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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

32 The Political Approach to the Classical World,
Halys, which became the capital of the Hittite kingdom. The
early history of this newly formed nation is little more than a
list of names. Murshil I seems to have been one of the first kings
to embark on campaigns of expansion; he subdued at least part
of North Syria and captured Carchemish and Aleppo; Babylon
marks the limit of his advance eastwards. He seems to have with-
drawn almost at once, and the history of the Hittite kingdom
lapses strangely into obscurity for another two hundred years
or more. Babylonia, robbed by the Hittite raid of the last of
her line of strong kings, fell an easy prey to the oncoming
The Cassites ruled in Babylonia for over five centuries.
During that period records are scarce, and we know sadly little
about them or their rule. But one thing is clear. Like the Hit-
tites, the dominant caste among them was of Indo- Aryan tongue,
as the names of their kings and deities show. A third branch
of this southward migration of Indo-European peoples found its
way to Khurri, north of the Subarean plain. They found here
a native population of hillsmen who had spread over a wide area
of the plain. Their presence east of the Tigris is attested by a
number of cuneiform tablets from Nuzi near Kirkuk. Here they
clearly enjoyed peaceable commercial relations with the local
inhabitants. But the fresh impetus of the arrival of a new and
vigorous stock in the hills drove the Khurrians south as it had
impelled the Hittites and the Cassites. In each case, with their
own gods, they brought with them the knowledge of horse-
breeding and the use of the chariot, and it was no doubt with
the use of this new instrument of war, useless in the hills but
formidable in the plains, that the Cassites with their Aryan
leaders conquered the Babylonians, the Hittites made their first
conquest of North Syria, and the Khurrians, descending upon
the plain of the Khabur and the Middle Euphrates, finally
established the political kingdom of Mitanni. The inhabi-
tants of this State of Mitanni thus contained three main