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Assyria

Assyria

Overview
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 river, in northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 (present day northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

), that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 (Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

: ; Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: ; Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

: , Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

: ). Assyria was also sometimes known as Subartu
Subartu
The land of Subartu or Subar is mentioned in Bronze Age literature...

, and after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late seventh century AD variously as; Athura, Syria (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

), Assyria (Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

) and Assuristan.
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Encyclopedia
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 river, in northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 (present day northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

), that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 (Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

: ; Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: ; Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

: , Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

: ). Assyria was also sometimes known as Subartu
Subartu
The land of Subartu or Subar is mentioned in Bronze Age literature...

, and after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late seventh century AD variously as; Athura, Syria (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

), Assyria (Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

) and Assuristan. The term Assyria can also refer to the geographic region or heartland where Assyria, its empires and the Assyrian people were centred. Their descendants still live in the region today, and they form the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 minority in modern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and exist also in north east Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, south east Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and north west Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Assyria evolved in the 23rd century BC as a minor Akkadian kingdom. At the beginning, the early Assyrian kings would certainly have been regional leaders only, and subject to Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great "the Great King" , was an Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. The founder of the Dynasty of Akkad, Sargon reigned in the last quarter of the third millennium BC...

 who united all the Akkadian speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire which lasted from 2334 BC to 2154 BC. After the fall of the Akkadian Empire circa 2154 BC, it eventually coalesced into two separate nations; Assyria in the north, and some time later Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 in the south.

In the Old Assyrian period of the Early Bronze Age, Assyria had been a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia (modern-day northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

), at first competing with the Sumero-Akkadian states of southern Mesopotamia for dominance of the region, and from the late 19th century BC with the newly created state of Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

. During this period it established colonies in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, and under Ilushuma
Ilushuma
Ilushuma was the king of Assyria ca. 1945–1906 BC. He was a powerful king who is best known for founding colonies in Asia Minor and leading an Assyrian army and raiding into southern Mesopotamia, attacking the Sumerian state of Isin and other states. Two of his sons went on to become kings: Erishum...

 it asserted itself over southern Mesopotamia also.. It had experienced fluctuating fortunes in the Middle Assyrian period. Assyria had a period of empire under Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I (fl. late 18th century BC (short chronology) was an Assyrian king. He rose to prominence when he carved out an empire encompassing much of Mesopotamia, Syria and Asia Minor...

 in the 19th and 18th centuries BC, following this it found itself under short periods of Babylonian and Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

-Hurrian domination in the 18th and 15th centuries BC respectively, and another period of great power and empire from 1365 BC to 1076 BC, that included the reigns of great kings such as Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I , was king of the Assyrian empire . His reign marks Assyria's independence from the kingdom of Mitanni, by defeating Shuttarna II; and the beginning of Assyria's emergence as a powerful empire...

, Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I was a king of Assyria.He succeeded Shalmaneser I, his father, as king and won a major victory against the Hittites at the Battle of Nihriya in the first half of his reign...

 and Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period . According to Georges Roux, Tiglath-Pileser was "one of the two or three great Assyrian monarchs since the days of Shamshi-Adad I"...

. Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II
Adad-nirari II
Adad-nirari II is generally considered to be the first King of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian period. He firmly subjugated the areas previously under only nominal Assyrian vassalage, conquering and deporting troublesome Aramean, Neo-Hittite and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places...

 from 911 BC, it again became a great power, overthrowing the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt
The twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt, known as the Nubian Dynasty or the Kushite Empire, was the last dynasty of the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt....

 and conquering Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

, Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

/Armenia
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

, Media
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, Persia, Mannea
Mannaeans
The Mannaeans were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day Iran and Azerbaijan, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC...

, Gutium
Gutium
The Gutians were a tribe that overran southern Mesopotamia when the Akkadian empire collapsed in approximately 2154 BC....

, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

/Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

, Aramea (Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

), Arabia, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

, Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

, Samarra
Samarra
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700....

, Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

, Nabatea, Commagene, Dilmun
Dilmun
Dilmun or Telmun is a land mentioned by Mesopotamian civilizations as a trade partner, a source of the metal copper, and an entrepôt of the Mesopotamia-to-Indus Valley Civilization trade route...

 and the Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

, Sutu
Sutu
Sutu is a village in Pihtla Parish, Saare County, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia....

 and Neo-Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

, driving the Ethiopians and Nubians
Nubians
The Nubians are an ethnic group originally from northern Sudan, and southern Egypt now inhabiting North Africa and some parts of East Africa....

 from Egypt, defeating the Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

 and Scythians and exacting tribute from Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

, Magan
Magan
Majan was an ancient region which was referred to in Sumerian cuneiform texts of around 2300 BC as a source of copper and diorite for Mesopotamia....

 and Punt
Land of Punt
The Land of Punt, also called Pwenet, or Pwene by the ancient Egyptians, was a trading partner known for producing and exporting gold, aromatic resins, African blackwood, ebony, ivory, slaves and wild animals...

 among others. After its fall, from 612 BC through to 605 BC, Assyria remained a province under the Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n, Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n, Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and Sassanid empires until the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Islamic invasion and conquest of the mid 7th century AD, when it was dissolved as an entity.

Early history


In prehistoric times the region was home to a Neanderthal
Neanderthal
The Neanderthal is an extinct member of the Homo genus known from Pleistocene specimens found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia...

 culture such as has been found at the Shanidar Cave. The earliest neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 sites in Assyria were the Jarmo
Jarmo
Jarmo is an archeological site located in northern Iraq on the foothills of Zagros Mountains east of Kirkuk city. It is known as the oldest agricultural community in the world, dating back to 7000 BCE. Jarmo is broadly contemporary with such other important Neolithic sites such as Jericho in the...

 culture circa 7000 BC and Tell Hassuna
Hassuna
Hassuna or Tell Hassuna is an ancient Mesopotamian site situated in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq west of the Tigris river, south of Mosul and about 35 km southwest of Nineveh.-History:...

, the centre of the Hassuna culture, circa 6000 BC.
During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ians and the Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 Akkad
Akkad
The Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia....

ians throughout Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

 on Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund
Sprachbund
A Sprachbund – also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area or language crossroads – is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity and language contact. They may be genetically unrelated, or only distantly related...

.

Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 gradually replaced Sumerian
Sumerian
Sumerian may refer to:*Sumerian language*Cuneiform script – Sumerian script*The people who lived in ancient Sumer, or anything else pertaining to their civilization, including:**History of Sumer**Sumerian architecture**Sumerian mythology...

 as the spoken language of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 somewhere after the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 until the 1st century AD.

The city of Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 (Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

) seems to have existed since at least before the middle of the third millennium BC (circa 2600 - 2500 BC), although it appears to have been an administrative centre at this time rather than an independent state. During the Akkadian Empire (2334-2154 BC) the Assyrians, like all the Akkadian peoples, were subject to the dynasty of Akkad. However, towards the end of the reign of Sargon the Great, the Assyrian faction rebelled against him; "the tribes of Assyria of the upper country—in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously".

According to some Judaeo-Christian theological traditions, the city of Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 (also spelled Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 or Aššur) was founded by Ashur the son of Shem
Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

, who was deified by later generations as the city's patron god. However there is absolutely no historical basis whatsoever for this tradition in the far older Mesopotamian annals; Assyrian tradition itself lists an early Assyrian king named Ushpia
Ushpia
Ushpia was an early Assyrian king who ruled circa 2030 BC. According to the Assyrian King List he is alleged to have founded the temple of Ashur at the city of Assur. He was succeeded by Apiashal....

 as having dedicated the first temple to the god Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 in the city in the 21st century BC, it is not known if he was the first fully independent ruler of Assyria as a city state however, as no records apart from names have yet been discovered regarding the earlier listed kings. It is highly likely that the city was named in honour of the Assyrian god of the same name. The upper Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 River valley seems to have been ruled by Sumerians and later Akkad
Akkad
The Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia....

 in early antiquity. The Akkadian Empire of Sargon the Great, which united all the Akkadian speaking Semites, including the Assyrians, claimed to encompass the surrounding "four quarters"; the regions north of the seat of the Akkadian empire in central Mesopotamia had been known as Subartu
Subartu
The land of Subartu or Subar is mentioned in Bronze Age literature...

. The name Azuhinum in Akkadian records also seems to refer to Assyria proper. The Akkadian Empire was destroyed by economic decline, internal strife and barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 Gutian people in 2154 BC, then rebuilt as part of the Empire of the Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ian 3rd dynasty of Ur founded in 2112 BC. The rulers of Assyria during the period between 2154 BC and 2112 BC may have been fully independent as the Gutians are only known to have administered southern Mesopotamia, however there is no information from Assyria bar the king list for this period. Prior to Ushpia, the city of Ashur appears to have been a regional administrative center of the Akkadian Empire, implicated by Nuzi tablets, subject to their fellow Akkadian Sargon and his successors.

Classical Dating


George Syncellus
George Syncellus
George Syncellus was a Byzantine chronicler and ecclesiastic. He had lived many years in Palestine as a monk, before coming to Constantinople, where he was appointed syncellus to Tarasius, patriarch of Constantinople...

 in his Chronographia
Chronographia
Chronographia meaning "description of time", or chronicle, in sense of historical account, can refer to:* Chronographia of Theophanes, work covering events from the accession of Diocletian in 284 to the downfall of Michael I Rhangabes in 813* Most prominent, unfinished work by Michael Psellos,...

quotes a fragment from Julius Africanus
Julius Africanus
Julius Africanus was a celebrated orator in the reign of Nero, and seems to have been the son of the Julius Africanus, of the Gallic state of the Santoni, who was condemned by Tiberius in 32 AD. Quintilian, who had heard Julius Africanus, spoke of him and Domitius Afer as the best orators of their...

 which dates the founding of Assyria to 2284 BC. The Roman historian Velleius Paterculus citing Aemilius Sura states that Assyria was founded 1995 years before Philip V
Philip V
Philip V may refer to:* Philip V of Macedon * Philip V of France * Philip II of Spain, also Philip V, Duke of Burgundy * Philip V of Spain...

 was defeated in 197 BC (at the Battle of Cynoscephalae
Battle of Cynoscephalae
The Battle of Cynoscephalae was an encounter battle fought in Thessaly in 197 BC between the Roman army, led by Titus Quinctius Flamininus, and the Antigonid dynasty of Macedon, led by Philip V.- Prelude :...

) by the Romans. The sum therefore 197 + 1995 = 2192 BC for the foundation of Assyria. Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

 recorded another tradition from Ctesias
Ctesias
Ctesias of Cnidus was a Greek physician and historian from Cnidus in Caria. Ctesias, who lived in the 5th century BC, was physician to Artaxerxes Mnemon, whom he accompanied in 401 BC on his expedition against his brother Cyrus the Younger....

, that dates Assyria 1306 years before 883 BC (the starting date of the reign of Ashurnasirpal II) and so the sum 883 + 1306 = 2189 BC. The Chronicle
Chronicon (Eusebius)
The Chronicon or Chronicle was a work in two books by Eusebius of Caesarea. It seems to have been compiled in the early 4th century. It contained a world chronicle from Abraham until the vicennalia of Constantine I in 325 AD...

of Eusebius yet provides another date for the founding of Assyria, with the accession of Ninus
Ninus
Ninus , according to Greek historians writing in the Hellenistic period and later, was accepted as the eponymous founder of Nineveh , Ancient capital of Assyria, although he does not seem to represent any one personage known to modern history, and is more likely a conflation of several real and/or...

, dating to 2057 BC, but the Armenian translation of the Chronicle
Chronicon (Eusebius)
The Chronicon or Chronicle was a work in two books by Eusebius of Caesarea. It seems to have been compiled in the early 4th century. It contained a world chronicle from Abraham until the vicennalia of Constantine I in 325 AD...

puts back this figure slightly back to 2116 BC. Another classical dating tradition found in the Excerpta Latina Barbari
Excerpta Latina Barbari
Excerpta Latina Barbari is a Latin translation of a 5th or early 6th century Greek chronicle.-Origin:The Excerpta Latina Barbari is a Latin translation of a Greek chronicle composed in Alexandria during the reign of Zeno or Anastasius .The original Greek chronicle was a variation of the Chronica...

dates the foundation of Assyria, under Belus
Belus (Assyrian)
Belus or Belos in classical Greek or classical Latin texts in an Assyrian context refers to one or another purportedly ancient and historically nonexistent Assyrian king, such king in part at least a euhemerization of the Babylonian god Bel Marduk.Belus most commonly appears as the father of...

, to 2206 BC.

Old Assyrian Period


Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria, little is positively known. The Assyrian King List mentions rulers going back to the 23rd and 22nd century BC. The earliest king named Tudiya
Tudiya
Tudiya is the earliest recorded Assyrian king. According to Georges Roux and the Assyrian King List he would have lived in the 23rd century BC. Tudiya concluded a treaty with king Ibrium of Ebla for the use of a trading post officially controlled by Ebla. He was suceeded by Adamu....

, who was a contemporary of Ibrium
Ibrium
Ibrium was an ancient ruler of the Kingdom of Ebla. He dominated Ebla and its subordinate cities and became its most powerful ruler. Ibrium introduced absolute, hereditary monarchy in the kingdom and was succeeded by his son Ibbi-Sipish....

 of Ebla
Ebla
Ebla Idlib Governorate, Syria) was an ancient city about southwest of Aleppo. It was an important city-state in two periods, first in the late third millennium BC, then again between 1800 and 1650 BC....

, appears to have lived in the mid 23rd century BC, according to the king list. Tudiya concluded a treaty with Ibrium for the use of a trading post in The Levant officially controlled by Ebla. Apart from this reference to trading activity, nothing further has yet been discovered about Tudiya. He was succeeded by Adamu
Adamu
Adamu is a surname. People with this surname include:* Semira Adamu, Nigerian refugee* Abdullahi Adamu , Nigerian politician* Baba Adamu , Ghanaian footballer* Charles Adamu , Ghanaian boxer*Adamu - king of Assyria...

 and then a further thirteen rulers (Yangi, Suhlamu, Harharu, Mandaru, Imshu, Harshu, Didanu, Hanu, Zuabu, Nuabu, Abazu, Belu and Azarah) about all of whom nothing is yet known. These early kings from the 23rd to late 21st centuries BC, who are recorded as kings who lived in tents were likely to have been Akkadian semi nomadic pasturalist rulers, nominally independent but subject to the Akkadian Empire, who dominated the region and at some point during this period became fully urbanised and founded the city state of Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

.

