The fall of Israel - World History

The fall of Israel - World History
Posted on 28-12-2022

The fall of Israel ( 725) Israel disappears with the forced deportations established by Assyria.

The Assyrian king Shalmaneser V found himself in serious trouble taking Samaria. The siege dragged on unsuccessfully for three years. We don't really know what happened, but perhaps an army accustomed to easy victories became exasperated by difficulties. The fact is that Salmanesar V was deposed and replaced by a new king (perhaps one of his generals), who adopted the name of Sargon II (which, as we already know, means "legitimate king"). Samaria was finally taken in 722. Sargon II claimed the conquest, while the Bible attributes it to Shalmaneser V. Babylon took advantage of the change of monarch to rebel. A Chaldean nobleman seized the city and proclaimed himself king under the name ofMarodac-Baladan. His reign lasted as long as Sargon II was occupied in other parts of his empire.

King Hosea did not survive the fall of Samaria, and with him the kingdom of Israel disappeared forever. Sargon II followed the deportation policy initiated by Teglatfalasar III, so that 27,000 people had to leave Israel, including aristocrats, landowners and officials. They were moved more than 700 km away, to the eastern end of the fertile crescent, where they lost their identity as they mixed with the native population. To occupy the depopulated regions, deportees from other regions were brought there, who, mixing with the native population, became what later generations were called Samaritans. The Samaritans adopted the worship of Yahweh, as well as the main traditions of the Israelites.

Sargon II's power reached as far as the island of Cyprus, where stelae erected by him have been found. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean was getting busier. The Phoenicians strengthened their commercial expeditions due to the need to collect on time the tribute that Assyria periodically demanded of them. The Greeks were behind them. In 721 they founded the city of Sybaris on the instep of the Italian "boot". At that time there was already a Greek colony on the Italian peninsula. It was Cumae,which according to tradition had been founded about the year 1000. It was probably an early colony of Chalcis, but it could by no means be that old. It was the northernmost settlement that the Greeks occupied.

Meanwhile, Sargon II had problems in his own capital, Calach. Apparently the dynasty he himself had defeated had a lot of support in the city. He chose a site north of Nineveh and put a legion of prisoners of war to work relentlessly on a monumental project. It was a new capital, which was going to be called Dur-Shakurrin (Sargon's fort) whose plan was a perfect square of more than a kilometer and a half on each side. Its angles were oriented exactly according to the cardinal points. The works began in 717.

By this time China was undergoing major transformations. Feudal lords already called themselves kings, and the Cheu monarch was now a merely nominal emperor, wielding weak influence in the states closest to the capital, the Middle Kingdoms. Some outlying lordships occasionally allied with barbarian peoples and increased their power to eclipse that of the Cheu monarchy. They highlighted five kingdoms, known as the five supreme: Qin, Jin, Qi, Chu and Song.In the following centuries they would be the true protagonists of Chinese politics. Despite this, the Central Kingdoms refused to admit the situation. For them King Cheu was considered the Son of Heaven and his domain was "Everything under Heaven". China was an island surrounded by barbarians and by "the four seas." The most powerful state was Qi, as it had the strongest army and natural wealth. The state monopolized the extraction of iron and salt.

According to Roman legends, Romulus reigned until 716, after which he disappeared (apparently because the gods took him with them, becoming the god Quirinus ) and was succeeded by the Sabine Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome (perhaps he was actually first). Tradition says that Numa instituted the Roman religion, although this was essentially that of the Etruscans and the Sabines. For example, Quirinus was the Sabine god of war, equivalent to the Latin god Mars.Later the Romans identified their gods with the Greek gods, thus directly transferring all the Greek legends to their mythology. Thus, Zeus was identified with the main Roman god, Jupiter, his brothers Poseidon and Ephaestus were identified with Neptune and Pluto. The god of war Ares was identified with Mars, the goddess of beauty Aphrodite with Venus, etc. For a time, myths about the Greek gods were best known through their Roman counterparts. However, some Roman gods did not find an equivalent among the Greeks. Apart from the fact that each family had its own minor gods as protectors, there was, for example, Janus, god of doors and, by extension, of entrances and exits, of changes. There was a temple in Rome dedicated to Janus whose doors were closed only in times of peace. These doors were closed during the reign of Numa, but an example of the later trajectory of Rome is that in the following seven centuries the doors of the temple of Janus were only closed four times, and this for short periods of time.

The highest religious authority in Rome was the Pontifex Maximus. It is interesting that Pontiff literally means "bridge builder." Perhaps here we find a vestige of an ancient culture on stilts, that is, of houses built over the water as protection, in which the care and surveillance of the bridges was a vital matter entrusted to the priests.

