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Homework for Wednesday March 4

March 2, 2015

Tonight will be your first chance in the course to read the historian, Herodotus. He is the great Ancient Greek historian, often referred to as the “Father of History” because he was among the first people to organize materials and present history in the “modern” sense. He wrote during the 5th Century B.C.E. and is best known for his work “The Histories”. Later in the semester we will read that account of the Persian Wars. For now he will introduce us to the great city of Babylon. While these are not strictly primary sources in that they are not first-hand accounts or original documents, Herodotus does give us as contemporary an account as is possible of how Babylon would have looked and what its customs were. He is writing in 440 B.C.E. Cyrus’ sacking of Babylon that Herodotus refers to occurred about 100 years earlier in 539 B.C.E.

For tonight  please read “On Babylon” Part I pasted below. Do the following:

  1. Take good notes which allow you at the end to answer the next few questions.
  2. What do you think Babylon looked like visually? Create a drawing which depicts the Babylon that Herodotus describes. Include as much detail as possible, including street grids, gates, bodies of water, important buildings, and the surrounding geography. Your picture should include the work done by Nitocris
  3. What was the purpose of Nitocris’ engineering feats? Why was she so keen to reroute the Euphrates and drain it?
  4. What do you make of the Nitocris tomb story?

I have also pasted below a document which gives the measurement conversions so that you can get an idea of how big and heavy some of the items are that he describes.

Herodotus On Babylon Part I

Measurements for items in On Babylon

Homework for Monday, March 2

February 27, 2015

Read the attached file and be able to do the following:

1. Put into chronological order the kings and empires mentioned. You should keep a running list as you read with the important dates.

2. Define the bold-faced terms

3. Be able to answer these questions:

a. How did the Assyrian conquerors assert control over their territorial possessions?
b. What important contribution did Ashurbanipal make to the preservation of history?
c. To what does Roberts attribute Assyrian success? To what does he attribute their downfall?
d. What achievements both good and not was Nebuchadnezzar best known for?
e. Why does Roberts call Egypt “a Bronze Age anachronism”?
f. Under Cyrus, how did the Persians maintain control over their territories?
g. To what does Roberts attribute Persian (and Cyrus’) success?

The Assyrians and The Persians Roberts

Homework for Thursday, February 26

February 24, 2015

Please finish the reading we started in class. It is attached below. Please write down your answers to the following questions and be ready to share them in class.

  1. Around 1000 BC what factor contributed to the downfall of the Hittites?
  2. Who do these “sea peoples” seem to be and what role do they play in the political history of the ANE?
  3. What were the two main differences between the religion of the Hebrews and the religious traditions of other Mesopotamians?
  4. What factors account for the rise of monotheism?
  5. What appears to have caused the ascendancy of the Hebrew kingdom around 1000 BC?
  6. What is the chronological order of the Jewish leaders, beginning with Abraham and finishing with Solomon.


Homework for Tuesday, February 24

February 23, 2015

Please read the section “The Hittites and The Kassites” and answer the following questions:

1. What was the important change brought to Mesopotamia by the Kassite dynasty?

2. What was the importance of corvee labor?

3. What was it about Babylonia’s geographical position that enabled it to flourish during this period?

4. To what does Leick attribute the professionalization of cultural pursuits like literature, astronomy, and medicine?

Mesopotamian History

Homework for Monday, February 23rd

February 19, 2015

I hope you feel you did well on the test and that there were no surprises. Tonight we continue our look at Mesopotamia by digging into a document that an earlier reading referenced: Hammurabi’s Code.

Attached below you will find Hammurabi’s Code. Read the Code then answer in written form the questions below. Bullet points are fine.

1. What themes of royal power and Babylonian cosmogony are evident in the Prologue?

2. One important legal concept is  judicial principle or judicial precedent. Define the word “precedent” in the context of the law.

3. In these laws, Hammurabi set forth several legal principles and precedents that are still in use today. Find as many as you can and cite specific law(s) in the Code which are examples of them.

4. As with any primary resource, we can analyze Hammurabi’s Code to determine characteristics of everyday Babylonian life. Find as many as you can and cite specific law(s) in the Code which are examples of them.

Hammurabi’s Code


Homework for Tuesday, February 17th

February 15, 2015


I am moving the test to Thursday.

Note Brooks B – Please let me know by email ( when you can make up the in-class writing on Tuesday.


I hope that you are enjoying your long week-end and that you will arrive refreshed and ready to go on Tuesday for a good week of class. For our next meeting I would like you to put together your thoughts in preparation for our first unit test on Wednesday. We will spend Tuesday reviewing and talking also about the last reading I had you do.

For test review I would like you to consider the class up to this point using the following diagram:



I would propose that what we have done to this point can be broken down into a series of diagrams that look like this one. For homework I would like you to diagram the first four weeks of the class. To get you started I would offer these three big themes that could occupy the top  of each of your diagrams. Feel free to make additional diagrams if you want. Also realize that certain facts and sub-themes could repeat themselves.


1. Urbanization and the emergence of civilization

2. Babylonian cosmogony

3. Sumerian political history

In class you will share with each other your work. To be a good classmate it is imperative that you bring quality work to the effort. Don’t be a slacker and sponge off of others!!!



Homework for Wednesday, February 11

February 10, 2015

I hope you enjoyed today’s in-class writing assignment. I am looking forward to reading what you came up with.

Tonight I ask you to complete the last reading assignment before your test next week. Please read the section of the reading packet, “Rise of the Amorites”. For your written work I have something different. Rather than answering questions, I want you to ask them. Please develop four or five reading questions which would best get a reader to zero in on the most important points made in the reading.


Mesopotamian History


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