The first written inscriptions by Assyrian kings appear in the second half of the 21st century BC. Assyria then consisted of a number of city states and small Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 Akkadian kingdoms. The foundation of the first true urbanised Assyrian monarchy was traditionally ascribed to Ushpia
Ushpia
Ushpia was an early Assyrian king who ruled circa 2030 BC. According to the Assyrian King List he is alleged to have founded the temple of Ashur at the city of Assur. He was succeeded by Apiashal....

 a contemporary of Ishbi-Erra
Ishbi-Erra
Ishbi-Erra was the first king in the Dynasty of Isin. When the Third Dynasty of Ur collapsed during the reign of Ibbi-Sin, and the former empire was overrun by invaders from Elam and elsewhere, Ishbi-Erra, who had until then served as governor of Isin, set-up an independent kingdom. This kingdom...

 of Larsa
Larsa
Larsa was an important city of ancient Sumer, the center of the cult of the sun god Utu. It lies some 25 km southeast of Uruk in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate, near the east bank of the Shatt-en-Nil canal at the site of the modern settlement Tell as-Senkereh or Sankarah.-History:According to...

 circa 2030 BC. He was succeeded in succession by Apiashal, Sulili
Sulili
Sulili was the name of an ancient Assyrian king. He was the son of the forefather Aminu, and would have ruled ca. 2000 BC....

, Kikkiya and Akiya of whom nothing is yet known.

In around 1975 BC Puzur-Ashur I
Puzur-Ashur I
Puzur-Ashur I was a king of Assyria circa 1975 BC Assyrian king list. According to Georges Roux he founded a new dynasty in Assyria, and left inscriptions and dedications to the gods Ashur, Adad and Ishtar in his capital city. The date of his death has not survived on record, but he was succeeded...

 founded a new dynasty, and his successors such as Shalim-ahum
Shalim-ahum
Shalim-ahum was an early king of Assyria who died in 1946 BC according to the Assyrian king list. He succeeded Puzur-Ashur I. Little has been discovered about his rule thus far....

 (died 1946 BC), Ilushuma
Ilushuma
Ilushuma was the king of Assyria ca. 1945–1906 BC. He was a powerful king who is best known for founding colonies in Asia Minor and leading an Assyrian army and raiding into southern Mesopotamia, attacking the Sumerian state of Isin and other states. Two of his sons went on to become kings: Erishum...

 (1945- 1906 BC), Erishum I
Erishum I
Erishum I was the king of Assyria between 1906 BC to 1867 BC. He was the son of the previous Assyrian king, Ilushuma. He built a temple for the deity Assur...

 (1905- 1867 BC), Ikunum
Ikunum
Ikunum was a king of Assyria between 1867 BC to 1860 BC and the son of Ilushuma.- Reign :He built a temple for the god Ninkigal., strengthened the fortifications of the city of Assur and maintained commercial colonies in Asia Minor....

 (1867- 1860 BC), Sargon I
Sargon I
Sargon I or Sharru-ken reigned as king of the old-Assyrian Kingdom from ca. 1920 BC to 1881 BC. The name 'Sargon' means 'the king is legitimate' in Akkadian. He is known for his work refortifying Assur. The name "Sargon I" has also been used to refer to Sargon of Akkad, and the Assyrian Sargon...

, Naram-Sin and Puzur-Ashur II
Puzur-Ashur II
Puzur-Aššur II was King of Assyria for 8 years between 1865 BC to 1857 BC. He was the son and successor of Šarru-kin I . Due to his father's long reign he came to the throne at a late age since one of his sons, named Ili-bani, was a witness in a contract eleven years before...

 left inscriptions regarding the building of temples to Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

, Adad
Adad
Adad in Akkadian and Ishkur in Sumerian and Hadad in Aramaic are the names of the storm-god in the Babylonian-Assyrian pantheon. All three are usually written by the logogram dIM...

 and Ishtar
Ishtar
Ishtar is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. She is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate north-west Semitic goddess Astarte.-Characteristics:...

 in Assyria.
Ilushuma
Ilushuma
Ilushuma was the king of Assyria ca. 1945–1906 BC. He was a powerful king who is best known for founding colonies in Asia Minor and leading an Assyrian army and raiding into southern Mesopotamia, attacking the Sumerian state of Isin and other states. Two of his sons went on to become kings: Erishum...

 in particular appears to have been a powerful king and the dominant ruler in the region, who made many raids into southern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 between 1945 BC and 1906 BC, attacking the independent Sumero-Akkadian city states of the region such as Isin
Isin
Isin was an ancient city-state of lower Mesopotamia about 20 miles south of Nippur at the site of modern Ishan al-Bahriyat in Iraq's Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate.-History:...

, and founding colonies in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. This was to become a pattern throughout the history of ancient Mesopotamia with the future rivalry between Assyria and Babylonia. However, Babylonia did not exist at this time, but was founded in 1894 BC by an Amorite
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

 prince named Sumuabum during the reign of Erishum I.
The Amorites had overrun southern Mesopotamia from the mid 20th century BC, deposing native Sumero-Akkadian dynasties and setting up their own kingdoms. However they were repelled by the Assyrian kings of the 20th and 19th centuries BC.

Assyria had extensive contact with cities on the Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

n plateau in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. The Assyrians established colonies in Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, (e.g., at Kanesh (modern Kültepe
Kültepe
Kültepe is a modern village near the ancient city of Kaneš or Kanesh , located in the Kayseri Province of Turkey's Central Anatolia Region...

) from 1920 BC to 1740 BC. These colonies, called karum, the Akkadian word for 'port', were attached to Anatolian cities, but physically separate, and had special tax status. They must have arisen from a long tradition of trade between Assyria and the Anatolian cities, but no archaeological or written records show this. The trade consisted of metal (perhaps lead or tin; the terminology here is not entirely clear) and textiles from Assyria, that were traded for precious metals in Anatolia.

Like many city-states in Mesopotamian history, Ashur was, to a great extent, an oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 rather than a monarchy. Authority was considered to lie with "the City", and the polity had three main centres of power — an assembly of elders, a hereditary ruler, and an eponym
Eponym
An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...

. The ruler presided over the assembly and carried out its decisions. He was not referred to with the usual Akkadian term for "king", šarrum; that was instead reserved for the city's patron deity Assur, of whom the ruler was the high priest. The ruler himself was only designated as "the steward of Assur" (iššiak Assur), where the term for steward is a borrowing from Sumerian ensi(k)
ENSI
ENSI is a Sumerian title designating the ruler or prince of a city state...

. The third centre of power was the eponym (limmum), who gave the year his name, similarly to the archons and consuls
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

 of Classical Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

. He was annually elected by lot
Sortition
In politics, sortition is the selection of decision makers by lottery. The decision-makers are chosen as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates....

 and was responsible for the economic administration of the city, which included the power to detain people and confiscate property. The institution of the eponym as well as the formula iššiak Assur lingered on as ceremonial vestiges of this early system throughout the history of the Assyrian monarchy.

Assyrian Empire of Shamshi-Adad I


In 1813 BC the native Akkadian king of Assyria Erishum II
Erishum II
Erishum II was the King of Assyria from 1815 BC to 1809 BC. After reigning only for 6 years, he was overthrown by Shamshi-Adad I.-See also:*Assyria...

 (1819- 1813 BC) was deposed, and the throne of Assyria was usurped by Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I (fl. late 18th century BC (short chronology) was an Assyrian king. He rose to prominence when he carved out an empire encompassing much of Mesopotamia, Syria and Asia Minor...

 (1813 BC – 1791 BC) in the expansion of Amorite
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

 tribes from the Khabur River
Khabur River
The Khabur River , , , ) is the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syrian territory. Although the Khabur originates in Turkey, the karstic springs around Ra's al-'Ayn are the river's main source of water. Several important wadis join the Khabur north of Al-Hasakah, together creating...

 delta. Although regarded as an Amorite, Shamshi-Adad is credited with decendancy from the native ruler Ushpia
Ushpia
Ushpia was an early Assyrian king who ruled circa 2030 BC. According to the Assyrian King List he is alleged to have founded the temple of Ashur at the city of Assur. He was succeeded by Apiashal....

 in the Assyrian King List. He put his son Ishme-Dagan
Ishme-Dagan
Ishme-Dagan I was the son of the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I, put on throne of Ekallatum by his father after a successful military attack. He ruled the area of the upper Tigris, including the city-state of Assur. Following Shamshi-Adad's death , Ishme-Dagan I managed to rule Assyria until himself...

 on the throne of a nearby Assyrian city, Ekallatum
Ekallatum
Ekallatum was an ancient Assyrian city of upper Mesopotamia. The exact location of it has not yet been identified, but it was located somewhere along the left bank of the Tigris, south of Assur....

, and maintained Assyria's Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

n colonies. Shamshi-Adad I then went on to conquer the kingdom of Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

 on the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 putting another of his sons, Yasmah-Adad
Yasmah-Adad
Yasmah-Adad was the son of the Amorite king Shamshi-Adad I, put on throne of Mari by his father after a successful military attack. After Shamshi-Adad's death he managed to rule for only a short time before being ousted from power by Zimrilim. His brother, Ishme-Dagan, ruled at the same time in the...

 on the throne there. Shamshi-Adad's Assyria now encompassed the whole of northern Mesopotamia and included territory in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and northern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. He himself resided in a new capital city founded in the Khabur valley, called Shubat-Enlil.

Ishme-Dagan
Ishme-Dagan
Ishme-Dagan I was the son of the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I, put on throne of Ekallatum by his father after a successful military attack. He ruled the area of the upper Tigris, including the city-state of Assur. Following Shamshi-Adad's death , Ishme-Dagan I managed to rule Assyria until himself...

 inherited Assyria, but Yasmah-Adad was overthrown by a new king called Zimrilim
Zimrilim
Zimrilim was king of Mari from about 1775 to 1761 BCE.He was the son or grandson of Iakhdunlim, but was forced to flee to Yamkhad when his father was assassinated by his own servants during a coup. The city was occupied by Shamshi-Adad I, the king of Assur, who put his own son Yasmah-Adad on the...

 in Mari. The new king of Mari allied himself with king Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

, who had made the recently created, and originally minor state of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 a major power. Hammurabi was also an Amorite
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

. Assyria now faced the rising power of Babylon in the south. Ishme-Dagan responded by making an alliance with the enemies of Babylon, and the power struggle continued without resolution for decades. Ishme-Dagan, like his father was a great warrior, and in addition to repelling Babylonian attacks, campaigned successfully against the Turukku in Ekallatum
Ekallatum
Ekallatum was an ancient Assyrian city of upper Mesopotamia. The exact location of it has not yet been identified, but it was located somewhere along the left bank of the Tigris, south of Assur....

 (successors of the Gutians and Lullubi
Lullubi
The Lullubi or Lulubi were a group of tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as Lulubum, now the Sharazor plain of in the Zagros Mountains of modern Iran...

), and against Dadusha, king of Eshnunna
Eshnunna
Eshnunna was an ancient Sumerian city and city-state in central Mesopotamia. Although situated in the Diyala Valley north-east of Sumer proper, the city nonetheless belonged securely within the Sumerian cultural milieu.The tutelary deity of the city was Tishpak .- History :Occupied from the Jemdet...

 and Iamhad (modern Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

)

Assyria under Babylonian domination


Hammurabi after first conquering Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

, Larsa
Larsa
Larsa was an important city of ancient Sumer, the center of the cult of the sun god Utu. It lies some 25 km southeast of Uruk in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate, near the east bank of the Shatt-en-Nil canal at the site of the modern settlement Tell as-Senkereh or Sankarah.-History:According to...

 and Eshnunna
Eshnunna
Eshnunna was an ancient Sumerian city and city-state in central Mesopotamia. Although situated in the Diyala Valley north-east of Sumer proper, the city nonetheless belonged securely within the Sumerian cultural milieu.The tutelary deity of the city was Tishpak .- History :Occupied from the Jemdet...

 eventually prevailed over Ishme-Dagan's successors, and conquered Assyria for Babylon in 1756 BC. With Hammurabi, the various karum colonies in Anatolia ceased trade activity — probably because the goods of Assyria were now being traded with the Babylonians. The Assyrian monarchy survived, however the three Amorite kings succeeding Ishme-Dagan; Mut-Ashkur
Mut-Ashkur
Mut-Ashkur was the king of Assyria from 1730 BC to 1720 BC. He was the son and successor of Ishme-Dagan. His father arranged for him to marry the daughter of the Hurrian king Zaziya....

 (who was the son of Ishme-Dagan and married to a Hurrian queen), Rimush
Rimush
Rimush was the second king of the Akkadian Empire. He was the son of Sargon of Akkad and Queen Tashlultum. He was succeeded by his brother Manishtushu and was an uncle of Naram-Sin of Akkad....

 and Asinum
Asinum
Asinum was an Assyrian king, grandson of Shamshi-Adad I, driven out by vice-regent Puzur-Sin because he was of Amorite extraction; not included in the standard King List, but attested in Puzur-Suen's inscription...

 were vassals, dependent on the Babylonians during the reign of Hammurabi.

Assyrian dynasty restored


Babylonia seems to have lost control over Assyria during the reign of Hammurabi's successor Samsu-iluna
Samsu-Iluna
Samsu-iluna was the seventh king of the founding Amorite dynasty of Babylon, ruling from 1750 BC to 1712 BC middle chronology. He was the son and successor of Hammurabi by an unknown mother...

. A period of civil war ensued after the deposition of the Amorite vassal king of Assyria Asinum
Asinum
Asinum was an Assyrian king, grandson of Shamshi-Adad I, driven out by vice-regent Puzur-Sin because he was of Amorite extraction; not included in the standard King List, but attested in Puzur-Suen's inscription...

, who was a grandson of Shamshi-Adad I, by a native Akkadian vice regent named Puzur-Sin
Puzur-Sin
Puzur-Sin was an Assyrian vice regent who according to the Assyrian King List was responsible for driving out Asinum the Amorite vassal king of the Babylonians from Assyria, and allowing the native Ashur-dugul to seize the throne....

. A native Akkadian king Ashur-dugul seized the throne with the help of Puzur-Sin, and a period of civil war ensued with five further kings (Ashur-apla-idi, Nasir-Sin, Sin-namir, Ipqi-Ishtar and Adad-salulu) all reigning in quick succession. Babylonia seems to have been too powerless to intervene. Finally, a native Akkadian king named Adasi came to the fore circa 1720 BC and completely freed Assyria from any pretence of Babylonian dominance. Adasi drove the Babylonians and Amorites from Assyria during the late 18th century BC and Babylonian power began to quickly wane in Mesopotamia as a whole, although the Amorites would retain control over Babylonia and southern Mesopotamia until 1595 BC.

