The city of Babylon had gained political and cultural ascendancy over the southern plain under the dynasty of Hammurabi.
Hittites A people from central Anatolia who established an empire in Anatolia and Syria in the Late Bronze Age. With wealth from the trade in metals and military power based on chariot forces, they deployed the fearsome new technology of horse-drawn war chariots. The Hittites also first developed a technique for making tools and weapons of iron. Heating the ore until it was soft enough to shape. They used cuneiform and hieroglyphics.
New Kingdom Egypt
The Hyksos possessed advantageous military technologies, such as the horse-drawn war chariot and a composite bow, made of wood and horn, that had greater range and velocity than the simple wooden bow. The Hyksos intermarried with Egyptians, used the Egyptian language, and maintained Egyptian institutions and culture. Nevertheless, in contrast to the easy assimilation of outsiders such as the Kassites in Mesopotamia, the Egyptians, with their strong ethnic identity, continued to regard the Hyksos as “foreigners.”
Hatshepsut: patched a naval expedition to Punt (possibly northeast Sudan or Eritrea), the far- away source of myrrh. There is evidence of opposition to a woman as ruler, and after her death her name and image were frequently defaced.
Akhenaten: Egyptian pharaoh (r. 1353–1335 B.C.E.). He built a new capital at Amarna, fostered a new style of naturalistic art, and created a religious revolution by imposing worship of the sun-disk. Akhenaten was attempting to reassert the superiority of the king over the priests and to renew belief in the king’s divinity. Akhenaten’s reforms were strongly resented by government officials and priests whose privileges and wealth were linked to the traditional system.
Ramesses II ruled for sixty-six years and dominated his age. Ramesses undertook monumental building projects all over Egypt. Living into his nineties, he had many wives and may have fathered more than a hundred children.
Commerce and Communication
Early in his reign Ramesses II fought the Hittites to a draw in a major battle at Kadesh in northern Syria). Subsequently, diplomats negotiated a treaty, which was strengthened by Ramesses’ marriage to a Hittite princess. At issue was control of Syria-Palestine, strategically located between the great powers of the Middle East and at the end of the east-west trade route across Asia. Any state seeking to project its power needed metals for tools, weapons, and ornamentation. Commerce in metals energized the long-distance trade of the time. New modes of transportation expedited communications and commerce across great distances and inhospitable landscapes. Horses, domesticated by nomadic peoples
Archaeologists named this civilization Minoan after King Minos, who, in Greek legend, ruled a naval empire in the Aegean and kept the monstrous Minotaur (half-man, half-bull) in a mazelike labyrinth built by the ingenious inventor Daedalus. Thus later Greeks recollected a time when Crete had been home to many ships and skilled craftsmen. Also noteworthy is the absence of fortifications at the palace sites and the presence of high-quality indoor plumbing.
Through intermarriage, blending of languages, and melding of cultural practices, the indigenous population and the newcomers created the first Greek culture. Mycenae Site of a fortified palace complex in southern Greece that controlled a Late Bronze Age kingdom. In Homer’s epic poems, Mycenae was the base of King Agamemnon, who commanded the Greeks besieging Troy. Contemporary archaeologists call the complex Greek society of the second millennium B.C.E. “Mycenaean.”
These deep, rectangular shaft graves contained the bodies of men, women, and children and were filled with gold jewelry and ornaments, weapons, and utensils.
Palace walls were covered with brightly painted frescoes depicting scenes of war, the