The Ancient Near East c. 3000-330 BC. Vol. 1 0415167639, 9780415167635, 0415013534

The Ancient Near East embraces a vast geographical area, from the borders of Iran and Afghanistan in the east to the Lev

751 125 54MB

English Pages 410 [412] Year 1997

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

The Ancient Near East c. 3000-330 BC. Vol. 1
 0415167639, 9780415167635, 0415013534

Table of contents :
List of Figures
List of Maps
List of Tables
3. EGYPT FROM DYNASTY I TO DYNASTY XVII (c. 3100/3000 — 1552)
PART II: THE GREAT POWERS (c. 1600 - c. 1050)
7. MESOPOTAMIA c. 1600 - c. 900

Citation preview





Volum e l


• ..,,,

Digitizen in writing from the publishers . BrlHsb Library Cataf-OSuing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is availabk: from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloguing In Publicatf-On Data Kuhn ,~ lie The Ancient Near East I Amt-lie Kuhrt . 2 v. cm. - (Routledge history of the ancient world ) Intended audience: Students and .scholars working in history of this region . Includes bibliographical references and index. c.oments: v. t. From c. 3000 BC to c. 1200 BC v. 2. From c. 1200 BC to 330 BC 1. Middle East-Hismry-T o 622. I. Title. II. Series. 0562 .23.1-407)- the most recent conside ration of the problem makes it virtually certain chat it is to be identified with Qatara, an important town in the small kingdom of Karana (Eidem 1985). Whichever idemificat·ion is favoured, it is certain that Tell Rimah represents the remains of a substantial city of this autonomous, though tiny, state which fell for a while under the control of Shamshi-Adad I

FigMr~ JO Terracotta lion, one of a pair from Ttl l Harmal (courtesy of M.S. Drawer)



= 50 king s (Thebes: probably dynasty XIII) Total : lost = 76 kings (Delta: probably dynasty XIV) Total: lost = 6 'Hyksos' (dynasty XV) Total= 108 years

(hqJw hJswt = 'chieftains of foreign countri es') X.22-29 = 8 kings (dynasty XVI?) Total: lost X.31-XI.14 = 15 kings (prob ably dynasty XVII) Total: lost X l.16-35(?) = 20(?) kings (dynasty XVI?) (Roman numerals indicate columns; Arabic numerals indicate lines in columns)

On this reconstruction it is possible to equate some of the Turin Canon entries with the mat erial in Man etho (as indicated above: dynasties XIII, XIV, XV); where the two lists diverge, the evidence of th e Canon should be pref er red. Unfortunately, no totals for dynasties are preserved apart from one (dynasty XV = 108 years). Although the Canon introduces some chrono logical improvements, it, too, lists an eno rmous numb er of kings which need to be fitted into the period between the end of dynasty XII and the beginning of dynasty XVII I - a pe riod which, on the basis of fairly firm dates, can be no longer than about 230 years. One striking parall el betw een the two lists is the '6 shepherds' of Manetho and the '6 chieftains of foreign countries (hqJw hJswt)' in the Turin Canon. These ar e th e 'Hyksos'. Josephus, the Jewish 174

o, '"" ,,

Go ogle

Original from


EGYPT FROM DYNASTY I TO DYNASTY XVII 14 Chronology of the Second Intermediate Period

Mu/di, Egypt



Dynasty XIII (1785/1783-c. 1648) Dynasty XIV (c. 1720--115S)

The arrivaJ of the Kassites Thanks to the Mari archives, it is poss ible to trace something of Hammurabi's struggl e for pow er and his ultimate success in uniting the ar ea of south Ir aq

and beyond under his rule (see chapter 2e). His successin maintainingoverall control of his conq uests proved not to last much beyond his death, and his successors ruled a steadi ly diminishing area, extending ultimately not much

beyond Baghdad in the nonh and perhaps Larsa in the south . But although Hammurabi 's realm was und er externa l pressure from the start, it is as well not to over-emphasise the evanesc ence of his dynasty's cont rol. It may weU be significfflt th at the next target for attack of the Hittit e king, Mursili I, after

his destruction of the powerful kingdom of Yamhad (centred on Aleppo ) around 1600, was Babylon itself {chapter 5c). The Hittit e action suggests that th e political realiti es, about a hundred and fifty years after H ammur abi's death, wer e that Babylon was still an important state, which the conqueror of Yamhad had to confront . Yet the difficu lties chat the Babylon kings were experiencing are evident. Shortly after H ammurabi 's death, a rival dynasty of the 'Sealand' appea rs in the record (RLA 8: 6-10) . Lit tle is known abo ut it, but clearly it controll ed the swampy area and coas tline of the extr eme south of Iraq, 1 thus obstructing trade -links betw een the region co che north and the Gu lf, through which the lucrativ e trade w ith South Arabia (copper from Oman) and the Indus valley had been conducted earlie r. This would have had serious economic repercus sions, as well as denting royal pr estige. A still debat ed question is w hen the trad e with the Indus valley ceased as a result of th e gradua l decline of th e Har appan cultu re. Th e latt er is not very certainly dated (Fairservis 1975 [0Gj]: 296ff.), and the succeeding phase of Indian history, befo re the development of th e early firsc millennium kingdoms of Oudh, Bengal and Bihar, stillneed s clarification (Fairserv is 1975 [0Gj]: 311}. Another point, which underlines th e 332

