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Grade 7: Ancient and Classical Civilizations in the Mediterranean to the Fall of the Roman Empire: Ideas that Shaped History
Lesson plans for simulated archeological digs:
Archeological Institute of America
Human Origins in Africa through the Neolithic Age
7.1 Describe the great climatic and environmental changes that shaped the earth and eventually permitted the growth of human life.
7.2 Identify sites in Africa where archaeologists have found evidence of the origins of modern human beings and describe what the archaeologists found.
7.3 Describe the characteristics of the hunter-gatherer societies of the Paleolithic Age (their use of tools and fire, basic hunting weapons, beads and other jewelry).
7.4 Explain the importance of the invention of metallurgy and agriculture (the growing of crops and the domestication of animals).
7.5 Describe how the invention of agriculture related to settlement, population growth, and the emergence of civilization.
7.6 Identify the characteristics of civilizations.
A. the presence of geographic boundaries and political institutions
B. an economy that produces food surpluses
C. a concentration of population in distinct areas or cities
D. the existence of social classes
E. developed systems of religion, learning, art, and architecture
F. a system of record keeping
Mesopotamia: Site of Several Ancient River Civilizations, c. 3500-1200 BC/BCE
7.7 On a historical map, locate the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and identify Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria as successive civilizations and empires in this region, and explain why the region is sometimes called “the Fertile Crescent.” On a modern map of western Asia, identify the modern countries in the region (Iraq, Iran, and Turkey).
7.8 Identify polytheism (the belief that there are many gods) as the religious belief of the people in Mesopotamian civilizations.
7.9 Describe how irrigation, metalsmithing, slavery, the domestication of animals, and inventions such as the wheel, the sail, and the plow contributed to the growth of Mesopotamian civilizations.
7.10 Describe the important achievements of Mesopotamian civilization.
A. Its system of writing (and its importance in record keeping and
B. Monumental architecture (the ziggurat)
C. Art (large relief sculpture, mosaics, and cylinder seals)
7.11 Describe who Hammurabi was and explain the basic principle of justice in Hammurabi’s Code (“an eye for an eye”).
Egypt: An Ancient River Civilization, c. 3000-1200 BC/BCE
7.12 On a historical map of the Mediterranean region, locate the Mediterranean and Red Seas, the Nile River and Delta, and the areas of ancient Nubia and Egypt. Identify the locations of ancient Upper and Lower Egypt and explain what the terms mean. On a modern map, identify the modern countries of Egypt and Sudan.
7.13 Describe the kinds of evidence that have been used by archaeologists and historians to draw conclusions about the social and economic characteristics of Ancient Nubia (the Kingdom of Kush) and their relationship to the social and economic characteristics of Ancient Egypt.
7.14 Describe the role of the pharaoh as god/king, the concept of dynasties, the importance of at least one Egyptian ruler, the relationship of pharaohs to peasants, and the role of slaves in ancient Egypt.
7.15 Describe the polytheistic religion of ancient Egypt with respect to beliefs about death, the afterlife, mummification, and the roles of different deities.
7.16 Summarize important achievements of Egyptian civilization.
A. the agricultural system
B. the invention of a calendar
C. monumental architecture and art such as the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza
D. hieroglyphic writing
E. the invention of papyrus
Phoenicia, c. 1000-300 BC/BCE
7.17 On a map of the ancient Mediterranean world, locate Greece, Asia Minor, Crete, Phoenicia, the Aegean, and the Red Sea. On a
modern map, locate Greece, Crete, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria.
7.18 Identify the Phoenicians as the successors to the Minoans in dominating maritime trade in the Mediterranean from c. 1000-300 BC/BCE. Describe how the Phoenician writing system was the first alphabet (with 22 symbols for consonants) and the precursor of the first complete alphabet developed by the ancient Greeks (with symbols representing both consonants and vowels).
The Roots of Western Civilization: Ancient Israel, c. 2000 BC/BCE-70 AD/CE
7.19 On a historical map of the Mediterranean, locate Asia Minor, Greece and Mesopotamia, the kingdoms of the Hittites and ancient Israel, and Egypt. On a modern map, locate Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the area governed by the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Turkey.
7.20 Identify the ancient Israelites, or Hebrews, and trace their migrations from Mesopotamia to the land called Canaan, and explain the role of Abraham and Moses in their history.
7.21 Describe the monotheistic religion of the Israelites.
A. the belief that there is one God
B. the Ten Commandments
C. the emphasis on individual worth and personal responsibility
D. the belief that all people must adhere to the same moral obligations, whether ruler or ruled
E. the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as part of the history of early Israel.
7.22 Describe the unification of the tribes of Israel under Kings Saul, David, and Solomon, including David’s founding of Jerusalem as his capital city in 1000 BC/BCE and the building of the first temple by Solomon.
7.23 Explain the expulsion/dispersion of the Jews to other lands (referred to as the Diaspora) after the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD/CE, and the renaming of the country by the Romans.
The Roots of Western Civilization: Ancient Greece, c. 800-300 BC/BCE
7.24 On a historical map of the Mediterranean area, locate Greece and trace the extent of its influence to 300 BC/BCE. On a modern map of the Mediterranean area, Europe, England, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, locate England, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and other countries in the Balkan peninsula, Crete, Egypt, India, the Middle East, Pakistan, and Turkey.
