Development of Western Civilization I
World History I
The Mesopotamian plain was called the Fertile Crescent. Situated between the Tigris
and Euphrates Rivers, the area was the birth place of the varied civilizations that
developed writing, schools, libraries, written law codes and moved us from prehistory to
history. The Sumerians, Akkadians, Chaldeans, Hittites, Babylonians, Israelites,
Phoenicians, Lydians, Assyrians and Persians established the foundations for future
Civilizations. Their contributions include: the wheel, glass, the sail, coinage, mathematics,
calendars, bronze, iron, monotheism, epic poetry, farming and irrigation.
The art of Mesopotamia is as diverse as the civilizations that inhabited the area. Art
became decorative, stylized and conventionalized at different times and places in the area.
Gods took on human forms and humans were combined with animals to make fantastic
creatures. Art commemorated the accomplishments of great men and intimidated the
lowly. Skills improved and new media was developed. Large temples and imposing palaces
dotted the landscape. Man recorded his history and poetry for the first time and set them
down to music. Lyres, pipes, harps and drums accompanied their songs and dances.
- Abraham - Text only Bio from the Catholic Encyclopedia
- Abraham - interesting short text about the birth and early childhood of Abraham from
Timeline of Jewish History
- The Story of Abraham from the Hebrew Bible- from Reading about the World Vol. I,
this excerpt explains about the importance of Abraham to both the Muslims and the Jews. It
also relates the Covenant between God and the Hebrew people and tells of the birth of
- Assyrians - a page of interesting text. Read about their attempt at "cultural mixing", the
reasons behind it and the beginnings of Jewish Diaspora.
- The Babylonians - this site is part of the History of Cataract Surgery and tells more
about the importance of medical procedures in Babylon, using as reference the mention of
fees and regulations in Hammurabi's Code.
- Chaldeans: Historical Background - very nice site, offering information on the history,
language and religion of these people.
- Chaldeans - more about the constant conquest of the crescent, this time meet
Nebuchadnezzar and read about the Jewish Exile.
- Cyrus the Great - very nice site about the man said to have issued the first human rights
document in history. The site is a frames set up that works fairly well for a change.Click the
categories on the left to read a wonderful bio, see beautiful artworks of soldiers, cylinder
seals and Cyrus himself..... Interesting site.
- King David - from Timeline of Jewish History - a one page text that has a very short bio
and a different slant on the David and Bathsheba story
- David: a Man after God's Heart - a site that uses passages from the New Testament to
look at the life of David.
- Gudea of Lagash - a very nice, short bio of the ruler and a link to cylinder seals, list of kings
and a statue of him, courtesy of DIA
- Hammurabi - Short bio and link to his code
- Hebrews - a very short history containing a map and a timeline. Be sure to check out the
Hebrew people link at the bottom of the page to get to a nice list of definitions and
- Hittites - very nice collection of information about the Hittites, includes a page of Hittite
art, a chronology of kings, one piece of literature (the other two links are dead), links to
Museums, Archaeology sites, and more. Check it out.
- Kassites - read about the unsuccessful attempt by these Indo-European invaders to
establish a lasting empire in the heart of Mesopotamia. Short, text only read
- Narin Sin - a nice bio of the first king to deify himself
- Nebuchadnezzar II - very short bio from Biography.com
- The Persians - a little about Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes and the ill-fated venture against the
- The Phoenicians , Alphabet - a very good site with a text only overview of the history
and accomplishments of these early Mediterranean People. Linked to a map and the
- Sargon - Nice bio of the man who established the first empire in the Mesopotamian area
- King Saul: The Bible's Tragic Hero - the story of the rise and fall of Israel's first king.
- Solomon - very complete bio from the Catholic Encyclopedia
- King Solomon's Era - very informative site - read about the reign of Solomon, his
accomplishments including the construction of the Temple to house The Ark of the Covenant,
his negotiations and problems of construction and his statesmanship (with 700 wives and 300
concubines - he'd have to have been a pretty good statesman)
- The Sumerians - History of Cataract Surgery again, this time in Sumeria, but it gives a
little of the history and a nice shot of a cuneiform tablet
- Ancient Middle East - this site has a tremendous
amount of information available. Using evidence from
archaeological digs, they reconstruct the area from
Middle Bronze Age through the Persian Period. Links to
art, tombs, weapons and much, much more.
- Catal Huyuk - investigate the excavation of this
Neolithic settlement in modern day Turkey. Read and
see the results of years of scientific study.
