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

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According come one translate of passages in the biblical book of Genesis, Ashur was started by a man named Ashur son of Shem, kid of Noah, ~ the an excellent Flood, who then walk on to discovered the other essential Assyrian cities. A more likely account is that the city was called Ashur ~ the deity of that name at some time in the 3rd millennium BCE; the very same god\"s surname is the origin for \"Assyria\". The biblical version of the beginning of Ashur appears later in the historic record (Genesis is date to c. 1450 BCE in ~ the earliest, 5th century BCE latest) and seems to have actually been adopted by the Assyrians after castle had welcomed Christianity. This version, therefore, is assumed to be a re-interpretation of their early history more in keeping with their newly-adopted id system the Assyrian Christians.


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The Assyrians were a Semitic world who originally spoke and also wrote Akkadian before the less complicated to usage Aramaic language became much more popular. Chroniclers have split the rise and fall that the Assyrian realm into three periods: The Old Kingdom, The center Empire, and The Late empire (also recognized as the Neo-Assyrian Empire), back it should be provided that Assyrian background continued on past that point; there space still Assyrians life in the areas of Iran and also northern Iraq, and elsewhere, in the current day. The Assyrian empire is considered the greatest of the Mesopotamian empires due to its expanse and the development of the bureaucracy and also military techniques which enabled it to grow and also flourish.


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

The Old Kingdom

Although the city that Ashur existed from the 3rd millennium BCE, the extant damages of the city date to 1900 BCE i m sorry is now considered the date the city was founded. Follow to early on inscriptions, the first king to be Tudiya, and also those who adhered to him were well-known as “kings who lived in tents” saying a pastoral, fairly than urban, community.


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Ashur was certainly an important center of commerce even at this time, however, also though that precise form and structure is unclear. The king Erishum I built the holy place of Ashur top top the site in c. 1900/1905 BCE, and this has involved be the accepted date for the founding of an yes, really city ~ above the site although, obviously, some type of city must have actually existed there before that date. The historian Wolfram von Soden writes,

Because of a dearth the sources, very small is well-known of Assyria in the third millennium…Assyria did belong come the empire of Akkad at times, and to the 3rd Dynasty of Ur. Our main sources for this duration are the many thousand Assyrian letters and also documents indigenous the trade nests in Cappadocia, foremost the which to be Kanesh (modern Kultepe). (49-50)

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Map of Mesopotamia, 2000-1600 BCE

The trade nest of Karum Kanesh (the harbor of Kanesh) was among the most profitable centers for trade in the ancient Middle East and definitely the most vital for the city of Ashur. Merchants from Ashur travel to Kanesh, collection up businesses, and also then, after ~ placing trusted employees (usually family members) in charge, returned to Ashur and supervised their organization dealings native there. The chronicler Paul Kriwaczek notes:


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For numerous generations the trading dwellings of Karum Kanesh flourished, and also some ended up being extremely rich – old millionaires. Yet not all organization was kept within the family. Ashur had actually a advanced banking system and some of the capital that financed the Anatolian profession came from long-term investments made by elevation speculators in return for a contractually specified proportion of the profits. There is no much around today\"s commodity sectors that an old Assyrian would not conveniently recognize. (214-215)

The increase of Ashur

The wealth produced from profession in Karum Kanesh detailed the human being of Ashur through the stability and also security essential for the development of the city and so laid the structure for the increase of the empire. Trade with Anatolia to be equally vital in offering the Assyrians v raw products from which they were able to perfect the craft of ironworking. The iron tools of the Assyrian military would prove a decisive benefit in the campaigns which would conquer the entire an ar of the middle East. Prior to that could happen, however, the political landscape necessary to change.


The people known as the Hurrians and also the Hatti held supremacy in the region of Anatolia and Ashur, to the phibìc in Mesopotamia, stayed in the shadow of these much more powerful civilizations. In enhancement to the Hatti, there were the human being known as the Amorites who were steadily settling in the area and also acquiring much more land and resources. The Assyrian king Shamashi Adad ns (1813-1791 BCE) drive the Amorites out and secured the borders of Assyria, declare Ashur as the capital of his kingdom. The Hatti ongoing to remain dominant in the region until they were invaded and also assimilated by the Hittites in c. 1700.


