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The Political Approach to the Classical World 29
he raids of envious hill peoples to the north and east. In order
o do this effectively they needed to forge weapons, and already
n the beginning of the second millennium we find colonies of
Assyrian traders settled in Cappadocia, the chief source of metal,
ind sending caravans thence to the mother city. Assyria grew
md prospered. King Shamshi-Adad, a contemporary of Ham-
nurabi, ruled over a strong and united country; his younger
;on ruled as vice-regent over Mari on the Upper Euphrates, and
:he diplomatic correspondence which passed between father
md son, and later when he died, between brother and brother,
shows the extent of Assyrian domination at the time. But there is
a layer of ash over this city of Mari and over Asshur. Hammu-
rabi marched upstream and destroyed them one after the other,
before turning west to march across Subartu to the Amanus
mountains; proudly he claimed the title 'king of the four
quarters of the world'.
Syria now came strongly under Babylonian influence/ the
Sumerian culture, which had become more and more localized
and debased, was revived in its new Babylonian form in the
Canaanite cities of the West. Ugarit, at the mouth of the
Orontes, kept its place as one of the chief Mediterranean ports
of Asiatic commerce, as well as a market of exchange between
Minoan and Egyptian goods. Merchants from Mesopotamia,
as well as Cretans and Egyptians, found hospitality in this great
cosmopolitan city.
We have no evidence that the Egyptians ever at this time
came into conflict with the Babylonians. Their spheres of in-
fluence just overlapped, but no more, on the Phoenician coast.
The tombs of local princes at Byblus show how strong was the
Egyptian interest in that city; as at Ugarit, the presence of an
Egyptian colony is attested by numerous finds. In these mari-
time cities the Egyptians may have come into more direct con-
tact with the Minoan Cretans, whose fine polychrome wares are
found in Ugarit, Minoan traders were now ranging the eastern