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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 |

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Before Western Civilization
    1. How do social scientists define Western civilization?
    2. What are some of the advantageous characteristics of the civilizations that arose in the Middle East?
    3. How did people live and organize their lives in this period?
    4. What were the technological and artistic achievements of people in the Paleolithic period?
    5. What were the advantages of practicing agriculture? What were the disadvantages?
    6. What made the Middle East a favorable region for agriculture and the domestication of animals?
    7. What were some of the changes in social organization that occurred with the rise of agriculture?
    8. What changes in warfare occurred in this period? What were the reasons for those changes?

  2. Struggling with the Forces of Nature: Mesopotamia, 3000 — ca. 1000 BC
    1. What aspects of life in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley made irrigation necessary?
    2. What role did ziggurats play in cities like Ur and Uruk?
    3. What was life like for Sumerian women? How did Sumerian law regulate their lives?
    4. How did rulers like Sargon legitimate their rule?
    5. What were Sumerian views on social inequality?
    6. What were the typical uses of writing as found in the Sumerian tablets?
    7. How did Hammurabi's code differentiate between social orders? Which groups did it protect?
    8. What contributions did Indo-Europeans make to Western civilization? Which aspects of Fertile Crescent culture did they incorporate into their own?

  3. Rule of the God-King: Ancient Egypt, ca. 3100 — 1000 BC
    1. What were the advantages of the Nile Valley in comparison to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley? What kinds of resources did it lack?
    2. How did hieroglyphs differ from cuneiform script? In what ways did its uses differ from how the Sumerians used cuneiform?
    3. What was the symbolic significance of the pyramids? What do we know about how they were constructed?
    4. What were some of the problems that Egyptian rulers faced in the period 2200 — 1570 BC?
    5. How did Egyptians benefit from expansion? What were some of the drawbacks?
    6. How did Akhenaten differ from his predecessors in his religious practices?

  4. Merchants and Monotheists: The Peoples of the Mediterranean Coast, ca. 1300 — 500 BC
    1. What is the most important contribution of the Phoenicians to Western civilization? What made this contribution so advantageous?
    2. What are some of the problems with using the bible as historical evidence?
    3. What sequence of events created the Jewish Diaspora? What were some of the concerns of the Hebrew priests living in exile?
    4. Which ideas about religion and the world distinguished Jews from their contemporaries?

  5. Terror and Benevolence: The Growth of Empires, 1200 — 500 BC
    1. What impact did the disruption of trade in 1200 BC have on metalworking?
    2. What were some of the Assyrians' skills in warfare? In administration? What techniques did they use to maintain their subject people's loyalty?
    3. What were some of the contributions of the Babylonians to Western civilization?
    4. What were the basic principles of Zoroastrianism?


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