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Long before that time, however, they ceased to prove as major a issue as the city come the southwest which was slowly gaining power: Babylon. The Amorites to be a farming power in Babylon for at 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 floor of the Assyrians. The is about this very same time the trade between Ashur and Karum Kanesh ended, as Babylon now rose to prestige in the an ar and took regulate of trade through Assyria.

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Ancient Syro-Mesopotamia ca. 1764 BCE

Soon ~ Hammurabi\"s death in 1750 BCE, the Babylonian empire fell apart. Assyria again attempted come assert regulate over the an ar surrounding Ashur yet it appears as despite the emperors of this period were not as much as the task. Polite war damaged out in the region, and stability was no regained till the reign of the Assyrian king Adasi (c. 1726-1691 BCE). Adasi was able to secure the an ar and his successors continued his policies however were unable or do not want to connect in growth of the kingdom.

The middle Empire

The substantial Kingdom that Mitanni climbed from the area of eastern Anatolia and, by the 14th century BCE, held power in the an ar of Mesopotamia; Assyria fell under their control. Invasions by the Hittites under King Suppiluliuma ns (r. 1344-1322 BCE) damaged Mitanni power and also replaced the monarchs of Mitanni with Hittite rulers at the very same time the the Assyrian king Eriba Adad i was maybe to acquire influence at the Mitanni (now greatly Hittite) court. The Assyrians currently saw an chance to assert their own autonomy and also began to expand their kingdom external from Ashur to the regions previously held by the Mitanni.


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The Hittites struck back and were able to host the Assyrians in ~ bay until the king Ashur-Uballit i (c. 1353-1318 BCE) defeated the continuing to be Mitanni pressures under the Hittite commanders and took far-reaching portions of the region. He was flourished by two emperors who kept what had actually been won, but no further development was completed until the resulting King Adad Nirari i (c. 1307-1275 BCE) who broadened the Assyrian realm to the north and also south, driving out the Hittites and also conquering their major strongholds.


Adad Nirari i is the first Assyrian king about whom noþeles is known with certainty.

Adad Nirari ns is the an initial Assyrian king around whom noþeles is known with certainty because he left inscriptions of his success which have actually survived greatly intact. Further, letters between the Assyrian king and also the Hittite rulers have also survived and make it clear that, initially, the Assyrian rulers were not taken serious by those that other countries in the an ar until they showed themselves too powerful to resist. The chronicler Will Durant comment on the climb of the Assyrian Empire:

If we should admit the royal principle – that it is good, because that the benefits of spreading law, security, commerce and peace, that many states must be brought, by persuasion or force, under the government of one federal government – then us should need to concede come Assyria the difference of having developed in west Asia a larger measure and also area the order and prosperity than that region of the earth had ever, come our knowledge, appreciated before. (270)

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

The Assyrian Deportation Policy

Adad Nirari I completely conquered the Mitanni and also began what would come to be standard policy under the Assyrian Empire: the deportation of huge segments that the population. V Mitanni under Assyrian control, Adad Nirari I determined the best way to prevent any future uprising was to remove the former occupants of the land and also replace them v Assyrians. This must not it is in understood, however, as a cruel therapy of captives. Composing on this, the historian Karen Radner states:


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The deportees, your labour and their abilities were extremely an important to the Assyrian state, and their relocation was closely planned and also organised. We need to not imagine treks of destitute fugitives who were straightforward prey for famine and also disease: the deportees were supposed to take trip as comfortably and safely as possible in order to reach their location in good physical shape. Anytime deportations are illustrated in Assyrian imperial art, men, women and children are shown travelling in groups, frequently riding ~ above vehicles or animals and also never in bonds. Over there is no factor to doubt this depictions together Assyrian narrative art does not otherwise shy away from the graphic display screen of extreme violence. (1)

Deportees were very closely chosen for their abilities and sent to regions which could make the most of your talents. Not everyone in the conquered populace was favored for deportation and families were never ever separated. Those segments of the populace that had proactively resisted the Assyrian presence were eliminated or sold into slavery, however the general populace became absorbed into the farming empire and also they were thought of as Assyrians. The chronicler Gwendolyn Leick writes of Adad Nirari i that

the prosperity and also stability that his reign enabled him to engage in ambitious building projects, building city walls and canals and also restoring temples. (3)

He also provided a structure for empire upon i beg your pardon his successors would build.

