Akkadian Empires

Empires, Migrations,
& Trade
Mesopotamian Empires, 1800-600 BCE
Akkadian Empire
The first “empire”
Sargon of Akkad:
The World’s First Empire [Akkadians]
Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Innovations
• Given credit for the world’s first empire
• Sargon of Akkad Multiethnic centrally ruled
• Euphrates River to Mediterranean with parts of
modern-day Iran,Syria, Anatolia, and Arabian
• Continuation of Sumerian civilization and
The Babylonian Empires
Babylonian Empire
• Flourished from approximately 2050-1600
• Hammurabi’s law code and the Epic of
Gilgamesh are two of the most notable
achievements of this empire
• Hitittes from Anatolia sacked Babylon
sometime around 1600 BCE which
destroyed the last remnants of the empire.
Hammurabi’s [r. 1792-1750 B. C. E.]
Hammurabi, the Judge
Indo-European Migrations
• Various tribes who all spoke related languages deriving from
some original common tongue and who eventually settled
Europe, Iran, and Northern India.
• Formed the common roots of many languages of Europe,
southwest Asia, and India
• Probable original homeland: Caucausus, Southern Russian
plains to the North or in Eastern Anatolia
• Between 3000 and 2000 BCE the Indo-Europeans were driven
from West Asia by some disaster. The tribes dispersed in all
directions and when they encountered agricultural peoples,
they turned to conquest to occupy the land.
• The Indo-European migrations set the stage for profound
changes across Eurasia.
Indo-European Migrations
• Indo-Europeans domesticated horses by 4000 BCE. By 3000 BCE
Sumerian knowledge of bronze metallurgy and wheels had diffused
• They developed transportation technologies that were faster and
more efficient than other alternatives. It gave them a military
advantage because of the strength and speed of their horses.
• Many Indo-Europeans considered themselves superior to other
• Influence on trade
• Horses, chariots with spoked wheels
• Iron
• Migrations to western China, Greece, Italy also significant
Hittites migrate to central Anatolia, c. 1900 BCE, later sack Babylonia
The Hittites
• Most influential of the Indo-Europeans were the Hittites
• 1900 BCE-went to central Anatolia and imposed their rule on the
people there.
• 1600 BCE toppled the Babylonian Empire
• 2 major technological innovations:
• 1. light, horse-drawn war chariots
• 2. refinement of iron metallurgy
• Sumerian chariots were heavy and slow, but Hittites used spoked
wheels that were lighter and more maneuverable
• Chariot technology diffused widely so that charioteers because elite
strike forces of armies
• After 1300 Hittites refined techniques of iron metallurgy which
made it more effective weapons cheaply and in large quantities.
(Heated iron and made it more durable)
• Hittites weren’t the original inventors of these two technologies but
they improved and introduced innovations that others adopted.
Other Indo-European Migrations
• Indo-European migrations to the East went into central
Asia and went as far as China
• Indo-European migrations to the West
• 1 group went into Greece and then later into central
• Another group went from Southern Russia into Central
Europe and Western Europe and then to the British
Isles, the Baltic region, and the Iberian peninsula
• Indo-European migrations to the south went into Iran
and India
Indo-European Migrations 3000-1000 BCE
Attacks of the Sea Peoples
• Around 1185 BCE maritime attacks from the western
Mediterranean destroyed the Hittites’ power
• This ushered in a period of Small Kingdoms (1200 BCE – 750
BCE) when small kingdoms sprang up at the eastern end of the
• Two of the most significant were:
• 1. Hebrews
• 2. Phoenicians
The Early Hebrews
• Abraham led the Hebrews from Babylon, c.
1850 BCE
• Early settlement of Canaan (Israel), c. 1300
• Biblical text: slavery in Egypt, divine
• On-going conflict with indigenous populations
under King David (1000-970 BCE) and Solomon
(970-930 BCE)
Abraham’s Geneaology
12 Arabian
12 Tribes of
Abraham’s Journey from Ur
Canaan  The “Promised Land”
Abraham’s Journeys
Yahweh’s “Covenant” With His
 The first 5
of the Hebrew
The Torah
 The most
text in the
Ancient Palestine
Moses and Monotheism
• Hebrews shared polytheistic beliefs of other Mesopotamian
• Moses introduces monotheism, belief in single god
• Denies existence of competing parallel deities
• Personal god: reward and punishment for conformity with
revealed law
• The Torah (“doctrine or teaching”)
“Prince of Egypt”
“Shepherd of His
The Exodus
Route of the Exodus
Moses and the 10
A new “covenant”
with Yahweh
Mount Sinai
King David’s Empire
Israelites in Captivity
Foreign conquests of Israel
• Assyrian conquest, 722 BCE
• Conquered the northern kingdom
• Deported many inhabitants to other regions
• Many exiles assimilated and lost their identity
• Babylonian conquest, 586 BCE
• Destroyed Jerusalem
• Forced many into exile
• Israelites maintained their religious identity and many returned
to Judea
The Phoenicians
• City-states along Mediterranean coast after 3000 BCE
• Extensive maritime trade
• Dominated Mediterranean trade, 1200-800 BCE
• Established colonies-Carthage
• Development of alphabet symbols
• Simpler alternative to cuneiform
• Spread of literacy
Israel and Phoenicia , 1500-600 BCE
Assyrian Empire
“A land bathed in blood”
Assyrian Innovations
• Were dominant 750-612 BCE
• Mostly known for military prowess:
excavation of city walls, battering rams, corps of
engineers, pontoons, “life” jackets
• Combines Sumer and Akkad lands
• Conquered Fertile Crescent, Egypt, Syria,
Phoenicia, Israel, and Anatolia with the capital at
• Were Cruel and brutal
• Fell when subject peoples revolted
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.
The Assyrian Empire
Assyrian Military Power
carrying away
the enemy’s
Neo-Babylonian Innovations
• Ruled from 626-539 BCE
• Some notable achievements occurred under Nebuchadnezzar
• Ishtar Gate
• Hanging Gardens of Babylon
• Responsible for exiling the Hebrews to BabylonBabylonian Captivity
• Hebrews were freed when the Persians (an IndoEuropean people east of Mesopotamia conquered
Hanging Gardens
of Babylon and tower of Babel
Israelites in Captivity
Nebuchadnezzar II’s Babylon
Babylon under the NeoBabylonians
Expansion of Trade
Growth of Regional and Transregional
• Although empires came and went, trade continued to expand
through this period
• Trade between Mesopotamia and Indus Valley flourished.
• Trade also expanded between Egypt and Nubia
The Extent of Mesopotamian Trade
Egypt and
Ancient Nubia
• Kush, the Egyptian
name for ancient
Nubia, was the site
of a highly advanced,
ancient black African
civilization that
rivaled ancient Egypt
in wealth, power and
• The first capital of Kush
lay at Kerma just south
of the Third Cataract of
the Nile.
• Here dwelt powerful
and wealthy black
kings who controlled
the trade routes
connecting central
Africa with ancient
Egypt Conquers Kush
• The Egyptians, who had
few natural resources of
their own, sought the
precious, exotic products
of central Africa to
satisfy the demands of
their luxury-loving
• By about 1500 B.C., the
Egyptians, feeling
threatened by the
Nubian kings, invaded
Kush and conquered it.
Gold from Nubia
• Model coffin of Tutankhamun,
probably made from Nubian
gold. Found in his tomb at
Thebes. Egypt, Dynasty 18, ca.
1348-1338 BCE.
• For the next four
centuries, the Egyptians
exploited Kush as a
• Egypt's wealth in gold
came from the desert
mines of Kush. The
Egyptian word for gold is
nub, which is thought by
some to be the origin of
the name Nubia.
Kush Conquers Egypt, 730 BC
• Around 730 B.C.,
Kush's warrior
hordes turned the
tables on a
weakened Egypt and
conquered it.
• This event
established the black
Pharaohs from Kush.
• Muhammad Ahmad
"El Mahdi“ of Sudan
• Nubia was converted to
Christianity in the 6th
cent. A.D.
• Joined with the
Christian kingdom of
Ethiopia, it long
resisted Muslim
encroachment, but in
the 14th cent. it finally

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