Posts Tagged ‘ancient empires’



Palestine is an artery between Asia to Africa. Geography shaped its vital role in millennia and history of ancient civilizations brought its strategic importance into focus of world empires that later stepped into the center stage. Until the rise of Greece and Rome its destiny was shaped by rise and decline in fortunes around Egypt, Assyria and Babylon.Via Maris was as vital as Via Appia and one cannot fail to notice the reason why from the map given hereunder.


via maris

What does the map tell you? The coastline facing westward to Europe gave ancient Phoenicians a trade route to Greece and beyond. In the south it is linked to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean. To the east of Palestine lies Mesopotamia, land of the Euphrates and the Tigris. To the south Egypt, land of the Nile; to the north, the highlands of Hittite Anatolia; to the west, Cyprus and Aegean Isles.

Along the major axis of communication from north to south, intersected by Mesopotamia and Anatolia on the east and Egypt on the other  you can locate great cities Gaza, Meggido, Hazor. For control of these trade routes many military campaigns were waged. You can see how strategically important was Palestine by the names here. The Pharaohs were major players as well as kings of Assyria, Babylon, Persia and by Alexander the Great. In his wake came the emperors of Byzantium, the Arabs, the crusaders, the Mamelukes, the Turks. In the closing stages of WWI crucial thrust towards Damascus occurred here. Finishing off the ambitions of a moribund Ottoman Empire was a necessity for the Allies and it was a signal for yet new players to come to the scene.

Palestine in short though on the fringe of the western world could not escape the constant struggle for control  between major players from Africa and Asia especially.

(To be continued)          

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