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History                  2,000 BC
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Africa

 

Southwest Asia

 For centuries after 3000 BC, the Sumerian city-states engaged in almost constant warfare, with first one and then another gaining temporary ascendancy. With the rise of power of Sargon of Akkad at about 2350 BC, however, the political fabric of ancient Southwest Asia was forever changed. Sargon and his several immediate successors used the city of Akkad as a military base from which they mounted spectacularly successful attacks in all directions.

After 2250 BC quarrels arose among rival claimants to the Akkadian throne, and the state fragmented under th3e onslaught on peoples moving in from the highlands on its margins.

Despite its apparent stability, the Ur III political system of the late third millennium was constantly under pressure from internal political rivalries, as well as from the incursions of semi-nomads and rival groups along the state's frontiers. The coup de grace was administered at about 2004 BC with the invasion from western Iran of the Elamites, who led the king of Ur away in captivity.

From about 2000 to 1800 BC, Greater Mesopotamia was politically fragmented as kings at Isin, Larsa, Susa and elsewhere established contending states. Eventually, the ancient city of Babylon became the most powerful political entity, and by 1792 BC Hammarabi established the Babylonian Empire, based mainly on the southern alluvial plain. The many documents of his reign that have survived reflect a skillful politician adept at bureaucratic, military, and political uses of power: his famous law code, although harsh by modern standards reflects efficient administration.

After about 1600 BC, the political history of Southwest Asia becomes extremely complicated, with frequent political realignments and, ultimately, the gradual development and extension of imperial power. Assyrians, Elamites, Achaemenids, and other cultural groups established empires, and eventually the political and military scale became distinctly internal as empires centered in Egypt, Anatolia, and Iran met and, more often than not, came into conflict. (46)

Hesiod depicts the Bronze Age as a time of civilization, when humans were strong, productive, and very aggressive. During this era in the history of Western civilization great advances proceeded very quickly and beautiful cities, temples, and works of art were produced. However, for thousands of years wars often broke out between developing city-states and empires. The comparable portion of the Old Testament is likewise full of accounts of tribal war, bickering, infighting, and the spread of pestilence and plagues. The analogous Hindu Dvapara was a time when sensual desires increased, disease began to appear, and injustice spread through human civilization. (69)

Around 1600 BC, the Kassites conquered the Babylonians. Egypt entered the period of Empire, engaging in struggles with different powers. A few centuries later the Hebrews completed their conquest of Canaan. Israel itself went from monarchy to tribal fragmentation as it broke into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. (113)

Historians have documented that for twenty centuries, armies surged back and forth across the plains of modern day Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, and Jordan; the mountains of Lebanon and the Sinai Peninsula; and the Egyptian river valley. Kings vying for power kept the region in turmoil, but one human's legacy with roots in the earlier days of the gods wove a religious thread through the area that would reshape not only Middle Eastern history, but the history of the world. The transmitter of that legacy was a Sumerian-born aristocrat named Abraham who joined the Semite people who would eventually overshadow the Caucasian and Hamitic people of the region. (113)

See Hammurabi's Code

…it was under the rule of Khammurabi, who was the sixth king of the Dynasty, and reigned for about 42 years, that Babylon attained its greatest influence and splendour, and became the first city in Babylonia. He marched against Rim-Sin, who had captured Isin, and took Larsa, and made its king a prisoner, and thus the power of Larsa came to an end. He conducted campaigns in Sumer, Upper Babylonia and Assyria, and was victorious everywhere; among the cities taken by him were Nineveh and Ashur. He was not only a great warrior, but a great organizing ruler, who thought that nothing concerning the welfare of his kingdom or people was too small or unimportant to deserve his personal supervision. His desire to make his subjects a law-abiding people is shown by the Code of Laws that he compiled, and it is clear from it that he realized no kingdom could stand that was not ruled by justice coupled with wisdom and humanity. He was undoubtedly the greatest king of Babylonia and perhaps the greatest man the country ever produced. That his Code was based upon existing Sumerian Codes of Laws does not detract from its merit as containing the most comprehensive series of wise and humane laws that has come down to us from an Oriental King. Khammurabi's Letters and Dispatches prove that he devoted much care and attention to the affairs of his kingdom, and the decisions which he made show that he ruled the people with justice and with due regard to what he believed to be their best interests. He insisted that all difficult questions should be referred to him for his personal consideration, and he considered no detail of administration too small or unimportant for his attention. (118)

About 1750 BC the chieftains who lived on the east bank of the Tigris began to cross that river and settle themselves on the rich lands in Lower Mesopotamia, and they succeeded in making the natives do their will. Increasing their power gradually, the chieftains made their way to Babylon, and in a comparative short time, Gandash, one of these Kashshu people (commonly called Kassites), made himself king of Babylon and founded the Third or Kassite Dynasty of Babylon. (118)

Babylon owed everything to its geographical position, and it was this that enabled the city to survive the series of destructive attacks which were made upon it during the four or five thousand years of its existence. Its true value was recognized by that great and wise law-giver, Khammurabi, who enlarged it, strengthened it, and made it his capital. In the opening lines of his Code he tells us of the great things that he did for the temple of Enlil at Nippur, and how he restored the city of Eridu, perhaps the oldest city in Babylonia, and he goes on to say that he "magnified the renown of Babylon, and rejoiced the heart of Marduk his lord," and what he did for Esagila, the greatest of all the temples of Babylon. (118)

The most important brick inscription is that of Nurimmer (Nur-Adad?), King of Larsa (2027-2012 BC), which reads:-"Nur-Immer, the mighty man, the true irrigator of Ur, the King of Larsa, the priest who hath cleansed the Temple of Ebara: Eridu from of old having been destroyed, for his happy reign he erected, its building he renewed; for Enki, the pure abode, his beloved place, he built; the oracle(?) as it was before he restored to its place." The remains of the foundation sacrifice, i.e. the skeleton of a bull, were found close to the foot of the zikkurat. Red, burnt, plano-convex bricks, to join which thick layers of bitumen were used as mortar, were found both by Taylor and Thompson, and they may be regarded as the oldest Sumerian bricks known. (118)

By 2400 BC the Sumerian king of Uruk, Lugalzaggisi, had united the Middle East into one great empire from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. He ruled it for twenty-five years. Then a junior officer, a Semite, Sargon of Akkad, revolted. He captured Lugalzaggisi and exhibited him in a cage at the gate of the temple of Enlil at Nippur. Sargon and his descendants then ran the united empire, thereafter called the empire of Sumer and Akkad (2370-2285 BC). He bore the title 'Lord of the Four Quarters'. Yet the dons concede that Sargon is described in the omens, which are contemporary with him, to have crossed the sea in the west. That he sailed farther than any subsequent Mesopotamian ruler has at least thus much testimony. Mesopotamian records say that Sargon went himself to the western tin land and himself conquered it. Sargon's grandson, Naram-Sin, was one of the greatest of oriental rulers. It was revised by Shulgi and his successors at Ur when they also seemed to enjoy a boundless empire, the empire of the sea, the Empire of Ocean. (135)

In 2285 BC the Guti, barbarians from the north, descended upon the empire and destroyed the Akkadian dynasty. This defeat gave the Sumerians the chance to regain their independence from the Semites. This neo-Sumerian period is a golden age of art, known as the third dynasty of Ur. The statuary is superb. There are extant some thirty statues of the patesi, Gudea. The neo-Sumerian political power, centred at Ur, again collapsed about 1930 BC under a combined attack of the Elamites from the East and the Semites of the West. The great empire was finally broken up among local rulers. (135)

Approximately 1930 BC the Amorites turned on the Sumerians and in conjunction with the Elamites destroyed them. The Amorites came from a region just to the east of the Phoenician ports and it is reasonable to suppose that both peoples worked together. Manetho called the whole area Phoenicia. From their number came the invading dynasty known as the the Hyskos, the shepherd-kings who took over Egypt between 1700 and 1500 BC. They acquired their nickname not because of their humble origins but because they governed colonial peoples as if they were sheep. (135)

1930 BC Destruction of Sumerians by Amorites and Elamites. (135)

It was Inanna who came up with a brilliant idea; it can be described as "if you can't fight them, invite them in." One day, as she was roaming the skies in her Sky Chamber--it happened circa 2360 BC--she landed in a garden next to sleeping man who had caught her fancy. She liked the sex, she liked the man. He was a Westerner, speaking a Semitic language. As he wrote later in his memoirs, he knew not who father was, but knew that his mother was an Entu, a god's priestess, who put him in a reed basket that was carried by river's flowing waters to a garden tended by Akki the Irrigator, who raised him as a son. The possibility that the strong and handsome man could have been a god's castoff son was enough for Inanna to recommend to the other gods that the next king of the land should be this Amurru. When they agreed, she granted him the epithet-name Sharru-kin, the old cherished title of Sumerian kings. Not stemming from the previous recognized royal Sumerian lineages, he could not ascend the throne in any one of the olden capitals, and a brand-new city was established to serve as his capital. It was called Aggade--"Union City." Our textbooks call this king Sargon of Akka, and his Semitic language Akkadian. His kingdom, which added northern and northwestern provinces to ancient Sumer, was called Sumer & Akkad. (137)

