Chapter 2

Term Definition
Fertile Crescent a region of rich farmland that curves from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf centered on the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Mesopotamia the area that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Southwest Asia.
Ziggurat a Sumerian temple made of sun-dried brick that was dedicated to the chief god or goddess of a particular city-state. This is the center of the city-state and where business goes on.
City-State a political unit that includes a town or a city and the surrounding land controlled by it.
Polytheism the worship/belief in many gods.
Dynasty a family of rulers whose right to rule is hereditary.
Cuneiform Sumerian writing
Sargon King of Akkad in Mesopotamia; considered the founder of Mesopotamia and conquered cities along the middle Euphrates to northern Syria. Established trade routes with the Indus Valley, Oman Islands coast, and the Persian Gulf Shores.
Hammurabi King of Babylonia; he was a brilliant military leader who brought all of Mesopotamia into the Babylonian Empire. He is known for his uniform code of 282 laws, the earliest known set of written laws.
Indo-Europeans the tribes who invaded Mesopotamia and several tribes who spoke related languages.
Steppes arid grasslands north of the Black Sea.
Nebuchadnezzar II the most famous Chaldean king. Fought the Egyptians and Jews, capturing Jerusalem and taking his residents to Babylon.
Judaism a monotheistic religion originating with the Israelites and having its spiritual and ethical principles embodied chiefly in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Talmud.
Torah the most sacred text of Judaism.
Abraham the originator of the Jewish line of descent; according to the Qu'ran, the ancestor of the Arabs; he held a deep devotion to and a great trust in the will of God.
Covenant solemn promise
Patriarchs ancestral "fathers"
Moses Hebrew prophet and lawgiver; according to the Bible, he led the Hebrew people out of Egypt and back to Canaan in the Exodus. It was also during this journey that he received the Ten Commandments from God.
Exodus the escape of the Hebrews from Egypt.
Diaspora the scattering of the Jews outside Judah.
Monotheism the belief in one God.
Cyrus the Great King of Persia and founder of the Persian empire; he defeated the Median army and united the Persians and Medians under his rule.
Darius I King of Persia from 522 to 486 BC; he reorganized and strengthened the Persian empire by reforming the army and the government.
Satraps governors of ancient Persia.
Xerxes King of Persia; his armies invaded Greece but were eventually defeated by the Greeks.
Zoroaster Religious teacher and prophet of ancient Persia; he founded a region known as Zoroastrianism based on the idea that people have free will and can act as they choose.
Dualism the belief that the world is controlled by two opposing forces, good and evil.