The Mediterranean Middle East

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14820_03_59-88_r3ws.qxd 4/2/04 3:22 PM Page 59 The Mediterranean and Middle East, 2000–500 B.C.E. 3 CHAPTER OUTLINE The Cosmopolitan Middle East, 1700–1100 B.C.E. The Aegean World, 2000–1100 B.C.E. The Assyrian Empire, 911–612 B.C.E. Israel, 2000–500 B.C.E. Phoenicia and the Mediterranean, 1200–500 B.C.E. Failure and Transformation, 750–550 B.C.E. DIVERSITY AND DOMINANCE: An Israelite Prophet Chastizes the Ruling Class ENVIRONMENT AND TECHNOLOGY: Ancient Textiles and Dyes 59 14820_03_59-88_r3ws.qxd 4/2/04 3:22 PM Page 60 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 R 52 L 53 ncient peoples’ stories—even those that are not…show more content…
When the expedition returned with myrrh and various sub-Saharan luxury goods—ebony and other rare woods, ivory, cosmetics, live monkeys, panther skins—Hatshepsut celebrated the achievement in a great public display and in words and pictures on the walls of the mortuary temple she built for herself at Deir el-Bahri˚. She may have used the success of this expedition to bolster her claim to the throne. After her death, in a reaction that reflected some official opposition to a woman ruler, her image was defaced and her name blotted out wherever it appeared. Another ruler who departed from traditional ways ascended the throne as Amenhotep˚ IV. He soon began to refer to himself as Akhenaten˚ (r. 1353–1335 B.C.E.), meaning “beneficial to the Aten˚” (the disk of the sun). Changing his name was one of the ways in which he sought to spread his belief in Aten as the supreme deity. He closed the temples of other gods, challenging the age-old supremacy of the chief god Amon˚ and the power and influence of the priests of Amon. Some scholars have credited Akhenaten with the invention of monotheism—the belief in one exclusive god. It is likely, however, that Akhenaten was attempting to reassert the superiority of the king over the priests and to renew belief in the king’s divinity. Worship of Aten was confined to the royal family: the people of Egypt were pressed to revere the divine ruler. Akhenaten built a new capital at modern-day Amarna˚, halfway between Memphis and Thebes (see Map 3.1). He transplanted thousands of Egyptians to construct the site and serve the ruling elite. Akhenaten and his artists created a new style that broke with the conventions of earlier art: the king, his wife Nefertiti˚, and their daughters were depicted in fluid, natural poses with strangely elongated heads and limbs and swelling abdomens. Akhenaten’s reforms were strongly resented by government officials, priests, and others whose privileges and wealth were linked to the traditional system. After
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