The Ancient and Medieval Middle East



Approx. 2300 BCE

Enheduanna was a daughter of Sargon of Akkad, as well as the high priestess of the moon god Nanna in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur. She is known today as one of the first authors ever to have signed her work.

Traditional Date for Zoroaster's Life

1800 BCE

Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, was a religious reformer and the founder of the monotheistic pre-Islamic religion of Ancient Persia, Zoroastrianism. According to legends, when Zoroaster was about thirty, he had a revelation and was visited by a figure of light, Ahura Mazda (a.k.a. Ohrmazd), the god of all good, lightness and truth.

Traditional Date for Abraham's Life

1500 BCE

Abraham, originally Abram, is the first patriarch of Judaism, and his story plays an important role in Judaism, Christianity and Islam as his story is told throughout the Bible and the Qur'an. He is supposed to have lived in the land of Canaan, which corresponds roughly to present-day Israel.

First stories of Abraham and his children are written in the Torah

600 BCE

According to the Torah, God promises to make Abraham the father of many nations. Abraham has a first son, Ishmael, with his wife's slave Hagar. Afterwords, God gives him Arbaham and his wife Sarai a son as well, Isaac. Eventually, Hagar and Ishmael leave after being forced by Sarai to do so. God decides to challenge Abraham by commanding him to offer him Isaac as a gift. Abraham complies. He is about to sacrifice his son when an angel of the Lord saves Isaac from being killed. This story is expained in detail in the Torah and in the Old Testament, as well as briefly in the Qur'an.

Jesus dies in Jerusalem

33 CE

Jesus Christ was a Jewish rabbi from Palestine. He is also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ. Jesus is considered as the central figure of Christianity, and is believed by Christians to be the Son of God and the awaited Messiah.

Romans destroy the Jewish temple in Jerusalem

70 CE

Jewish revolts ensued against Roman masters in Jerusalem. In response, the Emperor Nero dispatched an army under the generalship of Vespasian to restore order. They leveled Jerusalem and demolish the jewish temple there.

Mohammad dies

632 CE

Expansion of the Islamic Empire under the first caliphs

632 CE - 750 CE

Muhammad lived from 570-632 CE. A little more than a hundred years after his death, the Umayyad Caliphate stretched across the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain, becoming the largest empire ever up to that point.

Battle of Karbala-Hussein and his followers are killed

680 CE

The Battle of Karbala took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 AH of the Islamic calendar in Karbala, in present-day Iraq. It was a military engagement between the Prophets of Islam, led by Muhammad's grandson Husayn ibn Ali, and a military detachment from the forces of Yazid I, the second Umayyad caliph. The battle is often marked as the event that separated Sunni and Shi'a Islam.