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Assyria to be the region located in the old Near east which, under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, reached from Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) through Asia minor (modern Turkey) and also down with Egypt. The empire began modestly at the city of Ashur (known together Subartu to the Sumerians), situated in Mesopotamia north-east that Babylon, where sellers who traded in Anatolia came to be increasingly wealthy and that affluence permitted for the growth and also prosperity the the city.

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According come one interpretation of passages in the biblical publication of Genesis, Ashur was established by a guy named Ashur boy of Shem, son of Noah, after ~ the good Flood, who then go on to found the other necessary Assyrian cities. A an ext likely account is that the city was called Ashur after the divine being of that name at some point in the third millennium BCE; the very same god"s surname is the beginning for "Assyria". The biblical variation of the origin of Ashur shows up later in the historic record (Genesis is dated to c. 1450 BCE in ~ the earliest, fifth century BCE latest) and seems to have been adopted by the Assyrians after they had embraced Christianity. This version, therefore, is assumed to be a re-interpretation of your early background more in maintaining with your newly-adopted belief system the Assyrian Christians.


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The Assyrians were a Semitic civilization who originally spoke and wrote Akkadian before the easier to usage Aramaic language became more popular. Chroniclers have divided the rise and fall of the Assyrian empire into 3 periods: The Old Kingdom, The middle Empire, and The Late realm (also known as the Neo-Assyrian Empire), although it must be noted that Assyrian background continued on past that point; there room still Assyrians living in the regions of Iran and also northern Iraq, and elsewhere, in the existing day. The Assyrian realm is thought about the best of the Mesopotamian empires as result of its expanse and the breakthrough of the bureaucracy and military tactics which enabled it to grow and flourish.


The trade swarm of Karum Kanesh was among the most profitable centers for profession in the old Near East.

The Old Kingdom

Although the city that Ashur dated the 3rd millennium BCE, the extant damages of that city day to 1900 BCE which is now taken into consideration the date the city to be founded. According to early inscriptions, the first king was Tudiya, and those who adhered to him were well-known as “kings who lived in tents” suggesting a pastoral, rather than urban, community.


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Ashur to be certainly an important center of commerce even at this time, however, even though that is precise form and framework is unclear. The king Erishum I built the holy place of Ashur top top the site in c. 1900/1905 BCE, and also this has come to be the accepted date for the founding of an yes, really city on the website although, obviously, some type of city must have existed there prior to that date. The chronicler Wolfram von Soden writes,

Because the a dearth of sources, very tiny is recognized of Assyria in the third millennium…Assyria walk belong come the realm of Akkad in ~ times, and to the third Dynasty that Ur. Our main sources because that this duration are the many thousand Assyrian letters and documents native the trade colonies in Cappadocia, foremost of which to be Kanesh (modern Kultepe). (49-50)

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Map the Mesopotamia, 2000-1600 BCE

The trade colony of Karum Kanesh (the port of Kanesh) was among the most profitable centers for trade in the ancient Middle East and definitely the most necessary for the city the Ashur. Vendors from Ashur traveled to Kanesh, set up businesses, and also then, after ~ placing trusted employees (usually family members) in charge, returned to Ashur and also supervised their organization dealings indigenous there. The historian Paul Kriwaczek notes:


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For several generations the trading residences of Karum Kanesh flourished, and some became extremely wealthy – old millionaires. Yet not all business was retained within the family. Ashur had actually a advanced banking system and also some the the resources that financed the Anatolian profession came from long-term investments made by live independence speculators in return for a contractually mentioned proportion of the profits. Over there is not much around today"s commodity industries that one old Assyrian would not quickly recognize. (214-215)

The increase of Ashur

The wealth created from profession in Karum Kanesh listed the human being of Ashur with the stability and also security essential for the growth of the city and also so laid the structure for the climb of the empire. Trade v Anatolia to be equally essential in giving the Assyrians v raw products from which they to be able come perfect the handmade of ironworking. The iron weapons of the Assyrian army would prove a decisive benefit in the campaigns which would dominate the entire region of the middle East. Before that can happen, however, the political landscape essential to change.


