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CHAPTER XXIX - ELAM c. 1600-1200 B.C.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2008

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It is generally admitted that after the end of the First Dynasty in Babylon, and following upon the death of Shamshi-Adad I in Assyria, there begins a period of great obscurity. The former abundance of documents ceases as though some catastrophe had paralysed the ordinary life of these countries. No text reveals the true causes of this overthrow, but we know that, with the beginning of this sterile period, there came a fresh and powerful advance towards Mesopotamia of the mountain peoples which had harassed it so long. By this time the Hurrians had settled about the upper reaches of the Tigris, and Kassites from the Zagros had drifted into the Mesopotamian plain as workers.

Tribal groups of these peoples who dwelt on the mountain border were now driven from behind by a new Indo-European influx coming, this time, from the north and north-east. The Hurrians, mingled with Aryans, spread over the area between the bend of the Euphrates and the district of Nuzi, to the east of Assyria, and advanced southwards into Palestine. At the same time the Kassites descended in force and made themselves masters of Babylonia, carrying with them isolated groups of Hurrians, some of whom settled around Nippur, where they are found afterwards. The irruption of these less civilized highlanders is generally considered to be the reason for the sudden cessation of historical sources and for the evident decline of Mesopotamian culture in this period.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1975

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