maandag 6 oktober 2014

Egyptian intermezzo for ARWAD

A short Egyptian intermezzo around ARWAD.
In 612 BC the Assyrian empire collapses. The Phoenician towns will have a short period of freedom and prosperity. Egypt is however eager to fill up the empty gap. In 609 BC already pharaoh Necho advances to Hamath in the hinterland of Arwad. A few years later in 605 BC his advance stops in Karkemish where he is severely beaten by the New-Babylonians. Pharaoh Necho is not only a warrior, but he undertakes several other projects in which the Phoenicians participate. He starts the digging of the first Suez-canal and he orders Phoenician sailors to circumnavigate Africa. It is not known whether Arwad participate in these projects. From this period there are no names of Arwadite kings available. The successor of Azbaal is not known. We know very little of Arwad out of this and the coming New-Babylonian period, but on the mainland there are a lot of activities taken place. Arwad must have retaken his former possessions on the mainland, but that was not easy, because the population there is now more a mixture of Phoenicians, Syrians and others as a result of the Assyrian deportations. In this period with no full domination by a superpower it is not surprising that the Greeks can make a colony on the coast of Syria. We find it in Shukshu (Tell Sukas) between Gabala and Paltos. We are aware of a Phoenician/Greek sanctuary of the 6th century BC. The Greeks entered in an existing Phoenician settlement.
See: “The North East Sanctuary and the First Settling of Greeks in Syria in Syria and Palestina”, P.J.Riis, Copenhague 1970.
The successors of Necho are not satisfied with the independent course of the Phoenician towns and they try to bring them more under the Egyptian influence, if we can believe Herodotos:
Book II, 161: “….. Apriès commanded an army against Sidon and made a sea-battle against the Tyrians.”
Book II, 182: “….. Amasis was the first person who conquered Kypros and made the island pay him tribute.”
It looks like, that Arwad is not involved in these troubles. That is going to change when the New-Babylonians are knocking on the door in the year 598 BC.

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