The human being known as the Hurrians and the Hatti held prominence in the an ar of Anatolia and also Ashur, to the phibìc in Mesopotamia, remained in the shadow of these an ext powerful civilizations. In enhancement to the Hatti, there to be the civilization known as the Amorites that were stability settling in the area and also acquiring more land and resources. The Assyrian king Shamashi Adad i (1813-1791 BCE) drove the Amorites out and secured the borders of Assyria, claiming Ashur together the resources of his kingdom. The Hatti continued to remain leading in the region until they to be invaded and assimilated through the Hittites in c. 1700.


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Long before that time, however, they end to prove as major a problem as the city to the southwest which was slowly gaining power: Babylon. The Amorites were a growing power in Babylon because that at the very least 100 years when the Amorite king named Sin Muballit took the throne, and, c. 1792 BCE, his kid King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE) ascended come rule and also subjugated the soil of the Assyrians. The is about this same time that trade between Ashur and Karum Kanesh ended, together Babylon currently rose to prestige in the an ar and took manage of trade with Assyria.

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Ancient Syro-Mesopotamia ca. 1764 BCE

Soon after ~ Hammurabi"s death in 1750 BCE, the Babylonian empire fell apart. Assyria again attempted to assert control over the region surrounding Ashur but it seems as despite the kings of this duration were not up to the task. Civil war damaged out in the region, and also stability was not regained till the regime of the Assyrian king Adasi (c. 1726-1691 BCE). Adasi was able to secure the an ar and his successors ongoing his policies yet were can not or unwilling to engage in expansion of the kingdom.

The middle Empire

The substantial Kingdom of Mitanni climbed from the area of east Anatolia and, by the 14th century BCE, held power in the an ar of Mesopotamia; Assyria dropped under your control. Invasions by the Hittites under King Suppiluliuma ns (r. 1344-1322 BCE) damaged Mitanni power and replaced the kings of Mitanni v Hittite rulers at the same time that the Assyrian king Eriba Adad i was able to get influence in ~ the Mitanni (now mostly Hittite) court. The Assyrians now saw an opportunity to assert their own autonomy and also began to expand their kingdom exterior from Ashur come the areas previously held by the Mitanni.


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The Hittites struck earlier and were able to organize the Assyrians in ~ bay till the king Ashur-Uballit i (c. 1353-1318 BCE) beat the staying Mitanni forces under the Hittite commanders and took significant portions the the region. That was prospered by two monarchs who preserved what had actually been won, but no further growth was completed until the coming of King Adad Nirari i (c. 1307-1275 BCE) who expanded the Assyrian realm to the north and south, driving out the Hittites and also conquering their major strongholds.


Adad Nirari i is the very first Assyrian king about whom anything is recognized with certainty.

Adad Nirari i is the first Assyrian king around whom anything is well-known with certainty due to the fact that he left engravings of his accomplishments which have survived mainly intact. Further, letters between the Assyrian king and also the Hittite rulers have likewise survived and also make it clean that, initially, the Assyrian rulers were no taken seriously by those the other countries in the region until they confirmed themselves too an effective to resist. The chronicler Will Durant comment on the increase of the Assyrian Empire:

If we have to admit the imperial principle – the it is good, because that the sake of dispersing law, security, commerce and also peace, that many states have to be brought, by persuasion or force, under the government of one federal government – then us should have to concede to Assyria the difference of having developed in west Asia a larger measure and also area of order and also prosperity 보다 that an ar of the planet had ever, come our knowledge, delighted in before. (270)

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Stone Foundation paper of King Adad-Nirari I
Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA)

The Assyrian Deportation Policy

Adad Nirari I totally conquered the Mitanni and also began what would end up being standard plan under the Assyrian Empire: the deportation of huge segments the the population. With Mitanni under Assyrian control, Adad Nirari I decided the best means to prevent any kind of future uprising was to remove the former occupants that the land and replace them with Assyrians. This have to not it is in understood, however, as a cruel therapy of captives. Creating on this, the historian Karen Radner states:


