EARLY CIVILIZATIONS AND THE EMERGENCE OF PASTORAL PEOPLES,
Giving Shape to World History
When farmers began to grow crops on the irrigated floodplain of
Mesopotamia in Southwest Asia, they had no consciousness that
they were embarking on a radically new experiment in human organization.
The nearly rainless but abundantly watered valley of the lower
Tigris and Euphrates rivers was an environment capable of supporting
far larger concentrations of population and much greater cultural
complexity than could the hill country where agriculture first
emerged. Shortly after 4000 BCE, a rich culture and economy based
on walled cities was appearing along the banks of the two rivers.
The rise of civilization in Mesopotamia marked the beginning of
3,000 years of far-reaching transformations that affected peoples
across wide areas of Eurasia and Africa.
The three standards in this era present a general chronological
progression of developments in world history from 4000 to 1000
BCE Two major patterns of change may be discerned that unite the
developments of this period.
- Early Civilizations and the Spread of Agricultural Societies:
Societies exhibiting the major characteristics of civilization
spread widely during these millennia. Four great floodplain civilizations
appeared, first in Mesopotamia, shortly after in the Nile valley,
and from about 2500 BCE in the Indus valley. These three civilizations
mutually influenced one another and came to constitute a single
region of intercommunication and trade. The fourth civilization
arose in the Yellow River valley of northwestern China in the
second millennium BCE. As agriculture continued to spread, urban
centers also emerged on rain-watered lands, notably in Syria and
on the island of Crete. Finally, expanding agriculture and long-distance
trade were the foundations of increasingly complex societies in
the Aegean Sea basin and western Europe. During this same era,
it must be remembered, much of the world's population lived in
small farming communities and hunted or foraged. These peoples
were no less challenged than city-dwellers to adapt continually
and creatively to changing environmental and social conditions.
- Pastoral Peoples and Population Movements:
In this era pastoralism -- the practice of herding animals as
a society's primary source of food -- made it possible for larger
communities than ever before to inhabit the semi-arid steppes
and deserts of Eurasia and Africa. Consequently, pastoral peoples
began to play an important role in world history. In the second
millennium BCE migrations of pastoral folk emanating from the
steppes of Central Asia contributed to a quickening pace of change
across the entire region from Europe and the Mediterranean basin
to India. Some societies become more highly militarized, new kingdoms
appeared, and languages of the Indo-European family became much
more widely spoken.
Why Study This Era?
- This is the period when civilizations appeared, shaping all
subsequent eras of history. Students must consider the nature
of civilization as both a particular way of organizing society
and a historical phenomenon subject to transformation and collapse.
- In this era many of the world's most fundamental inventions,
discoveries, institutions, and techniques appeared. All subsequent
civilizations would be built on these achievements.
- Early civilizations were not self-contained but developed
their distinctive characteristics partly as a result of interactions
with other peoples. In this era students will learn about the
deep roots of encounter and exchange among societies.
- The era introduces students to one of the most enduring themes
in history, the dynamic interplay, for good or ill, between the
agrarian civilizations and pastoral peoples of the great grasslands.
What Students Should Understand
Standard 1: The major characteristics of civilization and how
civilizations emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus valley.
A. How Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley became
centers of dense population, urbanization, and cultural innovation
B. How commercial and cultural interactions contributed
to change in the Tigris-Euphrates, Indus, and Nile regions
Standard 2: How agrarian societies spread and new states emerged
in the third and second millennia BCE
A. The emergence of civilization in northern China [CORE]
B. How new centers of agrarian society arose in the third
and second millennia BCE [RELATED]
Standard 3: The political, social, and cultural consequences
of population movements and militarization in Eurasia in the second
A. How population movements from western and central Asia
affected peoples of India, Southwest Asia, and the Mediterranean
B. The social and cultural effects that militarization and the
emergence of new kingdoms had on peoples of Southwest Asia and
C. The expansion of urban society in the Aegean region
in the era of Mycenaean dominance [RELATED]
- The development of new cultural patterns in northern India
Students Should Understand: The major characteristics of civilization
and how civilizations emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus
Students Should Be Able to:
1A Demonstrate understanding of how Mesopotamia, Egypt,
and the Indus valley became centers of dense population, urbanization,
and cultural innovation in the fourth and third millennia BCE
5-12 Analyzing the various criteria that have been used to define
"civilization" and explaining fundamental differences
between civilizations and other forms of social organization such
as hunter-gatherer bands and Neolithic agricultural societies.
[Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Analyzing how the natural environments of the Tigris-Euphrates,
Nile, and Indus valleys shaped the early development of civilization.
[Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]
5-12 Comparing the character of urban development in Mesopotamia,
Egypt, and the Indus valley, including social hierarchy, occupational
specialization, and differentiation of the roles of men and women.
[Compare and contrast differing values and institutions]
5-12 Comparing the forms of writing that developed in the three
civilizations and how written records shaped political, legal,
religious, and cultural life. [Compare and contrast differing
sets of ideas, values, and institutions]
7-12 Comparing the development of religious and ethical belief
systems in the three civilizations and how they legitimized
the political and social order. [Compare and contrast differing
sets of ideas]
9-12 Analyzing the character of government and military institutions
in Egypt and Mesopotamia and ways in which central
authorities commanded the labor services and tax payments of peasant
farmers. [Consider multiple perspectives]
9-12 Describing architectural, artistic, literary, technological,
and scientific achievements of these civilizations and relating
these achievements to economic and social life. [Analyze cause-and-effect
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1A include:
- Create a list of the defining characteristics of a "civilization."
At what point in their development could Mesopotamian, Egyptian,
and Indus valley societies be called "civilizations"
according to these criteria?
- Analyze some of the Indus valley seals. What can you infer
about life in the Indus valley from these seals?
- Locate the Tigris-Euphrates, Indus, and Nile river valleys
on a map. Compare the geographic features of these valleys using
maps, photographs, and other appropriate pictorial sources. Identify
common features that affect agriculture and food supplies. Why
did agriculture develop near rivers that flooded?
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1A include:
- Research the technology for flood control and irrigation in
the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates valleys. How did irrigation ensure
a reliable food supply? Why did large-scale irrigation projects
require more complex political and administrative organization?
- Create a skit entitled "A Day in the Life of Ur,"
and role-play characters such as ruler, priest, warrior, scribe,
artisan, farmer, merchant, slave, mother, and father. Characters
must explain why they are important to the overall economic and
social welfare of the city.
- Read selections from the Epic of Gilgamesh and show
how this story of a hero-king reflects ancient Mesopotamian religious
and cultural values.
- Analyze a description of Mohenjo-Daro. What evidence is
there that Mohenjo-Daro was a planned community? Why did the people
develop such extensive plumbing? What do you think were the purposes
of the buildings of the citadel?
- On a map plot the places where the Indus valley cities have
been discovered. Compare the size of the Indus valley civilization
with the sizes of Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations. How
do you think the Indus leaders influenced such a large area?
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1A
- Draw upon selections from the Code of Hammurabi to analyze
what it suggests about ethical values, social hierarchy, and attitudes
toward and roles of women in Mesopotamia. How does the Mesopotamian
value system compare with modern American ethical and legal standards?
- Using stories such as the Biblical account of creation in
Genesis and the Enuma Elish from Babylon, compare and contrast
the different beliefs these stories reflect.
- Draw on historical evidence to role-play a lesson given to
a teenager by a Sumerian or Egyptian scribe, explaining the principles
of their script and why learning it is important.
- Construct a theory to account for why early Egypt united into
a kingdom under one ruler, whereas early Mesopotamia was a battleground
of competing city-states; and find evidence to support the theory.
- Compare and contrast Mesopotamian ziggurats and Egyptian pyramids.
What economic and social preconditions had to exist to make their
building possible? What motives impelled their building? What
difference did they make to the lives of those who ordered them
built and those who actually labored in the building process?
- Examine the way the Indus people laid out and constructed
their cities. What does this evidence suggest about their government
and values? What kind of centralized control would be required
to build and maintain these cities?
