Here is the link to No Fear Shakespeare for Twelfth Night
Here is the link to No Fear Shakespeare for Twelfth Night
The Roman Empire
The Romans built an empire of gigantic proportions. At its height, it encompassed nearly the entire European continent as well as parts of the Middle East and Africa. The Roman Empire’s tentacles stretched from England to Egypt, from Spain to Iraq, and from southern Russia to Morocco. More significantly, ancient Roman civilization thrived for nearly one thousand years. The influence of the Romans over all of those peoples over that span of time defies measure.
After adopting Christianity in the 4th century C.E., the Romans spread it to every corner of their empire. They also brought their brand of law and order to all of the territories that they conquered. Latin, the language of the Romans, became the basis for several modern European languages, including Italian, French, and Spanish.
The Romans were particularly skilled in administration, organization, and engineering. They had a highly trained and disciplined military and an efficient bureaucracy. Without these qualities, the Romans would never have been able to manage their sprawling empire. They were not, however, as driven or original when it came to other intellectual pursuits.
#In fact, the Romans basically adopted and copied much of Greek art, literature, philosophy, and even religion. The Romans had the same set of gods as the Greeks, but with different names. In Roman mythology, Zeus became Jupiter, Hera became Juno, Ares changed to Mars, and Athena was Minerva, to name a few examples. The Romans did, however, spread these borrowed ideas everywhere they went.
How was Rome ruled?
The people of Rome were farmers and herders. For a time, they were under the control of their neighbours, the Etruscans. Rome became a rich city, ruled by kings. In 509 BC, the Romans drove out their last king, Tarquin the Proud. Rome then became a republic.
The republic was ruled by a Senate. Rich men, called senators, ran the government. Poor men (called plebeians) had much less power. The plebeians fought for fairer treatment. A plebeian, who was a free man (someone who was not a slave), could be a Roman citizen. People in lands conquered by the Romans could become citizens too. Women and slaves though, could not be citizens – so they could not vote in elections.
The Senate could not always control the Roman army. Army generals sometimes fought one another. Rome’s best general was Julius Caesar. He lived in the 1st century BC and invaded Britain twice. Caesar came close to being emperor of Rome, but he was murdered in 44 BC. By then, Rome was more than a city. It was the capital of an empire. The Romans ruled lands from France to North Africa. You can see this in our map in the ‘Photos’ section on the right.
Who were the Roman emperors?
A Roman emperor was the man who ruled over the empire. The first Emperor ruled Rome after years of fighting between rival leaders. His name was Octavian. He took a new name, Augustus, when he became Emperor in 27 BC. Augustus brought peace after years of fighting. Not all the emperors were good and wise. Some were terrible. Some wanted to be gods. The emperor had a troop of special soldiers to protect him. They were called the Praetorian Guard.
Romulus and Remus: The Making of the Roman Republic
According to Roman mythology, twin brothers played an important part in the founding of Rome. These brothers, named Romulus and Remus, were the sons of Mars, the Roman god of war. Abandoned at birth, the twins were raised by a wolf.
When they became older, they decided to found a city along the Tiber River near the spot where they had been abandoned. Each chose a hill upon which to begin a settlement.
As often happens among brothers, disputes led to quarreling and fighting. Angered by Remus’s taunting, Romulus killed his brother in a fit of rage. Romulus went on to build the city that eventually became Rome — named, of course, after Romulus.
As it turned out, Romulus chose a very good spot for his city. Rome was located on the Tiber River about 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea. The Romans had easy access to the sea, and were somewhat protected from seaborne invasion. Also, Rome lay in the middle of the Italian peninsula, the boot-shaped landmass to the west of Greece. From this central position, the Romans could easily access and control all of what is today the modern country of Italy.
Finally, the Italian peninsula’s central location within the Mediterranean Sea made it possible for the Romans to trade and communicate with every part of the Mediterranean world
Mythology: A set of stories or beliefs about a particular person, institution, or situation, esp. when exaggerated or fictitious.
The Romans established a form of government — a republic — that was copied by countries for centuries In fact, the government of the United States is based partly on Rome’s model.
