Were pharaohs the most powerful men on earth until Cyrus the Great?

Mar 2015
838
Europe
#11
Looking at the map of Mesopotamia, note that the lower Mesopotamia is not all that big. From the head of the Euphrates floodplain around Sippar to the lower end around Eridu and Ur is just about 300 km. Whereas the size of Egypt from Aswan to Buto was about 1000 km.
Protodynastic and Old Kingdom Egypt, spanning 1000+ km, was huge compared to to the early Dynastic Mesopotamia where the 300 km was divided between 10+ independent city-states.
Sargon I and Kings of Akkad possibly surpassed the (declining) pharaohs of Old Kingdom.
Ur III dynasty surpassed the First Intermediate Period Egypt. But Middle Kingdom... Hammurabi dealt with Larsa and Assyria, but not Aleppo.
New Kingdom? King of Hittites and King of Assyria were competitors.
Third Intermediate period? At times, Assyria would have been more powerful than the enfeebled Egypt. But at times, Assyria was weakened, too. In late 11th and early 10th century BC, chances are that the King of Western Zhou was more powerful than any in Near East.
After the 9th century Assyrian recovery, Assyria seems to have been stronger than Egypt. And after fall of Assyria, I´d call Nabonidus still stronger than Egypt.
 

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