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Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture, CourseSmart eTextbook, 2nd Edition

By William H. Stiebing

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Feb 13, 2008

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This introduction to the Ancient Near East includes coverage of Egypt and a balance of political, social, and cultural coverage.


Organized by the periods, kingdoms, and empires generally used in Near Eastern political history, the text interlaces social and cultural history with the political narrative. This combination allows students to get a rounded introduction to the subject of Ancient Near Eastern history. An emphasis on problems and areas of uncertainty helps students understand how evidence is used to create interpretations and allows them to realize that several different interpretations of the same evidence are possible.


Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures, Maps, and Documents 



Studying the Ancient Near East 
What Is the “Near East”? 
The Nature of Historical Study 
Antiquity’s “Clues” 
Creating a Chronology for the Ancient Near East 
A Note on Chronological Terminology: b.c.e./c.e. vs. b.c./a.d.
Absolute and Relative Chronology 
Sources for Ancient Near Eastern Chronology
Prelude: Near Eastern Prehistory 
The Origins of Sedentary Life (c. 10,500–8300 b.c.e.) 
Early Agricultural Communities in Southwest Asia (c. 8300–6000 b.c.e.) 
The Development of Complex Societies in Southwest Asia (c. 6000–3700 b.c.e.) 
Early Cultures of the Nile Valley (c. 8000–3500 b.c.e.) 
Debating the Evidence: The Emergence of Social Stratification and Male Dominance

The Dawn of Civilization in Western Asia 
The Emergence of Mesopotamian Civilization (c. 3700–3000 b.c.e.) 
The Urban Revolution
The Development of Cuneiform Writing
Debating the Evidence: The Origin of the Sumerians  
Other People of Mesopotamia
The Emergence of Elam
The Mesopotamian Early Dynastic Period (c. 3000–2330 b.c.e.) 
An Era of Independent City States
Debating the Evidence: The “Royal Tombs” of Ur
Mesopotamian Culture During the Early Dynastic Era 
Religion and World View
Debating the Evidence: The Sacred Marriage Ceremony
 The Development of Kingship
Economy and Society
Education, Literature, and the Arts
Science, Technology, and Warfare
Urbanization in Other Areas of Western Asia (c. 3300–2300 b.c.e.) 
Early Bronze Age Syria and Palestine
Early Bronze Age Anatolia and Iran

The First Mesopotamian Empires 
The Akkadian Empire (c. 2334–2193 b.c.e.)  65
Sargon of Akkad (c. 2334–2279 b.c.e)
Sargon’s Successors 
Debating the Evidence: Divine Kingship 
Administration of the Empire 
Debating the Evidence: Reasons for Empire’s Collapse
The Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2112–2004 b.c.e.) 
Ur’s Rise to Power 
Shulgi’s Reforms 
The Fall of Ur 
Persian Gulf and Central Asian Civilizations 
Dilmun, Magan, and Meluhha 
The Oxus Civilization 

The Old Babylonian Period and Its Aftermath
The “Interregnum” After the Fall of Ur  (2000-1800 B.C.E.)
The Assyrian Merchant Colony at Kanesh
The Ascendancy of Isin and Larsa
Hammurabi and His Dynasty (c. 1800-1595 B.C.E.)
Shamshi-Adad’s Empire
Hammurabi and His Successors 
Old Babylonian Cultural Developments 
Debating the Evidence: The “Code” of Hammurabi
Babylonian Society in the “Code”
The Hittite Old Kingdom
Debating the Evidence: Indo-European Origins
The Emergence of a Hittite State 
The Emergence of New Peoples 
The Hurrians and the Kingdom of Mitanni  
Kassite Rule in Babylonia 

The Late Predynastic Era (c. 3500–3000 b.c.e) 
The Geography of Egypt and Nubia 
The People of the Nile Valley 
Prelude to Civilization: The Naqada II Period  
The Formation of the Egyptian State (c. 3050–2686 b.c.e.) 
Debating the Evidence: The Process of Unification 
The Development of Egyptian Writing 
The Early Dynastic Period (Dynasties 1 and 2)  
Major Elements of Egyptian Culture 
Divine Kingship 
Burial and the Afterlife 
Religion and Ritual 
The Old Kingdom (Dynasties 3–6, c. 2686–2180 b.c.e.) 
Djoser and the First Pyramid 
The Zenith of Royal Power: The Fourth Dynasty (c. 2613–2498 b.c.e.) 
Debating the Evidence: Dating the Great Sphinx
The Latter Part of the Old Kingdom: Dynasties 5 and 6 (c. 2498–2180 b.c.e.) 
Early Egyptian Society and Culture 

The Rise And Fall Of The Egyptian Middle Kingdom 
The First Intermediate Period: Dynasties 7–11a (c. 2180–2040 b.c.e.) 
Where is Ma‘at?  139
The Intermediate Period’s Effects 
The Middle Kingdom: Dynasties 11b–13a (c. 2040–1720 b.c.e.) 
The Establishment of the Middle Kingdom 
The Impressive Twelfth Dynasty 
Cultural Developments During the Middle Kingdom 
The Second Intermediate Period: Dynasties 13b–17 (c. 1720–1540 b.c.e.) 
The Onset of the Second Intermediate Period 
The Kingdom of Kush (Upper Nubia) 
Hyksos Rule and the Dynasty at Thebes: Dynasties 15 and 17 (c. 1650–1540 b.c.e.) 
Debating the Evidence: Hyksos Relations with the Levant 
Egyptian and Levantine Contacts with the Minoan Culture of Crete 