It all began when the Romans overthrew their Etruscan conquerors in 509 B.C.E. Centered north of Rome, the Etruscans had ruled over the Romans for hundreds of years.
Once free, the Romans established a republic, a government in which citizens elected representatives to rule on their behalf. A republic is quite different from a democracy, in which every citizen is expected to play an active role in governing the state.
The aristocracy (wealthy class) dominated the early Roman Republic. In Roman society, the aristocrats were known as patricians. The highest positions in the government were held by two consuls, or leaders, who ruled the Roman Republic. A senate composed of patricians elected these consuls. At this time, lower-class citizens, or plebeians, had virtually no say in the government. Both men and women were citizens in the Roman Republic, but only men could vote.Gradually, the plebeians obtained even more power and eventually could hold the position of consul. Despite these changes, though, the patricians were still able to use their wealth to buy control and influence over elected leaders.
One of the innovations of the Roman Republic was the notion of equality under the law. In 449 B.C.E., government leaders carved some of Rome’s most important laws into 12 great tablets. The Twelve Tables, as they came to be known, were the first Roman laws put in writing. Although the laws were rather harsh by today’s standards, they did guarantee every citizen equal treatment under the law.
With respect to the law and citizenship, the Romans took a unique approach to the lands that they conquered. Rather than rule those people as conquered subjects, the Romans invited them to become citizens. These people then became a part of Rome, rather than enemies fighting against it. Naturally, these new citizens received the same legal rights as everyone else.
The early Roman Republic often found itself in a state of constant warfare* with its surrounding neighbors. In one instance, when the Romans were fighting the Carthaginians, Rome was nearly conquered. The people of Carthage (Tunisia today) were a successful trading civilization whose interests began to conflict with those of the Romans.
The two sides fought three bloody wars, known as the Punic Wars (264-146 B.C.E.), over the control of trade in the western Mediterranean Sea. In the second war, Hannibal, a Carthaginian general, successfully invaded Italy by leading an army — complete with elephants — across the Alps. He handed the Roman army a crushing defeat but was unable to sack the city of Rome itself. After occupying and ravaging Italy for more than a decade, Hannibal was finally defeated by the Roman general Scipio at the Battle of Zama in 202 B.C.E.
How did the word “Punic” become an adjective meaning “relating to the people of Carthage?
“Punic” is derived from the Latin word Poenicus, meaning “an inhabitant of Carthage.” Carthage was founded by Phoenicians, and Poenicus is the Latin word for “Phoenician.”
By the Third Punic War, Rome was ready to end the Carthaginian threat for good. After a successful several-year siege of Carthage, the Romans burned the city to the ground. Legend has it that the Romans then poured salt into the soil so that nothing would ever grow there again. Carthage was finally defeated, and the Roman Republic was safe.
‘kai su, teknon?’ (“You too, my child?”).
Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic, who greatly extended the Roman empire before seizing power and making himself dictator of Rome, paving the way for the imperial system.
Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BC into the prestigious Julian clan. Caesar himself progressed within the Roman political system. In 61-60 BC he served as governor of the Roman province of Spain. Back in Rome in 60, Caesar made a pact with Pompey and Crassus, who helped him to get elected as consul for 59 BC. The following year he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul where he stayed for eight years, adding the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire, and making Rome safe from the possibility of Gallic invasions. He made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BC and 54 BC.
Caesar then returned to Italy, disregarding the authority of the senate and famously crossing the Rubicon river without disbanding his army. In the ensuing civil war Caesar defeated the republican forces. Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed him and became romantically involved with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.
Caesar was now master of Rome and made himself consul and dictator. He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar. Dictatorship was always regarded a temporary position but in 44 BC, Caesar took it for life. His success and ambition alienated strongly republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides (15) of March 44 BC. This sparked the final round of civil wars that ended the Republic and brought about the elevation of Caesar’s great nephew and designated heir, Octavian, as Augustus, the first emperor.
At first, Romans believed in many different gods and goddesses. These gods were like people, but with magical powers. The Roman gods were part of a family. People told stories or mythsabout them. Each god or goddess looked after different people or things.
These are a few of the old Roman gods:
Saturn: once king of the gods, his place was taken by his son (Jupiter). Saturn was the god of seed-sowing. A merry Roman holiday or festival, the Saturnalia, was named after him.
