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 young (modern Turkey) and down through Egypt. The empire started modestly in ~ the city that Ashur (known together Subartu to the Sumerians), located in Mesopotamia north-east the Babylon, where merchants who traded in Anatolia came to be increasingly wealthy and also that affluence permitted for the growth and also prosperity that the city.

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According come one translate of i in the biblical publication of Genesis, Ashur was founded by a male named Ashur boy of Shem, kid of Noah, after the good Flood, who then walk on to uncovered the other essential Assyrian cities. A more likely account is the the city was named Ashur after ~ the divine being of the name at some point in the 3rd millennium BCE; the same god\"s surname is the beginning for \"Assyria\". The biblical variation of the beginning of Ashur appears later in the historical record (Genesis is date to c. 1450 BCE at the earliest, fifth century BCE latest) and also seems to have been embraced by the Assyrians after they had accepted Christianity. This version, therefore, is believed to it is in a re-interpretation of your early history more in keeping with your newly-adopted id system the Assyrian Christians.


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The Assyrians to be a Semitic people who initially spoke and also wrote Akkadian prior to the easier to usage Aramaic language became an ext popular. Chroniclers have separated the rise and fall of the Assyrian empire into 3 periods: The Old Kingdom, The center Empire, and also The Late realm (also recognized as the Neo-Assyrian Empire), although it must be detailed that Assyrian background continued on past that point; there are still Assyrians life in the areas of Iran and also northern Iraq, and also elsewhere, in the present day. The Assyrian realm is thought about the biggest of the Mesopotamian empires because of its expanse and also the development of the bureaucracy and military methods which enabled it to grow and flourish.


The trade colony of Karum Kanesh was amongst the most lucrative centers for profession in the ancient Near East.

The Old Kingdom

Although the city the Ashur existed from the 3rd millennium BCE, the extant damages of that city date to 1900 BCE i m sorry is now thought about the date the city to be founded. Follow to beforehand inscriptions, the first king was Tudiya, and also those who adhered to him were recognized as “kings who lived in tents” arguing a pastoral, rather than urban, community.


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Ashur to be certainly crucial center of commerce even in ~ this time, however, even though the precise type and structure is unclear. The king Erishum I developed the holy place of Ashur on the site in c. 1900/1905 BCE, and this has come to be the accepted day for the establishing of an really city top top the website although, obviously, some type of city must have existed there before that date. The chronicler Wolfram von Soden writes,

Because of a dearth the sources, very little is recognized of Assyria in the third millennium…Assyria go belong come the empire of Akkad in ~ times, as well as to the third Dynasty that Ur. Our key sources because that this duration are the countless thousand Assyrian letters and also documents indigenous the trade swarms in Cappadocia, foremost that which to be Kanesh (modern Kultepe). (49-50)

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Map that Mesopotamia, 2000-1600 BCE

The trade nest of Karum Kanesh (the harbor of Kanesh) was amongst the most financially rewarding centers for trade in the ancient Middle East and definitely the most important for the city that Ashur. Vendors from Ashur travel to Kanesh, set up businesses, and also then, ~ placing trusted employees (usually household members) in charge, went back to Ashur and supervised their business dealings native there. The historian Paul Kriwaczek notes:


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For several generations the trading houses of Karum Kanesh flourished, and also some came to be extremely well-off – ancient millionaires. Yet not all company was kept within the family. Ashur had a sophisticated banking system and also some the the capital that sponsor the Anatolian trade came from irreversible investments make by independent speculators in return for a contractually specified proportion the the profits. Over there is not much around today\"s commodity markets that an old Assyrian would certainly not quickly recognize. (214-215)

The increase of Ashur

The wealth created from profession in Karum Kanesh noted the people of Ashur v the stability and security vital for the development of the city and also so to adjust the foundation for the increase of the empire. Trade through Anatolia to be equally necessary in providing the Assyrians with raw products from which they were able come perfect the craft of ironworking. The iron weapons of the Assyrian army would prove a decisive advantage in the campaigns which would dominate the entire an ar of the middle East. Prior to that could happen, however, the political landscape necessary to change.


