Early Civilizations

Mesopotamia

Earliest Recorded Sumerian People

4000 B.C.E.

Sumerian people begin to settle around the marsh lands of the major Mesopotamian rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Development of Sumerian Cities

3500 B.C.E.

Sumerian cities developed, none more so than Uruk, which was the largest city of the time.

Written Language is Invented

3000 B.C.E.

Since several important aspects of civilization, such as education, business, and government all require a reliable writing system, Sumerians invented a system of writing known as Cuneiform. Cuneiform consists of several thousand characters which represented words or sounds.

Early Dynastic Period

2800 B.C.E. - 2370 B.C.E.

During the Early Dynastic period, a number of Sumerian city-states, such as, Uruk, Ur, Nippur, Shuruppak, and Lagash, formed in southern Mesopotamia and could be found running in north and south lines along the main waterways. A few of these city-states formed political and religious leagues among themselves, and there were numerous fights over water and farming land. This resulted in larger cities overcoming weaker ones, which expanded to create kingdoms that ruled over several city-states.

Akkadian Dynasty and Empire

2370 B.C.E.

In the far east of Babylonia, people known as Akkadians established a kingdom at the capital city known as Akkade, under Sargon, their first king and the first great conqueror of history. The Akkadians went on to conquer the Sumerian city-states in their entirety and invaded Iran and northern Syria. This resulted in history's first empire with an absolute ruler. External attacks as well as internal weaknesses within the Akkadian Empire led to its fall.

The Third Dynasty of Ur

2125 B.C.E. - 2027 B.C.E.

Rulers of the Sumerian city-state of Ur establish an empire built upon the foundation of the Akkadian empire, but on a much smaller scale. During this time Sumerian culture and literature thrived, and a centralized administration maintained detail oriented accounts of agriculture, animal husbandry, commerce, and other important matters. The kingdom of Ur eventually fell to famine and invasion. The downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur marked the end of Sumerian rule in Mesopotamia.

Amorites invaded Mesopotamia

2000 B.C.E. - 1800 B.C.E.

From both the north and the west, semitic - speaking people known as Amorites invaded Mesopotamia in vast numbers and settled around Sumerian cities and creating their own dynasties within them.

Hammurabi's reign

1792 B.C.E. - 1750 B.C.E.

Hammurabi defeated and destroyed the Mesopotamian city of Mari and ruled most of Mesopotamia, and made laws known as The Code of Hammurabi.

Egypt

Early Dynastic Period

3100 B.C.E. - 2700 B.C.E.

During the Early Dynastic period the upper and lower regions of Egypt were unified. The early Egyptian Kings started building elaborate burial sites including step pyramids.

Egyptian Hieroglypyhs

3000 B.C.E.

This writing system dubbed hieroglyphs by the Greeks first appears in Egypt around 3000 B.C.E. This system was refined and involved hundreds of picture signs. In business and literary work a cursive version of hieroglyphs was utilized.

The Old Kingdom

2700 B.C.E. - 2200 B.C.E.

The Old Kingdom is characterized as a time of a collection of cultural and historical growths of the Early Dynastic period which experienced a time of internal stability and abundant success. Pharaohs, who were considered god-kings reigned over Egypt according to specific principles, such as maat, the ideal of justice, power, and trust.

First Intermediate Period

2200 B.C.E. - 2025 B.C.E.

At the conclusion of the Old Kingdom period, the power that had been given to the pharaohs waned and was transferred to royal officials referred to as nomarchs, as they became more significant and independent. It was during this time that Egyptians no looked saw their leaders as gods.

Middle Kingdom

2025 B.C.E. - 1630 B.C.E.

Amunemhet I, founder of the Middle Kingdom, reunited upper and lower Egypt and used his influence to make three crucial and long-standing administrative changes. Those changes were relocating from Thebes to a new town to signify a fresh start in past glories, he updated the nome structure defining nomarchs' responsibilities to the state, and established a co-regency system to easily move from one reign to another. At this time, relations with Egypt's neighbors started to get aggressive and so in the south fortresses were constructed to control Nubia and African trade.

Second Intermediated Period

1630 B.C.E. - 1550 B.C.E.

During these 81 years, reign had begun to change hands at a quick pace and eventually independent dynasties began to emerge which resulted in the collapse in government.

New Kingdom

1550 B.C.E. - 1075 B.C.E.

Ahmose was the founder of the New Kingdom. At this time Political power and economy were flourishing and Egypt additionally sought foreign expansion. Military excursions managed to reach Euphrates in Syria and nearly 1,300 miles from Memphis to Sudan in the south, where major Egyptian temples were erected.

Ramses II battle against Hittites

1285 B.C.E.

Ramses II battled against the Hittites in Syria.

Peace Treaty Signed

1269 B.C.E.

16 years after Ramses II fought the Hittites in Syria, a peace treaty is signed sealing an alliance with both parties assisting one another in the event of a war.

