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Ancient Civilizations offers a comparative analysis of the field, including both old world and new civilizations, and explores the connections between all civilizations around the earth. The volume provides a jargon-free introduction to ancient civilizations from the first civilizations, and the great powers in the Near East, to the first Aegean civilizations, the Mediterranean world in the first millennium, Imperial Rome, northeast Africa, divine kings in southeast Asia, and empires in East Asia, as well as early states in the Americas and Andean civilization. For those interested in ancient civilizations.
A multi-volume encyclopedia with alphabetically arranged topics relating to ancient civilizations and the discovery of famous archaeological sites.
Part I: Background.
Chapter 1: The Study of Civilization
Chapter 2: Theories of States
Part II: The First Civilizations
Chapter 3: Mesopotamia: The First Cities (3500-2000 B.C.)
Chapter 4: Egyptian Civilization
Chapter 5: South Asia: Harappan and Later Civilizations
Chapter 6: The First Chinese Civilizations
Part III: Great Powers in the Near East
Chapter 7: Near Eastern Kingdoms (2000-1200 B.C.)
Chapter 8: The Near East in the First Millennium B.C.
Part IV: The Mediterranean World:
Chapter 9: The First Aegean Civilizations
Chapter 10: The Mediterranean World in the First Millennium (1000-30 B.C.)
Chapter 11: Imperial Rome
Part V: Northeast Africa and Asia
Chapter 12: Northeast Africa: Kush, Meroe, and Aksum:
Chapter 13: Divine Kings in Southeast Asia
Chapter 14: Kingdoms and Empires in East Asia (770 B.C.-A.D. 700)
Part VI: Early States in the Americas
Chapter 15: Lowland Mesoamerica
Chapter 16: Highland Mesoamerica
Chapter 17: The Foundations of Andean Civilization
Chapter 18: Andean States (200 B.C.-A.D. 1534)
Chapter 19: Epilogue
Ancient civilizations tempt romantic visions of the past: golden pharaohs, great cities and temple mounds, lost palaces mantled in swirling mists. The discovery of the Assyrians, Homeric Troy, and the Maya civilization of Central America was one of the nineteenth century's great adventure stories. Archaeologists like Englishman Austen Henry Layard, who dug biblical Nineveh, and New Yorker John Lloyd Stephens, who revealed the ancient Maya to an astonished world, became celebrities and best-selling authors. They and other early excavators are the prototypes of the swashbuckling Indiana Jones of late twentieth-century movie fame. The romance continued into the 1920s, culminating in Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon's dramatic discovery of the undisturbed tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun and Sir Leonard Woolley's spectacular excavation of the Royal Tombs at Ur in Iraq. Even today, the occasional spectacular find, like the terracotta regiment of the first Chinese emperor Qin Shihuangdi or the Lords of Sipán in coastal Peru, reminds us that archaeology can be a profoundly excitingendeavor.
The nineteenth century was the century of archaeological adventure. The twentieth saw archaeology turn from a casual pursuit into a complex, highly specialized academic discipline. Ancient Civilizations describes what we know about the world's early civilizations today, 150 years after John Lloyd Stephens and artist Frederick Catherwood stumbled through the ruins of Maya Copán and Paul-Emile Botta and Austen Henry Layard electrified London and Paris with spectacular basreliefs from Assyrian palaces. This book is about science and multidisciplinary research, not about adventure and romance, an attempt to summarize state-of-the-art knowledge about preindustrial civilizations in every corner of the world. We draw on many avenues of inquiry: on archaeological excavations, surveys, and laboratory work; on highly specialized scientific investigations into such topics as the sources of volcanic glass and metals; and on both historical and ethnohistorical records. In the final analysis, this book is a synthesis of science and ancient voices, for in many cases the latter add telling detail to a story reconstructed from purely material remains.
