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The name Mediterranean is derived from Latin and means 'in the middle of the earth', a reference to the fact either that it is almost entirely surrounded by land or that it was deemed to be at the center of the known world by ancient West Afro-Eurasian societies. The fall of the Western Roman Empire shapes the way in which Western history is periodized, as it marks the end of the classical era. The cultural influence of the Assyrians and Egyptians, particularly the Hebrews, Phoenicians, Minoans, and Mycenaeans, who occupied the coasts and islands of the Eastern Mediterranean, was substantial. Within both large political structures, such as the Hellenistic and Roman empires, and smaller cultures and states that did not evolve into large-scale empires, such as those of the Hebrews, Phoenicians, Minoans, and Mycenaeans, expansion invariably led to the emergence of more complex social structures, which explicitly situated various groups, including women and slaves, into more sharply delineated hierarchical structures.
The study of warfare in the ancient Pueblos of the U.S. Southwest has become politicized and contentious, and southwestern data are only rarely used to address larger anthropological theories of war. A cross-cultural model of violence proposed by Carol and Melvin Ember (1992) suggests that war in pre-state societies is predicted by resource unpredictability and socialization for fear. The Ember and Ember model is evaluated using syntheses of southwestern warfare by Steven LeBlanc (1999), environmental variability by Jeffrey Dean (1988, 1996), and political history by Stephen Lekson (1999). The fit between the southwestern data and the model is close, and supports the Ember and Ember model.