The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen. An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before trading in bronze began in the third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic period, with the Chalcolithic serving as a transition, although the Iron Age generally followed the Bronze Age, in some areas, the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic. Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing, according to archaeological evidence, cultures in Mesopotamia and Egypt developed the earliest viable writing systems.
The overall period is characterized by use of bronze, though the place and time of the introduction. Human-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques, tin must be mined and smelted separately, added to molten copper to make bronze alloy. The Bronze Age was a time of use of metals. The dating of the foil has been disputed, the Bronze Age in the ancient Near East began with the rise of Sumer in the 4th millennium BC. Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy and mathematics, the usual tripartite division into an Early and Late Bronze Age is not used. Instead, a division based on art-historical and historical characteristics is more common. The cities of the Ancient Near East housed several tens of thousands of people, ur in the Middle Bronze Age and Babylon in the Late Bronze Age similarly had large populations. The earliest mention of Babylonia appears on a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad in the 23rd century BC, the Amorite dynasty established the city-state of Babylon in the 19th century BC.
Over 100 years later, it took over the other city-states. Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, by that time, the Sumerian language was no longer spoken, but was still in religious use. Elam was an ancient civilization located to the east of Mesopotamia, in the Old Elamite period, Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a role in the Gutian Empire and especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it
The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the noun is Middle-Easterner. The term has come into usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century. Arabs, Persians and Azeris constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population. Indigenous minorities of the Middle East include Jews and other Arameans, Berbers, Druze, Mandaeans, Shabaks, Tats, in the Middle East, there is a Romani community. European ethnic groups form a diaspora in the region include Albanians, Circassians, Crimean Tatars, Franco-Levantines. Among other migrant populations are Bengalis as well as other Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis, the history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, with the importance of the region being recognized for millennia. Most of the countries border the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of crude oil. The term Middle East may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office, however, it became more widely known when American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 1902 to designate the area between Arabia and India.
During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but of its center, the Persian Gulf. Mahan first used the term in his article The Persian Gulf and International Relations, published in September 1902 in the National Review, a British journal. The Middle East, if I may adopt a term which I have not seen, will some day need its Malta, as well as its Gibraltar, it does not follow that either will be in the Persian Gulf. The British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force if occasion arise, about Aden, mahans article was reprinted in The Times and followed in October by a 20-article series entitled The Middle Eastern Question, written by Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol. During this series, Sir Ignatius expanded the definition of Middle East to include regions of Asia which extend to the borders of India or command the approaches to India. After the series ended in 1903, The Times removed quotation marks from subsequent uses of the term, in the late 1930s, the British established the Middle East Command, which was based in Cairo, for its military forces in the region.
After that time, the term Middle East gained broader usage in Europe, the description Middle has led to some confusion over changing definitions. Before the First World War, Near East was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while Middle East referred to Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Turkestan. The first official use of the term Middle East by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, the Associated Press Stylebook says that Near East formerly referred to the farther west countries while Middle East referred to the eastern ones, but that now they are synonymous
Tunisia, officially the Republic of Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa, covering 165,000 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent and it is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisias population was estimated to be just under 11 million in 2014, Tunisias name is derived from its capital city, which is located on Tunisias northeast coast. Geographically, Tunisia contains the end of the Atlas Mountains. Much of the rest of the land is fertile soil. Tunisia is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic and it is considered to be the only full democracy in the Arab World. It has a human development index. In addition, Tunisia is a state of the United Nations. Close relations with Europe – in particular with France and with Italy – have been forged through economic cooperation, privatisation, in ancient times, Tunisia was primarily inhabited by Berbers.
Phoenician immigration began in the 12th century BC, these immigrants founded Carthage, a major mercantile power and a military rival of the Roman Republic, Carthage was defeated by the Romans in 146 BC. The Romans, who would occupy Tunisia for most of the eight hundred years, introduced Christianity. After several attempts starting in 647, the Arabs conquered the whole of Tunisia by 697, the Ottomans held sway for over three hundred years. The French colonization of Tunisia occurred in 1881, Tunisia gained independence with Habib Bourguiba and declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution resulted in the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country voted for parliament again on 26 October 2014, and for President on 23 November 2014. The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis, an urban hub. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix -ia, the French derivative Tunisie was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications, introducing a distinctive name to designate the country.