Hebrew

Hebrew Migration

1950 B.C.E.

General migration of semi nomadic tribes from Mesopotamia to Palestine.

Hebrews Enslavement in Egypt

1400 B.C.E.

Migrating Hebrew people who did not settle in Palestinian region wandered further to Egypt, where they became settled and enslaved. Under Moses some fled Egypt to settle east. It is possible they wandered the Sinai Desert for several decades before finding Canaan, a providence of Palestine, described as the promised land in the bible.

Displacement of the Canaanites

1200 B.C.E.

Hebrews have successfully displaced the Canaanite inhabitants of Palestine.

Reign of King David

1000 B.C.E. - 961 B.C.E.

Reign of King Solomon

961 B.C.E. - 922 B.C.E.

Prophets Arise in Israelite Kingdom

922 B.C.E.

Split of the Kingdom

Approx. 900 B.C.E.

The kingdom splits with Israel in the north and Judah, with the capital Jerusalem in the south.

Assyrians Conquer Israel

722 B.C.E.

At this time the northern kingdom in Israel falls to the Assyrians.

Defeat at Judah

586 B.C.E.

Judah is defeated by Neo - Babylonian king, Nebachadnezzar II. He is responsible for the destruction of the Jewish cult center, a temple constructed by King Solomon, and the exile of the Hebrew people to Babylon.

Defeat of Babylon

539 B.C.E.

The Babylonians saw defeat at the hands of a new Persian Dynasty of Achaemenids and the Hebrew people were allowed to return to their promised land.

Second Temple in Jerusalem

516 B.C.E.

In a restored Jerusalem a second temple is constructed to replace the one destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II.

Romans Destroy Jerusalem

70 C.E.

Romans Destroy Jerusalem

132 C.E.

And again, Rome is responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem.

Indus

Earliest Neolithic Way of Life in India

5500 B.C.E.

The earliest recorded evidence of settled Neolithic people was found in the foothills of Sind and Baluchistan. This evidence was baked brick dwellings, cultivation of wheat and barley, and the domestication of sheep, cows, and goats.

Metalworking in Early Ancient Indian Civilization

4000 B.C.E.

Evidence suggests that around this time the people of this area began practicing metalworking.

Harappan Civilization

2600 B.C.E. - 1750 B.C.E.

The earliest literate, urban civilization developed in the valley of the Indus River known as Harappa. This civilization utilized bronze tools, covered drainage systems, a writing system using 2,000 stamp seals, pictographs and phonetic symbols, and a diversified social and economical organization.

Trading

2300 B.C.E.

Indus cultures began trading with Mesopotamian people.

Disappearance of Indus Civilization

1750 B.C.E.

While it is not clear why, during this time the Indus civilization disappeared. It has been speculated that the reason could be from anything like Aryan invaders, abnormal flooding, changes in the courses of the Indus River, collapse of military power, or even desiccation before the arrival of the Aryans.

Vedic Aryan

Earliest Aryans

1800 B.C.E. - 1500 B.C.E.

It is believed that sometime between 1800 B.C.E. and 1500 B.C.E. Vedic Aryans arrive in Punjab and the Indus Valley. Some speculate that they could be a possible cause for the disappearance of the Indus culture people as well.

Rig-Veda Period

1700 B.C.E. - 1000 B.C.E.

Rig-Veda is the collection of religious hymns. The oldest dates back from when Aryans were moving across the northern plains to the Ganges in 1700 B.C.E. while the most recently discovered dates to 1000 B.C.E. These hymns gave a glimpse into early conflict. It was between 1700 B.C.E. and 1000 B.C.E. that the Vedic began settling in the Punjab where they began to practice agriculture and stockbreeding.

Late Rig-Veda Age

1000 B.C.E. - 500 B.C.E.

Vedic Aryans began to spread across the plain located between Yamuna and the Ganges heading east. This area is said to have been the cradle of Indian civilization.

Treatises of the Brahmanas

1000 B.C.E. - 800 B.C.E.

In a time when questions began to arise about the values and practices of the older Aryan religion, especially sacrafice, a new vedic text was introduced that dealt with the ritual application of the old texts, explained Vedic rites and mythology, and the theory of sacrifice.

Upanishads

800 B.C.E. - 500 B.C.E.

Upanishads focused on nature of an individual and their relation to reality. The gods are seen as part of the grand scheme, are subject to laws of existence, and are not on the same level as the Absolute. While prayer and sacrifice still occurs, mental action instead of ritual action is encouraged. This is when the idea of karma and dharma is introduced.

Vedas

700 B.C.E.

The Vedas, which is Vedic Aryans sacred text was finally documented in 700 B.C.E. when writing was introduced to India.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha

566 B.C.E. - 486 B.C.E.

Mahavira, the Jina

540 B.C.E. - 468 B.C.E.

Mahabharata and Ramayana

400 B.C.E. - 200 B.C.E.

During this time, India's classical epic works were composed, although they contained material and events from an earlier time. These pieces of work depict the cultural and social mixing of Aryan and other ancient civilizations

Hindu

400 B.C.E.

A new social and religious form developed on the Indian subcontinent that used both older traditions of the Aryan nobles and priestly elites and non-Aryan ideas and practices.

