Early Western Civilization Timeline

Pre 7,000 B.C.E - 530 B.C.E.

Ages, Empires, and Civilizations

Paleolithic Age

8,000 B.C. - 7,000 B.C.
  • Paleolithic = Old Stone Age

*Nomadic hunter/gather life style
-Small groups no larger than 30 individuals
*Domestication of animals: dogs, sheep, goats, cows
*Cave paintings reveal early expression of daily life/religious beginnings
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Image via www.guardian.co.uk

Neolithic Revolution

7,000 B.C.E. - 3,000 B.C.E.
  • Neolithic Age = New Stone Age *Stone Tools

Rise of Civilization in Sumer

3200 bc

Early Dynastic Period of Egypt

3100 bc - 2686 bc
  • During early Mesopotamian civilization, early Egyptian civilization begins to form in the fertile valley of the Nile.

Sumerian Age

3000 bc - 2350 bc
  • Location: Sumer
  • Created a system of Cuneiform - a system of symbol writing in which pictures for objects and marks for numbers were engraved on clay tablets *huts evolved into 12 independent city-states

Old Kingdom of Egypt

2686 bc - 2181 bc
  • Essential forms of Egyptian civilization take shape *Royal power reaches its height
  • Pharaoh - Egyptians believed them to be both man and god, an absolute ruler who maintained irrigation system, justice, and expressed the will of heaven. *Enormous expenditure of resources on pyramids leads to Old Kingdoms decline.

First Intermediate Period of Egypt

2181 bc - 2040 bc
  • Rival families compete for throne (Game of Thrones) *Civil war and failure to maintain irrigation system send Egypt into downturn

Early Mesopotamia

2100 B.C. - 1750 B.C.
  • Covers years 2100 -1750 B.C.E.
  • Mesopotamia - region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
  • Irrigation of Tigris and Euphrates plays important role in agricultural development
  • Dark side of early civilization - Disease, slavery
  • Sumerians - located in southern Mesopotamia

Middle Kingdom of Egypt

2040 bc - 1730 bc
  • Strong kings reassert Pharaonic rule *cultural and economic life revive *Egyptian control extends to include Nubia *Profitable trade with Crete, Syria, and Palestine

Second Intermediate Kingdom of Egypt

1730 bc - 1550 bc
  • Nobles regain power *Nubians break away
  • Hyksos invade Egypt with bronze tools and horses - acclimated into Egyptian culture

New Kingdom of Egypt

1550 bc - 1080 bc
  • Egyptians look to the past and begin to rebuild by the example of their ancestors

The Hittites

1500 bc - 1200 bc
  • Among first to use iron weapons
  • At its peak in 1300 B.C.E., challenged Egypt for Syria & Palestine *Capital eventually sacked and burned to the ground -Replaced by smaller kingdoms

The Phoenicians

1200 bc - 539 bc
  • One of the first to use an Alphabet
  • Elite tradesmen - sail Mediterranean *Known for their purple dye -Called the "purple people" by Greeks *Established Tyre, Sidon, and Carthage - (813 B.C.E.) *Famous for their papyrus *Very artistic
  • King Solomon used Phoenician artisans to build his temple

The Kingdom of Kush

1070 bc - 780 bc
  • Nubians assimilate with Egyptians and make mini-pyramids

Age of Classical Prophecy

750 bc - 430 bc

The Assyrians

745 bc - 612 bc
  • Capital is Nineveh
  • Jonah is sent to Nineveh, doesn't want to , eaten by whale
  • Nineveh destroyed by Babylonians in 612 B.C.E
  • Very warlike / violent - specialize in siege warfare

Neo-Babylonian Empire

626 bc - 539 bc
  • Capital: Babylon 200 square miles
  • Ziggurat 665ft tall with a solid gold altar on top
  • Famous for Hanging Gardens
  • Pleasure gardens 75ft up in the air
  • Hollow pillars with water screws worked by slaves
  • One of the first cities to have suburbs
  • Well versed in astronomy
  • distinguished between planets and stars
  • Created Geometry - minutes & seconds