Jupiter: god of the sky, he was the most important god.
Juno: Jupiter’s wife, she looked after women.
Neptune: Jupiter’s brother, he was the god of the sea.
Minerva: goddess of wisdom and women’s work, such as weaving cloth.
Mars: god of war, though originally god of farming.
Venus: goddess of love, she was the lover of Mars.
The Romans often borrowed new gods from people they conquered. They hoped these new gods would make them stronger. They borrowed gods from Egypt, for example, such as the goddess Isis. Roman soldiers worshipped Mithras, a god from Iran. A soldier going on a journey might ask Mercury (god of travel) for help, as well as Mithras the soldiers’ god and he might also make a sacrifice to Neptune (the sea god) if he had to travel by ship!
Most people in Roman times did not have much spare time. They were too busy working. They liked games though. Soldiers often played board games with counters and dice. Counters and boards for their games have been found. Archaeologists aren’t always sure of the rules!
Hunting was also popular. People hunted animals for fun as well as for food. The Romans introduced fallow deer to Britain, just for hunting.
Some things the Romans did for fun were horrible. They enjoyed fights between gladiators, and fights between people and animals. These bloodthirsty shows were put on in front of crowds in large arenas called amphitheaters.
Roman emperors paid for free shows at theatres and amphitheaters. It was a good way to make themselves popular.
In Rome, the gladiatorial contests were held in the Coliseum, a huge stadium that first opened in 80 C.E. Located in the middle of the city, the Coliseum was circular in shape with three levels of arches around the outside. In height, the Coliseum was as tall as a modern 12-story building; it held 50,000 spectators.
The term “Pax Romana,” which literally means “Roman peace,” refers to the time period from 27 B.C.E. to 180 C.E. in the Roman Empire.
This 200-year period saw unprecedented peace and economic prosperity throughout the Empire, which spanned from England in the north to Morocco in the south and Iraq in the east. During the Pax Romana, the Roman Empire reached its peak in terms of land area, and its population swelled to an estimated 70 million people.
The invading army reached the outskirts of Rome, which had been left totally undefended. In 410 C.E., the Visigoths, led by Alaric, breached the walls of Rome and sacked the capital of the Roman Empire.
The Visigoths looted, burned, and pillaged their way through the city, leaving a wake of destruction wherever they went. The plundering continued for three days. For the first time in nearly a millennium, the city of Rome was in the hands of someone other than the Romans. This was the first time that the city of Rome was sacked, but by no means the last.
This map of the Roman Empire in 476 C.E. shows the various people
who invaded and how they carved up the Empire.
One of the many factors that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire was the rise of a new religion, Christianity. The Christian religion, which was monotheistic ran counter to the traditional Roman religion, which was polytheistic (many gods). At different times, the Romans persecuted the Christians because of their beliefs, which were popular among the poor.
In 313 C.E., Roman emperor Constantine the Great ended all persecution and declared toleration for Christianity. Later that century, Christianity became the official state religion of the Empire. This drastic change in policy spread this relatively new religion to every corner of the Empire.
By approving Christianity, the Roman state directly undermined its religious traditions. Finally, by this time, Romans considered their emperor a god. But the Christian belief in one god — who was not the emperor — weakened the authority and credibility of the emperor.
Constantine enacted another change that helped accelerate the fall of the Roman Empire. In 330 C.E., he split the empire into two parts: the western half centered in Rome and the eastern half centered in Constantinople, a city he named after himself.
Link to information: http://www.soe.vt.edu/socialstudiesed/hicks/cjohnsto/rome.htm
Hello everyone hope you are doing great,
This is your complete lesson about Ancient Greece. I took care of selecting the most important points and some amusing facts. Hope you won’t be lazy and that you will enjoy reading it and learning new things from it.
The Greek World
Where Western civilisation began
Ancient Greece is called ‘the birthplace of Western civilisation’. About 2500 years ago, the Greeks created a way of life that other people admired and copied. The Romans copied Greek art and Greek gods, for example. The Ancient Greeks tried out democracy, started the Olympic Games and left new ideas in science, art and philosophy (thinking about life).
