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Western Civilization I HIS-101

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Western Civilization I HIS-101 UNIT 2 - GODS AND EMPIRES IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST (1700-500 BCE) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Western Civilization I HIS-101


1
Western Civilization I HIS-101
  • UNIT 2 - GODS AND EMPIRES IN THE ANCIENT NEAR
    EAST
  • (1700-500 BCE)

2
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3
Rising Powers of the Near East
  • The first half of the 2nd millennium BCE was a
    time of transition and constant warfare
  • This was due to numerous Indo-European tribes
    moving into the Near East as well as Semitic
    tribes
  • By the beginning of the late Bronze Age
    (1500-1200 BCE), there were a number of major
    powers in the Near East
  • Anatolia was a region that was full of natural
    resources
  • Previous civilizations had not take advantage of
    this
  • The area had been ruled by Cappadocians but were
    not organized like other civilizations

4
Rise of Anatolia
  • Assyrians moved into Anatolia around1900 BCE
  • Their purpose was to create a vast trade network
    into region and take advantage of the resources
    available
  • They did not seek military gains but did have a
    profound impact
  • The became advisors to the Cappadocian kings
  • They also married into Cappadocian families
  • They brought Mesopotamian civilization and
    urbanization with them
  • The Hittites moved into central Anatolia c. 2000
    BCE
  • Their city-states remained independent until 1700
    BCE

5
Rise of Anatolia
  • Hittite Old Kingdom (c. 1700-c.1500 BCE)
  • It was a very militaristic styled culture
  • The kingdom expanded under Hattusilis I
    (c.1650c.1620 BCE)
  • He expanded the frontiers throughout the
    Anatolian Plateau
  • He controlled trade routes as a way to expand the
    kingdoms economic capabilities
  • His reign was known as the Kingdom of a Thousand
    Gods as he accepted the religion and customs of
    those conquered
  • Mursilis I (c. 1620c. 1590 BCE) continued on the
    success
  • He expanded the kingdom further into Syria and
    even into Mesopotamia
  • He sacked the city of Babylon c.1595 BCE, leaving
    it in ruins

6
  • Hittites were one of the first civilizations to
    use war chariots on a widespread basis

7
Kassites
  • In southern Mesopotamia, the Kassites moved in c.
    2000 BCE
  • Historians believe they had migrated from the
    Zagros Mountains in modern Iran
  • Middle Babylonian Kingdom (c.1531-c.1155 BCE)
  • This was after the city of Babylon had been
    sacked by Hittites
  • We do not know much about them because of a lack
    of Kassite records from the time period
  • They did trade extensively with the Assyrians,
    Hittites, and Egyptians
  • They brought peace and prosperity into the region

8
Mitanni
  • The Mitanni set up their kingdom in northern
    Mesopotamia (c. 1500-1360 BCE)
  • They were master horse trainers and brought in
    new innovations in warfare
  • This included light, horse-drawn chariots that
    would carry archers into battle
  • They also developed excellent cavalry tactics
  • Kingdom went into a decline after a renewed
    attack by the Hittites
  • The Hittites left the Mitanni Kingdom in tact to
    serve as a buffer between them and the Assyrians

9
  • Coffin cover of King Intef VIII
    Sekhemreherhermaat
  • 17th Dynasty
  • (??? 1566 BCE)

10
Second Intermediate Period
  • Second Intermediate Period (c. 1783-1550 BCE)
  • Due to the weak control of 13th and 14th
    Dynasties rulers
  • During this time period, the military became
    disorganized
  • Around 1750 BCE, the Hyksos invaded the delta
    region
  • Their origins are unknown though the are believed
    to be of western Asiatic descent
  • The term Hyksos was derived from heka khasewet,
    meaning foreign rulers
  • This led to more instability in the region
  • The nomes in Upper Egypt declared independence
  • The Nubians to the south also broke free from
    Egyptian control

11
Second Intermediate Period
  • Upper Egypt remained under Egyptian control
  • Hyksos took full control of Lower Egypt in 1663
    BCE
  • They adopted Egyptian traditions to legitimatize
    their rule
  • They also made some significant cultural
    improvements
  • They introduced bronze as a new and improved
    metal for making weapons and tools
  • Made improved weapons such as a heavier sword and
    a compound bow
  • They also introduced horse-drawn war chariots
  • In the end, the new technologies were used to
    overthrow the Hyksos
  • They were conquered by Ahmose I, who started the
    18th Dynasty, in c.1550

