world civilization

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M01: Discussion (1)

A. Read “The Significance of the Nile River and the Pharaoh” (textbook page 16). How important was the development of agriculture to the formation of complex societies like ancient Egypt? What do the readings tell us about the ways in which civilizations are shaped by their natural environments? The Egyptians had a very different view of the gods and the afterlife than the peoples of Mesopotamia. Based on your reading of the text, why do you think that was and what role was played by the respective environments of each culture (hint: the nature of the Nile versus the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers).

B.. Read “The Assyrian Military Machine“. What fate awaited the inhabitants of a city like Jerusalem or Babylon who resisted Assyrian rule? Despite their dangers, why have people throughout history chosen to live in cities anyway? What other factors, besides military conquest, might have contributed to the decline of an ancient civilization?


M02: Discussion (2)

A. Read “The Origins of Kingship“. According to the Mahabharata, why did kingship become necessary? What differences and similarities do you see between this description of kingship and the portrayal of Egyptian kingship in “Hymn to the Pharaoh” from Module One? What, do you think, was the author’s purpose in telling the story?

B. Read “The Position of Women in Ancient India” (page 43). Compare the position of women in India with those in Mesopotamia and Egypt. What does the Law of Manu reveal about the relations and responsibilities of fathers towards their daughters and husbands toward their wives? Are there caste or class differences in the treatment of women in ancient India?

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