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Transcript
1
CLAS 3305
U. STANGE
2006
Lecture 6
Thanksgiving week Sumerian Proverb: He who eats much can’t sleep.
THE LATER HISTORY OF MESOPOTAMIA
 Thanksgiving week Sumerian Proverb:
He who eats much can’t sleep.
Norman Rockwell
(part of the Four Freedoms series)
Most prominent theme:
Early Imperialism
Sargon the Great
Semitic king from Akkad (north of Sumer)

Dates approximate…
(2334 – 2279 BCE )
---------------------------Sargon of Akkad fashioned the world’s first empire
Ginés Quiñonero
----------------------Sargon’s name echoes through the centuries…
Sargon’s Empire-Building:
He spread his terror-inspiring glamour over all the countries. He crossed the Sea in the East
and he, himself, conquered the country of the West. . . . He marched against the country of
Kazalla and turned Kazalla into ruin-hills and heaps of rubble. He even destroyed there
every possible perching place for a bird.
History of the Ancient World 45
-----------------------------------Sargon legitimized the concept of ‘divine right’
The Sumerian King List states that “Kingship is lowered from heaven”
In later history, this concept comes down to us as the “divine right of kings”
2
--------------------------------Sargon’s grandson: Naram-Sin
 Extended the empire
 Deified himself
 Claimed title to ‘King of the Four Corners of the World”
-------------------------------The Gutians….foreigners…here to stay…

'Not classed among people, not reckoned as part of the land
Gutian people who know no inhibitions,
With human instinct but canine intelligence and monkey's features'
-----------------------------Ur-Nammu 2125 BCE*

capable military leader

great builder


great lawgiver
last Sumerian dynasty
-----------------------------Shulgi
Son of Ur-Nammu
“Whatever is acquired is destined to be lost.”
-----------------------------After more than 1,500 years, political Sumer perished from the earth
----------------------Sumerian culture, however, did not perish

Sumerian culture -- mythology, religion literature, math, astronomy etc. -- was
transmitted through the cuneiform tablets
– first to the Babylonians,
– then to the Assyrians and Persians,
– then to the Greeks and Romans
– and finally to us.
-------------------------------
3
Babylon

One of the towns the invading Amorites captured was a small river town called
Babylon

circa 2,000 B.C.E
-----------------------------Hammurabi



18th C. BCE
Established the first Babylonian Empire -- ruled for 43 years
Cultural and religious inspiration from the "black-headed" people
----------------------------Hammurabi continued….






Sumerian gods
Sumerian temple rituals
Sumerian math and science
Sumerian agricultural techniques
Sumerian literature
Sumerian writing system

All in use in Mesopotamia down to the beginning of the Christian era
----------------------------------Babylon in Berlin: Ishtar Gate
-----------------------------Hammurabi’s Code of Laws
-------------------------------- 1. If a man has accused another of laying a nertu [death spell?] upon him, but has not
proved it, he shall be put to death.
What does this tell us about those early laws?
And about that society?

2. If a man has accused another of laying a kispu [spell] upon him, but has not proved
it, the accused shall go to the sacred river, he shall plunge into the sacred river, and if
the river shall conquer him, he that accused him shall take possession of his house. If
the sacred river shall show his innocence and he is saved, his accuser shall be put to
4
death. He that plunged into the sacred river shall appropriate the house of him that
accused.

3. If a man has borne false witness in a trial, or has not established the statement that
he has made, if that case be a capital trial, that man shall be put to death.

4. If he has borne false witness in a civil law case, he shall pay the damages in that suit.

6. If a man has stolen goods from a temple, or house, he shall be put to death; and he
that has received the stolen property from him shall be put to death.

8. If a patrician has stolen ox, sheep, ass, pig, or ship, whether from a temple, or a
house, he shall pay thirtyfold. If he be a plebeian, he shall return tenfold. If the thief
cannot pay, he shall be put to death.