Sargon lost little time in carrying out the mission for which he was selected--to bring the "rebel lands" under control. Hymns to Inanna--henceforth known by the Akkadian name Ishtar--had her tell Sargon that he would be remembered "by the destruction of the rebel land, massacring its people, making its rivers run with blood." Sargon's military expeditions were recorded and glorified in his own royal annals; his achievements were summarized in the Sargon Chronicle thus:

Sharru-kin, king of Aggade,
Rose to power in the era of Ishtar.
He left neither rival nor opponent.
He spread his terror-inspiring awe in all the lands.
He crossed the sea in the east,
He conquered the country of the west in its full extent.

In his chronicles, Sargon's titles followed the customary honorific "Overseer of Ishtar, king of Kish, great Ensi of Enlil," but he also called himself "anointed priest of Anu." It was the first time that being divinely anointed--which is what "Messiah" literally means--appears in ancient inscriptions.

Counterannals, recording the events as viewed from Marduk's side, reveal that Marduk led a punishing counteroffensive: On account of the sacrilege Sargon committed, the great god Marduk became enraged ... From east to west he alienated the people from Sargon, and punished him with an affliction of being without rest. (137)

Sargon was briefly succeeded on the throne of Sumer & Akkad by two sons, but his true successor in spirit and deed was a grandson named Naram-Sin. The name meant "Sin's favorite," but the annals and inscriptions concerning his reign and military campaigns show that he was in fact Ishtar's favorite. Texts and depictions record that Ishtar encouraged the king to seek grandeur and greatness by ceaseless conquest and destruction of her enemies, actively assisting him on the battlefields. Depictions of her, which used to show her as an enticing goddess of love, now showed her as a goddess of war, bristling with weapons. It was warfare not without a plan--a plan to counter Marduk's ambitions by capturing all the space-related sites in behalf of Inanna/Ishtar. The lists of cities captured or subdued by Naram-Sin indicate that he not only reached the Mediterranean Sea--assuring control of the Landing Place--but also turned southward to invade Egypt. Such an incursion into the Enki'ite domains was unprecedented, and it could take place, a careful reading of the records reveals, because Inanna/Ishtar had formed an unholy alliance with Nergal, Marduk's brother who espoused Inanna's sister. The thrust into Egypt also required entering and crossing the neutral Sacred Region in the Sinai Peninsula, where the spaceport was located--another breach of the olden Peace Treaty. (137)

A long text known as The Curse of Aggade, which tells the story of the Akkadian dynasty, clearly states that its end came about "after the frowning of the forehead of Enlil." And so the "word of Ekur"--the decision of Enlil from his temple in Nippur--was to put an end to it: "The word of the Ekur was upon Aggade" to be destroyed and wiped off the face of the Earth. Nararn-Sin's end came circa 2260 BC; texts from that time report that troops from the territory in the east, called Gutium, loyal to Ninurta, were the instrument of divine wrath; Aggade was never rebuilt, never resettled; that royal city, indeed, has never been found. (137)

One of the first tasks of Ur-Nammu was to carry out a moral and religious revival. And for that, too, a former revered and remembered king was emulated. It was done through the promulgation of a new Code of Laws, laws of moral behavior, laws of justice--of adherence, the Code said, to the laws that Enlil and Nannar and Shamash had wanted the king to enforce and the people to live' by. These, it ought to be pointed out, were the very same principles of justice and morality that the biblical prophets demanded of kings and people in the next millennium. The inscriptions, the monuments, and the archaeological evidence attest that Ur-Nammu's reign, which began in 2113 BC, witnessed extensive public works, restoration of river navigation, and the rebuilding and protection of the country's highways: "He made the highways run from the lower lands to the upper lands," an inscription stated. Greater trade and commerce followed. There was a surge in arts, crafts, schools, and other improvements in social and economic life (including the introduction of more accurate weights and measures). Treaties with neighboring rulers to the east and northeast spread the prosperity and well-being. (137)

A close examination of the records from that time reveals that indeed while under the leadership of Ur-Nammu Sumer itself flourished, the hostility to the Enlilites by the "rebel lands" increased rather than diminished. The situation apparently demanded action, for accordng to Ur-Nammu's inscriptions Enlil gave him a "divine weapon that heaps up the rebels in piles" with which to attack "the hostile lands, destroy the evil cities and clear them of opposition." Those "rebel lands" and "sinning cities" were west of Sumer, the lands of Marduk's Amorite followers; there, the "evil"--the hostility against Enlil--was fanned by Nabu, who moved about from city to city proselytizing for Marduk. Enlilite records called him "The Oppressor," of whose influence the "sinning cities" had to be rid. There is reason to believe that the Peace and War panels actually depicted Ur-Nammu himself--one showing him banqueting and celebrating peace and prosperity, the other in the royal chariot, leading his army to war. His military expeditions took him well beyond Sumer's borders into the western lands. But Ur-Nammu--great reformer, builder, and economic "shepherd" that he was--failed as a military leader. In the midst of battle his chariot got stuck in the mud; Ur­Nammu fell off it, but "the chariot like a storm rushed along," leaving the king behind, "abandoned like a crushed jug." The tragedy was compounded when the boat returning Ur­Narnmu's body to Sumer "in an unknown place had sunk; the waves sank it down, with him on board." (137)

Following Ur-Nammu's tragic death, the throne of Ur was taken over by his son Shulgi. Unable to claim the status of a demigod, he asserted (in his inscriptions) that he was nevertheless born under divine auspices: the god Nannar himself arranged for the child to be conceived in Enlil's temple in Nippur through a union between Ur-Nammu and Enlil's high priestess, so that "a 'little Enlil,' a child suitable for kingship and throne, shall be conceived." These records indicate that soon after he had ascended the throne, Shulgi--perhaps hoping to avert his father's fate on a battlefield--reversed his father's militant policies. He launched an expedition to the outlying provinces, including the "rebel lands," but his "weapons" were offers of trade, peace, and his daughters in marriage. Deeming himself a successor to Gilgamesh, his route embraced the two destinations of that famed hero: the Sinai peninsula (where the spaceport was) in the south and the Landing Place in the north. Observing the sanctity of the Fourth Region, Shulgi skirted the peninsula and paid homage to the gods at its boundary, at a place described as "Great fortified place of the gods." Moving northward west of the Dead Sea, he paused to worship at the "Place of Bright Oracles"--the place we know as Jerusalem--and built there an altar to "the god who judges" (usually an epithet of Utu/Shamash). At the "Snow­ covered Place" in the north, he built an altar and offered sacrifices. Having thus "touched base" with the reachable space-related sites, he followed the "Fertile Crescent'--the arching trade and migration east-west route dictated by geography and water sources--then continued southward in the Tigris-Euphrates plain, back to southern Sumer. (137)

But while Shulgi turned from affairs of state to personal pleasures, the unrest in the "rebel lands" was continuing. Unprepared for military action, Shulgi asked his Elamite ally for troops, offering its king as a reward one of his daughters in marriage and the Sumerian city Larsa as dowry. A major military expedition, employing those Elamite troops, was launched against the "sinning cities" in the west; the troops reached the Fortified Place of the gods at the Fourth Region's boundary. Shulgi in his inscriptions boasted of victory, but in fact, soon thereafter, he started to build a fortified wall 'to protect Sumer against foreign incursions from the west and from the northwest. In 2048 BC the gods, led by Enlil, had enough of Shulgi's state failures and personal dolce vita. Determining that "the divine regulations he did not carry out," they decreed for him "the death of a sinner." We don't know what kind of death it was, but it is a historic fact that in that year he was replaced on the throne of Ur by his son Amar-Sin, of whom we know from the inscriptions that he launched one military expedition after another--to quell a revolt in the north, to fight an alliance of five kings in the west. (137)