12
  • Ahmose I Battling the Hyksos

13
New Kingdom Egypt (1550-1075 BCE)
  • New Kingdom Egypt was composed of the 18th
    through 20th Dynasties
  • During this period, there were significant
    changes to the Egyptian style of government
  • There was a new militaristic attitude
  • It was characterized by constant invasions and
    war campaigns (defense through offense)
  • Even the pharaohs themselves were trained as
    military leaders and spent time on campaigns
  • This led to the rise of a new group warrior
    aristocracy
  • Made up of war commanders who grew accustomed to
    working independently
  • Wealth acquired through war

14
New Kingdom Egypt (1550-1075 BCE)
  • There was a loss of power for the pharaoh to
    three strong institutions
  • War Nobility
  • Royal Bureaucracy
  • Priesthood
  • Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1292 BCE)
  • Categorized by military expansion, imperialism
    and prosperity
  • Included some of the greatest and most powerful
    pharaohs in history
  • It began with Ahmose I (1550-1525 BCE)
  • He conquered the Hyksos and reunified Egypt
  • Also brought Nubia back under Egyptian control

15
New Kingdom Egypt (1550-1075 BCE)
  • Thutmose I (c.1504-1492 BCE)
  • Major military leader
  • Mastered the strategy of defense through offense
  • Learned tactics from the Hyksos
  • Nubian Rebelion
  • Thutmose led a campaign to defeat them
  • During the battle, the King of Nubia was killed
  • Thutmose supposedly hung the body from the prow
    of his ship
  • He led campaigns even farther south down to the
    Fourth Cataract
  • He also drove to the Euphrates and into Syria and
    Palestine
  • He held more territory than any other pharaoh
    before him

16
  • New Kingdom Egypt

17
  • Hatshepsut and Thutmose III

18
Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BCE)
  • Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BCE)
  • She had been Thutmose IIs Great Royal Wife and
    became the regent for Thutmose III
  • She become the first female pharaoh
  • Technically co-ruled with Thutmose III
  • Only two other women ruled in their own names
    before her, but not as pharaoh
  • She even adopted a Horus name, dressed in
    pharaonic regalia (including a false beard), and
    was addressed as His Majesty
  • She had a very prosperous reign
  • Her reign witnessed extensive building projects
  • Including her temple at Deir el Bahri

19
Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BCE)
  • Hatshepsut died in 1458 BCE but the cause of her
    death was unknown until recently
  • There had been no record of it and historians had
    proposed both natural causes and murder
  • In 2007, her mummy was positively identified by
    DNA
  • Her death was caused by an abscessed tooth
  • After her death, many of her monuments were
    either defaced or destroyed
  • Damnatio memoriae Erasing from history
  • Historians are mixed as to who and why someone
    did this
  • Many suspect it was either Thutmose III or his
    son Amenhotep II
  • They speculate that Thutmose did it either as
    revenge or was used as a way for either of them
    to legitimize their reigns

20
  • Hatshepsuts family tree

21
Thutmose III (1479-1425 BCE)
  • Thutmose III is considered one of the greatest
    pharaohs in Egyptian history
  • Over the course of his life, he conducted 17
    military campaigns
  • He captured over 350 cities
  • He conquered Syria and defeated the Mitanni
  • He also expanded Egypt south as far as the Fourth
    Cataract in Nubia
  • Amenhotep II (1427-c.1400 BCE)
  • In his military campaigns, his priority was to
    maintain his fathers conquests
  • He did not push for the same sort of expansion
    Egypt had during his fathers reign

22
  • Akhenaten
  • (1352-1336 BCE)

23
Rise of Amun-Ra
  • Religious changes during the 18th Dynasty
  • Main deity was Amun-Ra
  • Amun gained in popularity after the expulsion of
    the Hyksos
  • It was the patron deity of the city of Thebes
    which was home to the new pharaohs
  • Was viewed as the protector of the rights of the
    poor
  • Eventually, he was identified with the chief
    deity, Ra-Herakhty (combination of Ra and Horus)
  • This led to the transformation of Amun into
    Amun-Ra
  • This also led to his representation of Amun into
    the hidden aspect of the solar deity (night)
    while Ra was the visible one (day)
  • The priesthood of Amun-Ra was incredibly powerful