The Ancient Greeks lived in mainland Greece and the Greek islands, but also in what is now Turkey, and in coloniesscattered around the Mediterranean sea coast. There were Greeks in Italy, Sicily, North Africa and as far west as France. Sailing the sea to trade and find new land, Greeks took their way of life to many places.
What was ancient Greece like?
Ancient Greece had a warm, dry climate, as Greece does today. People lived by farming, fishing, and trade. Some were soldiers. Others were scholars, scientists or artists. Most Greeks lived in villages or in small cities. There were beautiful temples with stone columns and statues, and open-air theatres where people sat to watch plays.
Many Greeks were poor. Life was hard because farmland, water and timber for building were all scarce. That’s why many Greeks sailed off to find new lands to settle.
How Greece was ruled
There was not one country called “Ancient Greece.” Instead, there were small ‘city-states’. Each city-state had its own government. Sometimes the city-states fought one another; sometimes they joined together against a bigger enemy, the Persian Empire. Athens, Sparta, Corinth and Olympia were four of these city-states, and you can find out more about them on this site. Only a very powerful ruler could control all Greece. One man did in the 300s BC. He was Alexander the Great, from Macedonia. Alexander led his army to conquer not just Greece but an empire that reached as far as Afghanistan and India.
When did Greek civilisation begin?
About 3000 BC, there lived on the island of Crete a people now called Minoans. The name comes from their King Minos. Minos and other Minoan kings grew rich from trade, and built fine palaces. The Minoan civilization ended about 1450 BC.
After the Minoans came the Myceneans. They were soldiers from mainland Greece, and were the Greeks who fought Troy in the 1200s BC. After the Mycenean age ended, about 1100 BC, Greece entered a “Dark Age”. This lasted until the 800s BC when the Greeks set off by sea to explore and set up colonies.
The Olympic Games begun in 776 BC. This was the start of “Archaic” Greek civilization.
Around 480 BC the “golden age” of Greece began. This is what historianscall “Classical” Greece.
What was the Trojan War?
The Trojans lived in the city of Troy, in what is now Turkey. The story of their war with the Greeks is told in the Iliad, a long poem dating from the 700s BC, and said to be by a storyteller named Homer. The Odyssey, also by Homer, is the tale of the adventures of a Greek soldier named Odysseus, after the war.
The Trojan War began when Paris, Prince of Troy, ran away with Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. The Greeks sent a fleet of ships, with an army, to get her back. The war lasted for 10 years. In single combat, the greatest Greek warrior, Achilles, killed the Trojan leader Hector. In the end the Greeks won, by a clever trick using a wooden horse.
The Wooden Horse
The Wooden Horse was the trick the Greeks used to capture Troy. First they pretended to sail away, but left behind a giant wooden horse. Inside the horse, Greek soldiers were hiding. Rejoicing that the Greeks had gone, the Trojans dragged the horse into their city. They thought it was a gift.
That night the Greek ships returned. While the Trojans were asleep, the hidden Greeks climbed out of the wooden horse. They opened the city gates, and let in the Greek army. Troy was destroyed. The Trojan War was over.
What is Ancient Greek Philosophy?
Ancient Greek Philosophy studies the philosophical activities and enquiries of the Greco-Roman thinkers. It covers a period of 1,000 years; from the 6th century BC to the 6th century AD. It starts from the theoretical novelty the early Presocratic thinkers such as Thales and Anaximander and ends to the late Neoplatonic and Aristotelian commentators such as Simplicius and Philoponus. Ancient Greek philosophers can be found throughout the Greek-speaking Mediterranean regions such as South Italy, Sicily, Asia Minor, Egypt and North Africa. The questions posed from the Greek thinkers concern the philosophical areas of Cosmology, Ethics, Epistemology, Logic, Metaphysics and Aesthetics such as: What is the origin of the Universe? What is the nature of Cosmos? Is there any transcendental reality beyond perceptual existence? Is there any true knowledge? Is there any ethical standard for good life?
Ancient Greek Philosophers were mainly pagans and for this reason their philosophical activities were not totally welcomed by the rising Christianity. Hence the end of ancient philosophy is usually marked by the close of the Platonic Academy of Athens by the emperor Justinian in 529AD. The last director of the Academy was Damascius.