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon - very attractive
site that has pictures of two artist's conceptions of what
it may have looked like and poses the question - Did the
Garden really exist? Using ancient texts, they then
proceed to look for clues. Links take you across time and space to solve the mystery. Read
- Mesopotamia - Nice site that is part of a study unit for Tony Stephenson's Western
Civilization 101 class --Seven "links" are available and most deal with the contributions the
various cultures of Mesopotamia made to the development of Western Civilization. Large
print and an easy read.
- Mesopotamia - Great site with links to a timeline, history, architecture, language and
- Mesopotamia (9000-500 BC) - a very brief timeline of important events in the long history
of the area. This gives a nice overview of the period.
- Nippur -Sacred City of Enlil - a long page from the Oriental Institute of the University
of Chicago. History and information for an Archaeology class. This is a great resource. It
provides interesting text, links to information and links to art from the dig.
- The Old City: King David's Capital - a site by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
containing 9 clickable photos of historical sites within the Old City. Selection includes: the
Citadel, David's Tower, the New Gate, Zion Gate, Old City Wall and more. Each has a very
nice, short explanation of its importance in history.
- 1300 BC The Ten Commandments - from the Law Museum Archives - an interesting all
text site that give the history of Moses receiving the tablets and a copy of the laws.
- Code of Hammurabi - The entire translation of the famous text that was one of the earliest
written law codes in history.
- Development of the Alphabet - interesting read about the development of the alphabet and
its family tree.
- The Flood Story - World wide flood ? Read the archaeological evidence from the
Mesopotamian area and decide.
- The Persian Wars - This is a great page from Dr. Knox's History of Western
Civilization class at Boise State University. People, battles, including Marathon,
Thermopylae, Salamis and Plataea, Results etc. This is a very complete site.
- Sargon's Eighth Campaign - very long text only read about the military exploits of Sargon
II and the reasons behind them.
- The Wheel - there are several sections about the constructions of the first wheel, its use with
carts, the conditioning of horses to pull and the care of early horses from the International
Museum of the Horse. Also check out The Reluctant Rider - four sections about the
long way up..the nose ring and the soft bit. Excellent Information.
- Written Law Codes - this site is courtesy of The Law Museum and my link takes you to
Hammurabi's code but before you leave the site, please scroll up to the top to read about the
law codes that preceded Hammurabi's.
- ABZU*** - a Guide to Resources for the Study of the Ancient Near East available on the
Internet. - Directories, Libraries, Museums, Regional Studies and much more.( plus access to
ARGOS data base for specific searches) An excellent resource
- Akkadian Cuneiform - a Magellan 4 star site that provides much more than very
detailed, complete information about the written language. This is a wonderful mini course of
early Mesopotamian history. Every thing from important people to daily life (houses, cities,
food storage, metal-working, climate, religion and so very much more) This is a Must see
- Ancient Palestine and the Old Testament - an offering from CivWeb at Providence
College. The site contains quality annotated links to the archaeology, art, architecture,
history and Old Testament.
- Ancient Scripts - a very attractive site containing a great deal of information on early writing
systems from most of the areas of the globe. In addition to the Fertile Crescent and Africa,
you will find India, The Far East, Europe and America. A very nice site.
- Ancient Times Project*** - a month long project in Ms Linda Marshall's Eighth Grade
Ancient History class (Norfolk Academy?) - and did they do a great job! Read about
Hammurabi, Hittites, Gilgamesh, Ziggurats, see art and even a few cartoons and classifieds.
- Ancient World Wide Web*** - Hundreds and hundreds of alphabetized resources. This is
an outstanding collection of all things ancient, but you must search the long list to find just
what you are looking for. Resources are according to title and not time period, culture or
area. Still, this is where I usually start.
- Assyria on Line - a great many links to "new" and a few good links to "old" Assyria,
including Literature, Architecture and Mythology. Investigate this site - there's a lot there.
- Babylonian Mathematics - read about the ancient base 60 system and see examples of
cuneiform tablets that may have been the earliest calculators. Easy, interesting read from The
History of Mathematics Archive.
- The Bible Tutor - a wonderful reference for Biblical people, places, events,
dates--everything you want to know about the Bible---start here.
- EAWC Ancient Near East*** - from the University of Evansville's Exploring Ancient
World Cultures program, the section dealing with the Near East. The site contains an
introduction, chronology, essays, maps, resources and links. This is a great place to gain a
basic understanding of the area.