24
Akhenaten (1352-1336 BCE)
  • Akhenaten (1352-1336 BCE)
  • His original name was Amenhotep IV (Amun is
    Pleased)
  • He is best known for a massive religious upheaval
    in Egypt and temporarily turning the country
    towards monotheism
  • Akhenaten followed Aten as his main deity
  • Aten, the sun disc itself, could not be depicted
    as human so he was always drawn as light or sun
    rays
  • He changed his name to Akhenaten (the effective
    spirit of Aten)
  • As part of his religious changes
  • He built a new capital Akhetaten (the horizon of
    the Aten)
  • He recognized Aten as the only true god
    (monotheism)
  • He closed down the temples of other gods

25
Akhenaten (1352-1336 BCE)
  • Why did he switch away from Amun to Aten?
  • He may have been a revolutionary intellectual
  • He broke the bounds of tradition (worshiping
    Amun-Ra) by using insight and imagination to
    create a new cult of Aten
  • He may have been reactionary, upset by the
    blending of two gods, Amun and Ra, into one god
  • He may have just been a typical politician
  • He wanted to weaken the strength and influence
    of Amuns priests by bringing in a new religious
    regime
  • However, his attempt at religious change was a
    failure
  • Most Egyptians were unwilling to change their
    beliefs
  • The priesthood of Amun put up strong resistance
    as well

26
Akhenaten (1352-1336 BCE)
  • Akhenaten was not interested in military affairs
    nor foreign policy
  • Many revolts broke out in Egyptian controlled
    lands
  • He fell out of favor with a number of important
    leaders
  • All of this led to a loss of support by the
    military nobility
  • Ironically, a serious pandemic started in Egypt
  • It could have been the plague, polio, or
    influenza
  • Some saw this as a sign that the cosmic order was
    out of whack and blamed the pharaoh for this
  • With his death, Aten fell out of favor
  • Amun-Ra became the primary deity once again

27
  • Tutankhamun
  • (1333-1324 BCE)

28
Tutankhamun (1333-1324 BCE)
  • Tutankhamun was 9 years old when he took the
    throne
  • He was originally named Tutankhaten (living
    image of Aten)
  • It was changed it to Tutankhamun (living image
    of Amun)
  • His main focus was to destroy his fathers work
  • Akhentatens monuments were destroyed
  • The capital was moved back to Thebes
  • During his reign, there was a continued decline
    in Egyptian power
  • This was especially true in terms of foreign
    relationships
  • His death at the age of 19 is still being studied
  • In 2010, after DNA testing done, it is believed
    his death was due to a combination of the leg
    injury and severe malaria

29
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30
International System
  • From 1500 to 1200 BCE, a complex system of trade
    and diplomacy developed
  • During this time, there was a move from military
    expansionism and war to a more stable, peaceful
    co-existence
  • Leaders realized that wars were too costly
  • It was more favorable for them to be at peace and
    have trade channels open
  • As part of his diplomacy, leaders would
    correspond with one another
  • A standard set of written etiquette was used
  • They would also exchange gifts and arrange
    marriages to secure alliances

31
International System
  • Along with diplomacy, international trade
    flourished during this period
  • Countries were able to sell their goods in far
    markets and any type of import was in high demand
  • The trade routes also allowed for the transport
    of ideas as well which allowed for a greater
    understanding between the cultures
  • With the expansion of trade routes, this led to
    greater dependence on goods from other countries
  • They become mutually dependant on one another
    economically
  • This could be disastrous if one countrys economy
    collapsed
  • As the international market spread, it reached
    into less stable countries with unreliable
    partners and possibly more dangerous enemies

32
  • Minoan Crete

33
Aegean Civilization Minoan Crete
  • Earliest civilization in the Aegean was found on
    Crete
  • It is believed that Ancient Greek civilization
    had its roots in Minoan civilization
  • Minoan civilization was first discovered by Sir
    Arthur Evans when he uncovered the palace of
    Knossos in 1900
  • He named the culture Minoan after King Minos of
    Greek myth
  • The palace at Knossos was built during the
    Neopalatial Period (1700-1450 BCE)
  • It was a thalassocracy during the late Bronze Age
  • This included a powerful navy and overseas trade
  • Their trade networks ran throughout the
    Mediterranean region

