spring '08