What were the means of displacement of the third millennium BC?
The navigations on the Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates are proven and documented both by Egyptian hieroglyphs and by the Mesopotamian tablets. The texts of Ebla evoke it. Also the texts of Mari during the second millennium. Undeniably, merchants were users of boat on the great rivers.
At sea, towards the end of the 3rd millennium, Sargon of Akkad says to have docked in his capital port, ships of Meluhha, Dilmun and Magan. It is now almost accepted that Meluhha was the Indus Valley, Dilmun was the island of Bahrain, and for Magan I made a proposal on this blog.
But what was the intensity of this trade? The boats were able to sail against the flow? Were there any parallel channels for this, to be able to haul the boats?
According to the texts of Mari, if channels portions existed along the Euphrates, it is accepted that it was not along all the river, especially from Mari to Emar. Navigation is, therefore, made essentially in the direction of the current. In the opposite direction, instead of the use of boats, land caravans were preferred. It is likely that the goods were borrowing special ways : for example to go from Babylon to Emar, the Urban route goes against the flow of the Tiger until Assur, and has used a land route through Assur and Subat-Enlil.
Why the black diorite statues were culturally fashionable to the same periods in Egypt and Mesopotamia?
Simply because there were more contacts than we think between Egypt and the land between the two rivers.
How the city of Ebla, not nearby Euphrates, has enriched itself during the second part of the third millennium?
It must be considered that the growth of this city is tied to its location between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates. I think the city of Ebla was a merchant passageway, and located on the upstream of a river flowing into the Euphrates. Thutmose III, to go fight near the Euphrates, has carried his ships on chariots. This method of transportation should be a regular service made during some centuries by the residents of the area. This would explain the responsibility of the confederation of "his-ib" in Ebla. (Before the Corinth Canal, built in the 6th century BC, it was a boat transport method in Greece).
What were the sources of the Dilmun merchants, inhabiting a Persian Gulf island, but trader of wool, of wood,of precious stones and of copper?
I think the Dilmun merchants, like others elsewhere, have used commercial circuits through large rivers.
A cuneiform text of a statue of Gudea said : "Magan, Meluhha, Gubi (Gubla?) and Tilmun have gather wood. Many barges loaded of wood of all kinds came to Lagash".
Here is an illustration of a probable commercial circuit of the 3rd millennium BCE. Supply sources are mentioned in green:
1. An agreement between and Mari stipulates that merchants can travel from Mari to , and in doing so, to Kish (Ie Kush, using the large commercial circuit) from . In this convention appears the "ga-ras" of Saba. The term "ga-ras" was translated as "Lavandier" I think it is rather a producer of incense.
2. Recent research shows an occupation of south coast of the Arabian Peninsula to the Bronze Age:
3. On the coast of the Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula are visible from the sky multiple traces of camps called "The Works of the Old Men":
4. During pre-dynastic periods, similarities between the Sumerians and the Egyptians have been identified by researchers.
5. Transports of boats on charriot from the Red Sea to the Nile is documented by some petroglyphs at Wadi Hammamat.
6. Matuka, along the Nile, are the remains of a done track beams, over a length of over 2 km. They were provided a service of hauling boats and allowing circumvention of the second cataract of the Nile.
7. Even on the Nile, I think navigation in the direction of the current was privileged. This commercial circuit may explain the construction of the pyramids: Each boat took a stone, as described by Herodotus in his Histories, was attached to a rope and dragged at the bottom of the river to ensure the stability. Here is another excerpt from the same author: "Cheops came, they say, so infamous that, short of money, he placed his daughter in a place of debauchery and ordered him to win a specified amount. The girl obeyed to her father, but she also wanted to leave a monument for his name and asked each of its visitors to make him a present of a stone. With these stones was built one of the three pyramids in the center of the group, in front of the Great Pyramid".
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