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A summarised history of the Middle East

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lucyib View Drop Down
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  Quote lucyib Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A summarised history of the Middle East
    Posted: 22-Jan-2011 at 18:14
I am looking for some expert advice on a documentary narration I am writing for a school resource pack. It must condense human history in the Middle East from the beginning of time til the modern period into 5-6 minutes! (Modern history - including nationalism and colonialism - will be covered separately) It will definitely not be able to cover everything but I would like to know:
1) whether there are any obvious and important gaps, and
2) if it is misleading or creates misconceptions.
It can't be much longer that it already is and must use language and concepts which will be understood by 11-15 year olds.

The History of the Middle East

The Middle East is an ancient land – modern humans probably crossed from Africa into what is now Yemen 70,000 years ago. There is evidence across the Middle East of human settlement from this time onwards. And it was from here that the human race initially spread out to populate Asia, Europe, Australia, the Americas and, much more recently, New Zealand.


For thousands of years people lived a nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place and not living in permanent houses. Until recently, there were still many nomadic people in the Middle East, particularly in the deserts to the south.


Around 12,000 years ago, humans first began to take control of their environment and the earliest evidence of farming has been found by archaeologists in the river valleys east of the Mediterranean. 6000 years later the wheel, the plough and irrigation were invented making larger scale farming possible.


Farmers were now able to produce more food than they could eat, which meant others no longer had to produce their own food – they were able to specialise in one job and exchange their work for food. People had time to perfect their skills – they created great works of art and beautiful gardens.


In order to farm, people needed to live in one place rather than moving around. 5,500 years ago, the earliest cities in the world were founded - in Mesopotamia, now Iraq. Evidence of the first writing was also appears around this time – called cuneiform. Great civilizations developed in the Middle East – like the city-states of Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Egyptians, the Achaemenids in Persia and the sea-faring Phoenicians.


As civilizations grew, people wanted products that were not available in their own lands, such as exotic spices, silks, metals, and animals.  Products were first traded within the community, or with individuals from neighbouring communities. However, complex long distance trading routes soon developed. Specialized traders known as merchants organized caravans that covered distances of thousands of miles, bringing the products of one society to trade them for products from another society. The Phoenicians controlled much of the southern coast of the Mediterranean by creating colonies, or towns, through which they traded. They brought with them their alphabet from which most of today's alphabets are derived.


The Greeks also created trading colonies around the Mediterranean – many of these in the Middle East. After Alexander the Great conquered much of the north of the Middle East, Greek culture became influential in these regions and the Greek language became the language of trade. Much like the dominance of American culture today, the Greeks did not rule over the Middle East, instead local people adapted Greek culture and mixed it with their own traditions.


Later, the Roman Empire invaded and controlled areas in the west but many people in the Middle East remained free of Roman occupation. The Jews of Judea resisted occupation and it is believed that many were forced to leave their country. Christianity became the official religion of Rome in the 4th century and other religions became less tolerated. Under the enforced peace of Rome, trade expanded and... between peoples and the use of a common Greek language meant that ideas could be shared – great advances were made in philosophical, medical, mathematical and scientific knowledge. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, this knowledge was lost to Europe, until the invasions by the Crusaders in the 11th century. In the Middle East, however, people continued to expand on this knowledge.


In the 7th century, Islam was founded in what is now Saudi Arabia. Arabs, who lived mostly in the south and as far north as Petra in Jordan, moved north. In a little over a century they conquered or converted a vast region which became a series of Muslim empires. Many in these empires were Christian and Jewish and often continued to practice their religion. Persia, modern day Iran, converted slowly from Zoroastrianism to Islam over 400 years. Islam united a large area of the world and Arabic became the common language. Some, like the Persians of Iran and the Kurds, retained their identity and language. Many people, Muslims, Christians and Jews, came to consider themselves Arabs.


With Muslim unity and a common language, came great advances in Science, technology and the Arts. Thousands of universities, hospitals, and libraries were established. Following trade routes, such as the Silk Road, people and ideas from Asia, Africa and Europe came together in the Middle East.  This Golden Age ended after a series of attacks from Asia and Europe, and a change in trade routes which bypassed the Middle East.


Most of the Middle East was dominated by the Ottoman Empire and successive empires in Persia until the 20th century.

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medenaywe View Drop Down
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2011 at 10:54
A ²+B ²=C ² in mathematics is right only for right angle triangle!!!Middle East needs math that will have to be invented,to be explained right!!!Summation is insufficient.
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