Ancient Mediterranean History-Part One


Neolithic Revolution

8000 bc - 5500 bc

domestication of plants and animals; starts in Fertile Crescent (Tigris & Euphrates river valley); est. communities, agr surplus, warehouses, gender spheres, inequality, raiding, specialization

Bronze Age

6000 bc - 1200 bc

Sea People Invasion

1200 bc - 1100 bc

Chaotic End of Bronze Age; 1st victim--Hittites; 2nd--Mycenean; New Kingdom (Ramses III) survives initial invasion, Egypt splinters into U & L again; L Egypt pharaoh recruits mercenaries that eject him, so L Egypt ruled by foreigners

Iron Age

1200 bc - 550 bc

After Sea Peoples, Iron more prominent; iron used mostly for plows, only slowly for weapons; Era b/c change, not necessarily b/c iron metal



3000 bc - 2300 bc

1st "civilized" group in N. East; culturally (not pol.) unified cluster of c. 20 city-states; ziggurat (patron gods); king as god's rep; tenant farmers & slaves; cuneiform allows for records


2300 bc - 2000 bc

Pastoralists that settle in N. Mesopotamia; use cuneiform to write down their Semitic language; united by King Sargon--first Mesopotamian empire


2000 bc - 1600 bc

new Semites displace Akkadians, but assimilate culture; city-states; cuneiform; math & astronomy; King Hammurabi


1728 bc - 1686 bc

united Mesopotamia, legal & trade integration--common weights and measures; law code--leader's benevolence, protection


1600 bc - 1200 bc

use war-chariot technology, est. as ruling caste of Mesopotamia; assimilate Mesopotamian culture--cuneiform

Indo European Disruption (Hittites)

1600 bc

(probably) from Russia; move through Europe; pastoralists; Hittites est. in Asia Minor, set up as ruling elite; raid Mesopotamia; sack Babylon

Smaller Powers

1200 bc - 850 bc

W/ disintegrated civilizations, smaller Semitic Peoples can flourish; Phoenicians(Lebanon)--pol indep city states, focus on trade (resource poor), carrying-trade: import raw material, process it, export it; abjad writing system; Arameans (Syria)--move to Syrian desert from Arabian desert; Hebrews (Israel)--Semitic pastoralists, move through Egypt to fertile crescent; united culturally (not pol)--xenophobic religion, war w neighbors, spilt--Kingdom of Israel (N) assimiliates w Phoenicia, S Kingdom of Judea--conservative


850 bc - 650 bc

Semitic group settled in less fertile Upper Tigris; annual callup of farmer-army for raiding; After Tiglath-Pilezer II expansion, cycle of rebellions and militarization, capital city Nineveh--artifacts of conquered & culturally advanced, emphasize control, 1st library; Sargon II expands empire

Tiglath-Pilezer III

800 bc

Assyrian king; overruns Fertile crescent & Syria; develops calvary, standing army; imperial system of governors; garrisons (small perma standing forces in strategic areas); colonies & deporting rebellious elites--diffuse resentment or possibility of revolt through Wholesale population shifts; moves non Hebrews into Israel

Chaldean Babylon

600 bc - 550 bc

Arabian Semities; take advantage of Syrian overextension; aggressive & militaristic


600 bc

Ruled Chaldean Babylonians; destroys Judea, departs elite "Babylonian Captivity"; Jews develop synagogues to maintain identity in diaspora


Early Dynastic Period

3000 bc - 2700 bc

unites Upper&Lower Egypt; complex admin, irrigation; religion, predictable world (Nile)--Ma'at; pharaoh is God & Nile; hieroglyphics--records, admin

Old Kingdom

2700 bc - 2200 bc

pyramids--tomb for pharaoh, temple complex; need resources, elevate status of local elite (nomarchs&priests)

Middle Kingdom

2050 bc - 1786 bc

weaker pharaoh, smaller pyramids; pharaoh's after-life democratized--diffusion of pwr down

Hyksos Invasion

1730 bc - 1534 bc

Semites from Levant, war chariot; able to overrun leaders (b/c dynastic instability); control N. (lower) Egypt; ruling military elite, assimilate culturally; expelled by Ahmose I