Students Should Be Able to:
1B Demonstrate understanding of how commercial and cultural
interactions contributed to change in the Tigris-Euphrates, Indus,
and Nile regions by:
5-12 Analyzing the importance of trade in Mesopotamian civilization
of the fourth and third millennia and describing the networks
of commercial exchange that connected various regions of Southwest
Asia. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Assessing the importance of commercial, cultural, and political
connections between Egypt and peoples of Nubia along the upper
Nile. [Identify issues and problems in the past]
7-12 Tracing the network of trade routes connecting Egypt, Mesopotamia,
and the Indus valley in the third millennium and assessing the
economic and cultural significance of those commercial connections.
[Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1B include:
- Analyze why Mesopotamian civilization was heavily dependent
on trade. What products did Mesopotamians import, from where,
and how were they imported? Compare Mesopotamian trade with Egyptian
- Locate on a map of northeastern Africa the cataracts on the
Nile River, the regions of Nubia and Kush, and the wind patterns
in this part of Africa. From this information show how the geography
and climate of the region affected trade in the Nile valley. What
items were traded? What evidence is there for cultural as well
as commercial exchanges?
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1B include:
- Trace on a map long-distance trade routes by land and sea
connecting India, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. List goods traded along
these routes and methods of record keeping and ownership. Why
were these goods important to the different societies?
- Role-play a meeting of the king of Kush with an Egyptian official
detailing plans for trade. What goods and tools will they trade?
What will the methods of transport be?
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 1B
- Gather evidence for fundamental inventions in Egypt, India,
and Mesopotamia and hypothesize: In what ways might groups
borrow aspects of culture from one another? What evidence is there
that these three societies borrowed from each other? What effects
might cultural innovations have on a receiving society? Why are
foreign innovations sometimes rejected? What are some modern examples
of both cultural borrowing and rejection?
- Prepare advice from an experienced Mesopotamian trader to
his son in the third millennium BCE, including a map of trade
routes and information about merchandise known to have been carried
by others, transport, dangers, and possible religious or bureaucratic
problems in the areas traders visited.
- Construct a chart showing the geographical features in Mesopotamia
that encouraged trade with others (e.g., their lack of raw materials
and their access to the sea) and those features that inhibited
atrade (e.g., mountain barriers). Find evidence to decide whether
the favorable features outweighed the unfavorable.
- Construct historical explanations for the shifting political
relationship between Egypt and Nubia. How would you account
for Egyptian conquests in Nubia?
- Using Indus seals and other archaeological and geographic
evidence, develop an explanation of the type of boats the Indus
people used, their navigational techniques, and trade routes.
- Gather evidence that people in the Indus valley were in contact
with other areas of the world. What kinds of evidence are available?
How wide was the Indus trading network?
Students Should Understand: How agrarian societies spread
and new states emerged in the third and second millennia BCE.
Students Should Be Able to:
2A Demonstrate understanding of how civilization emerged in
northern China in the second millennium BCE by:
5-12 Explaining the fundamentals of bronze-making technology and
assessing the uses and significance of bronze tools, weapons,
and luxury goods in the third and second millennia BCE. [Analyze
5-12 Comparing the climate and geography of the Huang He (Yellow
River) valley with the natural environments of Mesopotamia, Egypt,
and the Indus valley. [Clarify information on the geographic
9-12 Describing royal government under the Shang Dynasty and the
development of social hierarchy, religious institutions, and writing.
[Evidence historical perspectives]
5-12 Inferring from archaeological or written evidence the character
of early Chinese urban societies and comparing these centers with
cities of Mesopotamia or the Indus valley. [Formulate historical
9-12 Assessing the part that Chinese peasants played in sustaining
the wealth and power of the Shang political centers. [Consider
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2A include:
- Hypothesize how people might have first discovered copper
and later created bronze. Write a short story or series of journal
entries on your hypothesis. Why was the making and use of metal
work important for humanity?
- Research the writing tools and writing surfaces, and the nature
and uses of writing in early Chinese society. Compare with how
writing was done and used in early Mesopotamia.
- Create a relief map of the Huang He (Yellow River) civilization.
