5

To clearly delimit dates and places, I ask for information about the rulers before 1000 BC in the Fertile Crescent or Eastern Mediterranean. Historians may be Greek, Roman, or peoples belonging to the Hellenistic world, such as Egyptians (Maneto), Chaldeans (Berosus) or Jews (Josephus).

I am thinking of leaders like Sargon of Akkad, Hammurabbi, Tuthmoses III or Ramses II. They were extremely famous in their time and comparatively almost as powerful as the Great Kings of Achaemenid Persia only a few centuries later, but I dont find texts from the classic antiquity that speak of them.

The Bible alludes to the city of Pi-Ramesses, but the other pharaohs that it names are much more modern: Taharka, Nechao, Shoshenk, all belong to the last years of an independent Egyptian kingdom, about 600 BC. The Bible also contains no clear allusions to rulers of other empires prior to David and Solomon. There is a "Nimrod" in the Genesis who may be an Assyrian king called Ninurta from 1200 BC but may also be an Assyrian god with the same name.

Maneto, an Egyptian priest, is quite accurate in his list of pharaohs and quotes several Ramesses but the Egyptian priests who talked to Herodotus seem to remember that a Pharaoh called Sesostris (Senusret III) was far more powerful than Ramses II or Tuthmosis III, something that is not true.

I have not been able to find useful information in Berossus, which seems the most mythological of all.

  • 5
    Ramses II was certainly known to the ancient Greeks, as Ozymandias. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote of the ancient leaders, for example. – samiles May 26 '17 at 9:22
  • 2
    Sargon of Akkad, Hammurabbi, Tuthmoses III or Ramses II ere not almost as powerful as the Great Kings of Achaemenid Persia only a few centuries later. Each of their realms as at most a quarter or a third as vast as the Achaemenid Persian Empire. – MAGolding May 26 '17 at 15:49
  • 1
    @MAGolding That's still pretty big... – Felix Goldberg Jun 28 '17 at 13:56
  • 2
    A large role would be taken by mythical or semi-mythical rulers, e.g. Perseus. Presumably, to the ancient writers they felt as real as, say, Ramses, if not more. – Felix Goldberg Jun 28 '17 at 13:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.