Assyrian conquest of Mitanni & the Hittites

His son and successor Shalmaneser ns completed the destruction of the Mitanni and took in their culture. Shalmaneser I ongoing his father\"s policies, consisting of the relocation that populations, yet his son, Tukulti-Ninurta i (c. 1244-1208 BCE), went even further. According to Leick, Tukulti-Ninurta I

...was among the most famed Assyrian soldier majesties who campaigned incessantly to maintain Assyrian possessions and influence. That reacted with spectacular cruelty to any sign that revolt. (177)

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

He to be also very interested in acquiring and also preserving the knowledge and also cultures the the peoples he conquered and also developed a more sophisticated technique of selecting which kind of individual, or community, would be relocated and to which certain location. Scribes and scholars, because that example, were chosen carefully and also sent to urban centers where they could help catalogue written works and aid with the bureaucracy of the empire. A literate man, he created the epic poem chronicling his win over the Kassite king the Babylon and subjugation of the city and also the locations under that is influence and wrote one more on his win over the Elamites.

He beat the Hittites at the battle of Nihriya in c. 1245 BCE which efficiently ended Hittite strength in the region and began the decrease of your civilization. When Babylon made incursions into Assyrian territory, Tukulti-Ninurta i punished the city severely by sacking it, plundering the sacred temples, and carrying the king and a section of the populace ago to Assur together slaves. With his plundered wealth, the renovated his grand royal residence in the city he had actually built throughout from Assur, i m sorry he named Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, come which he seems to have actually retreated as soon as the birds of popular opinion turned versus him.

His desecration of the temples of Babylon was seen as an offense against the gods (as the Assyrians and Babylonians shared many of the very same deities) and also his sons and also court officials rebelled against him for putting his hand ~ above the products of the gods. He was assassinated in his palace, most likely by among his sons, Ashur-Nadin-Apli, who then take it the throne.

Tiglath Pileser i & Revitalization

Following the fatality of Tukulti-Ninurta I, the Assyrian empire fell right into a duration of stasis in which that neither expanded nor declined. When the totality of the Near eastern fell into a \"dark age\" following the so-called Bronze period Collapse that c. 1200 BCE, Ashur and also its realm remained reasonably intact. Uneven other people in the an ar which suffered a finish collapse, the Assyrians it seems to be ~ to have actually experienced miscellaneous closer to simply a lose of front momentum. The empire absolutely cannot be said to have actually \"stagnated\", because the culture, including the emphasis on military campaign and the value of conquest, continued; however, there to be no far-ranging expansion of the empire and also civilization together it was under Tukulti-Ninurta I.

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

He was among the most necessary Assyrian monarchs of this period, largely because of his wide-ranging military campaigns, his enthusiasm for building projects, and his attention in cuneiform tablet computer collections. The campaigned widely in Anatolia, wherein he subjugated many peoples, and also ventured as far as the Mediterranean Sea. In the resources city, Assur, he built a brand-new palace and also established a library, i m sorry held many tablets on every kinds of academic subjects. He also issued a legitimate decree, the so-called middle Assyrian Laws, and also wrote the very first royal annals. He was additionally one the the first Assyrian queens to commission parks and also gardens stocked through foreign and native trees and also plants. (171)

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In the 11th century BCE, Tiglath Pileser i revitalized the economy and the armed forces through his campaigns, adding an ext resources and also skilled populaces to the Assyrian Empire. Literacy and also the arts flourished, and the preservation initiative the king took concerning cuneiform tablet computers would offer as the design for the later on ruler, Ashurbanipal\"s, famed library in ~ Nineveh. ~ above Tiglath Pileser I\"s death, his son, Asharid-apal-ekur, took the throne and reigned for 2 years during which time he ongoing his father\"s policies without alteration. He was succeeded by his brother Ashur-bel-Kala who originally reigned successfully until challenged by a usurper who threw the empire into civil war.

Although the rebellion to be crushed and the entrants executed, the turmoil allowed particular regions that had actually been tightly hosted by Assyria to break free and amongst these to be the area well-known as Eber Nari (modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and also Israel), which had actually been an especially important come the empire due to the fact that of the well-established seaports follow me the coast. The Aramaeans now hosted Eber Nari and also began making attacks from there into the remainder of the empire. At this very same time, the Amorites the Babylon and the city of Mari asserted themselves and tried to break the host of the empire.

