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Illuminating the Past: Contemporary Perspectives

Contemporary Perpsective
The main event this week was the Battle of Megiddo. Very briefly, having expelled the Hyksos, those foreign rulers, from Egypt, the following pharaohs were very concerned with international security, and so they campaigned into Syria-Palestinian territory. Now, it seems that control of the city-states in that region was a way of securing the Egyptian state. Egypt essentially acted as a hegemonic state with vassal states loyal to it, thereby lessening the possibility of a repeat of the Hyksos episode. And so enriching itself through access to the resources and trade routes in Syria-Palestine also occurred for Egypt. The Battle of Megiddo was a response to a revolt by an alliance of Syria-Palestinian city-states, and they threatened Egyptian interests in the area.
As a result, the Egyptians not only secured the area but marched right through into northern Syria to demonstrate their power. So Alex, does that idea of a larger, more powerful state exerting its influence and authority on smaller states around it– Is there a precedent for that type of thing? Certainly. I think Germany after the first World War is a very, very good example because Germany is left out of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 with a number of small states around it. And under Hitler in the 1930s. What you see is, of course, this attempt, under the cover of self-determination trying to regain what was lost in the Treaty of Versailles.
But this was really an attempt to increase the amount of power, the amount of territory that Germany had in, say, Czechoslovakia. The Anschluss, of course, with Austria that takes place. Excellent – right. I can see there’s a definite precedent for this type of thing. So much that again, not exactly the same, but that’s the idea– exploring similarities as well as differences.

This week we focussed on the how Egyptians widened their sphere of influence in Syria-Palestine through the domination of smaller states.

Dr Alex Mackenzie likens this to the comparatively modern example of Germany influencing its neighbours in the 1930s. In the following discussion you will have an opportunity to give examples of other modern examples of how smaller states have fallen into spheres of influence headed by a more powerful country.

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Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

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