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Chapter 1: The Roots of Western Civilization

| Chapter Summary | Chapter Outline | Critical Thinking Questions | Review Questions: Multiple Choice | Review Questions: True-False | The Big Picture | Essay Questions | Map Exercises | A Closer Look | Using the Internet | Biography Questions | Guide to Further Research | Chapter in Perspective |

Essay Questions

  1. What role did cultural diffusion play in this period?
  2. What environmental advantages did the ancient Middle East have that permitted the growth of agriculture and cities?*
  3. Why was agriculture so important for the beginnings of Western civilization? Why did it lead to differentiation within societies?
  4. Why did Sumerians develop a highly organized society? What was the role of religion in the organization of Sumerian society?
  5. Why did writing develop in Sumerian civilization? What uses was it put to? How did those uses change over time? Why is record-keeping important for Western civilization?
  6. How did the religious outlooks of Egyptians and Sumerians differ? How can we explain the differences?
  7. What made some Egyptian rulers successful? Why did others fail?
  8. Why was the Phoenician alphabet such an important contribution to Western civilization?
  9. How were the Jews able to maintain their integrity while being part of a Diaspora?*
  10. How did cultural diffusion and the achievements of preceding cultures shape Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian cultures? What were the strengths and weaknesses of each empire?*
  11. Why is the Persian empire considered the culmination of the Middle Eastern phase of Western civilization?

* Starred questions correspond with questions in the "Read, Analyze, and Anticipate" section of your text, pp. 39-40.


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