The history of the Middle East and Israel: Tracing the empires that ruled ‘the cradle of civilisation’
DOT Desk: The region of the Middle East, often dubbed the “Cradle of Civilisation,” brought many breakthroughs in fields such as astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. Some of the most prominent ancient civilisations that emerged in this region include Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia and the Levant, reports TBS.
In the 13th century, a Turkish tribe initiated a series of conquests that ultimately led to the rise of the Ottoman Empire. This empire controlled the vast majority of the Middle East, extending its influence as far as the gates of Vienna and reigning for centuries.
However, the modern borders of the Middle East began to take form in the early 20th century following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Although the once-mighty empires no longer governed the region, the struggle for land, oil and power continues to shape the modern history of the Middle East. Here we trace the history of the Middle East up to the establishment of Israel.
Early Mesopotamia (4000 BCE-323 BCE): This region witnessed the birth of agriculture, writing and technology, with ancient Mesopotamia playing a key role. The Levant saw the creation of the first alphabet. Civilisation in this area dates back to the fourth millennium. It was a time when various empires, including the first Egyptian and Sumerian civilisations, the Akkadian Empire, Babylonian Empire, Neo-Assyrian Empire, Phoenician Empire and Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, rose and fell.
Greek and Roman Empires (323 BCE-632 CE): In 334 BCE, Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king, successfully invaded and conquered the entire Persian Empire. At the time of his death in 323 BCE, his empire spanned from Greece to northwestern India.