The human being known as the Hurrians and also the Hatti held dominance in the an ar of Anatolia and Ashur, to the phibìc in Mesopotamia, remained in the zero of these an ext powerful civilizations. In enhancement to the Hatti, there to be the civilization known together the Amorites that were steadily settling in the area and also acquiring an ext land and also resources. The Assyrian king Shamashi Adad i (1813-1791 BCE) drive the Amorites out and also secured the borders of Assyria, declare Ashur as the funding of his kingdom. The Hatti ongoing to remain leading in the region until they were invaded and also assimilated through 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 obtaining power: Babylon. The Amorites to be a farming power in Babylon because that at the very least 100 years when the Amorite king named Sin Muballit take it the throne, and, c. 1792 BCE, his boy King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE) ascended come rule and also subjugated the floor of the Assyrians. The is around this same time the trade in between Ashur and also Karum Kanesh ended, as Babylon currently rose to prominence in the an ar and took regulate of trade v Assyria.

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Ancient Syro-Mesopotamia ca. 1764 BCE

Soon after Hammurabi\"s death in 1750 BCE, the Babylonian realm fell apart. Assyria again attempted to assert control over the region surrounding Ashur yet it appears as though the kings of this period were not as much as the task. Civil war damaged out in the region, and stability was not regained until the regime of the Assyrian king Adasi (c. 1726-1691 BCE). Adasi had the ability to secure the an ar and his successors continued his policies but were can not or do not want to communicate in development of the kingdom.

The center Empire

The huge Kingdom that Mitanni increased from the area of east Anatolia and, by the 14th century BCE, held power in the region of Mesopotamia; Assyria dropped under your control. Invasions by the Hittites under King Suppiluliuma i (r. 1344-1322 BCE) broke Mitanni power and replaced the emperors of Mitanni with Hittite rulers in ~ the exact same time the the Assyrian king Eriba Adad i was may be to gain influence at the Mitanni (now mostly Hittite) court. The Assyrians currently saw an opportunity to assert their own autonomy and also began to broaden their kingdom outward from Ashur to the regions previously hosted by the Mitanni.


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The Hittites struck earlier and were able to organize the Assyrians at bay till the king Ashur-Uballit ns (c. 1353-1318 BCE) defeated the continuing to be Mitanni forces under the Hittite commanders and took far-reaching portions the the region. The was prospered by two queens who maintained what had been won, but no further expansion was completed until the resulting King Adad Nirari i (c. 1307-1275 BCE) who increased the Assyrian realm to the north and also south, driving out the Hittites and also conquering their major strongholds.


Adad Nirari i is the very first Assyrian king around whom noþeles is well-known with certainty.

Adad Nirari i is the first Assyrian king around whom something is known with certainty due to the fact that he left engravings of his success which have survived greatly intact. Further, letters in between the Assyrian king and the Hittite rulers have additionally survived and also make it clear that, initially, the Assyrian rulers were no taken seriously by those that other nations in the an ar until they proved themselves too powerful to resist. The historian Will Durant comments on the increase of the Assyrian Empire:

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

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Stone Foundation record 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 began what would come to be standard policy under the Assyrian Empire: the deportation of large segments the the population. Through Mitanni under Assyrian control, Adad Nirari I determined the best means to prevent any kind of future uprising was to eliminate the previous occupants the the land and also replace them v Assyrians. This should not it is in understood, however, as a cruel therapy of captives. Writing on this, the historian Karen Radner states:


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The deportees, your labour and also their abilities were extremely beneficial to the Assyrian state, and their relocation was closely planned and organised. We must not imagine treks of destitute fugitives that were easy prey because that famine and also disease: the deportees were intended to travel as comfortably and also safely as possible in order to with their location in great physical shape. At any time deportations are shown in Assyrian imperial art, men, women and also children are shown travelling in groups, regularly riding on vehicles or animals and never in bonds. There is no reason to doubt this depictions together Assyrian narrative arts does not otherwise shy away from the graphic display of extreme violence. (1)