Adasi was succeeded by Bel-bani (1700-1691 BC). Little is known of many of the kings that followed such as; Libaya (1690-1674 BC), Sharma-Adad I (1673-1662 BC), Iptar-Sin
Iptar-Sin
IB.TAR.SînmIB.TAR-d30. , was the 51st Assyrian king according to the Assyrian King List.Ḫorsābād King List ii 18. He reigned for 12 years some time during the 17th century BC.-Biography:...

 (1661-1650 BC), Bazaya (1649-1622 BC), Lullaya (1621-1618 BC), Shu-Ninua (1615-1602 BC), Sharma-Adad II (1601-1599 BC), Erishum III (1598-1586 BC), and Shamshi-Adad II (1585-1580 BC). However Assyria seems to have been a relatively strong and stable nation, existing undisturbed by its neighbours such as the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

, Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

, Amorites, Babylonians or Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 for well over 200 years. When Babylon fell to the Kassites
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 in 1595 BC, they were unable to make any inroads into Assyria, and there seems to have been no trouble between the first Kassite ruler of Babylon, Agum II
Agum II
Agum IIInscribed A-gu-um-ka-ak-ri-me in his eponymous inscription, elsewhere unattested. was possibly a Kassite ruler who may have become the 8th or more likely the 9th king of the third Babylonian dynasty sometime after Babylonia was defeated and sacked by the Hittite king Mursilis I in 1531 BC ,...

 and Erishum III of Assyria, and a treaty was signed between the two rulers. Similarly, Ashur-nirari I
Ashur-nirari I
Ashur-nirari I was the king of Assyria from 1529 BC to 1503 BC and the son of the former king Ishme-Dagan II. Under his reign, he helped construct the langraum of the Sin-Shamash temple at the Assyrian capital of Ashur. - References :...

 (1547-1522 BC) seems not to have been troubled by the newly founded Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 Empire in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, the Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 empire or Babylon during his 25 year reign. Puzur-Ashur III
Puzur-Ashur III
Puzur-Ashur III was the king of Assyria from 1503 BC to 1479 BC. According to the Assyrian King List, he was the son and successor of Ashur-nirari I and ruled for 24 years. He is also the first Assyrian king to appear in the synchronistic history, where he is described as a contemporary of...

 (1521-1498 BC) of Assyria and Burna-Buriash I
Burnaburiash I
Burna-Buriyåš I, meaning servant of the Lord of the lands, was the first Kassite who really ruled over Babylonia, possibly the first to occupy the city of Babylon proper around 1510 BC, culminating a century of creeping encroachment by the Kassite tribes. He was the tenth king of the Babylonian...

 the Kassite king of Babylon, signed a treaty defining the borders of the two nations in the late 16th nation century BC. Puzur-Ashur III
Puzur-Ashur III
Puzur-Ashur III was the king of Assyria from 1503 BC to 1479 BC. According to the Assyrian King List, he was the son and successor of Ashur-nirari I and ruled for 24 years. He is also the first Assyrian king to appear in the synchronistic history, where he is described as a contemporary of...

, an energetic ruler, undertook much rebuilding work in Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

, the city was refortified and the southern quarters incorporated into the main city defences. Temples to the moon god Sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

 (Nanna
Sin (mythology)
Sin or Nanna was the god of the moon in Mesopotamian mythology. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.- Name :The original meaning of...

) and the sun god Shamash
Shamash
Shamash was a native Mesopotamian deity and the sun god in the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian pantheons. Shamash was the god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu...

 were erected in the 15th century BC. He was succeded by Enlil-nasir I
Enlil-nasir I
Enlil-nasir I was the king of Assyria from 1479 BC to 1466 BC....

 (1497-1483 BC).

Assyria under Mitanni domination


The emergence of the Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 Empire in the 16th century BC did eventually lead to a period of Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

-Hurrian domination in the 15th century. Some time after the death of the capable Puzur-Ashur III
Puzur-Ashur III
Puzur-Ashur III was the king of Assyria from 1503 BC to 1479 BC. According to the Assyrian King List, he was the son and successor of Ashur-nirari I and ruled for 24 years. He is also the first Assyrian king to appear in the synchronistic history, where he is described as a contemporary of...

 in 1498 BC, Saushtatar, king of Hanilgalbat (Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

 of Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

), sacked Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 and made Assyria a largely vassal state. This event is most likely to have happened during the rule of Nur-ili
Nur-ili
Nur-ili was the king of Assyria from 1466 BC 1454 BC. He was the son of the king before him, Enlil-nasir I....

 (1483 - 1471 BC). The Assyrian monarchy survived, and the Mitanni influence appears to have been sporadic, and they appear not to have been always willing or able to interfere in Assyrian internal affairs, for example the son of Nur-ili, Ashur-shaduni
Ashur-shaduni
Ashur-shaduni was the king of Assyria for only one month in 1454 BC. He took control of the empire after the death of his father Nur-ili, but was overthrown in a coup by his uncle Ashur-rabi I....

 (1470 BC) was deposed by his uncle Ashur-rabi I
Ashur-rabi I
Ashur-rabi I was the King of Assyria from 1453 BC to 1435 BC. The son of the former king Enlil-nasir I, he seized the throne after a successful coup on Ashur-Saduni, who was the king for only one month.-References:...

 in his first year of rule, and similarly, Ashur-nadin-ahhe I
Ashur-nadin-ahhe I
Ashur-nadin-ahhe I was the king of Assyria from 1435 BC to 1420 BC. He took power after the death of his father, Ashur-rabi I. Beginning with his reign, Assyria became a vassal of Mitanni. After a 15 year rule, he was overthrown by his brother Enlil-Nasir II....

 (who had made an alliance with Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, which sent him a consignment of gold) was deposed by his own brother Enlil-nasir II
Enlil-Nasir II
Enlil-Nasir II was the king of Assyria from 1420 BC to 1414 BC. The brother of Ashur-nadin-ahhe I, he seized the throne in a successful coup....

 in 1420 BC. Assyrian kings seemed to have been free of Mitanni influence regarding international affairs at times also, as evidenced by the border treaty between Ashur-bel-nisheshu
Ashur-bel-nisheshu
Ashur-Bel-Nisheshu was the king of Assyria from 1407 BC to 1398 BC...

 (1417–1409 BC) and Karaindash
Karaindash
Karaindaš was one of the more prominent rulers of the Kassite dynasty and reigned towards the end of the 15th century, BC. An inscription on a tablet detailing building work calls him “Mighty King, King of Babylonia, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Kassites, King of Karuduniaš”.Tablet A 3519,...

 of Babylon in the late 15th century. Ashur-rim-nisheshu
Ashur-rim-nisheshu
Ashur-rim-nisheshu was the king of Assyria from 1398 BC to 1390 BC. He was the son of the king before him, Ashur-bel-nisheshu....

 (1408–1401 BC) and Ashur-nadin-ahhe II
Ashur-nadin-ahhe II
Ashur-nadin-ahhe II was king of Assyria from 1403 to 1393 BC. Preceded by Ashur-rim-nisheshu, he is considered to be the last king of the Old Assyrian Period. He was succeeded by Eriba-Adad I, the first king of the Middle Assyrian period.Ashur-nadin-ahhe is an Assyrian personal name meaning “the...

 (1400–1391 BC) were the final two kings subject to the Mitanni empire. Eriba-Adad I
Eriba-Adad I
Eriba-Adad was king of Assyria from 1392 BC to 1366 BC.He was probably a vassal of Mitanni. However, this kingdom got tangled up in a dynastic battle between Tushratta and his brother Artatama II and after this his son Shuttarna II, who called himself king of the Hurri, while seeking support from...

, a son of Ashur-bel-nisheshu, ascended the throne in 1390 BC and the ties to Mitanni began to unravel.

There are dozens of Mesopotamian cuneiform
Cuneiform
Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

 texts from this period, with precise observations of solar and lunar eclipses, that have been used as 'anchors' in the various attempts to define the chronology of Babylonia and Assyria for the early second millennium (i.e., the "high", "middle", and "low" chronologies.)

Middle Assyrian period — Assyrian resurgence


Scholars variously date the beginning of the "Middle Assyrian period" to either the fall of the Old Assyrian kingdom of Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I (fl. late 18th century BC (short chronology) was an Assyrian king. He rose to prominence when he carved out an empire encompassing much of Mesopotamia, Syria and Asia Minor...

, or to the ascension of Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I , was king of the Assyrian empire . His reign marks Assyria's independence from the kingdom of Mitanni, by defeating Shuttarna II; and the beginning of Assyria's emergence as a powerful empire...

 to the throne of Assyria.

Assyrian expansion and empire 1390 - 1076 BC



By the reign of Eriba-Adad I
Eriba-Adad I
Eriba-Adad was king of Assyria from 1392 BC to 1366 BC.He was probably a vassal of Mitanni. However, this kingdom got tangled up in a dynastic battle between Tushratta and his brother Artatama II and after this his son Shuttarna II, who called himself king of the Hurri, while seeking support from...

 (1390 BC - 1366 BC) Mitanni influence over Assyria was on the wane. Eriba-Adad I became involved in a dynastic battle between Tushratta
Tushratta
Tushratta was a king of Mitanni at the end of the reign of Amenhotep III and throughout the reign of Akhenaten -- approximately the late 14th century BC. He was the son of Shuttarna II...

 and his brother Artatama II
Artatama II
Artatama II was an usurper to the throne of king Tushratta of Mitanni in the fourteenth century BC. He may have been a brother of Tushratta or belonged to a rival line of the royal house. The Hittite king Suppiluliuma I made a treaty with Artatama following his invasion of Mitanni. His son,...

 and after this his son Shuttarna II
Shuttarna II
Shuttarna II was a king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni in the early 14th century BC.Shuttarna was a descendant and probably a son of the great Mitannian king Artatama I. He was an ally of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III and the diplomatic dealings of the kings are briefly recorded in the...

, who called himself king of the Hurri
Hurri
Hurri is a state along with Mitanni of the more inclusive "Hurri lands," which many scholars locate in Armenia. The name Hurri is also spelled Harri, the root word for Aryan....

 while seeking support from the Assyrians. A pro-Hurri/Assyria faction appeared at the royal Mitanni court. Eriba-Adad I had thus loosened Mitanni influence over Assyria, and in turn made Assyria an influence on Mitanni affairs.

Mitanni influence over Assyria collapsed completely during the reign of Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I , was king of the Assyrian empire . His reign marks Assyria's independence from the kingdom of Mitanni, by defeating Shuttarna II; and the beginning of Assyria's emergence as a powerful empire...

 (1365 BC – 1330 BC). Assyrian
Assyrian
-In antiquity:*ancient Assyria**the Old Assyrian period **the Middle Assyrian period **the Neo-Assyrian period *Either of two provinces of the Persian Empire:**Achaemenid Assyria...

 pressure from the east and Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 pressure from the north-west, enabled Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I , was king of the Assyrian empire . His reign marks Assyria's independence from the kingdom of Mitanni, by defeating Shuttarna II; and the beginning of Assyria's emergence as a powerful empire...

 to completely throw off any remaining Mitanni influence and again make Assyria a fully independent and indeed imperial power at the expense of Kassite
Kassite
Kassite is a rare mineral with formula CaTi2O42. It crystallizes in the orthorhombic crystal system and forms radiating rosettes and pseudo-hexagonal tabular crystals which are commonly twinned. Crystals are brownish pink to pale yellow and are translucent with an adamantine luster...

 Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, the Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 themselves, Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

 and the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

; and a time came when the Kassite king in Babylon was glad to marry Muballiṭat-Šērūa, the daughter of Ashur-uballit, whose letters to Akhenaten
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

 of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 form part of the Amarna letters
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

. This marriage led to disastrous results, as the Kassite faction at court murdered the Babylonian king and placed a pretender on the throne. Assur-uballit promptly invaded Babylonia to avenge his son-in-law, entering Babylon, deposing the king and installing Kurigalzu II
Kurigalzu II
Kurigalzu II was the twenty second king of the Kassite dynasty that ruled over Babylon. In more than twelve inscriptions, Kurigalzu names Burna-Buriaš II as his father...

 of the royal line king there.
Ashur-uballit I then attacked and defeated Mattiwaza the Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 king despite attempts by the Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 king Suppiluliumas, now fearful of growing Assyrian power, attempting to preserve his throne with military support. The lands of the Mitanni and Hurrians were duly appropriated by Assyria, making it a large and powerful empire.

Enlil-nirari
Enlil-nirari
Enlil-nirari was King of Assyria from 1330 BC to 1319 BC, or from 1317 BC to 1308 BC . He was the son of Aššur-uballiṭ I...

 (1329- 1308 BC) succeeded Ashur-uballit I. He described himself as a "Great-King" (Sharru rabû) in letters to the Hittite kings. He was immediately attacked by Kurigalzu II of Babylon who had been installed by his father, but succeeded in defeating him, repelling Babylonian attempts to invade Assyria, counter attacking and appropriating Babylonian territory in the process, thus further expanding Assyria. The successor of Enlil-nirari, Arik-den-ili
Arik-den-ili
Arik-den-ili was an Assyrian king who succeeded Enlil-nirari, his father, and was to rule for twelve years and inaugurate the tradition of annual military campaigns against Assyria’s neighbors.-Biography:Our sources are slim for his reign, less than ten inscriptions, a fragmentary chronicle...

 (c. 1307-1296 BC), consolidated Assyrian power, and successfully campaigned in the Zagros Mountains to the east, subjugating the Lullubi
Lullubi
The Lullubi or Lulubi were a group of tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as Lulubum, now the Sharazor plain of in the Zagros Mountains of modern Iran...

 and Gutians. In the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, he defeated Semitic tribes of the so-called Ahlamu group. He was followed by Adad-nirari I
Adad-nirari I
Adad-nirari I was a king of Assyria. He is the earliest Assyrian king whose annals survive in any detail. Adad-nirari I achieved major military victories that significantly strengthened the Assyrian kingdom and enabled Assyria to start to play a major role in Mesopotamian politics...

 who made Kalhu (Biblical Calah) his capital, and continued expansion to the northwest, mainly at the expense of the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 and Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

, conquering Hittite territories such as Carchemish
Carchemish
Carchemish or Kargamış was an important ancient city of the Mitanni, Hittite and Neo Assyrian Empires, now on the frontier between Turkey and Syria. It was the location of an important battle between the Babylonians and Egyptians, mentioned in the Bible...

 and beyond. Adad-nirari I made further gains to the south, annexing Babylonian territory and forcing the Kassite
Kassite
Kassite is a rare mineral with formula CaTi2O42. It crystallizes in the orthorhombic crystal system and forms radiating rosettes and pseudo-hexagonal tabular crystals which are commonly twinned. Crystals are brownish pink to pale yellow and are translucent with an adamantine luster...

 rulers of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 into accepting a new frontier agreement in Assyria's favour. Although in the latter part of his reign, the Hittites retook some of their lost territory, he was satisfied with his defense of Assyria's eastern frontier against the mountain tribes.

