By Daniel C. Snell

A spouse to the traditional close to East deals scholars and basic readers a complete evaluate of close to jap civilization from the Bronze Age to the conquests of Alexander the nice.

  • Covers the civilizations of the Sumerians, Hittites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Israelites and Persians
  • Places specific emphasis on social and cultural background
  • Covers the legacy of the traditional close to East within the medieval and glossy worlds
  • Provides an invaluable bibliographical advisor to this box of study

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When Esarhaddon (680–669) became king, Assyria apparently had no rival, and the dream of a ‘‘universal empire’’ had become true; the effort of military expansion could end. The only surviving polities belonged to two distinct types. On the one hand three ‘‘great kingdoms’’ were still independent: Egypt, Elam, and Urartu. On the other hand, the tribal polities in the highlands, the Medes, and on the arid steppe, the Arabs, were unified in large confederations. The conquest of the great kingdoms Historical Overview 17 was more prestigious, and they became the major targets for Esarhaddon and for his son Assurbanipal (668–631).

But problem-driven archaeological research since the 1960s has had a tremendous impact on work in the region, and scholars working in the Near East have led the way on the key questions of agriculture and state origins (Matthews 2003). However, this ‘‘big picture’’ research has a legacy in the lingering assumption of a unilineal trajectory toward agriculturebased complexity, marginalizing alternative economies and political systems in deserts, marshes, and fringes of agricultural communities. Farming-hunting or herding-gathering blended economies and loose tribal groupings were viable long-term possibilities, rather than temporary stages (Zeder 1994), but these alternatives remain under-researched.

Other changes took place in the area of socio-economic and socio-political relations. After the collapse of cities and palaces in the Levant and Anatolia and also in the Aegean area, the difference between small towns and fortified villages became less marked. The increased size of the pastoral tribes generated new political relations Historical Overview 15 based on common descent, language, and religion – as contrasted to the Bronze Age polities based on dependence on a royal palace. Two kinds of polities characterized the western half of the Near East in the Iron Age: city-states, the direct heirs of the ‘‘small kingdoms’’ of the Late Bronze especially along the coast, and ethnic states especially in the arid belt of Arameans and related peoples and in the hilly areas of the Phrygians in Anatolia, and the Medes and related peoples in Iran.

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