Deportees were very closely chosen for your abilities and also sent to areas which might make the most of your talents. Not everyone in the dominated populace was chosen for deportation and also families were never separated. Those segment of the populace that had actively resisted the Assyrian existence were eliminated or sold right into slavery, but the basic populace became soaked up into the growing empire and they were believed of as Assyrians. The historian Gwendolyn Leick to write of Adad Nirari ns that

the prosperity and also stability the his reign permitted him to connect in ambitious structure projects, structure 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 soaked up their culture. Shalmaneser I ongoing his father\"s policies, including the relocation of populations, however his son, Tukulti-Ninurta i (c. 1244-1208 BCE), went also further. According to Leick, Tukulti-Ninurta I

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

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

He to be also really interested in acquiring and preserving the knowledge and cultures the the peoples he conquered and also developed a more sophisticated method of choosing which type of individual, or community, would certainly be relocated and to which details location. Scribes and scholars, for example, were preferred carefully and sent to metropolitan centers where they could aid catalogue written works and aid with the administration of the empire. A literate man, he composed the epic city chronicling his victory over the Kassite king the Babylon and also subjugation of that city and the locations under the influence and wrote an additional on his win over the Elamites.

He defeated the Hittites at the battle of Nihriya in c. 1245 BCE which successfully ended Hittite strength in the region and began the decrease of their civilization. As soon as Babylon made attacks into Assyrian territory, Tukulti-Ninurta ns punished the city severely by sacking it, plundering the sacred temples, and also carrying the king and a section of the populace earlier to Assur as slaves. V his plundered wealth, that renovated his grand palace in the city he had built across from Assur, which he called Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, to which he appears to have retreated when the tide of famous opinion turned versus him.

His desecration the the holy places of Babylon was seen as an offense versus the gods (as the Assyrians and also Babylonians shared countless of the exact same deities) and also his sons and court public official rebelled against him for putting his hand ~ above the goods of the gods. He was assassinated in his palace, most likely by among his sons, Ashur-Nadin-Apli, that then took the throne.

Tiglath Pileser i & Revitalization

Following the fatality of Tukulti-Ninurta I, the Assyrian empire fell into a duration of stasis in which the neither expanded nor declined. When the totality of the Near eastern fell into a \"dark age\" complying with the so-called Bronze age Collapse of c. 1200 BCE, Ashur and its realm remained relatively intact. Unequal other civilizations in the an ar which experienced a complete collapse, the Assyrians it seems ~ to have actually experienced something closer to just a loss of front momentum. The empire certainly cannot be said to have \"stagnated\", since the culture, consisting of the emphasis on armed forces campaign and the worth of conquest, continued; however, there was no far-ranging expansion of the empire and civilization as it was under Tukulti-Ninurta I.

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

He was one of the most essential Assyrian queens of this period, largely since of his wide-ranging army campaigns, his passionate for structure projects, and also his interest in cuneiform tablet computer collections. He campaigned extensively in Anatolia, wherein he subjugated plenty of peoples, and ventured as far as the Mediterranean Sea. In the funding city, Assur, he built a brand-new palace and also established a library, i m sorry held numerous tablets on all kinds of academic subjects. He additionally issued a legit decree, the so-called center Assyrian Laws, and also wrote the first royal annals. The was also one that the first Assyrian queens to board of directors parks and also gardens stocked through foreign and native trees and plants. (171)

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In the 11th century BCE, Tiglath Pileser ns revitalized the economy and the army through his campaigns, adding an ext resources and also skilled populaces to the Assyrian Empire. Literacy and the art flourished, and the preservation initiative the king took regarding cuneiform tablets would offer as the version for the later on ruler, Ashurbanipal\"s, famed library at Nineveh. Top top Tiglath Pileser I\"s death, his son, Asharid-apal-ekur, took the throne and reigned for 2 years throughout which time he continued his father\"s plans without alteration. That was succeeded by his brothers Ashur-bel-Kala who originally reigned successfully until challenged by a usurper who threw the empire into civil war.

Although the rebellion was crushed and also the entrants executed, the chaos allowed details regions that had actually been tightly held by Assyria come break totally free and among these was the area well-known as Eber Nari (modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel), which had 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 right into the rest of the empire. In ~ this very same time, the Amorites that Babylon and also the city the Mari asserted themselves and tried to break the host of the empire.