Other languages remained untouched, such as the Russian Туни́с and Spanish Túnez, in this case, the same name is used for both country and city, as with the Arabic تونس, and only by context can one tell the difference. The name Tunis can be attributed to different origins and it is generally associated with the Berber root ⵜⵏⵙ, transcribed tns, which means to lay down or encampment
The Scandinavian variants are known as futhark or fuþark, the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc. Runology is the study of the runic alphabets, runic inscriptions, runology forms a specialised branch of Germanic linguistics. The earliest runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD, the characters were generally replaced by the Latin alphabet as the cultures that had used runes underwent Christianisation, by approximately 700 AD in central Europe and 1100 AD in northern Europe. However, the use of runes persisted for specialized purposes in northern Europe, until the early 20th century, runes were used in rural Sweden for decorative purposes in Dalarna and on Runic calendars. The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and the Younger Futhark, the Younger Futhark is divided further into the long-branch runes, short-branch or Rök runes, and the stavlösa or Hälsinge runes. The Younger Futhark developed further into the Medieval runes, and the Dalecarlian runes, the runic alphabet is a derivation of the Old Italic scripts of antiquity, with the addition of some innovations.
Which variant of the Old Italic family in particular gave rise to the runes is uncertain, suggestions include Raetic, Etruscan, or Old Latin as candidates. At the time, all of these scripts had the same angular letter shapes suited for epigraphy, the process of transmission of the script is unknown. The oldest inscriptions are found in Denmark and northern Germany, not near Italy, a West Germanic hypothesis suggests transmission via Elbe Germanic groups, while a Gothic hypothesis presumes transmission via East Germanic expansion. The runes were in use among the Germanic peoples from the 1st or 2nd century AD, no distinction is made in surviving runic inscriptions between long and short vowels, although such a distinction was certainly present phonologically in the spoken languages of the time. Similarly, there are no signs for labiovelars in the Elder Futhark The term runes is used to distinguish these symbols from Latin and it is attested on a 6th-century Alamannic runestaff as runa and possibly as runo on the 4th-century Einang stone.
The name comes from the Germanic root run-, meaning secret or whisper, in Old Irish Gaelic, the word rún means mystery, intention or affectionate love. Similarly in Welsh and Old English, the word rhin and rūn respectively means mystery, secret writing, or sometimes in the sense of the word. Ogham is a Celtic script, similarly carved in the Norse manner, the root run- can be found in the Baltic languages, meaning speech. In Lithuanian, runoti means both to cut and to speak, according to another theory, the Germanic root comes from the Indoeuropean root *reuə- dig. The Finnish term for rune, means scratched letter, the Finnish word runo means poem and comes from the same source as the English word rune, it is a very old loan of the Proto-Germanic *rūnō. The runes developed centuries after the Old Italic alphabets from which they are historically derived. The formation of the Elder Futhark was complete by the early 5th century, the Raetic alphabet of Bolzano is often advanced as a candidate for the origin of the runes, with only five Elder Futhark runes having no counterpart in the Bolzano alphabet
Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in the Middle East, on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. The country contains geographically diverse features within its small area. Israels economy and technology center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, in 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, next year, the Jewish Agency declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel. Israel has since fought several wars with neighboring Arab states, in the course of which it has occupied territories including the West Bank, Golan Heights and it extended its laws to the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, but not the West Bank. Israels occupation of the Palestinian territories is the worlds longest military occupation in modern times, efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not resulted in peace.
However, peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan have successfully been signed, the population of Israel, as defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, was estimated in 2017 to be 8,671,100 people. It is the worlds only Jewish-majority state, with 74. 8% being designated as Jewish, the countrys second largest group of citizens are Arabs, at 20. 8%. The great majority of Israeli Arabs are Sunni Muslims, including significant numbers of semi-settled Negev Bedouins, other minorities include Arameans, Assyrians, Black Hebrew Israelites, Circassians and Samaritans. Israel hosts a significant population of foreign workers and asylum seekers from Africa and Asia, including illegal migrants from Sudan, Eritrea. In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a Jewish, Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation and universal suffrage. The prime minister is head of government and the Knesset is the legislature, Israel is a developed country and an OECD member, with the 35th-largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product as of 2016.