7.25 Explain how the geographical location of ancient Athens and other city-states contributed to their role in maritime trade, their colonies in the Mediterranean, and the expansion of their cultural influence.
7.26 Explain why the government of ancient Athens is considered the beginning of democracy and explain the democratic political concepts developed in ancient Greece.
A. the “polis” or city-state
B. civic participation and voting rights
C. legislative bodies
D. constitution writing
E. rule of law
7.27 Compare and contrast life in Athens and Sparta.
7.28 Describe the status of women and the functions of slaves in ancient Athens.
7.29 Analyze the causes, course, and consequences of the Persian Wars, including the origins of marathons.
7.30 Analyze the causes, course, and consequences of the Peloponnesian Wars between Athens and Sparta.
7.31 Describe the rise of Alexander the Great and the spread of Greek culture.
7.32 Describe the myths and stories of classical Greece; give examples of Greek gods and goddesses, heroes, and events, and where and how we see their names used today.
7.33 Explain why the city-states of Greece instituted a tradition of athletic competitions and describe the kinds of sports they featured.
7.34 Describe the purposes and functions of the lyceum, the gymnasium, and the Library of Alexandria, and identify the major accomplishments of the ancient Greeks.
A. Thales (
B. Pythagoras and Euclid (mathematics)
C. Hippocrates (medicine)
D. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (philosophy)
E. Herodotus, Thucydides, Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Euripides (history, poetry, and drama)
F. the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and the Temple of Apollo (architecture)
G. the development of the first complete alphabet with symbols for consonants and vowels
The Roots of Western Civilization: Ancient Rome, c. 500 BC/BCE-500 AD/CE
7.35 On a historical map, identify ancient Rome and trace the extent of the Roman Empire to 500 AD/CE.
7.36 Explain how the geographical location of ancient Rome contributed to the shaping of Roman society and the expansion of its political power in the Mediterranean region and beyond.
7.37 Explain the rise of the Roman Republic and the role of mythical and historical figures in Roman history.
A. Romulus and Remus
B. Hannibal and the Carthaginian Wars
D. Julius Caesar and Augustus
7.38 Describe the government of the Roman Republic and its contribution to the development of democratic principles, including separation of powers, rule of law, representative government, and the notion of civic duty.
7.39 Describe the influence of Julius Caesar and Augustus in Rome’s transition from a republic to an empire and explain the reasons for the growth and long life of the Roman Empire.
A. Military organization, tactics, and conquests; and decentralized administration
B. the purpose and functions of
C. the promotion of economic growth through the use of a standard currency, road construction, and the protection of trade routes
D. the benefits of a Pax Romana
7.40 Describe the characteristics of slavery under the Romans.
7.41 Describe the origins of Christianity and its central features.
B. the belief in Jesus as the Messiah and God’s son who redeemed humans from sin
C. the concept of salvation
D. belief in the Old and New Testament
E. the lives and teachings of Jesus and Saint Paul
F. the relationship of early Christians to officials of the Roman Empire
7.42 Explain how inner forces (including the rise of autonomous military powers, political corruption, and economic and political instability) and external forces (shrinking trade, attacks, and invasions) led to the disintegration of the Roman Empire.
7.43 Describe the contribution of Roman civilization to law, literature, poetry, architecture, engineering, and technology (e.g., roads, bridges, arenas, baths, aqueducts, central heating, plumbing, and sanitation).
7.44 Explain the spread and influence of the Roman alphabet and the Latin language, the use of Latin as the language of education for more than 1,000 years, and the role of Latin and Greek in scientific and academic vocabulary
Perseus Project primary source
Texts and Related Resources
The Internet Classics Archive
: 441 classical works by 59 authors
The Internet Ancient History Sourcebooks
The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.
Tufts University's The Perseus Project:
Greek and Roman Texts
Donald and Jean Johnson,
The Human Drama: From Beginnings to 500 CE
Paperback ISBN: 1558762116 / Paperback ISBN-13: 9781558762114
Susan Wise Bauer,
The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome
WW Norton • 2007 •
Benzel, Kim, Sarah B. Graff, Yelena Rakic, and Edith W. Watts,
Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for Educators
available as a free pdf from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a pdf.
Image IDs from left to right:
, from Wikimedia Commons, "Ashkelon Pre-Pottery Neolithic C flint arrowheads".
Map of Ancient Greece and Egypt
, from the University of Texas at Austin's Perry-Castaneda Map Library, "Egypt 1450 B.C.".
, from Wikimedia Commons, "Naqa-Nubia".
Pyramids of Giza
, from Wikimedia Commons, "All Gizah Pyramids".
, from Wikimedia Commons, "Phoenician Coin2A".
Moses and the 10 Commandments
, from Wikimedia Commons, "Z wizerunek Mojżesza w Niedobczycach".
Temple of Hephaestus
, from Wikimedia Commons, "Temple of Hephaestus in Athens 01".
Alexander the Great
, from Wikimedia Commons, "ACMA 1331 Alexander 1".
Map of Ancient Rome
, from the University of Texas at Austin's Perry-Castaneda Map Library, "Italy - The Growth of Roman Power in Italy".
, from Wikimedia Commons, "0092 - Wien - Kunsthistorisches Museum - Gaius Julius Caesar".
, from Wikimedia Commons, "Cicero - Musei Capitolini".
, from Wikimedia Commons, "Plautus".
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