Portal:Ancient Near East

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Lion gate at Hattusa
The Hittites were an Anatolian people who spoke a language of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. They established a kingdom (c. 1800 – 1180 BC) centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia and reached its height c. the 14th century BC, encompassing a large part of Anatolia and interacting with Assyria, Mitanni and ancient Egypt. The collapsed c. 1180 BC, during the upheavals of the Bronze Age collapse; a number of independent "Syro-Hittite" city-states then emerged, some surviving until as late as the 8th century BC.

Although belonging to the Bronze Age, the Hittites were forerunners of the Iron Age, developing the manufacture of iron products from as early as the 14th century BC, when letters to foreign rulers reveal the demand for their iron goods. The Hittites were not, however, the first to work iron, and iron remained a precious metal throughout the history of their empire.

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Old Assyrian Empire and its neighbors
Shamshi-Adad I (reigned c. 1745 ñ 1717 BC (short chronology)) rose to prominence when he carved out a large empire in northern Mesopotamia, founding the Old Assyrian Empire, although the Assyria was soon defeated by Hammurabi of Babylon and remained in the shadow of the Babylonian Empire throughout the "old Assyrian" period.

Shamshi-Adad was a great organizer, keeping firm control on all matters of state, from high policy down to appointing officials and dispatching provisions. His campaigns were meticulously planned, and his army knew all the classic methods of siegecraft, such as encircling ramparts and battering rams. Spies and propaganda were often used to win over rival cities. However, his empire lacked cohesion and when news of his death spread, old rivals set out at once to topple his sons from the throne.

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Entemena's Vase
Credit: Jastrow
Entemena's Vase
Sumer, ca. 25th century BC (Louvre)

Silver vase dedicated by Entemena of Lagash to the god Ningirsu in Girsu

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Did you know...

Silver cup from Marvdasht with Linear Elamite inscription on it, c. 3rd millennium BC (National Museum of Iran)
...that the ancient Elamite language is proposed to be distantly related to the modern Dravidian languages? It is attested from c. 2500 BC, and a still undeciphered "proto-Elamite" goes back to c. 3000 BC.

...that the earliest attested Semitic language is Akkadian, c. 2500 BC?

...that the earliest attested Indo-European language is Hittite, from c. the 18th century BC?

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