Near East (Western Asiatic)

The Near East or Western Asia includes the Levant area of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine, which includes the Phoenician and Canaanite cultures; the cultures of Mesopotamia in modern Iraq including Sumerian, Akkadian and Assyrian; western Iran which includes the Persian empire and the Luristan culture. To some extent the region also includes Ancient Egypt and the Hittites of Anatolia. The Mesopotamian civilisation of Sumerian is the earliest known civilisation in the world from 6th millennium BC producing characteristic cylinder seals. In the Levant the Canaanites developed with interaction with Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt and the Phoenicians expanded to the westward across the Mediterranean. In Iran the mysterious culture of the Luristians developed producing enigmatic bronze pieces and the Persian empire developed. Following conquest of the Levant by the Hittites from Anatolia the Persian empire developed over the whole of the near east pushing westward towards Greece before the conquest of Alexander the Great introduced Hellenistic culture to the region, transforming into the Roman empire. Later the conquest of the Islamic empire swept the area.

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