o,,""''"'Go ogle

Original from


MESOPOTAM IA c. 1600-c. 900

fragility of Babylon's power. is that Mursili I would hardly hav e been able to bring off his lightning raid so successfully had there not b«n serious internal problems in the kingdom of Babylon. The Hittit e attack was devastating for the realm since the dynasty came to an abrupt end almost immediately, and the raid was recorded as a climactic event in a later Babylonian chronicle (A.BC no. 20 B. rev. 11). his even possible that, following the Hittite raid, the cult -statue of Marduk was removed to Hana on the Euphra tes (for doubts about the historicity of this. cf. Brinkman 1976). Whether true or not, Babylonians certainly believed later that th e divine figure had been pillaged at this time. The Hittites did not remain in Babylon. but withdrew up the Euph rates, leaving the country in a state of political chaos . At this crisis-point in Mesopotamian history a new people, the Kassites, emerged as the eventually dominant power of the area and established a new dynasty. Th eir earlier presence (c. 1770 onwards) in northern Babylonia is sporadically attested, usually as smaJI groups encamped on the edges of cities and forming mercenary contingents in the Babylon ian army or working as agricultural labourers. Other contingents of Kassites lived outs ide th e Babylonian politic,.[ sphere, and appear as hostile attackers (Brinkman 1980: 466; N ashef AfO 27 (1980): 164-168 ). But whence they came and how they became powerful or prominent enough to establ ish themselves on t he Babylonian throne is shrouded in tota l and frustrating obscurity. It has generally been thought that the place of origin of the Kassit es was in th e Zagros mountains to th e north- east of Babylo nia, because this appears in the first millennium as a tribal area of the Kassites. Later Grae-co-Roman writers (such as Diodorus and Strabo) also mention a mountain people caJled Kossaioiliving north of Khuzest an, whom it is tempting to identify as later descendants of the Kassites. Conversely, it has been suggested (e.g. by Hallo in Hallo and Simpson 1971 [OC]: 106) that che Kassites came from th e region north-west of Babyloni a, as a local ruler in the mid -Euphrates kingdom of Ha na in the Late Old Babylonian period has a typical Kassite name; so the eastern area with which the Kassites were later associated cou ld simply be a place in whi ch they continued to live as an ethnic group after their political power had waned. The most recent tendency is once again co locate the 'original homeland' of the Kassices in the Zagros, as the cumulative evidence points in that direction (Nashe! AfO 27 (1980): 167; Liverani 1988 [0C]: 607). As wich many such problems, the evidence is insufficient to solve the problem conclusively . Similarly, earlier notions about the I ndo-European affiliations of the pres erved scraps of the Kassit e languag e (Balkan 195-4-)have been seriously questioned (Mayrhofer 1966; Kammenhuber 1968; Brinkman 1980: 472-473 ). On th e basis of what has survived, Kassice has no obvious relationship with any ocher known language; the possib le Indo -European identity of a tiny number of divine names is inconclusive, as it may reflect no 333

Digitize!' by


Orig. .al from



more than a temporary, possibly indirect, cultural borrowing (cf. the similar probl em of the lndo-Aryan elements in Mitanni. see chapter 6a). One approach to the Kassices that should definitely be rejected is the idea that they were as a people in some way connected with horse-breeding, and that their success in seizing powe r in Babylon reflects th eir ability to handle a superior weapon, i.e. the light, and very fast, two-wheel ed horse-drawn chariot . This type of chariot, the appropriate skills used in its construction and the necessary training of horses are now known to have developed gradualJy in the Near East from the early second millennium on w..rds (Moorey 1986). Further, although some Kassite technical words describing horse colours and markings known, no part icular connection between Kassites and horses is attested in the Old Babylonian period where they appea r as simple agricultural workers and soldiers . Perh aps th e Kassite terms were adopted bec.iuse the use of horses in war became widespread in the N ear East at th e time that Babylonia was under their control. The two-wheeled chariot as the most imponant tactical military weapon appears to have been adopt ed at approximately th e same time, in all the major states of the ancien t Near East. How the extensive use of chis new military technique affected the socio-economic structure of Near Eastern states remains obscure. The appearance of the position of 'groom' (kartapp u ) as one of the most imponant administr ative offices in Kassite Babylonia gives us a hint that it did (cf.N ew

l(jngdom Egypt, chapter 4e).But what changes did the needs of a new group of chariot-drivers and fighters introduce? How did the need for pastures and exercising areas for horses change earlier patterns of land-holding? Or did the horses simply replace the donkeys used in warf are in prec edin g cenruri es? AH that is clear is the enormous impo rtance that the chariots and horses held for states in this period; they w ere seen as an essential and integral part of any power wonhy of th e name. as aJustrated by the standard greeting formula found in th e Amarna letters (see chapt ers 4c; 5d; 6a) exchanged between kings

of equal rank in the period,. 1500-