A modification of the calendar is also attributed to Numa Pompilius. The primitive Latin calendar had ten lunar months, of which only the first four had proper names: Martius (dedicated to Mars), Aprilis (the month in which flowers open), Maius (dedicated to the goddess Maya) , Iunius (dedicated to the goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter, identified with Era ). The following were listed: Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December. Apparently, it was Numa who added two more months: Ianuarius (dedicated to Janus) and Februarius .(the month of a festival called Februa ). The number of days in each month suffered some variations throughout history, but the year had 354 days (which makes a total of 12 complete lunar cycles). In order to adjust the year to the seasonal cycles, 11 days were missing, which were normally added in blocks of 22 days every two years, but the decision corresponded to the Pontifex Maximus and there was some flexibility.

In 715 colonists from Chalcis founded Zancle in Sicily. That same year King Ahaz of Judah died, who was succeeded by his son Hezekiah.His policy was complex, since he paid tribute to Assyria, but he did not stop resisting that domination. Hezekiah's main weapon was religion. Following the common way of thinking of the time, the Assyrians took it for granted that their god Assur was more powerful than Yahveh, because that was the only way to explain why the Jews were prostrate before Assyria. Therefore, they expected the Jews to worship Assur with due respect. Instead, Hezekiah promoted the cult of Yahveh, tried to eliminate other cults, thus centralizing in the temple all the religious sentiment of his people. The priests spread and modeled the ancient stories about the captivity in Egypt and the way in which Yahveh freed the people from him, thus fostering the hope of a new liberation. The first books of the Bible began to take their present form around this time. On the other hand, Hezekiah fortified and provisioned several cities, built a water pipeline to supply Jerusalem, and obtained financing from Egypt. He just needed to find the right occasion to rise up.

At this time, the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea was occupied by the Cimmerians,They were apparently a Scythian tribe. Other Scythian tribes began a process of expansion, and the Cimmerians fled south through the Caucasus. They followed the routes previously followed by the Hittites, Hurrians, and Aryans, but were less fortunate, encountering the mighty Assyrian Empire. They actually encountered the battered kingdom of Urartu first, and had barely begun to harass it from the north when Sargon II pounced on it from the south. In his campaign, following the traditional Assyrian policy of terror, Sargon II destroyed the irrigation system of Urartu, dealing a heavy blow to the land, as rebuilding it would take years. On the other hand, The king admired the system of underground ditches and took the idea to Assyria, from where it spread throughout the ancient world at large. In714 Urartu finally capitulated to Assyria, although its kings retained their power (always as Assyria's tributaries). Together, Urartu and Assyria confronted the Cimmerians and drove them from the Fertile Crescent. Then Sargon II was finally able to deal with Babylon. The Chaldean king Marodac-Baladan was deposed and sent into exile in 711.

In 710 Crotona was founded , about 80 km south of Sybaris. Sybaris and Crotona have always had a bitter rivalry. This same year, Sparta achieved the capitulation of Messenia in the war that they had been waging against that region for 20 years. Angered by so much resistance, the Spartans turned the Messenians into helots. Also on this date, the Egyptian king Pianji was succeeded by his brother De he Shabaka, who moved the capital from distant Napata to Thebes.

Around this time Etruria was becoming one of the great powers of the Mediterranean, along with the Greeks and the Phoenicians. Etruria was (and still is) one of the most fertile regions of Italy, so it is not surprising that the Etruscans turned early to trade. There were great contacts and cultural exchanges. Thus, the Etruscans adapted the Greek alphabet to their language (an alphabet that they had adapted in turn from the Phoenician). The earliest known Etruscan inscriptions date from these dates. They also received religious influences. The Etruscan ideas about the Averno that awaited them after death were very similar to the Greek ones. Gradually they were imitating Greek art. In architecture they came to excel the Greeks,

Etruscan remains have been found in Campania, the region of Italy located south of Lazio, where the Greek colony of Cumae was located. From this it is inferred that the Etruscans sailed along the coasts of Italy. In fact, they also founded colonies on the island of Sardinia. The Greeks clearly distinguished between barbarian and civilized peoples. There is no doubt that the Etruscans were among the latter. A notable fact is the image that the Greeks, and later the Romans, had of Etruscan women. For example, Theopompus of Chios (in the 4th century BC) writes:

Among the Tyrrhenians it is an ingrained custom that women are common property. They pay a lot of attention to their body care and exercise in the nude, often with men and sometimes with each other. They do not eat with their husbands, but with whoever they happen to meet at that moment, and they drink to the health of whoever they want, since they are great drinkers and very beautiful. The Tyrrhenians raise all the children that come into the world without knowing which parent each one came from.