The kings who adhered to Ashur-bel-Kala (among them, Shalmaneser II and also Tiglath Pileser II) controlled to keep the core of the empire roughly 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 assaults from outside and rebellions from in ~ and, through no king solid enough come revitalize the military, Assyria again gone into a duration of stasis in i beg your pardon they organized what they could of the empire together but could execute nothing else.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire

The Late realm (also well-known as the Neo-Assyrian Empire) is the one most acquainted to college student of ancient history as it is the period of the largest expansion of the empire. That is also the era which most decisively provides the Assyrian empire the call it has for ruthlessness and cruelty. The chronicler Kriwaczek writes:

Assyria should surely have amongst the worst press notices of any kind of state in history. Babylon might be a byname because that corruption, decadence and also sin yet the Assyrians and also their famous rulers, through terrifying names like Shalmaneser, Tiglath-Pileser, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and also Ashurbanipal, price in the popular imagination just listed below Adolf Hitler and also Genghis cannes for cruelty, violence, and also sheer murderous savagery. (208)

This reputation is further listed by the historian Simon Anglim and also others. Anglim writes:

While chroniclers tend come shy far from analogies, that is tempting to view the Assyrian Empire, which conquered the Middle eastern from 900-612 BC, as a historical forebear that Nazi Germany: an aggressive, murderously vindictive regime supported through a magnificent and also successful battle machine. As with the German army of people War II, the Assyrian army was the many technologically and doctrinally advanced of its day and was a version for others because that generations afterwards. The Assyrians were the very first to make extensive use of stole weaponry not just were stole weapons premium to bronze, but could be mass-produced, enabling the equipping of very large armies indeed. (12)

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While the call for decisive, ruthless, military tactics is understandable, the comparison v the Nazi program is much less so. Unequal the Nazis, the Assyrians treated the conquered world they relocated well (as already addressed above) and also considered lock Assyrians once they had actually submitted to main authority. There was no ide of a \"master race\" in Assyrian policies; everyone was considered an asset come the empire whether they to be born Assyrian or to be assimilated right into the culture. Kriwaczek notes, \"In truth, Assyrian war was no more savage than that of other contemporary states. Nor, indeed, to be the Assyrians significantly crueler than the Romans, that made a suggest of lining their roads with hundreds of victims of crucifixion dice in agony\" (209). The only fair comparison between Germany in WWII and the Assyrians, then, is the effectiveness of the military and also the size of the army, and this very same comparison can be make with old Rome.


These massive armies still place in the future, however, when the first king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire came to power in the 10th century BCE. The climb of the king Adad Nirari II (c. 912-891 BCE) carried the kind of renewal Assyria needed. Adad Nirari II reconquered the floor which had actually been lost, consisting of Eber Nari, and also secured the borders.

The beat Aramaeans to be executed or deported to regions within the heartland that Assyria. He likewise conquered Babylon but, learning from the mistakes of the past, refused to plunder the city and, instead, gone into into a peace covenant with the king in which castle married each other\"s daughters and pledged common loyalty. Their treaty would certainly secure Babylon as a powerful ally, rather of a perennial problem, because that the following 80 years.

Military growth & the new View the the God

The emperors who followed Adad Nirari II ongoing the same policies and also military expansion. Tukulti Ninurta II (891-884 BCE) increased the empire to the north and also gained further territory toward the south in Anatolia, when Ashurnasirpal II (884-859 BCE) consolidated rule in the Levant and also extended Assyrian dominion through Canaan. Their most common technique of occupation was with siege war which would start with a brutal attack on the city. Anglim writes:

More than anything else, the Assyrian army excelled at siege warfare, and was probably the first force to lug a different corps of engineers…Assault to be their major tactic versus the heavily strengthened cities the the close to East. They emerged a great variety of methods for breaching adversary walls: sappers were employed to weaken walls or to irradiate fires underneath wood gates, and also ramps were thrown up to permit men to go over the ramparts or to effort a breach ~ above the upper section of wall where it to be the the very least thick. Mobile ladders permitted attackers to cross moats and also quickly assault any allude in defences. These operations were extended by masses that archers, who were the core of the infantry. However the pride of the Assyrian siege train were your engines. These were multistoried wood towers with 4 wheels and a turret on top and one, or at times two, damaging rams at the base. (186)

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Advancements in military technology were not the only, or also the primary, contribution of the Assyrians as, during this same time, lock made far-reaching progress in medicine, building on the structure of the Sumerians and also drawing top top the knowledge and talents that those who had actually been conquered and also assimilated. Ashurnasirpal II do the first systematic list of plants and animals in the empire and also brought scribes through him on project to record brand-new finds. Schools were developed throughout the empire however were only for the boy of the wealthy and also nobility.

