The practice of farming, including the cultivation of the soil (for raising crops) and the raising of domesticated animals. Agriculture developed in the Middle East and Egypt at least 10,000 years ago.
In agriculture, artificial watering of the land. Early improvements for raising water included counterbalanced poles with attached water vessels, and adaptations of the wheel and of a pump called the Archimedes' screw.
Alcoholic fermentation is a process that was known to antiquity. Before 2000 B.C. the Egyptians apparently knew that crushed fruits stored in a warm place would produce a substance with a pleasant intoxicating power. By 1500 B.C. the production of beer from germinating cereals (malt) and the preparation of wines from crushed grapes were established arts in most of the Middle East.
Practically all existing alphabets are believed to be commonly descended from a Semitic alphabet used by the Syro-Palestinian Semitic peoples in the last centuries of the second millennium BC and during the first millennium.
Institution based on a relationship of dominance and submission, whereby one person owns another and can exact from that person labor or other services. The institution of slavery extends back beyond recorded history.
Evidence of the existence of empires dates back to the dawn of written history in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, where local rulers extended their realms by conquering other states and holding them, when possible, in a state of subjection.
[Greek,=the telling of stories], the entire body of myths in a given tradition, and the study of myths. Although there is no specific universal myth, there are many themes and motifs that recur in the myths of various cultures and ages.
In religious devotion or service, the practice of certain set formulas that either mark a particular important event in a person's life - such as birth rituals or death rituals - or form a patterned daily, weekly, or annual cycle. Rituals are usually understood to hold deep symbolic meaning.
Study of the relative position of the planets and stars in the belief that they influence events on Earth. A strongly held belief in ancient Babylon, astrology spread to the Mediterranean world, and was widely used by the Greeks and Romans.
A system of thought, feeling, and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion; a code of behavior by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and a frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe.
Government in which a single person holds a varying degree of legislative (law-making) and executive (administrative) power. Where such government has no constitutional checks or limits, it is known as absolutism, or absolute monarchy.
[Gr.,=flesh-eater], name given by the Greeks to a special marble found in Asia Minor, near the territory of ancient Troy, and used in caskets. It was believed to have the property of destroying the entire body, except for the teeth, within a few weeks. The term later generally designated any elaborate burial casket not sunk underground.
A sepulchral structure or tomb, especially one of some size and architectural pretension, so called from the sepulcher of that name at Halicarnassus, Asia Minor, erected (c.352 B.C.) in memory of Mausolus of Caria.
Disposal of a corpse by fire. It is an ancient and widespread practice, second only to burial. It was noted in Greece as early as 1000 B.C. and was the predominant mode of corpse disposal by the time of Homer.
Subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages; the term "Anatolian languages" is also used to refer to all languages, Indo-European and non-Indo-European, that were spoken in Anatolia in ancient times.