Research Topics

Gods and Kings

How did the faiths of the Near Eastern world influence the world views of the Eastern Mediterranean? What was the relationship between gods and kings, empires and religious belief?

In the second millennium B.C.E., the civilizations of Egypt and the Ancient Near East experienced a dramatic transformation due to the growth of new empires. This was accompanied by the cultural assimilation of different peoples that affected nearly the entire Eastern Mediterranean. During the Iron Age, the Assyrians, Phoenicians, and Persians became the dominant empire-builders. In the case of Persia, under Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius, the first invasions of the Greek mainland began. Although the Persians were eventually defeated by the Greeks, their influence on Greek culture cannot be underestimated.