This course provides an introduction to the history and cultural traditions of the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean. From the origins of cities and the invention of writing, it surveys the intellectual, artistic, and political traditions that laid the foundations for the later civilizations of Europe and western Asia. Students will acquire a basic historical framework for the ancient Mediterranean from the third millennium BCE through the end of antiquity in the first millennium CE. Within this framework cross-cultural relationships of time and ideas will be established among religious texts, epic literatures, political and legal traditions, and their representations in art and architecture. In the part of the world where the division between Asia and the East and Europe and the West was born, the course will examine the development of regional and ethnic identities along with the historical development of concepts of the universal nature of humanity. This course is designed to serve as the foundation course for all majors in the department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) and to provide a cultural and historical framework for interpreting the visual productions in art and architecture of these ancient cultures as they are examined in more detail in the linked ARTH 111Z course.