14. If a man has stolen a child, he shall be put to death.

21. If a man has broken into a house he shall be killed before the breach and buried
there.

22. If a man has committed highway robbery and has been caught, that man shall be
put to death.
23. If the highwayman has not been caught, the man that has been robbed shall state
on oath what he has lost and the city or district governor in whose territory or district
the robbery took place shall restore to him what he lost.
25. If a fire has broken out in a man's house and one who has come to put it out has
coveted the property of the householder and appropriated any of it, that man shall be
cast into the self-same fire.




129. If a man's wife be caught lying with another, they shall be strangled and cast into
the water. If the wife's husband would save his wife, the king can save his servant.
130. If a man has ravished another's betrothed wife, who is a virgin, while still living in
her father's house, and has been caught in the act, that man shall be put to death; the
woman shall go free.
131. If a man's wife has been accused by her husband, and has not been caught lying
with another, she shall swear her innocence, and return to her house.

133. If a man has been taken captive, and there was maintenance in his house, but his
wife has left her house and entered another man's house; because that woman has not
5





preserved her body, and has entered into the house of another, that woman shall be
prosecuted and shall be drowned.
134. If a man has been taken captive, but there was not maintenance in his house, and
his wife has entered into the house of another, that woman has no blame.
135. If a man has been taken captive, but there was no maintenance in his house for
his wife, and she has entered into the house of another, and has borne him children, if
in the future her [first] husband shall return and regain his city, that woman shall
return to her first husband, but the children shall follow their own father.
141. If a man's wife, living in her husband's house, has persisted in going out, has
acted the fool, has wasted her house, has belittled her husband, he shall prosecute her.
If her husband has said, "I divorce her," she shall go her way; he shall give her
nothing as her price of divorce. If her husband has said, "I will not divorce her," he
may take another woman to wife; the wife shall live as a slave in her husband's house.
142. If a woman has hated her husband and has said, "You shall not possess me," her
past shall be inquired into, as to what she lacks. If she has been discreet, and has no
vice, and her husband has gone out, and has greatly belittled her, that woman has no
blame, she shall take her marriage-portion and go off to her father's house.
143. If she has not been discreet, has gone out, ruined her house, belittled her husband,
she shall be drowned.




195. If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off.
196. If a man has knocked out the eye of a patrician, his eye shall be knocked out.
197. If he has broken the limb of a patrician, his limb shall be broken.
198. If he has knocked out the eye of a plebeian or has broken the limb of a plebeian,
he shall pay one mina of silver.

209. If a man has struck a free woman with child, and has caused her to miscarry, he
shall pay ten shekels for her miscarriage.
210. If that woman die, his daughter shall be killed.
211. If it be the daughter of a plebeian, that has miscarried through his blows, he shall
pay five shekels of silver.
212. If that woman die, he shall pay half a mina of silver.




218. If a surgeon has operated with the bronze lancet on a patrician for a serious
injury, and has caused his death, or has removed a cataract for a patrician, with the
bronze lancet, and has made him lose his eye, his hands shall be cut off.

229. If a builder has built a house for a man, and has not made his work sound, and
the house he built has fallen, and caused the death of its owner, that builder shall be
put to death.

230. If it is the owner's son that is killed, the builder's son shall be put to death.
6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hammurabi’s Boast:
I rooted out the enemy above and below;
I made an end of war;
I promoted the welfare of the land;
I made the people’s rest in friendly habitations;
I did not let them have anyone to terrorize them;
....
I have governed them in peace;
I have sheltered them in my strength.
---------------------------------------------The rise of Babylon….
Everything Sumerian was
continued, but…
a major change in the pantheon:
the ascendancy of Marduk as the premier god…
-----------------------------------Marduk…
According to the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian epic poem of creation, Marduk defeated Tiamat and
Kingu, the dragons of chaos, and thereby gained supreme power.
-----------------------------Fall of the First Babylonian Empire
1590 B.C.E

Conquered by the Kassites (from western Persia)