Discuss the natural environment of the civilization including
its natural resources, and analyze how the environment influenced
the civilization that arose there.
- Describe Shang ancestor worship. What attitudes toward
the living and dead would ancestor worship encourage? How do Shang
practices compare with the Egyptian concept of the afterlife?
- Having looked at pictures of Shang dynasty objects, make a
list of all you can tell about people living in that place and
time based on this evidence. What kinds of information about
the lives of people who made and used the objects cannot be gained
from the evidence of physical objects alone?
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2A include:
- Examine illustrations of early Chinese inscriptions on oracle
bones. Why did people write on these animal bones and undershells
of tortoises? How has the deciphering of these inscriptions enriched
our knowledge of Chinese history during the Shang period? How
reliable are these inscriptions as a source of information about
- Compare the climate and geography of the Huang He with that
of the Tigris-Euphrates valley. How did environmental factors
affect the way early civilization developed differently in these
- Examine maps illustrating the changes in the course of the
Huang He. What challenges would these changes present to the
Chinese people and their government?
- Examine Chinese bronze vessels to determine both their practical
and ritual uses.
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2A
- Look at a physical map of Eurasia and consider both geographical
barriers and potential routes of communication between China and
India or Southwest Asia. What evidence is there for cultural
contacts between China and these other centers of civilization
- Compare the part that prevailing wind, current, and flooding
patterns in the Nile, Tigris, and Huang He valleys played in influencing
features of the civilizations
- Chart the similarities and differences between the military-religious
leadership of the Shang kings and the divine kingship of the Egyptian
- Taking on the role of a Shang ruler, one of the king's noble
vassals, a woman of the upper classes, a bonded peasant, and a
slave, describe your rights and responsibilities and your relationship
to those above and below you on the social scale.
- Gather evidence that the Chinese had developed settlements,
sophisticated social cooperation to maintain flood and irrigation
systems, and a written language before 1700 BCE. Write an essay
presenting your findings.
Students Should Be Able to:
2B Demonstrate understanding of how new centers of agrarian
society arose in the third and second millennia BCE by:
5-12 Describing the relationship between the development of plow
technology and the emergence of new agrarian societies in Southwest
Asia, the Mediterranean basin, and temperate Europe. [Analyze
7-12 Analyzing how an urban civilization emerged on Crete, and
evaluating its cultural achievements. [Marshal evidence of
9-12 Explaining the development of commercial communities in such
Mediterranean cities as Byblos and Ugarit, and analyzing the cultural
significance of expanding commercial exchange among peoples of
Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the Aegean Sea. [Reconstruct patterns
of historical succession and duration]
5-12 Inferring from the evidence of megalithic stone building
at Stonehenge and other centers the emergence of complex agrarian
societies in temperate Europe. [Draw upon visual sources]
9-12 Analyzing evidence for the growth of agricultural societies
in tropical West Africa and Southeast Asia in the second millennium
BCE. [Interrogate historical data]
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2B include:
- Using pictorial evidence and historical resources hypothesize
how the invention and use of the plow, the bow and arrow, and
pottery may have changed the life of humankind.
- Create an illustrated Venn diagram comparing the use of bronze
in early civilizations with its use today. What metals serve
as substitutes for bronze today?
- Assume the role of an archaeologist exploring King Tutankhamen's
tomb. Compare the findings to those of other archaeological sites.
What do the treasures from the tomb indicate about Egypt? What
conclusions can be drawn about the life of the pharaoh?
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2B include:
- Research the archaeological work of Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos
and study a reconstruction of the palace and city. What do
we learn of Minoan culture from Evans' endeavors?
- Play the role of a craftsman of Syria who is expert in making
bronze swords. Explain to a group of apprentices the technological
procedures of making these weapons. In what ways were bronze
weapons superior to those made from stone?
- Defend or refute this statement: "The plow is the most
important invention of early man." Compare its development
and importance to that of pottery, the bow and arrow, and the
wheel. In what ways may the plow and other inventions have
led to the creation of different gender roles?