It is noteworthy that in their military expeditions to subdue and punish the "rebel lands" in the west, both Ur-Nammu and Shulgi reached the Sinai peninsula, but turned away from that Fourth Region without entering it. The prize there was a place called TIL.MUN--the "Place of the Missiles"--the site of the post-Diluvial spaceport of the Anunnaki. When the Pyramid Wars ended, the sacred Fourth Region was entrusted to the neutral hands of Ninmah (who was then renamed NIN.HAR.SAG--"Lady of the Mountain Peaks"), but actual command of the spaceport was put in the hands of Utu/Shamash (here shown in his winged dress uniform, commanding the spaceport's "Eaglemen." That, however, appeared to change as the struggle for supremacy intensified. Inexplicably, various Sumerian texts and "God Lists" started to associate Tilmun with Marduk's son, the god Ensag/Nabu. Enki was apparently involved in that, for a text dealing with the affair between Enki and Ninharsag states that the two of them decided to allocate the place to Marduk's son: "Let Ensag be the lord of Tilmun," they said. (137)

In 2048 BC the destiny of the founder of monotheism, Abraham, and the fate of the Anunnaki god Marduk converged at a place called Harran. Harran--"The Caravanry"--was an important trading center from time immemorial in Hatti (the land of the Hittites). Harran (the town, by that very name, still exists in Turkey, near the border with Syria) was also known in ancient times as "Ur away from Ur"; at its center stood a great temple to Nannar/Sin. In 2095 BC, the year in which Shulgi took over the throne in Ur, a priest named Terah was sent from Ur to Harran to serve at that temple. He took along his family; it included his son Abram. (137)

The Sumerian texts dealing with the reign of Amar-Sin, Shulgi's son and successor, inform us that in 2041 BC he launched his greatest (and last) military expedition against the Lands of the West that fell under the Marduk-Nabu spell. It entailed an invasion of unparalleled scope by an international alliance, in which not only cities of men but also strongholds of gods and their offspring were attacked. The historical records suggest that as audacious and farflung that War of the Kings had been, it failed to suppress the Marduk-Nabu surge. Amar-Sin, we know, died in 2039 BC--felled not by an enemy lance, but by a scorpion's bite. He was replaced in 2038 BC by his brother Shu-Sin. (137)

Historical documents from the time indicate that it was the Assyrians from the north who were the first to challenge Marduk's Babylon militarily. The very first recorded Assyrian king, Ilushuma, led circa 1900 BC, a successful military expedition down the Tigris River all the way south to the border of Elam. His inscriptions state that his aim was to "set the freedom of Ur and Nippur"; and he did remove, for a while, those cities from Marduk's grip. That was only the first fight between Assyria and Babylonia in a conflict that continued for more than a thousand years and lasted to the end of both. It was a conflict in which the Assyrian kings were usually the aggressors. Neighboring each other, speaking the same Akkadian language, and both inheriting the Sumerian foundation, the Assyrians and Babylonians were distinguishable by just one key difference: their national god. (137)

Circa 1900 BC the Hittites began to spread out from their strongholds in north-central Anatolia (today's Turkey), became a major military power, and joined the chain of Enlilite nation-states opposed to Marduk's Babylon. (137)

Significantly, the Hittite southward reach embraced the two space-related sites of the Landing Place (today's Baalbek) and the post-Diluvial Mission Control Center (Jerusalem); it also brought the Enlilite Hittites to within striking distance of Egypt, the land of Ra/Marduk. But rather than attack Egypt, the Hittites sprung a surprise. The first, perhaps, to introduce horse-driven chariots in military campaigns, the Hittite army, totally unexpectedly, in 1595 BC, swept down the Euphrates River, captured Babylon, and took Marduk into captivity. ...the Hittite attackers did not intend to take over and rule Babylon: they retreated soon after they had breached the city's defenses and entered its sacred precinct, taking Marduk with them, leaving him unharmed, but apparently under guard, in a city called Hana...(137)

After several years of confusion and disorder, kings belonging to a dynasty called the Kassite Dynasty took control of Babylon, restored Marduk's shrine, "took the hand of Marduk," and returned him to Babylon. Still, the Hittite sack of Babylon is considered by historians to have marked the end both of the glorious First Dynasty of Babylon and of the Old Babylonian Period. In Babylon itself, the eventual release and return of Marduk did not provide an answer; in fact, it increased the mystery, for the "Kassites" who welcomed the captured god back to Babylon were non-Babylonian strangers. They called Babylon "Karduniash" and had names such as Barnaburiash and Karaindash, but little else is known about them or their original language. To this day it is not clear from where they came and why their kings were allowed to replace the Hammurabi dynasty circa 1660 BC and to dominate Babylon from 1560 BC until 1160 BC. (137)