Adad-nirari's inscriptions are more detailed than any of his predecessors. He declares that the gods called him to war, a statement used by most subsequent Assyrian kings. He referred to himself again as "The Great King" and conducted extensive building projects in Ashur and the provinces.

In 1274 BC Shalmaneser I
Shalmaneser I
Shalmaneser I was a king of Assyria.Son of Adad-nirari I, he succeeded his father as king in 1265 BC....

 ascended the throne. He proved to be a great warrior king. During his reign he conquered the powerful kingdom of Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 in the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 and the fierce Gutians of the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. With a total length of 1,500 km , from northwestern Iran, and roughly correlating with Iran's western border, the Zagros range spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and ends at the Strait of...

 in modern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. He then attacked the Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

-Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

, defeating both King Shattuara
Shattuara
Shattuara, also spelled Šattuara, was a king of the Hurrian kingdom of Hanigalbat in the thirteenth century BC.Shattuara was a vassal of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari I...

 and his Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 and Aramean
Aramaeans
The Aramaeans, also Arameans , were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age...

 allies, finally completely destroying the Hurrian kingdom in the process. During the campaign against the Hittites, Shattuara cut off the Assyrian army from their supply of food and water, but the latter broke free in a desperate battle. Afterwards, they conquered and annexed what remained of the Mitanni kingdom. Meanwhile, the Hittites tried unsuccessfully to save Mitanni. In alliance with Babylon, they fought an economic war against Assyria for years. Assyria was now a large and powerful empire, and a major threat to Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 and Hittite interests in the region, and was perhaps the reason that these two powers made peace with one another.Like his father, Shalmaneser was a great builder and founded the city of Kalhu (the biblical Calah/Nimrud
Nimrud
Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located south of Nineveh on the river Tigris in modern Ninawa Governorate Iraq. In ancient times the city was called Kalḫu. The Arabs called the city Nimrud after the Biblical Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero .The city covered an area of around . Ruins of the city...

) at the juncture of the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 and Zab
Zab
-Geography:*Great Zab, a tributary to the Tigris*Little Zab, a tributary to the Tigris*M'zab, a region in Algeria*Zweibrücken Air Base , a former air base in West Germany*Ząb, a village in Poland-History:...

 Rivers.

Shalmaneser's son and successor, Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I was a king of Assyria.He succeeded Shalmaneser I, his father, as king and won a major victory against the Hittites at the Battle of Nihriya in the first half of his reign...

 (1244 BC -1208 BC), won a major victory against the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 at the Battle of Nihriya
Battle of Nihriya
The Battle of Nihriya was the culminating point of the hostilities between Hittites and Assyrians for control over the remnants of the former empire of Mitanni....

 and took thousands of prisoners. He then conquered Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, taking Kashtiliash IV as a captive and ruled there himself as king for seven years, taking on the old title "King of Sumer and Akkad" first used by Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great "the Great King" , was an Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. The founder of the Dynasty of Akkad, Sargon reigned in the last quarter of the third millennium BC...

. Tukulti-Ninurta I became the first native Mesopotamian to rule the state of Babylonia, its founders having been Amorites, succeeded by Kassites
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

. In the process he defeated the Elamites, who had themselves coveted Babylon. He also wrote an epic poem documenting his wars against Babylon and Elam. After a Babylonian revolt, he raided and plundered the temples in Babylon, regarded as an act of sacrilege. As relations with the priesthood in Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 began deteriorating, Tukulti-Ninurta built a new capital city; Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta
Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta
Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta was a new cult center for Ashur and perhaps a new capital city founded by the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta I just north of Assur...

.

However, Tukulti-Ninurta's sons rebelled and besieged him in his capital. He was murdered and then succeeded by Ashur-nadin-apli
Ashur-nadin-apli
Ashur-nadin-apli was king of Assyria . The alternate dating is due to uncertainty over the length of reign of a later monarch, Ninurta-apal-Ekur, where conflicting king lists differ by ten years. His name meant “Ashur has given an heir” in the Akkadian language...

. Another unstable period for Assyria followed, it was riven by periods of internal strife and the new king only made token and unsuccessful attempts to recapture Babylon, whose Kassite kings had taken advantage of the upheavals in Assyria and freed themselves from Assyrian rule. However, Assyria itself was not threatened by foreign powers during the reigns of Ashur-nirari III
Ashur-nirari III
Ashur-nirari III was king of Assyria . He was the grandson of Tukulti-Ninurta I and may have succeeded his uncle Ashur-nadin-apli on the throne. Ashur-nirari's father Ashur-nasir-pal participated in a conspiracy against Tukulti-Ninurta I which led to his murder...

, Enlil-kudurri-usur
Enlil-kudurri-usur
Enlil-kudurri-usur was King of Assyria. Depending on the length of reign one gives to his successor, Ninurta-apal-Ekur, this would have been either from 1187 to 1183 BC or from 1197 to 1193 BC. The former dates are more common in recent studies. Enlil-kudurri-usur was the son of Tukulti-Ninurta...

 and Ninurta-apal-Ekur
Ninurta-apal-Ekur
Ninurta-apal-Ekur, meaning “Ninurta is the heir of the Ekur,” was a King of Assyria in the early 12th Century BC who usurped the throne and styled himself king of the universe and priest of the gods Enlil and Ninurta...

 (1192-1180 BC), although Ninurta-apal-Ekur usurped the throne from Enlil-kudurri-usur. Ashur-Dan I
Ashur-dan I
Ashur-dan I was one of the longest-reigning Kings of Assyria, reigning for some 46 years according to the Assyrian King List. According to one of the short chronology of the middle Assyrian period, he reigned from 1179 BC to 1133 BC....

 (1179-1133 BC) stabilised Assyria during his unusually long reign. He maintained friendly relations with Babylonia and other neighbours of Assyria, and seems to have quelled internal instability. However another brief period of internal upheaval followed the death of Ashur-Dan I when his son and successor Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur
Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur
Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur was briefly King of Assyria in 1133 BC. He succeeded his father, the long-reigning Ashur-dan I, but the throne was very quickly usurped by his brother, Mutakkil-Nusku. Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur was forced to go into exile in Babylonia, with which he had maintained friendly...

 (1133 BC) was deposed in his first year of rule by his own brother Mutakkil-Nusku
Mutakkil-Nusku
Mutakkil-Nusku was King of Assyria briefly in 1133 BC. The son of Ashur-dan I, Mutakkil-Nusku usurped the throne from his brother, Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur, apparently only shortly after their father's death. Mutakkil-Nusku died soon after this act of usurpation, leaving the throne to his son,...

 and forced to flee to Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

.

Mutakkil-Nusku himself died in the same year (1133 BC) leaving a third brother Ashur-resh-ishi I
Ashur-resh-ishi I
Ashur-resh-ishi I was King of Assyria from 1133 to 1115 BC. He succeeded his father, Mutakkil-Nusku, and was succeeded by his son Tiglath-Pileser I....

 (1133 -1116 BC) the throne. This was to lead to a renewed period of Assyrian expansion and empire. As the Hittite
Hittite
Hittite may refer to:*Hittites, ancient Anatolian people**Hittite language, ancient Indo-European language**History of the Hittites**Hittite mythology*Neo-Hittite states, Iron Age successors to the Hittite people located in modern Turkey and Syria...

 empire collapsed from the onslaught of the Phrygians (called Mushki
Mushki
The Mushki were an Iron Age people of Anatolia, known from Assyrian sources. They do not appear in Hittite records. Several authors have connected them with the Moschoi of Greek sources and the Georgian tribe of the Meskhi. Josephus Flavius identified the Moschoi with the Biblical Meshech...

 in Assyrian annals), Babylon and Assyria began to vie for Amorite
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

 regions (in modern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

), formerly under firm Hittite control. When their forces encountered one another in this region, the Assyrian king Ashur-resh-ishi I
Ashur-resh-ishi I
Ashur-resh-ishi I was King of Assyria from 1133 to 1115 BC. He succeeded his father, Mutakkil-Nusku, and was succeeded by his son Tiglath-Pileser I....

 met and defeated Nebuchadnezzar I of Babylon on a number of occasions. Assyria then invaded and annexed Hittite
Hittite
Hittite may refer to:*Hittites, ancient Anatolian people**Hittite language, ancient Indo-European language**History of the Hittites**Hittite mythology*Neo-Hittite states, Iron Age successors to the Hittite people located in modern Turkey and Syria...

 controlled lands in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and Aram
Aram
-Bible:* Aram, son of Shem, according to the "Table of Nations" in Genesis 10* Aram-Naharaim , the land in which the city of Haran lay* Aram , an ancient region containing the state of Aram Damascus...

 (Syria), making it once more an imperial power.

Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period . According to Georges Roux, Tiglath-Pileser was "one of the two or three great Assyrian monarchs since the days of Shamshi-Adad I"...

 (1115- 1077 BC), vies with Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I (fl. late 18th century BC (short chronology) was an Assyrian king. He rose to prominence when he carved out an empire encompassing much of Mesopotamia, Syria and Asia Minor...

 and Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I
Ashur-uballit I , was king of the Assyrian empire . His reign marks Assyria's independence from the kingdom of Mitanni, by defeating Shuttarna II; and the beginning of Assyria's emergence as a powerful empire...

 among historians as being regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. The son of Ashur-resh-ishi I
Ashur-resh-ishi I
Ashur-resh-ishi I was King of Assyria from 1133 to 1115 BC. He succeeded his father, Mutakkil-Nusku, and was succeeded by his son Tiglath-Pileser I....

, he ascended to the throne upon his fathers death, and became one of the greatest of Assyrian conquerors during his 38 year reign.

His first campaign in 1112 BC was against the Phrygians who had attempted to occupy certain Assyrian districts in the Upper Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

; after driving outh the Phrygians he then overran the Luwian kingdoms of Commagene, Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 and Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, and drove the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 from the Assyrian province of Subartu
Subartu
The land of Subartu or Subar is mentioned in Bronze Age literature...

, northeast of Malatia.

In a subsequent campaign, the Assyrian forces penetrated Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

, into the mountains south of Lake Van
Lake Van
Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, located in the far east of the country in Van district. It is a saline and soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes . The original outlet from...

 and then turned westward to receive the submission of Malatia. In his fifth year, Tiglath-Pileser again attacked Commagene, Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 and Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, and placed a record of his victories engraved on copper plates in a fortress he built to secure his Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

n conquests.

The Aramaeans
Aramaeans
The Aramaeans, also Arameans , were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age...

 of northern Syria were the next targets of the Assyrian king, who made his way as far as the sources of the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

. The control of the high road to the Mediterranean was secured by the possession of the Hittite town of Pethor at the junction between the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 and Sajur
Sajur
Sajur is a Druze town in the Galilee region of northern Israel, with an area of 3,000 dunams . It achieved recognition as an independent local council in 1992...

; thence he proceeded to conquer the Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

ite/Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n cities of (Byblos
Byblos
Byblos is the Greek name of the Phoenician city Gebal . It is a Mediterranean city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of present-day Lebanon under the current Arabic name of Jubayl and was also referred to as Gibelet during the Crusades...

), Sidon
Sidon
Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

, and finally Arvad where he embarked onto a ship to sail the Mediterranean, on which he killed a nahiru or "sea-horse" (which A. Leo Oppenheim
A. Leo Oppenheim
A Leo Oppenheim , one of the most distinguished Assyriologists of his generation was editor-in-charge of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute 1955-1974 and John A. Wilson Professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Chicago.Oppenheim was born in Vienna, where he received...

 translates as a narwhal
Narwhal
The narwhal, Monodon monoceros, is a medium-sized toothed whale that lives year-round in the Arctic. One of two living species of whale in the Monodontidae family, along with the beluga whale, the narwhal males are distinguished by a characteristic long, straight, helical tusk extending from their...

) in the sea. He was passionately fond of hunting and was also a great builder. The general view is that the restoration of the temple of the gods Ashur
Ashur (god)
Ashur is the head of the Assyrian pantheon....

 and Hadad
Hadad
Haddad was a northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the Akkadian god Adad. Hadad was often called simply Ba‘al , but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared as a bearded deity, often shown as holding a club and...

 at the Assyrian capital of Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 (Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

) was one of his initiatives.
He also invaded and defeated Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 twice, assuming the old title "King of Sumer and Akkad", forcing tribute from Babylon, although he did not actually depose the actual king in Babylonia, where the old Kassite Dynasty had now succumbed to an Elamite one.

Assyria in the Ancient Dark Ages


After Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period . According to Georges Roux, Tiglath-Pileser was "one of the two or three great Assyrian monarchs since the days of Shamshi-Adad I"...

 died in 1076 BC, Assyria was in comparative decline for the next 150 years. The period from 1200 BC to 900 BC was a dark age
Greek Dark Ages
The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

 for the entire Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, Mediterranean and Balkan regions, with great upheavals and mass movements of people. Despite the apparent weakness of Assyria, at heart it in fact remained a solid, well defended nation whose warriors were the best in the world. Assyria, with its stable monarchy and secure borders was in a stronger position during this time than potential rivals such as Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

, Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

, Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

, Persia and Media Kings such as Ashur-bel-kala
Ashur-bel-kala
Ashur-bel-kala was King of Assyria from 1074 to 1056 BC. He was the son of Tiglath-Pileser I and succeeded after the brief reign of his brother, Asharid-apal-Ekur. After a 18 years reign, he prematurely died and was buried in the city of Ashur.He was succeeded by his son, Eriba-Adad...

, Eriba-Adad II
Eriba-Adad II
Eriba-Adad II was King of Assyria from 1055 BC to 1054 BC. He succeeded his father, Assur-bel-kala, but reigned for only two years before the throne was usurped by his uncle, Samshi-Adad IV, who later ruled for four years. Beyond this, little is known of his reign.-References:...

, Ashur-rabi II
Ashur-rabi II
Ashur-rabi II was one of the longest-reigning kings of Assyria, reigning for 41 years. Little is known about his reign, of which few records survive. He was apparently a younger son of Ashurnasirpal I. Following the reigns of his elder brother, Shalmaneser II, and his nephew Ashur-nirari IV, he...

