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The ancient Near East was the home of early
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
s within a
region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The ...

region
roughly corresponding to the modern
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
:
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
(modern
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
, southeast
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
, southwest
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
, northeastern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
and
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regi ...

Kuwait
),
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
,
ancient Iran The history of Iran, which was commonly known until the mid-20th century as Persia in the Western world, is intertwined with the history of a larger region, also to an extent known as Greater Iran, comprising the area from Anatolia Anato ...

ancient Iran
(
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
,
Media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications deliv ...
,
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and offici ...

Parthia
and
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...
),
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
/
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
and the
Armenian Highlands
Armenian Highlands
(Turkey's
Eastern Anatolia Region The Eastern Anatolia Region ( tr, Doğu Anadolu Bölgesi) is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the in ...

Eastern Anatolia Region
,
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
, northwestern Iran, southern
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
, and western
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
), the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
(modern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, and
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It in ...

Jordan
),
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
and the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
. The ancient
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
is studied in the fields of
Ancient Near East studiesAncient Near East studies (or ANE studies) is the field of academic study of the Ancient Near East (ANE). As such it is an umbrella term for Assyriology, in some cases extending to Egyptology. History of ANE studies In Britain the first Assyriologic ...
,
Near Eastern archaeology Near Eastern archaeology is a regional branch of the wider, global discipline of archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a ...
and
ancient history Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from ...

ancient history
. The history of the ancient Near East begins with the rise of
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
in the 4th millennium BC, though the date it ends varies. The term covers the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
and the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
in the region, until either the conquest by the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
in the 6th century BC, that by the
Macedonian Empire Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The ...
in the 4th century BC, or the
Muslim conquests History of Islam, The history of the spread of Islam spans about 1,400 years. Muslim conquests following Muhammad's death led to the creation of the caliphates, occupying a vast geographical area; conversion to Islam was boosted by Islamic missio ...
in the 7th century AD. The ancient Near East is considered one of the
cradles of civilization A cradle of civilization is any location where civilization is understood to have independently emerged. According to current thinking, there was no single "cradle" of civilization; instead, several cradles of civilization developed independentl ...
. It was here that intensive year-round
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
was first practiced, leading to the rise of the first dense urban settlements and the development of many familiar institutions of civilization, such as
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the ability and activity to recognize shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience of the world (such as Object (philosophy), objects, ev ...
,
centralized government#REDIRECT Centralized government A centralized government (also united government) is one in which both executive and legislative power is concentrated centrally at the higher level as opposed to it being more distributed at various lower level g ...
and
empires An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and w ...

empires
, organized
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
and organized
warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violenc ...

warfare
. It also saw the creation of the first
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...
, the first
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
(
abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to th ...

abjad
), the first
currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed t ...

currency
in history, and law codes, early advances that laid the foundations of
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
and
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
, and the invention of the
wheel File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a solid piece of wood A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle An axle or axletree is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the ...

wheel
. During the period, states became increasingly large, until the region became controlled by militaristic empires that had conquered a number of different cultures.


The concept of the Near East

The phrase "ancient Near East" denotes the 19th-century distinction between
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
and
Far East The Far East is a term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeaster ...

Far East
as global regions of interest to the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. The distinction began during the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which Russian Empire, Russia lost to an alliance of Second French Empire, France, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, ...
. The last major exclusive partition of the east between these two terms was current in diplomacy in the late 19th century, with the
Hamidian Massacres #REDIRECT Hamidian massacres#REDIRECT Hamidian massacres The Hamidian massacres ( hy , Համիդյան ջարդեր, tr , Hamidiye Katliamı, french: Massacres hamidiens), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896. were massacr ...
of the
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh, A ...
and
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
by the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
in 1894–1896 and the
First Sino-Japanese War The First Sino-Japanese War (25 July 1894 – 17 April 1895) was a conflict between the Qing dynasty of China and the Empire of Japan primarily over influence in Joseon Korea. After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese lan ...

First Sino-Japanese War
of 1894–1895. The two theatres were described by the statesmen and advisors of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
as "the Near East" and "the Far East". Shortly after, they were to share the stage with
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, which came to prevail in the 20th century and continues in modern times. As ''Near East'' had meant the lands of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
at roughly its maximum extent, on the fall of that empire, the use of Near East in diplomacy was reduced significantly in favor of the Middle East. Meanwhile, the ancient Near East had become distinct. The Ottoman rule over the Near East ranged from
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
(to the north) to the tip of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
(to the south), from Egypt (in the west) to the borders of Iraq (in the east). The 19th-century archaeologists added Iran to their definition, which was never under the Ottomans, but they excluded all of Europe and, generally, Egypt, which had parts in the empire.


Periodization

Ancient Near East
periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Institute for the Study of the Ancient Wo ...
is the attempt to categorize or divide time into discrete named blocks, or eras, of the Near East. The result is a descriptive abstraction that provides a useful handle on Near East periods of time with relatively stable characteristics.


History


Prehistory

*
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
*
Epipaleolithic In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the Late Stone Age The Later Stone ...
and
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
**
Kebaran culture The Kebaran culture, also known as the Early Near East Epipalaeolithic, was an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monume ...
**
Natufian culture The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic (Levant), Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a Sedentism, sedentary or semi-sedentary pop ...
*
Pre-pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
*
Pre-pottery Neolithic B Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that a ...
*
Pre-pottery Neolithic C The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It i ...
*
Pottery Neolithic In the archaeology of Southwest Asia, the Late Neolithic, also known as the Ceramic Neolithic or Pottery Neolithic, is the final part of the Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of deve ...


Chalcolithic


Early Mesopotamia

The
Uruk period The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC; also known as Protoliterate period) existed from the to period in the history of , after the and before the . Named after the Sumerian city of , this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia ...
(c. 4000 to 3100 BC) existed from the
protohistoric Protohistory is a period between prehistory and history during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing, but other cultures have already noted the existence of those pre-literate groups in their own writings. For example, in E ...
Chalcolithic The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...

Chalcolithic
to the
Early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical composition * Period, ...
period in the history of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
, following the
Ubaid period The Ubaid period (c. 6500–3800 BC) is a prehistory, prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-'Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall (Egyptologist), Henry H ...
. Named after the Sumerian city of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia. It was followed by the
Sumerian civilization Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclo ...

Sumerian civilization
. The late Uruk period (34–32 centuries) saw the gradual emergence of the
cuneiform script Cuneiform is a - that was used to write several languages of the . The script was in active use from the early until the beginning of the . It is named for the characteristic wedge-shaped impressions (: ) which form its . Cuneiform was origi ...

cuneiform script
and corresponds to the
Early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical composition * Period, ...
.


Bronze Age


Early Bronze Age


=Sumer and Akkad

= Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia, is the earliest known
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
in the world. It lasted from the first settlement of
Eridu Eridu (Sumerian: , NUN.KI/eridugki; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambrid ...
in the
Ubaid period The Ubaid period (c. 6500–3800 BC) is a prehistory, prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-'Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall (Egyptologist), Henry H ...
(late 6th millennium BC) through the
Uruk period The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC; also known as Protoliterate period) existed from the to period in the history of , after the and before the . Named after the Sumerian city of , this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia ...
(4th millennium BC) and the Dynastic periods (3rd millennium BC) until the rise of
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
and
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
in the late 3rd millennium BC and early 2nd millennium BC respectively. The
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of ...
, founded by
Sargon the Great Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. ...
, lasted from the 24th to the 21st century BC, and was regarded by many as the world's first empire. The Akkadians eventually fragmented into Assyria and Babylonia.


=Elam

= Ancient
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
lay to the east of Sumer and Akkad, in the far west and southwest of modern-day
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
, stretching from the lowlands of
Khuzestan Khuzestan Province (also spelled Xuzestan; fa, استان خوزستان ''Ostān-e Khūzestān'') is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southwest of the country, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Its capital is Ahvaz and it cover ...

Khuzestan
and
Ilam Province Ilam Province ( fa, استان ایلام, ku, Parêzgeha Îlamê ,پارێزگای ئیلام) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran Iran is subdivided into thirty-one province, provinces ( fa, استان ''Ostān''), each governed from a lo ...
. In the Old Elamite period, c. 3200 BC, it consisted of kingdoms on the
Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
, centered on
Anshan Anshan () is an inland prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). This is a useful distinction, because the sign is located ''alread ...
, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered on
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
in the
Khuzestan Khuzestan Province (also spelled Xuzestan; fa, استان خوزستان ''Ostān-e Khūzestān'') is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southwest of the country, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Its capital is Ahvaz and it cover ...

Khuzestan
lowlands. Elam was absorbed into the
Assyrian Empire Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria Assyria () ( akk, 𒀸𒋩, syc, ܐܬܘܪ or ), also at times called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the Ancient Near East that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25 ...
in the 9th to 7th centuries BC; however, the civilization endured up until 539 BC when it was finally overrun by the
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia ...
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
ns. The Proto-Elamite civilization existed from c. 3200 BC to 2700 BC, when Susa, the later capital of the Elamites, began to receive influence from the cultures of the Iranian plateau. In archaeological terms, this corresponds to the late
Banesh Banesh ( fa, بانش, also Romanize Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and ...
period. This civilization is recognized as the oldest in Iran and was largely contemporary with its neighbour, the Sumerian civilization. The Proto-Elamite script is an
Early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical composition * Period, ...
writing system briefly in use for the ancient
Elamite language Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language Extinction Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of ...
(which was a
Language isolate Language isolates are languages that cannot be classified into larger language families with any other languages. Korean language, Korean and Basque language, Basque are two of the most commonly cited language isolates, but there are many others. ...
) before the introduction of
Elamite Cuneiform Elamite cuneiform was a logo-syllabic script used to write the Elamite language. The complete corpus of Elamite cuneiform consists of c. 20,000 tablets and fragments. The majority belong to the Achaemenid era, and contain primarily economic recor ...
.


=The Amorites

= The
Amorites The Amorites (; Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''Th ...

Amorites
were a nomadic
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
people who occupied the country west of the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
from the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. In the earliest Sumerian sources, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites ("the ''Mar.tu'' land") is associated with the West, including
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
and
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, although their ultimate origin may have been
Arabia The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...

Arabia
. They ultimately settled in Mesopotamia, ruling
Isin Isin (, modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countrie ...
,
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures ...
, and later Babylon.


Middle Bronze Age

*Assyria, after enduring a short period of
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
domination, emerged as a great power from the accession of
Ashur-uballit IAshur-uballit I ''(Aššur-uballiṭ I)'', who reigned between 1365 and 1330 BC, was the first king of the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1050 BC). After his father Eriba-Adad I (1392-1366 BC) had broken Mitanni influence over Assyria, Ashur-uballit ...
in 1365 BC to the death of
Tiglath-Pileser I Tiglath-Pileser I (; from the Hebrew language, Hebraic form of akk, , Tukultī-apil-Ešarra, "my trust is in the Ashur (god), son of Ešarra") was a Kings of Assyria, king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period (1114–1076 BC). According t ...
in 1076 BC. Assyria rivaled Egypt during this period, and dominated much of the near east. *Babylonia, founded as a state by Amorite tribes, found itself under the rule of
Kassites The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratificatio ...
for 435 years. The nation stagnated during the Kassite period, and Babylonia often found itself under Assyrian or Elamite domination. *
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
:
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʼUgart''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt''; he, אוּגָרִית ''Ugarit'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident ...

Ugarit
,
Kadesh Qadesh, Qedesh, Qetesh, Kadesh, Kedesh, Kadeš and Qades come from the common Semitic root "Q-D-Š", which means "sacred." Kadesh and variations may refer to: Ancient/biblical places * Kadesh (Syria) or Qadesh, an ancient city of the Levant, on o ...
,
MegiddoMegiddo may refer to: Places and sites in Israel * Tel Megiddo, site of an ancient city in Israel's Jezreel valley * Megiddo Airport, a domestic airport in Israel * Megiddo church (Israel) * Megiddo, Israel, a kibbutz in Israel * Megiddo Junction, ...
*The
Hittite Empire The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittite Empire
was founded some time after 2000 BC, and existed as a major power, dominating
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
and the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
until 1200 BC, when it was first overrun by the
Phrygians The Phrygians (Greek language, Greek: Φρύγες, ''Phruges'' or ''Phryges'') were an ancient Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited central-western Anatolia in antiquity. They were related to the Greeks. Ancient ...

Phrygians
, and then appropriated by Assyria.


Late Bronze Age

The
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language cal ...
s lived in northern Mesopotamia and areas to the immediate east and west, beginning approximately 2500 BC. They probably originated in the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
and entered from the north, but this is not certain. Their known homeland was centred on
Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature Before the spread of writing, oral literature did not always survive ...
, the Khabur River valley, and later they established themselves as rulers of small kingdoms throughout northern Mesopotamia and Syria. The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
. The Hurrians played a substantial part in the
history of the Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...
.
Ishuwa Isuwa (transcribed Išuwa and sometimes rendered Ishuwa) was the ancient Hittite name for one of its neighboring Anatolian kingdoms to the east, in an area which later became the Luwian Neo-Hittite state of Kammanu. The land The land of Isuwa was ...
was an ancient kingdom in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
. The name is first attested in the second millennium BC, and is also spelled Išuwa. In the classical period, the land was a part of
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
. Ishuwa was one of the places where agriculture developed very early on in the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
. Urban centres emerged in the upper Euphrates river valley around 3500 BC. The first states followed in the third millennium BC. The name Ishuwa is not known until the literate period of the second millennium BC. Few literate sources from within Ishuwa have been discovered and the primary source material comes from Hittite texts. To the west of Ishuwa lay the kingdom of the
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittites
, and this nation was an untrustworthy neighbour. The Hittite king
Hattusili IḪattušili (''Ḫattušiliš'' in the inflected nominative case) was the regnal name of three Hittite kings: * Ḫattušili I (Labarna II) * Ḫattušili II * Ḫattušili III It was also the name of two Neo-Hittite kings: * Ḫattušili I (Labar ...
(c. 1600 BC) is reported to have marched his army across the Euphrates river and destroyed the cities there. This corresponds well with burnt destruction layers discovered by archaeologists at town sites in Ishuwa of roughly the same date. After the end of the Hittite empire in the early 12th century BC a new state emerged in Ishuwa. The city of
Malatya Malatya ( hy, Մալաթիա, translit=Malat'ya; ku, Meletî; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), general ...

Malatya
became the centre of one of the so-called
Neo-Hittite and Arameans, Aramean states ( 800 BCE) The states that are called Syro-Hittite, Neo-Hittite (in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean (in modern scholarly works), were Luwians, Luwian and Arameans, Aramean regional polities of the Iron Age, situated ...
kingdom. The movement of nomadic people may have weakened the kingdom of Malatya before the final Assyrian invasion. The decline of the settlements and culture in Ishuwa from the 7th century BC until the Roman period was probably caused by this movement of people. The
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh, A ...
later settled in the area since they were natives of the
Armenian Plateau
Armenian Plateau
and related to the earlier inhabitants of Ishuwa.
Kizzuwatna Kizzuwatna (or Kizzuwadna; in Ancient Egyptian ''Kode'' or ''Qode''), is the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the 2nd millennium BC. It was situated in the highlands of southeastern Anatolia, near the Gulf of İskenderun, in modern-day Tu ...
was a kingdom of the second millennium BC, situated in the highlands of southeastern Anatolia, near the
Gulf of İskenderun The Gulf of Alexandretta or İskenderun ( tr, İskenderun Körfezi) is a gulf A gulf is a large inlet from the ocean into the landmass, typically with a narrower opening than a bay, but that is not observable in all geographic areas so named. ...
in modern-day
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
, encircling the
Taurus Mountains The Taurus Mountains (Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Gr ...
and the
Ceyhan
Ceyhan
river. The centre of the kingdom was the city of
KummanniKummanni (Hittite language, Hittite: ''Kummiya'') was the name of the main center the Anatolian kingdom of Kizzuwatna. Its location is uncertain, but is believed to be near the classical settlement of Comana, Cappadocia, Comana in Cappadocia. Recent ...
, situated in the highlands. In a later era, the same region was known as
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
.
Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian languages, ...
is an extinct language of the Anatolian branch of the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions b ...
. Luwian speakers gradually spread through Anatolia and became a contributing factor to the downfall, after c. 1180 BC, of the Hittite Empire, where it was already widely spoken. Luwian was also the language spoken in the Neo-Hittite states of Syria, such as Melid and Carchemish, as well as in the central Anatolian kingdom of Tabal that flourished around 900 BC. Luwian has been preserved in two forms, named after the writing systems used to represent them: Cuneiform Luwian, and Hieroglyphic Luwian. Mari, Syria, Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometres north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria. It is thought to have been inhabited since the 5th millennium BC, although it flourished from 2900 BC until 1759 BC, when it was sacked by Hammurabi.
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
was a Hurrians, Hurrian kingdom in northern Mesopotamia from c. 1500 BC, at the height of its power, during the 14th century BC, encompassing what is today southeastern Turkey, northern Syria and northern
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
(roughly corresponding to Kurdistan), centred on the capital Washukanni whose precise location has not yet been determined by archaeologists. The Mitanni kingdom is thought to have been a feudal state led by a warrior nobility of Indo-Aryans, Indo-Aryan descent, who invaded the Levant region at some point during the 17th century BC, their influence apparent in a Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni, linguistic superstratum in Mitanni records. The spread to Syria of a distinct pottery type associated with the Kura-Araxes culture has been connected with this movement, although its date is somewhat too early. Yamhad was an ancient Amorite kingdom. A substantial
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language cal ...
population also settled in the kingdom, and the Hurrian culture influenced the area. The kingdom was powerful during the Middle
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
, c. 1800–1600 BC. Its biggest rival was Qatna further south. Yamhad was finally destroyed by the Hittites in the 16th century BC. The Aramaeans were a Semitic (West Semitic language group), semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who had lived in upper Mesopotamia and Aram (region), Syria. Aramaeans have never had a unified empire; they were divided into independent kingdoms all across the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
. Yet to these Aramaeans befell the privilege of imposing their language and culture upon the entire Near East and beyond, fostered in part by the mass relocations enacted by successive empires, including the Assyrians and Babylonians. Scholars even have used the term 'Aramaization' for the Assyro-Babylonian peoples' languages and cultures, that have become Aramaic-speaking. The Sea peoples is the term used for a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late Nineteenth dynasty of Egypt, 19th dynasty, and especially during Year 8 of Ramesses III of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt, 20th Dynasty. The Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah explicitly refers to them by the term "the foreign-countries (or 'peoples') of the sea" in his Great Karnak Inscription. Although some scholars believe that they "invaded"
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
, Hittite empire , Hatti and the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, this hypothesis is disputed.


=Bronze Age collapse

= The ''Bronze Age collapse'' is the name given by those historians who see the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age as violent, sudden and culturally disruptive, expressed by the collapse of palace economy, palace economies of the Aegean civilization, Aegean and Anatolia, which were replaced after a hiatus by the isolated village cultures of the Dark Ages (historiography), Dark Age period in history of the ancient Middle East. Some have gone so far as to call the catalyst that ended the Bronze Age a "catastrophe". The Bronze Age collapse may be seen in the context of a technological history that saw the slow, comparatively continuous spread of iron-working technology in the region, beginning with precocious iron-working in what is now Romania in the 13th and 12th centuries. The cultural collapse of the Mycenaean Greece, Mycenaean kingdoms, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia and Syria, and the Ancient Egypt, Egyptian Empire in Syria and
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, the scission of long-distance trade route, trade contacts and sudden eclipse of literacy occurred between 1206 and 1150 BC. In the first phase of this period, almost every city between Troy and Gaza City, Gaza was violently destroyed, and often left unoccupied thereafter (for example, Hattusas, Mycenae,
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʼUgart''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt''; he, אוּגָרִית ''Ugarit'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident ...

Ugarit
). The gradual end of the Dark Age that ensued saw the rise of settled Neo-Hittite and Aramaean kingdoms of the mid-10th century BC, and the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.


Iron Age

During the Early Iron Age, from 911 BC, the Neo-Assyrian Empire arose, vying with Babylonia and other lesser powers for dominance of the region, though not until the reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III in the 8th century BC, did it become a powerful and vast empire. In the Middle Assyrian period of the Late Bronze Age, Assyria had been a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia (modern-day northern
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
), competing for dominance with its southern Mesopotamian rival Babylonia. From 1365–1076 it had been a major imperial power, rivaling Egypt and the Hittite Empire. Beginning with the campaign of Adad-nirari II, it became a vast empire, overthrowing Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt, 25th dynasty Egypt and conquering Egypt, the Middle East, and large swaths of
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
, ancient
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
, the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
and east Mediterranean. The Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Middle Assyrian period (14th to 10th century BC). Some scholars, such as Richard Nelson Frye, regard the Neo-Assyrian Empire to be the first real empire in human history. During this period, Aramaic language, Aramaic was also made an official language of the empire, alongside the Akkadian language. The states of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms were
Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian languages, ...
, Aramaic and Phoenician languages, Phoenician-speaking political entities of
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC. The term "Neo-Hittite" is sometimes reserved specifically for the Luwian-speaking principalities like Melid (
Malatya Malatya ( hy, Մալաթիա, translit=Malat'ya; ku, Meletî; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), general ...

Malatya
) and Karkamish (Carchemish), although in a wider sense the broader cultural term "Syro-Hittite" is now applied to all the entities that arose in south-central Anatolia following the Hittite collapse – such as Tabal and Quwê – as well as those of northern and coastal Syria. Urartu was an ancient kingdom (politics), kingdom of
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
and North Mesopotamia''Urartu'' article, Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2007
/ref> which existed from c. 860 BC, emerging from the Late Bronze Age until 585 BC. The Kingdom of Urartu was located in the mountainous plateau between
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
, the Iranian Plateau, Mesopotamia, and the Caucasus mountains, later known as the Armenian Highland, and it centered on Lake Van (present-day eastern Turkey). The name corresponds to the Bible, Biblical ''Ararat''. The term Neo-Babylonian Empire refers to Babylonia under the rule of the 11th ("Chaldean") dynasty, from the revolt of Nabopolassar in 623 BC until the invasion of Cyrus the Great in 539 BC (Although the last ruler of Babylonia (Nabonidus) was in fact from the Assyrian city of Harran and not Chaldean), notably including the reign of Nebuchadrezzar II. Through the centuries of Assyrian domination, Babylonia enjoyed a prominent status, and revolted at the slightest indication that it did not. However, the Assyrians always managed to restore Babylonian loyalty, whether through the granting of increased privileges, or militarily. That finally changed in 627 BC with the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, and Babylonia rebelled under Nabopolassar the Chaldean a few years later. In alliance with the Medes and Scythians, Nineveh was sacked in 612 and Harran in 608 BC, and the seat of empire was again transferred to Babylonia. Subsequently, the Medes controlled much of the ancient Near East from their base in Ecbatana (modern-day Hamadan, Iran), most notably most of what is now Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and the South Caucasus. Following the fall of the Medes, the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
was the first of the Persian Empires to rule over most of the Near East and far beyond, and the second great Iranian Peoples, Iranian empire (after the Median Empire). At the height of its power, encompassing approximately 7.5 million square kilometers, the Achaemenid Empire was territorially the largest empire of classical antiquity, and the first world empire. It spanned three continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa), including apart from its core in modern-day Iran, the territories of modern Iraq, the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
(Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Abkhazia), Asia Minor (Turkey), Thrace, Bulgaria, Greece, many of the Black Sea coastal regions, northern Saudi Arabia,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It in ...

Jordan
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, Afghanistan, Central Asia, parts of Pakistan, and all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya. It is noted in western history as the foe of the Greek city states in the Greco-Persian Wars, for freeing the Israelites from their Babylonian captivity, and for instituting Aramaic as the empire's official language.


Religions

Ancient civilizations in the Near East were deeply influenced by their Spirituality, spiritual beliefs, which generally did not distinguish between heaven and Earth. They believed that Divinity, divine action influenced all mundane matters, and also believed in divination (ability to predict the future). Omens were often inscribed in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, as were records of major events.


See also

* *
Ancient Near East studiesAncient Near East studies (or ANE studies) is the field of academic study of the Ancient Near East (ANE). As such it is an umbrella term for Assyriology, in some cases extending to Egyptology. History of ANE studies In Britain the first Assyriologic ...
*Ancient history *Cities of the ancient Near East *Economy of Urartu *Genetic history of the Middle East *History of Mesopotamia *History of pottery in Palestine, History of pottery in the Southern Levant *List of museums of ancient Near Eastern art


References


Further reading

* Banister Fletcher, Fletcher, Banister; Cruickshank, Dan
''Sir Banister Fletcher's a History of Architecture''
Architectural Press, 20th edition, 1996 (first published 1896). . Cf. Part One, Chapter 4. * William W. Hallo & William Kelly Simpson, ''The Ancient Near East: A History'', Holt Rinehart and Winston Publishers, 2nd edition, 1997. . * Jack Sasson, ''The Civilizations of the Ancient Near East'', New York, 1995 * Marc Van de Mieroop, ''History of the Ancient Near East: Ca. 3000-323 B.C.'', Blackwell Publishers, 2nd edition, 2006 (first published 2003). . *


External links


The History of the Ancient Near East
– A database of the prehistoric Near East as well as its ancient history up to approximately the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans ...
Vicino Oriente
- Vicino Oriente is the journal of the Section Near East of the Department of Historical, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences of Antiquity of Rome 'La Sapienza' University. The Journal, which is published yearly, deals with Near Eastern History, Archaeology, Epigraphy, extending its view also on the whole Mediterranean with the study of Phoenician and Punic documents. It is accompanied by 'Quaderni di Vicino Oriente', a monograph series.
Ancient Near East.net
– an information and content portal for the archaeology, ancient history, and culture of the ancient Near East and Egypt
Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution
The Freer Gallery houses a famous collection of ancient Near Eastern artefacts and records, notebooks and photographs of excavations in Samarra (Iraq), Persepolis and Pasargadae (Iran)
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
The archives for The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery houses the papers of Ernst Herzfeld regarding his many excavations, along with records of other archeological excavations in the ancient Near East.
Archaeowiki.org
a wiki for the research and documentation of the ancient Near East and Egypt
ETANA
– website hosted by a consortium of universities in the interests of providing digitized resources and relevant web links

This collection, created by Professor Scott Noegel, documents artifacts and archaeological sites of the ancient Near East; from the University of Washington Libraries Digital Image Collection
Near East Images
A directory of archaeological images of the ancient Near East
Bioarchaeology of the Near East
An Open Access journal {{Authority control Ancient Near East, History of Western Asia Near East Levant