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Bābilu (‘gate of God’)/Babylon at the time of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (7th/6th cents. BC)

(2,014 words)

Author(s): Novák, M.
The Mesopotamian metropolis of Bābilu with its 2,200 acres (890 hectares) of enclosed space was one of the largest cities of Antiquity as well as the cultural, economic and at times also political centre of the Ancient Middle East. The city’s ruins are situated in the centre of the southern Mesopotamian alluvial plain on a branch of the Euphrates that was called Araḫtu in Antiquity. The city existed at least from the 3rd millennium; its original name was *Ba(b)bal, which in folk-etymology was interpreted as Bāb ilim, i.e. ‘God’s Gate’ (Sumerian: KÁ.DINGIR.RA; OT: Babel; Greek: Babylon). I.…

The Ancient Near East in the 17th and 16th centuries BC

(1,402 words)

Author(s): Novák, M.
The two maps highlight the political conditions during the ‘Early Babylonian period’. This age, named after a stage in the development of the Babylonian dialect, a variety of the Akkadian language, encompassed the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. It followed on the heels of the fall of the ‘Neo-Sumerian’ kingdom of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur in the 20th cent. BC and ended with the conquest and destruction of the city of Bābilim/Babylon by the Hittites in the late 16th cent. BC. Generally the Earl…

The Ancient Near and Middle East in the 15th to 13th centuries BC

(1,482 words)

Author(s): Novák, M.
The two main maps and the supplementary one attempt to reflect the extremely complex political situation in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the Late Bronze Age ( c. 1500–1200 BC). While map A highlights the circumstances before the destruction of the Mittani kingdom by the Hittites around 1350 BC, map B depicts the constellation which resulted from that event and remained stable until 1200 BC. The subject of the supplementary map is the historical geography of Syria and the Levant, the contact zone between the great empires of the age. I. The Ancient Near and …

The Luwian-aramaic principalities c. 900 BC

(1,488 words)

Author(s): Novák, M.
I. Antecedents and genesis The system of Late Bronze Age states that had developed over centuries had collapsed in the 12th cent. BC. Numerous political units like the Great Hittite Empire, the New Kingdom in Egypt and the Middle Babylonian Empire failed to survive the turmoil. Small principalities, too, lost large parts of their territories or disappeared completely. Only Assyria managed to hold on to its status as a great power until the early 11th cent. Then, towards the end of the Middle Assyria…

Mesopotamia in the 2nd half of the 3rd millennium BC

(971 words)

Author(s): Novák, M. | Volk, K.
In Mesopotamia, the period in question encompasses the later Early Dynastic ( c. 2500–2200 BC), the Akkadian (ca 2200–2050 BC) and the Neo-Sumerian ( c. 2050–1950 BC) periods. In northern Syria, it includes the Early Bronze Ages III and IV and the beginning of the Middle Bronze period. The state of the source material on this period shows little homogeneity. For the Neo-Sumerian period we have at our disposal a considerable number of texts from several cities in southern Mesopotamia, whereas there are only isolated dat…

The eastern Mediterranean and Near East (12th – mid 10th cent. BC)

(1,984 words)

Author(s): Fuchs, A. | Kamlah, J. | Müller-Wollermann, R. | Novák, M. | Wittke, A.-M.
Between c. 1200 and 1150, the Late Bronze Age civilizations and political units in the Aegaean region, in Anatolia, Syria and Palestine were obliterated. The collapse of the political, economic and cultural systems had many causes and happened in different ways in different regions. The evidence is problematic: substantial written sources are available only for Egypt and Assyria. Apart from those we have to rely on linguistic research, later texts and archaeological appraisals. I. The eastern Mediterranean region and the Near East (12th cent. BC; map A) Around 1200 BC, the palace …