The Discovery of Ebla and The Relations Between Mesopotamia and Syria

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The discovery of Ebla gave us a wealth of information on the Near East in the 3rd millennium BCE but its greatest contribution is to our understanding of the complex and economic relationships between the cities of Mesopotamia and Syria. Ebla was a diplomatic based empire and due to its unique geographical location, it had a key role in managing and conducting relations between early North-West Syria and Upper Mesopotamia (Matthiae 1976, 112). Due to these active relations with other cities it was stimulated to absorb cultural elements from the Sumerian and Mesopotamian worlds (Matthiae 1980a, 161). Ebla’s political structure, language, religion and art all reflect evidence of intensive cross-cultural relations and our analysis of these…show more content…
There is also an abundance of texts in the archives referring to Kish, Mari, and Emar, in particular, which indicates that there was contact between scribal circles in Northern Syria and Mesopotamia and that this contact was continuous (Matthiae 1980a, 159). The discovery of objects made in Ebla but found in places like Sumer, Ur, Mari and Kish such as composite statues and cylinder seals (Matthiae 1980a, 151) highlights once more that trade and contact between cities was an essential part of the Syrian and Mesopotamian culture and that Ebla itself was a booming economic centre. Ebla was an incredibly sophisticated city, located on the highest tell in the landscape to mark its dominance (Matthiae 1980a, 219). The actual extent of the city is unknown but it is suspected to have had a common frontier with Emar on the Euphrates to the north-east, and with Hamar in the south (Matthiae 1980a, 173). Its interaction with the near lesser cities isn’t precisely known but Matthiae (1980a, 170) speculates that it was a policy of control but not one that required the elimination of each cities individual culture. There were three different possible forms of control Ebla may have had over the surrounding territories (Matthiae 1980a, 187).

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