The monarchs who adhered to Ashur-bel-Kala (among them, Shalmaneser II and Tiglath Pileser II) managed to preserve the core of the empire approximately Ashur yet were not successful in re-taking Eber Nari or driving the Aramaeans and Amorites totally from the borders. The realm steadily shrank with repeated attacks from outside and rebellions from in ~ and, with no king solid enough to revitalize the military, Assyria again entered a period of stasis in i beg your pardon they organized what they can of the empire together yet could execute nothing else.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire

The Late empire (also well-known as the Neo-Assyrian Empire) is the one most acquainted to students of ancient history as it is the duration of the largest development of the empire. That is likewise the era which many decisively provides the Assyrian empire the call it has for ruthlessness and also cruelty. The historian Kriwaczek writes:

Assyria should surely have amongst the worst press notices of any kind of state in history. Babylon may be a byname because that corruption, decadence and sin but the Assyrians and also their famous rulers, with terrifying names choose Shalmaneser, Tiglath-Pileser, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, rate in the popular creative thinking just below Adolf Hitler and Genghis khan for cruelty, violence, and sheer murderous savagery. (208)

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

While chroniclers tend come shy away from analogies, that is tempting to check out the Assyrian Empire, which dominated the Middle east from 900-612 BC, together a historical forebear of Nazi Germany: one aggressive, murderously vindictive regimen supported through a magnificent and successful battle machine. Just like the German army of world War II, the Assyrian military was the many technologically and doctrinally advanced of its day and was a version for others because that generations afterwards. The Assyrians to be the an initial to make substantial use of stole weaponry not just were stole weapons superior to bronze, yet could be mass-produced, enabling the equipping of very large armies indeed. (12)

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While the call for decisive, ruthless, armed forces tactics is understandable, the comparison through the Nazi regimen is much less so. Uneven the Nazis, the Assyrians cure the conquered world they relocated fine (as already addressed above) and also considered them Assyrians when they had actually submitted to central authority. There was no ide of a \"master race\" in Assyrian policies; anyone was considered an asset come the realm whether they to be born Assyrian or were assimilated 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, who made a allude of lining their roads with thousands of victims the crucifixion dying in agony\" (209). The only fair comparison between Germany in WWII and also the Assyrians, then, is the performance of the military and also the size of the army, and this very same comparison might be make with old Rome.


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

The beat Aramaeans to be executed or deported to areas within the heartland of Assyria. He also conquered Babylon but, discovering from the mistake of the past, refused to plunder the city and, instead, gone into into a peace commitment with the king in which they married each other\"s daughters and also pledged mutual loyalty. Your treaty would secure Babylon together a powerful ally, instead of a perennial problem, because that the following 80 years.

Military expansion & the new View of the God

The monarchs who adhered to Adad Nirari II continued the very same policies and military expansion. Tukulti Ninurta II (891-884 BCE) expanded the realm to the north and also gained more territory towards the southern in Anatolia, while Ashurnasirpal II (884-859 BCE) consolidated rule in the Levant and extended Assyrian ascendancy through Canaan. Their many common method of conquest was through siege warfare which would begin with a brutal attack on the city. Anglim writes:

More than anything else, the Assyrian army excelled in ~ siege warfare, and also was more than likely the first force to lug a different corps that engineers…Assault to be their principal tactic versus the heavily fortified cities that the near East. They arisen a great variety of techniques for breaching opponent walls: sappers to be employed to threaten walls or to irradiate fires underneath wood gates, and ramps to be thrown up to permit men to go over the ramparts or to attempt a breach ~ above the upper section of wall surface where it to be the the very least thick. Mobile ladders permitted attackers to overcome moats and also quickly assault any point in defences. These operations were covered by masses that archers, who were the main point of the infantry. Yet the proud of the Assyrian siege train were their engines. These were multistoried wood towers with four wheels and a turret top top top and also one, or at times two, battering rams at the base. (186)

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

Women were not allowed to attend college or hold positions of authority even though, earlier in Mesopotamia, women had enjoyed almost equal rights. The decline in women\"s legal rights correlates to the climb of Assyrian monotheism. Together the Assyrian armies campaigned throughout the land, your god Ashur went with 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 came to be necessary in order to proceed that worship in other locales. Kriwaczek writes:

One could pray come Ashur not only in his very own temple in his own city, but anywhere. As the Assyrian empire expanded its borders, Ashur was encountered in even the most remote places. From faith in one omnipresent god to id in a solitary god is not a lengthy step. Because He was everywhere, people pertained to understand that, in some sense, regional divinities were just different manifestations the the very same Ashur. (231)

This unified of vision that a supreme deity helped to further unify the regions of the empire. The various gods the the dominated peoples, and also their various religious practices, became soaked up into the worship of Ashur, who was known as the one true god who had actually been called different names by different human being in the past however who now was plainly known and could be appropriately worshipped as the global deity. Concerning this, Kriwaczek writes:

Belief in the transcendence rather than immanence the the divine had important consequences. Nature happened desacralized, deconsecrated. Since the god were exterior and above nature, mankind – follow to Mesopotamian id created in the likeness that the gods and also as servant to the gods – should be exterior and above nature too. Fairly than an integral component of the organic earth, the person race was now her superior and her ruler. The new attitude was later summed increase in Genesis 1:26: \"And God said, Let united state make male in our image, after ours likeness: and let the have dominion over the fish the the sea, and also over the fowl of the air, and also over the cattle, and also over every the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth ~ above the earth.\" the is all really well for men, clearly singled the end in that passage. But for women it poses an insurmountable difficulty. While males can delude themselves and also each other that they space outside, above, and superior to nature, women cannot so distance themselves, for your physiology renders them clearly and obviously component of the herbal world…It is no accident that even today those religious beliefs that placed most emphasis on God\"s utter transcendence and also the impossibility also to imagine His reality must relegate women to a reduced rung of existence, your participation in public spiritual worship just grudgingly permitted, if at all. (229-230)

The Assyrian society became progressively cohesive v the development of the empire in the ninth century BCE, the new understanding of the deity, and the adaptation of the civilization from the conquered regions. Shalmaneser III (859-824 BCE) broadened the realm up v the coast of the Mediterranean and also received tribute native the well-off Phoenician urban of Tyre and also Sidon. He also defeated the Armenian kingdom of Urartu which had long confirmed a far-reaching nuisance come the Assyrians. Adhering to his reign, however, the realm erupted in civil war as the king Shamshi Adad V (824-811 BCE) fought with his brother for control. Back the rebellion was put down, growth of the empire halted after Shalmaneser III.

The regent Shammuramat (also famously known as Semiramis who ended up being the mythical goddess-queen the the Assyrians in later tradition) hosted the throne for her young child Adad Nirari III from c. 811-806 BCE and, in that time, secured the borders of the empire and also organized successful projects to placed down the Medes and other troublesome populaces in the north.

When her child came the age, she was able to hand the a stable and sizeable realm which Adad Nirari III then increased further. Following his reign, however, his successors desired to remainder on the achievements of others and also the empire entered another period of stagnation. This was particularly detrimental to the armed forces which languished under majesties like Ashur Dan III and Ashur Nirari V.


Tiglath Pileser III (745-727 BCE) reorganized the armed forces & restructured the bureaucracy of the government.

The good Kings the the Neo-Assyrian Empire

In the 8 hours century BCE, the empire was revitalized by Tiglath Pileser III (745-727 BCE) that reorganized the military and restructured the administration of the government. Follow to Anglim, Tiglath Pileser III \"carried out extensive reforms of the army, reasserted central control end the empire, reconquered the Mediterranean seaboard, and also even ruled over Babylon. He changed conscription v a manpower levy enforced on each province and also demanded contingents from vassal states\" (14). He defeated the kingdom that Urartu, which had actually again increased to trouble Assyrian rulers, and also subjugated the an ar of Syria. Under Tiglath Pileser III\"s reign, the Assyrian military became the most reliable military pressure in background up until that time and would provide a model for future armies in organization, tactics, training, and efficiency.

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

After his death, he was succeeded by his kid Sennacherib (705-681 BCE) that campaigned widely and also ruthlessly, dominating Israel, Judah, and also the Greek districts in Anatolia. His sack of Jerusalem is detailed on the \"Taylor Prism\", a picture writing block describing Sennacherib\"s army exploits i beg your pardon was found in 1830 CE through Britain\"s Colonel Taylor, in i m sorry the king insurance claims to have caught 46 cities and trapped the civilization of Jerusalem within the city until he overwhelmed them. His account is contested, however, through the variation of events defined in the biblical book of II Kings, chapters 18-19, where it is asserted that Jerusalem was conserved by magnificent intervention and also Sennacherib\"s army was thrust from the field. The biblical account walk relate the Assyrian conquest of the region, however.