Ruled 500 years
------------------------------------The Assyrians…

A Semitic people from north-eastern Mesopotamia


Took their name from their main god, Assur
Genesis 10:11
7
Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh
-------------------------------------The First Assyrian Empire (1310 – 1232 BCE)
The Second Assyrian Empire (883 – 612 BCE)
------------------------------Second Assyrian Empire (883 – 612 BCE)







unprecedented display of military power
army totally equipped with iron weapons (rather than bronze)
new battle tactics -- cavalry -- heavy war chariots
terrorization as example -- burned entire cities
destroyed conquered populations
deported survivors
name of Assyrians blackened for all time by the account of their deeds in the Bible
-----------------------------Reputation of the Assyrians…
Lord Byron
 The Destruction of Sennacherib
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold….
-----------------------------------Assyrian military tactics…
(but also practiced by other empires)
-------------------------------The Assyrians…
Held on to empire through a series of powerful kings:
 Sargon II
 Sennacherib
 Essarhaddon
 Ashurbanipal
------------------------------Sargon II
 Usurper
 Began last Assyrian dynasty
8


Defeated Israel
Dispersed the inhabitants
“Ten lost tribes”
-------------------------Sargon’s Palace at Khorsabad
---------Sennacherib




Son of Sargon II
Built palace at Nineveh
Dealt with the western territories which rose against the empire
Besieged Jerusalem
and Lachish
------------------------------ Ruled a kingdom which reached from “the upper sea of the setting sun to the lower sea of
the rising sun.”
------------------------Biblical connections…
Sennacherib and the Bible
 II Kings 18:13
Now in the 14th year of King Hezekiah did Sennacherib, King of Assyria, come up against
all the fenced cities of Judah and took them.
----------------------------Inscription at Nineveh…

Sennacherib, the mighty King, King of the country of Assyria, sitting on the throne of
judgment before the city of Lachish: I gave permission for its slaughter .....
----------------------http://fontes.lstc.edu/%7Erklein/images2/LAKISCOL.JPG
---------------------Sennacherib receiving tribute…
-----------------------Sennacherib’s Palace at Nineveh
-------------------------
9
Assyrian boasts:
(found at Nineveh)
And Hezekiah of Judah who had not submitted to my yoke ... him I shut up in Jerusalem his
royal city like a caged bird. Earthworks I threw up against him, and anyone coming out of his city
gate I made to pay for his crime. His cities which I had plundered I cut off from his land.
-------------------------Hezekiah’s Tunnel

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/1631/hez1.html

The account of the construction of Hezekiah's water tunnel under Jerusalem by King
Hezekiah shortly before the city was besieged by Sennacherib in about 701 BC is described
in 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:2-4, 30. Archaeologists discovered the tunnel in the
19th century.
------------------------ As for Hezekiah, the splendour of my majesty overwhelmed him. . . 30 gold talents . .
.valuable treasures as well as his daughters, the women of his harem, singers both men and
women, he caused to be brought after me to Nineveh. To pay his tribute and to do me
homage he sent his envoys.
---------------------Compare:

Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
Destruction of the Army of Sennacherib
(2 Kings 19:35)

II Kings 18:14:
And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of
silver and thirty talents of gold.
 II Kings 19:35,36:
And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of
the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning,
behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib, king of Assyria, departed, and went and
returned and dwelt at Nineveh.
--------------------Other corroboration of Assyrian history in the Bible….


The Death of Sennacherib
II Kings 19:37:
And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that
Adremmelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of
Armenia. And Essarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
10
------------------------------- By great good fortune we have Essarhaddon's version:
Disloyal thoughts inspired my brothers. . . they rebelled. In order to exercise royal authority
they killed Sennacherib. I became a raging lion, my mind was in a fury. . .
----------------------He set out to destroy his brothers…

These usurpers. . . fled to an unknown land. I reached the quay on the Tigris, sent my
troops across the broad river as if it were a canal. In Addar. . . I reached Nineveh well
pleased. I ascended my father's throne with joy. The south wind was blowing. . . whose
breezes are propitious for royal authority. . . I am Essarhaddon king of the world, king of
Assyria. . . son of Sennacherib.
--------------------------Assurbanipal