The country benefits from a skilled workforce and is among the most educated countries in the world with one of the highest percentage of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. The country has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and the third highest in Asia, in the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term Israeli to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett. The names Land of Israel and Children of Israel have historically used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel. The name Israel in these phrases refers to the patriarch Jacob who, jacobs twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel. The earliest known artifact to mention the word Israel as a collective is the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt. The area is known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Islam
Ethnologue, Languages of the World is a web-based publication that contains information about the 7,099 living languages in its 20th edition, which was released in 2017. The publication is well respected and widely used by linguists, Ethnologue is published by SIL International, a Christian linguistic service organization with an international office in Dallas, Texas. Ethnologue follows general linguistic criteria, which are based primarily on mutual intelligibility, shared language intelligibility features are complex, and usually include etymological and grammatical evidence that is agreed upon by experts. These lists of names are not necessarily complete, in 1984, Ethnologue released a three-letter coding system, called an SIL code, to identify each language that it described. This set of codes significantly exceeded the scope of other standards, e. g. ISO 639-1, the 14th edition, published in 2000, included 7,148 language codes. In 2002, Ethnologue was asked to work with the International Organization for Standardization to integrate its codes into an international standard.
The 15th edition of Ethnologue was the first edition to use this standard and this standard is now administered separately from Ethnologue according to rules established by ISO, and since Ethnologue relies on the standard to determine what is listed as a language. e. A language with which no-one retains a sense of ethnic identity, in December 2015, Ethnologue launched a soft paywall, users in high-income countries who want to refer to more than seven pages of data per month must buy a paid subscription. Ethnologues 18th edition describes 228 language families and six typological categories, in 1986, William Bright, editor of the journal Language, wrote of Ethnologue that it is indispensable for any reference shelf on the languages of the world. In 2008 in the journal, Lyle Campbell and Verónica Grondona said, Ethnologue. has become the standard reference. However, he concluded that, on balance, Ethnologue is a comprehensive catalogue of world languages. Starting with the 17th edition, new editions of Ethnologue are to be published every year, linguasphere Observatory Register Glottolog Lists of languages List of language families Martin Everaert, Simon Musgrave, Alexis Dimitriadis, eds.
The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies, linguistic Genocide in Education-or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights. Evaluating language statistics, the Ethnologue and beyond
Phonology is a branch of linguistics concerned with the systematic organization of sounds in languages. Phonology includes the study of equivalent organizational systems in sign languages, the word phonology can refer to the phonological system of a given language. This is one of the systems which a language is considered to comprise, like its syntax. Phonology is often distinguished from phonetics, note that this distinction was not always made, particularly before the development of the modern concept of the phoneme in the mid 20th century. The word phonology comes from Ancient Greek φωνή, phōnḗ, sound, according to Clark et al. it means the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use. The history of phonology may be traced back to the Ashtadhyayi, Baudouin de Courtenays work, though often unacknowledged, is considered to be the starting point of modern phonology. He worked on the theory of alternations, and may have had an influence on the work of Saussure according to E. F. K.
Koerner. An influential school of phonology in the period was the Prague school. One of its members was Prince Nikolai Trubetzkoy, whose Grundzüge der Phonologie. Directly influenced by Baudouin de Courtenay, Trubetzkoy is considered the founder of morphophonology, Trubetzkoy developed the concept of the archiphoneme. Another important figure in the Prague school was Roman Jakobson, who was one of the most prominent linguists of the 20th century, in 1968 Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle published The Sound Pattern of English, the basis for generative phonology. In this view, phonological representations are sequences of segments made up of distinctive features and these features were an expansion of earlier work by Roman Jakobson, Gunnar Fant, and Morris Halle. The features describe aspects of articulation and perception, are from a fixed set. There are at least two levels of representation, underlying representation and surface phonetic representation, ordered phonological rules govern how underlying representation is transformed into the actual pronunciation.
An important consequence of the influence SPE had on phonological theory was the downplaying of the syllable, the generativists folded morphophonology into phonology, which both solved and created problems. Natural phonology is a based on the publications of its proponent David Stampe in 1969. In this view, phonology is based on a set of phonological processes that interact with one another, which ones are active. Rather than acting on segments, phonological processes act on distinctive features within prosodic groups, prosodic groups can be as small as a part of a syllable or as large as an entire utterance
Colonies in antiquity
Colonies in antiquity were city-states founded from a mother-city, not from a territory-at-large. Bonds between a colony and its metropolis remained often close, and took specific forms, unlike in the period of European colonialism during the early and late modern era, ancient colonies were usually sovereign and self-governing from their inception. An Egyptian colony that was stationed in southern Canaan dates to slightly before the First Dynasty, narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in Canaan and exported back to Egypt, from regions such as Arad, En Besor and Tel ʿErani. Shipbuilding was known to the ancient Egyptians as early as 3000 BC, the Archaeological Institute of America reports that the earliest dated ship—75 feet long, dating to 3000 BC – may have possibly belonged to Pharaoh Aha. Egypt at its height controlled Crete across the Mediterranean Sea, the Phoenicians were the major trading power in the Mediterranean in the early part of the first millennium BC. They had trading contacts in Egypt and Greece, and established colonies as far west as modern Spain, from Gadir the Phoenicians controlled access to the Atlantic Ocean and the trade routes to Britain.