Women to be not permitted to attend institution or organize positions the authority also though, earlier in Mesopotamia, women had actually enjoyed virtually equal rights. The decline in women\"s civil liberties correlates come the climb of Assyrian monotheism. As the Assyrian militaries campaigned throughout the land, their god Ashur went with them but, as Ashur to be previously attached with the holy place of that city and also had just been venerated there, a new means of imagining the god ended up being necessary in bespeak to continue that worship in other locales. Kriwaczek writes:

One might pray to Ashur not only in his very own temple in his very own city, however anywhere. As the Assyrian realm expanded the borders, Ashur was encountered in even the most distant places. From belief in an omnipresent god to id in a single god is no a long step. Because He was everywhere, people concerned understand that, in some sense, local divinities to be just different manifestations of the very same Ashur. (231)

This unity of vision of a supreme divine being helped to further unify the regions of the empire. The different gods of the dominated peoples, and also their various spiritual practices, became soaked up into the prayer of Ashur, who was known as the one true god who had actually been called different names by different civilization in the past yet who now was plainly known and could be correctly worshipped together the universal deity. Concerning this, Kriwaczek writes:

Belief in the transcendence fairly than immanence of the magnificent had necessary consequences. Nature became desacralized, deconsecrated. Because the gods were outside and over nature, mankind – according to Mesopotamian belief created in the likeness that the gods and as servant to the gods – should be exterior and over nature too. Rather than an integral part of the natural earth, the human race was now her superior and her ruler. The new attitude was later summed up in Genesis 1:26: \"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and also let that have rule over the fish that the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and also over all the earth, and over every creeping point that creepeth ~ above the earth.\" that is all really well because that men, explicitly singled the end in that passage. But for females it poses one insurmountable difficulty. When males deserve to delude themselves and each various other that they are outside, above, and superior to nature, females cannot so distance themselves, for their physiology makes them clearly and obviously part of the herbal world…It is no accident that also today those faiths that placed most emphasis on God\"s utter transcendence and the impossibility even to imagine His reality must relegate ladies to a lower rung the existence, your participation in public spiritual worship only grudgingly permitted, if in ~ all. (229-230)

The Assyrian culture became progressively cohesive through the growth of the realm in the nine century BCE, the brand-new understanding the the deity, and the assimilation of the people from the dominated regions. Shalmaneser III (859-824 BCE) expanded the empire up v the shore of the Mediterranean and also received tribute indigenous the affluent Phoenician urban of Tyre and Sidon. He also defeated the Armenian kingdom the Urartu which had long showed a far-reaching nuisance come the Assyrians. Following his reign, however, the empire erupted in civil war as the king Shamshi Adad V (824-811 BCE) battled with his brother for control. Return the rebellion was put down, development of the realm halted ~ Shalmaneser III.

The regent Shammuramat (also famously recognized as Semiramis who became the mythical goddess-queen of the Assyrians in later on tradition) organized the throne for her young boy Adad Nirari III native c. 811-806 BCE and, in the time, secured the boundaries of the empire and also organized successful projects to put down the Medes and also other troublesome populaces in the north.

When her kid came that age, she had the ability to hand that a stable and also sizeable realm which Adad Nirari III then broadened further. Complying with his reign, however, his successors preferred to rest on the accomplishments of others and also the empire entered another period of stagnation. This was especially detrimental to the military which languished under queens like Ashur Dan III and also Ashur Nirari V.


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

The good Kings that 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 considerable reforms the the army, reasserted main control end the empire, reconquered the Mediterranean seaboard, and even subjugated Babylon. He changed conscription through a manpower levy implemented on each district and also demanded contingents native vassal states\" (14). He defeated the kingdom of Urartu, which had actually again risen to problem Assyrian rulers, and also subjugated the region of Syria. Under Tiglath Pileser III\"s reign, the Assyrian military became the most efficient military force in background up till that time and would provide a version for future militaries in organization, tactics, training, and also efficiency.

