Discussion #1-Comparing ancient civilizations.

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November 8, 2019
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November 8, 2019

Discussion #1-Comparing ancient civilizations.

Few events can rival the significance of the rise of the first complex societies, and seldom in history has a society been as influential as the Mesopotamians.  The Sumerians were just the first in a series of brilliant cultures in southwest Asia, an area enriched by successive migrations. The ancient Hebrews also originated in this region of the ancient Middle East,  while another great first civilization emerged in northern Africa, Egypt the “Gift of the Nile.”   Both the Mesopotamians and Egyptian civilizations are often referred to as cradles of civilization. Each successive civilization made significant contributions to the world, but did any one group contribute more?

In order to prepare for this discussion you must first complete the following readings.

· Read Chapter 1, focusing on the sections that are relevant to the statements that you are being asked to discuss for each question, specifically the  Comparative Essay From Hunter-Gatherers and Herders to Farmers on page 8 if you to discuss Question 1

· Read The Code of Hammurabi on page 13 if you choose to discuss Question 6.

· Read Opposing Viewpoints on page 27, if you choose to respond to Question 7.

After you have completed your readings, respond to only ONE of the following questions, and post your response. Choose 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7.

1. Discuss the role played by agriculture in the emergence of civilization, and identify at least one characteristic that was essential to the emergence of the first civilizations.

2. Examine the similarities and differences among the polytheistic and monotheistic religious beliefs and practices of the peoples of the early Middle East.

3. Discuss the importance of writing in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Show how it contributed to our knowledge of early Egyptian civilization but also point out its unique features.

4. Discuss if you support or reject the following statement: “The ancient Hebrews were the most important peoples of the ancient Middle East”.

5. Discuss if you support or reject the following statement: ” Both the Mesopotamians and Egyptian civilizations are often referred to as cradles of civilization. Each one made significant contributions to the world, but was the Egyptian civilization in fact original?

6. What are social and legal principles on which Hammurabi’s Code is based?  Who does the code focus on,  and why do you think it sees these people or aspects of society as crucial for maintaining order?

7. What do these two documents reveal about the different ways conquerors from Assyrian and Persia treated the people they conquered? How do you account for the differences? Is violence ever an effective strategy?

 

Discussion #2:  Which Chinese Dynasty…? Which philosophy…?

Humans have resided in east Asia since at least two thousand years ago.  Rice was cultivated around 7000 BCE and societies were established in the Yellow River valley at approximately 5000 BCE. Each of these early dynasties saw the rise of distinctive societies, gradually moving toward the establishment of a remarkably sophisticated political and social structures.  

In order to prepare for this discussion you must first complete the following readings.  

· Read the relevant sections of Chapter 3 that address the topics to be discussed.

· Read the following Primary Source Documents: The Anaclets  (Link).  In the textbook- Primary Sources (Boxed Documents): “The Wit and Wisdom of Confucius” on pg 66-67, and  “The Daoist answer to Confucianism” pg. 70.

After you have completed your readings, respond to only ONE of the following questions, and post your response. Choose 1, 2, 3, or 4.

1. Review each of the Chinese dynasties discussed in this chapter, identifying one which will be the focus of your discussion .  In your opinion, which one made the most significant contributions to the development of China?  Choose ONE dynasty and support your position.

2. What are the most important elements of Confucian thought as seen in this selection? How do Confucius’s teachings fit in with Chinese beliefs we have already examined? Do his views on the family reflect the rest of his thought?

3. Read Opposing Viewpoints: A Debate on Good and Evil, on pg 68.   In your opinion, which of the arguments proposed by one these Confucian thinkers advance to support his point of view about the essential elements of human nature (is more persuasive).  Explain why.

In order to earn the full credit points for this assignment, students must discuss at least one question, and must respond to a fellow student’s posting:

· Directly and completely respond to the question that you select. Clearly and accurately explain your answer based on factual information contained in the readings. Make sure that all statements are supported with facts from the readings. (80 points)

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