A brief history of the Fertile Crescent 3000BCE – 570BCE (4)

Posted: February 16, 2016 in Ancient Eygpt, Ancient Near Eastern History, History
Tags:

Fertile Crescent (By 92bari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Fertile Crescent (By 92bari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

By 1400 BCE Egypt had established control over most of the coastal lands and began to move north conquering the Hurrian-Mittani held territory between the Mediterranean and Euphrates. This expansion north soon brought them into conflict with the Hittites, who under the Emperor Suppiliaumas I captured some of the Egyptian held northern Laventine territories from the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaton.

Around 1370 a new wind blew through the Fertile Crescent. Ashur or Assyria, which until then had been a fairly minor player on the political scene began campaigns moving both Northwest into the remains of the Hurrian-Mittani kingdom and South into Kassite controlled Babylonia. Ashur-uballit I titled himself ‘Lord of the universe’ following these victories. The use of this title, first used by Sargon of Akkad is obviously deliberate, creating a link between the new Assyrian rulers and the old Akkadian Empire. Their expansion was limited by the Egyptians and Hittites to the West and although in 1230 they managed to capture the city of Babylon, they were unable to hold onto the territory.

"Statue of Ramesses II in Karnak Temple in Luxor Egypt" by MusikAnimal - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_of_Ramesses_II_in_Karnak_Temple_in_Luxor_Egypt.JPG#/media/File:Statue_of_Ramesses_II_in_Karnak_Temple_in_Luxor_Egypt.JPG

“Statue of Ramesses II in Karnak Temple in Luxor Egypt” by MusikAnimal – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

In the West 1275 saw the battle of Kadesh (in modern day Syria) at which the forces of Rameses II of Egypt clashed with those of either Hattusillas II or Muwatalli II, the Hittite Emperor. It has been suggested that this battle was probably the largest chariot battle ever fought, involving perhaps 5,000–6,000 chariots. The Hittites using their traditional 3 man chariots against the lighter and faster Egyptian 2 man chariots.

3 man chariot Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:C%2BB-Chariot-Fig7-HittiteChariot.PNG#/media/File:C%2BB-Chariot-Fig7-HittiteChariot.PNG

3 man chariot
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – 

Initially the battle went heavily in favour of the Hittites, who managed to ambush the Egyptian army, but Rameses skilfully managed to extract his forces from the ambush and counter attack against the Hittite forces. The most likely outcome is that it was a draw or maybe a slight victory for the Hittites. This battle is primarily recorded in reliefs at the Abu-Simbel temples and in Egyptian documentation, which all describe the battle as a great Egyptian victory.

Abu Simbel Relief by Olaf Tausch - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gro%C3%9Fer_Tempel_(Abu_Simbel)_21.jpg#/media/File:Gro%C3%9Fer_Tempel_(Abu_Simbel)_21.jpg

Abu Simbel Relief by Olaf Tausch – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – 

However it must be noted that within a year, Rameses had signed a treaty with the Hittite Empire, which acknowledged the loss of the Egyptian northern Levantine territory seeding it to the Hittites.

Around the year 1200, there is a major civilisation collapse in the Fertile Crescent and in adjacent areas. This period, marked a significant decline for the Hittites, Egypt, the Kassite kingdoms, Assyria and for the remnant of the Hurrian-Mittani kingdom. The reasons for this decline are unexplained and puzzle historians to this day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s