Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Mediterranean Culture, Part One
I. The Cosmopolitan Middle East, 1700-1100BCE
A. Western Asia
a. "Old Assyrian" kingdom--as early as 2000BCE, the city of Ashur on the northern Tigris River anchored a busy trade route stretching north to the Anatolian Plateau, in what is now central Turkey. Assyrian merchant families settled outside the walls of the Anatolian cities to trade textiles and tin for silver.
b. "Middle Kingdom"--engaged in campaigns of conquest and expansion of its economic interest.
b. Iron weapons--which made their weapons more deadly than their opponents. The methodology or iron manufacture was a closely held secret among the Hittite until the conquest of much of the area of the Middle East was complete.
B. New Kingdom Egypt, 1532-1070BCE
1. Decline of the Middle Kingdom--after flourishing for almost four hundred years, the Middle Kingdom declined during the seventeenth century BCE. Central authority began to breakdown, with local officials in the countryside becoming more independent, and new groups of people migrating into the Nile Delta region, less likely to follow edicts from Memphis and Thebes.
b. Compound bow
4. Expansionist--while the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom had been largely content to maintain the core area of their respective kingdoms, the shock of a century of foreign rule spurred the kings of the New Kingdom, initially, to seek to expand into new territory--north into Syria-Palestine, and south into Nubia
a. During Akhenaten's reign, expansion of Egyptian territory halted, as he concentrated on building temples to the glory of Aten.
b. After Akhenaten's death, the other temples re-opened and the god Amon was once again proclaimed the chief god.
c. Akhenaten did not produce a male heir, and was instead succeeded by the nine-year-old Tutankhamen:
Tutankhamen is famous today not only as the butt of an elaborate Steve Martin joke, but also because his grave was one of the few not broken into by grave robbers in the ensuing centuries, and remained intact until its discovery in the 1920s
a. Ramesses II fought the Hitties to a draw at Kadesh; the subsequent peace negotiation proved quite favorable to Egypt and Ramesses II's interests.
C. The Aegean World, 2000-1100BCE
a. Palaces--there were three minor palaces beside the main palace located in Cnossus. All lacked fortifications, however, leading one to assume that Crete was unified politically.
King Minos and the Minotaur.
a. The importance of trade--the modern conception of trade obscures its aggressive beginning. People did not simply put goods in a ship, sail off to foreign lands, lay their goods out on the beach, and wait for customers to show up. Trade often grew out of its predecessor--tribute. Tribute was the result of victory on a field of battle
Posted by Gregory M. Miller at 8:15 AM