By Trevor Bryce
Syria has lengthy been some of the most trouble-prone and politically unstable areas of the close to and heart japanese global. This ebook seems to be again past the concerns of the current to inform the 3000-year tale of what got here sooner than: the peoples, towns, and kingdoms that arose, flourished, declined, and disappeared within the lands that now represent Syria, from the time of the region's earliest written files within the 3rd millennium BC, during to the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian within the early 4th century advert.
Across the centuries, from the Bronze Age to Imperial Rome, we come upon an unlimited array of characters and civilizations, enlivening, enriching, and besmirching the annals of Syrian heritage: Hittite and Assyrian nice Kings; Egyptian pharaohs; Amorite robber-barons; the biblically infamous Nebuchadnezzar; Persia's Cyrus the nice and Macedon's Alexander the nice; the rulers of the Seleucid empire; and an collection of Rome's such a lot individual and such a lot notorious emperors. All swept around the plains of Syria at some point soon in her lengthy background. All contributed, in a single approach or one other, to Syria's targeted, targeted personality, as they imposed themselves upon it, fought each other inside of it, or pillaged their manner via it.
But this isn't only a background of invasion and oppression. Syria had nice rulers of her personal, native-born Syrian luminaries, occasionally showing as neighborhood champions who sought to free up their lands from overseas despots, occasionally as crafty, self-seeking manipulators of squabbles among their overlords. They culminate with Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, whose existence presents a becoming grand finale to the 1st 3 millennia of this historic civilization. And but the lengthy tale of Syria doesn't finish with the mysterious destiny of Queen Zenobia. the realization seems to be ahead to the Muslim conquest within the seventh century advert: in lots of methods the hole bankruptcy within the both complicated and sometimes afflicted heritage of recent Syria.
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Extra info for Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History
In response to Assyrian files, Urhilina amassed 10,000 infantry, seven hundred chariots, and seven hundred cavalry, and Hadadezer dropped at the alliance double his partner’s infantry plus 1,200 chariots and 1,200 cavalry. They have been joined through Ahab, the king of Israel, reportedly with 2,000 chariots and 10,000 troops. Many different states additionally flocked to their criteria, together with Byblos, which sent 500 troops, and the island-city of Arwad, which despatched one other 2 hundred. extra aid got here from the pharaoh Osorkon II, who provided 1,000 Egyptian infantry. It was once in his kingdom’s pursuits to take action; if the Assyrians swept during the Syro-Palestinian sector, the land of the Nile might now not be past their achieve (as later conquerors have been certainly to prove). most sensible for the pharaoh to help the conflict attempt now, no matter if in simple terms with a token armed strength. The enemy numbers recorded by way of Assyrian scribes should be exaggerated. None the fewer, the mixed military confronting Shalmaneser most likely totalled no less than 40,000 infantry, 3,000 chariotry, and shut to 2,000 cavalry. It used to be a strength related in measurement to that of the Hittite king Muwattalli in his showdown with Ramesses II at Qadesh greater than 400 years previous. yet a brand new aspect used to be further by way of an Arab chieftain referred to as Gindibu, who supplied the alliance with 1,000 camels. those animals had develop into more and more very important within the Iron Age. They have been used now not for battling yet for transporting gear and luggage offers, for that reason supplying precious logistical aid for a wide military who needed to march many kilometres over huge tracts of inhospitable desolate tract terrain to arrive the battlefield. For the allied leaders determined they'd first gather all their forces within the territory of Damascus (or maybe southern Hamath), after which march north alongside the Orontes valley to fulfill the enemy. The additional north they controlled to boost, the fewer territory the Assyrians must plunder and despoil earlier than they have been faced. eventually, the armies met open air the town of Qarqar at the Orontes, most likely the location now known as inform Qarqur. The destiny of the total of southern Syria and Palestine hung within the stability. info of the conflict are unknown, past Shalmaneser’s gloating, rhetorically charged document of its end result: ‘With the very best forces granted me by means of Ashur, my lord, I fought with them and defeated them from town Qarqar so far as town Gilzau. I felled with the sword 14,000 troops, and rained down destruction upon them. I crammed the obvious with their corpses and flooded the wadis with their blood. there has been no longer enough space at the undeniable to put out their our bodies flat. I dammed up the Orontes river with their our bodies like a bridge. in the middle of the conflict I took clear of them chariots, cavalry, and groups of horse. ’8 In different phrases, Shalmaneser claimed victory. regardless of its measurement, and maybe in part as a result of its variety, the alliance military used to be no fit for the hugely disciplined, battle-hardened Assyrians, who had yet one ideally suited commander. yet their defeat used to be faraway from decisive.