Sunday, December 28, 2014


Salammbô (1862) is a historical novel by Gustave Flaubert. It is set in Carthage during the 3rd century BC, immediately before and during the Mercenary Revolt which took place shortly after the First Punic War. Flaubert's main source was Book I of Polybius's Histories. It was not a particularly well-studied period of history and required a great deal of work from the author, who enthusiastically left behind the realism of his masterpiece Madame Bovary for this tale of blood and thunder.

The book, which Flaubert researched painstakingly, is largely an exercise in sensuous and violent exoticism. Following the success of Madame Bovary, it was another best-seller and sealed his reputation. The Carthaginian costumes described in it even left traces on the fashions of the time.


Seta è un romanzo breve di Alessandro Baricco, pubblicato nel 1996 dalla casa editrice Rizzoli.
Nel 2007 dal romanzo è stato tratto il film drammatico Seta del regista francese François Girard.

Alessandro Baricco (Torino, 25 gennaio 1958) è uno scrittore, saggista, critico musicale, conduttore televisivo, pianista, sceneggiatore e regista italiano, fra i più noti esponenti della narrativa italiana contemporanea.

La historia de Seda empieza con una referencia a Salammbô. Seda es parte novela histórica, pero la mención de la novela de Gustave Flaubert es más bien un contrapunto. Seda es un ejercicio en minimalismo. Dice Baricco en la contraportada que toda historia tiene una música propia y que la música de Seda es una música blanca, que cuando se toca bien es como el silencio. Los diálogos y ambientaciones son minimos, y se presentan en un ritmo de staccato. Más que una historia, Seda es un poema Me hace recordar una entrevista conjunta que les hicieron a Neruda y a García Marquez, donde Neruda decía que le gustaría dar una dimensión épica a sus poemas, y García Marquez que el novelista busca imágenes y ritmo poéticos.

Alessandro Baricco alega que el tema es sobre un sentimiento como el amor, pero para el cual no hay palabra, que solo se puede explicar mediante la historia misma.

El hilo de la historia se hilvana a través de una serie recurrente de viajes a Japón, realizados por el protagonista, Harvé Joncour. Cada viaje pareciera ser una repetición del anterior, pero es imposible bañarse dos veces en el mismo río. Al final, el manco gana y Baldabiou desaparece un día cualquiera para señalar el final de la historia.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Delphi Ancient Classics

Imago Mundi

'Imago Mundi' es el título original y en latín de varios libros incluyendo el más famoso que es un texto de cosmografía, escrito en 1410 por el teólogo francés Pierre d'Ailly.
Imago es un latinismo que significa imagen o incluso representación. Por tanto, el título del libro es “Imagen del Mundo”. Posteriormente se ha generalizado su uso para expresar la interpretación y representación del mundo en un momento de la historia.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Marie Darrieussecq

Il faut beaucoup aimer les hommes   

Prix Médicis 2013
Prix des prix
Une femme rencontre un homme. Coup de foudre. Il se trouve que l’homme est noir. « C’est quoi, un Noir ? Et d’abord, c’est de quelle couleur ? » La question que pose Jean Genet dans Les Nègres, cette femme va y être confrontée comme par surprise. Et c’est quoi, l’Afrique ? Elle essaie de se renseigner. Elle lit, elle pose des questions. C’est la Solange du précédent roman de Marie Darrieussecq, Clèves, elle a fait du chemin depuis son village natal, dans sa « tribu » à elle, où tout le monde était blanc.
L’homme qu’elle aime est habité par une grande idée : il veut tourner un film...


Pig Tales. A Novel of Lust and Transformation (1996)

“Difficult to write one’s story when one lives in a pigsty—when one has, in fact, become a sow. Yet such is the narrator’s extraordinary adventure in this terribly sensual fable” (Marie Darrieussecq).
Upon its publication in 1996, Pig Tales, the first of Marie Darrieussecq’s novels, was met with immediate success. As one critic writing for Les Inrockuptibles (4 September 1996) observed, in reading this novel, “One laughs, yet in terror, for the metamorphosis of the narrator-as-pig reveals, in counterpoint, the aimless drifting of a society in which the pig is not always the pork.”
The story of a young woman who is slowly transformed into a sow, the novel bears strains of Kafka yet reveals, finally, an entirely original, subtly penetrating perspective. According to Libération (29 August 1996), “The theme of metamorphosis is not truly new in literature... But on this theme, the author varies with audacity and a certain raw humor, and she cultivates in her fable...a falsely innocent realism.”
In fact, the novel is particularly interested in the question of consciousness; as Darrieussecq explains in an interview with Jean-Marc Terrasse, the story’s narrator “is compelled [as a result of her transformation] to think for the first time...She becomes a person; it is the metamorphosis of a female object into a conscious woman” ( In this sense the novel is, according to the author, “The story of liberation through thought” (Terrasse 258).

