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Survey from Neo Babylonians to Persians

Let's continue our fast survey of ancient history, with references to the stories from the Old Testament.

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Video transcript

- [Narrator] Let's now continue with our super fast journey through history. And one thing I want to point out, because I already touched on it in the previous video, is while we talk about this ancient history, I'm also referring to some stories from the Old Testament. So let's call that religion. Now, the reason why I'm doing it is because religion is such a big part of our modern culture, it's clearly, especially the Old Testament, is the basis of three major world religions today, and so it can help us hopefully create a little bit more of a narrative in our head on some of these ancient events, because a lot of these events described in the Old Testament have a historical context. There was a Babylon, there was a Neo-Babylonian Empire. We're gonna talk about Nebuchadnezzar in this video. There were pharaohs, these things are described in the Old Testament. Now, there's other things in the Old Testament that have less of a historical context, where we really don't have evidence yet of did they happen, or did they happen in the way that is described in the Old Testament? We might be able to find that evidence over time. And then there's clearly a lot of events that are not described in the Old Testament, but we are able to find evidence, we're able to find documents, writing, hieroglyphs, we're able to find artifacts and date those artifacts, we're able to find ruins. And the fun of history is to try to figure out, well, what do we know and what do we not know, and can we construct narratives that make sense? And over time, whether we're talking about events that are referred to in the Old Testament, or things where there's a large historical basis for it, as we understand more, these dots might change a little bit, or at least our understanding of how they occurred or the causality. So that's one of the really fun things in history, and I encourage you, everything that you hear me say, don't take it for granted, look it up yourself, and come to your own conclusions. So with that said, let's continue, and I'll review a little bit from the previous video. We're in 1700 B.C.. It's the time of Hammurabi, you have the code of Hammurabi, famous, famous, as a written code, a written code of laws. Now, we believe, if the stories of Abraham, because there are parallels between the Old Testament and the code of Hammurabi, it has often placed Abraham, as a biblical figure, is often placed in or shortly after the time of Hammurabi. And so it's Abraham of Ur, and this migration to Canaan, which would eventually become the kingdom of Judea and Israel, modern-day where the states of Israel and Palestine are, that migration, people place it at around 1200, or sorry, at around 1700 B.C.E., once again, roughly in the time of Hammurabi. Now, we don't know this. There is not a lot of historical evidence here, but it fits kind of the historical context, especially with the code, with the code of Hammurabi. Now, we fast forward a few hundred years, and now we're firmly on the side of religion, where these are stories from the Old Testament. We haven't found a lot of historical evidence yet of the migration of the Jewish people to Egypt, the famous story of Joseph. So that's the migration, which is placed, tends to be placed around 1500 B.C.E.. 1500 B.C.E., and once again, I'm gonna put a question mark here. And so when we look at our timeline, this is Abraham going from Mesopotamia and then to what is now, or to establish this tribe in what eventually becomes Judea, Israel. They're there for several hundred years, you have the story of Joseph, Abraham's grandson, he becomes a vizier of the pharaoh, his family eventually joins him, but then the Jewish people get enslaved, according to the Old Testament, for several hundred years, until they are freed in the Book of Exodus by Moses, and they are led back to Judea. And so this part right over here, we are definitely, let me circle that in a color you can see. This part right over here, we're definitely operating outside of a lot of historical evidence. But we believe that the exodus from Egypt back to Judea, this is often placed around 1200 B.C.E.. So I know my map is getting a little bit... 1200 B.C.E., and once again, I'm gonna put a question mark there, because we don't really know. But that's where we believe that the, what was essentially the tribe of Jewish people is now established as a real state, as a real kingdom, the united kingdom of Israel and Judea, and you have the famous kings, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, King Solomon famously noted for the construction of the first temple at Jerusalem. And now we're gonna fast forward, because in a few hundred years, that temple gets destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire. So let's fast forward a little bit. The Neo-Babylonian Empire, led by Nebuchadnezzar II, often known as the Chaldean Empire. This is approximately, and I'm going very high level in this video, 600 B.C.E., before the common era, secular way of saying before the time of Christ, before Christ, you might often see B.C., which would refer to before Christ, B.C.E. is referring to before the common era, but 600 B.C.E. and 600 B.C. are referring to the same date. But you have the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and I'll stress the word Neo, because even though you hear a lot about Babylon when we talk about ancient Mesopotamia, you notice that Babylon was only dominant for relatively short periods of time when we look at this, you know, multi-thousand year view of things. Actually, most of the time, in this period, the Assyrians were dominant, with their capital at Nineveh. But when we get to roughly 600 B.C.E., you have Nebuchadnezzar II. He is the king, the emperor, of this Neo-Babylonian Empire, and he goes... He searches for conquest. He wants to expand his empire. And he's really set on taking over the pharaohs, among other people, or the Egyptians, but on his way, he's unsuccessful on taking over the pharaohs, so let me, this is him on the way to try to take over the pharaohs. He is unsuccessful to try to take over Egypt. But on the way, he's able to march through a lot of what we now call the Middle East, and relevant to the Old Testament, he destroys the first temple that Solomon built, so he destroys that temple, and then he takes the Jewish people captive, according to the Old Testament. And that is the famous Babylonian captivity, and that was Nebuchadnezzar who does it. Now, Nebuchadnezzar's empire, his dynasty, is relatively short-lived in the whole scheme of things. The Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Chaldean Empire, because by the time we get to the, or we get a little bit further into the sixth century B.C.E., so around 539, 539 B.C.E., this is when you have the Persians come and invade the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The Persians, led by Cyrus the Great. So now you have the Persians come and take over the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and on our timeline here, this is the Persians going on, going and taking over more and more territory, they take over Mesopotamia, they're able to take over what we, you know, Judea and actually this whole region that is kind of the modern Middle East, and they are successful. And this is a big deal, because look how long this line of Egyptian civilization is. They are able to take over Egypt, and they keep going their conquest, and as we'll see in the next video, they get very frustrated because they're not able to take over the Greeks, even though in a lot of ways, the Greeks did not seem as significant of an empire as the Egyptians or the Babylonians. But we will continue that in the next video.