- Hebrew Law - from Reading about the World Vol. I, read the introductory paragraph by
Paul Brians of Washington State University to understand the importance of "The Law"
to the Jews and a very short contrast to the 10 Commandments of Christianity. Then
proceed to the text and specific articles of Law. Some sound very familiar to Christians
others not so. Very informative site.
- History of Bronze Age Mesopotamia - a wonderful site choked full of historical
information about the various civilizations and individuals that inhabited the Fertile Crescent
- History of Israel (gopher) - all text but a tremendous amount of information on the History
of Israel and the Meso area.
- History of Mesopotamian Medicine - From the History of Biomedicine, links to about
20 sites on the Net dealing with medicine and health.
- History of Money - a Top 5% site that has everything you ever wanted to know about
money (except how to hold on to it) . For our purposes read
- Judaism and Jewish Resources - exactly what it says....A page of links to information
about Judaism and Jewish Culture, Daily life, Museums, Libraries and much more.
- Mesopotamian Medicine - this site is from the Virtual Hospital and contains interesting
information.on Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian medicine.
- Art History 201 Ancient Mesopotamia - This site is for Prof. Nick Cahill's class at The
University of Wisconsin, Madison and it is a wonderful site for viewing art from
prehistoric Mesopotamia, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon and Persia. The famous Ishtar Gates and
the Palace at Persepolis can be seen here. A must see for Art Students (Ishtar Gates plus
- MCCM Ancient Near Eastern Art - this link takes you to the MC Carlos Museum and
a look at their permanent collection of Near Eastern Art. There is a nice introduction and a
good variety of objects to see including pottery, cylinder seals and sculpture.
- Assyrian Gallery - This site may not be for everyone. It is a Virtual Tour put on by the
Oriental Institute Virtual Museum from the University of Chicago and you must have
Apple Quick Time VR Software Player installed on your computer. If you do, this is a fun
and informative place to spend quite a while. Roam through the various exhibits in the 3D
world and click on the items to find out more about them. Thirteen different panoramic
sections to explore.
- Cylinder Seals: Middle Bronze , Late Bronze , Iron Age - each of these three links has
a paragraph detailing the characteristics of the time period and then several links to view the
beautiful designs on the seals. Also included are a few examples of stamp seals.
- DIA:Galleries: Ancient Art - Detroit Institute of Art - Mesopotamia a short
introduction and six clickable images for Mesopotamia and a link at the bottom of the page
to an additional 4 images from Persepolis and Ancient Iran.
- Find an Image **** University of Wisconsin-Madison Art history Department
provides a superior resource. You may search the database for artist, time periods or
geographic locations. for our purposes try
- Persepolis (under site) 23 images
- Ancient Near East: Akkadian (under period) 4 images
- Ancient Near East: Assyrian (under period) 33 images
- Ancient Near East: Persian (under period) 37 images
- Glass making Discovered -The Corning Museum of Glass has a wonderful tale to tell
of early glass-making and the superstitions which surrounded the activity. Just one page but
entertaining and informative.
- Hanging Gardens - the History and an artist's conception of one of the Wonders of the
Ancient World. Did it really exist? Ancient travelers wrote about it - now you can read what
they had to say. I found most of the links in the text to be dead but they are not needed to
benefit from this site.
- Images of Ancient Iran - nine nice clickable images including one of the Tomb of Cyrus II
- Images from Ancient Iran and Persia - Fourteen very nice clickable images and a short
comment about some of them.
- Images from the History of Mesopotamia - very nice collection of 12 of the most famous
pieces of art from the area, and a brief description of each
- Material Culture Hypertext Index ** - an absolute storehouse of art works from early
Egypt, Canaan and Western Asia. Everything from buttons? to daggers. Art students -a
must see site
- Mesopotamia (Ur) - 3 clickable reconstructed images from the British Museum
- OI Museum Highlights a great selection from the Oriental Institute - and this time it is
for everyone. Fourteen examples of Mesopotamian
Art including: cylinder seals, lions from the Ishtar
Gates, gods and a statuette. Some good stuff here.
- Persepolis - six clickable photos from Iran
(Persepolis) and four from Iraq-- may not sound like
much but it's worth a trip here.
- Persepolis - nine dramatic color photos of the once
great capital of the Persian Empire. A very
interesting read and beautiful pictures.
- Persian Images - about seven images, mostly of architecture, an additional fifteen images of
sites in and around Persepolis and a few personal items including a torque
- Virtual Museum: Mesopotamia - Another Virtual tour from the Oriental Institute that
requires Apple Quick Time VR Software. These tours are really nice if you're set up for
- Virtual Museum: Persia - same as above only this time one panorama from Persia
- Ziggurat - a simple drawing of the Mesopotamian structure. No text.