A different kind of Assyrian


Assembled the most impressive library in the ANE -- also collected antiquities
Capital at Nineveh
--------------------------Ginés Quiñonero
----------------------- Slaying a lion

British Museum
---------------------Map of Nineveh

Palaces plundered since first Gulf War 1990
------------------Ashurbanipal in his old age:

I did well unto god and man, to dead and living. Why have sickness and misery befallen
me? I cannot do away with the strife in my country and the dissensions in my family;
disturbing scandals oppress me always. Illness of mind and flesh bow me down; with cried
11
of woe I bring my days to an end. On the day of the city god, the day of the festival, I am
wretched; death is seizing hold upon me, and bears me down. With lamentation and
mourning I wail day and night, I groan, “O God! Grant even to one who is impious that he
may see thy light.”
-------------------------Assyrian achievements…



military rule extended over all of Mesopotamia
entire Near East paid tribute of one kind or another
most advanced administration up to that time
–
absolute monarchy
–
highly centralized bureaucracy
–
postal service over national highways
------------------------
distinctive sculpture and art

preserved the Sumerian and Babylonian culture
culture)
(much like Rome preserved Greek
-----------------------------Gilgamesh
---------------------Assyrian art…
--------------------



Nabopolassar, a Babylonian, had ruled Babylonia for the Assyrians (puppet king)
rebelled after death of Ashurbanipal
declared himself King of Babylonia
made alliance with Medes -- destroyed Nineveh
612 BCE
---------------------End of an Empire…

Nineveh destroyed in 612 B.C.

The Assyrian Empire overthrown by a combination of Chaldeans and Medes

Legend says not a single building was left standing…
12
--------------------------Biblical connections…
Nahum 3:
 1. Woe to the bloody city it is all full of lies and robbery.

3. The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a
multitude of slain, and a great number of carcasses; and there is none end of their corpses;
they stumble upon their corpses:

19: There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee
shall clap the hands over thee; for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?
--------------------Nebuchadnezzar




son of Nabopolassar -- succeeded in 605 B.C.
ruled 43 years
height of New Babylonian Empire
restored the Empire -- rebuilt Babylon even more splendidly
---------------------Hanging Gardens of Babylon

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient
World
-----------------------Babylonian military rule extended over Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia
--------------------Biblical connections…
Babylonian Captivity:
 For Hebrews, the time between the fall of Jerusalem in 586 to rebuilding of the Temple in
516 B.C. (70 years)
Jeremiah 25:11
---------------------- 8 Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: "Because you have not listened to my words,

9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of
Babylon ," declares the LORD, "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants
13
and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an
object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.
-------------------------Nebuchaddnezzar: the rest of the story…
Daniel 4:31
By William Blake
----------------------King Belshazzar’s Feast



Daniel 5
5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near
the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.
6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his
legs gave way.
-----------------------The Handwriting on the Wall…

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN

numbered, numbered, weighed, divided.
------------------------- Eschatological myth -- story about the end of things –

Religion, mythology, the Bible, prophecy

Two later lectures–The Bible and the ANE
and Eschatology in the second term
------------------------Deus ex machina….
 God uses the Persian, Cyrus, to complete the story:

The Hebrews are sent home after their long captivity (after learning their lesson)
---------------------
14
Cyrus Cylinder



Found by Hormuz Rassam in the 1890s
Sometimes referred to as the world’s first Bill of Rights -But rather followed in the tradition of other ANE rulers broadcasting their reforms
--------------------------A new empire….




The Medes and Persians are Indo-Europeans
They are young and vigorous when the old empires are old and tired
They had aided in the destruction of the Assyrian Empire (612 BCE)
Their cultural importance exceeds their political power
---------------------Medes passed down to the Persians:









their language
alphabet of 36 letters
parchment and pen as writing materials
use of the column in architecture
sacred scripture called the Zend-Avesta
Zoroastrian religion: Ahura-mazda, Ahriman
patriarchy
polygamous marriage
a significant body of law
-------------------------------The Persians….

