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The New Kingdom of Egypt and the Fall of Babylon

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 3, 2012

Time Line

1570-1065 BC New Kingdom in Egypt
1415-1154 BC Kassite Dynasty in Mesopotamia
1380-1190 BC Hittite Empire
1379-1362 BC Amenhotep IV rules Egypt as Akhenaton
1200 BC

Iron Age begins

Invasions of “Sea Peoples”

1150-612 BC Assyrian Empire
625-538 BC Second Babylonian Empire
612 BC Sack of Nineveh by Medes

 

The New Kingdom of Egypt and the Fall of Babylon

Civilizations changed much more slowly in ancient times than they do in our own time. For the majority of the people, the New Kingdom in Egypt was almost unchanged from the Old Kingdom or the Middle Kingdom.

The major change in the era between about 1500 and 500 BC was the rise and fall of empires. The Egyptian, Hittite, and Assyrian empires all expanded beyond a manageable size; all these empires either contracted in size or disappeared altogether.

The Bronze Age ended around 1200 BC and was succeeded by the Iron Age. Iron tools and weapons were substantially stronger than bronze ones; therefore, the first civilizations that learned to work with iron had a significant advantage over others. Iron affected not only a culture’s military might but also its agricultural production. The use of iron therefore led to both strength and prosperity.

As early civilizations became empires, certain common patterns began to emerge. A successful empire always contained the same elements. The first necessity for an empire was a strong, charismatic ruler; without such a ruler, a civilization simply would not make the effort to expand. Second, all the early empires had efficient bureaucracies; an empire could not be administered with- out a literate class of scribes and other officials. Third, each successful empire had a powerful, well-organized standing army loyal to the monarch and the state. The army was needed both to conquer new areas and to prevent uprisings; troops were maintained throughout the empire during peacetime for this purpose. Fourth, the emperor delegated authority to local rulers, since he could not be everywhere at once. As long as all these factors functioned smoothly together, an empire was successful. When one or more of them failed, the empire would weaken and eventually fall.

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:

The New Kingdom of Egypt and the Fall of Babylon Practice Test

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