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Sennacherib\"s military victories boosted the riches of the empire. He relocated the Assyrian resources to Nineveh and built what was known as “the royal residence without a Rival”. The beautified and improved ~ above the city\"s original structure, planting orchards and gardens. The chronicler Christopher Scarre writes:

Sennacherib\"s palace had actually all the normal accoutrements that a major Assyrian residence: colossal guardian figures and also impressively carved stone reliefs (over 2,000 sculptured slabs in 71 rooms). The gardens, too, were exceptional. Recent research by brothers Assyriologist Stephanie Dalley has suggested that these were the famous Hanging Gardens, among the seven Wonders that the ancient World. Later on writers placed the Hanging Gardens in ~ Babylon, however extensive research has actually failed to find any kind of trace the them. Sennacherib\"s proud account of the royal residence gardens he produced at Nineveh fits that of the Hanging Gardens in several far-ranging details. (231)

Ignoring the great of the past, however, and also not content through his good wealth and also the high-end of the city, Sennacherib journey his army against Babylon, sacked it, and also looted the temples. As earlier in history, the looting and destruction that the holy places of Babylon was viewed as the elevation of sacrilege through the human being of the an ar and additionally by Sennacherib\"s sons who assassinated the in his palace at Nineveh in order come placate the wrath that the gods. Back they certainly would have actually been encouraged to murder their father for the throne (after he made decision his youngest son, Esarhaddon, as heir in 683 BCE, snubbing them) they would have needed a legitimate reason to do so; and the devastation of Babylon detailed them v one.


Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) successfully overcame Egypt & established the empire\"s boundaries as far north together the Zagros Mountains.

His child Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) took the throne, and one the his an initial projects was to rebuild Babylon. He issued an official proclamation which claimed that Babylon had actually been damaged by the will of the god owing come the city\"s wickedness and lack of respect for the divine.

Nowhere in his proclamation walk it cite Sennacherib or his function in the devastation of the city but makes clear that the gods chose Esarhaddon as the divine way for restoration: “Once throughout a vault ruler\"s regime there were negative omens. The city insulted that is gods and also was ruined at your command. They decided me, Esarhaddon, come restore whatever to its rightful place, to calm your anger, and also soothe your rage.”

The empire flourished under his reign. That successfully dominated Egypt (which Sennacherib had tried and also failed to do) and established the empire\"s borders as much north together the Zagros mountains (modern-day Iran) and as much south as Nubia (modern Sudan) with a expectancy from west to eastern of the Levant (modern-day Lebanon come Israel) through Anatolia (Turkey). His successful campaigns, and careful maintain of the government, noted the security for advances in medicine, literacy, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, and the arts. Durant writes:

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

In order come secure the peace, Esarhaddon\"s mother, Zakutu (also well-known as Naqia-Zakutu) gone into into vassal treaties v the Persians and also the Medes requiring lock to submit in breakthrough to his successor. This treaty, well-known as the commitment Treaty the Naqia-Zakutu, ensured the easy transition of power when Esarhaddon died preparing to campaign versus the Nubians and also rule passed to the last an excellent Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE). Ashurbanipal was the many literate that the Assyrian rulers and also is probably best known in the contemporary day for the huge library he gathered at his royal residence at Nineveh.

Though a good patron of the arts and culture, Ashurbanipal might be simply as ruthless as his precursors in securing the empire and also intimidating his enemies. Kriwaczek writes:

Which other imperialist would, choose Ashurbanipal, have commissioned a sculpture because that his royal residence with decoration mirroring him and also his wife banqueting in your garden, through the struck-off head and severed hand that the King of Elam dangling from trees on one of two people side, choose ghastly Christmas baubles or strange fruit? (208)

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He decisively defeated the Elamites and also expanded the realm further come the east and also north. Recognizing the importance of keeping the past, the then sent envoys come every point in the lands under his control and also had them retrieve or copy the publications of that city or town, bringing all ago to Nineveh for the royal library.

Ashurbanipal subjugated the realm for 42 years and, in that time, campaigned successfully and also ruled efficiently. The realm had grown as well large, however, and also the areas were overtaxed. Further, the vastness the the Assyrian domain do it daunting to safeguard the borders. As an excellent in number as the army remained, there to be not enough men to keep garrisoned in ~ every far-ranging fort or outpost.

