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Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Studying the Ancient Near East

A Note on Chronological Terminology

What Is the "Near East"?

Near Eastern Geography and Environment

Antiquity's "Clues"

Creating a Chronology for the Ancient Near East

Chapter 1: Near Eastern Prehistory Southwest Asia in the Late Paleolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods The Nile Valley in Late Prehistory Major Changes in Lifestyle during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods Chapter 2: The Dawn of Civilization in Western Asia The Emergence of Mesopotamian and Iranian Civilization (c. 4000-3000 BCE) The Mesopotamian Early Dynastic Period (c. 2900-2330 BCE) Mesopotamian Culture during the Early Dynastic Era Chapter 3: The First Mesopotamian Empires The Akkadian Empire (c. 2334-2193 BCE) The Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2112-2004 BCE) Chapter 4: The Development of Civilization in the Wider Near East Early Urbanization in the Levant and Anatolia Persian Gulf and Central Asian Civilizations Chapter 5: Egypt to the End of the Old Kingdom Prelude to Civilization The Formation of the Egyptian State (c. 3050-2593 BCE) Some Basic Elements of Egyptian Belief The Old Kingdom (Dynasties 3-6, c. 2592-2150 BCE) Society and Culture Chapter 6: The Old Babylonian Period and Its Aftermath The "Interregnum" After the Fall of Ur (c. 2000-1800 BCE) The Era of Hammurabi and His Dynasty (c. 1800-1595 BCE) Old Babylonian Cultural Developments The Hittite Old Kingdom The Emergence of Other New Peoples Chapter 7: The Rise and Fall of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom The First Intermediate Period: Dynasties 8- Early 11 (c. 2180-1980 BCE) The Middle Kingdom: Dynasties Late 11-Early 13 (c. 1980-1725 BCE) The Second Intermediate Period: Dynasties Late 13-17 (c. 1725-1540 BCE) Chapter 8: Egypt's Powerful Eighteenth Dynasty The Beginning of the Egyptian New Kingdom (c. 1539-1480 BCE) Hatshepsut and Thutmose III (c. 1479-1425 BCE) The Egyptian Empire at Its Height (c. 1425-1350 BCE) Akhenaton and the Amarna Period (c. 1353-1336) The End of the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1335-1292 BCE) Chapter 9: The End of the Bronze Age The Zenith of Hittite Power (c. 1344-1180 BCE) Hittite Culture The Twilight of the Egyptian Empire (c. 1292-1150 BCE) The Collapse of Bronze Age Societies in the Eastern Mediterranean Chapter 10: Recovery and Transformation (c. 1100-745 BCE) Mesopotamia and Egypt Anatolia Syria Small States of the Southern Levant Chapter 11: Mesopotamian Supremacy Assyrian Domination Neo-Assyrian Society and Culture The Neo-Babylonian (or Chaldean) Empire (627-560 BCE) Neo-Babylonian Culture Chapter 12: The Achaemenid Persian Empire The Origins and Growth of the Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire at Its Height Persian Culture The Latter Part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire Epilogue: The Near East after the Achaemenid Empire Chapter 13: Ancient Israel and Judah Early Israel The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah (c. 931-721 BCE The Emergence of Biblical Monotheism Post-Exilic Judah Afterword: The Legacy of the Ancient Near East Glossary Index

About the Author

William H. Stiebing Jr. is Seraphia Leyda Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of New Orleans, USA. Susan N. Helft is an adjunct lecturer at Rutgers University Newark and Bryn Mawr College, USA.


"This book is an impressive, comprehensive, up-to-date review of the ancient Near Eastern world from its prehistoric origins to Alexander's conquest of the Persian empire. Highly reliable as a work of scholarship, it will also have great appeal to the non-specialist reader, in its down-to-earth language and its detective-like approach in addressing many of the unsolved problems of Near Eastern scholarship. Based on extensive use of both written and archaeological sources, it presents a lively and vigorous treatment of the ancient Near East, of great value to students, and of considerable appeal to readers with a general interest in the peoples of the ancient world."

- Trevor Bryce, University of Queensland, Australia

"[This] text is a comprehensive introduction into the history of both the Ancient Near East and Ancient Egypt from the end of the Last Ice Age (ca. 12,500 BCE) until the conquests of Alexander the Great (333-323 BCE) ... the authors can be applauded for creating a holistic account of developments in the Ancient Near East by taking into account cultures and civilizations often neglected, or only mentioned in passing, in other textbooks ... The coverage in the book ranges from earlier cultures only known from archaeological sources, like those of the Indus and Oxus, to later kingdoms and peoples such as Urartu, the Phoenicians, Phrygians, and Lydians. In the same vein, the separate chapter on the history of ancient Israel and Judah is a welcome addition, also because it doubles as an introduction to the usefulness of the Bible for historical research. The section on prehistory is well informed and up-to-date and together with the chapters on the first millennium it belongs to the best parts of the book. Finally, each chapter has relevant and interesting 'Debating the Evidence' sections where the authors touch on controversial or highly debated issues, such as the Indus script or the Late Bronze Age collapse."

- Rients de Boer, Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018

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