They were feared for their cavalry and archers see

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Unformatted text preview: ir cavalry and archers, See the Map Empire of Assiria, ca. 1800 B.C.E. at CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 23 Chapter 1 against which traditional Middle Eastern armies were ineffective. The Medes attacked Assyria and were joined by the Babylonians, who had always been restive under Assyrian rule, under the leadership of a general named Nebuchadnezzar. In 612 B.C.E., they so thoroughly destroyed the Assyrian cities, including Nineveh, that Assyria never recovered. The ruins of the great Assyrian palaces lay untouched until archaeologists began to explore them in the nineteenth century. The Neo-Babylonians The Medes did not follow up on their conquests, so Nebuchadnezzar took over much of the Assyrian Empire. Under him and his successors, Babylon grew into one of the greatest cities of the world. The Greek traveler Herodotus described its wonders, including its great temples, fortification walls, boulevards, parks, and palaces, to a Greek readership that had never seen the like. Babylon prospered as a center of world trade, linking Egypt, India, Iran, and Syria-Palestine by land and sea routes. For centuries, an astronomical center at Babylon kept detailed records of observations that were the longest running chronicle of the ancient world. Nebuchadnezzar’s dynasty did not last long, and the government passed to various men in rapid succession. The last independent king of Babylon set up a second capital in the Arabian Desert and tried to force the Babylonians to honor the moon god above all other gods. He allowed dishonest or incompetent speculators to lease huge areas of temple land for their personal profit. These policies proved unpopular— some said that the king was insane—and many Babylonians may have welcomed the Persian conquest that came in 539 See the Map The Neo-Babylonian Empire, ca. 580 B.C.E. at Chronology Key Events in the History of Ancient Near Eastern Empires The Birth of Civilization 23 B.C.E. After that, Babylonia began another, even more prosperous phase of its history as one of the most important provinces of another great Eastern empire, that of the Persians. We shall return to the Persians in Chapter 4. Early Indian Civilization To the east of Mesopotamia, beyond the Iranian plateau and the mountains of Baluchistan, the Asian continent projects sharply southward below the Himalayan mountain barrier to form the Indian subcontinent (see Map 1–4 on page 24). Several sizable rivers flow west and south out of the Himalayas in Kashmir and the Punjab (Panjab, “five rivers”), merging into the single stream of the Indus River in Sind before emptying into the Indian Ocean. The headwaters of south Asia’s other great river system—the Ganges and its tributaries—are also in the Himalayas but flow south and east to the Bay of Bengal on the opposite side of the subcontinent. The earliest evidence of a settled, Neolithic way of life on the subcontinent comes from the foothills of Sind and Baluchistan and dates to about 5500 B.C.E., with...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.

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