Skip to main content

Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

See other formats

The Political A-p-proach to the Classical World 49
power of Elam, and now, by the collapse of Urartu, the last
bulwark against the invaders was removed. Assyria was assailed
from all sides at once. The Umman-Manda closed in from the
north, and a united Babylonia under the Chaldaean Nabopo-
lassar marched up the Euphrates. In 612 B.C. Scythians, Medes,
and Babylonians joined in the final assault on the capital; the
Assyrian Empire perished in the flames of Nineveh.
The victorious allies divided Hither Asia between them.
Cyaxares the Mede kept Assyria and the northern possessions
of the empire; the Halys was fixed as the boundary between
his realm and the kingdom of Lydia. Nebuchadnezzar II
established Babylonian control over Palestine, Syria, and the
Euphrates valley, and his sphere of influence extended even into
Asia Minor. The Egyptians, taking advantage of the fall of
Assyria to seize Palestine, were defeated at Carchernish; years
later they returned to stir up revolt in Jerusalem and among the
cities of Phoenicia, but again they failed. Judah was heavily
punished; the Jews were taken off into captivity to Babylon,
and Jeremiah was left to chant his lamentations on the ruins of
Jerusalem. Some of the Jews sought refuge in Egypt, that
'broken reed' that had failed to support them, and were granted
permission to settle in the Delta towns. Others are found later
as mercenaries in Upper Egypt, where they formed a colony
at Elephantine.
After the final overthrow of the Elamites in the middle of the
seventh century, a group of Iranian tribes had moved south
and held the country as vassals of the Medes. Gradually
the Persians gained the ascendancy; Cyrus of Anshan, about
sixty years after the fall of Nineveh, managed to unite
them, and his revolt against the Median Astyages was successful.
Ecbatana was captured, and he proclaimed himself King of the
Medes and Persians. The empire of Babylonia was threatened.
Unfortunately for her, Nebuchadnezzar was now dead and an
unpractical man of letters, the antiquarian king Nabonidus, took