The Kassites quickly integrated themselves into the Sumerian-Akkadian culture, including language and cuneiform script, but were neither the meticulous recordkeepers the Sumerians had been nor the likes of previous Babylonian writers of royal annals. ...Egypt shared with Babylon the veneration of Ra-Marduk and, like Babylonia, had also undergone a "dark age"--a period scholars call the Second Intermediate Period. It began with the demise of the Middle Kingdom circa 1780 BC and lasted until about 1560 BC. As in Babylonia, it featured a reign of foreigner kings known as "Hyksos." Here, too, it is not certain who they were, from where they came, or how it was that their dynasties were able to rule Egypt for more than two centuries. (137)

Egypt

 By about 2400 BC the majority of Egypt’s population probably lived north of Saqqara, and the seat of government power remained at Memphis, in the north, through much of Egypt’s ancient history. (47)

Djoser's successors, particularly those of the Fourth Dynasty (c. 2575-2465 BC)--the beginning of the Old Kingdom Period--also built massive pyramids and experimented with designs and constructions until the "perfect" pyramid form was achieved by King Khufu--as exemplified by the pyramids at Giza. It is not just the massive size of this and other pyramids of this era that is so impressive, but also the complex engineering, the deft execution of stone sculpture, and the precise planning such projects would have required. …not a single ancient Egyptian text of the period when they were built describes how they were constructed or why. (47)

Shortly after 2495 BC there was a change in dynasties as well as in the religious and political texture of the Old Kingdom. The worship of the sun god, Ra, emerged as the dominant religion, and the nobility and provincial authorities began to encroach on the king’s authority. (47)

Reconstructing the sociopolitical changes of the Middle Kingdom (c. 2080-1640 BC)—Egypt’s "Classical" period--is a complex matter. In general, the history of the Middle Kingdom contains the same cycles of expansion and collapse that can be seen in all the great ancient empires. Periods of well-regulated trade, prosperity, and brilliance in art, architecture, and literature were punctuated by periods of revolution, poverty, and political fragmentation. The Middle Kingdom originated in the great civil unrest of the twenty-first century BC, when, according to a contemporary account:

[Grain] has perished everywhere…People are stripped of clothing, perfume, and oil…Everyone says, "There is no more."…Strangers have come into Egypt everywhere…Men do not sail to Byblos today: What shall we do for fine wood? Princes and pious men everywhere as far as the land of Crete are embalmed with the resins of Lebanon, but now we have no supplies…The dead are thrown in the river…laughter has perished. Grief walks the land.

In the face of this turmoil, successive rulers sought to increase national integration while directing defense and trade along increasingly active frontiers. The Eleventh Dynasty pharaoh Nebhepetre’ Mentuhotpe (c. 2161-2010 BC) and hi8s immediate successors of the Eleventh Dynasty reunited the country. He and his successors of the Eleventh and Twelfth Dynasties reorganized the country with considerable energy, undertaking expeditions into Nubia, Libya, and Syria, reopening trade routes to the Red Sea, and commencing again the construction of monumental buildings. (47)

At about 1640 BC Asiatic people captured Memphis, and the Hyksos king adopted the trapings of Egyptian royalty. Artifacts made in the Hyksos manner have been found all along the Nile Valley and as far south as Karnak, but it is not clear how directly they were able to control most of the population. The skull of a ruler of southern Egypt, Seqenenre' Ta'o II (c. ruled at about 1600 BC) bears the imprint of a western Asiatic-type battle ax, and there are other evidences of frequent conflict between Egyptians and Asiatics along the eastern Delta border.

The hated Asiatics were largely expelled from Egypt by Pharaoh Ahmose I (c. 1550-1525 BC) who ushered in a new age of political unity.

By the mid-fifteenth century BC Egypt probably had a population of many millions of people, whose governmental institutions, religion, language, economy, and most other aspects of life were probably remarkably like those of their ancestors during all of the preceding 2000 years. This great weight of tradition must be considered when analyzing Egyptian history. Time and time again Egypt would fragment under revolt and invasion, but the ancient order would always persist and reform. (47)

Around 2000 BC, Egypt entered the period of the Middle Kingdom. As the Anunnakis withdrew from the picture, the pharaohs changed the definition of the basis of their authority. They continued to claim the powers of gods but also stressed they personally were descended from the gods and, as if to further shore up their authority, promised that the gods would return. By 3,500 years ago, Egypt was in decline. The peak of pharaonic power, the end of the New Kingdom, was fading in Thebes under the leadership of Amenhotep III. (113)