My Phantom Husband (1998)

“It is, from the beginning, a simple, sad, even banal story. A man disappears. His wife anticipates his return, she does not resign herself to his disappearance, she searches for him” (Marie Darrieussecq).
The second novel by Darrieussecq, My Phantom Husband, evokes and examines the experience of loss and the nature of absence. According to Le Monde (20 February 1998), “With a surprising assurance, a certain clinical imagination, Marie Darrieussecq tells of this inundation through absence, this palpable density of emptiness...Nothing remains in place.”
The inexplicable disappearance of the man and the subsequent anguish of his wife are, finally, mechanisms for a yet deeper investigation; specifically, for a nuanced, penetrating consideration of the diverse sensations and emotions that shape and inform human existence. Thus, within the pages of this novel, the human world “opens out upon its mystery, upon its inconceivable layers, upon its enigmas, the great infinity, the small infinity, the powerfully shifting infinity rocked by expectation” (Le Monde).

Breathing Underwater (UK) / Undercurrents (US) (1999)

“It is the story of the ocean, of the presence of the ocean. One ought to say of its omnipresence, so that all that is not of it appears reduced to a quasi absence: the coast, the beach, the beings who, along its edge, fear it, contemplate to the point of drunkenness or meditate before its spectacle” (Le Monde, 19 March 1999).
In her third novel, Darrieussecq tells the story of a young mother who, with her daughter, flees suddenly and inexplicably to the Basque coast. When the father finally recovers the child, the mother departs, alone, for Australia, in search of a kind of elusive peace (James Estes, Marie Darrieussecq Web Site). As one reviewer noted upon the book’s publication, “The construction, through alternating points of view...imposes a complexity that resembles anguish...From this point, everything becomes possible” (Les Inrockuptibles, 17 March 1999).
Thus, once again, Darrieussecq conjures an ambiguous universe, one that is simultaneously surreal and irrepressibly human. Indeed throughout this novel, there persist the eternal questions of existence, of the textures and rhythms of memory and experience. These questions are, ultimately, captured and rendered vivid through the ocean’s consuming presence: “How does one remember the ocean? How does one distinguish the separation of the ocean’s edge from that of the earth?...The entire maritime landscape becomes this glass that must be broken in order to live” (Les Inrockuptibles).

Précisions sur les vagues [Clarifications on the Waves] (1999)

A kind of brief yet rich meditation on the details of the ocean, this piece searches for the abstract essence of the marine world while manifesting, finally, a distinct sensorial universe:
“Published on the occasion of Breathing Underwater / Undercurrents, this short text is the description of minute marine phenomena, of which one knows not whether they are proven, nor whether they reveal something of the scientific or, rather, of the poetic... Reality develops, the point of generating rather curious images” (Marie Darrieussecq Web Site).

A Brief Stay With the Living (2001)

“Plunged into four human minds: it is the narrative challenge of Marie Darrieussecq’s new novel” (Les Inrockuptibles, 21 August 2001).
In this work, Darrieussecq creates a complex web of shifting internal monologues, which further illuminate the nature of grief and the dimensions of communication and consciousness. As Isabelle Martin observed in Le Temps (1 September 2001), “Fugue, flight, disappearance, presence-absence, somnambulism, accidents of memory: the novel plays with all these themes in infinite variations.”
The story is, in fact, that of a family devastated by grief. The death of one its members—a young boy of three—has left at the family’s emotional center “a pit, a hollow, an absence, an emptiness around which everything, in the same cruel movement, is disassembled then remade, but badly” (Marie Darrieussecq Web Site). Darrieussecq, by evoking the individualized yet overlapping emotions of each family member, reveals both the implications of loss and the painful, variegated textures of emotional experience. The novel therefore offers a nuanced, abstract consideration of conscious existence, and the reader ultimately finds himself “in the interior of heads, of consciences, of spirits” (Le Monde, 31 August 2001).

