The first mature civilizations of the ancient world, Mesopotamia and Egypt, arose in the Tigris-Euphrates and Nile valleys, respectively. Both were dependent on neighboring river systems, but Mesopotamian civilization and Egyptian civilization differed in significant ways. By 1000 B.C.E., both of these formative civilizations had begun to decline, but they still influenced the development of other smaller civilizations in the Mediterranean littoral.
In this unit, we will examine the emergence of societies in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean and explore how social patterns and political conflicts shaped their evolution. When examining Mesopotamia, we will focus primarily on the emergence of Sumerian society and the Babylonian Empire, while we will focus on the three most important phases of ancient Egypt—the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. We will also discuss the Minoan civilization in the Mediterranean.