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Unformatted text preview: e conspired
against each other, with Egypt and the
Hittites hoping to control Syria and
Palestine, and Babylonia and Assyria
testing each other’s borders. The Discovery of Iron An important technological change took place
in northern Anatolia, somewhat earlier than the creation of the Hittite
Kingdom, but perhaps within its region. This was the discovery of how
to smelt iron, along with the decision
to use it rather than copper or bronze
to manufacture weapons and tools.
Archaeologists refer to the period
after 1100 B.C.E. as the Iron Age. The Mitannians
The Mitannians belonged to a large
group of people called the Hurrians,
some of whom had been living in
Mesopotamia and Syria in the time of
the kings of Akkad and Ur. Their language is imperfectly understood, and
the location of their capital city,
Washukanni, is uncertain. The Hurrians were important mediators of
Mesopotamian culture to Syria and
Anatolia. They developed the art of
chariot warfare and horse training to
a high degree and created a large
state that reached from the Euphrates to the foothills of Iran. The
Hittites destroyed their kingdom,
and the Assyrian Empire eventually
incorporated what was left of it. The Assyrians
Assyrian Palace Relief. This eighth-century B.C.E. relief of
a hero gripping a lion formed part of the decoration of an
Assyrian palace. The immense size of the figure and his
powerful limbs and muscles may well have suggested the
might of the Assyrian king. Giraudon/Art Resource, New York. The Assyrians were originally a people living in Assur, a city in northern
Mesopotamia on the Tigris River.
They spoke a Semitic language
closely related to Babylonian. They
had a proud, independent culture CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 22 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 22 Part 1 Human Origins and Early Civilizations to 500 B.C.E. Document An Assyrian Woman Writes to Her Husband,
ca. 1800 B.C.E. The wives of early Assyrian businessmen were often active in their husbands’ business affairs. They made
extra money for themselves by having slave girls weave textiles that the husbands then sold on business trips.
Their letters are among the largest groups of women’s records from the ancient world. The woman writing
this letter, Taram-Kubi, complains of her husband’s selfishness and points out all the matters she has worked
on during his absence on business. ■ What functions did this woman perform on behalf of the family? How do you judge
her real power in regard to her husband? On what evidence do you base that judgment?
What does this document reveal about the place of women in Assyrian society?
You wrote to me saying, “You’ll need to safeguard the
bracelets and rings which are there so they’ll be available
[to buy] food. In fact you sent [the man] Ilum-bani a half
pound of gold! Which are the bracelets you left me?
When you left, you didn’t leave me an ounce of silver, you
picked the house clean and took away everything! After
you left, there was a severe famine in the city. Not so
much as a quart of grain did yo...
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- Spring '14