Empires Come and Gone in the Middle East

A propos this morning’s posting, a good visual representation of all the empires coming and going in the Mideast:

[This map follows the biblical narrative, showing a united kingdom of Israel in the tenth century BC, which, as I said Tuesday morning, has been shown to be mythical by archeology; it is very odd that standard Western references haven’t caught up with science here and shows that even in supposedly secular societies narratives considered scripture still have enormous sway.

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7 Responses

  1. This could be better. For one, it only fixates on one power at a time, rather than recognizing that often more than one power had claims in the regions (e.g., Romans and Parthians, or Safavids and Ottomans.)

    It also seems to preoccupied with the Levant only, so we miss the Sumerians. The term "Macedonian Empire" is misleading since Alexander's empire was split into three major pieces, with the Seleucids reigning in the Middle East.

    Also, the animated depiction of each empire's spread is chronologically facile and erroneous and conveys a certain predestination which should be anathema to any historian.

    Finally, it fails to show the spread of the American Empire through the region.

  2. While this is neat and useful, it's also ahistorical in the sense that it implies that pre-modern states as having well-defined borders and territorial sovereignty.

  3. I'm writing this from the Surrey computer lab right outside the theater you finished your presentation from. Thank you very much for the presentation.

    I meant to stay behind to ask a question, but since it was running late, I thought I might as well ask here.

    I'm not well versed about Palestine, but I was wondering if there is a sense of shared civil society between the West Bank and Gaza. The distance between the two areas is only about thirty miles, but has the geographic barrier sever the social identity of the two regions. During your presentation, the map on the powerpoint made me wonder that if a multi-state solution was to be adopted, it might possibly be a three-state solution. I see an article dated from 2001 by Jonathan Schanzer that suggests this possibility.

  4. The map did contain the probably nonexistent kingdom of Isreal (800 bc)

  5. My students have used this a few times. I would be very wary about the boundaries which related to Israel, both ancient and modern, as well as the time-lapse assigned to modern Israel.

  6. Juan,

    the little film indicated that there was a major "Kingdom of Israel" in BCE times. But one of your earlier posts minimized its role (at least with reference to Jerusalem). Am I seeing a false contradiction here?

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