, Ashurnasirpal I, Tiglath-Pileser II
Tiglath-Pileser II
Tiglath-Pileser II was King of Assyria from 967 BCE, when he succeeded his father Ashur-resh-ishi II until his death in 935 BCE, when he was succeeded by his son Ashur-dan II. Little is known about his reign.-References:...

 and Ashur-Dan II
Ashur-dan II
Ashur-Dan II was a King of Assyria .-Biography:Ashur-Dan II succeeded his father, Tiglath-Pileser II. He was succeeded by his son Adad-nirari II.He reigned from 935 BC until his death in 912 BC....

 successfully defended Assyria's borders and upheld stability during this tumultuous time. Assyrian kings during this period appear to have adopted a policy of maintaining and defending a compact, secure nation, and interspersed this with sporadic punitive raids and invasions of neighbouring territories when the need arose; For example, during the reign of Ashur-rabi II
Ashur-rabi II
Ashur-rabi II was one of the longest-reigning kings of Assyria, reigning for 41 years. Little is known about his reign, of which few records survive. He was apparently a younger son of Ashurnasirpal I. Following the reigns of his elder brother, Shalmaneser II, and his nephew Ashur-nirari IV, he...

 (1013–972 BC) Aramaean tribes took the cities of Pitru and Mutkinu (which had been taken and colonized by Tiglath Pileser I.) This led to the Assyrian king attacking the Arameans, forcing his way to the Mediterranean and constructing a stele
Stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...

 in the area of Mount Atalur. Similarly, Ashur-Dan II
Ashur-dan II
Ashur-Dan II was a King of Assyria .-Biography:Ashur-Dan II succeeded his father, Tiglath-Pileser II. He was succeeded by his son Adad-nirari II.He reigned from 935 BC until his death in 912 BC....

 (935–912 BC) is recorded as having made punitive raids outside the borders of Assyria to clear Aramean
Aramaeans
The Aramaeans, also Arameans , were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age...

 and other tribal peoples from the regions surrounding Assyria. Ashur-dan II
Ashur-dan II
Ashur-Dan II was a King of Assyria .-Biography:Ashur-Dan II succeeded his father, Tiglath-Pileser II. He was succeeded by his son Adad-nirari II.He reigned from 935 BC until his death in 912 BC....

 concentrated on rebuilding Assyria within its natural borders, from Tur Abdin
Tur Abdin
Tur Abdin is a hilly region of south east Turkey incorporating the eastern half of Mardin Province, and Şırnak Province west of the Tigris, on the border with Syria. The name 'Tur Abdin' is from the Syriac language meaning 'mountain of the servants '. Tur Abdin is of great importance to Syriac...

 to the foothills beyond Arbela
Arbela
Arbela may refer to:*An important city in ancient Jordan, located on the site of modern Irbid, Jordan*The ancient name of the city of Arbil in northern Iraq*Ancient Jewish settlement in Galilee, near the modern moshav Arbel, Israel....

, he built government offices in all provinces, and as an economic boost, provided ploughs throughout the land, which yielded record grain production.

Society in the Middle Assyrian period


Assyria had difficulties with keeping the trade routes open. Unlike the situation in the Old Assyrian period, the Anatolian metal trade was effectively dominated by the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 and the Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

. These people now controlled the Mediterranean ports, while the Kassites
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 controlled the river route south to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

.

The Middle Assyrian kingdom was well organized, and in the firm control of the king, who also functioned as the High Priest of Ashur
Anshar
In Akkadian mythology, Anshar , which means "sky pivot" or "sky axle", is a sky god. He is the husband of his sister Kishar. They might both represent heaven and earth . Both are the second generation of gods; their parents being the serpents Lahmu and Lahamu and grandparents Tiamat and Apsu. In...

, the state god. He had certain obligations to fulfill in the cult, and had to provide resources for the temples. The priesthood became a major power in Assyrian society. Conflicts with the priesthood are thought to have been behind the murder of king Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I was a king of Assyria.He succeeded Shalmaneser I, his father, as king and won a major victory against the Hittites at the Battle of Nihriya in the first half of his reign...

.

The main Assyrian cities of the middle period were Ashur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

, Kalhu (Nimrud
Nimrud
Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located south of Nineveh on the river Tigris in modern Ninawa Governorate Iraq. In ancient times the city was called Kalḫu. The Arabs called the city Nimrud after the Biblical Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero .The city covered an area of around . Ruins of the city...

) and Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

, all situated in the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 River valley. At the end of the Bronze Age, Nineveh was much smaller than Babylon, but still one of the world's major cities (population ca. 33,000). By the end of the Neo-Assyrian period, it had grown to a population of some 120,000, and was possibly the largest city in the world at that time. All free male citizens were obliged to serve in the army for a time, a system which was called the ilku-service. A legal code was produced during the 14th-13th century which, among other things, clearly shows that the social position of women in Assyria was lower than that of neighbouring societies. Men were permitted to divorce their wives with no compensation paid to the latter. If a woman committed adultery, she could be beaten or put to death. It's not certain if these laws were seriously enforced, but they appear to be a backlash against some older documents which granted things like equal compensation to both partners in divorce. The women of the king's harem and their servants were also subject to harsh punishments such as beatings, mutilation, and death. Assyria in general had much harsher laws than most of the region. Executions were not uncommon, nor were whippings followed by forced labour. Some offenses allowed the accused a trial under torture/duress. One tablet that covers property rights has brutal penalties for violators. A creditor could force debtors to work for him, but not sell them.

The Middle Assyrian Period is marked by the long wars fought during this period that helped build Assyria into a warrior society. The king depended both on the citizen class and priests in his capital, and the landed nobility who supplied the horses needed by Assyria's military. Documents and letters illustrate the importance of the latter to Assyrian society. Assyria needed less artificial irrigation than Babylon, and horse-breeding was extensive. Portions of elaborate texts about the care and training of them have been found. Trade was carried out in all directions. The mountain country to the north and west of Assyria was a major source of metal ore, as well as lumber. Economic factors were a common cassius bella of war.

Assyrian architecture, like that of Babylonia, was influenced by Sumero-Akkadian styles (and to some degree Mitanni), but early on developed its own distinctive style. Palaces sported colourful wall decorations, and seal-cutting (an art learned from Mittani) developed apace. Schools for scribes taught both the Babylonian and Assyrian dialects of Akkadian, and Sumerian
Sumerian
Sumerian may refer to:*Sumerian language*Cuneiform script – Sumerian script*The people who lived in ancient Sumer, or anything else pertaining to their civilization, including:**History of Sumer**Sumerian architecture**Sumerian mythology...

 and Akkadian literary works were often copied with an Assyrian flavour. The Assyrian dialect of Akkadian was used in legal, official, religious, and practical texts such as medicine or instructions on manufacturing items. During the 13th-10th centuries, picture tales appeared as a new art form: a continuous series of images carved on square stone steles. Somewhat reminiscent of a comic book, these show events such as warfare or hunting, placed in order from the upper left to the lower right corner of the stele with captions written underneath them. These and the excellent cut seals show that Assyrian art was beginning to surpass that of Babylon. Architecture saw the introduction of a new style of ziggurat
Ziggurat
Ziggurats were massive structures built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley and western Iranian plateau, having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding stories or levels.Notable ziggurats include the Great Ziggurat of Ur near Nasiriyah, Iraq; the Ziggurat of Aqar Quf near...

, with two towers and colorful enameled tiles.

Neo-Assyrian Empire




The Neo-Assyrian Empire is usually considered to have begun with the accession of Adad-nirari II
Adad-nirari II
Adad-nirari II is generally considered to be the first King of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian period. He firmly subjugated the areas previously under only nominal Assyrian vassalage, conquering and deporting troublesome Aramean, Neo-Hittite and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places...

, in 911 BC, lasting until the fall of Nineveh at the hands of the Babylonians, Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, Scythians and Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

 in 612 BC.

In the Old and Middle Assyrian periods, Assyria had at times been a strong kingdom and imperial power based in northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, competing for dominance with Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 to the south and with the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 and Arameans to the west, the Hittite empire and the Phrygians to the north, and the Elamites to the east.

Expansion, 911-627 BC


Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II
Adad-nirari II
Adad-nirari II is generally considered to be the first King of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian period. He firmly subjugated the areas previously under only nominal Assyrian vassalage, conquering and deporting troublesome Aramean, Neo-Hittite and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places...

 (911-892 BC), Assyria once more became a great power, growing to be the greatest empire the world had yet seen. He firmly subjugated the areas previously under only nominal Assyrian vassalage, conquering and deporting troublesome Aramean
Aramaeans
The Aramaeans, also Arameans , were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age...

, Neo-Hittite
Neo-Hittite
The states that are called Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite, were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC...

 and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places. Adadinirari II then twice attacked and defeated Shamash-mudammiq of Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, annexing a large area of land north of the Diyala River
Diyala River
The Diyala River after Darban-e Khan Dam:Kurdish: Sirwan, سيروان, , Persian: سیروان دیاله, is a river and tributary of the Tigris that runs mainly through Eastern Iraq but also Western Iran. It covers a total distance of ....

 and the towns of Hīt
Hīt
Hīt is an Iraqi city in Al-Anbar province. Hīt lies northwest of Ramadi, the provincial capital.On the Euphrates River, Hīt is a small walled town built on two mounds on the site of the ancient city of Is; bitumen wells in the vicinity have been utilized for at least 3,000 years and were used in...

 and Zanqu in mid Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. He made further gains over Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 under Nabu-shuma-ukin later in his reign.

His successor, Tukulti-Ninurta II
Tukulti-Ninurta II
Tukulti-Ninurta II was King of Assyria from 891 BC to 884 BC. He was the second king of the Neo Assyrian Empire.-Family:His father was Adad-nirari II, the second king of the Neo-Assyrian period. His son succeeded him and was named Ashurnasirpal II...

 (891-884 BC) consolidated Assyria's gains and expanded into the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. With a total length of 1,500 km , from northwestern Iran, and roughly correlating with Iran's western border, the Zagros range spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and ends at the Strait of...

 in modern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, subjugating the newly arrived Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 and Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 as well as pushing into central Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

.

Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC) was a fierce and ruthless ruler who advanced without opposition through Aram
Aram (Biblical region)
Aram is the name of a region mentioned in the Bible located in central Syria, including where the city of Aleppo now stands.-Etymology:The etymology is uncertain. One standard explanation is an original meaning of "highlands"...

 (modern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

) and Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 as far as the Mediterranean and conquered and exacted tribute from Aramea, Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

 and Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

 among others. Ashurnasirpal II also repressed revolts among the Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 and Persians in the Zagros Mountains, and moved his capital to the city of Kalhu (Calah/Nimrud
Nimrud
Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located south of Nineveh on the river Tigris in modern Ninawa Governorate Iraq. In ancient times the city was called Kalḫu. The Arabs called the city Nimrud after the Biblical Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero .The city covered an area of around . Ruins of the city...

). The palaces, temples and other buildings raised by him bear witness to a considerable development of wealth, science, architecture and art. He also built a number of new towns, such as Imgur-Enlil (Balawat
Balawat
Balawat is a historical location in Ninawa Governorate, Iraq, southeast from the city of Mosul and to the south of the modern Assyrian town of Bakhdida. It was the site of the ancient Neo-Assyrian city of Imgur-Enlil...

).

Shalmaneser III
Shalmaneser III
Shalmaneser III was king of Assyria , and son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal II....

 (858–823 BC) attacked and reduced Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 to vassalage, and defeated Aramea, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, the neo Hittite
Hittite
Hittite may refer to:*Hittites, ancient Anatolian people**Hittite language, ancient Indo-European language**History of the Hittites**Hittite mythology*Neo-Hittite states, Iron Age successors to the Hittite people located in modern Turkey and Syria...

 states and the Arabs, forcing all of these to pay tribute to Assyria. Shalmanesser III fought the Battle of Qarqar
Battle of Qarqar
The Battle of Qarqar was fought in 853 BC when the army of Assyria led by king Shalmaneser III encountered an allied army of 12 kings at Qarqar led by Hadadezer of Damascus and King Ahab of Israel...

 against an alliance of 12 nations (including Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Hamath, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, the Arabs, Arameans, and neo Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 among others). His armies penetrated to Lake Van
Lake Van
Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, located in the far east of the country in Van district. It is a saline and soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes . The original outlet from...

 and the Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, dividing the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau. The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east...

; the Hittites of Carchemish were compelled to pay tribute, and the kingdoms of Hamath and Aram Damascus
Aram Damascus
Aram Damascus was an Aramaean state around Damascus in Syria, from the late 12th century BCE to 734 BCE.Sources for this state come from texts that can be divided into three categories: Assyrian annals, Aramaean texts, and the Hebrew Bible....

 were subdued. He consolidated Assyrian control over the regions conquered by his predecessors, and by the end of his 27 year reign Assyria was master of Mesopotamia, The Levant, western Iran, Israel, Jordan and much of Asia Minor. Due to old age, in the last 6 years of his reign he passed command of his armies to the "Turtanu" (General) Dayyan-Assur
Dayyan-Assur
Dayyan-Assur was commander-in-chief, or Tartan , of the Assyrian army during the reign of Shalmaneser III .According to the Black Obelisk, he personally led some of the military campaigns outside Assyria, which is rather unusual for a tartan. He was involved in the strife for the succession of the...

.

However, his successor Shamshi-Adad V
Shamshi-Adad V
Shamshi-Adad V was the King of Assyria from 824 to 811 BC.-Biography:He was the son and successor of Shalmaneser III, the husband of Shammuramat , and the father of Adad-nirari III, who succeeded him as king....

 (822-811 BC) inherited an empire beset by civil war in Assyria, The first years of his reign saw a serious struggle for the succession of the aged Shalmaneser. The revolt was led by Shamshi-Adad's brother Assur-danin-pal
Assur-danin-pal
Assur danin Pal was the son of the king of Assyria, Shalmaneser III. He rebelled against his father in an attempt to seize the throne. However, Shalmaneser III's younger son Shamshi-Ramman II crushed his rebellion.Assur danin Pal had sought the alliance of the Babylonian King Marduk-balatsuiqbi,...

, and had broken by 826 BC. The rebellious brother, according to Shamshi-Adad's own inscriptions, succeeded in bringing to his side 27 important cities, including Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

. The rebellion lasted until 820 BC, preventing Assyria expanding its empire further until it was quelled. Later in his reign, Shamshi-Adad V successfully campaigned against Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, and forced a treaty in Assyria's favour on the Babylonian king Marduk-zakir-shumi I
Marduk-zakir-shumi I
Marduk-zakir-šumi I was a king of Dynasty IX of Babylon, from 855-819 BC. Marduk-zakir-šumi I is known to have made at least one kudurru boundary stone....