As long as the Anunnaki gods remained visibly active in the Near East, the twin pillars of their hegemony (Sumeria and Egypt) remained "superpowers' and remained relatively immune from attacks by independents from the Arabian peninsula, the Aegean seacoasts, and Asia Minor. But, as soon as the dust had settled from the final Anunnaki political implosion and likely nuclear explosion, things began to change. The Hittites (from what is now Turkey) extended their empire eastward into Mesopotamia. Sumeria fragmented, with Babylon the cohesive center still loyal to the god Marduk. Egypt, in its already weakened Middle Kingdom, was soon conquered by the Hyksos (shepherd kings from West Asia). (113)

Around 1600 BC, the Kassites conquered the Babylonians. Egypt entered the period of Empire, engaging in struggles with different powers. A few centuries later the Hebrews completed their conquest of Canaan. Israel itself went from monarchy to tribal fragmentation as it broke into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. (113)

The date of 2160 BC is considered by Egyptologists to mark the beginning of what is designated the First Intermediate Period--a chaotic interval between the end of the Old Kingdom and the dynastic start of the Middle Kingdom. During the thousand years of the Old Kingdom, when the religious-political capital was Memphis in Middle Egypt, the Egyptians worshipped the Ptah pantheon, erecting monu­ mental temples to him, to his son Ra, and to their divine successors. The famed inscriptions of the Memphite Pharaohs glorified the gods and promised an Afterlife for the kings. Reigning as the gods' surrogates, those Pharaohs wore the double crown of Upper (southern) and Lower (northern) Egypt, signifying not just the administrative but also the religious unification of the Two Lands; unification attained when Horus defeated Seth in their struggle for the Ptah/Ra legacy. And then, in 2160 BC, that unity and religious certainty came crashing down. The turmoil saw a breakup of the Union, abandonment of the capital, attacks from the south by Theban princes to gain control, foreign incursions, desecration of temples, a collapse of law and order, and droughts, famines, and food riots. Those conditions are recalled in a papyrus known as the Admonitions of Ipu-Wer, a long hieroglyphic text that consists of several sections in which it gives an account of calamities and tribulations, blames an unholy enemy for religious wrong­doing and social evils, and calls on the people to repent and resume the religious rites. A prophetic section describing the coming of a Redeemer, and another that extolls the ideal times that will follow, conclude the papyrus. (137)

Indus Valley

 Hesiod depicts the Bronze Age as a time of civilization, when humans were strong, productive, and very aggressive. During this era in the history of Western civilization great advances proceeded very quickly and beautiful cities, temples, and works of art were produced. However, for thousands of years wars often broke out between developing city-states and empires. The comparable portion of the Old Testament is likewise full of accounts of tribal war, bickering, infighting, and the spread of pestilence and plagues. The analogous Hindu Dvapara was a time when sensual desires increased, disease began to appear, and injustice spread through human civilization. (69)

China

 

Europe

 Hesiod depicts the Bronze Age as a time of civilization, when humans were strong, productive, and very aggressive. During this era in the history of Western civilization great advances proceeded very quickly and beautiful cities, temples, and works of art were produced. However, for thousands of years wars often broke out between developing city-states and empires. The comparable portion of the Old Testament is likewise full of accounts of tribal war, bickering, infighting, and the spread of pestilence and plagues. The analogous Hindu Dvapara was a time when sensual desires increased, disease began to appear, and injustice spread through human civilization. (69)

At the beginning of the decadent god-cult era in the Middle East, the early Achaeans--probably Aryans from the plains north of the Black Sea--had a sophisticated civilization about 4,000 years ago. Moving into the Aegean region over 3,000 years ago, the Dorians (apparently Alpine or Nordic peoples along the Danube River) joined the Achaeans. (113)

The Pelasgians left Greece, or were pushed out, early in the second millennium, some of them taking up new homes in the western Mediterranean or just outside, on the Atlantic shores of Spain and Morocco. They dominated the Atlantic trade in the second half of the second millennium BC. Exodus 23:31 refers to the Mediterranean as the sea of the Philistines. (135)

The Greeks came into Greece from the north, on horseback, historians say, about 1900 BC. Perhaps some tribes came to Greece from the other side of the Aegean because they were already sea-people. The sea-people at this time seem also to have been equestrian. (135)

1600 BC King Minos of Crete. (135)

South America

 

Mesoamerica

 

North America

 

Other