34
  • A fresco inside Knossos

35
Aegean Civilization Minoan Crete
  • They also developed their own written language
    Linear-A
  • It is not similar to any other written language
    of the time
  • Prior to 1600 BCE, the Minoans were more
    sophisticated that the mainland Greeks
  • They had a strong influence on the area and most
    likely dominated the Greeks culturally and
    possibly politically
  • Around 1450 BCE, Minoan civilization suffered a
    sudden and catastrophic collapse
  • Many historians believed that the collapse was
    due to invasions by the mainland Greeks
  • However, new evidence is coming about that the
    eruption of nearby Thera had an impact

36
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37
Mycenaean Greece
  • Though they had been dominated by the Minoans,
    the Greeks started to come into their own around
    1600 BCE
  • Mycenaean Greece (1600-1100 BCE)
  • Bronze Age or pre-Hellenic Greece
  • Individual city-states develop during this time
  • They were theocracies headed by a king, who was
    also a war leader
  • Mycenaean Greece was a warrior society
  • They prided themselves with their warrior deeds
  • Artwork of the time included murals of hunting
    and battle scenes
  • They expanded their territory through military
    means
  • By 1400 BCE, they had invaded Crete and taken the
    palace at Knossos

38
Mycenaean Greece
  • They adopted many of the aspects of Minoan
    civilization
  • They were a thalassocracy
  • They also transformed the Minoan Linear A
    alphabet into their own Linear Bthe earliest
    Greek writing
  • By the 13th century BCE, Mycenaean Greece was on
    the decline
  • It started out as internal conflicts between the
    cities
  • By 1100 BCE, Mycenaean culture had ended
  • Historians debate the cause of this collapse
  • Most believe that it was internal collapse
  • Earthquakes, drought, famine, and disease could
    have played a part
  • More recently, historians believe it was due to
    the Sea People

39
  • The Sea People

40
The Sea People
  • In the 12th century BCE, a new group known as the
    Sea People was invading the Near East from the
    north
  • Historians know very little about this group
  • They were most likely displaced refugees who were
    fleeing widespread crop failure and famine
  • Their path of destruction started in the north
  • Disrupted the trade network of the Aegean region
  • Kingdoms faced overpopulation from those fleeing
    Greece
  • This led to widespread food shortages and warfare
  • The Sea People then moved into Anatolia and down
    the eastern Mediterranean bringing total
    destruction
  • Hittite kingdom was destroyed

41
The Sea People
  • They eventually came in contact with Egypt
  • They attacked during the reign of Ramses III
    (c.1185 BCE) but were quickly defeated both on
    land and at sea
  • The main outcome of the invasion was the almost
    complete destruction of Near East civilization
  • The international system that had been developed
    had been destroyed
  • Complete civilizations were destroyed as well
    Mycenaean Greece, Hittites, and the Kassites
  • While both Egypt and Assyria survived the
    attacks, they went into a long period of economic
    and political decline
  • This was mainly due to the loss of their major
    trading partners
  • Bronze Age collapse

42
  • Drawing of relief of the Sea People on Medinet
    Habu temple

43
Early Iron Age States
  • During the early Iron Age, there are three
    civilizations that develop in the eastern
    Mediterranean
  • The Phoenicians, Philistines, and Hebrews
  • The Phoenicians lived in modern day Lebanon and
    Syria
  • They arrived in the area around 3000 BCE and
    probably came from the Persian Gulf region
  • They were best known as traders and colonizers
  • The name Phoenicia in Greek means purple people
  • This was derived from the valuable purple-red
    dye, Tyrian purple, which was made from the Murex
    snail
  • The high point of Phoenician power and culture
    was between 1200-800 BCE

