After reading chapters one and two, pleas pick from one of the following option. This week we will be learning about Prehistory, and then the first complex civilization of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Then you can do either Option A on Cave Art and Venus Figurines, Option B on Ancient Mesopotamia or Option C on Egypt, or Option D on women in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Option A: For option A this week, after reading Chapter One (Prehistory) in Early World History: An Interactive Text, and view the art work and read the descriptions at:
Finally, post a thoughtful response of at least 350 words (you can always write it in a Word document then copy and paste so you can keep track of the length but also so you have a copy in case Canvas is malfunctioning or attach it – whichever you prefer) to the following questions on the discussion board. What are the theories about the significance of cave art and the Venus figurines? What do the art and sculptures tell us about the societies that created them? What might early prehistoric religion have been like? Tell me what you think the “religion” would been like and why. Then, explain what, if anything, can we say about the position of women from viewing the Venus Figurines? Relate the material to our Early World History cd textbook and readings. Please remember, I am expecting to see examples, quotes, or paraphrased (but cited) information from the readings/listening material (and any other information you would like to share). You may include images in your posts. Respond to 1 of your peers, keeping in mind my requirements for these responses (see syllabus).
The following cc videos are optional but may enhance your understanding of the importance of the cave art:
Option B. Using our text and the following websites, discuss the religion and society of Mesopotamia. What type of religion did they have, what gods did they have, what type of personalities did the gods have, and how did the religion impact the development of the society and reinforce the power system? Why do you think this very ancient civilization had the type of beliefs that it did? Of what importance were the priests and the buildings known as ziggurats? What was offered at the ziggurats? What was the relationship of the people to their gods? Why did they believe people were created and what could they expect after death?
This cc videos are optional, but I think you will enjoy. Mesopotamia is important for so many reasons. It is the first complex civilization and deserves far more attention than it usually gets. Sadly there are few good documentaries in English either. One of you needs to become a famous archeologist and documentary film producer for this region:
Option C: Egypt: Using the following websites and our book, please describe the religion of Egypt and how it related to/helped build and organize their society. What was the mummification process, discuss why the Egyptians mummified their dead including some information on their religious beliefs, and analyze some consequences such a strong emphasis on death and the afterlife had on the development of Egyptian art, architecture, and political power. How do you account for the development from simple cave based rituals and Venus figurines to such highly sophisticated beliefs and practices — do you think we are seeing the same fears/concerns/desires driving the development of more complex religion and social systems or is something really new happening?
There are millions of documentaries on Egypt. It is hard to pick just one. If any of the following cc options are of interest, enjoy!
Option D: This is an option I developed a few semesters ago in response to student interest. I am curious to read your thoughts on the position of women in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Last week, we discussed Venus Figurines and entertained the possibility that women may, according to some scholars, have been more powerful or treated more equally in prehistoric cultures than we might expect. Of course, not everyone viewed the Venus Figurines as a sign of female power or equality, other scholars interpret the artifacts to mean that women were only valued for fertility or sexuality. For this option, after reading, listening, also look at the following websites where short readings on the subject are available: http://history–
Then discuss and analyze the roles of women, and their power or lack of such, in Mesopotamia and Egypt. What were they valued for and why? If you think there was a drop in status, what do you think caused it? Compare what you learn with what we discussed regarding the Venus figurines.
This optional video is about elite women: