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By Thomas Sowell

Presents new insights into the background, sociology, and psychology of ethnic-minority existence.

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While it is unclear as to what constituted the specific causes of Hittite decline, it is generally assumed that it came about primarily as a consequence of the intrusion of a new power into the Middle East. The “Sea People” appeared on the scene at a time when the Hittites were exhausted by the centuries of virtually unrelenting conflict with Egypt and with their various enemies in Asia. THE SEA PEOPLE The intrusion of the Sea People into the core zone of the Middle East appears to have been the result of momentous events taking place elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean regions.

1425–1401), Egypt was compelled to come to terms with Mitanni, ceding to the latter control of Syria north of a line drawn east from the Mediterranean coast at Tripoli. The peace treaty with Mitanni evolved into an alliance that effectively secured Egypt’s northern frontier in Asia for the next hundred years. Then, after having maintained a position of hegemony in the western Middle East for more than a century, Egypt suddenly became enmeshed in a debilitating internal crisis precipitated by the attempted religious reforms of Amenophis IV or Akhenaton (c.

11 Niqmaddu of Ugarit had previously signed a mutual security pact with Aziras, and when the latter turned to the Hittites, the former had little choice but to do so as well. Niqmaddu, who apparently was married to an Egyptian princess, had sought to remain neutral in the Egyptian-Hittite struggle for supremacy but found himself unable to do so. It was only when the Hittites had already put Carchemish, the last Mitanni stronghold west of the Euphrates, under siege that Suppiluliumas sent forces across the line marking the Egyptian sphere of interest in Syria at Kadesh.

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