Timeline across history - Development of the civilizations in Middle East, 11000 B.C. - 1500 A.D.

This article is a compendium of the developments of the human civilization before 11000 B.C. till 1500 A.D. in the Middle East. Read to know the complete history during the times of 11,000 B.C. in the middle east and how the era moved on towards modern days.

Initial Human Settlements in the Middle East around 11,000 B.C.

Human settlements in the Middle East initiated well before 11000 B.C. with conglomeration of Humans together and the initiation with the domestication of Dogs for various purposes from agriculture to travelling. Over the next 3000 years the human settlements gradually increased and the nomadic nature of finding food turned into agriculture which was seen in Levant in the Eastern Mediterranean areas. The presence of edible food in overall increased the quality of health of people, increased the life of people and also the quality of living of the dwellings and colonies of settlements. Over the next 25 centuries, man learned the way of living and also could give a hand to his increasing needs and desires. By 7500 B.C., man learned to herd sheep’s and goats in the mountains of western Iran.

Growing and spreading of Civilizations

As civilizations in the Middle East grew and man began to spread his settlements to unknown and unexplored areas of the un-daunting Earth, man felt the need of protecting his own self against the animals, the climate on newer areas and later many a times against his own self. Thus by 7000 B.C., the first stone ramparts were built in Jericho. A rampart is a defensive mound of earth or wall with a broad top and usually a stone parapet; a walkway along the top of such a structure providing as a defence, a protection structure in general. As the human population increased, farming became a major work opportunity in the civilization and thus farming communities became widespread. By the time man could use fire for various purposes and the question of storage made way to the invention and usage of fired pottery in Ganj Dareh.

settling of human race in faraway places like Catal Huyuk

The ability to grow food, self protection and then storage gave way to further and rapid spreading of settlements in the Middle East and man learned to make usage of stone to make tools useful in the advancing areas like agriculture, weaponry, clay industry and more to come. Such were the later stages of the Stone Age and the beginning of Neolithic period in the Middle East with the settling of human race in faraway places like Catal Huyuk. More 500 years later, around 6500 B.C., Man had discovered Copper Metal and also its smelting to produce far better tools than those of stone and imply their use in various purposes of life. What began as domestication of dogs in the early ages, also gave way to the domestication of higher animals like cattle known for their immense power and milk production giving a golden age to farming.

Settlements in Ugarit in Syria and Nineveh in Iraq

Such powerful mechanisms of Agriculture, defence, storage, use of metals for tools which became more finer and finer and the use of cattle with abundance of food saw more far away settlements of humanism in places as Ugarit in Syria and Nineveh in Iraq in the next Thousand years till 5000 B.C. Iraq presented with vast landscapes of Fertile land and the era of Neolithic age also gave way of Irrigated agriculture thus enabling expansion of agriculture in those lands have lesser water supply such as Choga Mami in Iraq. Developments have no bounds. Human settlements appeared in Southern Mesopotamia and adjacent areas.

Elam in the east of Tigris and Susa

Elam came to be an ancient kingdom in the east of Tigris in the 4th Millennium B.C. with its capital at Susa. Mesopotamia grew well and fast, with the emergence of Uruk around 3600 B.C. Uruk had large deposits and ores of Copper and later Uruk became a vast source of Copper castings in many areas including Nahal Mishmar in Palestine. The existing technologies now gave way to further inventions and discoveries in the philosophical and practical aspects of living. The great Sumer invented writing around 3300 B.C. This century also witnessed the invention of wheeled vehicles and potter's wheel was developed in Mesopotamia.

Giving way of the Neolithic Age to Bronze Age

The end of the 4th Millennium Before Christ evidences giving way of the Neolithic Age to Bronze Age with its first footsteps in Asia Minor. The following years saw peak times of human creation and philosophy with the construction of the Royal Tombs of Ur in the Before Christ period of 2600 to 2100. Ur was an ancient Sumerian city formerly on the Euphrates, in southern Iraq. It was one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia, dating from the 4th millennium BC, and reached its zenith in the 3rd millennium BC. It was ruled by Sargon I in the 24th century BC and according to the Bible was Abraham's place of origin. Much of the city was sacked and destroyed by the Elamites c.2000 BC, but it recovered and underwent a revival under Nebuchadnezzar. Ur was conquered by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC, after which it fell into decline and was finally abandoned in the 4th century BC. The site was excavated in 1922-34 by Sir Leonard Woolley, who discovered spectacular royal tombs and vast ziggurats dating from the period c.2600-2000 BC.