Chinese

Beginning of Agriculture in China

4000 B.C.E.

Around the basin of the southern bend of the Yellow River is where agriculture began in China.

Xia Dynasty

2205 B.C.E. - 1766 B.C.E.

The first of the 3 ancient dynasties in China

Bronze

2000 B.C.E.

Bronze first appeared in China.

Shang Dynasty

1766 B.C.E. - 1050 B.C.E.

The second of the ancient Chinese dynasties. Three features of the Shang Dynasty was writing, social classes, and bronze. According to history records, the last of the Shang kings were tyrannical and in 1050 B.C.E. they were weakened by campaigns against nomads in the north and rebel tribes to the east. Zhou people made an alliance with upset city states and was able to conquer the Shang.

Zhou Dynasty

1050 B.C.E. - 256 B.C.E.

The third of the ancient Chinese dynasties

Eastern Zhou Period

771 B.C.E. - 481 B.C.E.

Western Zhou Overran

771 B.C.E.

Western Zhou was overtaken by barbarians due to the king constantly lighting bonfires, which were generally used to signal barbarian attacks, to the delight of a concubine. Invaders arrived and the soldiers ignored the signal thinking it was the king showing off which resulted in the king being killed and Zhou is pillaged. The heir of the throne managed to escape to the secondary capital beginning the Eastern Zhou period.

The First of the Alliances

681 B.C.E.

After the attack on Western Zhou, kinship and religious ties decreased and military strength of the Zhou lessened. To defend against aggressive states, smaller states began allying themselves with one another. It was in 681 B.C.E. that the earliest alliances formed against the half-barbarian state of Chu.

Confucius

551 B.C.E. - 479 B.C.E.

Born in 551 B.C.E., Confucius went on to become China's most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist. Based on collections of his sayings collected either by his disciples or theirs, Confucius was a man of control, positivity, modesty, good sense, and wisdom. He considered early Shang and Zhou kings the ideal models of virtue, and additionally looked at early Zhou Dynasty as the Golden Age and sought to return China there. He believed the well being of a society was dependent upon the morality of its members. Confucius died in 479 B.C.E.

Warring States Period

401 B.C.E. - 256 B.C.E.

The second phase of the Eastern Zhou is known as Warring States period. During this time stronger states overcame the weaker ones and border states grew in size and power.

Laozi and Zhuangzi

Approx. 400 B.C.E. - Approx. 300 B.C.E.

Ancient chinese texts from the Warring States period that demonstrated the nature of the ideal sage of Daoism through stories and anecdotes. Unlike Confucism, those who practice Daoism believed that Dao or the Way was the creator and sustainer of the universe as well as the flux of the universe; Dao functions on a cosmic scale, not a human one.

Mencius

370 B.C.E. - 290 B.C.E.

Mencius was another of China's important philosophers and his ideas were considered an extension of Confucian thought. He believed that humanity tends to lean towards the good. Therefore the role of education was a means to uncover and cultivate the innate goodness found within all of humanity. Another thought of his was since humans are innately good, Heaven also possesses a moral will; and that will of Heaven is the government is responsible to the education and well-being of it's people and that a rebellion against a government is evidence that Heaven has withdrawn its decree.

Xunzi

300 B.C.E. - 237 B.C.E.

Another Confucian philosopher was Xunzi, who was more the tough-minded extension of Confucian thought. Xunzi saw Heaven as amoral and indifferent to whom ruled over China, be it a tyrant or a sage. He also believed human nature was bad, meaning that desires and emotions left free and unrefined led to conflict. He accentuated proper etiquette and education as a restraint against disorderly human nature, and punishment and rewards to shape positive behavior.

Li Si

280 B.C.E. - 208 B.C.E.

Another Legalist of the Qin state. He is responsible for poisoning fellow Legalist, Han Feizi and afterwards became Prime Minister of Qin. He was killed in a political struggle with a court eunuch.

Han Feizi

279 B.C.E. - 233 B.C.E.

Han Feizi was a Legalists, another classical Chinese thought and very influential. Legalists sought to end wars in China and believed that true peace required a united country and strong state. Legalists stood by the idea that laws need incentives for bravery and loyalty in battle, and for obedience, diligence, and frugality in day to day life. Han Feizi was eventually poisoned in 233 B.C.E. by another leading Legalist, Li Si who had been jealous of his increasing influence.

Destruction of the Zhou

256 B.C.E.

The state of Qin destroys the Zhou.

Qin Unifies China

221 B.C.E.

China Adopts Confucianism as Official Philosophy

202 B.C.E.

I was not until the Han Dynasty in 202 B.C.E. that Confucianism was adopted as China's official philosophy.