Checkout time

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The old Orient
The city gate of Nimrud
Timeline based on calibrated C 14 data
Epipalaeolithic 12000-9500 BC Chr.
Pre-ceramic Neolithic 9500-6400 BC Chr.
PPNA 9500-8800 BC Chr.
PPNB 8800-7000 BC Chr.
PPNC 7000-6400 BC Chr.
Ceramic Neolithic 6400-5800 BC Chr.
Umm Dabaghiyah culture 6000-5800 BC Chr.
Hassuna culture 5800-5260 BC Chr.
Samarra culture 5500-5000 BC Chr.
Transition to the Chalcolithic 5800-4500 BC Chr.
Halaf culture 5500-5000 BC Chr.
Chalcolithic 4500-3600 BC Chr.
Obed time 5000-4000 BC Chr.
Uruk time 4000-3100 / 3000 BC Chr.
Early Bronze Age 3000-2000 BC Chr.
Jemdet Nasr time 3000-2800 BC Chr.
Early dynasty 2900 / 2800-2340 BC Chr.
Battery life 2340-2200 BC Chr.
New Sumerian / Ur-III period 2340-2000 BC Chr.
Middle Bronze Age 2000-1550 BC Chr.
Isin Larsa Period / Ancient Assyrian Period 2000–1800 BC Chr.
Old Babylonian time 1800–1595 BC Chr.
Late Bronze Age 1550-1150 BC Chr.
Checkout time 1580-1200 BC Chr.
Central Assyrian Period 1400-1000 BC Chr.
Iron age 1150-600 BC Chr.
Isin II time 1160-1026 BC Chr.
Neo-Assyrian time 1000-600 BC Chr.
Neo-Babylonian Period 1025-627 BC Chr.
Late Babylonian Period 626-539 BC Chr.
Achaemenid period 539-330 BC Chr.
Years according to the middle chronology (rounded)

The Kassite period (also Middle Babylonian period ) is a four-century period in ancient oriental history , which essentially corresponds to the Late Bronze Age in that region. It joins a " dark century " after the conquest of Babylon by the Hittite king Muršili I in 1595 BC. And ends in a general collapse in the 12th century BC. The term is mainly used for the southern part of Mesopotamia; northern Mesopotamia is called the Central Assyrian period .

historical development

After the end of the 1st Dynasty of Babylon , there were hardly any historical sources available from Babylonia for around 170 years. However, it is known in particular from King List A and the synchronous chronicle that this time was marked by fierce battles for supremacy in southern Mesopotamia. The Kassites , a former nomadic people who coexisted with the local population, increasingly asserted themselves . King Ulam-buriaš achieved a victory over the Meerland dynasty , with which the Kassites finally secured their supremacy.

Old traditions were carried on under them. In particular, they used the ruler's titulature, known from ancient Babylonian times, as well as the Akkadian language , so that their own language is hardly known. The political unification of Babylonia, which was now called Karduniaš , made its economic rise possible. At the end of the 15th century BC Then Babylonia appeared as an internationally important state. In particular, the rulers Kara-indaš and Kuri-galzu I corresponded with the pharaohs Amenophis II and Thutmose IV. Dur-Kurigalzu was founded as the new capital .

In the following years there were long rivalries with the northern neighbor Assyria . With Aššur-bel-nišešu , the Tigris was contractually established as a common border. From Aššur-uballiṭ I , Assyria pursued an increasingly expansive policy. There were major battles at Sugaga on the Tigris and Kilizu , in which the Assyrians were defeated. The situation only eased again when both countries had to contend with their own problems: Babylonia with wars against Elamites and Arameans ; Assyria with battles against the so-called mountain countries , katmuḫḫu and nomads. From the early 13th century BC Assyria increasingly gained the upper hand until Tukulti-Ninurta I finally conquered Babylon. Through Enlil-nādin-šumi a Kassite dynasty came to power again, which came to an end with an invasion by Šutruk-Naḫḫunte II and which was followed by the Isin II period .


The material culture of the Kassite period is documented by archaeological finds from numerous excavations. Specifically Kassitic forms are hardly known. The most important sites for this era are Aqarquf , Tell Abū Ḥabbah , Nuffar , Išān Bahrīyāt , Telloh , Tell el-Hiba , Tell el-Muqejjir, Tell Zubeidi , Tell Imlihiye and Tall al-Uhaymir .


Ziggurat of Aqarquf

Residential houses from this era were found mainly in Tell el-Muqejjir ( Ur ). Overall, little has changed compared to the previous epoch. Important buildings are the palace of Aqarquf and the temple complex there . The Inanna Temple , built by Kara-indaš in Warka , whose facade is exhibited in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin , is also well-known.


Kudurrus appear as a new type of handicraft . For a long time they were referred to as boundary stones because of their inscriptions , but were deeds of land donations. Presumably it was very artfully embodied copies of original on clay tablets held cuneiform legal documents that have been placed in temples.


There were some innovations in glyptics . In the Kassite period, a total of four stylistic groups of seals can be distinguished. Especially in the early Middle Babylonian period, forms from the Old Babylonian period continued to be used, but simplified. Later, seals with representations of animals and plants appear, which are also greatly simplified. Finally, so-called "pseudo-Kassitic" seals were used, which were made of frit and also showed simplified Old Babylonian motifs. In addition to cylinder seals , seal rings were also used.


  1. in the Levant
  2. a b c d in southern Mesopotamia
  3. a b c in northern Mesopotamia


  • Marc Van de Mieroop : A History of the Ancient Near East. Approx. 3000-323 BC. 2nd edition. Blackwell, Malden MA et al. 2007, ISBN 1-405-14910-8 , pp. 171-205.
  • Dominique Collon: First Impressions. Cylinder seals in the ancient Near East. British Museum Publications, London 1987, ISBN 0-7141-1121-X .