Summary: The Ancient Near East is the first volume of Harcourt Brace's new three-volume series on ancient civilizations. Written for the student of history and the general reader, this study of the civilization of the ancient Near East brings together the findings of historians, anthropologists, linguists, geographers, art historians, scientists, and other specialists. It begins with an examination of prehistory, and then focuses on social and cultural themes while broadly ou ...show moretlining Near Eastern political and military developments. The book is intended to be thought-provoking and does not shy away from controversial issues and topics. Volume Two on the Ancient Greeks and Volume Three on the Ancient Romans will follow in 1998.
This study serves as a volume of the Harcourt Brace Ancient Civilizations Series, providing a comprehensive overview of the Near Eastern and Greco-Roman worlds. Advanced societies flourished in the Near East long before the emergence of Greece and Rome. Although gaps and uncertainties remain, archaeological discoveries continue to illuminate the fascinating Near East of preclassical antiquity. The transition from hunting and gathering to farming took place in the region. The inhabitants of the ancient Near East developed the earliest known cities, monumental architecture, metalworking, writing systems, wheeled vehicles, kingdoms, and empires. Civilizations arose almost simultaneously in Mesopotamia and Egypt, with important later achievements taking place in Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, and Persia. The peoples of the ancient Near East developed skills and techniques that nourished the classical Greek culture and strongly color modern ways of life. They produced literature and ideas now embedded in great religions, thus contributing to contemporary beliefs. Four influential religions--Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam--emerged in the Near East. The initial two are explored in these pages, while Christianity is examined in "Ancient Rome," the concluding volume of the series. Our debt to the brilliant civilizations of the Near East is undeniable.
Written for the student of history and the general reader, this book brings together the findings of historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists, geographers, art historians, scientists, and other specialists. We begin with an examination of prehistory, the long span before the invention of writing, with evidence based on the material remains left by early inhabitants. Warranting more than cursory analysis, the prehistoric world witnessed many crucial developments in the shaping of humanity. Later chapters focus on social and cultural themes while broadly outlining Near Eastern political and military developments, as documented by textual sources and by artifacts and architecture. The book is intended to be thought-provoking and does not shy away from controversial issues and topics. The aim throughout is to kindle the reader's interest in examining more specialized works, a number of which are listed in the bibliography.