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Babylon reached the apex of its power and prestige during the Kassite Dynasty, which also happened to be one of the members of the unofficial “Great Powers” club of the ancient Near Eastern kingdoms. But almost as quickly as Babylon rose to prominence under the Kassites, it collapsed under successive waves of invaders. The Aramaeans, Elamites, and Assyrians all took part in ravaging Babylon and carrying away it precious statue of the god Marduk on more than one occasion, which vanquished the Kassites from the region and relegated Babylon to hundreds of years of Assyrian rule.
[[File: BurnaburiashII_Tut.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left|Cuneiform Letter of Kassite Babylonian King Burnaburiash II (ruled ca. 1359-1333 BC) to Egyptian King Akhenaten (reigned ca. 1364-1347 BC)]]
At first glance it would appear that ancient Mesopotamian Civilization shared many similarities with ancient Egyptian Civilization, and although the two primary civilizations did have some affinities, a marked difference was that while Egypt was for the most part ethnically homogenous, Mesopotamia was comprised of many different ethnic groups. Little is known about the ethnic origins of the Kassite people before they came to Babylon. It is believed that they probably came to the region of Babylonia in Mesopotamia as mercenaries and agricultural workers before taking advantage of the chaos after the collapse of the First Dynasty of Babylon. <ref> Kuhrt, Amélie. <i> The Ancient Near East: c. 3000-330 BC.</i> (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 333 </ref> Even the Kassites’ early rule in Babylon is clouded in mystery because there are a lack of extant written sources that document the events and the limitations of modern archaeology in the area has been unable to help further. From what is known, the Kassites took control of the city of Babylon and the region of Babylonia sometime in the early sixteenth century BC, with their first king, Agum II, bringing the sacred statue of the city’s god Marduk back from its Hittite captivity around the year 1570 BC. <ref> Brinkman, J.A. “Foreign Relations of Babylonia from 1600 to 625 B.C.: The Documentary Evidence.” <i>American Journal of Archaeology</i> 76 (1972) p. 272</ref> Once the Kassites had established themselves as rulers of Babylon, though, apart from keeping their distinct names and their language in daily use, they became true Babylonians, worshipping Marduk and the other deities of the city and keeping the proper cultic rituals. <ref>Kuhrt, p. 333</ref>