The Levant is an ambiguous historical term describing the area of the Near East, most specifically Syria, Israel, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon and broadly relates to the area of the Semitic Canaanites. The earliest Bronze Age history of the Levant is found in various kingdoms of Syria including the Eblaite, Nagar and Mari kingdoms which were associated with and then conquered by the Akkadian Empire centred in modern Iraq which was in turn succeeded by the the Amorites, a Semitic civilisation that developed over the area of the Levant and beyond which produced stone sculpture in a largely Mesopotamian style. Immigration of Canaanites from the Levant into Egypt from around 1800 BC was cause for the establishment of an independent realm in the Nile Delta and developed into the Hyksos conquest of northern Egypt – in turn, following the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt the Egyptians conquered much of the Levant in contest with the Hittites and Assyrians, yet at the end of the 13th century, these large powers rapidly collapsed. The Phoenicians, a Canaanite group centred in Lebanon dominated the western coast, trading and colonising extensively throughout the Mediterranean and establishing Carthage and the Israelites emerged as a cultural group within the Levant. Later further Mesopotamian influence occurred as the Assyrians re-conquered to be succeeded by the Babylonians and the Persians. The Persians were then conquered by Alexander the Great, establishing Hellenistic culture and a western orientation; the Greeks were later succeeded by the Romans and the Byzantines before the Islamic conquest.

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