World History Post 1: Ancient Near East

Many of you may not have realized this but I’m an avid history nerd. I am absolutely intrigued by world history, specifically ancient history, the medieval times, monarchies, and the past 50 years leading up to current events. I fell in love with history during grammar school when we first broached American History. As inaccurate as those textbooks may have been, it spoke to my soul. I watched all the major TV Shows and Movies, as well as most of the minor ones because I’m fascinated by the past. I’m fascinated by how History truly repeats itself and how everything that has happened has had an indirect effect on every event thereafter. I have also done my due diligence in every show and movie that I have watched for accuracy and dramatic effect. I love reading books fictional and historically accurate about Ancient people and kingdoms, European Monarchies, Greece, Rome, Vikings, Israel, and Royals. I also love Greek Mythology and Fantasy. If it has History in it, particularly World History, count me in.

Starting with the Roman Empire you can look back on it and compare it with the United States and many other countries. During these Ancient times not many kingdoms existed in the spectrum of as they do today, or were have thought to exist. There remained much undiscovered land and peoples. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here just yet. Before and during this ancient time period there was the Ancient Near East, Ancient Africa, Ancient India, Ancient China, Ancient Europe, and the Ancient Eurasian Steppe. Now I’m not going to go all the way back to Ancient Mesopotamia, at least not in this post. Nor will I broach everything that happened or was recorded we are just going to cover the general basics up until a certain Era. Disclaimer: I may skip around, leave out, or jump from era to era, period to period, dynasties, empires, etc. Feel free to jump around as you wish also.

We will start with Bronze Age, which is believed to have been around the 4th millennia BC up until the Persian Empire in 6th century BC.

Ancient Near East

The Ancient Near East of this time was compromised of the following lands: Ancient Egypt, Hittite Empire, Kassites, Assyria, Mitanni, and Achaen or Mycenaean. This is the land of ancient Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq and Syria, Persia, modern day Iran, Armenia, The Levant, commonly known as Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine, The Anatolia, modern Turkey and Ancient Egypt, which is simply now Egypt.

Sumer and the Akkadian Empire were one of the earliest recorded civilizations until the rise of Babylonia during the latter 3rd millennium BC. Sumerian applies to Sumer. Sumer, Ancient Egypt, and the Indus Valley Civilization together formed the first settled society and created all the features to qualify as civilizations They enlarged into the first empire known as the Akkadian Empire. The Hurrians were the people who inhabited northern Mesopotamia during about 2500 BC. The largest and most powerful of these peoples were known as the Kingdom of Mitanni. The Hittite Empire was located in Antaloia and mostly existed of the Hurrians. The kingdom of Mitanni and all Hurrian kingdoms had been conquered by foreign powers, mainly Assyrians by about 13th century BC. I’d like to mention a lot of this information can also be found in the Bible in the Old Testament as well as the following information that happened a bit later. Basically anything that happened in the Middle Eastern Area during ancient times can be found in the Bible.

Ancient Babylonia was the most historical period of it’s time. The Amorite, Kassite, and Chaldean made the Babylonian Dynasties. They fought a lot with Northern Mesopotamia, aka the Assyrians at this point. Babylonia was sacked several times and was basically a impasse for much of it’s time up until 6th century BC when the Assyrian Empire fell in 612 BC. Then rose the Babylonian Empire, which was the most powerful empire in the ancient world during this time. It was ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar (who you can also learn a lot about in the Old Testament of the Bible). Around 539 BC King Cyrus of Persia overthrew the Babylonian Empire and claimed it for himself. Even though the city remained a monumental cultural center the period was known as Babylon’s paramount state in almost 3 millennium. Ancient Babylon was conquered by the Achaemenid Persian Empire in the late 6th Century BC.

Assyria.

Assyria use to refer to it’s region on the upper Tigris river, the original capital was Assur. Once it became an Empire it controlled Fertile Crescent, Egypt, Anatolia, (these are generally called Assyria Proper) and the northern half of Mesopotamia. At this time of the Empire, Nineveh was it’s capital. It’s territory extended up unto Armenia aka the Mountains of Ashur. There were times known as Old, Middle, and Neo-Assyrian periods ruled by different Kings, but the greatest of these is the Neo-Assyrian period known as the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 934-609 BC. During this time period they defeated and controlled parts of Aramea, Israel, Uratu, Phoenicia, Neo-Hittite states, Nubia, Egypt, Arabia, Cyprus, Antioch, Persia, Media, and Elam. A vast amount of this information can again be found in Bible. Assyrian King Ashurbanipal waged war on his brother in Babylon for revenge. The Hittites established a kingdom in Hattusa in Anatolia from 18th century BC. In 14th century BC the Hittite Empire was most powerful controlling regions of Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia. During 1180 BC it was divided into several Neo-Hittie city-states which some of would make it until late 8th century BC. The Hittites were known for building chariots, pioneers of the Iron Age, and passing knowledge from the Ancient Near East to the new Greeks in Europe.

