study starts with the ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamian civilizations.
This region was characterized by numerous tribes and societies, each with
their own beliefs and practices. However, a few general points should be
repeated. Excluding the tribes of Israel, ancient societies were
polytheistic, meaning they worshiped multiple gods. The family and the
larger society were male-dominated, or paternalistic. Agriculture remained
the dominant lifestyle for the majority of the population. Small,
hunter-gatherer tribes slowly transitioned to large, multi-ethnic empires of
the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Hittites. The ancient world was therefore
dominated by steady warfare, a rural population, and strong gender roles.