. In 814 BCE he won the battle of Dur-Papsukkal against the Babylonian king Murduk-balassu-iqbi, and went on to subjugate the Aramean and Chaldean
Chaldean
Chaldean may refer to:* Historical Babylon, in particular in a Hellenistic context* Chaldea, "the Chaldees", Hellenistic designation for a part of Babylon...

 tribes newly settled in parts of Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

.

He was succeeded by Adad-nirari III
Adad-nirari III
Adad-nirari III was King of Assyria from 811 to 783 BC. He was the son and successor of Shamshi-Adad V, and was apparently quite young at the time of his accession, because for the first five years of his reign his mother Shammuramat acted as regent, which may have given rise to the legend of...

 who was merely a boy. The Empire was thus ruled by the famed queen Semiramis
Semiramis
The real and historical Shammuramat , was the Assyrian queen of Shamshi-Adad V , King of Assyria and ruler of the Neo Assyrian Empire, and its regent for four years until her son Adad-nirari III came of age....

 until 806 BC. Semiramis
Semiramis
The real and historical Shammuramat , was the Assyrian queen of Shamshi-Adad V , King of Assyria and ruler of the Neo Assyrian Empire, and its regent for four years until her son Adad-nirari III came of age....

 held the empire together, and appears to have campaigned successfully in subjugating the Persians and Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 during her regency, leading to the later Iranic myths and legends surrounding her.

In 806 BC, Adad-nirari III took the reins of power from Semiramis. He invaded the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and subjugated the Arameans, Phoenicians, Philistines
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

, Israelites, neo Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

, Moabites and Edomites. He entered Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and forced tribute upon its king Ben-Hadad III
Ben-Hadad III
Bar-Hadad III or Ben-Hadad III was the son of Hazael, and succeeded him after his death as king of Aram Damascus. His succession is mentioned in II Kings 13:3, 24...

. He next turned eastward to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and subjugated the Persians, Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 and the pre Iranic Manneans, penetrating as far as the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. He then turned south, forcing Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 to pay tribute. His next targets were the Chaldean and Sutu
Sutu
Sutu is a village in Pihtla Parish, Saare County, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia....

 tribes who had settled in the far south eastern corner of Mesopotamia, whom he conquered and reduced to vassalage, then the Arabs of the deserts to the south of Mesopotamia were vanquished and forced to pay tribute also.

Adad-nirari III died prematurely in 782 BC and this led to a temporary period of stagnation within the empire. Shalmaneser IV
Shalmaneser IV
Shalmaneser IV was king of Assyria . He succeeded his father Adad-nirari III, and was succeeded by his brother Ashur-dan III. Very little information about his reign has survived....

 (782 - 773 BC) seems to have wielded little authority, and a victory over Argishti I, king of Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 at Til Barsip
Til Barsip
Til Barsip or Til Barsib is an ancient site situated by the Euphrates river about 20 kilometers south of ancient Carchemish.-History:...

 is accredited to an Assyrian General ('Turtanu') named Shamshi-ilu
Shamshi-ilu
Shamshi-ilu was an influential court dignitary and commander in chief of the Assyrian army who rose in high prominence-Origins:Shamshi-ilu was probably not born in Assyria though he was from noble linage of the Bit-Adini tribe and was more than likely educated at the Assyrian court...

 who does not even bother to mention his king. Shamshi-ilu also scored victories over the Arameans and neo Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

, and again, takes personal credit at the expense of his king. Ashur-dan III
Ashur-dan III
Ashur-dan III was King of Assyria from 773 to 755 BC.Ashur-dan III was the son of Adad-nirari III, and succeeded his brother Shalmaneser IV in 773 BC. Ashur-dan's reign was a difficult age for the Assyrian monarchy. The rulership was severely limited by the influence of court dignitaries,...

 ascended the throne in 772 BC. He proved to be a largely ineffectual ruler who was beset by internal rebellions in the cities Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

, Arrapkha and Guzana. He failed to make further gains in Babylonia and Aram
Aram
-Bible:* Aram, son of Shem, according to the "Table of Nations" in Genesis 10* Aram-Naharaim , the land in which the city of Haran lay* Aram , an ancient region containing the state of Aram Damascus...

 (Syria). His reign was also marred by Plague and an ominous Solar Eclipse
Solar eclipse
As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun as viewed from a location on Earth. This can happen only during a new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. At least...

. Ashur-nirari V
Ashur-nirari V
Ashur-nirari V was King of Assyria from 755 to 745 BC. He was succeeded by Tiglath-Pileser III.Ashur-nirari V was a son of Adad-nirari III, and succeeded his brother, Ashur-dan III. He inherited a difficult situation from his predecessor...

 became king in 754 BC, his reign seems to have been one of permanent revolution, and he apprears to have barely left his palace in Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 apart from a successful campaign in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 in 750 BC, until he was deposed by Tiglath-pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III was a prominent king of Assyria in the eighth century BC and is widely regarded as the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Tiglath-Pileser III seized the Assyrian throne during a civil war and killed the royal family...

 in 745 BC bringing a resurgence to Assyria.

Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III was a prominent king of Assyria in the eighth century BC and is widely regarded as the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Tiglath-Pileser III seized the Assyrian throne during a civil war and killed the royal family...

 (745-727 BC) initiated a renewed period of Assyrian expansion; Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

, Persia, Media, Mannea, Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, Arabia, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, Nabatea, Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

 and the Neo-Hittites were subjugated, Tiglath-Pileser III was declared king in Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 and the Assyrian empire was now stretched from the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 to Arabia and from the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 to Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. Tiglath-Pileser III had reorganised the Assyrian army into a professional fighting force, and greatly improved the civil administration of his empire, setting the template for future empires

Shalmaneser V
Shalmaneser V
Shalmaneser V was king of Assyria from 727 to 722 BC. He first appears as governor of Zimirra in Phoenicia in the reign of his father, Tiglath-Pileser III....

 (726-723 BC) consolidated Assyrian power during his short reign, and repressed Egyptian
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 attempts to gain a foothold in the near east. Tiglath-Pileser III introduced eastern Aramaic as the Lingua Franca of Assyria and its vast empire.

Sargon II
Sargon II
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

 (722-705 BC) maintained the empire, driving the Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

 and Scythians from Iran, where they had invaded and attacked the Persians who were vassals of Assyria. Mannea, Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

 and Commagene were conquered, Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 was ravaged, and Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, Aram
Aram (Biblical region)
Aram is the name of a region mentioned in the Bible located in central Syria, including where the city of Aleppo now stands.-Etymology:The etymology is uncertain. One standard explanation is an original meaning of "highlands"...

, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Arabia, Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

 and Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 were forced to pay tribute. Sargon II was killed in 705 BC while on a punitive raid against the Cimmerians and was succeeded by Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

.

Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

 (705-681 BC), a ruthless ruler, defeated the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 who were attempting to gain a foothold in Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, and defeated and drove the Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 from Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

 where they had fomented revolt against Assyria. Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 revolted, and Sennacherib laid waste to the city, defeating its Elamite and Chaldean allies in the process. He then sacked Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and laid siege to Judah
Judah
The name Judah can refer to:*Judah , fourth son of the Biblical patriarch Jacob All later individuals, groups and places of this name are directly or indirectly derived from this Judah....

. He installed his own son Ashur-nadin-shumi
Ashur-nadin-shumi
Ashur-nadin-shumi was an ancient King of Babylon. The son of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, Ashur-nadin-shumi was installed by his father as King of Babylon in 700 BC. He reigned for six years, until he was murdered by the Elamites following their capture of the city in 694 BC....

 as king in Babylonia. He maintained Assyrian domination over the Medes, Manneans and Persians to the east, Asia Minor to the north and north west, and the Levant, Phonecia and Aram in the west. Sennacherib was murdered by his own sons in a palace revolt, apparently in revenge for the destruction of Babylon.

Esarhaddon
Esarhaddon
Esarhaddon , was a king of Assyria who reigned 681 – 669 BC. He was the youngest son of Sennacherib and the Aramean queen Naqi'a , Sennacherib's second wife....

 (680-669 BC) expanded Assyria still further, campaigning deep into the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 in the north, breaking Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 completely in the process. Tiring of Egyptian interference in the Assyrian Empire, Esarhaddon crossed the Sinai Desert, and invaded and conquered Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, driving its foreign Nubian/Kushite and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

n rulers out in the process. He expanded the empire as far south as Arabia and Dilmun
Dilmun
Dilmun or Telmun is a land mentioned by Mesopotamian civilizations as a trade partner, a source of the metal copper, and an entrepôt of the Mesopotamia-to-Indus Valley Civilization trade route...

 (modern Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 or Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

). Esarhaddon also completely rebuilt Babylon during his reign, bringing peace to Mesopotamia as a whole. The Babylonians, Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

, Elamites, Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

, Scythians, Persians, Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, Manneans, Arameans, Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

ns, Israelites, Phonecians and Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 were vanquished and regarded as vassals and Assyria's empire was kept secure. Esarhaddon died whilst on route to Egypt to put down a revolt among the native dynasty he had installed.

Under Ashurbanipal
Ashurbanipal
Ashurbanipal |Ashur]] is creator of an heir"; 685 BC – c. 627 BC), also spelled Assurbanipal or Ashshurbanipal, was an Assyrian king, the son of Esarhaddon and the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire...

 (669-627 BC) its domination spanned from from the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 in the north to Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Arabia in the south, and from Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 and Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 in the west to Persia in the east. Ashurbanipal destroyed Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

 and smashed a rebellion led by his own brother Shamash-shum-ukin
Shamash-shum-ukin
Shamash-shum-ukin was the Assyrian king of Babylon from 668-648 BC.He was the second son of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon. His elder brother, crown prince Sin-iddina-apla had died in 672, and in his stead the third son Ashurbanipal was invested as crown prince and later king of Assyria, while...

 who was the Assyrian king of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, exacting savage revenge on the coalition of Chaldeans, Nabateans, Arameans, Sutu
Sutu
Sutu is a village in Pihtla Parish, Saare County, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia....

, Arabs and Elamites who had supported him. An Assyrian governor named Kandalanu
Kandalanu
- Territory :Kandalanu was king over Babylonia, with exception of the city Nippur. His reign began in 648 B.C. when he was appointed by his overlord King Ashurbanipal of Assyria after the latter had crushed the Babylonian rebellion by Kandalanu’s predecessor, Shamash-shum-ukin.- Identity :Because...

 was installed to rule Babylonia on Ashurbanipal's behalf. Persia and Media were regarded as vassals of Ashurbanipal. He built vast libraries and initiated a surge in the building of temples and palaces. After the crushing of the Babylonian revolt Ashurbanipal appeared master of all he survayed. To the east, Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

 was devastated and prostrate before Assyria, the Manneans and the Iranic Persians and Medes were vassals. To the south, Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 was occupied, the Chaldeans, Arabs, Sutu
Sutu
Sutu is a village in Pihtla Parish, Saare County, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia....

 and Nabateans subjugated, the Nubian empire destroyed, and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 paid tribute. To the north, the Scythians and Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

 had been vanquished and driven from Assyrian territory, Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 (Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

), Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

, Corduene
Corduene
Corduene was an ancient region located in northern Mesopotamia and modern day Kurdish inhabited south east Turkey. It was a province of the Greater Armenia. It was referred to by the Greeks as Karduchia and by both the Greeks and Romans as Corduene...

 and the neo Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 were in vassalage, and Lydia
Lydia
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

 pleading for Assyrian protection. To the west, Aramea (Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

), the Phoenicians, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Judah
Judah
The name Judah can refer to:*Judah , fourth son of the Biblical patriarch Jacob All later individuals, groups and places of this name are directly or indirectly derived from this Judah....

, Samarra
Samarra
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700....

 and Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 were subjugated, and the Hellenised inhabitants of Caria
Caria
Caria was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west of it and joined the Carian population in forming Greek-dominated states there...

, Cilecia, Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

 and Commagene paid tribute to Assyria. Assyria now appeared stronger than ever. However, the long struggle with Babylonia and Elam and their allies, and the constant campaigning to control and expand its vast empire in all directions, left Assyria exhausted. It had been drained of wealth and manpower; the devastated provinces could yield nothing to supply the needs of the imperial exchequer, and it was difficult to find sufficient troops to garrison the huge empire.

At its height Assyria conquered the 25th dynasty Egypt
Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt
The twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt, known as the Nubian Dynasty or the Kushite Empire, was the last dynasty of the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt....

 (and expelled its Nubian/Kushite dynasty) as well as Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

, Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

, Media, Persia, Ararat
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 (Armenia
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

), Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, Aramea/Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

, the Neo-Hittites, Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

, northern Arabia, Gutium
Gutium
The Gutians were a tribe that overran southern Mesopotamia when the Akkadian empire collapsed in approximately 2154 BC....

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

, Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

, Corduene
Corduene
Corduene was an ancient region located in northern Mesopotamia and modern day Kurdish inhabited south east Turkey. It was a province of the Greater Armenia. It was referred to by the Greeks as Karduchia and by both the Greeks and Romans as Corduene...

, Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, Mannea and parts of Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 (such as Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

), and defeated and/or exacted tribute from Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

, Cimmeria
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, Lydia
Lydia
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

, Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and others.

Downfall, 627-605 BC


Assyria was severely crippled following the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC — the nation descending into a prolonged and brutal series of civil wars involving three rival kings, Ashur-etil-ilani
Ashur-etil-ilani
Ashur-etil-ilani was a king of Assyria . He succeeded his father Ashurbanipal.- Problems with source material :The reconstruction of the events occurring during Ashur-etil-ilani's rule has proven to be very difficult...

, Sin-shumu-lishir
Sin-shumu-lishir
Sin-shumu-lishir , was a usurper king of a part of the Assyrian empire during 626 BC. Little is known about this king due to the lack of sources covering this time.-Reign :...

 and Sin-shar-ishkun.

Ashur-etil-ilani
Ashur-etil-ilani
Ashur-etil-ilani was a king of Assyria . He succeeded his father Ashurbanipal.- Problems with source material :The reconstruction of the events occurring during Ashur-etil-ilani's rule has proven to be very difficult...

 was deposed in 623 BC, after four years of bitter fighting by Sin-shumu-lishir
Sin-shumu-lishir
Sin-shumu-lishir , was a usurper king of a part of the Assyrian empire during 626 BC. Little is known about this king due to the lack of sources covering this time.-Reign :...

, an Assyrian general who also briefly occupied and claimed the throne of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 in that year. In turn, Sin-shumu-lishir was deposed after a year of warfare by Sin-shar-ishkun  — who was then himself faced with constant rebellion in the Assyrian homeland, coupled with wholesale revolution in Babylon and aggression from former Assyrian colonies to the east and north. Many of Assyria's vassal states and colonies took advantage of this situation to free themselves from Assyrian rule.

