II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > B. Kingdoms of Western Asia and Africa, to 323 B.C.E. > 2. Mesopotamia, c. 3500–539 B.C.E. > e. The Kassites, the Hurrians, and the Arameans
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
e. The Kassites, the Hurrians, and the Arameans
c. 1700–1600
KASSITE INVASIONS. In the 17th century, the Kassites (Kassu) gradually moved into Babylonia from the northeast. After the Hittite raid on Babylon in 1595, the Kassites took the city.  1
THE KASSITE DYNASTY. Burnaburiash I (c. 1500) signed a treaty with Puzur-Ashur III (1521–1498) of Assyria, fixing their common boundaries. From this time, Upper Mesopotamia was known as Assyria and Lower Mesopotamia as Babylonia. Ulamburiash (c. 1450) took over the Sealands and Kurigalzu I (c. 1400), the strongest of the Kassites, conquered Elam and entered into an alliance with Amenophis III of Egypt (See 1402–1364). During the reign of Kashtiliash IV (1242–1235), Babylonia was conquered by the Assyrians, but after seven years, its independence was recovered. In 1160, the Assyrians conquered the Lower Zab region, and the Elamites took Babylon itself, carrying off spoils, including the Code of Hammurapi to Susa. Enlil-nadin-ahhi (1159–1139) was the last Kassite king of Babylon.  2
2nd DYNASTY OF ISIN. After the Kassite defeat, a new dynasty arose in Isin under Marduk-kabit-ahheshu (1156–1139) which eventually retook Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar I (Nabu-kudduri-usur, 1124–1103) even conquered Elam. Tiglath-Pileser I of Assyria defeated Marduk-nadin-ahhe (1098–1081) and conquered Babylonia (See 1365–1078). By the end of the second millennium, the population of Mesopotamia was probably around 1.25 million.  3
c. 1700–1500
THE HURRIAN INVASION. The Hurrians had lived in Mesopotamia in small numbers from the late 3rd millennium, but the major Hurrian invasion of the region began around 1700. By 1500, they had penetrated into all of Mesopotamia, as well as Syria-Palestine and eastern Anatolia. There are indications that they had been influenced by Aryans somewhere outside the Near East. The Hurrians worshipped gods later associated with the Iranians and Indians (such as Mithra and Varuna) (See Economy, Technology, Society, and Culture)—the names of some Hurrian rulers and certain technical expressions in Hurrian texts (particularly in connection with the chariot) are Indo-European. The Hurrians adopted Mesopotamian religion and culture, utilizing Babylonian as an administrative language and cuneiform script to write the Hurrian language. Despite the large number of surviving texts, the Hurrian language remains undeciphered.  4
c. 1550–1250
THE KINGDOM OF MITANNI. Sudarna I (c. 1550) created the Hurrian Kingdom of Mitanni with its capital at Washukanni on the Khabur River. Saustatar (c. 1500) expanded the kingdom, and eventually, the kings of Mitanni ruled all of Upper Mesopotamia and much of Syria, from the Orontes to the Little Zab. In 1475, Tuthmosis III conquered Syria and pillaged Mitanni, but Egyptian control did not extend east of the Euphrates (See 1490–1426). Both Artadama I (c. 1450) and Sudarna II (c. 1400) made marriage alliances with the Egyptians. After Sudarna's death, a civil war broke out between his two sons, Tushratta (c. 1390–1370) and Artadama II, and was continued by their sons Matiwaza and Sudarna III. This infighting, and the plundering of Washukanni by the Hittites (See c. 1680–1500), led to the kingdom's decline. Finally, Ashur-uballit I of Assyria attacked Mitanni and pillaged it. Shalmeneser I defeated the last Hurrian king, Shattuara II, and the Hurrians were absorbed into the Assyrian Empire around 1270.  5
THE MIDDLE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE. Ashur-uballit I (1365–1330) expanded the Assyrian domain to the north and west and corresponded with Amenophis IV (Akhenaten) of Egypt as an equal (See 1402–1364). Adad-Nirari I (1307–1275) defeated the Babylonians and conquered the Hurrian city-states. Shalmaneser I (1275–1245) continued his predecessors' energetic campaigns of conquest, fighting in the far north against Urartu and again crushing the Hurrians, annexing their lands. He conquered the lands up to Carchemish, but an Egyptian-Hittite treaty signed in 1283, which divided Syria between them, frustrated the Assyrians' westward movement. Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1208), the biblical Nimrod (Gen. 10:8–12), conquered Babylon, but only held it for seven years. Tukulti-Ninurta also promulgated the Middle Assyrian law-code, a continuation of the Sumerian and Babylonian legal tradition and built a new capital, Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta (Tulul el-Aqir), across the Tigris from Ashur. Tukulti-Ninurta was murdered by his son in a palace coup, and Assyria entered into an 85-year period of weakness. When the invasion of the Sea Peoples around 1200 destroyed the Hittite Empire and pushed the Egyptians out of Asia, and created a power vacuum in the region, Tiglath-Pileser I (Tukulti-apal-eser, 1115–1077) quickly took advantage of the situation. In a series of campaigns, he conquered a large empire from the Zagros to the Mediterranean, and from Babylon north to Urartu. Tiglath-Pileser initiated the policy of ruthless warfare, mass executions, and the deportation of civilian populations, which became characteristic of Assyrian conquest.  6
THE ARAMEAN INVASIONS. In the 11th century, Aramean tribes from the Syrian desert, including the Chaldeans (Kaldu), invaded Mesopotamia. The Assyrians were driven back into Assyria proper, and Babylonia was overrun and broken up into small tribal states. The coastal region retained its independence from 1024–1004 under the 2nd Sealand Dynasty, but subsequently this area was conquered by the Chaldeans, who ruled southernmost Babylonia.  7
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.