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The deportees, your labour and their abilities to be extremely an important to the Assyrian state, and their relocation was very closely planned and organised. We should not imagine treks that destitute fugitives that were easy prey because that famine and also disease: the deportees were meant to travel as comfortably and safely as possible in bespeak to with their location in an excellent physical shape. Whenever deportations are portrayed in Assyrian royal art, men, women and also children are shown travelling in groups, frequently riding on vehicles or animals and also never in bonds. There is no factor to doubt this depictions as Assyrian narrative art does not otherwise shy far from the graphic display of too much violence. (1)

Deportees were closely chosen for your abilities and sent to regions which could make the many of your talents. No everyone in the overcame populace was preferred for deportation and also families were never ever separated. Those segments of the population that had proactively resisted the Assyrian existence were eliminated or sold into slavery, but the general populace became took in into the cultivation empire and they were believed of as Assyrians. The historian Gwendolyn Leick to write of Adad Nirari i that

the prosperity and also stability the his reign permitted him to communicate in ambitious structure projects, structure city walls and canals and restoring temples. (3)

He also noted a structure for realm upon i beg your pardon his followers would build.

Assyrian conquest of Mitanni & the Hittites

His son and follower Shalmaneser ns completed the devastation of the Mitanni and took in their culture. Shalmaneser I continued his father"s policies, including the relocation the populations, however his son, Tukulti-Ninurta i (c. 1244-1208 BCE), went even further. Follow to Leick, Tukulti-Ninurta I

...was one of the most famous Assyrian soldier queens who campaigned incessantly to maintain Assyrian possessions and also influence. The reacted v spectacular cruelty to any sign the revolt. (177)

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Stela of Shalmaneser I
Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA)

He to be also an extremely interested in acquiring and also preserving the knowledge and also cultures of the individuals he conquered and also developed a an ext sophisticated method of picking which sort of individual, or community, would be relocated and to which particular location. Scribes and also scholars, for example, were chosen carefully and also sent to city centers where they could assist catalogue written works and help with the administration of the empire. A literate man, he created the epic poem chronicling his victory over the Kassite king of Babylon and subjugation of that city and the areas under the influence and also wrote an additional on his win over the Elamites.

He beat the Hittites in ~ the battle of Nihriya in c. 1245 BCE which successfully ended Hittite power in the an ar and began the decline of their civilization. Once Babylon made attacks into Assyrian territory, Tukulti-Ninurta i punished the city severely through sacking it, plundering the spiritual temples, and carrying the king and also a part of the populace earlier to Assur together slaves. Through his plundered wealth, that renovated his grand royal residence in the city he had built throughout from Assur, i m sorry he called Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, come which he seems to have retreated once the birds of well-known opinion turned versus him.

His desecration that the holy places of Babylon was seen as an offense against the gods (as the Assyrians and also Babylonians shared plenty of of the very same deities) and also his sons and also court public official rebelled against him for placing his hand on the products of the gods. He was assassinated in his palace, more than likely by one of his sons, Ashur-Nadin-Apli, who then take it the throne.

Tiglath Pileser ns & Revitalization

Following the fatality of Tukulti-Ninurta I, the Assyrian empire fell right into a duration of stasis in which the neither expanded nor declined. If the totality of the Near eastern fell into a "dark age" following the so-called Bronze period Collapse the c. 1200 BCE, Ashur and also its empire remained fairly intact. Unlike other human beings in the an ar which experienced a finish collapse, the Assyrians it seems to be ~ to have actually experienced other closer to simply a lose of front momentum. The empire definitely cannot be said to have actually "stagnated", due to the fact that the culture, including the emphasis on military campaign and also the worth of conquest, continued; however, there was no far-reaching expansion of the empire and civilization as it was under Tukulti-Ninurta I.