When Ashurbanipal died in 627 BCE, the empire began to loss apart. His followers Ashur-etli-Ilani and also Sin-Shar-Ishkun to be unable to host the regions together and regions began to rest away. The dominance of the Assyrian realm was viewed as overly harsh by its subjects, despite whatever breakthroughs and luxuries being an Assyrian citizen may have provided, and also former vassal states climbed in revolt.


In 612 BCE Nineveh was sacked and burned by a coalition that Babylonians, Persians, Medes, and also Scythians, amongst others. The damage of the palace carried the flaming walls down top top the library of Ashurbanipal and, although it was far from the intention, preserved the great library, and the background of the Assyrians, through baking hard and burying the clay tablet computer books. Kriwaczek writes, “Thus walk Assyria\"s adversaries ultimately fail to accomplish their aim once they razed Ashur and also Nineveh in 612 BCE, just fifteen years after Ashurbanipal\"s death: the wiping out of Assyria\"s ar in history” (255). Still, the destruction of the an excellent Assyrian urban was so complete that, within two generations of the empire\"s fall, no one knew wherein the cities had actually been. The ruins of Nineveh were spanned by the sands and also lay buried for the following 2,000 years.

Legacy of Assyria

Thanks to the Greek chronicler Herodotus, who thought about the whole of Mesopotamia \"Assyria\", scholars have long known the society existed (as compared to the Sumerians that were unknown come scholarship until the 19th century CE). Mesopotamian scholarship to be traditionally well-known as Assyriology until reasonably recently (though the term is definitely still in use), because the Assyrians to be so famous through the major sources of the Greek and Roman writers.

Through the expanse of your empire, the Assyrians spread out Mesopotamian society to the other regions the the world, i m sorry have, in turn, influenced cultures worldwide up to the current day. Durant writes:

Through Assyria\"s occupation of Babylon, her appropriation of the ancient city\"s culture, and her dissemination of that culture throughout her large empire; v the long bondage of the Jews, and also the an excellent influence upon lock of Babylonian life and also thought; through the Persian and also Greek conquests which then opened up with extraordinary fullness and freedom every the roads of communication and also trade in between Babylon and the rising cities the Ionia, Asia Minor, and Greece – v these and many other methods the world of the Land in between the Rivers happen down into the cultural endowment of our race. In the end nothing is lost; for an excellent or evil, every event has impacts forever. (264)

Tiglath Pileser III had introduced Aramaic to replace Akkadian together the lingua franca the the realm and, together Aramaic survived as a written language, this permitted later scholar to decipher Akkadian writings and also then Sumerian. The Assyrian occupation of Mesopotamia, and the development of the empire throughout the middle East, carried Aramaic to regions as near as Israel and also as far as greece and, in this way, Mesopotamian thought ended up being infused through those cultures and a component of their literary and cultural heritage.

Following the decrease and rupture that the Assyrian empire, Babylon assumed dominance in the region from 605-549 BCE. Babylon then fell to the Persians under Cyrus the good who established the Achaemenid realm (549-330 BCE) which dropped to Alexander the good and, ~ his death, was part of the Seleucid Empire.

The an ar of Mesopotamia matching to modern Iraq, Syria, and part of Turkey was the area currently known as Assyria and, when the Seleucids were driven out by the Parthians, the western section of the region, formerly known as Eber Nari and also then Aramea, preserved the name Syria. The Parthians gained control of the an ar and hosted it till the coming of Rome in 116 CE, and also then the Sassanid empire held dominance in the area indigenous 226-650 CE until, through the climb of Islam and the Arab conquests of the 7th century CE, Assyria ceased to exist as a nationwide entity.

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Among the best of your achievements, however, to be the Aramaic alphabet, imported right into the Assyrian government by Tiglath Pileser III native the conquered an ar of Syria. Aramaean was less complicated to write than Akkadian and so enlarge documents built up by monarchs such as Ashurbanipal were translated from Akkadian into Aramaic, while more recent ones were written in Aramaic and ignored the Akkadian. The an outcome was that hundreds of years of background and culture were preserved for future generations and this is the best of Assyria\"s legacies.

Author\"s Note: plenty of thanks come Ms. Claire Mooney for her donation to the clarity of this article.