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Ancient Near East

Home of early civilizations within the area of the modern Middle East / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, southeast Turkey, southwest Iran, and northeastern Syria),[1] ancient Egypt, ancient Persia (Elam, Media, Parthia, and Persis), Anatolia and the Armenian highlands (Turkey's Eastern Anatolia Region, Armenia, northwestern Iran, southern Georgia, and western Azerbaijan),[2] the Levant (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus) and the Arabian Peninsula. The ancient Near East is studied in the fields of ancient Near East studies, Near Eastern archaeology, and ancient history.

The history of the ancient Near East begins with the rise of Sumer in the 4th millennium BC, though the date it ends varies. The term covers the Bronze Age and the Iron Age in the region, until either the conquest by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC, that by the Macedonian Empire in the 4th century BC, or the Early Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD.

The ancient Near East is considered a cradle of civilization. It was here that intensive year-round agriculture was first practiced, leading to the rise of the first dense urban settlements and the development of many familiar institutions of civilization, such as social stratification, centralized government and empires, organized religion and organized warfare. It also saw the creation of the first writing system, the first alphabet (abjad), the first currency in history, and law codes, early advances that laid the foundations of astronomy and mathematics, and the invention of the wheel.

During the period, states became increasingly large, until the region became controlled by militaristic empires that had conquered a number of different cultures.

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