This all adjusted with the rise of Tiglath Pileser i to the throne (reigned c. 1115-1076 BCE). According to Leick:

He was among the most crucial Assyrian monarchs of this period, largely because of his wide-ranging armed forces campaigns, his enthusiasm for building projects, and also his attention in cuneiform tablet collections. The campaigned extensively in Anatolia, whereby he subjugated numerous peoples, and ventured as far as the Mediterranean Sea. In the capital city, Assur, he developed a brand-new palace and established a library, i m sorry held numerous tablets on every kinds of scholarly subjects. He additionally issued a legal decree, the so-called center Assyrian Laws, and also wrote the very first royal annals. That was additionally one of the very first Assyrian emperors to the supervisory board parks and also gardens stocked through foreign and also native trees and also plants. (171)

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In the 11th century BCE, Tiglath Pileser i revitalized the economy and also the military through his campaigns, adding more resources and also skilled populations to the Assyrian Empire. Literacy and also the arts flourished, and the preservation initiative the king took concerning cuneiform tablets would serve as the model for the later ruler, Ashurbanipal"s, well known library at Nineveh. Upon Tiglath Pileser I"s death, his son, Asharid-apal-ekur, take it the throne and reigned for 2 years throughout which time he ongoing his father"s policies without alteration. He was succeeded by his brother Ashur-bel-Kala who originally reigned properly until tested by a usurper that threw the empire into polite war.

Although the rebellion was crushed and also the attendees executed, the turmoil allowed details regions that had actually been tightly hosted by Assyria to break complimentary and amongst these was the area known as Eber Nari (modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel), which had actually been an especially important to the empire since of the well-established seaports along the coast. The Aramaeans now hosted Eber Nari and also began making incursions from there into the rest of the empire. In ~ this exact same time, the Amorites the Babylon and also the city the Mari asserted themselves and also tried to break the hold of the empire.

The queens who followed Ashur-bel-Kala (among them, Shalmaneser II and Tiglath Pileser II) regulated to preserve the core of the empire about Ashur yet were unsuccessful in re-taking Eber Nari or driving the Aramaeans and also Amorites fully from the borders. The realm steadily shrank with repeated strikes from outside and rebellions from within and, with no king solid enough come revitalize the military, Assyria again gotten in a period of stasis in i m sorry they hosted what they might of the realm together yet could carry out nothing else.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire

The Late realm (also recognized as the Neo-Assyrian Empire) is the one most familiar to student of ancient background as the is the duration of the largest growth of the empire. It is also the era which many decisively offers the Assyrian realm the call it has actually for ruthlessness and also cruelty. The chronicler Kriwaczek writes:

Assyria need to surely have amongst the worst push notices of any kind of state in history. Babylon may be a byname for corruption, decadence and also sin but the Assyrians and their well known rulers, through terrifying names prefer Shalmaneser, Tiglath-Pileser, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and also Ashurbanipal, price in the popular creative thinking just listed below Adolf Hitler and also Genghis cannes for cruelty, violence, and also sheer murderous savagery. (208)

This call is further detailed by the historian Simon Anglim and also others. Anglim writes:

While chroniclers tend come shy far from analogies, that is tempting to see the Assyrian Empire, which overcame the Middle eastern from 900-612 BC, as a historical forebear the Nazi Germany: an aggressive, murderously vindictive regime supported by a magnificent and successful war machine. Just like the German military of human being War II, the Assyrian army was the most technologically and also doctrinally progressed of that day and was a model for others because that generations afterwards. The Assyrians were the very first to make extensive use of iron weaponry not just were stole weapons premium to bronze, but could it is in mass-produced, permitting the equipping that very huge armies indeed. (12)

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While the call for decisive, ruthless, army tactics is understandable, the comparison with the Nazi regimen is less so. Uneven the Nazis, the Assyrians cure the conquered civilization they relocated fine (as currently addressed above) and considered them Assyrians when they had actually submitted to main authority. There to be no principle of a "master race" in Assyrian policies; anyone was considered an asset to the realm whether they to be born Assyrian or were assimilated right into the culture. Kriwaczek notes, "In truth, Assyrian war was no much more savage 보다 that that other modern-day states. Nor, indeed, were the Assyrians significantly crueler than the Romans, that made a suggest of lining their roads with countless victims of crucifixion dice in agony" (209). The only fair comparison in between Germany in WWII and also the Assyrians, then, is the efficiency of the military and the dimension of the army, and also this very same comparison could be make with old Rome.


These massive militaries still place in the future, however, when the first king that the Neo-Assyrian Empire concerned power in the 10th century BCE. The rise of the king Adad Nirari II (c. 912-891 BCE) brought the sort of revival Assyria needed. Adad Nirari II reconquered the floor which had been lost, consisting of Eber Nari, and also secured the borders.

