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Please choose one of the following questions, and answer in the form of an essay with a strong thesis statement in the introductory paragraph followed by sufficient evidence and argument in the body of the paper to support your thesis (as per the handout “Writing a History Essay—The Basics’). The essay should be between 500 and 750 words (usually 2-3 typed, double-spaced pages in a 12-point font with one-inch margins).
Over the past 125 years, scholars have offered many interpretations as to when civilization really began. If you were charged with the responsibility of writing a book on the history of civilization, when would you claim civilization began? In answering the question, compare and contrast how these different social structures and constructs arose in different ways in the Middle East and Europe.
What methods proved successful in building and sustaining empires prior to 600 B.C.? What methods of empire building proved unsuccessful in sustaining empires prior to 600 B.C.? Provide specific examples of both successful and unsuccessful empires in your answer. (Hint:Not every civilization or society should be considered an empire, so a key to answering this question is to provide a definition of what you consider an “empire.”)
Societies in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East are all usually considered part of a “western” civilization, suggesting that all of these societies shared certain fundamental traits, characteristics, or values that made them similar enough to fit under the umbrella of a single civilization. Do you agree? Or do you believe that one or more of these societies differed enough from the others that it should be considered a separate civilization? (Hint: a key to answering this question is to define what you believe constitutes a civilization.)