Apparently none of this is unfounded. The origin of this image seems to be due to the confusion that in the Greeks and Romans the social position and independence that Etruscan women enjoyed, similar to that of women in civilized countries today, produced. Greek women never left the house for pleasure, and when they did have to go out they did it well covered so as not to attract the attention of men and they lacked education and initiative. In Athens the custom was for them to eat apart, without participating in the conversations of the men. Plutarch tells that in Miletus there was once a spate of female suicides, a sign of the frustrating life women led. Indeed, that the authorities solved the problem by decreeing that the victims would be exhibited naked in public. By contrast, Etruscan women participated in all aspects of social life. One difference compared to Roman women was that they had their own names. Indeed, a Roman citizen like Numa Pompilius had two names: Numa was his own name, while Pompilius was his family name. Women, on the other hand, had only the family name. If Numa had had a daughter, she would inevitably have been called Pompilia, and if she had had another of hers they would have improvised a way to call her as simply as possible. However, One difference compared to Roman women was that they had their own names. Indeed, a Roman citizen like Numa Pompilius had two names: Numa was his own name, while Pompilius was his family name. Women, on the other hand, had only the family name. If Numa had had a daughter, she would inevitably have been called Pompilia, and if she had had another of hers they would have improvised a way to call her as simply as possible. However, One difference compared to Roman women was that they had their own names. Indeed, a Roman citizen like Numa Pompilius had two names: Numa was his own name, while Pompilius was his family name. Women, on the other hand, had only the family name. If Numa had had a daughter, she would inevitably have been called Pompilia, and if she had had another of hers, they would have improvised a way of calling her as simply as possible. However, and if they had another one they would have improvised a way to call it as simple as possible. However, and if they had another one they would have improvised a way to call it as simple as possible. However,Clelia, Ati, Larthia, are examples of proper names for Etruscan women, something practically unknown in Rome. Finally, the funerary inscriptions show that each deceased knew her family tree perfectly.

At the end of the First Messenian War, Sparta threw itself into the sea like its neighbors. In 707 she founded Taranto, which became the most important Greek city in Italy. Around that time, the construction of what was to be the new capital of Assyria was finished. "Sargon's Fort" was a magnificent city, with a seven-story ziggurat, many temples, and a palace for Sargon II with an area of ​​100,000 square meters. There was also a library in which the king collected cuneiform tablets containing ancient Mesopotamian literature.

Sargon II did not actually inhabit it, as the Cimmerians driven back from northern Assyria drifted west and invaded Asia Minor, where the Phrygians, now also Assyrian tributaries, were unable to contain them. The king had to go to forced marches and in 705 he died in a battle against the nomads.

Sargon II was succeeded by his son Sennacherib. The succession brought with it the usual disturbances, so the Phrygians had to fend for themselves against the Cimmerians. Edom had welcomed the Chaldean king Marodac-Baladan and now encouraged him to reclaim the throne from him. Sennacherib had to go down to bring order to Babylon.

For some reason, Sennacherib did not want to occupy the city built by his father, which was never inhabited. Instead, he chose Nineveh as his capital. Nineveh had always been a major city of the Assyrian Empire, but it had never been the capital. Sennacherib rebuilt it from its foundations, endowed it with a large aqueduct that guaranteed the supply of water, and built a large palace with 80 rooms.

Meanwhile, King Hezekiah of Judah had also taken advantage of the Assyrian succession to carry out his plans for rebellion. In alliance with Phoenicia, the Philistines and Egypt, he refused to pay the tribute. In 701 Sennacherib was able to leave Babylon and send an army to Canaan. The Phoenician cities were devastated, and the king of Tire had to flee to the Phoenician colonies of Cyprus. After several years in which the only support from Egypt to Canaan had been monetary, King Shabaka considered that it was already necessary to intervene militarily, so he sent his nephew De él Taharkaagainst Sennacherib. The match was fought in Philistine territory and the Assyrians won without difficulty. Then Sennacherib went to Judah and took all his cities except Jerusalem, which he laid siege to. The Egyptians attacked again and were again repulsed, but the Assyrian army was weakened. Furthermore, Sennacherib must have received news of a rebellion in Babylon, and Babylon was undoubtedly much more important than Jerusalem, so it could not afford a long siege. So he made a deal with Hezekiah, who agreed to continue paying the tribute, and the Assyrian king left.

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