Tiglath Pileser III was followed by Shalmaneser V (727-722 BCE) who continued the king\"s policies, and his successor, Sargon II (722-705 BCE) improved upon them and also expanded the realm further. Also though Sargon II\"s preeminence was challenged by nobles, who claimed he had seized the throne illegally, he maintained the cohesion that the empire. Adhering to Tiglath Pileser III\"s lead, Sargon II was able to lug the empire to its best height and decisively defeated Urartu in his famous campaign of 714 BCE.

After his death, the was thrived by his boy Sennacherib (705-681 BCE) who campaigned widely and also ruthlessly, conquering Israel, Judah, and the Greek districts in Anatolia. His bag of Jerusalem is thorough on the \"Taylor Prism\", a picture writing block describing Sennacherib\"s army exploits i m sorry was uncovered in 1830 CE by Britain\"s Colonel Taylor, in i m sorry the king insurance claims to have captured 46 cities and trapped the civilization of Jerusalem within the city till he overwhelmed them. His account is contested, however, by the variation of events defined in the biblical book of II Kings, chapters 18-19, where it is asserted that Jerusalem was saved by magnificent intervention and also Sennacherib\"s military was moved from the field. The biblical account walk relate the Assyrian occupation of the region, however.

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Sennacherib\"s army victories raised the riches of the empire. He relocated the Assyrian resources to Nineveh and built what was well-known as “the palace without a Rival”. That beautified and also improved upon the city\"s original structure, planting orchards and also gardens. The historian Christopher Scarre writes:

Sennacherib\"s palace had actually all the usual accoutrements of a major Assyrian residence: colossal guardian figures and impressively carved rock reliefs (over 2,000 sculptured slabs in 71 rooms). The gardens, too, were exceptional. Recent research by british Assyriologist Stephanie Dalley has argued that these to be the famed Hanging Gardens, one of the 7 Wonders the the ancient World. Later writers placed the Hanging Gardens in ~ Babylon, but extensive research has actually failed come find any kind of trace that them. Sennacherib\"s proud account of the royal residence gardens he developed at Nineveh fits the of the Hanging Gardens in several far-ranging details. (231)

Ignoring the class of the past, however, and also not content through his an excellent wealth and the high-end of the city, Sennacherib drive his army against Babylon, sacked it, and looted the temples. As earlier in history, the looting and also destruction the the temples of Babylon was viewed as the height of sacrilege by the world of the an ar and also by Sennacherib\"s sons who assassinated the in his palace at Nineveh in order to placate the wrath the the gods. Back they certainly would have been motivated to murder their father for the throne (after he chose his youngest son, Esarhaddon, as heir in 683 BCE, snubbing them) lock would have actually needed a legitimate reason to carry out so; and also the devastation of Babylon detailed them through one.


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

His child Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) take it the throne, and also one that his first projects to be to rebuild Babylon. He issued an official proclamation which claimed that Babylon had actually been destroyed by the will of the god owing come the city\"s wickedness and lack that respect because that the divine.

Nowhere in his proclamation does it cite Sennacherib or his duty in the destruction of the city however makes clear that the gods decided Esarhaddon together the divine method for restoration: “Once throughout a previous ruler\"s regime there were bad omens. The city insulted that gods and also was ruined at your command. They decided me, Esarhaddon, come restore whatever to its rightful place, to calm their anger, and also soothe your rage.”

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

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

In order come secure the peace, Esarhaddon\"s mother, Zakutu (also known as Naqia-Zakutu) entered into vassal treaties with the Persians and also the Medes requiring castle to send in breakthrough to his successor. This treaty, known as the loyalty Treaty of Naqia-Zakutu, ensured the easy shift of power when Esarhaddon died preparing to campaign versus the Nubians and rule passed to the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE). Ashurbanipal was the most literate of the Assyrian rulers and also is probably finest known in the modern-day day for the substantial library he collected at his palace at Nineveh.