Series of immensely successful kings



Cyrus (550-531 BCE)
Cambyses (528-522 BCE)
Darius (521-486 BCE)
-------------------------Persian Empire:




Absolute hereditary authority (king rules with divine assistance – but isn’t divine)
System of satraps – (royal governors) and secretaries (spies)
Efficiently organized system of taxation
Introduction of coinage throughout the empire (from Lydia)
15

Complex system of roads (and pony express) for commercial and military use
------------------------- As Prof. Richard Frye of Harvard said (in The Heritage of Persia):
"In the victories of the Persians... what was different was the new policy of reconciliation
and together with this was the prime aim of Cyrus to establish a pax Achaemenica..... If one were to
assess the achievements of the Achaemenid Persians, surely the concept of One World, .... the
fusion of peoples and cultures in one 'Oecumen' was one of their important legacies"
-----------------------Sumerian motifs survived into our era



Gilgamesh eventually reappeared as Ulysses in the Odyssey of Homer
Utnapishtim, survivor of the great flood, reappeared as Noah in the Old Testament
The innocent long-suffering man made a reappearance in the Bible as Job
--------------------- Innana reappeared as Ishtar, then as Astarte, finally as Aphrodite and Venus
 Her marriage to Dumuzi foreshadows the death and rebirth motifs of the Egyptians (Isis
and Osiris) and the Greeks (Demeter and Persephone)
 There are also forerunners of the Cain and Abel motif
 The paradise motif reappears in Persian religion and art and then in Christian religion and
art
The story of Sennacherib in the Bible
Sennacherib set off on campaigns to shore up the western edges of his empire
(along the Mediterranean)
Fought an Egyptian army on his way down to Judah
And then made his way into Biblical history by attacking Jerusalem
Lachish first….
Have to follow several leads
II Kings 18:13
16
Now in the 14th year of King Hezekiah did Sennacherib, King of Assyria, come up against all
the fenced cities of Judah and took them.
----------------------------------
after successfully defeating Lachish:
Sennacherib turned his attention to Jerusalem
---------------------------------Assyrian boasts: (found at Nineveh)
And Hezekiah of Judah who had not submitted to my yoke ... him I shut up in Jerusalem
his royal city like a caged bird. Earthworks I threw up against him, and anyone coming out
of his city gate I made to pay for his crime. His cities which I had plundered I cut off from his
land. . .
As for Hezekiah, the splendour of my majesty overwhelmed him. . . 30 gold talents . .
.valuable treasures as well as his daughters, the women of his harem, singers both men and
women, he caused to be brought after me to Nineveh. To pay his tribute and to do me
homage he sent his envoys.
17
Compare II Kings 18:14:
And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of
silver and thirty talents of gold.
II Kings 19:35,36:
And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of
the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the
morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib, king of Assyria, departed, and
went and returned and dwelt at Nineveh.
18
What happened? The Bible says no more than that.
Look for clues in other places

20th century Excavation of Lachish -- a mass grave in the rock with 2,000 human skeletons
found -- date uncertain – identification uncertain only conjecture
Other corroboration of Assyrian history in the Bible
The Death of Sennacherib
II Kings 19:37:
And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that
Adremmelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the
land of Armenia. And Essarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
19
By great good fortune we have Essarhaddon's version:
Disloyal thoughts inspired my brothers. . . they rebelled. In order to exercise royal authority
they killed Sennacherib. I became a raging lion, my mind was in a fury. . .
he set out to destroy his brothers
These usurpers. . . fled to an unknown land. I reached the quay on the Tigris, sent my troops
across the broad river as if it were a canal. In Addar. . . I reached Nineveh well pleased. I
ascended my father's throne with joy. The south wind was blowing. . . whose breezes are
propitious for royal authority. . . I am Essarhaddon king of the world, king of Assyria. . . son
of Sennacherib.
Essarhaddon conquered Egypt -- extended the Assyrian Empire
Ashurbanipal
assembled a great library of 20,000 cuneiform tablets
capital at Nineveh -- surpassed all cities in splendor
luxurious temples and palaces
Assyrian achievements:

military rule extended over all of Mesopotamia
entire Near East paid tribute of one kind or another
--------------------------------------Not surprisingly, Assyria had many enemies
After the death of Ashurbanipal
-- empire overthrown by a combination of Chaldeans and Medes
Nabopolassar
- had ruled Babylonia for the Assyrians -- rebelled after death of Ashurbanipal
declared himself King of Babylonia
20
made alliance with Medes -- destroyed Nineveh
Nineveh destroyed utterly in 612 B.C. ******
-- not a single building left standing
-----------------------------------------------
Bible Nahum 3
1. Woe to the bloody city it is all full of lies and robbery.
2. The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and
of the jumping chariots.
3. The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude
of slain, and a great number of carcasses; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon
their corpses:
19: There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall
clap the hands over thee; for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?
CHALDEAN (NEO BABYLONIAN) EMPIRE
Chaldeans a Semitic tribe
settled in southern Mesopotamia 1000 B.C.
had waited for chance to rebel
subject under Assyrian Empire for generations
Nabopolassar
- had ruled Babylonia for the Assyrians as a puppet king
-- rebelled after death of Ashurbanipal
declared himself King of Babylonia
made alliance with Medes -- destroyed Nineveh
Nebuchadnezzar
- son of Nabopolassar -- succeeded in 605 B.C.
21
ruled 43 years
height of New Babylonian Empire
restored the Empire -- rebuilt Babylon even more splendidly
Hanging Gardens of Babylon built at this time
Perhaps pleasure garden for concubine who missed her
foreign home she missed
Perhaps lushly planted ziggurat
lush
----------------------------------------Jerusalem captured twice -- 597 B.C. and in 586 B.C.
city destroyed and Jews taken into captivity in Babylon
Babylonian Captivity:
For Hebrews, the time between the fall of Jerusalem in 586 to rebuilding of the Temple
in 516 ---B.C. (70 years)
--------------------------------8Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: "Because you have not listened to my words,
9I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,"
declares the LORD, "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the
surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn,
and an everlasting ruin.
-------------------------------------God sent them into captivity to teach them a lesson -- and when they had learned it (after 70
years), he rescued them:
------------------------------------These books of the Bible written much later of course
After the fact – when the end of the story was known
-------------------------But God now has punishment for the Babylonians
22
For Nebuchaddnezzar
Insanity
Daniel translates dreams and omens for Nebuchaddnezzar
Son Belshazzar -- Story of the handwriting on the wall
------------------------------------------And this is the inscription that was written, MENE, MENE,
TEKEL, UPHARSIN—numbered, numbered, weighed, divisions.
------------------------------------------------------------------The Fall of Babylon
The Myth and the History -----
Babylon fell shortly after the death of Nebuchadnezzar
Eschatological myth -- story about the ends of things -----------------------------------------The Bible says that Cyrus freed the Hebrews from their Babylonian captivity and decreed
that they should return home and rebuild their temple
Cyrus cylinder cuneiform
Discovered in 1879
Hormudz Rassam
In Babylon now in British museum
----------------------------------------------PERSIAN EMPIRE
The End of an Era
We are nearing the end of the story of the ancient orient (although we will still have some things
to say about Egypt and Israel separately)
The old empires are weary. They are easy prey now for conquest by outsiders.
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Paradoxically, this fading of empires is the prelude to the greatest empire of all
The Persian -- reaching out from its center in Iran, it eventually stretches into India in the east, to
the very borders of Libya in the west,
it brings a final glory and unity not even dreamt of in the earlier empires
it calls itself “the kingdom of the four quarters of the earth”
it is a nearly universal monarchy – only the far east and the west remain outside its sway
The Indo-Europeans
---------------------------------------------------------Medes passed down to the Persians:

their language

alphabet of 36 letters

parchment and pen as writing materials

use of the column in architecture

sacred scripture called the Zend-Avesta

Zoroastrian religion
 Ahura-mazda
 Ahriman

patriarchy

polygamous marriage
 a body of law
--------------------------------------------------The Persians
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The earliest extant recorded mention of Persia dates from a tablet recording the expedition of
Shalmaneser III (an Assyrian king) into a country called Parsua in the mountains of Kurdistan
(837 B.C.)
Cyrus (550-531 BCE)
--------------------------------------------------As Prof. Richard Frye of Harvard said (in The Heritage of Persia, p10-151):
"In the victories of the Persians... what was different was the new policy of reconciliation
and together with this was the prime aim of Cyrus to establish a pax Achaemenica..... If one
were to assess the achievements of the Achaemenid Persians, surely the concept of One
World, .... the fusion of peoples and cultures in one 'Oecumen' was one of their important
legacies"
-------------------------------------------------------Cambyses (528-522 BCE)
Son of Cyrus -- continues and extends empire – westward into Egypt -- down into the African
continent
Darius (521-486 BCE)
Darius the Great
Re-establishes the dynasty
Inscriptions legitimizing his power give thanks to the help of Ahura-Mazda
-------------------------------------------------------------Persian Empire:

Absolute hereditary authority (rules with divine assistance – but isn’t divine)

System of satraps – (royal governors) and secretaries (spies)

Efficiently organized system of taxation

Coinage introduced throughout the empire (from Lydia)

Complex system of roads for commercial and military use
25
----------------------------------------Getting up into Greek times – history told in Herodotus -- other Classics courses
Persia fell to
ALEXANDER THE GREAT (334 TO 331 BCE)
---------------------------------------------
But in the same way it is said of the Greeks that they conquered their conquerors, the
Romans
it can be said of the Sumerians also that they conquered their conquerors
the power of their knowledge, their discoveries, their religion, their mythology, their
literature was so great

the many people who came after them borrowed their culture, internalized it, used it and made
it their own -- passed it on in their turn
In this way Sumerian culture adapted and metamorphosed by all the peoples who came and
went in the Near East -- never completely lost

but no longer identified as Sumerian
-----------------------------------------------------Sumerian motifs survived into our era

Gilgamesh eventually reappeared as Ulysses in the Odyssey of Homer

Utnapishtim, survivor of the great flood, reappeared in the Old Testament

The innocent long-suffering man made a reappearance in the Bible as Job

Innana reappeared as Ishtar, then as Astarte, finally as Aphrodite and Venus
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
Her marriage to Dumuzi foreshadows the death and rebirth motifs of the Egyptians (Isis and
Osiris) and the Greek tales of Demeter and Persephone

There are also forerunners of the Cain and Abel motif

The paradise motif reappears in Persian religion and art and then in Christian religion and art
All of these we will follow with more attention in a later lecture
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IN A NUTSHELL
AKKADIAN EMPIRE (C. 2300 – 2230 BCE)
Sargon (Moses story)
Ur-Nammu beginning of Golden Age of Sumer
earliest law reforms (2100 B. C.)
Destroyed by Elamites (from the east)
and Amorites (from Syria - west)
BABYLONIAN EMPIRE (AMORITE DYNASTY) (18TH C BCE)
Hammurabi 18th C. B.C.
sacked by Hittites (didn't stay)
and Kassites (did stay)
ASSYRIAN EMPIRES (1310 - 1232) (883 - 612)
Sargon II preserved Sumerian culture
Sennacherib destroyed Babylon
attacked King Hezekiah in Judah
(mouse story in Herodotus)
Essarhaddon (son)
Ashurbanipal (son)
great library
beautified capital at Nineveh
NEO BABYLONIAN (CHALDEAN) EMPIRE
Nabopolassar destroyed Nineveh in 612 B.C. (with Medes)
Nebuchadnezzar (son) succeeded in 605 B.C.
restored the empire
rebuilt Babylon
Attacked Jerusalem twice ( 597 and 586 B.C.)
Hebrews taken into captivity en masse (586 B.C.)
Belshazzar -- handwriting on the wall
PERSIAN EMPIRE (550 BCE ON)
Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon
Cambyses conquered Egypt
Darius tried to conquer Greek cities of Ionia