44
The Phoenicians
  • Prior to 1200 BCE, many Phoenician cities had
    been controlled by Egypt
  • With the invasion of the Sea Peoples, the
    Phoenicians were able to wrest free from Egyptian
    control
  • Their prosperity was based on an expansion of
    trade routes and accumulation of wealth
  • The city of Byblos became the center of papyrus
    trade, and is one of the oldest continuously
    inhabited cities in the world
  • They also built colonies throughout the
    Mediterranean
  • The main impact they had was their writing system
  • It was created at Byblos and was based on a
    Semitic alphabet
  • The Phoenician alphabet was later adapted and
    modified by the Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews

45
  • Phoenician alphabet in relation to other alphabets

46
The Philistines
  • The Philistines dominated the eastern
    Mediterranean from 1100-1000 BCE
  • They were descended from one of the tribes of the
    Sea People
  • Once settled in this region, they grew olive
    trees and grapevines
  • They used their profits to raise armies to secure
    their power in the region
  • They quickly took power from their weaker,
    unorganized neighbors
  • They also established monopolies on the economy
    and iron-smithing
  • Unfortunately, the Philistines left no written
    records
  • Our history of them is dependent upon the Hebrew
    histories

47
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48
The Hebrews
  • Unlike the Philistines, the Hebrews wrote a
    history
  • This later became the Hebrew Bible and the Old
    Testament of the Christian Bible
  • However, it was written over the course of many
    centuries
  • Many of the works in the first five books of the
    Bible seem to be retelling of old Near East
    stories
  • After that, the information becomes more credible
  • In the Book of Judges, the Hebrews started out as
    wandering pastoral tribes
  • They were organized into 12 tribes, each ruled by
    a judge
  • They settled in the Levant permanently by 1200
    BCE
  • Roughly at the same time as the Phillistines

49
The Hebrews
  • Conflict with the Philistines forced the Hebrews
    to unit
  • This led to the crowning of the first king of
    Israel
  • Saul (c. 1021-1000 BCE)
  • He had been appointed by one of the tribal
    judges, Samuel
  • The first part of Sauls reign was successful as
    he defeated the Philistines and drove them out of
    Israel
  • However, Saul lost favor with Samuel
  • By losing favor, he lost the religious sanctions
    for his battles and popular support
  • Samuel decided to put his backing behind David
    instead
  • David had been one of Sauls lieutenants
  • Saul attempted numerous assassinations against
    David and finally expelled from court

50
The Hebrews
  • David became an independent mercenary fighter
  • He even fought for the Philistines
  • He used the profits from raids to help the other
    leaders break free of Sauls control
  • Saul and his son were killed in battle in 1000
    BCE
  • David (c. 1000-973 BCE)
  • He was able to defeat the Philistines and
    captured Jerusalem
  • This city was made the political and religious
    capital of Israel
  • Solomon - (973-937 BCE)
  • He continued to strengthen royal power during his
    reign
  • Unfortunately he did so through ruthlessness and
    brutality
  • He is best known for his building projects
  • Many of his subjects were required to perform
    forced labor

51
The Hebrews
  • When his son, Rehoboam, came to power, he planned
    on keep up the harsh policies of his father
  • In 922 BCE, a rebellion broke out against him and
    the Kingdom of Israel broke away from Judah
  • Israel was now divided into two parts
  • Kingdom of Israel - Composed of ten of the
    original twelve tribes with its capital in
    Samaria
  • It was eventually destroyed in 722 by the
    Assyrians
  • Kingdom of Judah - Composed of the other two
    tribes and had its capital at Jerusalem
  • It was conquered by the Chaldeans in 586

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53
The Assyrian Empire
  • During most of the 2nd millennium BCE, Assyria
    was not independent
  • In the late Bronze Age, they were a dependency of
    the Mitanni
  • Their chance for independence came in 1362 BCE
  • The Mitanni were occupied with fighting the
    Hittites
  • Assur-uballit I (1362-1327 BCE)
  • The governor of the city of Assur who started the
    Assyrian empire
  • With the help of the Hittites he destroyed the
    Mitanni and declared Assyrian independence
  • Later in his reign, he allied with the Kassites
    in Babylonia to end Hittite domination in the
    region
  • This began the Middle Assyrian Kingdom (1362-859
    BCE)