Unfortunately only a small part of the ancient philosophical writings survive nowadays. It is noteworthy that the works of the Presocratic thinkers as well as of the Hellenistic philosophers survive only in fragments mainly from late doxographical sources. On the other hand, despite the fragmentary evidences of the Greek philosophical thought, its theoretical completeness and originality can be undoubtedly observed in the survived texts.
Ancient Greek Philosophy is usually divided into four time-periods:
1- Presocratic Period (6th – 5th century BC) 2- Classical Period (4th century BC)
3- Hellenistic Period (late 4th – 1st century BC) 4- Imperial Period (1st BC – 6th century AD).
In general, the Greeks knew four types of government:
1-Monarchy : The rule by a single person, a king, or equivalent (either sex), who has the final word in law by right. Most of the poleis (A city-state) were monarchies at one time or another and many of them apparently began and ended as such.
2-Aristocracy: The rule by those who are born in the leading families and thereby are qualified to rule, whether or not they are particularly qualified. Aristocrats are born to the nobility, but not all nobles are born aristocrats
3-Oligarchy: The rule by a few, of course they represent the wealthiest members of the society. Many poleis were ruled by an oligarchy of landlords whose land was worked by farmers.
4-Democracy: The rule by the people-almost always by means of the majority vote on disputed issues. Voting rights in executive and legislative acts are limited to citizens, and in the Greek poleis, this meant freeborn adult males.
Athens had law courts with trial by jury. Juries were larger than the ones we have today – 500 citizens normally, but sometimes more. There were no lawyers, so people spoke in their own defense. After listening to the evidence, jurors voted by placing metal discs into one of two jars – one for guilty, one for not guilty. Punishments included the death penalty. Speeches were timed by a water-clock.
Citizens also voted to get rid of politicians they did not like. They wrote the name of the person they hated on a piece of broken pottery, called an Ostrakon. Any politician who got more than 600 votes was banished from the city of 10 years.
Athens had yearly festivals for athletics, drama and religious occasions. The city taxes paid some of the cost, but rich citizens had to pay extra. Important people in Athens were the strategoi (Plural of strategos), who were ten generals chosen from each of the ten “tribes” of citizens. There were also nine archons. Their jobs were mostly ceremonial, to do with festivals and family matters. One of the archons had to organize the Dionysia Festival, for the god Dionysos, every year. It was a time for fun, wine-drinking, parties and plays.
Sparta and Athens
The two rivals of ancient Greece that made the most noise and gave us the most traditions were Athens and Sparta. They were close together on a map, yet far apart in what they valued and how they lived their lives.
One of the main ways they were similar was in their form of government. Both Athens and Sparta had an Assembly, whose members were elected by the people. Sparta was ruled by two kings, who ruled until they died or were forced out of office. Athens was ruled by archons(A chief magistrate in ancient Athens), who were elected annually. Thus, because both parts of Athens’ government had leaders who were elected, Athens is said to have been the birthplace of democracy.
Spartan life was simple. The focus was on obedience and war. Slavery made this possible by freeing the young men from household and industrial duties and allowing them to focus on their military duties. Young boys were trained to be warriors; young girls were trained to be mothers of warriors.
Athenian life was a creative wonderland. As an Athenian, you could get a good education and could pursue any of several kinds of arts or sciences. You could serve in the army or navy, but you didn’t have to. (This applied only to boys, however: Girls were restricted to other pursuits, not war or business or education.)
For many years, Spartan armies provided much of the defense of the Greek lands. The Spartan heroism at the Battle of Thermopylae, during the Persian Wars, inspired all of Greece to fight back with all their might against the invading Persians. Athenian and Spartan fought side by side in the Battle of Plataea, which ended Persian invasions of Greece.
One way that Athens and Sparta really differed was in their idea of getting along with the rest of the Greeks. Sparta seemed content to keep to itself and provide army and assistance when necessary. Athens, on the other hand, wanted to control more and more of the land around them. This eventually led to war between all the Greeks. This was the Peloponnesian War. After many years of hard fighting, Sparta won the war. In true Greek spirit, Sparta refused to burn the city of Athens. Rather, the culture and spirit of Athens was allowed to live on, as long as the Athenians no longer desired to rule their fellow Greeks. In this way, the influence of Athens remained and grew stronger. Other city-states had the same kinds of temples, buildings, and meeting-places, but it was Athens that became most famous.