Le Bébé [The Baby] (2002)

Published concurrently with the birth of her son, 2002’s Le Bébé offers a much more intimate setting than much of Darrieussecq’s previous work.
Marie has even hinted that this is the most autobiographical of her books; however, this cannot be confirmed as neither the mother nor the baby is given a name in the novel. Written in part to address the lack of babies as subjects in literature, this novel is very much focused on reality and the study of maternal life, and it is designed to make us ask ourselves questions typically ignored in popular writing. What are we to make of the discourse surrounding infants? What is motherhood? Why do women give birth instead of men? Are we assigned to our biological body?
As always, Marie Darrieussecq seeks another language opposed to the usual clichés, and no language is more codified by clichés than motherhood. More specifically, Darrieussecq questions the conflict (inherited from Simone de Beauvoir) between motherhood and the freedom to be an intellectual.

White (2003)

Aptly named, Marie Darrieusecq’s seventh novel, White (2003), tells the story of Edmée and Peter, two engineers who find themselves on an isolated European base in the South Pole. Both have demons in their past from which they are running, and both seem to find solace in the barren landscape which lies secluded from the rest of the world. Over the course of their six month stay, Edmée and Peter grow more and more close, clinging to each other as a way to escape the harsh emptiness of their frigid world, both in the past and in the physical present.
Though drawn to the idea of nothingness, the characters must be careful not to join the community of ghosts haunting the nearly inhospitable landscape. In an artistic and precise execution, White comes across as “…a sort of poem—soft and funny, mathematical and fantastical—in which perceptions of the world—material, mathematical, as well as sentimental—are put into words, impressions, visions and equations.” (Nathalie Crom, La Croix, 4 September 2003).
Both subtle and emotional, the story serves as a reminder that “everything is white, but between that white, lays the essential” (Pascal Gavilet, La Tribune de Genève, August 25, 2003)

Le Pays [The Country] (2005)

Having explored the intricate realm of motherhood with 2002’s Le Bébé, here Darrieussecq invites the reader to join her in what is arguably a world of equal creation: the world of writing. Combining motherhood with authorship, Le Pays asks us not only what happens when one gives birth to human life or literary life, but approaches the two as concurrent and ultimately very similar forces.
Marie Rivière, the main character, is both an author and a mother like Darrieussecq herself. Married and with one two-year-old child, Marie decides to leave the city of Paris in pursuit of her own roots. She returns home to find the remains of her family: an artistic mother, somewhat famous; her defeated father, who now lives in a trailer; and the memories surrounding her dead brother. In the country, where a slower way of life proves to be a great contrast to the bustle of Paris, Marie finds herself submerged in a sensory revisit to her own history whilst contemplating the future.
Very self-aware, Le Pays exposes the creative process of existing and of bringing something else into existence, whether biologically or textually (P.O.L.).

Zoo (2006)

Like Marie Darrieussecq’s other works, Zoo is one of humor, suspense, and a sense of the fantastic. Written over the last 20 years, this is a collection of fifteen short stories, each of which can truly function independently without coming across as a mere unfinished fragment of a novel. In these stories one can find recurring themes of science, dreams, and animals, as well as some amazing human beings (Literary Fiction).
The 2006 release of Zoo puts it exactly ten years after the 1996 release of Darrieussecq’s first novel, Pig Tales. Since then, she has enjoyed much success, and Zoo was considered one of the year’s most eagerly awaited pieces of French literature (Literary Fiction).

Tom est mort [Tom is Dead] (2007)

Again tackling one of the most horrifying aspects of human existence, Marie Darrieussecq urges her readers to appreciate the complete pain of loss in her 2007 novel Tom est mort.
Ten years after the death of her son, the main character suffers still. Without knowing at first exactly how Tom died, we follow the story of the aftermath as one woman struggles with grief and possibly insanity in the wake of her child’s death. Darrieussecq has a point: astute readers will note that dead children have haunted Darrieussecq’s books since the beginning, and Tom est mort is no exception.
Whether through personal experience or sheer creativity, Darrieussecq puts the reader in the position of an emotionally destroyed mother, is a powerful move as we are forced to consider the silence that “descends in [the mother’s] veins and paralyzed the muscles of [her] cheeks” (P.O.L.).