54
Middle Assyrian Kingdom
  • Tukulti-Ninurta I (1243-1207 BCE) extended the
    borders of the Assyrian empire through conquest
  • He sacked the city of Babylon and took the
    Kassite king into captivity
  • When the Babylonians rebelled against
    Tukulti-Ninurta, he ransacked the temples
  • He also took the statue of the citys patron
    deity, Marduk, with him
  • This was seen as sacrilege to both the
    Babylonians and the Assyrians
  • A mob led by his son murdered Tukulti-Ninurta by
    setting his palace on fire and burning him to
    death
  • What followed was a long period of Assyrian
    decline as Babylonia expanded in power

55
Middle Assyrian Kingdom
  • Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE)
  • He was a brilliant but brutal military leader
  • Expanded the borders of the empire to the
    Mediterranean
  • He instituted a reign of terror where if a region
    did not pay tribute, they would suffer the wrath
    of his army
  • Those who opposed them were publicly tortured or
    killed
  • He was also a brilliant administrator who
    reorganized his government by placing Assyrian
    administrators in the provinces
  • He used captives from campaigns to rebuild the
    capital
  • He also used them to build temples and monuments
  • With the end of Assurnasirpals reign, it marked
    the end of the Middle Assyrian Kingdom

56
  • Shalmaneser III
  • (859-824 BCE)

57
Neo-Assyrian Empire (859-627 BCE)
  • Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BCE)
  • He seized the throne in 744
  • His first focus was subjugate Babylonia to the
    south
  • Then he turned to the west where he expanded into
    Syria and forced leaders to pay tribute or be
    attacked
  • When he died, many of the newly conquered lands
    revolted
  • Historians speculate that they thought Assyria
    would have a weak ruler, as this seemed to be a
    pattern
  • Sargon II (722-705 BCE)
  • This started one of the most magnificent periods
    in Assyrian history
  • He continued to expand Assyria
  • He conquering Israel and turned Judah into a
    vassal state
  • He also expanded east into Iran

58
Neo-Assyrian Empire (c.911-609 BCE)
  • Sargons descendents helped Assyria became the
    dominant power in the Near East
  • Why was the Neo-Assyrian Empire so successful in
    its domination of the Near East?
  • Not only were the kings powerful but they had
    competent administrations
  • Kings were seen as the earthly representative of
    the god Assur
  • It had an extensive bureaucracy comprised of
    governors, priests, and military leaders
  • Assyrians would be placed in positions of power
    in conquered territories
  • They developed a fantastic infrastructure for the
    empire
  • They built roads throughout the empire and set up
    a network of posting stations that used relays of
    horses to carry messages

59
Neo-Assyrian Empire (c.911-609 BCE)
  • The most important aspect was its military
  • There were two key characteristics of the
    military
  • Holy war
  • As part of the holy war, Assyrian kings believed
    that their expansion was part of a divine mission
    and that it was the will of Assur
  • Anybody who did not accept this was considered an
    enemy and conquered
  • Reign of terror
  • Other cities gods would be humiliated or
    captured and then the conquered cities would
    also be forced to worship Assur
  • If the lands did not pay tribute, it would be
    extracted by force
  • The Assyrians would even raid conquered areas
    every year to keep the subjects in place

60
Neo-Assyrian Empire (c.911-609 BCE)
  • The Assyrian army held over 100,000 members
  • It was well organized, disciplined, and diverse
  • It contained an infantry, cavalry, and
    horse-drawn war chariots
  • It also had specialized units such as language
    interpreters, intelligence officers, and scribes
  • They were well-equipped with iron weapons and
    armor
  • Because of this diversity, the army was able to
    use a variety of military tactics depending on
    the geography of the area
  • Warfare was savage
  • Mutilations of prisoners, decapitations, rape,
    and the mass deportations and/or enslavement of
    the civilian population was commonplace

61
Neo-Assyrian Empire (c.911-609 BCE)
  • The Assyrians were also masters of siege warfare
  • They would hammer a citys walls with heavy,
    wheeled siege towers and armored battering rams
  • Sappers would did tunnels to undermine the walls
    foundations and cause them to collapse
  • Army would cut off supply lines so if the city
    did not fall, they could be starved into
    submission
  • Their use of terror as a weapon was highly
    effective
  • They laid waste to the land they were fighting by
    setting crops on fire, smashing dams, cutting
    down trees and destroying towns
  • They committed atrocities against people,
    especially those who rebelled
  • Many prisoners were deported and used for labor

