Skip to main content

Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

See other formats

48     The Political Abroach to the Classical World
Egypt's erstwhile empire, not by force of arms, but by constant
intrigues, by subsidies of Nubian gold, and by promises of help
to those client States which could be induced to risk revolt from
their overlords.
This could not go unpunished for ever. An Egyptian con-
tingent sent to help Hezekiah was defeated by Sennacherib, and
it was with the aim of securing, once and for all, the south-
western boundaries of the Assyrian Empire against Egyptian
interference, rather than with any desire to incorporate Egypt
within these boundaries, that Esarhaddon at length undertook
the conquest of the country. After persistent revolts, his suc-
cessor Ashurbanipal was even forced to order the destruction of
Thebes. For the first time, the helmets of a northern Power
gleamed among the ruins of the city of Amun.
At the end of the eighth century a new danger threatened the
west from the direction of the Caucasus. Fierce Cimmerian
horsemen from eastern Europe entered Asia Minor and Sargon,
campaigning in Anatolia, may even have been killed in battle
against them. Soon afterwards, the Phrygian kingdom fell. As
the conquerors retired, the kingdom of Lydia took its place in
western Asia Minor. Esarhaddon fought with the Cimmerians
in Cilicia to protect the borders of his empire, and Ashurbanipal
sent help to Gyges of Lydia when they again turned west and
threatened Sardis and Ephesus. But Gyges played his cards
unwisely. By sending assistance to Psammetichus, the Egyptian
vassal of Assyria, in his revolt against Ashurbanipal, he antagon-
ized a valuable ally, and when the Cimmerians attacked Lydia
again, Sardis fell and he met his fate. The northerners were now
pressing south in increasing numbers. A motley horde of
Scythians, Cimmerians, and others, the 'Umman-Manda' as
they were collectively called, invaded Cilicia and North Syria,
and Ashurbanipal in a critical battle only just managed to save
his western empire from being overrun. But he was the last of
the great Assyrians. They had been ill-advised to break the