Chapter 3: Historical-Geographical Foundation I) Persistence of Patterns A) Heritage of Patterns (connecting past with present) 1. Religion 2. Infrastructure 3. Natural Resources 4. Strategic Features 5. Culture and Art
6. Conflict II) Early Patterns A. Primitive People and Pristine Environment - Earliest humanoids in the Paleolithic (1 million years ago / northern Saudi Arabia) - Climatic changes leading to ecological adaptations - Mesolithic (12,000 BCE)
B. Neolithic Revolution - agricultural revolution (8,000 BC) - complex of cultural processes followed A. Agriculture, Cities and Civilization - food production, irrigation, trade - important innovations (plow, wheel, writing, etc.) - urban development
III) Historical-Political Evolution A) Early Mesopotamian States 1. Sumerian Empire in 4th Millennium BC - major irrigation works - city states: Eridu, Uruk, Ur, etc. - excavated ruins well away from any river -Gilgamesh was the fifth King of Uruk, ruling about 2,700 BC
Ur Uruk Epic of Gilgamesh One of the earliest known works of literary writings
2. Akkadians (Semitic group from Arabian Peninsula) overwhelmed Sumerians about 2,335 BC Image of an Akkadian ruler 3. Gutians (from Zagros Mountains) overran Akkadians in 2,200 BC
Modern-day Kurdish peoples as descendants of the Gutians? Gutian figure 4. Sumerians reemerge and reach peak around 2,000 BC - trade with Indus Valley!
Sumerian material artifacts 5. First Babylonian Empire emerged around 2,000 BC - created by another Semitic group (Amorites) - power center in Babylon - Hammurabi the Great (1792-1750 BC) - sexagesimal system (60), legal code, etc.
Hammurabi the Great 6. other noteworthy in Middle East after 1,700 BC - Indo-European Hittites 1,600 1,200 BC Historical site of Hattusas, Turkey - Indo-European Kassites (1,530 1,170 BC)
Remains of a ziggurat near Agargoaf, Iraq, built during the rule of King Kurigalzo II (1344-1324 BC). B) Early Egypt - evolving Mesopotamian culture of late Neolithic spread to Nile Valley / importance of Nile - development of distinct Egyptian culture
- writing borrowed and adjusted (Hieroglyphs) - pharaoh as God-like leadership figure - decline after 1,090 BC - Persian conquest in 525 BC - Greek conquest in 332 BC Artifacts of the Egyptian culture
C) Mesopotamia to the Roman Conquest -Assyrian Empire emerged about 1,350 BC - known for engineering, commerce, record keeping - conquered biblical Kingdom of Israel in 8th century BC - overwhelmed by Babylonians in 612 BC - Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire - Babylonia reemerges, led by Chaldeans (Semitic)
- King Nebuchadrezzar (604-562 BC) - Hanging Gardens of Babylon - Destruction of Jerusalem, other Judean cities - Deportation of Judeans (Babylonian exile in 586 BC as 1. Diaspora) - Persian (Achaemenid) Empire - neo-Babylonia fell to King Cyrus the Great 539 BC - Persians (Indo-Europeans) coming from Iranian Plateau
-Tigris-Euphrates Basin ruled by outsiders for next 2,500 years until the 20th century AD! - Persian Empire conquered by Alexander the Great by 326 BC Persepolis Cyrus the Great
- Antigonid Kingdom (Macedonia) fell to Rome in 168 BC - Seleucid Kingdom collapses with Romes advance and by 64 BC Syria became a Roman province - Ptolemaic Kingdom ends with Cleopatras suicide in 30 BC D) Roman and Successor Empires -Roman Empire - first power from outside the region
- failed to venture beyond Mesopotamia - Roman ruins throughout the Middle East, mainly along the Mediterranean coast - As western Roman Empire declines (5th century), Byzantine with its capital Constantinople thrives - Becoming more orientalized and more Greek - When Byzantine falls to Ottomans in 1453, it had survived 1,123 years (!)
The Byzantine Empire Many of the areas added under Justinian will be lost within the next century: - expansion of Islamic empire (North Africa, Levant, Iberia) - arrival of Lombards and Franks in Italy - thus Byzantine shrinks fairly quickly to todays SE-Europe and Turkey
-Islamic Empires -Arab (Semitic) intrusion into Mesopotamia and Syria-Palestine in 633 AD - creating much of todays cultural patterns - Prophet Muhammad as founder of Islam and important unifying force - Within a century after Muhammads death, an Islamic Empire stretched from SW-Europe
to Central Asia - Umayyad Empire in 661 AD, power shift to Damascus - Abbasid Dynasty in 750 AD, power shift to Baghdad - Harun al-Rashid (766-809 AD) The Spread of Islam -Seljuks, Crusaders & Mongols
- Islamized Seljuk Turks are from Central Asia - moved into Iranian Plateau and entered Baghdad in 1055 - left Abbasid caliphs as figureheads - defeated Byzantine near Lake Van in 1071 - paved way for Ottomans - Crusaders arrived in successive waves - destruction of Holy Sepulcher in 1009 AD
- defeat of Byzantine at Manzikert in 1071 - 1096, 1147, 1189, 1202, and 1228 - established several Crusader Kingdoms - after two centuries driven out by Muslims - little impact on Middle East, but experience stimulated European Renaissance Al-Hakim (the Mad Caliph) destroys Church of Holy Sepulcher in 1009 AD
Pope Urban II initiates First Crusade (AD 1095-99) The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is rebuilt by 1048 with the help of Byzantium by successors of Al-Hakim The Crusaders and their Origin
- Mongols - Although short-lived, 13th century invasion of Mongols and Tatars made far-ranging territorial conquests - Ghenghis Khans grandson Hulagu ravaged Mesopotamia - Ottomans - Like Seljuks, Ottomans were Turkish tribe from
Central Asia who had converted to the Islam - Beginning in 14th century, steadily expanded - Holdings remained constant from early 1600s to WWI - Remarkable longevity like Byzantine - Persia - Parthian Empire in 3rd century BC - Sassanian (or Sassanid) Empire in 3rd century AD
- after Arab irruption and centuries of outside control, Persian Safavids emerged in Iranian Plateau in 1500s -with changes in dynasty, Persia steadily progressed as monarchy until 1979: Afshars (1736), Zands (1750), Qajars (1794), Pahlavis (1925) - Mossadegh, oil, and the CIA in 1953 (!) - Islamic Republic of Iran since 1979 (!)
Some Inferences: 1) Four major power foci in Middle East: - Anatolian Plateau - Iranian Plateau - Tigris-Euphrates Basin (Mesopotamia) - Nile Valley 2) Not one power has ever succeeded in
controlling the entire core of the Middle East 3) Arabian Peninsula has always maintained its independence and has been source of migrants 4) political-geographical history of Middle East has to great extent revolved around cyclic interactions of powers in Asia Minor and Iranian Plateau 5) Since WWII, the emergence of Israel and the rise of
Middle Easts petroleum age have re-orchestrated political, military, and economic interrelationships Dj vu? Oh ye Egyptians, they may say to you that I have not made an expedition hither for any other object than that of abolishing your religion but tell the slanderers that I have not come to you except for the purpose of
restoring your rights from the hands of the oppressors. (Napoleon, Alexandria, 1798) Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators . It is the hope and desire of the British people and the nations in alliance with them that the Arab race may rise once more To greatness and renown among the peoples of the earth. (General Maude (British Forces), Baghdad, 1917)
Unlike many armies in the world, you came not to conquer, not to occupy, but to liberate, and the Iraqi people know this. (Donald Rumsfeld, Baghdad, 2003)
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