村上 春樹

Crónica del pájaro que da cuerda al mundo (ねじまき鳥クロニクル Nejimaki-dori Kuronikuru) es una novela del escritor japonés Haruki Murakami publicada el 1994 en Japón en su versión original en japonés.

Trama argumental

La novela cuenta la historia de Tooru Okada quien después de dejar voluntariamente el bufete de abogados donde trabajaba, y después de que el gato que cuida junto con su esposa de nombre Kumiko (llamado Noboru Wataya, igual que su cuñado) se haya escapado de casa. A partir de entonces recibe una llamada que marcaría el comienzo de situaciones cada vez más extrañas, relacionándose con personajes extravagantes, lo que provoca una sensación de realidad y fantasía difícilmente dilucidada , rasgo que caracteriza la obra del autor. Como por ejemplo al introducirse el protagonista (Tooru Okada) en la profundidad de un pozo de una casa abandonada, donde existe una estatua de un pájaro de piedra mirando hacia el cielo con las alas extendidas o aquellas situaciones soñadas que se fugarían a la realidad. Kumiko desaparece una mañana, sin rastro alguno, sin embargo, Tooru Okada no se muestra convencido de las razones que más tarde Kumiko le haría llegar a través de su hermano Noboru Wataya y posteriormente por una carta contundente de la existencia de otro hombre. Tooru Okada percibe un mensaje oculto de Kumiko, donde ella le pide ser salvada, no de una forma física, sino mental.
La novela se divide en dos partes imaginarias, la primera donde todos aquellos sucesos que vendrían a futuro son manifestados, pero no son asimilados por Tooru Okada, ya que siempre ha sido una persona escéptica. La segunda parte comienza con la salida de una mancha azul en el rostro de Tooru Okada, representando como la comunicación entre la otra dimensión y esta, siendo su punto de partida para creer en «otra dimensión».
Tooru Okada conoce personajes sumamente extraños y que tienen gran influencia en su vida, como May Kasahara, Creta Kanoo y Malta Kanoo. Éstas últimas con personalidades extrañas e incluso paranormales, teniendo la posibilidad de llegar a su mente e interpretar cosas a futuro.
La novela acuña su nombre ya que el matrimonio Okada bautiza a un pájaro (nunca visto a sus ojos) que se posa a los alrededores por las mañanas haciendo un ric-ric, tal como si esto accionara el sistema que mantiene al mundo funcionando.
La novela tiene una longitud un tanto extensa (unas 900 páginas), que permite al lector ir adentrándose en un mundo donde la realidad se encuentra con la fantasía, siendo ésta parte de la misma. Es considerada por el autor su obra más acabada.

Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹 Murakami Haruki?, born January 12, 1949) is a contemporary Japanese writer. Murakami has been translated into 50 languages[1] and his best-selling books have sold millions[2] of copies.
His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including theWorld Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his oeuvre received among others the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). Murakami's most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982),Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-1995), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–2010). He has also translated a number of English works into Japanese, from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger.
Murakami's fiction, often criticized by Japan's literary establishment as un-Japanese, was influenced by Western writers from Chandlerto Vonnegut by way of Brautigan. It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the "recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness"[3] he weaves into his narratives. He is also considered an important figure in postmodern literature. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements.[4]

