Phoenicians, Persians and Judaism

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Transcript Phoenicians, Persians and Judaism

Phoenicians, Persians
and Judaism
Role of Nomadic Peoples
• On the fringes of early civilizations were nomadic peoples
that depended on hunting, gathering
• Some groups were pastoral nomads that raised animals for
food and clothing
• Traded with settled groups and helped long distance trade
and passed on new technologies by carrying products
between civilized centers
• These groups occasionally overran settled communities and
created their own empires
Role of Nomadic Peoples
• Indo-Europeans were one group
• Their language became the mother tongue
of Greek, Latin, Persian, Sanskrit and
Germanic languages
• They originated in the steppes of central
Asia and moved into Anatolia around 2000
• 1750 B.C. they established an empire in
western Asia called the Hittite Empire
• They used iron to make tools and weapons
• 1200 B.C. the empire began to fall apart
• The end of the Hittites and the weakening
of Egypt led to the rise of other small
kingdoms and city states in the region
Spread of Indo-European Languages
• They were a seafaring a trading empire based in the eastern
Mediterranean that flourished between 1550 B.C. to 300
• They occupied a string of cities (city-states) in the Levant
region (Lebanon, Syria, Israel)
• They were best known for trade – they produced glass and
purple dye that was widely distributed across the
Mediterranean region
• They established colonies throughout the region to promote
• The Phoenicians developed
an alphabet, where symbols
represented sounds, not a
word or concept.
• The alphabet was used to
record business transactions.
• The Greek alphabet and
later the Roman alphabet
was based on the Phoenician
Persian Empires
• In 539 B.C. Babylon fell to Persian invaders led by Cyrus
the Great
• Persian Empire eventually became the largest in the
world; stretching from Asia Minor to northern India
• The empire embraced tolerance of religions and cultures
Structure of the Persian Empire
• Emperor Darius was responsible for the unification
of the empire
• The empire was divided into provinces (satrapys)
that were ruled by a local governor that collected
taxes based on resources and wealth
• Special officials were sent out to check on the
empire and they traveled on the Royal Road that
was maintained by the empire. This road made it
easier to communicate and trade across the empire
• The Persian Empire used a common system of coins
to allow trade
• Much of the power of the Persian Empire was
based on the military, Persian kings created a
standing military
• The Persian Religion was one of their unique
cultural achievements- Zoroastrianism
• According to tradition Zoroaster lived in the
5th century B.C. and was revered for his
• His teachings were written in the Zend
Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism
• It is a monotheistic religion. The supreme
deity is Ahura Mazda, who is good and
brought all things into being
• He is opposed by Ahriman the evil god
• People are allowed the freedom to choose
between right and wrong and in the end
Ahura Mazda will triumph and there would
be a judgment
• Zoroastrians believed in heaven, hell and
final judgment
• Zoroastrian beliefs influenced Judaism, Islam
and Christianity
Roots of Judaism
• To the south of the Phoenicians
there was a group of Semitic
speaking people that were
pastoral nomads
• Around 2000 B.C. they migrated to
Canaan (Israel/ Palestine) and
later to Egypt where they were
enslaved and led to freedom by
• By 1000 B.C. they had emerged as
a distinct group united under their
king, David
• Solomon followed David and
strengthened the Israelite
Roots of Judaism
• After the death of Solomon the Israelites
were divided by the northern (Israelites) and
southern (Judah) tribes in the eighth century
• Israelites were defeated and assimilated by
other groups in the region and gradually lost
their identity
• In the sixth century B.C. the Kingdom of
Judah was conquered by the Chaldeans
• People of Judah were sent to Babylon as
captives (Babylonian Captivity)
• Babylonian Captivity ended when the
Persians took control of the region and
allowed the Jews to return to Israel where
they reestablished their religion, but they
were under foreign control
• The Babylonian Captivity made the Jews a
people without a land
The Spiritual Dimensions of Judaism
• Their god Yahweh created the earth and everything in it, God ruled
the world and all people in it were his servants
• Ten Commandments provided rules to live by and stressed religious
• God was good and expected goodness from people if they followed
the Ten Commandments
• Israelites believed that they had a covenant with God and they were
his chosen people
• The Jews believed that God had sent prophets to be his “voice” to
teach and warn people to follow God
• The prophets taught a code of ethics, or moral teachings, and that
all people were equal before God
• Jewish religious beliefs were recorded in the Torah (Old Testament)
• Jews maintained their sense of identity by living in close knit
communities and obeying religious laws and traditions