The defeated Aramaeans were executed or deported to areas within the heartland the Assyria. He likewise conquered Babylon but, learning from the mistake of the past, refused to plunder the city and, instead, gotten in into a peace covenant with the king in which lock married every other"s daughters and also pledged shared loyalty. Their treaty would certainly secure Babylon together a an effective ally, rather of a perennial problem, because that the following 80 years.

Military expansion & the brand-new View of the God

The kings who adhered to Adad Nirari II continued the same policies and military expansion. Tukulti Ninurta II (891-884 BCE) broadened the empire to the north and also gained further territory toward the southern in Anatolia, if Ashurnasirpal II (884-859 BCE) consolidated preeminence in the Levant and extended Assyrian preeminence through Canaan. Their most common technique of conquest was v siege war which would start with a brutal assault on the city. Anglim writes:

More than anything else, the Assyrian army excelled in ~ siege warfare, and also was probably the very first force to carry a different corps the engineers…Assault was their major tactic against the heavily fortified cities the the close to East. They developed a an excellent variety of approaches for breaching opponent walls: sappers to be employed to undermine walls or to irradiate fires underneath wooden gates, and also ramps were thrown up to enable men to walk over the ramparts or to attempt a breach on the upper section of wall where it was the the very least thick. Cell phone ladders permitted attackers to overcome moats and also quickly attack any allude in defences. These operations were covered by masses the archers, that were the core of the infantry. But the pride of the Assyrian siege train were their engines. These were multistoried wood towers with four wheels and also a turret on top and also one, or at time two, damaging rams in ~ the base. (186)

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Advancements in military modern technology were not the only, or also the primary, contribution of the Assyrians as, throughout this very same time, they made significant progress in medicine, structure on the structure of the Sumerians and also drawing on the knowledge and also talents the those who had been conquered and assimilated. Ashurnasirpal II make the an initial systematic lists of plants and animals in the empire and also brought scribes through him on project to record new finds. Institutions were created throughout the empire but were only for the sons of the wealthy and also nobility.

Women were not allowed to attend college or hold positions of authority even though, previously in Mesopotamia, women had actually enjoyed virtually equal rights. The decline in women"s civil liberties correlates come the rise of Assyrian monotheism. Together the Assyrian armies campaigned throughout the land, your god Ashur went v them but, as Ashur was previously connected with the temple of that city and had only been venerated there, a new way of imagining the god became necessary in stimulate to proceed that prayer in other locales. Kriwaczek writes:

One might pray come Ashur not only in his very own temple in his very own city, yet anywhere. Together the Assyrian empire expanded its borders, Ashur to be encountered in also the most far-off places. From faith in an omnipresent god to belief in a single god is no a long step. Because He was everywhere, people came to understand that, in some sense, local divinities were just various manifestations of the very same Ashur. (231)

This unified of vision the a supreme deity helped to more unify the areas of the empire. The various gods the the overcame peoples, and their various spiritual practices, became took in into the prayer of Ashur, who was known as the one true god who had been called various names by different human being in the past yet who now was clearly known and could be appropriately worshipped together the universal deity. Regarding this, Kriwaczek writes:

Belief in the transcendence rather than immanence that the divine had important consequences. Nature came to be desacralized, deconsecrated. Because the god were outside and above nature, mankind – follow to Mesopotamian id created in the likeness that the gods and as servant to the gods – have to be exterior and over nature too. Rather than one integral part of the herbal earth, the human being race was currently her superior and also her ruler. The new attitude was later summed up in Genesis 1:26: "And God said, Let us make male in ours image, after our likeness: and let him have preeminence over the fish that the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and also over all the earth, and also over every creeping thing that creepeth top top the earth." the is all very well because that men, clearly singled the end in the passage. But for females it poses an insurmountable difficulty. If males can delude themselves and also each other that they room outside, above, and superior come nature, ladies cannot so distance themselves, for their physiology makes them clearly and obviously part of the natural world…It is no accident that also today those religious beliefs that placed most emphasis on God"s utter transcendence and also the impossibility even to imagine His reality must relegate females to a lower rung that existence, your participation in public religious worship just grudgingly permitted, if in ~ all. (229-230)