Semitic kingdom of Akkad - The first ever Kingdom

Following thus time witnessed the formation of the first kingdom ever. The Semitic kingdom of Akkad was established in Southern Mesopotamia with the destruction of Mari and rebuilt within Sargon of Akkad's realm. Mari was an ancient city on the west bank of the Euphrates, in Syria. Its strategic position commanding major trade routes ensured its rapid growth, and by about 2500 BC it was a thriving city, influenced by Sumerian culture. Its period of greatest importance was from the late 19th to the mid-18th centuries BC, when it was a kingdom with hegemony over the middle Euphrates valley. The vast palace of the last king, Zimrilim, has yielded an archive of 25,000 cuneiform tablets, which are the principal source for the history of northern Syria and Mesopotamia at that time. The city was sacked by Hammurabi of Babylon in 1759 BC. Ur had reached the peak under its 3rd ruling dynasty. The Ziggurats were built during 2113 - 2004 B.C. A Ziggurat is a rectangular stepped tower or pyramid of ancient Mesopotamia in which each storey is smaller than that below it, so having a terrace all round, which is surmounted by a temple.

Emerging of Asia Minor

The further years saw the era of formation, peak and decline of various kingdoms. For 200 years in between 1900 to 1700 B.C. Asia Minor emerged of a Hittite kingdom which later became the centre of the Hittite Empire. Iron was discovered by Man and with Copper, Bronze, Ironworking began as another Metal Industry in The Middle East Civilization in Asia Minor. The Mari Civilization saw its peak in the 18th Century B.C. Shamshi-Adad found empire in Assyria. The reign of Hammurabi saw the extension of Babylonian Empire into Southern Empire in 1792 to 1750 B.C. Mari was destroyed by Hammurabi after defeating its ruler, Zimri-Lim.

Devising of the first alphabetic script by the Canaanites

The Canaanites working in Sinai were the first to devise the first alphabetic script in the Middle East Civilizations around 1700 B.C. As time went on, the political divisions of the Middle East civilizations saw a lot of change. From the formation of the first ramparts to the divisions in the forms of Empires, now it was the turn of Hammurabi to be defeated by the Hittites. Mursilis I defeated Hammurabi and takes over Babylon, thus ending the Hammurabi dynasty. The Kassite barbarians take over Babylonia in 1596. The next 200 years witnessed the growth and progress of the Hittite Empire. Suppiluliumas ruled the Hittite Empire from 1380 B.C. to 1346 B.C. In his reign, he conquered Syria and took the Empire to its peak status. Hattusas was the capital of the Hattite Empire. Thereafter in the ruling of Ashur-Uballit I, Assyria became independent of Babylonia. The Ugarit Civilization in Syria in Asia Minor had by then advanced to its peak time in 1350 to 1250 B.C. with the contribution of Ugaritic alphabetic cuneiform script. This continued in the period VII of Troy which is many times has been thought to be the Troy of Homer's Iliad. As time continued through the 13th century, the civilization witnessed the Battle of Kadesh between the Hittites under Muwatallis II and the Egyptians under Rameses II. The next 2 centuries saw the union of Kingdoms of Susa and Anshan under the Anzanites. This empowered the Kingdom of Elam to extend its dominion to Babylonia. This was followed in the tenth century B.C. with the establishment of Hebrew kingdoms of Saul and David. The tenth Century B.C. also witnessed the beginning of Phonecian expansion throughout the Mediterranean.

Assyria was also progressing along the years. In 878 B.C., The then Assyrian King Assumasirpal II made Kalhu the present day Nimrud, as the capital city of Assyria. Again, in 713 B.C., Sargon II changed the Capital city of the Assyrian Kingdom to a new city which was known as Dur-Sharrukin. After Sargon II, King Sennacherib took Assyria to its peak development in his ruling span of 704 to 681 B.C. During his rule, the capital city of Assyria was Nineveh. In 646 B.C., Assyria plundered and destroyed Susa.