Ancient Civilizations is divided into six parts that lead logically from one to the other. Part I gives essential background, some key definitions, and historical information. It also describes some of the major theories concerning the development of civilizations, one of the key controversies of archaeology for more'than a century. Part 11 focuses on the very first civilizations: Sumer, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and the earliest Chinese states. Parts III and IV build on earlier foundations and trace later civilizations in the Near East and the Mediterranean. This book is unique in that it describes Classical Greek and Roman civilizations, whose roots lie much deeper in the past than many authorities would have one believe. Part V links the Mediterranean and Asian worlds with the discovery of the monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean about 2,000 years ago. Finally, the last four chapters, Part VI, describe the remarkable states of Mesoamerica and the Andean region of the Americas. An epilogue rounds off the narrative.
This book provides the reader with a straightforward narrative account of the ancient civilizations from their first appearance in the Near East some 5,000 years ago to the Spanish Conquest of Mexico and Peru in the early sixteenth century A.D. As such, it is written from a global perspective and without forcing it into a particular theoretical framework—this results both from the variability in the ancient societies themselves and from the diversity of the ways that they have been researched in recent decades. Chapter 2 summarizes major theoretical viewpoints and makes the point that the development of state-organized societies was a complex, multifaceted process, which took hold in many parts of the world. It also stresses that there were no overall principles or rules that governed this process. Rather, each civilization is a reflection of local conditions and of the distinctive worldview that shaped its institutions. Divine kingship is characteristic of Egyptian civilization, the Khmer, the Maya, and the Inka. But that does not mean that divine monarchy originated in one place and spread to all parts of the world thereafter. If there is a theoretical bias to this book, it is that each early civilization was a unique society, an attempt by human beings (as individuals and groups) who subsisted in very different environments to deal with problems of rising populations; increasingly cheek-by-jowl living conditions; and ever greater economic, political, and social complexity. We know that each instructor will use this book in a different way, each bringing his or her theoretical emphases to the narrative in these pages, so this approach seems appropriate.
We have elected to provide Guides to Further Reading at the end of each chapter rather than a comprehensive bibliography because the individual literatures for each area are now so complex that they are confusing, even for specialists. The works cited in the chapter-by-chapter guides will give readers access to the more specialized literature through widely quoted standard works and some guidance through a myriad of specialized monographs and periodical articles.
Inevitably, a book of this nature is a compromise, both in geographical coverage and in topics selected for more detailed discussion. We are also limited in our ability to illustrate the complex archaeological record of these societies. Perceptive readers will notice, for example, that we do not describe sub-Saharan African kingdoms in this book. Although they have sometime been described as "civilizations" or "states," they did not qualify for those terms until relatively recent centuries, so we made a conscious decision to omit them here. Readers who wish to delve into early African kingdoms should consult Graham Connah's admirable African Civilizations, Second Edition. By the same token, our coverage of many aspects of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization is inevitably sketchy, especially in the areas of religion, philosophical beliefs, and literature. The Guides to Further Reading refer the reader to works that cover these subjects in detail. Our primary concerns are to achieve balanced geographical coverage and to place the world's ancient civilizations in as broad an archaeological and historical context as possible. We believe that one can understand these societies only by seeking their roots deep in the past, by understanding their local environments, and by placing them in both an indigenous and a broader perspective. We hope we have succeeded.Highlights of the Second Edition
The second edition of Ancient Civilizations has been revised throughout to reflect the latest advances in the field, and it includes suggestions by both instructors and students who have taken the trouble to contact us after reading the first edition. There is new coverage throughout the book, specifically of new discoveries and the latest theoretical advances.Updating and Rewriting
Three types of in-text boxes enhance the book, designed to amplify the narrative:
The second edition's art program has been expanded with new photographs and fresh or revised line art. These illustrations provide additional background on recent discoveries, amplify the narrative, or replace older art with new pictures. Some expanded captions serve to integrate the illustrations more closely into the text.Complete Redesign
The entire book has been completely redesigned to make it more user-friendly.