Phoenician is a Canaanite language closely related to Hebrew. Very little is known about the Canaanite language, except what can be gathered from the El-Amarna letters written by Canaanite kings to Pharaohs Amenhopis III (1402-1364 BC) and Akhenaton (1364-1347 BC). It appears that Phoenician language, culture, and writing was strongly influenced by Egypt... [continue reading]
II:35. The Egyptians in agreement with their climate, which is unlike any other, and with the river, which shows a nature different from all other rivers, established for themselves manners and customs in a way opposite to other men in almost all matters: for among them the women frequent the market and carry on trade, while the men remain at home and weave... [continue reading]
II:38. The males of the ox kind they consider to belong to Epaphos, and on account of him they test them in the following manner: If the priest sees one single black hair upon the beast he counts it not clean for sacrifice; and one of the priests who is appointed for the purpose makes investigation of these matters, both when the beast is standing upright... [continue reading]
Greek (Red) and Phoenician (Yellow) colonization between the 8th and the 6th century BC. German placenames.
Parthenon, on the Acropolis, Athens, Greece, 5th century BCE, from the west.
Assyrian, c 645 - 635 BCE. The king (recognizable by his distinctive hat) rides around the arena on a chariot shooting lions with arrows. His attendants fend off a lion that is attacking from behind. Exhibited in the British Museum, London.
Insets: Plan of Jerusalem. Dominions of David and Solomon (1025-953 BC). Palestine under the later Kings (953-722 BC). Palestine under Joshua and the Judges (1250-1125 BC).
The Persian Empire about 500 BC.
The Assyrian Empire and the Region about the Eastern Mediterranean, 750-625 BC.
Mycenean Greece and the Orient about 1450 BC. Inset: Reference Map of the Nile Delta.
Overview map of the Hallstatt (yellow) and La Tène (green) cultures the Hallstatt culture.
Roman clad in toga, from 1891 Dictionary of Classical Antiquities.
Four colossal statues of Ramesses II flank the entrance of his temple Abu Simbel.
Ranks of the Louvre Museum melophores (immortal Persian guard) from the famous glazed bricks friezes found in the Apadana (Darius the Great's palace) in Susa by archeologist Marcel Dieulafoy and brought to Paris. Such polychromic friezes used to decorate the Achaemenid king's palaces in their capitals of Susa, Ecbatana and Persepolis. There were 10,000... [continue reading]
West view of the All nations gate at Persepolis. This gate was not on Darius the Great's initial plan for Persepolis but was added by his son and successor Xerxes. The initial main entrance of the palace complex was located on the south wall of the terrace supporting the palaces. Xerxes changed it, adding a monumental stairway on the west side leading... [continue reading]
Detail of a Lydian tribute bearer, bas-relief of the northern stairway of the Apadana (Darius the Great's audience hall) at Persepolis, capital of the Achaemenid empire. Lyda has become a satrapy (province) of the Persian empire with Sardis as its capital. As all the nations subjected to the empire, the Lydians had to bear tribute every year to the... [continue reading]
A photo of the ruins of Persepolis.
The Pyramids at Giza. The modern city of Cairo is visible in the background.
The King's role was to protect his people from enemies. In ancient Assyria, this was symbolized in the lion hunt, when the king went out to kill lions. Lions were not uncommon in the Ancient Near East. King Ashurbanipal of Assyria noted that the hills abounded with lions who were killing cattle and humans alike. It appears, though that the king had... [continue reading]
The ruins of the temple of Aphaea on Aegina. Aphaea was only worshipped in this temple. Pausanias (2nd century AD) writes: "On Aigina as one goes toward the mountain of Pan-Greek Zeus, the sanctuary of Aphaia comes up, for whom Pindar composed an ode at the behest of the Aeginetans. The Cretans say (the myths about her are native to Crete) that Euboulos... [continue reading]
Hanging Gardens of Babylon - 16th century engraving by Dutch artist Martin Heemskerck.
Ceremonial giant dirk of the Plougrescant-Ommerschans type, Plougrescant, France, 1500–1300 BC.
Map showing the Median, Lydian, Chaldean, and Egyptian empires around 600 BC.
Detail of the Ishtar-Gate : a lion, symbol of the goddess Ishtar.
A map of the Babylonian Empire during the time of the Kassites, roughly the 13th century BC. This map shows the probable river courses and coastline at that time.
A locator map of Hammurabi's Babylonia, showing the Babylonian territory upon his ascension in 1792 BC and upon his death in 1750 BC. The river courses and coastline are those of that time period -- in general, they are not the modern rivers or coastlines. This is a Mercator projection, with north in its usual position. There is some question to what degree... [continue reading]
Map showing Ancient Greek colonies on the northern coast of the Black Sea, c. 450 BC.
The Beginnings of Historic Greece. 700 - 600 B.C.
Map of Ancient Egypt, showing the Nile up to the fifth cataract, and major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC). Cairo and Jerusalem are shown as reference cities.
Map showing the Greek world during the Greco-Persian Wars (ca. 500–479 BC).
Alexander the Great died in Babylon on the 13th of June, 323 BCE. His Macedonian-Greek empire broke apart, but Alexander’s heritage was felt throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for centuries. Three Hellenic empires emerged from the wars of succession that followed his death: The Antigonid Empire in Macedonia, the Seleucid Empire in Persia and Mesopotamia... [continue reading]
Both the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians extensively colonized vast areas of Europe, along the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts. In doing so, they spread their culture, which strongly influenced the local tribes. For the Greeks, this is called “Hellenization”. The Greeks mainly focused their colonization efforts on Italy and the Black Sea. Especially Sicily... [continue reading]
After his father's death in 559 BCE, Cyrus the Great became king of Anshan but like his predecessors, Cyrus had to recognize Mede overlordship. In 552 BCE Cyrus led his armies against the Medes and captured Ecbatana in 549 BCE, effectively conquering the Median Empire and also inheriting Assyria. Cyrus later conquered Lydia and Babylon. Cyrus the Great created... [continue reading]
Gordium was the capital of ancient Phrygia, modern Yassihüyük. It is situated on the place where the ancient Royal road between Lydia and Assyria/Babylonia crosses the river Sangarius, which flows from central Anatolia to the Black Sea. Remains of the road are still visible. In the ninth century BCE, the city became the capital of the Phrygians... [continue reading]