62
  • Assurbanipal
  • (669-627 BCE)

63
Decline of the Assyrian Empire
  • Assurbanipal (669-627 BCE)
  • He was considered the last of the great rulers of
    Assyria
  • He was considered an enlightened king as he had
    received a scholarly education since he was not
    first in line for the throne
  • Built the great library in Nineveh, the first
    systematically organized library in the ancient
    Near East
  • The culture and art of the empire hit its peak
    during his reign
  • He continued to solidify and stabilize the empire
  • He used the same military tactics used by his
    predecessors
  • At the time of his death, the empire was at its
    peak
  • The borders were secure and the realm was largely
    at peace
  • The realm was enjoying a period of cultural glory

64
Decline of the Assyrian Empire
  • By the end of the 7th century BCE, it was clear
    that the empire was greatly over-extended
  • Overexpansion paved the way for internal strife
    between nobles
  • There was also a lot of resentment by the
    subjects towards the Assyrians
  • A coalition was formed between the Chaldeans,
    Medes (Iran), and other states in Mesopotamia
    against Assyria
  • Under the leadership of the Chaldean ruler,
    Nabopolassar, they successfully lead a revolt
    against Assyria in 626 BCE
  • They went on to burn down the city of Nineveh in
    612 BCE

65
  • Neo-Babylonian Empire

66
Neo-Babylonian Empire (625-539 BCE)
  • The Chaldeans were successful at breaking free
    from Assyrian control
  • Nabopolassar (625-605 BCE) established a new
    monarchy in Babylonia
  • This was known as the Neo-Babylonian Empire
  • Nebuchadnezzer (605-562 BCE)
  • He achieved the final defeat of the Assyrian
    empire in 605 BCE
  • He went conquer of Syria and Palestine
  • This included destroying the city of Jerusalem
    and its temple
  • Tens of thousands of Hebrews were taken into
    Babylon in exile which became known as the
    Babylonian Captivity

67
Neo-Babylonian Empire (625-539 BCE)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's marked a period of prosperity
    for the Babylonians
  • Lucrative trading routes throughout Mesopotamia
  • Created a lot of industry for textiles and metals
  • The city of Babylon became one of the greatest
    cities of ancient times
  • He had built the Hanging Gardens, one of the
    seven wonders of the ancient world
  • He also had built numerous temples and palaces
  • While the Chaldeans did not have as impressive a
    military as Assyria, this empire was not going to
    last as long

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Persian Empire
  • Very little is known about the Persians prior to
    the 6th century BCE
  • Starting in the mid-8th century, both the Medes
    and the Persians began to form confederations of
    tribes
  • Cyrus the Great (559-530 BCE)
  • While he was a prince, he organized the Persians
    into a single tribe in 559 BCE and made himself
    king
  • In 549 BCE, he conquered the Medes
  • He made Media the first Persian satrapy or
    province
  • He then turned to the kingdom of Lydia in
    Anatolia
  • It was rich with numerous gold and silver mines
  • King Croesus of Lydia tried to make a preemptive
    strike against Persia but failed

70
  • Cyrus the Great
  • (559-530 BCE)

71
Persian Empire
  • Next, Cyrus next focused on the kingdom of
    Babylonia
  • He was able to take Babylonia in 539 BCE with
    little resistance
  • Cyrus turned Babylonia into a Persian satrapy but
    kept many Babylonians in positions of power
  • From 538 to 530 BCE, Cyrus concentrated on
    consolidating his empire
  • He sought favor from the priesthoods in conquered
    lands
  • He did this by restoring temples and allowing a
    large amount of religious toleration
  • Through his actions, he won approval the
    conquered nations who accepted him as the
    legitimate ruler
  • In 530 BCE, Cyrus was killed in battle

72
  • Persian conquests during the reign of Cyrus the
    Great

73
Persian Empire
  • Cambyses II (530-522 BCE)
  • He was one of Cyrus sons
  • In 525 BCE, he conquered Egypt
  • Cambyses died in 522 BCE
  • Because he left no heir, an intense civil war
    tore through Persia for a year
  • Darius (521-486 BCE)
  • During the early part of his reign, revolts broke
    out throughout the empire as many disputed his
    claim to the throne
  • Once those were suppressed, he worked to
    strengthen the empire both from the inside and
    out