Murakami began writing fiction when he was 29.[18] "Before that", he said, "I didn't write anything. I was just one of those ordinary people. I was running a jazz club, and I didn't create anything at all."[19] He was inspired to write his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing (1979), while watching a baseball game.[20] In 1978, Murakami was in Jingu Stadium watching a game between the Yakult Swallows and the Hiroshima Carp when Dave Hilton, an American, came to bat. According to an oft-repeated story, in the instant that Hilton hit a double, Murakami suddenly realized that he could write a novel.[21] He went home and began writing that night. Murakami worked on Hear the Wind Sing for several months in very brief stretches after working days at the bar. He completed the novel and sent it to the only literary contest that would accept a work of that length, winning first prize.
Murakami's initial success with Hear the Wind Sing encouraged him to continue writing. A year later, he published a sequel, Pinball, 1973. In 1982, he published A Wild Sheep Chase, a critical success. Hear the Wind Sing, Pinball, 1973, and A Wild Sheep Chase form the Trilogy of the Rat (a sequel, Dance, Dance, Dance, was written later but is not considered part of the series), centered on the same unnamed narrator and his friend, "the Rat." The first two novels are unpublished in English translation outside of Japan, where an English edition, translated by Alfred Birnbaum with extensive notes, was published by Kodansha as part of a series intended for Japanese students of English. Murakami considers his first two novels to be "weak",[citation needed] and has not been eager to have them translated into English.[22] A Wild Sheep Chase, he says, was "the first book where I could feel a kind of sensation, the joy of telling a story. When you read a good story, you just keep reading. When I write a good story, I just keep writing."
After receiving the Gunzo Award for his 1979 literary work Hear the Wind Sing, Murakami did not aspire to meet other writers. Aside from Princeton’s Mary Morris who he briefly mentions in his memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, alongside Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison, Murakami was never a part of a community of writers, his reason being that he was a loner and was never fond of groups, schools, and literary circles. When working on a book, Murakami states that he relies on his wife, who is always his first reader. While he never acquainted himself with many writers, Murakami enjoyed the works of Ryu Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto.
Haruki Murakami is a fan of crime novels. During his high school days while living in Kobe, he would buy paperbacks from second hand book stores and learned to read English. The first book that he read in English was The Name is Archer, written by Ross Macdonald in 1955. Other writers he was interested in included Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Murakami also has a passion for listening to music, especially classical and jazz. When he was around the age of 14 he began to develop an interest in jazz. He would later open the Peter Cat, a coffeehouse and jazz bar. Murakami has said that music, like writing, is a mental journey. At one time he aspired to be a musician, but because he could not play instruments well he decided to become a writer instead.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Uploaded on Jan 26, 2011

Arvoles - canción sefardí antigua en Ladino - Judeo español, español judío.

Canta: Yehoram Gaon.


Arvoles yoran por luvias
Y montanyas por aires
Ansi yoran los mis ojos
por ti, querida 'mante.

Toreno y digo, que va a ser de mi
en tierras ajenas yo me vo morir.

Blanca sos, blanca vistes,
Blanca la tu figura.
Blancas flores caen de ti,
de la tu hermozura.

Otra ortografía:

Árboles lloran por lluvias
y montañas por aires
así lloran los mis ojos por ti
querida amante

Toreno y digo, que va a ser de mí
en tierras ajenas yo me voy a morir.

The Israel Lobby

Uploaded on Jan 30, 2012

The Israel lobby (at times called the Zionist lobby or sometimes the Jewish lobby) is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism, Israel or the specific policies of its government.[1] The lobby consists of Jewish-American secular and religious groups. The most famous and visible group within the Israel lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and other groups within the Israel lobby influence American public policy in a variety of ways such as through education, responding to criticism of Israel, and putting forth arguments in support of Israel. The Israel lobby is known for its success in encouraging U.S. lawmakers to support the policies that it supports, such as vetoing the recognition of Palestine and the right for Israel to exist.

מַמְלֶכֶת יְהוּדָה

The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew: מַמְלֶכֶת יְהוּדָה‎, Mamlekhet Yehuda) was a state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age, after the split of the United Monarchy. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northernKingdom of Israel.
Judah emerged as a state probably no earlier than the 9th century BCE, although there are differences of opinion as to the dating.[1][2] In the 7th century BCE, Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom and a city with a population many times greater than before and would dominate the state and its neighbours, probably as the result of a cooperative arrangement with theAssyrians, who wished to establish Judah as a pro-Assyrian vassal state controlling the valuable olive industry.[3] Judah prospered under Assyrian vassalage, (despite Hezekiah's revolt against the Assyrian king Sennacherib[4]), but in 605 the Assyrian Empire was defeated, and the ensuing competition between the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt and the Neo-Babylonian Empire for control of theEastern Mediterranean led to the destruction of the kingdom in a series of campaigns between 597 and 582, the deportation of the elite of the community, and the incorporation of Judah into a province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.
Significant academic debate exists around the character of the Kingdom of Judah. Little archaeological evidence of an extensive, powerful Kingdom of Judah before the late 8th century BCE has been found; Nimrud Tablet K.3751, dated c.733 BCE, is the earliest known record of the name Judah (written in Assyrian cuneiform as Yaudaya or KUR.ia-ú-da-a-a).
Archaeologists of the minimalist school doubt the extent of the Kingdom of Judah as depicted in the Bible. Around 1990–2010, an important group of archaeologists and biblical scholars formed the view that the actual Kingdom of Judah bore little resemblance to the biblical portrait of a powerful monarchy. These scholars say the kingdom was no more than a small tribal entity. [6]
However, others maintain that recent findings support the biblical story. Yosef Garfinkel has written in a preliminary report published by the Israeli Antiquities Authority that finds at the Khirbet Qeiyafa site support the notion that an urban society already existed in Judah in the late 11th century BCE.[7] Other archaeologists say that the identification of Khirbet Qeiyafa as a Jewish settlement is uncertain.[8][9]

