Seven Wonders of the World, preeminent architectural and sculptural achievements of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East, as listed by various observers. The best known are those of the 2nd-century-bce writer Antipater of Sidon and of a later but unknown observer of the 2nd century bce who
Greece, the southernmost of the countries of the Balkan Peninsula. Geography has greatly influenced the countrys development. Mountains have historically restricted internal communications, but the sea has opened up wider horizons. The total land area of Greece (one-fifth of which is made up of
Iraq, country of southwestern Asia. During ancient times, lands that now constitute Iraq were known as Mesopotamia (Land Between the Rivers), a region whose extensive alluvial plains gave rise to some of the worlds earliest civilizations, including those of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, and Assyria.
Asia, the worlds largest and most diverse continent. It occupies the eastern four-fifths of the giant Eurasian landmass. Asia is more a geographic term than a homogeneous continent, and the use of the term to describe such a vast area always carries the potential of obscuring the enormous
Turkey, country that occupies a unique geographic position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe. Throughout its history it has acted as both a barrier and a bridge between the two continents. Turkey is situated at the crossroads of the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, and eastern
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Cleopatra, (Greek: Famous in Her Father) Egyptian queen, famous in history and drama as the lover of Julius Caesar and later the wife of Mark Antony. She became queen on the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, in 51 bce and ruled successively with her two brothers Ptolemy XIII (5147) and Ptolemy
Ancient Egypt, civilization in northeastern Africa that dates from the 4th millennium bce. Its many achievements, preserved in its art and monuments, hold a fascination that continues to grow as archaeological finds expose its secrets. This article focuses on Egypt from its prehistory through its
Bangladesh, country of south-central Asia, located in the delta of the Padma (Ganges [Ganga]) and Jamuna (Brahmaputra) rivers in the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent. The riverine country of Bangladesh (Land of the Bengals) is one of the most densely populated countries in the world,
Petra, ancient city, centre of an Arab kingdom in Hellenistic and Roman times, the ruins of which are in southwest Jordan. The city was built on a terrace, pierced from east to west by the Wadi Ms (the Valley of Moses)one of the places where, according to tradition, the Israelite leader Moses
China, country of East Asia. It is the largest of all Asian countries and has the largest population of any country in the world. Occupying nearly the entire East Asian landmass, it occupies approximately one-fourteenth of the land area of Earth. Among the major countries of the world, China is
Europe, second smallest of the worlds continents, composed of the westward-projecting peninsulas of Eurasia (the great landmass that it shares with Asia) and occupying nearly one-fifteenth of the worlds total land area. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the west by the Atlantic
Roman Empire, the ancient empire, centred on the city of Rome, that was established in 27 bce following the demise of the Roman Republic and continuing to the final eclipse of the Empire of the West in the 5th century ce. A brief treatment of the Roman Empire follows. For full treatment, see
Tunisia, country of North Africa. Tunisias accessible Mediterranean Sea coastline and strategic location have attracted conquerors and visitors throughout the ages, and its ready access to the Sahara has brought its people into contact with the inhabitants of the African interior. According to
Babylon, one of the most famous cities of antiquity. It was the capital of southern Mesopotamia (Babylonia) from the early 2nd millennium to the early 1st millennium bce and capital of the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) empire in the 7th and 6th centuries bce, when it was at the height of its splendour.
Pakistan, populous and multiethnic country of South Asia. Having a predominately Indo-Iranian speaking population, Pakistan has historically and culturally been associated with its neighbours Iran, Afghanistan, and India. Since Pakistan and India achieved independence in 1947, Pakistan has been
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Government, the political system by which a country or community is administered and regulated. Most of the key words commonly used to describe governmentswords such as monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy are of Greek or Roman origin. They have been current for more than 2,000 years and have not
Plato, ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates (c. 470399 bce), teacher of Aristotle (384322 bce), and founder of the Academy, best known as the author of philosophical works of unparalleled influence. Building on the demonstration by Socrates that those regarded as experts in ethical
Italy, country of south-central Europe, occupying a peninsula that juts deep into the Mediterranean Sea. Italy comprises some of the most varied and scenic landscapes on Earth and is often described as a country shaped like a boot. At its broad top stand the Alps, which are among the worlds most
Africa, the second largest continent (after Asia), covering about one-fifth of the total land surface of Earth. The continent is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and on the south by the mingling waters
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Julius Caesar, celebrated Roman general and statesman, the conqueror of Gaul (5850 bce), victor in the civil war of 4945 bce, and dictator (4644 bce), who was launching a series of political and social reforms when he was assassinated by a group of nobles in the Senate House on the Ides of
Book of the Dead, ancient Egyptian collection of mortuary texts made up of spells or magic formulas, placed in tombs and believed to protect and aid the deceased in the hereafter. Probably compiled and reedited during the 16th century bce, the collection included Coffin Texts dating from c. 2000
India, country that occupies the greater part of South Asia. It is a constitutional republic consisting of 29 states, each with a substantial degree of control over its own affairs; 6 less fully empowered union territories; and the Delhi national capital territory, which includes New Delhi, Indias
Moses, Hebrew prophet, teacher, and leader who, in the 13th century bce (before the Common Era, or bc), delivered his people from Egyptian slavery. In the Covenant ceremony at Mt. Sinai, where the Ten Commandments were promulgated, he founded the religious community known as Israel. As the
Iran, a mountainous, arid, ethnically diverse country of southwestern Asia. Much of Iran consists of a central desert plateau, which is ringed on all sides by lofty mountain ranges that afford access to the interior through high passes. Most of the population lives on the edges of this forbidding,
Pompeii, preserved ancient Roman city in Campania, Italy, 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Naples, at the southeastern base of Mount Vesuvius. It was built on a spur formed by a prehistoric lava flow to the north of the mouth of the Sarnus (modern Sarno) River. Pompeii was destroyed, together with
Tutankhamun, king of ancient Egypt (reigned 133323 bce), known chiefly for his intact tomb, KV 62 (tomb 62), discovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. During his reign, powerful advisers restored the traditional Egyptian religion and art, both of which had been set aside by his predecessor
Augustus, first Roman emperor, following the republic, which had been finally destroyed by the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, his great-uncle and adoptive father. His autocratic regime is known as the principate because he was the princeps, the first citizen, at the head of that array of outwardly
Ancient Greek civilization, the period following Mycenaean civilization, which ended about 1200 bce, to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 bce. It was a period of political, philosophical, artistic, and scientific achievements that formed a legacy with unparalleled influence on Western
Socrates, Greek philosopher whose way of life, character, and thought exerted a profound influence on ancient and modern philosophy. Socrates was a widely recognized and controversial figure in his native Athens, so much so that he was frequently mocked in the plays of comic dramatists. (The Clouds
Egypt, country located in the northeastern corner of Africa. Egypts heartland, the Nile River valley and delta, was the home of one of the principal civilizations of the ancient Middle East and, like Mesopotamia farther east, was the site of one of the worlds earliest urban and literate