In 539 B.C. Cyrus, king of the Persians, takes over Babylon. By 522 B.C. Danus I became the King of Persia and he started doing many changes in the Kingdom and lot of restructuring and extension of the Empire. He made the city of Persepolis as the new capital of Persia. After Danus I, Xerxes became the King of Persia in 486 B.C. and he continued the work initiated by King Danus I.

Settlement of Nebateans in Petra

The wandering Nabateans settled in Petra and became a part of the settlements in Petra in the 4th Century B.C. Years went by when 331 B.C. became marked by the historical event of burning of the Persipolis by Alexander the Great. The Middle East further expanded in the 3rd Century B.C. in the Parthian Kingdom under the reign of Iranian King Tiridates I in between 248 - 214 B.C.. On the other side of the Middle East, new settlements of the Essenes, the dissident Jews happened in the expansions of Qumran. 1st Century B.C. was reigned by Antiochus I, the King of Commagene. His works and dedications to development are remembered even today by his shrine built at Nimrud Dagh.

Before Christ to Anno Domini and the rise of Roman Empire

The change of Era and the change of the Before Christ years to Anno Domini, saw the era of the Roman Empire and its powerful presence in the Middle East and the Europe. The Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies in between 68 - 70 A.D. The Dead Sea scrolls were concealed at Qumran. Over the next 200 years the Hatra settlements showed rapid progress and in the years 100 - 240 A.D. it was at the Zenith of development. Petra was added into the Roman Empire by Trajan. Such were the ever changing Political situations over the world and Roman Empire brought about drastic changes in the Empire over the years in a quest to conquer the World.

In 226 A.D., Ardashir defeated the Parthians in Iran and found a new settlement to become a major Dynasty over the years, The Sassanian Dynasty of Persia. The great city of Hatra was then taken up by Sassanian King Shapur I in the year 240 A.D. Over the years Roman Empire flourished and took over new lands and existing dynasties defeating one after the other. 330 A.D. the great King Constantine I found another city in the Eastern parts of the Roman Empire at Byzantium which under His Rule flourished well and later became the Roman Eastern Empire. He named the city Constantinople. Arcadius, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire died in 408 A.D. In the years to come the Roman Emperors did great work in expansion and progression of the vast, the immense Roman Empire. Constantinople developed further and in 527 A.D. the throne of the city was given to Justinian from Justin I to carry out further operations. The Pangs of Extinction and dominance showed soon and this resulted into the invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire by Persia in the years 541 - 546 A.D.

Physical presence of the Great Muhammad

The Great Muhammad, the founder of Islam left his Physical presence for the purpose of Higher Existence in the year 632 A.D. Soon followed the Islamic conquest, for the Sassanian Empire. Damascus, the founder of Baghdad had Omayyad Caliphs were overthrown by the Abbasids in the year 750 A.D. In 809 A.D. the great Abbasid Caliph, Harun ar-Rashid, died which sparked off civil war within the Empire. The 10th century witnessed the weakening of the Abbasid Caliphate in face of local dynasties.

Seljuk Turks take over Baghdad and took over the control of the Abbassid Caliphate in the year 1055. This was followed by the defeat of the Byzantines of the Eastern Roman Empire at Manzikert in the year 1071 A.D. followed by invasion of Anatolia.

For 9 years, Baldwin I reigns as the First Frankish King of Jerusalem in between 1100- 1118 A.D. The Eastern Roman Empire was changing its political look out after a long time when the Fourth Crusade took over Constantinople and set up an Eastern Latin Empire. By 1356 A.D. the Ottoman Turks of the Asia Minor, one of the oldest settlements in the Middle East of the 4th Millennium B.C. now established a foothold in Europe at Gallipoli for their Expansion.

Constantinople went from Hand to Hand. The Turks took over the City under Sultan Mehmed II in 1453 A.D. He was followed by Suleiman and his reign was the Golden period of the Ottoman Empire.

Wrap Up

Such was the History timeline of the Middle East since 11000 B.C. till the 15th Century A.D. The Modern day Middle East has a still different political lookout now in the 21st Century A.D. We now take over in detail over the civilizations in detail. The beauty and the beast of Human civilization is a worthy Story to read.

Article by Dr Apurva Tamhane
If you have begrudged, forgive.
If you have torn down, repair.
If you have injured, heal.
If you have judged, pardon.
If you have grasped, let go.

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