Biblical narrative

According to the Bible, the kingdom of Judah resulted from the break-up of the United kingdom of Israel(1020 to about 930 BCE) after the northern tribes refused to accept Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, as their king. At first, only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David, but soon after the tribe of Benjamin joined Judah. The two kingdoms, Judah in the south and Israel in the north, co-existed uneasily after the split, until the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians in c.722/721 left Judah as the sole remaining kingdom.
The major theme of the Hebrew Bible's narrative is the loyalty of Judah, and especially its kings, toYahweh, which it states is the God of Israel. Accordingly, all the kings of Israel and almost all the kings of Judah were "bad", which in terms of Biblical narrative means that they failed to enforce worship of Yahweh alone. Of the "good" kings, Hezekiah (727–698 BCE) is noted for his efforts at stamping out idolatry (in this case, the worship of Baal and Asherah, among other traditional Near Eastern divinities),[10] but his successors, Manasseh of Judah(698–642 BCE) and Amon (642–640 BCE), revived idolatry, drawing down on the kingdom the anger of Yahweh. King Josiah (640–609 BCE) returned to the worship of Yahweh alone, but his efforts were too late and Israel's unfaithfulness caused God to permit the kingdom's destruction by the Babylonians in c.587/586 BCE.
After Hezekiah became sole ruler in c. 715 BC, he formed alliances with Ashkelon and Egypt, and made a stand against Assyria by refusing to pay tribute.[20] (Isaiah 30-31; 36:6-9) In response, Sennacherib of Assyria attacked the fortified cities of Judah. (2 Kings 18:13) Hezekiah paid three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold to Assyria — requiring him to empty the temple and royal treasury of silver and strip the gold from the doorposts of Solomon's Temple. (2 Kings 18:14-16)[20] However, Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem[21](2 Kings 18:17) in 701 BC, though the city was never taken.
During the long reign of Manasseh (c. 687/686 - 643/642 BC),[22] Judah was a vassal of Assyrian rulers - Sennacherib and his successors,Esarhaddon[23] and Ashurbanipal after 669 BC. Manasseh is listed as being required to provide materials for Esarhaddon's building projects, and as one of a number of vassals who assisted Ashurbanipal's campaign against Egypt.[23]
When Josiah became king of Judah in c. 641/640 BC,[22] the international situation was in flux. To the east, the Assyrian Empire was beginning to disintegrate, the Babylonian Empire had not yet risen to replace it, and Egypt to the west was still recovering from Assyrian rule. In this power vacuum, Judah was able to govern itself for the time being without foreign intervention. However, in the spring of 609 BC,Pharaoh Necho II personally led a sizable army up to the Euphrates to aid the Assyrians.[24] Taking the coast route Via Maris into Syria at the head of a large army, Necho passed the low tracts of Philistia and Sharon. However, the passage over the ridge of hills which shuts in on the south of the great Jezreel Valley was blocked by the Judean army led by Josiah, who may have considered that the Assyrians and Egyptians were weakened by the death of the pharaoh Psamtik I only a year earlier (610 BC).[24] Presumably in an attempt to help the Babylonians, Josiah attempted to block the advance at Megiddo, where a fierce battle was fought and where Josiah was killed.[25] Necho then joined forces with the Assyrian Ashur-uballit II and together they crossed the Euphrates and lay siege to Harran. The combined forces failed to capture the city, and Necho retreated back to northern Syria. The event also marked the disintegration of the Assyrian Empire.
On his return march to Egypt in 608 BC, Necho found that Jehoahaz had been selected to succeed his father, Josiah.[26] Necho deposed Jehoahaz, who had been king for only three months, and replaced him with his older brother, Jehoiakim. Necho imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver (about 334 tons or about 3.4 metric tons) and a talent of gold (about 34 kilograms (75 lb)). Necho then took Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner,[27] never to return.
Jehoiakim ruled originally as a vassal of the Egyptians, paying a heavy tribute. However, when the Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians at Carchemish in 605 BC, Jehoiakim changed allegiances, paying tribute to Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. In 601 BC, in the fourth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar unsuccessfully attempted to invade Egypt and was repulsed with heavy losses. This failure led to numerous rebellions among the states of the Levant which owed allegiance to Babylon. Jehoiakim also stopped paying tribute to Nebuchadnezzar[28] and took a pro-Egyptian position. Nebuchadnezzar soon dealt with these rebellions. According to the Babylonian Chronicles, after invading "the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine)"[29][30] in 599 BC, he lay siege to Jerusalem. Jehoiakim died in 598 BC[31] during the siege, and was succeeded by his son Jeconiah at an age of either eight or eighteen.[32] The city fell about three months later,[33][34] on 2 Adar (March 16) 597 BC. Nebuchadnezzar pillaged both Jerusalem and the Temple, carting all his spoils to Babylon. Jeconiah and his court and other prominent citizens and craftsmen, along with a sizable portion of the Jewish population of Judah, numbering about 10,000[35] were deported from the land and dispersed throughout the Babylonian Empire. (2 Kings 24:14) Among them was Ezekiel. Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah, Jehoiakim's brother, king of the reduced kingdom, who was made a tributary of Babylon.