- Ziggurats - a beautiful map to show the location (that for some reason takes forever to load)
and three structures to choose from: The White Temple at Warka - 7 images - inside and
out, The Ziggurat at UR - 16 images and Marduk (Tower of Babel) - 9 images. These
are worth waiting for.
- Avesta - Zoroastrian Scripture - a site that provides many links, an English translation and
information about the ancient text.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls - There is a great deal of information at this site and some fragments
of the 2000 year old find which includes several types of artifacts in addition to the scrolls.
The site has about five pages to explore plus all the links to all the images.
- Deluge: Parallel Flood Stories - an interesting read if you can forget the background
which makes it difficult to see the text. The author attempts to demonstrate how legends pass
through both time and cultural barriers by showing the many similarities in the flood stories of
Sumeria, The Bible and Greco-Roman Myths. Author of this site is not identified.
- Gilgamesh - Part of the Assyro-Babylonian Mythology pages. Just a short overview of one
of the first epic poems in history.
- Hebrew Creation Narrative (Genesis 1-3) - from Reading about the World Vol. I, a
recount of creation according to the Bible...there are some interesting footnotes at the bottom
about the differences between Christian and Jewish interpretations of highlighted passages.
- Tale of Sinuhe - excerpt from the Middle Bronze Age story that describes early Asiatic life.
(from Ancient Near Eastern Texts by James Pritchard. 1969)
- The WWW Bible Gateway*** - whether you consider the Bible a sacred text, Divinely
inspired or just an early anthology, it must be included here not only for its literary importance
but also the tremendous influence it has had in the development of Western Civilizations.This
site is great. It lets you search through verses or books in six different translations. It also
has a function that enables you to search for what the Bible says about...(specific term).
- Origin of Oriental Dance - interesting site about the origin and evolution of what the article
calls the World's Oldest Dance (the belly dance)
- Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ - text only read about the older gods, the younger
gods, heroes and monsters that dominated the ancient beliefs of Mesopotamian inhabitants.
Pretty involved and very detailed. A lot of information..
- Bronze Age Houses - read about the dwellings from simple homes to regal palaces and
click on links to see different views of many of them.
- Bronze Age Weapons - read about and see examples of Middle Bronze and Iron Age
weapons from Egypt and Western Asia.
- Food in the Ancient World - just some links to a sites dealing with food in general and a
few with ties to the Ancient world. (I'm looking for a site that gives more information)
- Hittite Mythology - Text only, information packed page dealing with the major beliefs and
important figures in the Hittite culture. Major deities are defined and a brief overview of
Hittite history is presented.
- The Jerusalem Mosaic**** - This is a Great site (the Homepage took a very long time
to load) that offers the option of the Old Mosaic or the New Mosaic. The Old offers sites
and sounds, portraits, old maps and artwork. The New offers an introduction to the history
at different periods through costumes, people, food and customs. Homepage also has a
Virtual Tour option.( This site was very frustrating in the amount of time it took to load
every page. Maybe it would be better at a different time I tried at 2:45 am CST)
- OU On Line Torah Pages - nice site explaining Jewish Religion and life. Links to the Torah
on line and pages on Jewish Philosophy and Beliefs, Daily life and much more.
- Seven Wonders of the World - Top 5% site - visit all of the Wonders of the Ancient
World. Click on the small image to see a larger version, read its history and find out
everything happening with excavations of possible sites relating to the structure.Very
- Sumerian Beer - Was the desire to make beer and not bread the compelling force that led
early man to settle down into small agricultural communities? Read about the Beer-Bread
debate and the recreation of Sumerian beer, using an ancient text for the recipe, by the
Anchor Brewing Company.
- Sumerian Language Page - learn about the language and see examples of cuneiform
writing. Maybe a little technical for our purposes. But check out the proverbs.
- A Walk through Time: Ancient Calendars - very good site that has sections on all the
early civilizations and their methods and reasons for marking time.
- Sumerian Mythology - the central beliefs and identification of the main figures of the
Sumerian Religious beliefs. This is not a simple site - there's a lot of information here
- Zoroastrian Doctrines and Rituals - by Pallan R. Ichaporia - One page article about the
3500 year old Religion, its history and major tenets
Students and Surfers please leave a note to say
you stopped by. If you find any "dead links",
please let me know.
History .....Reference and Resources
The Arts .....Reference and Resources
Quick Step - Egypt
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This page created by Nancy B. Mautz
Last revised: August 6 , 1997