- Prepare a plan for the building of Stonehenge. How are
the stones to be obtained, transported, and erected? How are the
laborers to be recruited, provisioned for, and supervised? How
will the enterprise be financed? How will the structure be used?
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 2B
- Drawing upon illustrations of Egyptian and Minoan murals and
pottery, develop hypotheses on the nature and extent of cultural
contact between these two civilizations.
- List objects found on Minoan sites that are known to have
come from elsewhere, and Minoan wares found outside of Crete.
On the basis of this list indicate on a map the places that were
in contact with Minoan civilization, and hypothesize the influence
of trade on the development of Minoan civilization.
- Create a map indicating the most important urban centers of
Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the Aegean basin as of about 2000 BCE.
What has archaeology revealed about the development of cities
along the eastern Mediterranean coast, notably Byblos and Ugarit?
In what ways did these cities form a commercial bridge between
the networks of Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the eastern Mediterranean?
- From historical sources create a chart of important technological
advances such as the bow and arrow, pottery, the wheel, weaving,
the sail, bronze casting, the plow, etc., showing their possible
sources, approximate time of introduction, and uses. What impact
did these technologies have on the lives of the people who used
them? On the social organization and on the political or economic
power of the groups who used them?
- Research pictorial and written evidence on agriculture and
agricultural societies in tropical West Africa. In what ways
did agricultural developments stimulate the growth of societies
in this part of Africa? Compare this development with that occurring
in Southeast Asia at the same time.
- Gather evidence that rice was first domesticated in Southeast
Asia, and trace the spread of rice cultivation throughout Asia.
Students Should Understand: The political, social, and
cultural consequences of population movements and militarization
in Eurasia in the second millennium BCE.
Students Should Be Able to:
3A Demonstrate understanding of how population movements from
western and central Asia affected peoples of India, Southwest
Asia, and the Mediterranean region by:
5-12 Defining pastoralism as a specialized way of life and explaining
how the climate and geography of Central Asia were linked to the
rise of pastoral societies on the steppes. [Analyze multiple
7-12 Identifying the probable geographic homeland of speakers
of early Indo-European languages and tracing the spread of Indo-European
languages from north of the Black and Caspian seas to other parts
of Eurasia. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession
5-12 Explaining the concept of kinship as the basis of social
organization among pastoral peoples and comparing the structure
of kinship-based societies with that of agrarian states. [Compare
and contrast differing behaviors and institutions]
9-12 Describing major characteristics of economy, social relations,
and political authority among pastoral peoples and analyzing why
women tended to enjoy greater social equality with men in pastoral
communities than in agrarian societies of Eurasia. [Identify
issues and problems in the past]
9-12 Analyzing why relations between pastoral peoples and agrarian
societies have tended to involve both conflict and mutual dependence.
[Consider multiple perspectives]
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3A include:
- Define the term "kinship." Why was maintaining
peace and harmony so important among pastoral people?
- Research the climate and geography of Central Asia. How
would this kind of climate and geography lead to the formation
of pastoral societies? What are the characteristics of this kind
- Role-play either a representative of a pastoral or an agrarian
society and create a mural showing several kinds of social relationships,
marriage ties, and the role of women.
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3A include:
- Describe the climate and geography of the land mass of Central
Asia and hypothesize why animal breeding enabled successful human
adaptation to the steppe.
- Make charts of some of the major languages of the world today,
including languages from Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic families.
How can linguists tell that languages are related to one another?
If two languages are related, does that mean that the speakers
of those languages will necessarily share other aspects of culture?
- Research, as part of a group, Indo-European languages, and
create a language tree with Indo-European as the "trunk"
of the tree. Where are English and Spanish placed on this tree
in relation to other languages? Name some languages spoken
in the United States today that would not be on this tree.
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3A
- Construct a map showing the migrations of Indo-European language
speakers from their homeland, showing approximate dates for arrivals
in new locations, and adding an overlay map showing the distribution
of Indo-European language speakers today.
- Drawing on historical information, create a conversation between
a pastoral nomad woman and a man from a village of agriculturalists
about what is expected of women and men in each of their societies.