During the Egyptian spread under the rule of Pharaoh Rameses II the Egyptians forced the Hittites to fall back to Kadesh around 1274 BC. Phoenicia was a huge power in the Mediterranean from 1200 BC to 539 BC. Situated along the Fertile Crescent and Lebanon it was a huge trading culture. They were famous in Classical Greece and Rome for the trades of purple and the spread of their alphabets (which most modern cultures alphabets are derived of). Ancient Persia consisted of Elam, The Median Empire, The Achaemenid Empire, The Parthian Empire, and The Sassanid Empire. Below is a list of each empire and their general rule over their terroritories at various given times or during their whole rule.

  • Elam-Khuzestan, Irania plaeteau, Anshan, Susa, and Chalcolithic-From 3000 BC.
  • Median Empire-First Empire of Persia-Assyria-678 BC-549 BC
  • Achaemenid Empire-Second Empire of Persia-First World Empire of Persia-Europe, Asia, and Africa-Afghanistan, Pakistan, Asia Minor (Modern Turkey), Balkans peninsula, Thrace-Macedonia, Bulgaria-Paeonia, Black Sea Regions, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and Libya-550 BC-330 BC.
  • Parthian Empire-Third Empire-Greater Iran, Mesopotamia, and Armenia-Made up of independent kingdoms, Arsacid Culture-Arsacid power to Nisa, Turkmenistan, Ctesiphon, and several others-Arsacid Dynasty continued unto Armenia, Iberia, and Caucasian Albania-329 BC-227 BC
  • Sassanid Empire-Fourt Dynasty and Second World Empire-Armenia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Caucasia, Central Asia, Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Asia Minor-Arch-Rival of Roman-Byzantine Empire, involved in Roman-Persian Wars-Last Great Iranian Empire before Muslim conquest and adoption of Islam-Byzantine-Sasanian War paved the way for Muslim Conquest-Persian nobilities fled to Khorasan- 226 BC-651 AD

Ancient Africa

The kingdoms, City-States, and Empires of Ancient Africa consisted of parts of Egypt, Kush, City-states of Mossylon, Malao, Mundus, Opone, Kerma, Macrobia, Aksumite Empire, and the Carthaginian Empire. These kingdoms were prominent outside their own realms and gained reputation for wealth and military prowess through the Ancient World.

Egypt

Egypt was one of the world’s first civilization’s as many know. It began around the time of 3000 BC, had the New Kingdom period from 1570-1070 BC, and then it’s influence began to be subdued by 1000 BC when close civilization’s rose to their prime around them. Kerma and it’s peak of power was from 2500 BC to 1600 BC in Nubia, modern day Sudan. It was one of many Sudanese sates during the middle kingdom age. Around 1500 BC it became Egyptian Empire territory, although it rebelled for centuries. During 11th Century BC Kush emerged, allegedly from Kerma and heavily Egyptianized.

Kush was the first Subsaharan state in Africa to bring about iron weaponry. In 1070 BC it became independent of Egypt and at the same time Egypt’s rival. It’s Ruler gained control over parts of Egypt and in 752 BC Thebes was under Kushite control. They reigned as the 25th dynasty of Egypt stretching to Sudan and Israel up until they lost control over these areas, and were conquered by the Assyrians in 653 BC. Afterwards, it remained powerful in Egypt fought against the Roman Empire in around 27 BC-22 BC and achieved peace with Augustus Caesar, even with Kush aiding Rome in support of the conquest of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Kingdom of Kush existed until it was overthrown by the Aksumite Empire in 350 AD.

Macrobia was a kingdom in Somalia around the 1st millennia BC. They are said to have invented and practiced elaborate embalming which means they had to be a fairly advanced people. They traded with many city-states and became merchants with Phoenicia, Ptolemaic Egypt, Greece, Parthian Persia, Saba, Nabataea, and the Roman Empire. The Aksumite Empire was a influential trading empire from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Northeastern Africa from 4th Century BC to 1st Century AD. They were a huge middle man between the Roman Empire and Ancient India. They presumed politics over the Arabian peninsula kingdoms and grew to stretch unto the Himyarite Kingdom. The Carthaginian aka The Carthaginian Republic was the Phoenician City-State of Carthage and included much of North Africa’s coast, parts of Iberia, and islands of Western Mediterranean from 814 BC-146 BC.

Ancient India

Ancient India disclaimer: I’m not even going to attempt and get into Ancient India here just because it’s not really a favorite of mine, nor will it truly contribute to anything I will be further discussing in the depth of what this post consists of. With that being said, I do apologize if you were looking forward to this section, and I most likely will have a separate post on Ancient India and it’s history at a later date.

Ancient China

The history of Ancient China truly deserves it’s very own blog and in depth facts and recordings of it’s dynasties. Due to this and like Ancient India, it does not truly correlate with where I’m going with this post I’m going to be leaving out any and all information in regards to Ancient China. Again I apologize, but I do promise that I will dedicate a blog post solely to Ancient China and her rulers.

Next up we will be exploring Ancient Europe. I know the majority of this first post is mainly informational and probably a bit boring to those of you who have no interest in the historical view of Empire and Eras. To those of you I say hold tight! It’s about to get interesting with my next post on Europe. Until next time as always,

Peace and Love

J.

Sources:

Google

Wikipedia

Ancient History Sites

The Holy Bible

 

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