The Assyrian culture became significantly cohesive with the growth of the realm in the 9th century BCE, the new understanding that the deity, and also the adaptation of the people from the dominated regions. Shalmaneser III (859-824 BCE) broadened the empire up with the coastline of the Mediterranean and also received tribute native the rich Phoenician cities of Tyre and also Sidon. He likewise defeated the Armenian kingdom that Urartu which had long proved a far-ranging nuisance to the Assyrians. Complying with his reign, however, the empire erupted in civil war as the king Shamshi Adad V (824-811 BCE) battled with his brothers for control. Although the rebellion was put down, growth of the realm halted after ~ Shalmaneser III.

The regent Shammuramat (also famously well-known as Semiramis who became the mythical goddess-queen the the Assyrians in later tradition) organized the throne for her young child Adad Nirari III native c. 811-806 BCE and, in the time, secured the borders of the empire and also organized successful campaigns to placed down the Medes and also other difficult populaces in the north.

When her child came the age, she was able to hand that a stable and sizeable realm which Adad Nirari III then broadened further. Adhering to his reign, however, his successors wanted to remainder on the accomplishments of others and also the empire entered another period of stagnation. This was especially detrimental to the army which languished under monarchs like Ashur Dan III and Ashur Nirari V.


Tiglath Pileser III (745-727 BCE) reorganized the army & restructured the administration of the government.

The an excellent Kings that the Neo-Assyrian Empire

In the 8th century BCE, the empire was revitalized through Tiglath Pileser III (745-727 BCE) that reorganized the military and restructured the administration of the government. According to Anglim, Tiglath Pileser III "carried out considerable reforms of the army, reasserted central control end the empire, reconquered the Mediterranean seaboard, and also even put down Babylon. He changed conscription with a manpower levy imposed on each province and likewise demanded contingents native vassal states" (14). He defeated the kingdom the Urartu, which had actually again risen to trouble Assyrian rulers, and also subjugated the an ar of Syria. Under Tiglath Pileser III"s reign, the Assyrian army became the most effective military pressure in background up until that time and also would carry out a design for future armies in organization, tactics, training, and also efficiency.

Tiglath Pileser III was complied with by Shalmaneser V (727-722 BCE) who ongoing the king"s policies, and also his successor, Sargon II (722-705 BCE) boosted upon them and expanded the realm further. Even though Sargon II"s ascendancy was contested by nobles, who declared he had seized the throne illegally, he maintained the cohesion the the empire. Complying with Tiglath Pileser III"s lead, Sargon II to be able to bring the empire to its greatest height and decisively beat Urartu in his famous campaign of 714 BCE.

After his death, that was flourished by his son Sennacherib (705-681 BCE) who campaigned widely and ruthlessly, conquering Israel, Judah, and also the Greek provinces in Anatolia. His bag of Jerusalem is thorough on the "Taylor Prism", a cuneiform block explicate Sennacherib"s military exploits i beg your pardon was found in 1830 CE by Britain"s Colonel Taylor, in i m sorry the king insurance claims to have captured 46 cities and trapped the people of Jerusalem inside the city till he overwhelmed them. His account is contested, however, through the variation of events explained in the biblical book of II Kings, chapters 18-19, wherein it is asserted that Jerusalem was conserved by magnificent intervention and Sennacherib"s military was pushed from the field. The biblical account go relate the Assyrian conquest of the region, however.

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Sennacherib"s armed forces victories boosted the riches of the empire. He moved the Assyrian funding to Nineveh and built what was recognized as “the royal residence without a Rival”. That beautified and improved ~ above the city"s initial structure, planting orchards and also gardens. The historian Christopher Scarre writes:

Sennacherib"s palace had all the usual accoutrements of a significant Assyrian residence: colossal guardian figures and also impressively carved stone reliefs (over 2,000 sculptured slabs in 71 rooms). That gardens, too, were exceptional. Current research by brother Assyriologist Stephanie Dalley has argued that these were the renowned Hanging Gardens, among the seven Wonders of the old World. Later writers put the Hanging Gardens in ~ Babylon, but extensive research has failed to find any kind of trace the them. Sennacherib"s proud account the the palace gardens he produced at Nineveh fits the of the Hanging Gardens in several far-ranging details. (231)

