Ancient near eastern empires in the time of the

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Unformatted text preview: hteenth Dynasty in Egypt, new groups of peoples had established themselves in the Near East: the Kassites in Babylonia, the Hittites in Asia Minor, and the Mitannians in northern Syria and Mesopotamia (see Map 1–3). The Kassites and Mitannians were warrior peoples who ruled as a minority over more civilized folk and absorbed their culture. The Hittites established a kingdom of their own and forged an empire that lasted some 200 years. CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 21 Chapter 1 The Birth of Civilization 21 The Hittites The Kassites The Hittites were an Indo-European people, speaking a language related to Greek and Sanskrit. By about 1500 B.C.E., they established a strong, centralized government with a capital at Hattusas (near Ankara, the capital of modern Turkey). Between 1400 and 1200 B.C.E., they emerged as a leading military power in the Middle East and contested Egypt’s ambitions to control Palestine and Syria. This struggle culminated in a great battle between the Egyptian and Hittite armies at Kadesh in northern Syria (1285 B.C.E.) and ended as a standoff. The Hittites also broke the power of the Mitannian state in northern Syria. The Hittites adopted Mesopotamian writing and many aspects of Mesopotamian culture, especially through the Hurrian peoples of northern Syria and southern Anatolia. Their extensive historical records are the first to mention the Greeks, whom the Hittites called Ahhiyawa (the Achaeans of Homer). By 1200 B.C.E., the Hittite Kingdom disappeared, swept away in the general invasions and collapse of the Middle Eastern nation-states at that time. Successors to the empire, called the NeoHittite states, flourished in southern Asia Minor and northern Syria until the Assyrians destroyed them in the first millennium B.C.E. The government of the Hittites was different from that of the Mesopotamians in that Hittite kings did not claim to be divine or even to be the chosen representatives of the gods. In the early peRead the Document riod, a council Hittite Law Code: excerpts from The Code of the Nesilim of nobles limat MyHistoryLab.com ited the king’s power, and the assembled army had to ratify his succession to the throne. The Kassites were a people of unknown origin who spoke their own Kassite language and who established at Babylon a dynasty that ruled for nearly 500 years. The Kassites were organized into large tribal families and carved out great domains for themselves in Babylonia. They promoted Babylonian culture, and many of the most important works of Babylonian literature were written during their rule. Under the Kassites, Babylonia became one of the great nationstates of the late Bronze Age, along with Mitanni on the upper Euphrates, Assyria, Egypt, and the empire of the Hittites in Anatolia. The kings of these states frequently wrote to each other and exchanged lavish gifts. They supported a military aristocracy based on horses and chariots, the prestige weaponry of the age. Though equally matched in power, the kings of this tim...
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