The most famous and successful of Phoenician colonies was founded by settlers from Tyre in 814–813 BC and called Kart-Hadasht (Qart-ḥadašt, the Carthaginians founded their own colony in the southeast of Spain, Carthago Nova, which was eventually conquered by their enemy, Rome. But in most cases the motivation was to establish and facilitate relations of trade with foreign countries, colonies were established in Ionia and Thrace as early as the 8th century BC. There were two types of colony, one known as an ἀποικία - apoikia and the other as an ἐμπορίov - emporion. The first type of colony was a city-state on its own, through this Greek expansion the use of coins flourished throughout the Mediterranean Basin. The Greeks colonised modern-day Crimea on the Black Sea, among the settlements they established there was the city of Chersonesos, at the site of modern-day Sevastopol. Another area with significant Greek colonies was the coast of ancient Illyria on the Adriatic Sea, the extensive Greek colonization is remarked upon by Cicero when noting that It were as though a Greek fringe has been woven about the shores of the barbarians.
Several formulae were generally adhered to on the solemn and sacred occasions when a new colony set forth, if a Greek city was sending out a colony, an oracle, especially one such as the Oracle of Delphi, was almost invariably consulted beforehand. A person of distinction was selected to guide the emigrants and make the necessary arrangements and it was usual to honor these founders of colonies, after their death, as heroes. Some of the fire was taken from the public hearth in the Prytaneum. After the conquests of the Macedonian Kingdom and Alexander the Great, the relation between colony and mother-city, known literally as the metropolis, was viewed as one of mutual affection. Any differences that arose were resolved by peaceful means whenever possible and it is worth noting that the Peloponnesian War was in part a result of a dispute between Corinth and her colony of Corcyra. The charter of foundation contained general provisions for the arrangement of the affairs of the colony, the constitution of the mother-city was usually adopted by the colony, but the new city remained politically independent
Carthage was the Phoenician city-state of Carthage and during the 7th to 3rd centuries BC, included its sphere of influence, the Carthaginian Empire. The empire extended over much of the coast of North Africa as well as encompassing substantial parts of coastal Iberia, Carthage was founded in 814 BC. At the height of the prominence it served as a major hub of trade. The city had to deal with potentially hostile Berbers, the inhabitants of the area where Carthage was built. In 146 BC, after the third and final Punic War, Roman forces destroyed, nearly all of the other Phoenician city-states and former Carthaginian dependencies subsequently fell into Roman hands. According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Dido, Queen Elissa was an exiled princess of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. At its peak, the metropolis she founded, came to be called the city, ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean Sea. Elissas brother, Pygmalion of Tyre, had murdered Elissas husband, Elissa escaped the tyranny of her own country, founding the new city of Carthage and subsequently its dominions.
Details of her life are sketchy and confusing, but the following can be deduced from various sources, according to Justin, Princess Elissa was the daughter of King Belus II of Tyre. When he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her brother and she married her uncle Acerbas, known as Sychaeus, the High Priest of Melqart, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king. This led to increased rivalry between the elite and the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acerbas, Pygmalion assassinated Acerbas in the temple and kept the misdeed concealed from his sister for a long time, deceiving her with lies about her husbands death. At the same time, the people of Tyre called for a single sovereign, in the Roman epic of Virgil, the Aeneid, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Elissa, is first introduced as a highly esteemed character. In just seven years, since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have rebuilt a successful kingdom under her rule and her subjects adore her and present her with a festival of praise.
Her character is perceived by Virgil as even more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas and his men, who have recently escaped from Troy. A spirit in the form of the god, sent by Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that his mission is not to stay in Carthage with his new-found love, Dido. Virgil ends his legend of Dido with the story that, when Aeneas tells Dido, her heart broken, as she lay dying, she predicted eternal strife between Aeneas people and her own, rise up from my bones, avenging spirit she says, an invocation of Hannibal. The settlements at Crete and Sicily were in conflict with the Greeks
The Iron Age is an archaeological era, referring to a period of time in the prehistory and protohistory of the Old World when the dominant toolmaking material was iron. It is commonly preceded by the Bronze Age in Europe and Asia with exceptions, meteoric iron has been used by humans since at least 3200 BC. Ancient iron production did not become widespread until the ability to smelt ore, remove impurities. The start of the Iron Age proper is considered by many to fall between around 1200 BC and 600 BC, depending on the region, the earliest known iron artifacts are nine small beads dated to 3200 BC, which were found in burials at Gerzeh, Lower Egypt. They have been identified as meteoric iron shaped by careful hammering, meteoric iron, a characteristic iron–nickel alloy, was used by various ancient peoples thousands of years before the Iron Age. Such iron, being in its metallic state, required no smelting of ores. Smelted iron appears sporadically in the record from the middle Bronze Age. While terrestrial iron is abundant, its high melting point of 1,538 °C placed it out of reach of common use until the end of the second millennium BC.
