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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 145

The evidence afforded by Egypt is suggestive in this connection. There was a second Hyksos Dynasty in that country. The later rulers became "Egyptianized" as the Kassites became "Babylonianized", but they were all referred to by the exclusive and sullen-Egyptians as "barbarians" and "Asiatics". They recognized the sun god of Heliopolis, but were also concerned in promoting the worship of Sutekh, a deity of sky and thunder, with solar attributes, whom Rameses II identified with the "Baal" of the Hittites. The Mitannians, as has been stated, recognized a Baal called Teshup, who was identical with Tarku of the Western Hittites and with their own tribal Indra also. One of the Hyksos kings, named Ian or Khian, the Ianias of Manetho, was either an overlord or the ally of an overlord, who swayed a great empire in Asia. His name has been deciphered on relics found as far apart as Knossos in Crete and Baghdad on the Tigris, which at the time was situated within the area of Kassite control. Apparently peaceful conditions prevailed during his reign over a wide extent of Asia and trade was brisk between far-distant centres of civilization. The very term Hyksos is suggestive in this connection. According to Breasted it signifies "rulers of countries", which compares with the Biblical "Tidal king of nations", whom Sayce, as has been indicated, regards as a Hittite monarch. When the Hittite hieroglyphics have been read and Mesopotamia thoroughly explored, light may be thrown on the relations of the Mitannians, the Hittites, the Hyksos, and the Kassites between 1800 B.C. and 1500 B.C. It is evident that a fascinating volume of ancient history has yet to be written.

The Kassites formed the military aristocracy of Babylonia, which was called Karduniash, for nearly six centuries. Agum II was the first of their kings who became thoroughly Babylonianized, and although he still gave recognition to Shuqamuna, the Kassite god of battle, he re-exalted Merodach, whose statue he had taken back from "Khani", and decorated E-sagila with gifts of gold, jewels, rare woods, frescoes, and pictorial tiles; he also re-endowed the priesthood. During the reign of his successor, Burnaburiash I, the Dynasty of Sealand came to an end.

Little is known regarding the relations between Elam and Babylonia during the Kassite period. If the Kassite invaders crossed the Tigris soon after the raid of the Mitannian Hittites they must have previously overrun a great part of Elam, but strongly situated Susa may have for a time withstood their attacks. At first the Kassites held northern Babylonia only, while the ancient Sumerian area was dominated by the Sealand power, which had gradually regained strength during the closing years of the Hammurabi Dynasty. No doubt many northern Babylonian refugees reinforced its army.

The Elamites, or perhaps the Kassites of Elam, appear to have made frequent attacks on southern Babylonia. At length Ea-gamil, king of Sealand, invaded Elam with purpose, no doubt, to shatter the power of his restless enemies. He was either met there, however, by an army from Babylon, or his country was invaded during his absence. Prince Ulamburiash, son of Burnaburiash I, defeated Ea-gamil and brought to an end the Sealand Dynasty which had been founded by Ilu-ma-ilu, the contemporary and enemy of Samsu-la-ilu, son of Hammurabi. Ulamburiash is referred to on a mace-head which was discovered at Babylon as "king of Sealand", and he probably succeeded his father at the capital. The whole of Babylonia thus came under Kassite sway.


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