While Athens was trying democracy as a form of government, its rival Sparta had two kings. One king might stay at home, while the other was away fighting battles. Fighting battles was what the Spartans did best. Greeks said that in a battle one Spartan was worth several other men.
The Spartans spent so much time training for battle that they would have starved without slaves called helots. The helots worked on the Spartans’ farms. They grew the food for the Spartan soldiers and their families.
Sparta’s most famous battle was Thermopylae. The year was 480 BC. A huge Persian army was trying to invade Greece. Barring the way at the mountain pass of Thermopylae were 300 Spartan soldiers led by King Leonidas, along with a few hundred other Greeks.
The Spartans’ brave fight lasted three days. One story says that after they broke their swords, the Spartans fought the Persians with their bare hands and teeth! In the end, Leonidas and his Spartans lay dead. The Persians marched on to capture Athens. But soon afterwards the Greeks defeated the Persian fleet at the sea battle of Salamis.
A family of gods and goddesses lived in a cloud-palace above Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece The gods looked down to watch what people were doing, and from time to time, interfered with what went on.
The gods did not always behave very well. Their king, Zeus, was always being unfaithful to his wife Hera. He appeared on Earth as a human or an animal to trick women he had fallen in love with.
The Battle of Marathon was a famous Greek victory against the Persians. About 10,000 Greeks, mostly from Athens, fought an army of 20,000 Persians led by King Darius. The Greeks surprised their enemies by charging downhill straight at the Persians.
Marathon is remembered for the heroism of a Greek named Pheidippides. Before the battle, he’d run for 2 days and nights – over 150 miles (240 km) – from Athens to Sparta to fetch help. Then he fought at Marathon. After the battle, he ran 26 miles (42 km) non-stop to Athens, but died as he gasped out the news of victory. The modern Marathon race is over the same distance as his epic run from Marathon to Athens.
The Battle of Chaeronea
In the north of Greece were the Macedonians, whom the Greeks regarded as savage and barbarian, although they were ethnically related. Philip of Macedonia, the ruler of this northern kingdom, had transformed it from a relatively backwards society into an effectively governed, aggressive state. One by one, he began to absorb the northern Greek poleis, until by the 340s he had made himself the master of much of the mainland.
After much delay, the Athenians finally awoke to the danger and convinced Thebes to join forces with them against the menace from the north in the battle of Chaeronea, 338BCE. However, Philip’s forces defeated the allies. The former city states became provinces in a rapidly forming Macedonian Empire. Chaeronea was the effective end of the ear of polis independence and of the Classical Age. From the latter of the fourth century BCE onward, Greeks were to almost always be under the rule of foreigners.
Alexander the Great and the creation of a World Empire
After the Battle of Chaeronea, King Philip was assassinated, and his young son, Alexander, succeeded to the throne. He reigned for 32 years (336-323 BCE), Alexander the Great conquered most of the world known to the Greeks and proved himself one of the most remarkable individuals of the world history. His boldness and vigor made of him a legend among the Greeks.
Alexander was acknowledged as a military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and those of his soldiers. The fact that his army only refused to follow him once in 13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.He died of a fever in Babylon in June 323 BC.
Website to check: http://www.ushistory.org/civ/6.asp
This is the handout that you will be given in the classroom to study. Again, try to look up for difficult words and do some personal research. Keep up! Click here to download the handout http://www.mediafire.com/view/?4b9k0fvfa3wrnrw
1st Year LMD
Teacher: Ms Bouadma
Babylon: Capital City of Babylonia
Babylon was an ancient city in Mesopotamia. It was the capital city of Babylonia from the second to first millennium B.C. Hammurabi made Babylon the capital city of his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar, centuries later, also made his capital in Babylon and rebuilt the city. Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon was the largest city of the time. In it was a temple of Marduk and Ziggurat, the Tower of Babel. In 331 B.C. Babylon surrendered to Alexander the Great. After Alexander’s death, Babylon fell into the hands of the Seleucids.Babylon was a commercial, administrative, literary, and religious center. The chief god of Babylon, Marduk, became supreme Mesopotamian god.
