Mesopotamian Superpowers Laying Waste To The Ancient Near East

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The Flight of the Prisoners; The exile of the Jews from Canaan to Babylon by James Tissot (1896) (Public Domain)

Mesopotamian Superpowers Laying Waste To The Ancient Near East

Call it Canaan, the Levant or the Ancient Near East; the region has always had a troubled history of warfare and invasions. For 400 years from 732 to 332 BC, this region incorporating Philistia, Judea and Israel has been the epicenter of the battlefields between the superpowers of Mesopotamia; the Assyrians (732 to 604 BC); the Babylonians (604 to 539 BC) and finally the Persians (539 to 332 BC). Its harbor cities on the eastern Mediterranean Sea elevated it as an important link in the sea-trade with Europe and Africa, and it also lay on the over-land spice-trade route towards Egypt. 

Map of the region in the ninth century BC, the Kingdom of Israel is in blue, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah is in yellow, with Philistia to its left, on the Mediterranean coast. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Due to its prime location, it became a coveted prize possession of whichever nation or dynasty that had envisioned expanding its empire during the first millennium BC. The Levant was a pawn at the mercy of the conquerors; its cities and villages ravaged and pillaged, raised to the ground, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes, only to be destroyed once more. To this one: The Levant was a pawn at the mercy of the conquerors; its cities and villages ravaged and pillaged, raized to the ground, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes, only to be destroyed once more.


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