- Draw on scholarly evidence to describe the characteristics
of the relations between early herders and farmers. In what
ways could relations between pastoral peoples and agrarian societies
involve both conflict and mutual dependence?
Students Should Be Able to:
3B Demonstrate understanding of the social and cultural effects
that militarization and the emergence of new kingdoms had on peoples
of Southwest Asia and Egypt in the second millennium BCE by:
5-12 Analyzing ways in which chariot transport and warfare affected
Southwest Asian societies. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyzing the origins of the Hittite people and their empire
in Anatolia and assessing Hittite political and cultural achievements.
[Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]
7-12 Describing the spread of Egyptian power into Nubia and Southwest
Asia under the New Kingdom and assessing the factors that made
Egyptian expansion possible. [Analyze multiple causation]
9-12 Explaining the religious ideas of Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV)
and assessing the viewpoint that Atonism was an early form of
monotheism. [Interrogate historical data]
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3B include:
- Draw on visual data to explain how the invention of chariots
affected transportation in Southwest Asian societies.
- Investigate the development of chariot warfare. In what
ways were chariots both effective and ineffective weapons of war?
- Use a case study of the Hittites to describe how chariot transport
contributed to the spread of new ideas and technology in Southwest
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3B include:
- Write entries in the "Who's Who" of Egyptian history
describing the political and cultural achievements of Thutmose
III, Ramses II, and Queen Hatshepsut. Based on their achievements,
debate the question: Who should get "top billing"?
- As a military commander of the Hittite army, write an argument
in favor of spending more of the revenues on chariots. Justify
the argument with reasons historically known to be valid.
- Write epitaphs for Hatshepsut, outlining her achievements
during the New Kingdom. Display epitaphs on a homemade obelisk.
- As a member of a group, develop a chart that graphically shows
Egyptian expansion during the Old, Middle, and New kingdoms. These
graphic representations can take the form of an illustrated time
line, transparency overlay, or relief map and should include the
factors that made expansion possible.
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3B
- Draw a map of the major states existing in Southwest Asia,
Egypt, and the eastern Mediterranean in the later second millennium,
and consider why the wars and diplomatic relations among these
states probably represent the first era of "internationalism"
in world history.
- Survey visual and written sources (e.g., The Iliad,
Egyptian wall paintings, and Assyrian bas reliefs) and describe
the effects of introducing chariot warfare onto the battlefield.
- Compare the accomplishments of Sargon and Akhenaton (Amenhotep
IV), and evaluate which of them had a greater historical impact,
giving reasons to justify the assessment.
- Create a chart showing the main features of Egyptian religious
beliefs during the Old Kingdom; Akhenaton's beliefs; and Hebrew
monotheistic beliefs. Then determine to what extent it would be
accurate to describe Akhenaton as a "monotheist."
Students Should Be Able to:
3C Demonstrate understanding of how urban society expanded
in the Aegean region in the era of Mycenaean dominance by:
5-12 Describing the political and social organization of the Mycenaean
Greeks as revealed in the archaeological and written record. [Interrogate
7-12 Assessing the cultural influences of Egypt, Minoan Crete,
and Southwest Asian civilizations on the Mycenaeans. [Analyze
9-12 Analyzing the impact of Mycenaean expansion and city-building
on commerce and political life in the eastern Mediterranean. [Analyze
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3C include:
- Assume the role of a Minoan visiting Mycenae. Write an account
describing what you find different about Mycenaean society and
- Investigate how geography influenced the development of Mycenaean
- Draw upon selections from the Iliad, the Aeneid,
and pictures of jars and red-clay portraits to retell the story
of the siege of Troy.
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3C include:
- Read passages from the Iliad about the Mycenaeans and
the Trojan War. Locate Mycenaean and Trojan areas on a map. Having
investigated archaeological evidence for trade and warfare in
these areas, and the successive levels of occupation at the site
of Troy , write a critique of Homer's account.
- Show the cultural influences of Egypt, Minoan Crete, and Southwest
Asian civilizations on the Mycenaeans by using pictures. Explain
your reasons for assuming that the direction of the influence
was toward Mycenae. How was the influence accomplished?
