Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

This weekend is a long weekend from school, but too many students pause to remember why...



Some resources for finding out more:

The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia
http://www.thekingcenter.org/

Stanford University
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
http://www.mlkday.gov/

Also, just a reminder that Dr. King was a Ph.D. graduate from Boston University.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Hittites

Civilizations of the Fertile Crescent:  The Hittites

The Hittites were a fierce and mysterious people who lived in the central and eastern part of Anatolia, in the modern country of Turkey. The Hittites created a strong and important empire in the years between 1900 B.C. and 1100 B.C. (3,000 - 4,000 years ago), often battling or trading with the Egyptians, competing with the pharaoh Ramses the Great for domination over Palestine and the area of today's Syria.

The Hittites had their capital city at Hattusa, and were known in the ancient world for their skill in smelting and metal working, particularly using bronze and iron to make weapons.



Some great sources on the Hittites:

Wikipedia Entry
The British Museum
Archaeological Site of Hattusa














The Persians

Civilizations of the Fertile Crescent:  The Persians

The Persians lived in what is today called Iran. They built the largest land empire of the ancient world, and had a great capital city at Persepolis before its destruction by Alexander the Great. Some people know the Persians as the enemy in the movie 300, but there is so much more. The Persians' most famous leaders were Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, and Xerxes. At one time, the Persians took over the land of Egypt, and at another challenged the Greeks for domination of the lands east of the Mediterranean.


Sources of information on the Persians:
Wikipedia Entry
History for Kids: Persia






Click here for the BrainPop on the Silk Road (which went through Persia)


The Babylonians

Civilizations of the Fertile Crescent:  The Babylonians

Based in the ancient city-state of Babylon, the Babylonian empire stretched across the entire region of Mesopotamia and beyond at its height, around the year 1770 B.C. under its most famous ruler, Hammurabi. Hammurabi is most known for being a conqueror and a law-giver.

The Code of Hammurabi set out the concept of a punishment fitting the crime. He had his laws carved into stone and set in the center of the towns he ruled, so that all would know the laws. The thinking behind Hammurabi's laws can be summed up in the phrase, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This means that if a man injures another by putting out his eye, then that man's eye will be put out as punishment.

The laws were more symbolic since most people in those days were unable to read and write, but Hammurabi created the concept of the rule of law, and the idea of fairness in the justice system.

The interesting thing about the Babylonian Empire was that it existed for a period around 1770 B.C, and declined, but returned again around 600 B.C. as the "New" Babylonian Empire under King Nebuchadnezzar.









Click here for the Brainpop: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World






Some useful sources for information about the Babylonians:

LookLex: Babylonia
Babylonian Numbering System
Wikipedia Entry

The Assyrians

Civilizations of the Fertile Crescent: The Assyrians


The Assyrians began their civilization in the ancient city-state of Assur over 3,000 years ago, and came to dominate the area of upper Mesopotamia that includes parts of modern day Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The Assyrians were known by the Egyptians for being a fierce warrior race who knew nothing but bloodshed and destruction. Recent archaeology has shown that unlike the image in the Egyptians' propaganda, the Assyrians were actually an advanced civilization who excelled in the arts and the science of astronomy and mathematics.

The Assyrians were rivals of the Babylonians and the Egyptians, and produced strong kings with names like Shamshi-Adad and Tiglath Pileser I. Like the Babylonians, the Assyrians were powerful for a time, then declined, then returned as the "New" Assyrian Empire later. The modern country of Syria traces its name back to the ancient Assyrians.



Here are a few sources on the Assyrians:
New York Metropolitan Museum of Art
History for Kids: Assyrians
About.com: Assyria
Wikipedia Entry
All Empires: Assyrians

The Phoenicians

Civilizations of the Fertile Crescent:  The Phoenicians

The Phoenicians were known as the greatest sea traders on the Mediterranean, and left their legacy by creating the alphabet we still use today (with a few changes). From their bases in what is today Lebanon, the Phoenicians traveled the entire length of the Mediterranean, setting up far away colonies in places like Spain and North Africa. Their colony of Carthage actually challenges the powerful Roman Republic for dominance of the region in the third and fourth centuries B.C.

The Phoenicians built much of their wealth on selling a very special purple dye made from the shell of the murex, a snail-like creature. This dye was so valuable that in ancient Rome, only the emperor was allowed to wear all purple, and the noble families of Rome marked their togas with a purple stripe.


Sources for information about the Phoenicians:


Wikipedia Entry (a good starting point)
Ancient History Encyclopedia: Phoenicia
History World: Phoenicians
History for Kids: Phoenicians
http://www.phoenician.org/