New Kingdom

1534 bc - 1070 bc

est. standing armies, military campaigns for expansion buffer; pharaoh now a warrior figure

Assyrian Expansion into Egypt

800 bc - 600 bc

Persian Expansion into Egypt

600 bc - 500 bc



2000 bc - 1500 bc

complex civ. centered in Crete; crossroads; indep. city-states based on palaces--warehouses; Linear A; "hilltop" religion; minotaur; pre-Greek NOT Greek


1400 bc - 1200 bc

Indo-Europeans arrive in Balkan peninsula; destroy & rebuild palaces; take over trade; add fortifications to palaces; warrior societies; adopt Minoan writing for own language--Linear B

Dark Age

1100 bc - 776 bc

2 diff groups: Dorian (from N Greece) & Ionian (to Athens & Ionia); Dorian Greeks--indep. subsistence villages (oikos), king pol privilege justified by mil service; villages grow, fuse into poles--farms & marketplace, acropolis & agora; 3 Tiered Pol System--rotating archons, standing boule (both open only to aristocracy), assembly that votes yes/no on boule legislature; Panhellenism

1st Olympics--Signals Archaic Period

776 bc


776 bc

most dominant city-state of Archaic Period; full time soldiers; conquest of neighbors (instead of colonization); conquered made helots; agr economy & helots=more rights for Spartan women; small proportion of citizens (compared to helots)=oligarchy

Archaic Age

776 bc - 500 bc

stabilized polis structure, pop growth, partially offset by re-engagement in trade, social dislocations (aristocrats, newly wealthy, tenant farmers); inc. bureaucracy; colonization--expand trade networks w city states as intermediary marketplaces, primarily in Sicily & S. Italy & Black Sea coast; tyranny


638 bc - 558 bc

ruler of Athens, not a tyrant; 2 sets of reforms: agr reforms for tenant farmers & pol reforms for "middle"; oligarchy; cancels debt, outlaws debt bondage; long term: doesn't solve problem of unequal land distribution


600 bc

naval based power; large pop, pop outgrows territory=middle & tenant probs


561 bc - 527 bc

tyrant; promoted trade; no official pol position (oligarchy still in place); exiles some aristocracy; pays for public works (is rich)


510 bc - 507 bc

advocates democracy; boule & non-military offices chosen by sortition (lottery); assembly can intro and debate policy

Persian Wars

490 bc - 479 bc

Persian attempt to expand empire west; defeated by temp. coalition of mainland Greeks under Sparta; Athens discovers rich silver vein after 1st invasion, rich--build navy (Trireme) under Themistocles; Athenian Greeks help Ionian Greeks w/ failed revolt against Persia

Classical Athens

479 bc - 323 bc

Delian league; poor rowers participate pol & contribute to security of state--reinforce democracy; concentration of wealth & importance of debate=culture (Parthenon, Sophistic oratory)

Peloponnesian War

431 bc - 404 bc

land pwr (Sparta) vs. naval pwr (Athens); Athens was using tribute money for itself=allies discontent; Athens expand W-Corinth, ally of Sparta; preemptive war; siege; Persian interference--subsidizes Spartan navy; Athens surrenders (democracy survives, but Athens no longer big player)


Settlement of Iranian Plateau

2000 bc

indo-europeans; non Semitic people; northern Medes dom. Southern Persians; Assyrian collapse allows Medes to stretch N. of Tigris

Cyrus the Great

559 bc - 530 bc

Unites Persians against Medes; expands W into Anatolia for port; involved in civil ear in Chaldean Babylon & conquers it; returns Jews from captivity

Archaemenid Period

550 bc - 330 bc

begun under Cyrus the great (Achemis common ancestor); After Darius, moderate taxation & military requirements--standing bodyguards (10,000 Persian Immortials) AND vast regular army; Zoroastrianism: dualistic religion (spirit/matter) w final judgement; king=earthly agent of Ahura Mazda

Cambyses II

530 bc - 523 bc

son of Cyrus the Great; conquers Saite, declares self pharaoh


522 bc - 486 bc

formalizes Persian empire's structure (20 provinces/satrapies), cousin of royal fam; promotes trade (Royal Road, united coin system)