Tpcs: Mediterranean World
Tpcs: Mediterranean World HIS 206-02
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jazzmin Casterlow on Monday September 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIS 206-02 at University of North Carolina - Greensboro taught by Ian Michie in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Tpcs: Mediterranean World in History at University of North Carolina - Greensboro.
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Date Created: 09/19/16
Iron Age Empires (Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia) (850500 BCE) The Assyrian Empire (850605 BCE) l The age of small states that characterized the beginning of the Iron Age ended when some powerful peoples of western Asia began to create new and larger empires. l During its long history, the Assyrian kingdom experienced several cycles of prosperity interspersed with periods of weakness. l The Rise of Assyria: Ø The Assyrians, named after war god Assur, were an Amorite people who settled in the upper Tigris River valley around 2000 BCE. Ø In language, culture, and religion, they were similar to the Babylonians, who had settled in central Mesopotamia at the same time. Ø The Assyrians were always engaged in a constant struggle for survival. Ø For many centuries, the Assyrians competed with other Mesopotamian powers for influence. Ø They had built the most effective millitary machine that the Near East had yet known. Ø The Assyrians took advantage of their easy access to trade routes and became another Bronze Age people to take an early interest in trade as a means of supplementing their economy. Ø The First Assyrian kingdom (ca. 20001750 BCE), with its capital at Assur, traditionally was established by PuzurAssur I just after 2000 BCE. Ø The second Assyrian Dominant period (ca. 13501200 BCE) began when king Assur Ubalit I (13531318 BCE) defeated the kingdom of Mitanni. l “How Not to Run an Empire: Ø The Assyrians went to war for two reasons: defense and economic expasion. Ø For defense reasons , peoples who previously had attacked the Assyrians, such as the Babylonians and Armaeans, were defeated and neutralized. Ø The Assyrians were very interested in using commerce to expand their economy, and warfare was viewed as a means of bringing in income. l Assyrian Government: Ø In order to administer their empire, the Assyrians created the first unified imperial government. Ø The Assyrians created a consolidated administrative system that applied equally to all territories that became part of the empire. Ø It was a topdown system focused on meeting Assyrian political and economic needs, with no concern for winning the hearts and minds of the subject peoples. Ø The Assyrian king did not rule in his own right but as the representative of the God, in this Assur; but Assur was not there, so the king was the supreme political, millitary, and religious leader, and all of the important functions of the state were manifested in him. Ø Assyrian kings built magnificent palaces at the capital cities such as Assur that functioned as the administrativ, economic, and social centers of the empire, and loot and luxury goods were funneled into them. l The Decline and Fall of the Assyrian Empire: Ø The Assyrian empire was threatened both inside and out. Ø Given the oppresive nature of Assyrian rule, only Assyrians really could be trusted to serve in the Assyrian army. Ø For three hundred years,the army was summoned nearly every year, and the continual warfare was a constant drain on manpower. Ø Being on campaign made it difficult for the farmers serving in the army to work their land back home, and the local Assyrian agricultural economy thus fell into severe decline. Ø Under Esarhaddon’s successors, the Assyrian Empire crumbled. Ø Egypt did not rest easy under Assyrian rule. The Succesors of the Assyrians (605550 BCE) l The elimination of the Assyrian Empire left a power vacuum in the Near East. l Four smaller but still potent powers briefly emerged in its place, the New Babylonian Empire, the Saite Dynasty of Egypt, the Empire of the Medes, and the kingdom of lydia. l Neither the Medes nor the Lydians came from major river valleys, demonstrating the increasing importance of peoples from outside the Bronze Age river valleys in the rise of the Iron Age civilization. l The New Babylonian Empire: Ø In Mesopotamia, the Chaldeans established the New Babylonian Empire (612539 BCE), which extended from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. Ø In Judah, the prophet Jeremiah predicted the destruction of Jerusalem as a consequence of Jewish failure to abide by the covenant with Yahweh. Ø In 