Tins low melting point of 231, recent archaeological remains of iron working in the Ganges Valley in India have been tentatively dated to 1800 BC. By the Middle Bronze Age, increasing numbers of smelted iron objects appeared in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, African sites are turning up dates as early as 1200 BC. Modern archaeological evidence identifies the start of iron production in around 1200 BC. Between 1200 BC and 1000 BC, diffusion in the understanding of iron metallurgy and use of objects was fast. As evidence, many bronze implements were recycled into weapons during this time, more widespread use of iron led to improved steel-making technology at lower cost. Thus, even when tin became available again, iron was cheaper and lighter, and forged iron implements superseded cast bronze tools permanently. Increasingly, the Iron Age in Europe is being seen as a part of the Bronze Age collapse in the ancient Near East, in ancient India, ancient Iran, and ancient Greece. In other regions of Europe, the Iron Age began in the 8th century BC in Central Europe, the Near Eastern Iron Age is divided into two subsections, Iron I and Iron II.
Iron I illustrates both continuity and discontinuity with the previous Late Bronze Age, during the Iron Age, the best tools and weapons were made from steel, particularly alloys which were produced with a carbon content between approximately 0. 30% and 1. 2% by weight. Steel weapons and tools were nearly the same weight as those of bronze, steel was difficult to produce with the methods available, and alloys that were easier to make, such as wrought iron, were more common in lower-priced goods
Early Muslim conquests
The early Muslim conquests referred to as the Arab conquests and early Islamic conquests began with the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun, the resulting empire stretched from the borders of China and the Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. The Muslim conquests brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire, the reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight, primarily because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Most historians agree that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another, in the case of Byzantine Egypt and Syria, these lands had only a few years before being reclaimed from the Persians. The estimates for the size of the Islamic Caliphate suggest it was more than thirteen million square kilometers, the last of these wars ended with victory for the Byzantines, Emperor Heraclius regained all lost territories, and restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in 629.
According to George Liska, the unnecessarily prolonged Byzantine–Persian conflict opened the way for Islam, in late 620s Muhammad had already managed to conquer and unify much of Arabia under Muslim rule, and it was under his leadership that the first Muslim-Byzantine skirmishes took place. The province of Syria was the first to be wrested from Byzantine control, on the heels of their victory, the Arab armies took Damascus in 636, with Baalbek and Hama to follow soon afterwards. However, other fortified towns continued to resist despite the rout of the army and had to be conquered individually. Jerusalem fell in 638, Caesarea in 640, while others held out until 641, the Byzantine province of Egypt held strategic importance for its grain production, naval yards, and as a base for further conquests in Africa. The Muslim general Amr ibn al-As began the conquest of the province on his own initiative in 639, the province was scarcely urbanized and the defenders lost hope of receiving reinforcements from Constantinople when the emperor Heraclius died in 641.
The last major center to fall into Arab hands was Alexandria, according to Hugh Kennedy, Of all the early Muslim conquests, that of Egypt was the swiftest and most complete. Seldom in history can so massive a political change have happened so swiftly, after an Arab incursion into Sasanian territories, the energetic king Yazdgerd III, who had just ascended the Persian throne, raised an army to resist the invasion. However, the Persians suffered a defeat at the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah in 636. As a result, the Arab-Muslims gained control over the whole of Iraq, including Ctesiphon, the Persian forces withdrew over the Zagros mountains and the Arab army pursued them across the Iranian plateau, where the fate of the Sasanian empire was sealed at the Battle of Nahavand. In the aftermath of their victory over the army, the invaders still had to contend with a collection of militarily weak. It took decades to bring all under control of the caliphate. The rapidity of the early conquests has received various explanations, contemporary Christian writers conceived them as Gods punishment visited on their fellow Christians for their sins.
Early Muslim historians viewed them as a reflection of religious zeal of the conquerors, according to Chase F. Robinson, it is likely that Muslim forces were often outnumbered, unlike their opponents, they were fast, well coordinated and highly motivated