The Beginning of the Egyptian New Kingdom (c. 1550–1479 b.c.e.)  162
The Early Eighteenth Dynasty 
Debating the Evidence: The  “Royal Heiress” Theory 
Hatshepsut and Thutmose III (c. 1479–1425 b.c.e.) 
Hatshepsut Becomes King 
The Sole Rule of Thutmose III 
The Egyptian Empire at Its Height (c. 1425–1350 b.c.e.) 
The Reigns of Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV 
Amenhotep III, “The Magnificent” 
The New Egyptian Army 
Late Bronze Age Canaan (Palestine and Coastal Syria) 
Relations with the Aegean Kingdoms 
Akhenaton and the Amarna Period (c. 1350–1334 b.c.e.) 
Controversies of the Amarna Age 
Debating the Evidence: Did Akhenaton Have a Co-Regency With His Father? 
The Beginning of Amenhotep IV’s Reign 
Debating the Evidence: Akhenaton’s Religion 
Debating the Evidence: The Revolution’s Denouement 
The End of the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1334–1293 b.c.e.) 
Tutankhamun and the Restoration of Amun 
The Reigns of Ay and Horemheb, (c. 1325–1293 b.c.e.) 

The End of the Bronze Age 
The Zenith of Hittite Power (c. 1344–1180 b.c.e.) 
Revival and Extension of the Hittite Empire 
Hatti’s Showdown With Egypt 
Debating the Evidence: The Historicity of the Trojan War 
Hittite Culture 
Economy, Society, and Government 
Languages and Literature 
The Twilight of the Egyptian Empire (c.1293–1150 b.c.e.) 
The Empire’s Final Flash of Greatness 
Invasions of the Sea Peoples 
The Collapse of Bronze Age Societies in the Eastern Mediterranean 
The Mycenaean Kingdoms 
The Demise of the Hittite Empire 
The End of Egyptian Power 
The Decline of Assyria and Babylonia 
Debating the Evidence: What Caused the Collapse?

Recovery And Transformation (c. 1100–745 b.C.E.) 
Mesopotamia and Egypt 
Assyria and Babylonia 
The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt 
The Kingdom of Urartu 
The Phrygian and Neo-Hittite Kingdoms 
The Aramaeans 
The Phoenicians 
Debating the Evidence: Infant Sacrifice
Early Israel 
Debating the Evidence: The Emergence of Israel 
The Formation of the Israelite State (The United Monarchy) 
The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah 
Other Small States of the Southern Levant  
The Philistines 
Ammon, Moab, and Edom 
Small Kingdoms and Confederations in Arabia 

MESOPOTAMian Supremacy 
The Height of Assyrian Dominion (744–627 b.c.e.) 
Reestablishment and Expansion of Assyrian Power (744–681 b.c.e.) 
The Empire at Its Zenith (680–627 b.c.e.) 
Neo-Assyrian Society and Culture 
The King, Crown Prince, and Queen 
Non-Royal Social Classes 
The Army 
Administration of the Empire 
Art, Literature, and Science 
The Neo-Babylonian (or Chaldean) Empire (625–560 b.c.e.) 
Destruction of Assyria (627–605 b.c.e.) 
Formation of the Neo-Babylonian and Median Empires 
The End of the Neo-Babylonian Empire 
Neo-Babylonian Culture
Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon 
Commerce and Finance
Scholarly Activity
Debating the Evidence: The Emergence of Biblical Monotheism
The Triumph of the Reform Movement
Developments during the Babylonian Exile   

The Achaemenid Persian Empire 
The Origins and Growth of the Achaemenid Empire 
The Fluorescence of the Lydian Kingdom (c. 685–547 b.c.e.) 
The Creation of the Persian Empire 
The Persian Empire at Its Height 
Crisis and Restoration 
Reorganization of the Empire 
Wars With the Greeks 
Persian Culture 
The King and Court 
The Persian Army 
The Religion of Zoroaster 
Persian Architecture and Art 
Judah During the Persian Period 
The Restoration of Judah 
Debating the Evidence: The Careers of Ezra and Nehemiah
Religious Developments During the Persian Era 
The Latter Part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire 
The Continuation of Royal Power (424–330 b.c.e.) 
Conquest by Alexander the Great 

The Legacy Of The Ancient Near East 
Food, Drink, and Animals 
Mathematics and Science 
Language and Literature 
Music, Art, and Architecture 
Religion and Speculative Thought 
Chronological Chart 

Every chapter ends with Suggestions for Further Reading and Information (Internet Links and Books and Articles)

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Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture, CourseSmart eTextbook, 2nd Edition
Format: Safari Book

$47.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-205-61972-6