Saturday, December 01, 2012

Egypt's Lost Rival

Courtesy Of "National Geographic's Expedition Week"

The ancient city of Qatna once challenged Egypt’s dominance but was wiped off the face of the earth as it grew too powerful. In 2009, archaeologists revealed their ground breaking discoveries of this lost city.

Egypt’s Lost Rival is the story of Qatna, a city that challenged Egypt’s dominance in the ancient Middle East. Located between the warrior kingdom of the Hittites and the powerful empire of Egypt, this ancient city was wiped off the face of the earth as it grew too powerful - its role in the rise of the Egyptian empire forever lost in desert sands. Like the proverbial “Lost City of Atlantis”, Qatna and its many treasures lay hidden from humanity. Hidden, until now. In ten years of archaeological digs in the Syrian Desert, the lost city of Qatna has been rediscovered and a team of international scientists has excavated its long held secrets. Culminating with a return to Qatna in 2009, Egypt’s Lost Rival chronicles ground breaking archaeological discoveries hidden from the world for millennia.

The ancient city of Qatna once challenged Egypt’s dominance but was wiped off the face of the earth as it grew too powerful. In 2009, archaeologists revealed their ground breaking discoveries of this lost city.

Above info via: NatGeoTV

Qatna (Arabic قطنا, modern Tell el-Mishrife, Arabic المشرفة) is an archaeological site in the Wadi il-Aswad, a tributary of the Orontes, 18 km northeast of Homs, Syria. It consists in a tell occupying 1 km², which makes it one of the largest Bronze Age towns in western Syria. The tell is located at the edge of the limestone-plateau of the Syrian desert towards the fertile Homs-Bassin.

The first finds at Qatna date to the mid- to late 3rd millennium BC, although this early period is not well represented.

The find of a 12th Dynasty Egyptian sphinx belonging to Princess Ita, daughter of Amenemhat II (1875–1840 BC) shows early Egyptian influence, although it is not clear at what time the sphinx got to Qatna (the sphinx was found within the debris of the Late Bronze Age palace).

The first king of Qatna (Qatanum) known by name from the Mari archives is Ishi-Adad ("Haddad" or "Adad is my help"), an Amurru or "Amorite". He was a confederate of Shamshi-Adad of upper Mesopotamia. He was succeeded by his son Amut-pî-el who had been governor of Nazala as crown prince. This was in the time of Hammurabi of Babylon (1792–1750 BC). Beltum, the sister of Amut-pî-el was married to Jasmah-Addu of Mari. Contracts between Mari and Qatna define her as the principal wife of Jasmah-Addu. Her mother might have been Lammassi-Ashur from Assur or Ekallatum. Zimrilim of Mari was married to another princess from Qatna, Dam-hurasim. After the destruction of Mari by Hammurapi, the written sources become sparse. Aleppo (Yamkhad) now became Qatna's most powerful neighbour, during the reign of Jarim–Lim III. Qatna was temporarily dominated by Aleppo.

With the development of the Mitanni empire in upper Mesopotamia, Qatna was incorporated but was located in disputed territory between the Mitanni and Egypt. The inscriptions of the so-called Nin-Egal temple (part of the Royal palace, room C) show that Mittanni were resident in Qatna. The campaigns of Pharaohs Amenhotep I (1515–1494 BC) and Thutmose I (1494–1482 BC) in Syria might have reached Qatna, but there is no conclusive evidence. On the 7th Pylon of the temple of Amun in Karnak, Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC) mentions that he stayed in the land of Qatna in the 33rd year of his reign.[citation needed] Amenhotep II (1427–1401 BC) was attacked by the host of Qatna[citation needed]while crossing the Orontes, but of course he remained victorious and acquired booty, among which the equipment of a Mitanni charioteer is mentioned. Qatna is mentioned[citation needed] in Egyptian topographic lists till the time of Ramesses III (1180 BC). Cuneiform tablets discovered under the Royal palace in Qatna mention a previously unknown king Idanda who ruled ca. 1400 BC.

During the Syrian campaign of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I (1380–1340 BC), Prince Akizzi of Qatna asked for the help of Akhenaten/Amenhotep IV[citation needed], but as he was only concerned with his monotheistic reform symbolized by his own throne name Akhnaton and his new capital Amarna (abandoned after his death as all reforms were reversed), the town was among several Syrian city-states captured and plundered by the Hittites, the inhabitants deported to Hatti. During this same Amarna letters period, Prince Akizzi wrote 5 letters to Akhenaten. Texts from Emar describe how Qatna was attacked by Aramaic tribes in the late Bronze Age, so the town must still have been in existence.

The tell was settled in Neo-Babylonian times as well (a hilani has been excavated), but the town remained insignificant as nearby Emesa had taken over its position on the trade routes.

Above info via: Wikipedia

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