By 620 BC, Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar was the king of the Babylonia and played a key role in the demise of the Assyrian Empire following the death of the last powerful Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal...

, a member of the Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

n tribe from the far southeast of Mesopotamia, had claimed Babylonia in the confusion. Sin-shar-ishkun amassed a large army to eject Nabopolassar from Babylon, however yet another revolt broke out in Assyria, forcing the bulk of his army to turn back, where they promptly joined the rebels in Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

; similarly, Nabopolassar was unable to make any inroads into Assyria despite its weakened state, being repelled at every attempt, and the next four years saw bitter fighting in Babylonia as the Assyrians tried to wrest back control. However, Nabopolassar entered into an alliance with the Median king Cyaxares
Cyaxares
Cyaxares, Cyaxares the Great or Hvakhshathra , the son of King Phraortes, was the first king of Media. According to Herodotus, Cyaxares, grandson of Deioces, had a far greater military reputation than his father or grandfather, therefore he is often being described as the first official Median...

, who had taken advantage of the upheavals in Assyria to free his people from Assyrian vassalage and unite the Iranic Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 and Persians, and the remnants of the Elamites and Manneans, into a powerful Median-dominated force. The Babylonians and Medes, together with the Scythians and Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

, attacked Assyria in 616 BC. After four years of bitter fighting, Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 was finally sacked in 612 BC, after a prolonged siege followed by house to house fighting, Sin-shar-ishkun was killed in the process. However Assyrian resistance continued, Ashur-uballit II
Ashur-uballit II
Ashur-uballit II , was the last king of the Assyrian empire. He reigned in the last capital city of Harran from 612 BC to 609 BC, having escaped Nineveh during the siege and capture of that city by the Babylonian-Mede army in 612 BC....

 (612- 605 BC) took the throne, won a few battles, and occupied and held out at Harran
Harran
Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 24 miles southeast of Şanlıurfa...

 from 612 BC until 609 BC when he was eventually overrun by the Babylonians and Medes. The Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 then belatedly came to Assyria's aid, Ashur-uballit II and Necho
Necho
Necho may refer to:* Necho , a crater on the MoonEgyptian Pharaohs during the 26th Saite Dynasty:* Necho I * Necho II...

 of Egypt made a failed attempt to recapture Harran, and the next three years saw the Egyptians and the remnants of the Assyrian army vainly attempting to eject the invaders from Assyria. Final resistance seems to have ended in 605 BC, with the defeat of an Assyrian-Egyptian relief force at Carchemish
Carchemish
Carchemish or Kargamış was an important ancient city of the Mitanni, Hittite and Neo Assyrian Empires, now on the frontier between Turkey and Syria. It was the location of an important battle between the Babylonians and Egyptians, mentioned in the Bible...

. It is not known whether Ashur-uballit II perished at Harran, Carchemish, continued to fight on, or simply disappeared into obscurity.

Athura, Assuristan, Assyria Province


Assyria was ruled by Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 from 605 BC until 539 BC, and in a twist of fate, Nabonidus
Nabonidus
Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556-539 BCE.-Historiography on Nabonidus:...

 the last king of Babylon was himself an Assyrian from Harran
Harran
Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 24 miles southeast of Şanlıurfa...

; however apart from plans to dedicate religious temples in that city, Nabonidus showed little interest in rebuilding Assyria. Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 and Kalhu remained in ruins, conversely a number of towns and cities such as Arrapkha, Guzana and Harran
Harran
Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 24 miles southeast of Şanlıurfa...

 remained intact, and Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 and Arbela
Arbela
Arbela may refer to:*An important city in ancient Jordan, located on the site of modern Irbid, Jordan*The ancient name of the city of Arbil in northern Iraq*Ancient Jewish settlement in Galilee, near the modern moshav Arbel, Israel....

 were not completely destroyed, as is attested by their later revival. However, Assyria spent much of this period in a degree of devastation following its fall.

After this, it was ruled by the Persian Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 (as Athura) from 539 BC to 330 BC (see Achaemenid Assyria
Achaemenid Assyria
Athura was a geographical area within the Persian Achaemenid Empire during the period of 539 BC to 330 BC. Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy, Achaemenid royal inscriptions list it as a dahyu, a concept generally interpreted as meaning either a group of people or both a country and its...

). Assyria seems to have recovered dramatically, and flourished during this period. It became a major agricultural and administrative centre of the Achaemenid Empire, and its soldiers were a mainstay of the Persian Army. In fact Assyria even became powerful enough to raise a full scale revolt against the empire in 520 BC. The Persians had spent centuries under Assyrian domination, and Assyrian influence can be seen in Achaemenid art, infrastructure and administration. Early Persian rulers saw themselves as successors to Ashurbanipal
Ashurbanipal
Ashurbanipal |Ashur]] is creator of an heir"; 685 BC – c. 627 BC), also spelled Assurbanipal or Ashshurbanipal, was an Assyrian king, the son of Esarhaddon and the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire...

, and Mesopotamian Aramaic was retained as the lingua franca of the empire for over two hundred years. Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 was never rebuilt however, and 200 years after it was sacked Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

 reported only small numbers of people living amongst its ruins.

In 330 BC, Assyria fell to Alexander the Great, the Macedonian Emperor from Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

; it thereafter became part of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 and was renamed Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, a Hurrian, Luwian and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 corruption of Assyria. It is from this period that the later Syria Vs Assyria naming controversy arises, the Seleucids applied the name not only to Assyria itself, but also to the lands to the west (Aram
Aram
-Bible:* Aram, son of Shem, according to the "Table of Nations" in Genesis 10* Aram-Naharaim , the land in which the city of Haran lay* Aram , an ancient region containing the state of Aram Damascus...

 modern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

) which had been part of the Assyrian empire. When they lost control of Assyria itself, the name Syria survived and was applied only to the land of Aramea to the west, that had once been part of the Assyrian empire. This was to lead to both the Assyrians from Mesopotamia and Arameans from the Levant being dubbed Syrians in Greco-Roman culture.

By 150 BC, Assyria was under the control of the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

 as Athura (the Parthian word for Assyria) where the Assyrian city of Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 seems to have gained a degree of autonomy, and temples to the native gods of Assyria were resurrected. A number of neo-Assyrian states arose, namely Adiabene
Adiabene
Adiabene was an ancient Assyrian independent kingdom in Mesopotamia, with its capital at Arbela...

, Osroene
Osroene
Osroene, also spelled Osrohene and Osrhoene and sometimes known by the name of its capital city, Edessa , was a historic Syriac kingdom located in Mesopotamia, which enjoyed semi-autonomy to complete independence from the years of 132 BC to AD 244.It was a Syriac-speaking kingdom.Osroene, or...

 and Hatra
Hatra
Hatra is an ancient city in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq. It is currently known as al-Hadr, a name which appears once in ancient inscriptions, and it was in the ancient Iranian province of Khvarvaran. The city lies northwest of Baghdad and southwest of Mosul.-History:Hatra...

.

In 116 AD, under Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

, it was taken over by Rome as the Roman Province of Assyria
Assyria (Roman province)
Assyria or Assyria Provincia was a roman province that lasted only two years .-History:Assyria was one of three provinces created by the Roman emperor Trajan in 116 AD following a successful military campaign against Parthia, in present-day Iraq.Despite Rome's military victory, Trajan's province...

. The Assyrians began to convert to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 from Ashurism during the period between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and Parthians fought over Assyria and the rest of Mesopotamia until 226 AD, when it was taken over by the Sassanid (Persian) Empire.

It was known as Asuristan
Asuristan
Asuristan was the province of Assyria under the Sassanid Empire . It corresponds to the Babylonia province under the Parthian Empire.The province for the most part stretched from Mosul to Adiabene....

 during this period, and became a main centre of the Church of the East
Church of the East
The Church of the East tāʾ d-Maḏnḥāʾ), also known as the Nestorian Church, is a Christian church, part of the Syriac tradition of Eastern Christianity. Originally the church of the Persian Sassanid Empire, it quickly spread widely through Asia...

 (now the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

), with a flourishing Syriac (Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

) Christian culture which exists there to this day. The city of Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 again flourished, and appears to have gained a great deal of autonomy during this period. The noted Assyriologist Simo Parpola
Simo Parpola
Simo Parpola is a Finnish archaeologist, currently professor of Assyriology at the University of Helsinki. He specialized in epigraphy of the Akkadian language, and has been working on the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project since 1987...

 has speculated that it may even have once again been independent for a while prior to being sacked by Shapur I
Shapur I
Shapur I or also known as Shapur I the Great was the second Sassanid King of the Second Persian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 - 270/72, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent prior to his father's death in 242 .-Early years:Shapur was the son of Ardashir I...

 in 256 AD. Temples were still being dedicated to the national god Ashur
Ashur
Ashur |Shin]]) in the Masoretic text, which doubles the 'ש'), was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram....

 in his home city and in Harran
Harran
Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 24 miles southeast of Şanlıurfa...

 during the 4th century AD, indicating an Assyrian identity was still strong.

After the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Islamic conquest in the 7th century AD Assyria was dissolved as an entity. Under Arab rule Mesopotamia as a whole underwent a process of Arabisation and Islamification, and the region saw a large influx of non indigenous Arabs, Kurds
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

, and later Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 peoples. However a percentage of the indigenous Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 population (known as Ashuriyun
Ashuriyun
Ashuriyun is an Arab term used to describe the ethnic Assyrians of northern Mesopotamia first coined in Medieval times by the Arab scholar Ibn al-Nadim....

 by the Arabs) resisted this process, Assyrian Aramaic language
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 and Church of the East
Church of the East
The Church of the East tāʾ d-Maḏnḥāʾ), also known as the Nestorian Church, is a Christian church, part of the Syriac tradition of Eastern Christianity. Originally the church of the Persian Sassanid Empire, it quickly spread widely through Asia...

 Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 were still dominant in the north, as late as the 11th and 12th centuries AD. The city of Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 was occupied by Assyrians during the islamic period until the 14th century when Tamurlane conducted a massacre of indigenous Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 Christians. After that there are no traces of a settlement in the archaeological and numismatic record. . The massacres by Tamurlane massively reduced the Assyrian population throughout Mesopotamia. An Assyrian war of independence
Assyrian war of independence
The Assyrian struggle for Independence was waged by the Assyrian Patriarch and the chiefs of the Assyrians between 1843 and 1933, with later assistance from the British Empire, against the Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Union, the Persian Empire, the Kingdom of Iraq, the French Mandate of Syria, and...

 was fought during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 following the Assyrian Genocide
Assyrian genocide
The Assyrian Genocide refers to the mass slaughter of the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac population of the Ottoman Empire during the 1890s, the First World War, and the period of 1922-1925...

 suffered at the hands of the Ottomans and their Kurdish
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 allies. Further persecutions have occurred since, such as the Simele Massacre
Simele massacre
The Simele Massacre was a massacre committed by the armed forces of the Kingdom of Iraq during the systematic targeting of Assyrians in northern Iraq in August 1933...

, al Anfal campaign and Baathist and Islamist persecutions.

Germany and West Africa Theories


Thus far the only people who have been attested with a high level of research to be the descendants of the ancient Mesopotamians are the Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 Christians of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and its surrounding areas. Assyria continued to exist as a geo political entity until the Arab-Islamic conquest in the mid 7th century AD, and Assyrian identity, personal names and evolutions of Mesopotamian Aramaic (which still contain many Akkadian loan words) have survived among the Assyrian people from ancient times to this day. (see Assyrian people
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

).

However, there have been many claims of ancient mid eastern ancestry (including Assyrian) throughout Europe, Africa (Afrocentric) and even the Americas, none of which have been supported by mainstream opinion or strong evidence, let alone proof.

The most long standing and popularised theory has been the attempts to link Assyrian ancestry to the ancient Germans. The Assyria-Germany connection has an early precedent in Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

, who compared the Germanic invaders
Germanic Wars
The Germanic Wars is a name given to a series of wars between the Romans and various Germanic tribes between 113 BCE and 439 CE. The nature of these wars varied through time between Roman conquest, Germanic uprisings and later Germanic invasions in the Roman Empire that started in the late 2nd...

 of his day to the threats to the Kingdom of Israel described in the Bible, quoting Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 , "Assur also is joined with them":
The whole country between the Alps and the Pyrenees, between the Rhine and the Ocean, has been laid waste by hordes of Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatians, Alans, Gepids, Herules, Saxons, Burgundians, Allemanni and—alas! for the commonweal!—even Pannonians. For "Assur also is joined with them."


The idea has also some backing in German legend, for example the Gesta Treverorum
Gesta Treverorum
The Gesta Treverorum is a collection of histories, legends, wars, records of the Archbishops of Trier, writings of the Popes, and other records that were collected by the monks of the St. Matthias Abbey in Trier. It was begun in the 12th century and was continued until 1794 when the Archbishopric...

(a 12th century German medieval chronicle) makes Trebeta
Trebeta
Trebeta was the legendary founder of Trier according to the Gesta Treverorum. He was the son of Ninus, King of Assyria, by a wife prior to his marriage to Queen Semiramis. His stepmother Semiramis despised him, and when she took over the kingdom after the death of his father Ninus, Trebeta left...

 son of Ninus
Ninus
Ninus , according to Greek historians writing in the Hellenistic period and later, was accepted as the eponymous founder of Nineveh , Ancient capital of Assyria, although he does not seem to represent any one personage known to modern history, and is more likely a conflation of several real and/or...

 the founder of Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

. This legend of Trebeta as having founded Trier is also found in Godfrey of Viterbo
Godfrey of Viterbo
Godfrey of Viterbo was a Roman Catholic chronicler, either Italian or German.-Biography:He was probably an Italian by birth, although some authorities assert that he was a Saxon German like his imperial patrons...

's Pantheon (1185) and several other German chronicles of the 12th or 13th century, including the works of Sigebert of Gembloux
Sigebert of Gembloux
Sigebert of Gembloux was a medieval author, known mainly as a pro-Imperial historian of a universal chronicle, opposed to the expansive papacy of Gregory VII and Pascal II...

.. The legend is also found cited in compendiums of historical sources from later periods, for example Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

's Scriptures rerum Brunsvicensium (1710) and the Anthologia veterum latinorum epigrammatum et poematum (1835).

