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Unit 2 Fertile/Coastal Crescent Part 3: Chapter 7 – Military Empires

Why Its Important (p. 117)

  1. While the Phoenicians and Hebrews were developing their civilizations, powerful kingdoms rose and fell in Mesopotamia.

  2. The Assyrians, the Chaldeans, and the Persians were not content to stay where their civilization began.

  3. Rulers raised large armies and expanded into neighboring lands.

  4. They developed new ways of organizing empiresterritories governed by a single ruler or nation.

  5. Through conquest and trade, these three empire-builders spread their ideas and customs over a wide area.

Section 1: The Assyrians (p. 117-120)

Lesson Essential Question 1 - How did the Assyrians establish and maintain an empire in Mesopotamia?

  1. Who were the Assyrians? The Assyrians were a people who rose to power in Mesopotamia. The Assyrians’ country, Assyria, lay in the upper part of the Tigris River valley.

  2. According to experts, how was the Assyrian liking for war influenced by geography? Assyria’s hills and valleys did not provide protection against invaders. The Assyrians had to learn to fight to survive.

The Assyrian Army (p. 118)

  1. Describe the Assyrian army.

  1. The Assyrian army was well-organized.

  2. It was divided into groups of foot soldiers armed with shields, helmets, spears, and daggers.

  3. It also had units of charioteers, cavalry, and archers.

  1. When did the Assyrians fight?

  1. At first, the Assyrians fought only during the summer when they did not have to worry about their crops.

  2. Later, as they took over more land, soldiering became a year-round job.

  1. What were Assyrian weapons made of? iron

  2. How did their weapons make them powerful? Iron weapons are harder and stronger than weapons made of copper or tin.

  3. What is smelting? Smelting is the process used to make iron weapons. They heated up iron ore and hammered out the impurities, and rapidly cooled it.

  4. What made the Assyrians cruel and feared?

  1. Their armies spread death and destruction throughout the Middle East.

  2. They were especially skilled in attacking cities.

  3. The Assyrians tunneled under walls or climbed over them on ladders.

  4. They used beams mounted on movable platforms to ram holes through city gates.

  5. They set fire to buildings and carried away citizens and goods.

  6. Anyone who resisted was punished.

  7. Those who did not resist had to pay heavy taxes.

  8. The Assyrians also could conquer without fighting.

  9. They spread stories of the cruelty and people would be so frightened, they would just surrender.

Kings and Government (p. 119-120)

  1. Assyria’s kings were stong leaders. They had to be to rule an empire that stretched from the Persian Gulf in the east to the Nile valley in the west.

  2. What made the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal great? He started one of the world’s first libraries. It held over 25,000 tablets of hymns, stories, and biographies.

  3. How did Assyrian kings rule over such a large area?

To rule over such a large area, the Assyrians divided their empire into provinces, or political districts. They then chose officials to govern each province. The officials collected taxes and made sure the king’s laws were obeyed.

All provinces were connected by a system of roads. Over the roads moved the trade of the empire. Government soldiers were posted at stations along the roads to protect from bandits. Messengers on government business used the stations to rest and change horses.

  1. What happened to the Assyrian empire?

  1. The empire became too large to govern.

  2. After Ashurbanipal died, various conquered peoples worked to end Assyrian rule.

  3. One group was the Chaldeans.

  4. In 612 B. C., the Chaldeans captured Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, and the Assyrian Empire fell soon after.

Section 2: The Chaldeans (p. 120 – 123)

Lesson Essential Question 2 - How did the city of Babylon grow and change over time?

  1. Who were the Chaldeans? The Chaldeans were warriors who conquered many different peoples.

  2. What happened to the Chaldeans under king Nebuchadnezzar? They extended the Chaldean Empire’s boundaries as far west as Syria and Palestine.