587, Nebuchadrezzar captured Jerusalum, tore down its walls, and deported around ten thousand influential Jews to Mesopotamia in what was later known as the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews. Ø The jews were allowed freedom of religion, and temple worship was replaced by study of the Torah in synagogues, the name for jewish places of worship. Ø The belief arose in a Messiah who would appear and be Yahweh’s instrument in bringing victory to his chosen people. l The Empire of the Medes: Ø Their capital was at Ecbatana, and attempted to consolidate their authority in Iran. Ø Though it was the largest empire of its time, it had no past History of unity, and remained a loosely organized coalition of clans. Ø Their priests known as Magi, were reputed to have tremendous powers. Ø In the north, the Medes faced continued raids by the Scythians. To the southwest, the Medes competed witht the Chaldeans, whom they cut off from trade to thr east. l The Kingdom of Lydia: Ø Their cities of the Aegean Sea gave the kingdom of Lydia (ca. 690547 BCE), a powerful and rich trading state located in northwestern Asia Minor with capital at Sardis, access to the markets of the Mediterranean. Ø The Lydians acquired great wealth by mining electrum, an alloy of gold and silver, from the pactolus River. Ø They made one of the most significant economic innovations of all time when the invented the coinage. Ø Around 625 BCE the Lydians realized that exchanges could greatly facilitated by using lumps of gold and silver of the same weight. l The Saite Dynasty of Egypt: Ø The fourth Assyrian successor state was ancient Egypt, which enjoyed a new spirit of nationalismafter the Assyrian expulsion and a momentary revival of influence under the TwentySixth Dynasty, also known as the Saite Dynasty (671525 BCE), from the npme of Sais in the northwestern delta. Ø During this period, a simplified form of hieratic script called demotic replaced the cumbersome hieroglyphic and hieratic scripts for official, legal, and commercial documents, thus making writing accessible to a much larger segment of the population. The Persian Empire (550331 BCE) l Just over fifty years after the fall of the Assyrian Empire an even greater Iron Age empire appeared, the Persian Empire. l The Persians came from southern Iran, not from a major river valley, and demonstrate even more clearly how new political and economic developments in the Iron Age were occuring outside the old Bronze Age centers of activity. l Cyrus and the Creation of the Persian Empire: Ø Both the Persians and the Medes were descended from the Aryans, IndoEuropeans who had moved into Iran beginning around 2000 BCE. Ø By 700 BCE, the Persians were sufficiently united to choose their first king, Achaemenes. Ø All later Persian kings were thought to have been descended from him, forming the Achaemenid Dynasty. Ø For the next 150 years the Persians were vassals of the Medes. Ø Cyrus (559530 BCE) defeated the Medes and became king of the Medes and the Persians, thus creating the Persian Empire. Darius and the Operation of the Persian Empire l The Persians expected two things from their subject peoples: taxes and troops. l Persian taxes were relatively moderate. l As for the army, in order to keep costs down, the Persian Empire had no professional army except for the king’s own personal bodyguard, ten thousand elite Persian soldiers known in Herodotus as the Immortals, but more accurately named simply the “Companions.” l Darius developed the Royal Road, the first largescale road system in antiquity, running sixteen hundred miles from Susa in Persia to Sardis in Lydia. l Persian Society and Religion: Ø At the peak of the Persian social structure stood the king. Ø The Persians raised the concept of absolute monarchy to a higher level. Ø The Persian king was not just the king, he was the Great king, the King of Kings. Ø Persian social organization was based on the family, and Persian families were patriarchal,and fathers had absolute authority over their children. Ø Men could have several wives to ensure the birth of legitimate heirs. Ø Native Persian Religion was dualistic, that is, it viewed the universe as being in perpetual conflict between good (”the truth”) and evil ( “the lie”). l Persia and the West: Ø Scythians who were a nuisance continued to raid Persian territory. Ø Darius decided to deal with the Scythian problem by mounting a massive invasion of central Asia. Ø His plan was to attack via the back door by advancing up the west coast of the Black Sea, turning east, and then returning south to Persia.
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