Ignoring the great of the past, however, and not content through his great wealth and the deluxe of the city, Sennacherib journey his army versus Babylon, sacked it, and also looted the temples. As previously in history, the looting and also destruction that the temples of Babylon was viewed as the elevation of sacrilege by the people of the an ar and also by Sennacherib"s sons that assassinated the in his royal residence at Nineveh in order come placate the wrath that the gods. Return they definitely would have been urged to murder your father because that the throne (after he determined his youngest son, Esarhaddon, as heir in 683 BCE, snubbing them) lock would have actually needed a legitimate factor to perform so; and the devastation of Babylon provided them with one.


Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) successfully overcame Egypt & created the empire"s borders as much north as the Zagros Mountains.

His kid Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) take it the throne, and one of his first projects was to rebuild Babylon. He issued an main proclamation which declared that Babylon had actually been ruined by the will certainly of the gods owing to the city"s wickedness and also lack of respect because that the divine.

Nowhere in his proclamation go it mention Sennacherib or his role in the devastation of the city yet makes clear that the gods decided Esarhaddon together the divine means for restoration: “Once throughout a vault ruler"s power there were negative omens. The city insulted that gods and also was damaged at their command. They determined me, Esarhaddon, to restore everything to that rightful place, come calm your anger, and soothe your rage.”

The realm flourished under his reign. He successfully conquered Egypt (which Sennacherib had tried and also failed to do) and established the empire"s boundaries as far north together the Zagros mountains (modern-day Iran) and as far south together Nubia (modern Sudan) v a expectancy from west to eastern of the Levant (modern-day Lebanon to Israel) through Anatolia (Turkey). His successful campaigns, and also careful maintenance of the government, detailed the security for advances in medicine, literacy, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, and also the arts. Durant writes:

In the ar of art, Assyria equaled her preceptor Babylonia and also in bas-relief exceeded her. Stimulated by the influx of wealth into Ashur, Kalakh, and also Nineveh, artists and artisans started to develop – because that nobles and also their ladies, for kings and palaces, because that priests and also temples – jewels that every description, cast metal as skilfully design and carefully wrought together on the an excellent gates at Balawat, and luxurious furniture the richly carved and costly woods strengthened v metal and also inlaid v gold, silver, bronze, or valuable stones. (278)

In order to secure the peace, Esarhaddon"s mother, Zakutu (also recognized as Naqia-Zakutu) entered into vassal treaties through the Persians and also the Medes requiring lock to submit in development to his successor. This treaty, well-known as the loyalty Treaty that Naqia-Zakutu, ensured the easy change of power when Esarhaddon passed away preparing to campaign versus the Nubians and also rule passed to the last good Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE). Ashurbanipal to be the many literate the the Assyrian rulers and also is probably finest known in the contemporary day because that the vast library he accumulated at his palace at Nineveh.

Though a good patron that the arts and culture, Ashurbanipal could be simply as ruthless as his predecessors in securing the empire and intimidating his enemies. Kriwaczek writes:

Which various other imperialist would, favor Ashurbanipal, have commissioned a sculpture for his palace with decoration reflecting him and also his mam banqueting in their garden, v the struck-off head and also severed hand the the King that Elam dangling from tree on one of two people side, choose ghastly Christmas baubles or weird fruit? (208)

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He decisively defeated the Elamites and also expanded the empire further to the east and north. Recognizing the prestige of keeping the past, the then sent envoys come every allude in the lands under his control and also had castle retrieve or copy the publications of the city or town, pass all ago to Nineveh because that the royal library.

Ashurbanipal subjugated the realm for 42 years and, in the time, campaigned successfully and also ruled efficiently. The realm had grown too large, however, and the areas were overtaxed. Further, the vastness the the Assyrian domain make it difficult to protect the borders. As an excellent in number as the military remained, there were not sufficient men to save garrisoned at every significant fort or outpost.