  3. Describe Babylon under king Nebuchadnezzar?

  1. Babylon was the world’s richest city up to that time.

  2. It had its own police force and postal system.

  3. Huge brick walls circled the city.

  4. The walls were so wide that two chariots could pass on the road on top.

  5. Archers guarded the approaches to the city from towers built into the walls.

  6. In the center of the city stood palaces and temples.

  7. A huge ziggurat was in the center of the city.

  8. The ziggurat had a gold roof that could be seen for miles when the sun shone on it.

  1. Describe the “hanging gardens.”

  1. These were layered beds of earth planted large trees and masses o flowering vines and shrubs.

  2. The seemed to hang in mid-air.

  3. Nebuchadnezzar had them built to please his wife, who missed the mountains and plants of her native land.

  1. What happened outside of Babylon?

  1. Houses and marketplaces stood.

  2. There, artisans made pottery, cloth, and baskets.

  3. These goods were sold to passing caravans.

Lesson Essential Question 3 - What did Chaldean astronomers contribute to science?

  1. Define astronomerAstronomers are people who collect, study, and explain facts about heavenly bodies.

  2. What did Chaldean astronomers contribute to science?

1. Chaldean astronomers studied the stars, planets, and moon. Once

they knew the movement of heavenly bodies, they made maps to show

the positions of the planets and phases of the moon.

2. Chaldean astronomers made on of the first sundial.

3. They also were the first to have a seven-day week.

  1. What happened in 539 B. C.?

1. In 539 B. C., Persians from the mountains to the

northeast captured Babylon.

2. Mesopotamia became another part of the

Persian Empire.

The Persians (p. 122-126)

Lesson Essential Question 4 - How did the Persians conquer and rule an empire that stretched from Egypt to India?

  1. Where did the Persians finally settle? The Persians settled on the high plain between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea.

  2. What is Persia called today? Today it is called Iran, or “land of the Aryans.”

  3. How did the Persians live for over 1,000 years? They lived peacefully and were farmers.

Army and Empire (p. 123-124)

  1. Who was Cyrus and what did he do?

  1. Cyrus helped overthrow the Medes.

  2. Cyrus then organized an army to conquer new territory.

  1. Describe the Persian army.

  1. The army grew until it reached in the hundreds of thousands.

  2. Its officers were Persians, while its soldiers were either Persians or conquered peoples.

  1. Who were the Immortals?

The best fighters in the Persian army were the Immortals. They earned this name because their number never fell below 10,000. When an Immortal became sick, was wounded, or died, another soldier took his place. The Immortals had the honor of leading the Persians into battle.

  1. How large did the Persian Empire grow?

Within a short time, the Persian ruled an empire that stretched from Egypt to India.

  1. How did the Persians treat those they conquered?

The Persians were mild rulers. They allowed their subjects to keep their own language, religion, and laws. The Persians believed loyalty could be won more easily with fairness than with fear or force. They wanted their subjects to pay taxes and to produce goods for trade. They felt these things would not be done if those under their rule were treated badly.

Government Officials (p. 124)

  1. Who did kings have help them run their empire?

1. The king chose a governor, a secretary and a general for each of

the 20 provinces in the empire. These officials

collected taxes. They also settled

quarrels and protected the people from bandits. Each reported directly to the king. This helped keep them honest.

2. Another group of officials was the inspectors. Called

“the Eyes and Ears of the King” they traveled throughout the empire.

They decided whether people were able to pay their

taxes. They also check on rumors of possible


3. The last group of officials was the judges. They made sure that the

king’s laws were carried out properly.

Trade (p. 125)

  1. Why did the Persians refuse to become traders? What did they encourage? They though they should be warriors, farmers, or shepherds. They believed that trade forced people to lie, steal, cheat, and be greedy. They encouraged those they conquered to trade.

  2. How did the Persians expand and improve trade?

  1. The Persians improved and expanded the system of roads begun by the Assyrians.

  2. The Persians also opened a caravan route to China.

  3. The Persians spread the idea of using coins for money.

  4. Coins helped increase trade.

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