Babylonian Captivity

586 bc - 538 bc
  • Story of Daniel begins
  • Hebrew scripture begins to be created in an effort to preserve culture and past

Persian Empire

559 bc - 330 bc
  • Zoroastrianism ( Dualism) - belief of a Good entity and Evil entity at work in life. Good Vs. Evil. Ahuramazda Vs. Ahriman respectively

  • Royal road 1,600 miles from Susa - Sardis
    -Fresh ponies every 16 miles
    -Royal postal service - "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"

Founding of Major Cities


9,000 B.C.E.
  • Located in Palestine *One of the first cities to build a wall around the city *2,000 people approximately, 8 acres

Catal Huyuk

7,000 B.C.E.
  • Located in Turkey - 25 acres, apprx. 10,000 people *Didn't have streets. Travelled over rooftops.
  • More sophisticated than early Jericho


4000 bc
  • Location: Sumer, Southern Mesopotamia
  • Population: apprx. 50,000 around 2900 B.C.E. *Large wall 5 miles long *Lunar Calendar based off phases on the moon. *Polytheistic( belief in multiple gods) I. Key gods: *Enlil ~ god of storms *Anu ~ god of the sky


3000 bc
  • Capital of Assyria


2750 bc
  • Major Phoenician coastal city


813 bc
  • Phoenician city that would come to be Rome's greatest enemy.

Key Individuals

Includes: Important figures - kings, pharaohs, etc.

Sargon the Great of Akkad

2350 bc
  • Conquered most of Mesopotamia and built the world's first empire. *Conquered Sumerians most notably *Daughter, Enheduanna - world's first known poet


1800 bc - 1600 bc
  • Possibly came from Ur, led by Yahweh to Palestine
  • Origin of monotheism perhaps
  • Has a son Isacc - father of Jacob and Esau
  • Jacob father of Joseph and 11 other sons

Hammurabi's Reign

1792 B.C.E. - 1750 B.C.E.
  • Babylonian King
  • Location: Mesopotamia *Brings Akkad and Sumer under his control *Hammurabi's Code

Exile of Hykos

1570 bc
  • Egyptians drive out Hykos and begin empire building.
  • Location: Egypt

Reign of Amenhotep IV

1369 bc - 1353 bc
  • Reigns during the New Kingdom of Egypt
  • Tries to implement monotheism - Aton - sun god !{width: 350px; height: 425px;}


1300 bc - 1200 bc
  • Led Jews out of egypt and back to Palestine into the hills

Reign of Ramesses II

1290 bc - 1224 bc
  • Extends the Egyptian empire
  • Conquers Nubia in the south and Palestine ( Hebrews brought into slavery)
  • Fought in the Battle of Kadesh (1269 B.C.E.) against expanding Hittites

Reign of Saul

1024 bc - 1000 bc
  • Israel's first king

Reign of King David

1000 bc - 960 bc
  • Built Jerusalem
  • Killed Goliath


960 bc - 922 bc
  • Son of David
  • Built the great temple in honor of God *Opposition to tax policies and favoritism towards Judah split kingdom after his death.

Sargon II

722 bc
  • Carried away 27,290 captives from Israel after defeating the Northern Kingdom

Nebuchadnezzar II

604 bc - 562 bc
  • Conquered Israel & Judah

Reign of Nebuchadnezzar

604 bc - 562 bc
  • Reigned at the height of Chaldean empire

Cyrus the Great

559 bc - 530 bc
  • Recognized religious traditions of Jews
  • Allowed Jews to return home
  • Just asked for taxes and obedience

Hebrews Return to Palestine

538 bc
  • Cyrus the Great allows Hebrews to return to Palestine

Xeres the Great

519 bc
  • 1.8 million soliders- mercenaries and slaves mostly

Second Temple Dedicated

515 bc

Important Events

This category includes events of historical significance such as: key battles, invention of new technology, etc.