Destruction and dispersion

Despite the strong remonstrances of Jeremiah and others, Zedekiah revolted against Nebuchadnezzar, ceasing to pay tribute to him and entered into an alliance with PharaohHophra of Egypt. In 589 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar II returned to Judah and again besieged Jerusalem. During this period, many Jews fled to surrounding Moab, Ammon, Edom and other countries to seek refuge.[36] The city fell after an eighteen month siege and Nebuchadnezzar again pillaged both Jerusalem and the Temple,[37] after which he destroyed them both.[38] After killing all of Zedekiah's sons, Nebuchadnezzar took Zedekiah to Babylon,[39] putting an end to the independent Kingdom of Judah. In addition to those killed during the siege, over time, some 4,600 Jews were deported after the fall of Judah.[40] By 586 BCE much of Judah was devastated, and the former kingdom suffered a steep decline of both economy and population.[41]
Jerusalem apparently remained uninhabited for much of the 6th century,[41] and the centre of gravity shifted to Benjamin, the relatively unscathed northern section of the kingdom, where the town of Mizpah became the capital of the new Babylonian province of Yehud medinata for the remnant of the Jewish population in a part of the former kingdom.[42] This was standard Babylonian practice: when the Philistine city of Ashkalon was conquered in 604 BCE, the political, religious and economic elite (but not the bulk of the population) was banished and the administrative centre shifted to a new location.[43]
Gedaliah was appointed governor of the Yehud province, supported by a Chaldean guard. The administrative centre of the province was Mizpah,[44] and not Jerusalem. On hearing of the appointment, the Jews that had taken refuge in surrounding countries returned to Judah. (Jeremiah 40:11-12) However, before long Gedaliah was assassinated by a member of the royal house, and the Chaldean soldiers killed. The population that was left in the land and those that had returned fled to Egypt fearing a Babylonian reprisal, under the leadership of Johanan, son of Kareah, ignoring the urging of the prophet Jeremiah against the move. (2 Kings 25:26, Jeremiah 43:5-7) In Egypt, the refugees settled inMigdol, Tahpanhes, Noph, and Pathros, (Jeremiah 44:1) and Jeremiah went with them as moral guardian.
The numbers that were deported to Babylon and those who made their way to Egypt and the remnant that remained in the land and in surrounding countries is subject to academic debate. The Book of Jeremiah reports that a total of 4,600 were exiled to Babylon.[40] The Books of Kings suggest that it was ten thousand, and then eight thousand.

Re-establishment under Persian rule

In 539 BCE the Persians conquered Babylon and allowed the exiled Jews to return to Yehud and rebuild the Temple, which was completed in the sixth year of Darius (515 BCE) (Ezra 6:15) under Zerubbabel, the grandson of the second to last king of Judah, Jehoiachin. Yehud province was a peaceful part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire until the fall of the Empire in c. 333 BCE to Alexander the Great.