The large peninsula presently occupied by the nation of Turkey. Throughout much of antiquity, Anatolia (or Asia Minor) was viewed as part of the Near East, what many Greeks and Romans called Asia. And because it lay on the northwestern periphery of the Mesopotamian plains, the region was often sought after or occupied by empires centered in those plains. As early as the third millennium b.c., important trade routes linking Mesopotamia to southeastern Europe by way of the Hellespont and the Aegean Sea ran east to west through Anatolia. The first Mesopotamian conqueror to reach the area was Sargon of Akkad, who in the 2300s b.c.may have campaigned in the Taurus Mountains in southeastern Anatolia. About five centuries later the Hittites, an Indo-European people, established a powerful kingdom, Hatti, centered on the Halys River in Anatolia's eastern sector. For several centuries the Hittites played a major role in Near Eastern history, as they attacked Syria, sacked Babylon in 1595 b.c., and fought the Egyptians in Palestine. Long after the Hittites' demise, in the seventh century b.c. the Assyrians occupied the Taurus Mountains and may have penetrated farther into Anatolia if their empire had not suddenly collapsed. This goal was achieved in the following century, however, by the Persians, led by their founder, Cyrus II. He conquered the kingdom of Lydia, then occupying the western portion of Anatolia; and took charge of the Greek cities lying along the Aegean seaboard. For the first time in history, this brought a Mesopotamian power into direct contact with the Greek city-states. For two centuries most of Anatolia remained under Persian rule, until the Macedonian king Alexander III, later called "the Great," took over the region in the late 330s b.c. Following Alexander's death in 323 b.c., Anatolia became a battleground for his leading generals, the so-called Successors. And by about 280 b.c. one of these men, Seleucus, had control of large portions of the peninsula. Only a century later, however, the Seleucids were driven from the area, which increasingly came under Roman rule.
   See also: Hittites; Persian Empire; Romans annals
   Royal inscriptions, most often carved in stone, describing the military exploits, building programs, and other works of kings. The most numerous and striking versions were those of the Assyrian monarchs, beginning in the early thirteenth century b.c.
   See also: historical accounts

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

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