Bruce Morrison » First Age of Empires, 1570 B.C.–200 B.C.

First Age of Empires, 1570 B.C.–200 B.C.

The first large empires develop in Africa and Asia between 1570 B.C. and 200 B.C.

 

Section 1: The Egyptian and Nubian Empires

Section 2: The Assyrian Empires

Section 3: The Persian Empire

Section 4: The Unification of China

 

Section 1: The Egyptian and Nubian Empires

Two empires along the Nile, Egypt and Nubia, forge commercial, cultural, and political connections.

 

Nomadic Invaders Rule Egypt

 

Invaders

  • About 1640 B.C., Asian warriors, theHyksos, use chariots to conquer Egypt

 

Hebrews Migrate to Egypt

  • Hebrews move to Egypt from Canaan around 1650 B.C.
  • Egyptians resent the presence of Hebrews and Hyksos in Egypt

 

Expulsion and Slavery

  • Egyptians drive out the hated Hyksos
  • Hebrews lose protection of Hyksos; are enslaved

 

The New Kingdom of Egypt

 

Technological Changes

  • About 1570 to 1075 B.C. pharaohs create New Kingdom, a powerful empire
  • Army uses bronze weapons and chariots to conquer other lands

 

Hatshepsut’s Prosperous Rule

 

  • Hatshepsut—pharaoh whose reign most noted for her trade expeditions, not war

 

Thutmose the Empire Builder

  • Thutmose III, Hatshepsut’s stepson, expands Egypt’s empire
  • Invades Palestine, Syria, and Nubian region around the upper Nile River
  • Egypt most powerful and wealthy during reign of New Kingdom pharaohs

 

The Egyptians and the Hittites

  • Around 1285 B.C. Egyptians battle the Hittites in Palestine
  • Egypt’s pharaoh, Ramses II, and the Hittite king sign a peace treaty

 

An Age of Builders

  • New Kingdom pharaohs built great palaces, magnificent temples
  • Valley of the Kingsnear Thebes is home to royal tombs
  • Ramses IIbuilds impressive temples with enormous statues of himself

 

 

 

The Empire Declines

 

Invasions by Land and Sea

  • “Sea Peoples” (possibly Philistines) cause great destruction in Egypt
  • Libyan raids on villages and Palestine rebellions weaken empire

 

Egypt’s Empire Fades

  • Weakened empire breaks into smaller kingdoms
  • From around 950 to 730 B.C. Libyan pharaohs rule Egypt, erect cities

 

The Kushites Conquer the Nile Region

 

Egypt and Kush

  • From 2000 to 1000 B.C., Egypt dominates kingdom ofKush in Nubia

 

The People of Nubia

  • Live south of Egypt near division of Blue Nile and White Nile
  • Nile River is a great trade route for goods and ideas
  • Nubians link Egypt and Mediterranean to African interior through trade

 

The Interaction of Egypt and Nubia

  • Egyptian culture influences Nubia and beyond to southern Africa
  • About 1200 B.C., Nubia gains independence but keeps Egyptian culture

 

Piankhi Captures the Egyptian Throne

  • In 751 B.C., Kushite king Piankhi conquers Egypt, ousts Libyans
  • Assyrians overcome Kushites and take Egypt

 

The Golden Age of Meroë

 

Meroë

  • Kushites settle inMeroë; join in trade with Africa, Arabia, India

 

The Wealth of Kush

  • Meroë becomes important center for iron weapons and tools
  • Iron products transported to Red Sea, exchanged for luxury goods

 

The Decline of Meroë

  • Meroë thrives from about 250 B.C. to A.D. 150, then declines
  • Aksum, 400 miles southeast, dominates North African trade
  • Has port on Red Sea, defeats Meroë in A.D. 350

 

Section 2: The Assyrian Empire

Assyria develops a military machine and establishes a well-organized administration.

 

A Mighty Military Machine

 

Assyria

  • Assyria uses military might to acquire empire across Southwest Asia

 

The Rise of a Warrior People

  • After invasions inMesopotamia, Assyrians develop warlike behavior
  • Assyrian king Sennacherib brutally destroys enemies

 

Military Organization and Conquest

  • Glorified armies wear metal armor, copper helmets, leather protection
  • Use iron weapons, engineering skill, and brute force to conquer cities
  • Kill, enslave, or banish captive peoples to distant lands

 

The Empire Expands

 

Kings of Assyria

  • Defeat Syria, Palestine, Babylonia between 850 and 650 B.C.

