The Levant in the Late Bronze Age

The Levant is a term that refers to a large area in Southwest Asia, south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Arabian Desert in the south, and the Zagros Mountains in the east. The term is also sometimes used to refer to modern events or states in the region immediately bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Also in the area we refer to as the Fertile crescent.

Beginning in the earth 4000’s BC cities began to form in southern Mesopotamian, new people from the area now known as southern Iraq began to move to the levant area to settle or trade with these larger cities. In or around the 31 century BC a number of new and hither to unknown inventions began sweeping through the region including, writing and the wheel. Also during this time the Sumerian people began to organize themselves into larger and more sophisticated city states such as Ur and Uruk. The Sumerian people are well known for allowing conquered cities to keep their current religion and as such religion became more polytheistic and government became somewhat more secular.

However such a perfect world, as well all know, cannot hope to last and A people called the Akkadians invaded the valley under Sargon I and established their supremacy over the Sumerians, and extended their control into Syria as far as the coast. Also during this time most of the city states and now empires were manly centred along fertile river valleys where farming is much easier. This started to change around the end of the third millennium as cities started to spread to the nearby hilly country: among the Assyrians in north Mesopotamia, the Canaanites in Syria-Palestine, to the Minoans in Crete, and to the Hittites in eastern Anatolia. Around this same time various immigrants, such as the Hittites in Anatolia and Achaeans, started appearing around the peripheries of civilization.

War again would break out amongst the people of the Levant. Around the 17th and 16th centuries BC most of the older centers had been overrun. Babylonia was conquered by the Kassites, and the civilization of the Indus Valley was annihilated by the Indo-Aryans. In the 13th century BC all of these powers suddenly collapsed. Cities all around the eastern Mediterranean were sacked within a span of a few decades by assorted raiders.

Thus, leaving behind only a few smaller city states who would be able to move into a new niche in the coming Iron Age, little did they know what history would have in store for them.