Hammurabi ruled Mesopotamia. He is credited with uniting most of this area under one extensive empire for the first time since Sargon of Akkad did so in about 2300 BC. To do this, Hammurabi waged several military campaigns. The purpose of most of his operations was to gain control of the Tigris and Euphrates waters, on which agricultural productivity depended.
The last 14 years of Hammurabi’s reign were overshadowed by war. In 1763 he fought against a coalition east of the Tigris that threatened to block access to metal-producing areas in Iran. The same year he conquered the city of Larsa, which enabled him to take over the older Sumerian cities in the south. He followed this victory with the conquest of Mari, 250 miles (400 kilometers) upstream on the Euphrates. During his last two years the king concentrated on building defensive fortifications. By this time he was a sick man, and the government was in the hands of his son, Samsuiluna.
Hammurabi effected great changes in all spheres of life, mostly from the transformation of a small city-state into a large empire. Most of his rule was given to the establishment of law and order, religious buildings, irrigation projects, and defense works. Throughout his long reign, he personally supervised navigation, irrigation, agriculture, tax collection, and the erection of many temples and other buildings. Although he was a successful military leader and administrator, Hammurabi is primarily remembered for his codification of the laws governing Babylonian life called the Code of Hammurabi, the importance of the Code of Hammurabi is that it was the first known written code of law ever and very influential in lawmaking.
The dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar
The final Babylonian dynasty became the controlling power of the whole of Mesopotamia. Nabopolassar was succeeded by his son Nebuchadnezzar in 605. Nebuchadnezzar remained in the a reign for more than 40 years, giving Babylon its period of greatest fame. He was prominent in the Bible as the ruler who destroyed Jerusalem and carried off the Jews into their Babylonian captivity. And he is featured in the list of the Seven Wonders of the World, as the creator of the hanging gardens of Babylon.
The successors of Nebuchadnezzar on the throne of Babylon are less effective. They had the misfortune to be close neighbours of the greatest empire-builder to have emerged by this stage in history.
The Decline of Babylon:
In 539 BC Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon. The Bible records in the Book of Daniel about the “Handwriting on the Wall” where Belshazzar who had been ruling in Babylon on behalf of his father Nabonidus, saw handwriting on his palace wall during a feast, which Daniel the Hebrew interpreted as the end of the Babylonian Empire.
Alexander and the Greeks
The immigrants during that period did not have any well-structured culture or civilization until they adopted the culture of the city dwellers. Of course these people brought some things with them. The invaders had different languages and more importantly they had a tribal society with tribal customs. However after a few generations living in cities these tribal customs were virtually forgotten. The newcomers also had different views on some aspects, such as war. Sumerian kings boasted of the periods of peace they had brought their kingdoms, whereas the Akkadians, a Semitic people, boasted of their great victories. However there were only minor differences in Mesopotamian civilization until the introduction of Hellenism (Greek culture) with the invasion by Alexander the Great, King of Macedon (331 BC)
The Greeks were people with a long history of civilization. They imposed this civilization on all the people they conquered, building new cities with Greek civilizations. Babylon was no longer the principal city in the area and began to decline. As Babylon declined so did the Mesopotamian civilization. The old customs were forgotten or not performed. The old gods were abandoned. The old cities, the great cities of Sumer and Akkad, such as Babylon and Ur, Uruk and Eridu, Lagash and Isin declined to insignificance.
Examples of the Hammurabi Code
14. If a man has stolen a child, he shall be put to death.
128. If a man has taken a wife and has not executed a marriage contract, that woman is not a wife.
131. If a man’s wife has been accused by her husband, and has not been caught lying with another, she shall swear her innocence, and return to her house.
196. If a man has knocked out the eye of a patrician, his eye shall be knocked out.
197. If he has broken the limb of a patrician, his limb shall be broken.
200. If a patrician has knocked out the tooth of a man that is his equal, his tooth shall be knocked out.
Check more laws here http://www.commonlaw.com/Hammurabi.html