Miguel Espinal Western civilizations 101 3-26-2013 Chapter 2-Peoples, Gods and Empires Assignment #2

1) The significance of the Egyptian civilization increasing its wealth and power during the Eighteenth Dynasty could be described as “The Golden Age” because: a) It was Egypt’s most prosperous time and marked the peak of its power. Possibly as a result of the foreign rule of the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom saw Egypt attempt to create a buffer between the Levant and Egypt. The New Kingdom felt compelled to expand far south into Nubia and hold wide territories in the Near East. Egyptian armies fought Hittite armies for control of modern-day Syria. b) This resulted in a peak in Egypt's power and wealth during the reign of Amenhotep III. Through a series of campaigns both in Syria-Palestine and in Nubia, Egypt's realm of influence went well beyond its borders, stretching from at least as far north as the city of Bybos and perhaps even beyond, down to the second cataract town of Buhen in the south. From this reign on, Egypt would become a military power that the neighboring states and kingdoms would need to reckon with. c) The spoils brought home from the many successful military campaigns and the tributes owed by the many conquered states increased Egypt’s wealth and prosperity, which was translated in a tremendous building activity: new temples were built; older ones were restored or enlarged. Especially favored were the god Amun and his great temple at Karnak, in the capital Thebes.

2) The religion ordered by Akhenaten was revolutionary, yet failed because: a) Akhenaten forced his religious reforms on his people. Egypt’s stability was briefly ruptured when the late 18th Dynasty king Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, changed the Egyptian religion and had most temples closed, favoring one new god, the solar-deity Aton. During this period of turmoil and upheaval, the so-called Amarna-revolution, Egypt lost a lot of its former influence in Asia and Nubia. Akhenaten is especially noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing worship centered on the Aten, which is sometimes described as monotheistic or henotheistic. An early inscription likens the Aten to the sun as compared to stars, and later official language avoids calling the Aten a god, giving the solar deity a status above mere gods. b) Akhenaten tried to bring about a departure from traditional religion, yet in the end it would not be accepted. Evidence suggests that though Akhenaten shifted funding away from traditional temples, his policies were fairly tolerant until some point, perhaps a particular event as yet unknown, toward the end of the reign. After his death, traditional religious practice was gradually restored, and when some dozen years later rulers without clear rights of succession from the Eighteenth Dynasty founded a new dynasty, they discredited Akhenaten and his immediate successors, referring to Akhenaten himself as “The Enemy" in archival records. 3) The international trade during the Bronze Age could be described as: Defining characteristics: 1. Copper and tin, metals needed to make Bronze, one of the most desired commodities of this era require long-distance trade to obtain them both. 2. The second defining feature of the late bronze age was it unprecedented degree of international trade and diplomatic exchange. Monarchs had to devote military and diplomatic resources to fostering

and protecting this trade, the foundation of much of their prosperity and power. This interaction produced commercial, technological, and cultural exchanges. Some of the major players include but are not limited to the following: a) The Civilization of the Nile: The Egyptian Empire over a period of 500 years after the end of the Middle Kingdom, Egyptians made use of new military technology to create a vast multiethnic empire. Combining military expansion with diplomacy and the encouragement of foreign trade, the pharaohs made Egypt a major international force. This linked Egypt to an emerging international network of commerce, technology, and diplomacy. b) The Kingdom of Babylonia: Under Kassite rule, Babylonia enjoyed a golden age as a center of trade, culture, and learning. Ruling fairly and generously gained Babylonia's kings loyalty and popularity, and the kingdom became especially renowned for its science, medicine, and literature. c) Minoan Crete: Becoming highly skilled navigators, the Minoans made Crete a thriving center of longdistance trade. Four major urban administrative centers controlled the Minoan economy, suggesting a highly centralized political authority. These centers gathered in agricultural produce and housed craftsmen and artists, providing the goods that fueled the Minoan merchants' extensive trade and producing the wealth that allowed the elites to live in great luxury. In conclusion, trade networks, an international diplomatic system, and cultural exchanges made the late Bronze Age the International Bronze Age. 4) The developments the Hebrews experienced during the time spent outside of the Hebrew Kingdom can be summarized with a few key points. a) The Babylonian captivity (or Babylonian exile) was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon.

b) According to the Hebrew Bible, there were three deportations of Jews to Babylon: the exile of King Jeconiah, his court and many others in Nebuchadnezzar's eighth year; Jeconiah's successor Zedekiah and the rest of the people in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year; and a later deportation in Nebuchadnezzar's twenty-third year. These are attributed to c. 597 BCE, c. 587 BCE, and c. 582 BCE, respectively. The forced exile ended in 538 BCE after the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great, who gave the Jews permission to return to Yehud province and to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. The captivity and subsequent return to Judea, and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem are considered significant events in Jewish history and culture, which had a far-reaching impact on the development of Judaism. In conclusion, the Babylonian Captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and the Jewish culture. For example, the current Hebrew script was adopted during this period, replacing the traditional Israelite script. This period saw the last high-point of Biblical prophecy in the person of Ezekiel, followed by the emergence of the central role of the Torah in Jewish life; according to many historical-critical scholars, it was edited and redacted during this time, and saw the beginning of the canonization of the Bible, which provided a central text for Jews. 5) The significance, Zoroastrianism, the Persian worship of Ahura-Mazda had on western civilization, and had suggestive influences with Christian and Jewish ideas by understanding its origins and beliefs, such as: Zoroastrianism emerged out of a common prehistoric Indo-Iranian religious system dating back to the early 2nd millennium BCE. According to Zoroastrian tradition, Zoroaster was a reformer who exalted the deity of Wisdom, Ahura Mazda, to the status of Supreme Being and Creator, while demoting various other deities and rejecting certain rituals. Most scholars believe that key concepts of Zoroastrian eschatology and demonology influenced the Abrahamic religions of the Jews. Where as basic doctrine

was that the world and all corporeal bodies were constructed from the substance of Satan, an idea that is fundamentally at odds with the Zoroastrian notion of a world that was created by God and that is all good, and any corruption of it is an effect of the bad, closely matching Christian beliefs. The adherents of the two religions (or at least their respective beliefs) despised each other intensely. In conclusion, the worship of Ahura-Mazda’s religious Ideals led to a formal religion bearing his name by about the 6th century BCE and has influenced other later religions including Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity and Islam.

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