74
  • Darius the Great
  • (521-486 BCE)

75
Persian Empire
  • Darius continued Cyrus policy of tolerance
    throughout his empire
  • In most cases, the locals were able to retain
    many of their institutions, including religious
    toleration
  • Darius reworked the empires infrastructure
  • He developed a postal system
  • A post acted as a relay stage, with no more
    than one days ride from the next post
  • This also included an extensive spy network
  • He built the Royal Road which was over 1,600
    miles long
  • He codified a legal system based on Egyptian law
  • He standardized coinage, weights, and measures
  • He also reorganized the empire into twenty
    satrapies

76
Persian Empire
  • Darius reorganized of the military
  • It composed of people from all parts of the
    empire
  • Had four branches to the military
  • Infantry
  • The Immortals were an elite infantry force of
    10,000
  • Cavalry
  • Navy which included ships from conquered states
  • With his military, Darius expanded Persia even
    farther
  • He conquered parts of India to the east
  • He also conquered Thrace and Macedonia to the
    west
  • He had control of the straights into the Black
    Sea
  • By 500 BCE, Darius was in control of most of the
    Near East

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78
Zoroastrianism
  • Another major contribution the Persians made was
    in terms of religion
  • During the 6th century BCE, Persians began to
    follow Zoroastrianism
  • Zoroaster (c.628-c.551 BCE) was a Persian holy
    man
  • His spiritual revelations led him to develop a
    more humane religion by eliminating animal
    sacrifice and magic
  • The main tenet of Zoroastrianism is that it is
    monotheistic
  • Ahura-Mazda (the wise lord) was the one supreme
    god
  • He embodied and created all that was good
  • If Ahura-Mazda embodied only the good, how do you
    explain the bad?

79
Zoroastrianism
  • Ahriman was the evil counter-deity
  • He was the creator of all things evil
  • This explained the evil of the world
  • Ahura-Mazda gave humans free will to choose
    between right and wrong
  • There would be a constant struggle between good
    and evil in which good will win
  • It did not focus on the exaltation of one god but
    rather promoted sinless lives, truth, and love
  • Zoroaster believed in individual judgment at
    death
  • If a person had done good deeds, they would go to
    paradise
  • If they did not, they would go to a sort of hell

80
  • Relief of Ahura-Mazda in Persepolis

81
Hebrew Monotheism
  • The early Hebrews worshipped many gods
  • Yahweh was only one gods worshipped by the
    Hebrews
  • Around the 10th century BCE, they focused their
    attention just on Yahweh
  • They believed other gods existed but refused to
    worship them (monolatry)
  • Yahweh was viewed in a traditional way in that
    his territory was limited to lands occupied by
    the Hebrews
  • Historians are unsure of the reasons for such a
    dramatic change
  • Around 750 BCE Hebrew theology took another turn
  • The transformation to transcendent theology takes
    place
  • Yahweh is now seen as omnipotent, no longer
    attached to a physical existence

82
Hebrew Monotheism
  • During the period of Assyrian domination, Hebrew
    religion was forced to change
  • Prophets pushed to keep their unique Hebrew
    identity by dropping monolatry and embracing
    monotheism
  • The prophets also encouraged the Hebrews to live
    ethical lives
  • This also included an end to ritual and sacrifice
  • The next change occurred during the Babylonian
    Captivity
  • As they were forced to leave the Holy Land, their
    tie to Yahweh needed to changed
  • The Prophet Ezekiel stated that states, empires,
    and thrones were not important the most
    important was the relationship between God and
    His people
  • This meant that Judaism became a universal
    religion, not one tied to any particular
    political entity or a place

83
Hebrew Monotheism
  • Many scholars feel that this adaptation of
    religion helped the Hebrew religion survive such
    numerous attacks
  • In 538 BCE, Cyrus of Persia allowed the Hebrews
    back into Jerusalem
  • He helped rebuild their temple
  • With their return to the Holy Land, their worship
    of Yahweh continued
  • They believed that humans had obligations to
    their creator rather than it having ties to a
    place or political entity continued
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