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World History - The Near East, Part 3

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1/7/2016 5:30:58 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
The Late Bronze Age Collapse

Location: The Near East
Time Period: 1200-1050 BC

In the late Bronze Age of the Near East, a diplomatic community of empires had maintained a thriving international system based on bronze. Between 1200 and 1050 BC, records hint at upheaval, as raids and migrations overwhelmed the established powers. The collapse appears to have begun a little before 1200 BC, when the citadels of Mycenaean Greece were destroyed. In 12007 BC, the Hittite capital of Hattusa was sacked and the empire fell. The Egyptians had to fight off invasions by groups they called "Sea Peoples," which eventually led to the demise of the New Kingdom in 1069 BC. Elsewhere, the Kassite dynasty of Babylon collapsed around 1154 BC while, in Assyria, the archives speak of constant skirmishes. The ensuing "Dark Age," lasted about 150 years.

The Phoenicians

Location: Lebanon, the Mediterranean coastline
Time Period: 1200-146 BC

From around 1200 BC, the coastal cities of Tyre, Byblos, and Sidon, in an area the Greeks called Phoenicia, formed the core of a sea-based trading network. The Phoenicians used maritime power to control a dense web of routes crossing the Mediterranean, with trading links as far afield as Mesopotamia and the Red Sea, supplying a range of goods from rich, exotic fabrics and glass to cedar wood. They also established colonies that included Lixus in Morocco, Gades in Spain, Motya Sicily, and most importantly, Carthage, founded around 814 BC. After Phoenicia itself fell to Assyria in the 9th Century BC, Carthage became the principal center of Phoenician politics, conquering its own empire in the western Mediterranean. Carthage ultimately lost the battle for dominance of this region to the Romans, who defeated the Carthaginians in three Punic Wars in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.
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