Like with the West Africa theory, this idea does not have the backing of serious historians, nor contemporary written records of the time in the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

. There have been no studies or records which show such a link, and it must be pointed out that Ninus
Ninus
Ninus , according to Greek historians writing in the Hellenistic period and later, was accepted as the eponymous founder of Nineveh , Ancient capital of Assyria, although he does not seem to represent any one personage known to modern history, and is more likely a conflation of several real and/or...

 and Trebeta
Trebeta
Trebeta was the legendary founder of Trier according to the Gesta Treverorum. He was the son of Ninus, King of Assyria, by a wife prior to his marriage to Queen Semiramis. His stepmother Semiramis despised him, and when she took over the kingdom after the death of his father Ninus, Trebeta left...

 were fictional figures, and not historically attested. In addition, there are no traces of Akkadian or Mesopotamian Aramaic in any Germanic Language.

According to a single piece recent research, refugees from the collapsed Assyrian Empire claim to have reached the region of Lake Chad and founded the kingdoms of Kanem
Kanem Empire
The Kanem Empire was located in the present countries of Chad, Nigeria and Libya. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya , eastern Niger and north-eastern Nigeria...

 and Kebbi. Though these refugees claimed the ancestry of Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great "the Great King" , was an Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. The founder of the Dynasty of Akkad, Sargon reigned in the last quarter of the third millennium BC...

, they also contrdictionally claimed ancestry from the Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar was the king of the Babylonia and played a key role in the demise of the Assyrian Empire following the death of the last powerful Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal...

, a Babylonian king of Chaldean extraction who played a major part in the destruction of the Assyrian Empire. From the Medieval Arabic king lists of both African states, allegedly copied from earlier lists in ancient Near Eastern languages it appears that the state founders claimed to be deportees of the Assyrian empire who had fled from Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

 after the defeat of the Egyptian-Assyrian army at Carchemish
Carchemish
Carchemish or Kargamış was an important ancient city of the Mitanni, Hittite and Neo Assyrian Empires, now on the frontier between Turkey and Syria. It was the location of an important battle between the Babylonians and Egyptians, mentioned in the Bible...

 in 605 BCE.

A counterpoint to this argument would be that neither Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

 nor Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 where these refugees were claimed to have originated from were actually part of Assyria, but were colonies inhabited largely by Hebrews
Hebrews
Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

, Nabateans and Arameans respectively. In addition, there is no evidence whatsoever in Assyrian
Assyrian
-In antiquity:*ancient Assyria**the Old Assyrian period **the Middle Assyrian period **the Neo-Assyrian period *Either of two provinces of the Persian Empire:**Achaemenid Assyria...

, Babylonian, Median
Median
In probability theory and statistics, a median is described as the numerical value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to...

, Persian, Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 or Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 records of the time mentioning deportations of Assyrians from their homelands
Additionally, the claimants to this ancestry also claim decendancy from Sargon of Akkad (whose dynasty died out over 1500 years before the Assyrian dynasty fell), and from Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar was the king of the Babylonia and played a key role in the demise of the Assyrian Empire following the death of the last powerful Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal...

, who was a Chaldean
Chaldean
Chaldean may refer to:* Historical Babylon, in particular in a Hellenistic context* Chaldea, "the Chaldees", Hellenistic designation for a part of Babylon...

 opposed to Assyria, and not in fact an Assyrian.
It must also be pointed out that this theory has not received any support at all from the vast majority of historians or Assyriologists.

Language


During the third millennium BC
3rd millennium BC
The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia. The...

, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ians and the Akkad
Akkad
The Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia....

ians, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

 on Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund
Sprachbund
A Sprachbund – also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area or language crossroads – is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity and language contact. They may be genetically unrelated, or only distantly related...

.

Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 gradually replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD.

In ancient times Assyrians spoke a dialect of the Akkadian language
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, an eastern branch of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

. The first inscriptions, called Old Assyrian (OA), were made in the Old Assyrian period. In the Neo-Assyrian period the Aramaic language
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 became increasingly common, more so than Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 — this was thought to be largely due to the mass deportations undertaken by Assyrian kings, in which large Aramaic-speaking populations, conquered by the Assyrians, were relocated to Assyria and interbred with the Assyrians. The ancient Assyrians also used the Sumerian language
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

 in their literature and liturgy, although to a more limited extent in the Middle- and Neo-Assyrian periods, when Akkadian became the main literary language.

The destruction of the Assyrian capitals of Nineveh and Assur by the Babylonians, Medes and their allies ensured that much of the bilingual elite (but not all) were wiped out. By the 7th century BC, much of the Assyrian population used Akkadian influenced Eastern Aramaic and not Akkadian itself. The last Akkadian inscriptions in Mesopotamia date from the 1st century AD. However Eastern Aramaic dialects, as well as Akkadian and Mesopotamian Aramaic personal and family names, still survive to this day among Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 in the regions of northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, southeast Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, northwest Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and northeast Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 that constituted old Assyria.

After 90 years of effort, the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 has published an Assyrian Dictionary, whose form is more encyclopedia
Encyclopedia
An encyclopedia is a type of reference work, a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge....

 in style than dictionary
Dictionary
A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically, with usage information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, and other information; or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, also known as a lexicon...

.

Arts and sciences




Assyrian art preserved to the present day predominantly dates to the Neo-Assyrian period. Art depicting battle scenes, and occasionally the impaling of whole villages in gory detail, was intended to show the power of the emperor, and was generally made for propaganda purposes. These stone reliefs lined the walls in the royal palaces where foreigners were received by the king. Other stone reliefs depict the king with different deities and conducting religious ceremonies. Many stone reliefs were discovered in the royal palaces at Nimrud
Nimrud
Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located south of Nineveh on the river Tigris in modern Ninawa Governorate Iraq. In ancient times the city was called Kalḫu. The Arabs called the city Nimrud after the Biblical Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero .The city covered an area of around . Ruins of the city...

 (Kalhu) and Khorsabad (Dur-Sharrukin). A rare discovery of metal plates belonging to wooden doors was made at Balawat
Balawat
Balawat is a historical location in Ninawa Governorate, Iraq, southeast from the city of Mosul and to the south of the modern Assyrian town of Bakhdida. It was the site of the ancient Neo-Assyrian city of Imgur-Enlil...

 (Imgur-Enlil).

Assyrian sculpture reached a high level of refinement in the Neo-Assyrian period. One prominent example is the winged bull Lamassu, or shedu that guard the entrances to the king's court. These were apotropaic meaning they were intended to ward off evil. C. W. Ceram states in The March of Archaeology that lamassi were typically sculpted with five legs so that four legs were always visible, whether the image were viewed frontally or in profile.

Although works of precious gems and metals usually do not survive the ravages of time, some fine pieces of Assyrian jewelry were found in royal tombs at Nimrud.

There is ongoing discussion among academics over the nature of the Nimrud lens
Nimrud lens
The Nimrud lens is a 3000 year old piece of rock crystal, which was unearthed by Austen Henry Layard at the Assyrian palace of Nimrud, in modern-day Iraq. It may have been used as a magnifying glass, or as a burning-glass to start fires by concentrating sunlight. Assyrian craftsmen made intricate...

, a piece of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 unearthed by Austen Henry Layard
Austen Henry Layard
Sir Austen Henry Layard GCB, PC was a British traveller, archaeologist, cuneiformist, art historian, draughtsman, collector, author, politician and diplomat, best known as the excavator of Nimrud.-Family:...

 in 1850, in the Nimrud palace complex in northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. A small minority believe that it is evidence for the existence of ancient Assyrian telescopes, which could explain the great accuracy of Assyrian astronomy. Other suggestions include its use as a magnifying glass for jewellers, or as a decorative furniture inlay. The Nimrud Lens is held in the British Museum.

The Assyrians were also innovative in military technology with the use of heavy cavalry, sappers, siege engines etc.

Legacy and rediscovery



Achaemenid Assyria (539 BC – 330 BC) retained a separate identity (Athura), official correspondence being in Imperial Aramaic, and there was even a determined revolt of the two Assyrian provinces of Mada and Athura in 520 BC. Under Seleucid rule (330 BC – approximately 150 BC), however, Aramaic gave way to Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 as the official administrative language. Aramaic was marginalised as an official language, but remained spoken in both Assyria and Babylonia by the general populace. It also remained the spoken tongue of the indigenous Assyrian/Babylonian citizens of all Mesopotamia under Persian, Greek and Roman rule, and indeed well into the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 period it was still the language of the majority, particularly in the north of Mesopotamia, surviving to this day among the Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 Christians.

Between 150 BC and 226 AD Assyria changed hands between the Parthians and Romans (Roman Province of Assyria
Assyria (Roman province)
Assyria or Assyria Provincia was a roman province that lasted only two years .-History:Assyria was one of three provinces created by the Roman emperor Trajan in 116 AD following a successful military campaign against Parthia, in present-day Iraq.Despite Rome's military victory, Trajan's province...

) until coming under the rule of Sassanid Persia in 226 AD – 651 AD, where it was known as Asuristan
Asuristan
Asuristan was the province of Assyria under the Sassanid Empire . It corresponds to the Babylonia province under the Parthian Empire.The province for the most part stretched from Mosul to Adiabene....

.

A number of at least partly neo-Assyrian kingdoms existed in the area between in the late classical and early Christian period also; Adiabene
Adiabene
Adiabene was an ancient Assyrian independent kingdom in Mesopotamia, with its capital at Arbela...

, Hatra
Hatra
Hatra is an ancient city in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq. It is currently known as al-Hadr, a name which appears once in ancient inscriptions, and it was in the ancient Iranian province of Khvarvaran. The city lies northwest of Baghdad and southwest of Mosul.-History:Hatra...

 and Osroene
Osroene
Osroene, also spelled Osrohene and Osrhoene and sometimes known by the name of its capital city, Edessa , was a historic Syriac kingdom located in Mesopotamia, which enjoyed semi-autonomy to complete independence from the years of 132 BC to AD 244.It was a Syriac-speaking kingdom.Osroene, or...

.

Classical historiographers had only retained a very dim picture of Assyria. It was remembered that there had been an Assyrian empire predating the Persian one, but all particulars were lost. Thus Jerome's Chronicon
Chronicon (Jerome)
The Chronicle was a universal chronicle, one of Jerome's earliest attempts in the department of history...

lists 36 kings of the Assyrians, beginning with Ninus
Ninus
Ninus , according to Greek historians writing in the Hellenistic period and later, was accepted as the eponymous founder of Nineveh , Ancient capital of Assyria, although he does not seem to represent any one personage known to modern history, and is more likely a conflation of several real and/or...

, son of Belus
Belus (Assyrian)
Belus or Belos in classical Greek or classical Latin texts in an Assyrian context refers to one or another purportedly ancient and historically nonexistent Assyrian king, such king in part at least a euhemerization of the Babylonian god Bel Marduk.Belus most commonly appears as the father of...

, down to Sardanapalus
Sardanapalus
Sardanapalus was, according to the Greek writer Ctesias of Cnidus, the last king of Assyria. Ctesias' Persica is lost, but we know of its contents by later compilations and from the work of Diodorus...

, the last king of the Assyrians before the empire fell to Arbaces
Arbaces
Arbaces, according to Ctesias, one of the generals of Sardanapalus, king of Assyria and founder of the Median empire about 830 BC. From the inscriptions of Sargon II of Assyria we know one Arbaku of Arnashia as one of forty-five chiefs of Median districts who paid tribute to Sargon in 713 BC...

 the Median. Almost none of these have been substantiated as historical, with the exception of the Neo-Assyrian and Babylonian rulers listed in Ptolemy's Canon, beginning with Nabonassar
Nabonassar
Nabonassar founded a kingdom in Babylon in 747 BC. This is now considered as the start of the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty. At the time the Assyrian Empire was in disarray through civil war and the ascendancy of other kingdoms such as Urartu...

.

The modern discovery of Babylonia and Assyria begins with excavations in Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 in 1845, which revealed the Library of Ashurbanipal
Library of Ashurbanipal
-External links:. In our time discussion programme. 45 minutes....

. Decipherment of cuneiform
Cuneiform
Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

 was a formidable task that took more than a decade, but by 1857, the Royal Asiatic Society
Royal Asiatic Society
The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was established, according to its Royal Charter of 11 August 1824, to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia." From its incorporation the Society...

 was convinced that reliable reading of cuneiform texts was possible. Assyriology
Assyriology
Assyriology is the archaeological, historical, and linguistic study of ancient Mesopotamia and the related cultures that used cuneiform writing. The field covers the Akkadian sister-cultures of Assyria and Babylonia, together with their cultural predecessor; Sumer...

 has since pieced together the formerly largely forgotten history of Mesopotamia.
In the wake of the archaeological and philological rediscovery of ancient Assyria, Assyrian nationalism became increasingly popular among the surviving remnants of the Assyrian people
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

, and has come to strongly identify with ancient Assyria.

See also


  • Assyrian eclipse
    Assyrian eclipse
    The Assyrian eclipse is also known as Bur-Sagale eclipse. It was recorded in Assyrian eponym lists, most likely in the 9th year of king Ashur-dan III...

  • Chaldo-Assyrians
  • Geography of Mesopotamia
    Geography of Mesopotamia
    The Geography of Mesopotamia, encompassing its ethnology and history, centred around the two great rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates. While the southern is flat and marshy; the near approach of the two rivers to one another, at a spot where the undulating plateau of the north sinks suddenly into the...

  • List of Assyrians
  • List of Assyrian settlements
  • List of Assyrian tribes
  • Names of Syriac Christians
    Names of Syriac Christians
    The various communities of indigenous pre-Arab Neo-Aramaic-speaking people of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and the surrounding areas advocate different terms for ethnic self-designation...


Literature

  • Ascalone, Enrico (2007): Mesopotamia: Assyrians, Sumerians, Babylonians (Dictionaries of Civilizations; 1). Berkeley: University of California Press (paperback, ISBN 0-520-25266-7).
  • Grayson, Albert Kirk (1975): Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (ABC), Locust Valley, N.Y., Augustin; reed. Winona Lake, Eisenbrauns (2000).
  • Leick, Gwendolyn (2002): Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City. Penguin Books.
  • Nardo, Don (1998): The Assyrian Empire. San Diego.
  • Olmstead, A. T. (1923): History of Assyria, Chicago.
  • Oppenheim, A. Leo (1964): Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization. Chicago.
  • Roux, Georges (1964): Ancient Iraq. 1st ed., 3rd ed., London, Penguin Books, 1992 (paperback, ISBN 0-14-012523-X).
  • Saggs, H. W. F. (1984): The Might that was Assyria
    The Might That Was Assyria
    The Might That Was Assyria is written by Assyriologist H. W. F. Saggs. It illustrates the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Saggs spent half of his life, studying the ancient Assyrians, before he wrote this book....

    , London, ISBN 0-283-98961-0
  • Van de Mieroop, Mark (2004): A History of the Ancient Near East, Oxford.

External links