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Reply #54: I find the late Bronze Age Near East quite fascinating [View All]

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #25
54. I find the late Bronze Age Near East quite fascinating
Edited on Mon Apr-18-11 11:39 PM by Odin2005
The period between 2000BC and 1000BC in the Near East is not really given the respect it deserves, mainly because there was a lot of geopolitical messiness, barbarian invasions, and migrations going on, so the historical record is not as easy to peace together as we would like. Arabia was in it's terminal decline in rainfall to it's modern state, which displaced a lot of Semitic-speaking nomads into the Levant and Mesopotamia. This was the time when the Hittites were a major power and sacked Babylon. The first well known military engagement, the Battle of Megiddo, a draw between between the Egyptians and the Hittites, took place in the middle of this period. Proto-Sanskrit-speaking invaders from Central Asia carved out a chuck of territory in modern Syria that became known as the Kingdom of the Mitanni. Northern Egypt was conquered by Semite barbarians called the Hyksos for a time, which was followed by the New Kingdom.

Just to the west the Minoan civilization reached it's height, apparently coming under the control of a single mercantile empire centered at Knossos, declined, was devastated by a mega-eruption on Santorini, and then was conquered by early Greeks, giving us the legend of Atlantis. We do know what the Minoans called their island because of Egyptian records, which idnicate that they called their island "Kaptor". We kid a clue one these early "Mycenaean" Greaks from Hittite diplomatic records, which called them "Akkewaya", that is, Achaeans, which is one of the terms used for Greeks in the Homeric epics.

Iron smelting was a Hittite state secret during this period and was their secret weapon that made them so successful, but when they went into decline as a result of continuous royal succession struggles the secret got out to the Assyrians and the tribes of SE Europe and all hell broke loose, barbarian invasions triggered a devastating wave of migrations in the Eastern Mediterranean as people in the Aegean Sea region fled barbarian invasions and became what the Egyptians called the "Sea Peoples". Greeks and Minoans settled in Palestine and become the Philistines, some Minoans settled in Italy and became the Etruscans. European barbarians poured into Anatolia and gave rise to the Phrygians (of King Midas fame), who were the ancestors of the Armenians. The Mycenaean Greeks were overwhelmed by a wave of less civilized Greeks to the north that spoke "Doric" dialects.
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