 

Assyrian Rule

  • Creates central authority over local governors of dependent regions
  • Collects taxes and tribute from conquered lands

 

Assyrian Culture

  • Rulers build great cities, including capital at Nineveh
  • Carved sculptures of military campaigns and the lion hunt
  • King Ashurbanipal builds library of 20,000 tablets;Epic of Gilgamesh

 

The Empire Crumbles

 

Early Warnings

  • Empire spread thin, cruelty earns many enemies, Ashurbanipal dies

 

Decline and Fall

  • Army of Medes and Chaldeans destroys Nineveh (612 B.C.); library survives

 

Rebirth of Babylon Under the Chaldeans

  • Chaldeansmake Babylon capital of own empire
  • KingNebuchadnezzarbuilds legendary hanging gardens of Babylon
  • Builds tallziggurats; astronomers make discoveries about solar system
  • Chaldean Empire falls to Persians; they adopt Assyrian inventions

 

Section 3: The Persian Empire

By governing with tolerance and wisdom, the Persians establish a well-ordered empire that lasts for 200 years.

 

The Rise of Persia

 

The Persian Homeland

  • Persia (ancient Iran) has fertile land and minerals
  • Medes and Persians rise to power there

 

Cyrus the Great Founds an Empire

  • Starting in 550 B.C., Persian king Cyrus conquers neighboring lands
  • Governs with tolerance toward conquered peoples
  • Honors local customs, including religious ones
  • Allows Jews to return to Israel and rebuild temple of Jerusalem

 

Persian Rule

 

Cambyses and Darius

  • Cyrus’s son, Cambyses, conquers Egypt but rules unwisely
  • Dariusseizes control, establishes stability; expands empire to India

 

Provinces and Satraps

  • Darius divides empire into 20 areas of local administration
  • Appointssatraps—governors—to rule each area
  • Builds Royal Road to make communication within empire easier
  • Issues coins that can be used throughout empire

 

The Persian Legacy

 

Zoroaster

  • Persian thinker called Zoroaster develops new religion

 

Zoroaster’s Teachings

  • Life is a battleground between good and evil
  • One god will judge us by how well we fight for good
  • Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

 

Political Order

  • Through tolerance and good government, Persians bring political order
  • Preserve earlier cultures, find new ways to live and rule

 

Section 4: The Unification of China

The social disorder of the warring states contributes to the development of three Chinese ethical systems.

 

Confucius and the Social Order

 

Zhou Dynasty

  • Lasted 1027 to 256 B.C.; ancient values decline near end of dynasty

 

Confucius Urges Harmony

  • End of Zhou Dynasty is time of disorder
  • Scholar Confucius wants to restore order, harmony, good government
  • Stresses developing good relationships, including family
  • Promotesfilial piety—respect for parents and ancestors
  • Hopes to reform society by promoting good government

 

Confucian Ideas About Government

  • Thinks education can transform people
  • Teachings become foundation forbureaucracy, a trained civil service
  • Confucianismis an ethical system of right and wrong, not a religion
  • Chinese government and social order is based on Confucianism

 

Other Ethical Systems

 

Daoists Seek Harmony

  • Laoziteaches that people should follow the natural order of life
  • Believes that universal force called Dao guides all things
  • Daoismphilosophy is to understand nature and be free of desire
  • Daoists influence sciences of alchemy, astronomy, medicine

 

Legalists Urge Harsh Rule

  • Legalismemphasizes the use of law to restore order; stifles criticism
  • Teaches that obedience should be rewarded, disobedience punished

 

I Ching and Yin and Yang

  • I Ching (The Book of Changes) offers good advice, common sense
  • Concept ofyin and yang.two powers represent rhythm of universe
  • Yin: cold, dark, soft, mysterious; yang: warm, bright, hard, clear
  • I Ching and yin and yang explain how people fit into the world

 

The Qin Dynasty Unifies China

 

The Qin Dynasty

  • Qin Dynasty replaces Zhou Dynasty in third century B.C.

 

A New Emperor Takes Control

  • Emperor Shi Huangdi unifies China, ends fighting, conquers new lands
  • Creates 36 administrative districts controlled by Qin officials
  • With Legalist prime minister, murders Confucian scholars, burns books
  • Establishes anautocracy, a government with unlimited power

 

A Program of Centralization

  • Shi Huangdi builds highways, irrigation projects; increases trade
  • Sets standards for writing, law, currency, and weights and measures
  • Harsh rule includes high taxes and repressive government

 

Great Wall of China

  • Emperor forces peasants to build Great Wall to keep out invaders

 

The Fall of the Qin

  • Shi Huangdi’s son loses throne to rebel leader; Han Dynasty begin