Specialization of Labor

7,000 B.C.E.
  • Result of Agricultural Surplus
  • Allowed for: *Crafts such as pottery and weaving. *Political centralization *Religious hierarchies *Military technology *Long distance trade and travel

Cow Currency

7,000 B.C.E.
  • Cows used as currency *Increased interest over time *Replaced by gold, silver, precious metals later

Union of Upper and Lower Egypt

2900 bc
  • Narmer/ Menes of Upper Egypt conquers the Nile Delta and Lower Egypt

Sargon the Great conquers Sumer

2350 bc
  • Sargon built the world's first empire - stretched from Persian Gulf to Mediterranean Sea *Stationed garrisons and governors

Downfall of Akkadian Empire

2180 bc

Ziggurut of Ur-Nammu

2100 bc
  • Location: Ur, Sumer, Southern Mesopotamia *man made temple/mountain for worship *earliest examples of cuneiform found here

Hammurabi's Code

1755 B.C.E.
  • Written law - "Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth." *Code of conduct, and testament to Hammurabi's reign *Demonstrated necessity for law and order as people began to come together in large groups

Battle of Kadesh

1269 bc
  • Battle between Egypt (Ramesses II) and the Hittites
  • 5,000 - 6,000 chariots

Decline of Large Kingdoms such as Egypt

1200 bc
  • Phoenicians and Hebrews begin to make a stir

Fall of Hittite Empire

1200 bc

Hebrew Kingdom Divides

922 bc
  • Kingdom split into Northern israel and Southern Judah

Fall of Israel

722 bc
  • Conquered by Babylonians / Assyrians
  • Isaiah predicts predicts downfall

Fall of Assyrian Empire

612 bc

Fall of Judah

586 bc
  • Conquered by Chaldeans
  • Temple is destroyed

Persian Conquest forms World Empire

550 bc - 525 bc

Persians conquer Babylonians

538 bc
  • Allow Hebrews to return home to Palestine

Art and Culture

Section for period art, useful visual sources, or items of cultural significance

Egyptian Religion

3100 bc - 1080 bc
  • Ma'at = justice, law, right, truth - code of conduct
  • Amon - Sun god
  • Ra - Sky god
  • Horus - falcon headed god
  • Osiris - god of death
  • Isis - Osiris wife
  • Anubis - jackal headed god

Great Pyramids

2686 bc
  • Pyramids in construction
    *Fish and Beer labor - oh yeah
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    Image via www.Kunsthistorie.com

  • Mummies - ancient remains of pharaohs or important individuals mummified to preserve bodies. Believed spirits inhabited tombs, so they buried them with their material possessions


2686 bc
  • Writing system used by Egyptians found in tombs and pyramids

Book of the Dead

2686 bc
  • Written to guide a deceased person safely between this world, and the afterlife.
  • Deceased individuals proclaimed before Osiris that had not done wrong.

Wooden Soundbox of a Sumerian Harp

2600 bc

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Image via Penn Museum object B17694 image 22097

The Epic of Gilgamesh

2150 bc - 2000 bc
  • One of the earliest surviving works of literature *Deals with profound theme of human protest against death *Gilgamesh seeks immortality *Depicts Mesopotamian mood of pessimism and despair associated with death

The Jewish Faith

960 bc
  • Scripture - Torah - defining elements of what it meant to be Jewish
  • Monotheism - refined slowly - Yahweh - only one God. -Very unique for its time
  • Sovereign and Transcendent God - God of everything
  • Covenant - Jewish people had a special relationship with God
  • Law intertwined with religion
  • Prophetic Tradition - individuals who spoke to people in power, in particularly of corruption and social conscience
  • New concept of History: linear - began at creation
  • Dead Sea Scrolls !{width: 400px; height: 275px;} Image via www.news.nationalgeographic.com