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First Civilizations

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First Civilizations is the second edition of a popular student text first published in 1996 in Montreal by Les Editions Champ Fleury. This much updated and expanded edition provides an introductory overview of the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. It was conceived primarily for students who have little or no knowledge of ancient history or archaeology.

The book begins with the role of history and archaeology in understanding the past, and continues with the origins of agriculture and the formation of the Sumerian city-states in Mesopotamia. Three subsequent chapters concentrate on Assyrian and Babylonian history and culture. The second half of the book focuses on Egypt, begining with the physical environment of the Nile, the formation of the Egyptian state and the Old Kingdom. Subsequent chapters discuss the Middle Kingdom, the Hyksos period,and the 18th Dynasty, with space devoted to Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, the Ramesside period. The text ends with the Persian conquest of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

First Civilizations also contains sections on astronomy, medicine, architecture, eschatology, religion, burial practices and mummification, and discusses the myths of Gilgamesh, Isis and Osiris. Each chapter has a basic bibliography which emphasizes English language encyclopedias, books and journals specializing in the ancient Near East.

Published: Jan 1, 2005

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Preface Robert Chadwick
Acknowledgments Robert Chadwick
List of Illustrations Robert Chadwick
Part I: Introduction
1 History and archaeology as tools for understanding the past Robert Chadwick
2 Agriculture and the origins of civilization Robert Chadwick
Part II: Mesopotamia
3 The Early Dynastic period and the formation of the first city-states Robert Chadwick
4 The Akkadians and the Ur III Dynasty Robert Chadwick
5 Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC: the Babylonians and the Kassites (2000–1600 BC) Robert Chadwick
6 The Assyrians Robert Chadwick
7 The Last Babylonian Dynasty Robert Chadwick
Part III: Religion, science, and medicine
8 Mythology and religion in Mesopotamia: the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu Robert Chadwick
9 Science and technology: astronomy and medicine in Mesopotamia and Egypt Robert Chadwick
Part IV: Egypt
10 Egypt: the Black Land Robert Chadwick
11 The Old Kingdom or the Pyramid Age (2575–2134 BC) Robert Chadwick
12 Funerary practices, rituals, and mummification Robert Chadwick
13 The Hyksos period and the New Kingdom Robert Chadwick
14 Akhenaten and the Amarna period Robert Chadwick
15 The 19th Dynasty and the Ramesside kings Robert Chadwick
16 Egypt in the late second and first millenniums BC Robert Chadwick
Part V: Mesopotamia and Egypt under Persian rule
17 The Persians Robert Chadwick
Epilogue: The twilight of the first civilizations Robert Chadwick
Plate Section
Colour Plates Robert Chadwick
End Matter
Notes Robert Chadwick
Bibliography Robert Chadwick
Index Robert Chadwick

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The author is successful in his goal to provide an in-depth coverage of Ancient Near Eastern history for the beginning student....Chadwick skillfully brings to life the long-forgotten details of these two great civilizations.

Near Eastern Archaeology Society Bulletin

Chadwick's writing is lucid and flowing and, with such a profusion of illustrative material, the reader's attention is easily commanded. ...This is an excellent publication available at a modest price and I would encourage everyone to purchase a copy.

Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies Journal