Though a great patron that the arts and also culture, Ashurbanipal could be just as ruthless together his precursors in securing the empire and intimidating his enemies. Kriwaczek writes:

Which various other imperialist would, like Ashurbanipal, have actually commissioned a sculpture for his royal residence with decoration mirroring him and his wife banqueting in your garden, v the struck-off head and severed hand that the King that Elam dangling from tree on either side, like ghastly Christmas baubles or strange fruit? (208)

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He decisively beat the Elamites and also expanded the realm further to the east and north. Recognizing the prominence of keeping the past, the then sent out envoys to every allude in the floor under his control and had castle retrieve or copy the books of the city or town, happen all ago to Nineveh because that the imperial library.

Ashurbanipal ruled over the realm for 42 year and, in that time, campaigned successfully and also ruled efficiently. The realm had grown too large, however, and also the areas were overtaxed. Further, the vastness the the Assyrian domain do it daunting to safeguard the borders. As good in number together the army remained, there to be not sufficient men to save garrisoned in ~ every significant fort or outpost.

When Ashurbanipal died in 627 BCE, the empire started to loss apart. His followers Ashur-etli-Ilani and Sin-Shar-Ishkun to be unable to hold the territories together and also regions began to rest away. The preeminence of the Assyrian realm was seen as overly harsh through its subjects, in spite of whatever developments and luxuries being an Assyrian citizens may have actually provided, and also former vassal states climbed in revolt.


In 612 BCE Nineveh to be sacked and burned by a coalition that Babylonians, Persians, Medes, and Scythians, amongst others. The devastation of the palace brought the flaming wall surfaces down top top the library the Ashurbanipal and, although the was much from the intention, preserved the good library, and the background of the Assyrians, through baking hard and also burying the clay tablet books. Kriwaczek writes, “Thus walk Assyria\"s opponents ultimately failure to attain their aim when they razed Ashur and Nineveh in 612 BCE, just fifteen year after Ashurbanipal\"s death: the wiping out of Assyria\"s ar in history” (255). Still, the damage of the an excellent Assyrian urban was so finish that, within 2 generations of the empire\"s fall, no one knew where the cities had actually been. The damages of Nineveh were extended by the sands and also lay hidden for the following 2,000 years.

Legacy of Assyria

Thanks come the Greek chronicler Herodotus, who considered the entirety of Mesopotamia \"Assyria\", scholars have long recognized the culture existed (as contrasted to the Sumerians that were unknown to scholarship till the 19th century CE). Mesopotamian scholarship was traditionally recognized as Assyriology until fairly recently (though that term is absolutely still in use), due to the fact that the Assyrians were so renowned through the primary sources the the Greek and also Roman writers.

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

Through Assyria\"s occupation of Babylon, she appropriation the the ancient city\"s culture, and her dissemination of that society throughout her large empire; v the long bondage of the Jews, and also the great influence upon them of Babylonian life and also thought; v the Persian and also Greek occupations which then opened with unprecedented fullness and also freedom all the roadways of communication and also trade in between Babylon and also the increasing cities the Ionia, Asia Minor, and Greece – through these and also many other ways the civilization of the Land between the Rivers pass down right into the social endowment of our race. In the end nothing is lost; for great or evil, every occasion has impacts forever. (264)

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

Following the decline and rupture the the Assyrian empire, Babylon assumed prominence in the an ar from 605-549 BCE. Babylon then fell to the Persians under Cyrus the great who founded the Achaemenid realm (549-330 BCE) which dropped to Alexander the an excellent and, ~ his death, was part of the Seleucid Empire.

The an ar of Mesopotamia equivalent to modern-day Iraq, Syria, and part of Turkey was the area currently known as Assyria and, once the Seleucids were moved out through the Parthians, the western ar of the region, formerly known as Eber Nari and also then Aramea, maintained the name Syria. The Parthians gained control of the region and held it until the coming of Rome in 116 CE, and also then the Sassanid empire held prominence in the area indigenous 226-650 CE until, with the climb of Islam and also the Arab occupations of the 7th century CE, Assyria ceased to exist together a nationwide entity.

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Among the biggest of your achievements, however, to be the Aramaic alphabet, imported into the Assyrian government by Tiglath Pileser III from the conquered region of Syria. Aramaean was simpler to compose than Akkadian and so larger documents gathered by kings such together Ashurbanipal were analyzed from Akkadian into Aramaic, while newer 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 greatest of Assyria\"s legacies.

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