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3C
- Drawing on the physical evidence in Mycenaean shaft tombs,
write a description of society, government, and trade in the second
- Compare Mycenaean with Egyptian royal tombs. Hypothesize what
these tombs suggest about class roles and the nature and role
- Using descriptions by archaeologists, ground plans based on
excavations, and pictures of remains and of reconstructions, compare
Mycenaean fortresses with Minoan palaces. What conclusions
about their respective societies may be drawn from this evidence?
How does investigation of other available evidence support, modify,
or negate your conclusions?
Students Should Be Able to:
3C Demonstrate understanding of the development of new cultural
patterns in northern India in the second millennium BCE by:
7-12 Inferring from geographical and archaeological information
why Indo-Aryan-speaking groups moved from Central Asia into India
beginning in the second millennium. [Draw upon visual sources]
9-12 Analyzing possible causes of the decline and collapse of
Indus valley civilization. [Hypothesizing the influence of
9-12 Assessing the early political, social, and cultural impact
of Indo-Aryan movements on peoples of North India. [Analyze
Grades 5-6 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3D include:
- Look at slides or photos of the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro and
research reasons why this city disappeared. What are some of
the possible causes of the decline or disappearance of cities
in history? How could changes in the environment have contributed
to the fall of Mohenjo-Daro and other Indus cities?
Grades 7-8 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3D include:
- Hypothesize on the causes of Indo-Aryan and Mycenaean-speaking
peoples' movements into India and the eastern Mediterranean. In
what ways may these migrations be seen as a part of the patterns
of movement of all Indo-European peoples?
- Drawing upon books such as A.K. Ramanijan's Folktales from
India, examine the values that governed Indian society. How
is the rigid varna system introduced by the Aryans reflected in
- Develop a presentation of possible factors such as climatic,
population, technological, or social changes that might have caused
Aryan pastoral peoples to leave Central Asia. What might have
pushed them from the steppes? What might have attracted
them to the Iranian plateau and into the Indus valley?
- Hypothesize on what caused Aryans and Mycenaean-speaking peoples
to move into India and the eastern Mediterranean. In what ways
may these migrations be seen as a part of the pattern of movement
of all Indo-European peoples? Should these movements be called
a "chariot revolution"?
- Examine photographs and descriptions of excavations of Indus
cities such as Mohenjo-Daro to determine what happened to these
cities. What might have caused a decline in trade and overcrowding?
Why were people left unburied in the streets?
- Analyze Rig Veda 10.90 to determine what the Aryans believed
were the ideal divisions of society. What is the significance
of the term "varna"? What privileges and restrictions
were placed on the various varna?
- Select odes from the Vedas that praise the major Vedic gods
-- Indra, Varuna, Soma, and Agni -- to determine important Aryan
- Retell the story of the conflict between the Pandavas and
Kauravas in the Mahabharata. What does it suggest about tensions
among Aryan tribes as they began to settle down in the Indo-Gangetic
plain? Why did the cousins fight? Who ruled and what was the basis
of a ruler's legitimacy?
Grades 9-12 Examples of student achievement of Standard 3D
- Analyze various Vedic hymns. What do they say about people's
- Research the origins of the word "Aryan" and the
peoples who came to be called Indo-Aryan. Based on works such
as the Vedasn and Mahabharata, what was Aryan culture
in India like? How was the term "Aryan" used by Nazis
in the 20th century? Where were the implications of the Nazi definition?
How did it differ from the way historians of early India used
- Compare linguistic (shared vocabulary), literary (Vedas),
and archaeological evidence for the way of life and beliefs of
India's Aryan immigrants in the second millennium BCE, and assess
what information is most reliably known.
- Hypothesize from historical information what factors (disease,
famine, environment, invasion, etc.) led to the collapse of the
Indus valley civilization. How does this decline compare with
that of other peoples such as the Sumerians?
- Assess how reliable the Iliad and Odyssey and
the Mahabharata and Ramayana are as sources of historical
information about this period. How do historians determine
to what extent these epics reveal information about the time period
when they were first written down or the earlier time period during
which the stories were set.