Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Cultural Legacies of Ancient Civilizations Series (X) - New Dimension Media (X)

Egyptians: Conflicting Visions of Immortality

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The Egyptian pharaohs tried to create immortality for their god-king legacy. They attempted it with mummification and huge tombs, but most were destroyed by grave robbers and the passage of time. Still, many images and mummies remain, but one pharaoh's legacy, Akhenaton's, was deliberately obliterated by polytheistic priests because his monotheism threatened their power.

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00:15
Egyptians: Conflicting Visions of Immortality

Greeks: Olympic Mind-Body Legacy

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Like the Phoenicians, the Greeks were a collection of city states during their great Hellenic period. And even though they often made war on each other, every four years, during the Olympic Games, they sublimated their violence into a fusion of mind and body worship dedicated to their chief god, Zeus. This great ideal of the Greeks has been more long lasting throughout history than any other.

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Greeks: Olympic Mind-Body Legacy

Incas: Oppression Self-Destroys An Empire

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Like the Romans, the Incas conquered a large number of cultures, binding them together with a network of roads. The Incas also showed remarkable engineering skills in buildings and terraced farming fields, as at Machu Picchu. But the Inca impatience for power is revealed in their ruthless oppression of the defeated peoples.

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Incas: Oppression Self-Destroys An Empire

Khmers: Creating Heaven on Earth

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The Khmer Empire, now modern Cambodia, was largely unknown until the nineteenth-century discovery of the ruins of Angkor Wat, an astonishing temple complex. Long abandoned, its huge and beautiful symmetry reveals it as an attempt to create a Hindu concept of Heaven, here on earth. Yet it also reveals a society where peasants and artisans supported an absolute ruler.

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00:15
Khmers: Creating Heaven on Earth

Mayans: Deception By Temple Rituals

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The Mayan Empire was supported by sophisticated mathematical and astronomical knowledge. These ideas were integrated with their religious sacrificial practices, as in their life-or-death ball games.

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00:15
Mayans: Deception By Temple Rituals

Romans: Inclusive Conquest & Loyal Citizens

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The Romans ruthlessly conquered Carthage and the rest of the Mediterranean region, but also gained the allegiance of most of the people they subdued. How? By giving them citizenship and including them in the benefits of empire, best exemplified by one of Rome’s good emperors, Hadrian.

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Romans: Inclusive Conquest & Loyal Citizens

Minoans: Public Peace & Ritual Violence

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The Minoans, a prosperous, peaceful island people in the Mediterranean region, influenced the Greeks, as seen in the Greek Minotaur and Theseus myth. Minoan art suggests a peaceful life without war, with violence sublimated in their bull-worship rituals. Females seem to have been more influential here than anywhere else in the Ancient World.

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00:15
Minoans: Public Peace & Ritual Violence

Phoenicians: The Alphabet and Carthage's Hannibal

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The Phoenicians did not create an empire, but several city-states such as Byblos and Carthage. They were very successful seafaring traders.  Their most influential legacy is the creation of a simple alphabet for business transactions. Its structure was adopted by the Greeks, Romans, and other Western languages, including English.

Grade Level: 
Middle
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Length: 
00:15
Phoenicians: The Alphabet and Carthage's Hannibal