Essay Midterm: Assyria and Western Civilization

Submitted By bjaball11
Words: 1540
Pages: 7

1.) Ancient Mesopotamian brought about the development that was needed to create the Western civilization. Although Egyptian civilization is often more appealing to those studying history today, the affects that Mesopotamia had on the evolution of civilizations is much more significant. Dealing with the environment in Mesopotamia forced humans to work together as a group to do things like build stone buildings and create an irrigation system for their farmland. These particular changes and the development of education and religion laid the foundation for the Western civilization that is studied today. People living in ancient Mesopotamia were confronted with “the hard problem of farming with scant water supplies” (McKay 10). Due to the problems with farming, those living in that time period had to work as a group to organize a fortified irrigation system. “This corporate spirit led to governments in which individuals subordinated some of this particular concern to broader interests” (McKay 10). Along with the building of a government and irrigation system to support the civilization, Mesopotamians invested writing and schools to educate their children. The writing that developed was called cuneiform which is a Sumerian form of writing which uses wedge-shaped strokes of the stylus. Evolution of human civilization in Mesopotamia did not end with the developments of education and irrigation, it continued with religious thought and both social and gender roles. The Mesopotamians were practicing polytheism which means they believed in many gods which ruled the world. The gods of Mesopotamia “were powerful and immortal” (McKay 12). In terms of their social roles, members were divided into four categories: nobles, free clients of the nobility, commoners, and slaves. The development set the stage for later Western society. Overall, Mesopotamia was more influential than Egypt which saw the glamour of God-like Kings. The kings and construction of pyramids is extremely interesting to study but in terms of setting up the foundations of Western society, Mesopotamia’s work with government, religion, and social classes was the more influential to later Western history.

3.) In the early ancient empires, Assyria and Persia were two of the greatest. “The Assyrian Empire was the first to unite almost all of the ancient Near East, however, was the empire of the Great Kings of Persia. Although it owed much to the administrative organization created by the Assyrians, the Persian Empire had its own peculiar strengths. ” (A review of..). Through the Persian rule, conquered people were allowed to keep their own religions, customs, and their methods of doing business. The Persian Empire was creating cultural and political ideals that would have an impact on Western Civilization. On a more regular occasion for the Assyrians, they were provided by annual festivals such as the New Year celebration and other religious events. “Assyrian art fared better than Assyrian military power. The techniques of Assyrian artists influenced the Persians, who adapted them to gentler scenes. In fact, many Assyrian innovations, military and political as well as artistic, were taken over wholesale by the Persians. Although the memory of Assyria was hateful throughout the Near East, the fruits of Assyrian organizational genius helped the Persians to bring peace and stability to the same regions where Assyrian armies had spread” (McKay, Hill 47).

4.) Athens, in southern Europe, became the leading city of Ancient Greece and its cultural achievements which laid the foundations of western civilization. “During the middle ages, Athens experience decline and then a recovery under the Byzantine Empire. After a long period of decline under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Athens re-emerged in the 19th century as the capital of the independent Greek state” (Athens info..). Sparta has emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading