After reading this chapter, students should be able to:
generally characterize the major changes delineating the Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age in Southwest Asia
understand the transition from sedentary farming societies of the Halaf period to the complex societies of the Ubaid.
trace the development of the Ubaid into the Uruk period and its "world system"
describe the differences between true cities and large agglomerated communities
relate the various theories on the origins of state level societies
define a city, a state, and an empire
discuss the organization of Mesopotamian city states
understand the implications of the ability to create surplus produce and goods
understand the role of religion in the development of complex societies
describe the various methods through which elites control large urban populations
trace the development of administrative technology, record-keeping, and writing
characterize the polities of the Bronze Age and understand the factors important in their rise, florescence, and fall
discuss the role and scope of trade and commerce in the Bronze Age, within Southwest Asia and beyond
characterize the polities of the Iron Age and the continuities and discontinuities with their Bronze Age predecessors
describe the regional collapses that occurred in the Bronze and Iron Ages
describe the use of iconography and symbolism in maintaining the legitimacy of rulers and elites
characterize the similarities and differences in the actions and ideologies of states and empires across time and space
FARMERS OF THE EARLY CHALCOLITHIC: THE HALAF AND UBAID PERIODS
Around 6000 BC Southwest Asian communities developed irrigation agriculture to farm the fertile but dry soils of southern Mesopotamia. This led to the development of literate, urban complex societies.
The Halaf Period
In the Halaf period, (after Tell Halaf, Syria), settlements in the "Fertile Crescent" were supported by dry, or rainfall, farming. Small sites, home to 20-150 people, are characterized by circular buildings, painted pottery, female figurines, stone stamp seals, obsidian objects, and clay sling bullets. Many are single component sites, suggesting the "peopling" of new territory. Draft animals newly enabled deep plowing, a dairy-rich diet may have increased female fertility, and increased morbidity from infectious diseases encouraged higher birthrates.
A few sites are much larger. Evidence for trade includes pottery production centers at Arpachiyah (Iraq) and Chagar Baza (Syria), and obsidian from sources in central and eastern Turkey. Obsidian pre-forms were manufactured at Tilkitepe (Turkey) for shipment elsewhere.
Evidence for warfare is minimal, but stone wrist-guards and sling missiles indicate either hunting, conflict, or both.
There are no clear Halaf ritual buildings, and burial treatments vary widely. Female figurines may indicate fertility concerns. Social stratification is minimal, though the Burnt House at Arpachiyah may have been a headman's house. Early stone stamp seals and sealings used to secure baskets and pots suggest that some people felt it necessary to control or proclaim ownership, a trend that increased through time.
The Ubaid Period
Simultaneous with Halaf development, Lower Mesopotamia was first settled, aided by 5900 BC by irrigation canals leading from the Euphrates.
Sites from this era, the Ubaid period, (after Tell al-Ubaid, Iraq) are found earliest in Lower Mesopotamia, later spreading into adjacent regions, exemplified by substantial buildings, grain storage, and pottery at Tell Awayli and Hajji Muhammed.
Ceramic chronology divides the period into Ubaid 0-4; "0" designating the earliest material. Early Ubaid was contemporary with Halaf, but from around 5400 BC, Ubaid spread into Upper Mesopotamia, replacing Halaf occupations, then extended into Anatolia (Turkey) and the Persian Gulf.
At Eridu, superimposed temples span the whole period: a small, single-roomed structure developed into a classic Mesopotamian tripartite temple. Temple priests and administrators were important figures in the origins of complex society, overseeing land, labor, food distribution, and religious rites.
An Ubaid cemetery at Eridu contained 200 individuals in brick-lined pits, with pots, jewelry, food, and religious figurines.
Ubaid Sites Beyond Lower Mesopotamia.
Wealthy Ubaid-period households are represented at Tell Madhhur, Tell Abadeh and Kheit Qasim (Iraq). At Tepe Gawra (Iraq), three temples date to the Late Ubaid, c. 5200 BC, one with many clay sealings from containers or storerooms, indicating the collection and distribution of commodities. Ubaid pottery at Susa (Iran) demonstrates the interregional scale of interaction.
Significantly, 50 sites across Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman contain Ubaid artifacts manufactured in Lower Mesopotamia, probably transported through trade.
Many aspects of later Mesopotamian civilization originate in the Ubaid: the temple as community focus, seals and sealings for economic and religious administration, long-distance exchange, and material culture shared over large areas.
Painted Ubaid pottery was replaced around 4200 BC by largely unpainted Uruk period ceramics.
URBAN COMMUNITIES OF THE LATE CHALCOLITHIC: THE URUK PERIOD
By 3200 BC, large, literate urban communities had developed, the first in human history. Surpluses of cereals, flour, fish, wool, and textiles were consumed by temples as offerings or redistributed to temple-workers, or used as capital by temple-sponsored commercial and trade entrepreneurs.
Robert Adams suggests that during the Early and Middle Uruk periods (4200-3500 BC), large settlements developed on the southern alluvium. In the Late Uruk period (3500-3000 BC) shifts in the courses of the Euphrates and/or Tigris rivers may have figured in the abandonment of settlements on the northern plains and subsequent increase in settlement around Uruk, which grew to 100 ha. By the Early Dynastic I period, around 2900 BC, Uruk had grown to 400 ha.
The Lower Mesopotamian Site of Uruk
By the later 4th millennium BC, tens of thousands of people at Uruk were served by temples, administrative buildings occupied by priests and officials, open spaces for gatherings or worship, specialized craft production zones, and ordinary housing. This large functional size distinguishes earlier agglomerated settlements like Çatalhöyük from true cities.
Excavations at Uruk focus on the Eanna ritual precinct and the Anu temple complex, rather than ordinary domestic life. Textual evidence describes elites who controlled the lower classes. Cult and administrative buildings can be recognized by their decoration with baked-clay cones.
The Invention of Writing
Pre-writing systems involved tokens and seals, slowly developing into an accounting system. More than 5000 clay tablets contain proto-cuneiform; some 850 signs including pictographs, numerical/counting signs, and a calendar system.
Texts include economic and administrative records dealing with grain, flocks, and land; lists of professions, city or place names, and types of animals. The earliest are found only at Uruk, suggesting its origin place. Cuneiform remained in use until around the time of Christ.
Another administrative technology was the cylinder seal, impressed into clay to identify parties in administrative activity and control access to containers and storerooms.
Scenes depicted on cylinder seals include bound captives brought before a priest-king, and rows of offerings to high-status individuals.
Uruk Expansion and Trade
Uruk-style material culture was adopted widely, as far as Susa (Iran). Mesopotamian colonists at Godin Tepe in the Zagros Mountains controlled trade routes to copper-producing sites such as Tepe Sialk, Tepe Hissar, and Tal-i Iblis (Iran). Lower Mesopotamian settlers also controlled trade routes at Habuba Kabira and Jebel Aruda (Syria).
At Hacinebi Tepe and Arslantepe (Turkey), local polities maintained their own identity while interacting with Uruk-period Mesopotamia.
The larger Uruk world-system collapsed around 3100 BC perhaps due to climatic aridity. Uruk civilization was maintained at Uruk, Jemdet Nasr, Ur, Larsa, Uruk, Kesh, and other cities. Elsewhere, Uruk-style culture was abandoned and local traditions developed.
CITY-STATES, KINGDOMS, AND EMPIRES OF THE EARLY BRONZE AGE
Urbanism, literacy, religious administration, and interregional trade continued in the 3rd millennium BC during times of peace and warfare.
During the Early Dynastic period (2900-2350 BC), independent city-states each controlled an agricultural hinterland. Cuneiform king-lists first appear, as do economic, religious, literary, and lexical texts in the Sumerian language.
Canal construction and maintenance was performed by urban authorities. Food and textiles comprised local trade, while metals, semi-precious stones, and woods were obtained from Iran, Anatolia, the Levant, and the Persian Gulf. City-states each had a "king" with secular and religious authority, and a principal patron deity in addition to a large region-wide pantheon.
Despite independent status, these interactive Sumerian polities shared similar material culture: the temple, a ruler's residence, city walls, craft workshops, and residential neighborhoods. Dead were buried beneath house floors, but rich royal cemeteries, such as at Ur, contained deceased elites. A well-to-do middle class is indicated at Fara and Abu Salabikh, both c. 2500 BC.
Upper Mesopotamian, Iranian, and Anatolian Cultures
Between 3000 and 2500 BC, contact between Lower and Upper Mesopotamia was minimal, the north reverting to simpler social organization, called the Ninevite 5 culture, without writing or monuments. Toward 2500 BC, new cities arose at Ebla, Tell Leilan, Tell Beydar, and Tell Brak, and north-south interaction resumed.
Similarly, in Iran, between 3100 and 2500 BC, local Proto-Elamite culture and script replaced the abandoned Uruk style. In the later 3rd millennium BC, Sumerian elites restarted trade to obtain highland valuables.
Likewise, at Arslantepe (Turkey), a clear break with Uruk began c. 3000 BC, and Early Transcaucasian culture appears. The richness of the Anatolian Early Bronze Age communities is well represented at Alaçahöyük and at Troy.
Mass movement of peoples southwards from the Caucasus c. 3000 BC may have helped collapse the Uruk world system.
Kingdoms and Empires of the Later 3rd Millennium BC
Akkad was the first empire, a state ruling subject areas. Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BC) created this empire by conquering Sumerian cities, Upper Mesopotamia, southeast Anatolia, and southwest Iran. Akkad traded with Dilmun, Magan, and Meluhha (Bahrain, Oman, and the Indus Valley).
The Akkadian empire collapsed into a period of regionalization, out of which the Third Dynasty of Ur, or Ur III Empire, emerged, controlling the region from 2112 to 2004 BC, reviving Sumerian culture with a ziggurat, temples, royal tombs, and a large bureaucratic administration.
The Ur III Empire fell to the Elamites at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. Ruling from Susa, where monumental buildings and inscriptions were produced, Elamite kings held control for some decades.
A region-wide disintegration affected Southwest Asia at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. Levantine urban settlement never recovered from the Akkadian conquest, the Egyptian Old Kingdom collapsed c. 2150 BC, and Indus Valley civilization not long after. This suggests a common factor, possibly climate change. Additionally, the high degree of economic integration between these early polities may have created a domino effect.
COMMERCE AND CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE BRONZE AGE
The Amorites and the Hurrians appeared in Southwest Asia at the start of the 2nd millennium BC, taking advantage of, or partly causing, the collapse of earlier states.
Mesopotamian kings, including Hammurabi of Babylon, traced their origins to the Amorites, Semitic desert intruders. The Hurrians' origins are less clear, but their language is Caucasian. Transcaucasian migrations began in the early 3rd millennium BC and by 2000 BC, Hurrian communities of the Mittani state dotted Upper Mesopotamia.
From 2000 to 1700 BC, contemporary texts indicate that major kings each had followings of minor kings.
Lower Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf
Amorite kings at Isin, self-styled successors to Ur III, purged the Elamites, seized regional control, and alternated power with Larsa. Both cities maintained trade with the Persian Gulf. Excavations at Saar (Bahrain) show that local communities and private entrepreneurs grew wealthy through trade on behalf of royal palaces and temples. The increasing importance of copper from Magan (Oman) for bronze production is demonstrated through the incidence of Gulf stamp seals throughout Mesopotamia, Iran, Anatolia, the Persian Gulf, and the Indus Valley.
Amorite kingdoms were established at Babylon, Kish, and Uruk. Larsa, ruled by king Rim-Sin (1822-1763 BC), at first dominated them. Through the 1780s BC, Hammurabi of Babylon (1792-1750 BC) conquered Uruk and Isin, then the Elamites, Guti, Subartu, Larsa, and finally Mari.
Hammurabi's famous Law Code was inscribed on a stone stela. It first lists the gods and their cities that supported Hammurabi, indicating a broad base of support.
The Law Code reveals that royal rule was divinely sanctioned, and kings had authority over every aspect of society; beneath them were three social classes, from freemen to slaves.
Hammurabi took credit for canal, temple, and fortification construction and repair. Contemporary texts indicate a boom in private-sector commerce accompanying the rise of palace power. Hammurabi's Babylon lies inaccessible beneath Iron Age Babylon, but contemporary urban life is known through excavations at Ur and Mashkan-shapir.
Severe land value decreases indicate a decline between 1700-1600 BC. A dark age began with the Hittite sack of Babylon in 1595 BC, ending with the arrival of the Kassites.
Upper Mesopotamia and the Levant
The city of Mari, before its destruction by Hammurabi, lay at a key position on east-west and north-south trade routes. The site's main feature is the palace of Zimri-Lim (1775-1761 BC), a multi-storied residence preserved by fire. About 20,000 cuneiform texts reveal economic, legal, and administrative, and diplomatic conditions.
The Levantine Middle Bronze Age saw a reversal of earlier urban decline, with evidence for fortification and temple-building, trade and commerce.
Upper Mesopotamia and Anatolia
The Middle Bronze Age "Old Assyrian" trade between Ashur and Anatolian communities is illuminated by data from Kültepe (Turkey), where 15,000 recovered cuneiform tablets suggest flourishing trade between Kanesh and Upper and Lower Mesopotamia in the later 3rd millennium BC.
Kanesh and other Old Assyrian trade sites were destroyed c. 1760 BC, probably during local conflicts.
EMPIRES AND STATES AT WAR AND PEACE: THE LATE BRONZE AGE
During the Late Bronze Age, many states, kingdoms, and empires occupied Southwest Asia, each based on earlier foundations.
Anatolia and the Hittites
Archaeological investigation of the Hittite capital, Hattusa (Turkey), is ongoing. Over 10,000 texts have come from temples and the royal citadel. and from sites such as Inandik, Masat, Ortaköy, and Kusakli.
The proto-Hittites arrived around 2300 BC, when there is evidence for incursions of new peoples.
Labarna (c. 1680 BC), founded the first dynasty and Hattusa
Hattusili I (17th century BC), expanded into Syria
Mursili I, sacked Babylon in 1595 BC
Tudhaliya (from 1420 BC onward), led a new dynasty
Shuppiluliuma I (from 1345 BC), conquered the kingdom of the Mittani and signed treaties with others.
There was tension between Shuppiluliuma I and the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten over control of territory and trade routes. After the battle of Qadesh in the early 13th century BC, the Hittites established regional control. Conflict ended when Hattusili III's daughter married the pharaoh Ramesses II in 1283 BC.
The Hittite empire collapsed c. 1200-1185 BC, as signs of destruction and abandonment spread across Southwest Asia.
A major Late Bronze Age regional factor was Canaanite-Egyptian relations. The Canaanite states contained fine palaces, temples, and rich elite tombs with foreign prestige goods; they were able to thrive despite the dominance of Egypt, which converted independent city-states into vassals owing heavy tax and tribute.
The famous Egyptian Amarna Letters of the 14th century BC, reveal 15-17 important city-states in Canaan, each controlling 1000 square km (386 square miles) or less. Egyptian labor demands for public works drove many Canaanites into pastoral nomadism.
Ugarit lies on Syria's Mediterranean coast where trade and communication routes converge. Excavations uncovered a palace, clay tablets, an acropolis with two temples, and a city with two-storied elite houses. Foreigners also resided at the city. Ugarit's cosmopolitan aspect is reflected in the many languages used, and cuneiform tablets preserve the earliest known alphabetic system.
Regional conflicts and piracy led to Ugarit's total destruction around 1185 BC.
Upper Mesopotamia and Syria: Hurrian Mittani
By the later 3rd-early 2nd millennia BC, Hurrian states occupied Upper Mesopotamia, northwest Iran, and southeast Anatolia. Excavations at Tell Mozan (Syria), illuminate conditions, and Hurrian names and deities at Ortaköy (Turkey) indicate widespread influence.
For 200 years, the Mittani state was regionally dominant, populated largely by ethnic Hurrians. Excavations at Nuzi (Iraq), Alalakh (Turkey), and Tell Brak (Syria) illuminate the period between 1500 and 1200 BC. Ongoing excavations of a Middle and Late Bronze Age palace at Qatna reveal elite life. Ugarit and Ashur both briefly came under Mittani control.
The Amarna Letters indicate long-term interactions with Egypt and the marriage of a Mittani princess to pharaoh Amenhotep III.
By 1340 BC Mittani had been defeated by the Hittites and was collapsing under pressure from the rise of Assyria.
The Rise of Assyria
The city of Ashur traded with Anatolia in the Middle Bronze Age, until 1760 BC. From then until the late 14th century BC, little is known. After this, Ashur rose to dominance as the Assyrian capital. By the 13th and 12th centuries BC, Ashur boasted monuments, walls, ziggurats, temples, and palaces. By c. 1330 BC, Assyria was treated as an equal by the Hittites, Babylonia, and Egypt. A series of powerful rulers extended territory, trade, and control:
Adadnirari I (1307-1275 BC) extended Assyria to the Hittite's borders.
Shalmaneser I (1274-1245 BC) installed territorial governors, expelled local populations and brought in Assyrian colonists
Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244-1208 BC) gained control of mountain trade routes, brought the Babylonian king to Ashur in chains, and installed puppet kings in conquered lands. His assassination, by his son, permitted Babylonia to re-establish independence.
Tiglathpileser I (1114-1076 BC), revived Assyrian culture, though Aramaean pastoral nomads were making incursions
Ashurnasirpal I (1049-1031 BC), during this time, Assyria was reduced to a small core and written records ceased for about a century from 1050 BC.
Lower Mesopotamia: Kassite Babylonia
After Babylon fell in 1595 BC, the Kassites rose there, and Babylon was capital of a larger region called Babylonia.
Under Kassite rule (1530-1155 BC), Babylonia was stable. The Amarna Letters indicate formal contacts with Egypt and a royal marriage between a daughter of Kurigalzu and Amenhotep III. Excavations at Dur Kurigalzu revealed a ziggurat and four palaces. The Kassites renewed many towns and conducted trade with Bahrain.
Conflicts with Assyria and Elam and raids by Aramaean pastoralists led to end of the Kassites between 1100 to 900 BC.
Elam flourished in the Late Bronze Age.
King Tepti-ahar built a tomb complex at the city of Haft Tepe, where there were also craft activities and many cuneiform tablets associated with a large temple.
King Untash-Napirisha (1275-1240 BC) constructed 11 temples at Susa; 6000 inscriptions declare that he founded a new city, named (for himself) Al Untash-Napirisha, with a massive ziggurat, numerous temples, four palaces, and a perimeter wall, abandoned at his death.
Shutruk-Nahhunte (1185-1155 BC) claimed the Babylonian throne through his mother, invading, conquering, and returning with famous monuments including Hammurabi's law code stela and the statue of the Babylonian god Marduk
Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (1125-1104 BC) took revenge, retrieving the statue of Marduk and plunging the Elamite state into obscurity.
The End of the Late Bronze Age
Beginning around 1200 BC, collapse occurred among states in the Levant, Anatolia, Upper and Lower Mesopotamia, Mycenae, Cyprus, and Egypt lost control of Canaan. A dark age lasted up to 300 years.
Mass movement occurred among Israelites, Aramaeans, Phrygians, and the "Sea Peoples;" imperial overtaxing of rural communities may have displaced them. These new peoples eventually founded the successor-states of Iron Age Southwest Asia.
NEW AND RESURGENT POWERS OF THE IRON AGE
The Iron Age Neo-Hittites and the Assyrians continued Bronze Age traditions, while Urartu and Phrygia created polities rooted in the circumstances of the Iron Age. Iron was scarce until about 900 BC, when steel technology was adopted.
The Levant: Philistines, Phoenicians, Neo-Hittites
Among the Sea Peoples active c. 1200 BC were the Philistines. Their Aegean origins are seen in locally made but Mycenaean-style pottery found in early site levels. The Old Testament Pentapolis, or five cities, of the Philistines (Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron), are archaeologically known. Excavations revealed massive settlement overlying ruined Late Bronze Age towns, suggesting incursions of large, long-urbanized groups. Figurines, pottery, and temple layouts continued to reflect their Aegean origins.
The Philistines consumed cattle and pig in sharp contrast to the nearby Israelites, who used no pig; a taboo that may date to the Early Iron Age. Philistine cities engaged in large-scale trade, especially with Egypt.
Phoenician cities in the central Levant such as Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon) exported produce, timber, purple dye and supplied elite manufactured goods to Assyrian and Israelite rulers, and beyond. They developed an alphabet before 1000 BC that inspired Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
By the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Assyria was closing in on Phoenicia, destroying Tyre and conducting mass deportations of its people.
In the northern Levant and southern Anatolia, Neo-Hittite kingdoms dominated the Early Iron Age (1200 to 700 BC). They maintained Late Bronze Age architectural traditions, royal names, and hieroglyphic script at sites such as Carchemish, Zinciri, and Melid. As elsewhere, increasing dominance by Assyria was a concern, and in the late 8th century BC all the Neo-Hittite states were destroyed or conquered by the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III.
The Levant: Israel and Judah
The kingdoms of Israel and Judah lay in the southern Levant. Archaeologists increasingly suggest they formed as previously mobile pastoral people sedentized in the 12th-11th centuries BC, rather than from an influx of new peoples. Interacting with lowland neighbors, they soon became complex urban societies.
At the end of the 11th century BC highland communities united to form the United Monarchy that soon broke down to the kingdom of Judah, centered on Jerusalem, and the Israelite kingdom centered on Schechem. As elsewhere, Assyria grew more threatening over time, culminating with their destruction of the Israelite Kingdom in 722 BC and the deportation of the Samarians to Babylon.
The Assyrian Empire
Assyria suffered decline after the Late Bronze Age regional collapse, but in the 10th and 9th centuries BC several strong kings reestablished Assyrian control, especially Ashurnasirpal II (accession 883 BC), who built a new imperial capital at Kalhu (Nimrud). Several subsequent kings also created new capitals to display their power: Sargon II (721-705 BC) selected Khorsabad, while his son, Sennacherib (704-681 BC), chose Nineveh.
These new palaces displayed iconography depicting the king hunting lions, leading armies, receiving defeated or honored guests, and conducting cult activities under the auspices of the state god, Ashur. Iron weapons and systematic training of a highly organized army maintained regional dominance.
Thousands of cuneiform tablets describe the history, politics, economic and legal structure of the Assyrian state, in addition to literary, cultic, mythical, and other documents from many periods.
The Assyrian empire collapsed in 612 BC.
East of the Neo-Hittites lay Urartu, a serious rival of the Assyrian empire, rising in challenge to Assyrian power and incorporating aspects of their culture: cuneiform script, military tactics, architecture, and ideological expression.
Urartian texts detail building programs and campaigns and little else; Assyrian records describe war between the two states. Agriculture formed Urartu's economic basis as did local copper, silver, iron, and timber. Fortified highland sites are found at Tushpa, Toprakkale, and Ayanis, but archaeologically less well known are towns and villages of agricultural laborers.
During the 7th century BC, relations between Assyria and Urartu ameliorated, and the fall of Urartu was probably associated with the fall of Assyria in the late 7th century BC.
In central Anatolia, Phrygia controlled the former Hittite heartland by 800 BC. bringing traditions from southeast Europe. Excavations at Gordion, Phrygia's capital, have uncovered palaces, temples, and fortifications and 85 large burial mounds. By the early 6th century BC Phrygia came under the influence of Lydia; in 547 BC Gordion was captured by Cyrus the Great, and Phrygia became part of the Achaemenid Persian empire.
Relations between Babylon and Assyria alternated between quiet respect and open warfare. Sennacherib of Assyria sacked Babylon in 689 BC. Ten years later, Sennacherib's son Esarhaddon (680-669 BC) rebuilt all the temples of Babylon to maintain the favor of the gods.
Following the Assyrian collapse 612 BC, the Babylonian empire inherited regional power, campaigning against Egypt, Judah and Elam, but fell to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BC.
Under the kings of the 7th and 6th centuries BC, Babylon contained palaces, temples, fortifications, and elite residences. The Euphrates ran through the city, which had double fortification walls, and Northern, Southern, and Summer Palaces were found. Parallel with the Euphrates ran the Processional Way from the Ishtar Gate to the temple of Marduk, where a ziggurat stood.
The Achaemenid Empire and the Conquest of Southwest Asia
Cyrus became ruler of the Persians in 559 BC, creating the greatest empire yet, the Achaemenid Persian empire. He captured Gordion and Sardis in 547 BC, Babylon in 539 BC, and founded Pasargadae (Iran), also incorporating Egypt. Darius I (died 486 BC) founded a new capital at Susa (Iran) and tried to extend his power into Europe, but was defeated in the 5th century BC by Greek armies.
Alexander the Great invaded in 334 BC, and the Achaemenid empire collapsed. The world of ancient Southwest Asia now became subject to the powers of Hellenistic and post-Hellenistic times.
Key Site: Tepe Yahya
Key Site: Troy
Key Site: Ebla
Key Site: Hattusa, Capital of the Hittites
Key Site: The Uluburun Shipwreck
Key Controversy: The End of the Early Bronze Age
Key Controversy: The Old Testament and Archaeology
Key Controversy: Who Owns the Past?
Key Controversy: Iraq's Archaeological Heritage Under Threat
Key words and terms Chapter 12
Periods and phases
Neolithic (10,000-6000 BC)
Chalcolithic (6000-3000 BC)
Halaf (6000 - 5400 BC)
Ubaid (5900 - 4200 BC)
Uruk (4200-3000 BC)
Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC)
Early Dynastic (2900-2350 BC)
Iron Age (1200-334 BC)
Geography and geographic features
Highland zone: Turkey (Anatolia), Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon
Lowland zone: Mesopotamia
Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
Upper and Lower Mesopotamia
The Persian Gulf.
Dilmun, Magan, and Meluhha (Bahrain, Oman, and the Indus Valley)
Tell Halaf (Syria)
Chagar Bazar (Syria)
Tell al-Ubaid (Iraq)
Tell Awayli/Tell el-Oueili (Iraq)
Hajji Muhammed (Iraq)
Tell Madhhur (Iraq)
Tell Abadeh (Iraq)
Kheit Qasim (Iraq)
Tepe Gawra (Iraq)
Tell Uqair (Iraq)
Godin Tepe (Iran)
Tepe Sialk (Iran)
Tepe Hissar (Iran)
Tal-i Iblis (Iran)
Habuba Kabira (Syria)
Jebel Aruda (Syria)
Hacinebi Tepe (Turkey)
Jemdet Nasr (Iraq)
Abu Salabikh, ancient Eresh (Iraq)
Al-Hiba, ancient Lagash (Iraq)
Fara, ancient Shuruppak (Iraq)
Abu Salabikh (Iraq)
Nimrud, ancient Kalhu (Iraq)
Tell Leilan (Iraq)
Tell Beydar (Iraq)
Tell Brak, ancient Nagar (Syria)
Kültepe, ancient Kanesh (Turkey)
Tell el-Amarna (Egypt)
Ras Shamra (Syria)
Ras Ibn Hani (Syria)
Tell Mozan, ancient Urkesh (Syria)
Sabi Abyad (Syria)
Tell Sheikh Hamad (Syria)
Haft Tepe (Iran)
Chogha Zanbil (Iran)
Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron (Pentapolis) (Israel)
Baal and Dagan
Cities, States, Empires
Akkad, Akkadian empire
Third Dynasty of Ur, Ur III
Amorite; Isin, Larsa
The United Monarchy
Achaemenid Persian empire
Hattusili I (Hittites)
Mursili I (Hittites)
Shuppiluliuma I (Hittites)
Ramesses II (Egypt)
Amenhotep III (Egypt)
Burnaburiash II (Babylonia)
Adadnirari I (Assyria)
Shalmaneser I (Assyria)
Tukulti-Ninurta I (Assyria)
Tiglathpileser I (Assyria)
Ashurnasirpal I (Assyria)
Thutmose III (Egypt)
Kurigalzu (Kassite Babylon)
Napir-Asu (queen, Elam)
Sargon II (Assyria)
Tiglathpileser III (Assyria)
Shalmaneser V (Assyria)
Darius I (Persia)
Alexander the Great (Greece)
Artifacts, features, structures
sling stones, wrist guards
Anu temple complex
Royal Cemetery of Ur
Khirbet Kerak ware
stele of Naram-Sin
Law Code of Hammurabi
palace of Zimri-Lim
palaces of Acemhöyük
tomb complex of King Tepti-ahar
statue of Marduk
temple of Haldi at Musasir (Turkey)
Northern, Southern, and Summer Palaces of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Processional Way, Ishtar Gate, temple of Marduk, Babylon
cylinder seals, sealings
clay tablets, stylus, cuneiform
sexagesimal system: discrete objects
bisexagesimal system: grain rationings
time system, calendar
surplus production (staple and/or prestige goods)
copper, Bronze, Iron metallurgy
purple murex shell dye
alphabet, alphabetic script
cities; increase in functional size
temple complexes; craft production, land ownership
city-states, states, empires
long-distance trade and communication routes
development of kings
Awilum, mushkenum, wardum
Assyrianization (conquest, colonization and deportation)