None Provided21

This essay has a total of 1897 words and 8 pages.

None Provided21




The Egyptians had never willingly submitted to the rule of their Semitic shepherd kings
and around 1600 A.D. a long patriotic movement got rid of these foreigners. Followed by a
new phase or revival for Egypt, a period known to Egyptologists as the New Empire. Egypt,
which had not been closely combined before the Hyksos invasion, was now a united country;
and the phase of subjugation and insurrection left her full of military spirit. The
Pharaohs became aggressive conquerors. They had now acquired the warhorse and the war
chariot, which the Hyksos had brought to them. Under Thothmes III and Amenophis III Egypt
had extended her rule into Asia as far as the Euphrates.

We are entering now upon a thousand years of warfare between the once quite separated
civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Nile. At first Egypt was ascendant. The great
dynasties, the Seventeenth Dynasty, which included Thothmes III and Amenophis III and IV
and a great queen Hatasu, and the Nineteenth, when Rameses II, supposed by some to have
been the Pharaoh of Moses, reigned for sixty-seven years, raised Egypt to high levels of
prosperity. In between there were phases of depression for Egypt, conquest by the Syrians
and later conquest by the Ethiopians from the South. In Mesopotamia Babylon ruled, then
the Hittites and the Syrians of Damascus rose to a transitory predominance; at one time
the Syrians conquered Egypt; the fortunes of the Assyrians of Nineveh ebbed and flowed;
sometimes the city was a conquered city; sometimes the Assyrians ruled in Babylon and
assailed Egypt. Our space is too limited here to tell of the comings and goings of the
armies of the Egyptians and of the various Semitic powers of Asia Minor, Syria and
Mesopotamia. They were armies now provided with vast droves of war chariots, for the
horse—still used only for war and glory—had spread by this time into the old civilizations
from Central Asia.

Great conquerors appear in the dim light of that distant time and pass, Tushratta, King of
Mitanni, who captured Nineveh, Tiglath Pileser I of Assyria who conquered Babylon. At last
the Assyrians became the greatest military power of the time. Tiglath Pileser III
conquered Babylon in 745 B.C. and founded what historians call the New Assyrian Empire.
Iron had also come now into civilization out of the north; the Hittites, the precursors of
the Armenians, had it first and communicated its use to the Assyrians, and an Assyrian
usurper, Sargon II, armed his troops with it. Assyria became the first power to expound
the doctrine of blood and iron. Sargon’s son Sennacherib led an army to the borders of
Egypt, and was defeated not by military strength but by the plague. Sennacherib’s grandson
Assurbanipal (who is also known in history by his Greek name of Sardanapalus) did actually
conquer Egypt in 670 B.C. But Egypt was already a conquered country then under an
Ethiopian dynasty. Sardanapalus simply replaced one conqueror by another.

If one had a series of political maps of this long period of history, this interval of ten
centuries, we should have Egypt expanding and contracting like an amœba under a
microscope, and we should see these various Semitic states of the Babylonians, the
Assyrians, the Hittites and the Syrians coming and going, eating each other up and
disgorging each other again. To the west of Asia Minor there would be little Egan states
like Lydia, whose capital was Sardis, and Caria. But after about 1200 B.C. and perhaps
earlier, a new set of names would come into the map of the ancient world from the
northeast and from the northwest. These would be the names of certain barbaric tribes,
armed with iron weapons and using horse chariots, which were becoming a great affliction
to the Egan and Semitic civilizations on the northern borders. They all spoke variants of
what once must have been the same language, Aryan.

Round the northeast of the Black and Caspian Seas were coming the Medes and Persians.
Confused with these in the records of the time were Scythians and Samatians. From
northeast or northwest came the Armenians, from the northwest of the sea-barrier through
the Balkan peninsula came Cimmerians, Phrygians and the Hellenic tribes whom now we call
the Greeks. They were raiders and robbers and plunderers of cities, these Ayrans, east and
west alike. They were all kindred and similar peoples, hardy herdsmen who had taken to
plunder. In the east they were still only borderers and raiders, but in the west they were
taking cities and driving out the civilized Egan populations. The Egan peoples were so
pressed that they were seeking new homes in lands beyond the Aryan range. Some were
seeking a settlement in the delta of the Nile and being repulsed by the Egyptians; some,
the Etruscans, seem to have sailed from Asia Minor to found a state in the forest
wildernesses of middle Italy; some built themselves cities upon the south-east coasts of
the Mediterranean and became later that people known in history as the Philistines.

Of these Aryans who came thus rudely upon the scene of the ancient civilizations we will
tell more fully in a later section. Here we note simply all this stir and emigration
amidst the area of the ancient civilizations, that was set up by the swirl of the gradual
and continuous advance of these Aryan barbarians out of the northern forests and
wildernesses between 1600 and 600 B.C.

And in a section to follow we must tell also of a little Semitic people, the Hebrews, in
the hills behind the Phoeician and Philistine coasts, who began to be of significance in
the world towards the end of this period. They produced a literature of very great
importance in subsequent history, a collection of books, histories, poems, books of wisdom
and prophetic works, the Hebrew Bible.

In Mesopotamia and Egypt the coming of the Aryans did not cause fundamental changes until
after 600 B.C. The flight of the Egeans before the Greeks and even the destruction of
Cnossos must have seemed a very remote disturbance to both the citizens of Egypt and of
Babylon. Dynasties came and went in these cradle states of civilization, but the main
tenor of human life went on, with a slow increase in refinement and complexity age by age.
In Egypt the accumulated monuments of more ancient times—the pyramids were already in
their third thousand of years and a show for visitors just as they are to-day—were
supplemented by fresh and splendid buildings, more particularly in the time of the
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