When Ashurbanipal died in 627 BCE, the empire started to fall apart. His followers Ashur-etli-Ilani and Sin-Shar-Ishkun to be unable to host the regions together and also regions began to break away. The ascendancy of the Assyrian empire was viewed as overly harsh by its subjects, in spite of whatever breakthroughs and luxuries gift an Assyrian citizens may have provided, and former vassal states rose in revolt.


In 612 BCE Nineveh was sacked and also burned by a coalition of Babylonians, Persians, Medes, and also Scythians, amongst others. The damage of the palace carried the flaming wall surfaces down top top the library that Ashurbanipal and, although it was much from the intention, kept the an excellent library, and also the background of the Assyrians, by baking hard and burying the clay tablet computer books. Kriwaczek writes, “Thus go Assyria"s enemies ultimately failure to achieve their aim when they razed Ashur and also Nineveh in 612 BCE, only fifteen year after Ashurbanipal"s death: the wiping the end of Assyria"s ar in history” (255). Still, the devastation of the an excellent Assyrian cities was so finish that, within two generations of the empire"s fall, no one knew wherein the cities had been. The damages of Nineveh were covered by the sands and lay buried for the following 2,000 years.

Legacy of Assyria

Thanks come the Greek chronicler Herodotus, who taken into consideration the whole of Mesopotamia "Assyria", scholars have actually long known the culture existed (as compared to the Sumerians that were unknown to scholarship until the 19th century CE). Mesopotamian scholarship to be traditionally known as Assyriology until fairly recently (though the term is certainly still in use), since the Assyrians to be so famous through the main sources of the Greek and also Roman writers.

Through the expanse of their empire, the Assyrians spread out Mesopotamian culture to the other regions that the world, i m sorry have, in turn, impacted cultures worldwide up to the existing day. Durant writes:

Through Assyria"s conquest of Babylon, she appropriation the the ancient city"s culture, and also her circulation of that society throughout her large empire; v the long captivity of the Jews, and also the good influence upon them of Babylonian life and thought; through the Persian and Greek conquests which then opened up with unmatched fullness and also freedom every the roadways of communication and trade in between Babylon and also the rising cities the Ionia, Asia Minor, and Greece – with these and many other methods the human being of the Land between the Rivers passed down into the social endowment of ours race. In the finish nothing is lost; for an excellent or evil, every occasion has effects forever. (264)

Tiglath Pileser III had actually introduced Aramaic to replace Akkadian together the lingua franca that the realm and, as Aramaic made it through as a written language, this enabled later scholar to decipher Akkadian writings and then Sumerian. The Assyrian conquest of Mesopotamia, and also the growth of the realm throughout the center East, brought Aramaic to areas as close to as Israel and also as much as greek and, in this way, Mesopotamian thought came to be infused through those cultures and also a component of their literary and social heritage.

Following the decrease and rupture of the Assyrian empire, Babylon assumed dominance in the an ar from 605-549 BCE. Babylon then fell to the Persians under Cyrus the good who started the Achaemenid realm (549-330 BCE) which fell to Alexander the good and, after his death, was component of the Seleucid Empire.

The region of Mesopotamia matching to modern Iraq, Syria, and component of Turkey to be the area currently known as Assyria and, as soon as the Seleucids were pushed out by the Parthians, the western section of the region, previously known together Eber Nari and also then Aramea, maintained the surname Syria. The Parthians gained manage of the an ar and organized it till the coming of Rome in 116 CE, and also then the Sassanid empire held prominence in the area native 226-650 CE until, with the climb of Islam and also the Arab occupations of the 7th century CE, Assyria end to exist as a national entity.

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Among the best of their achievements, however, was the Aramaic alphabet, imported right into the Assyrian federal government by Tiglath Pileser III native the conquered region of Syria. Aramaean was much easier to compose than Akkadian and so enlarge documents collected by queens such together Ashurbanipal were analyzed from Akkadian into Aramaic, while more recent ones were composed in Aramaic and ignored the Akkadian. The result was that thousands of years of background and society were preserved for future generations and also this is the best of Assyria"s legacies.

Author"s Note: many thanks to Ms. Claire Mooney because that her contribution to the clarity the this article.