Historically the Ancient Asian country, Assyria is located to the north of Mesopotamia from the northern border of present-day Iraq. Assyrian conquests extended to the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The western part of the country was a steppe suitable only to a nomadic population. However, the eastern part was suitable for agriculture, with hills full of woods and fertile valleys bathed by small rivers.
To the east of Syria are the Zagros Mountains; to the north, a step of plateaus leads to the Armenian massif; to the west lies the plain of Mesopotamia; to the south lies the country known first as Sumer, then Acade and later Babylon.
The most ancient Asian country just doesn’t end up with a mere historical reference. There is a lot more.
Like what? Serve yourself with the most fascinating Assyrian empire facts.
1 History of Assyrians
The Assyrians are direct offspring of Asshur, son of Shem, the grandson of Noah (Gen. 10.11). Asshur left the land of Sinar and went to settle in a strip of land north of Mesopotamia, more to the east, near the Tigris River. The river came to bear his name.
The city of Asshur flourished on the bank of the great river Tigre, not having defined borders. However its dimensions depended on the time varied according to the victories or defeats.
Its inhabitants were fierce warriors; they possessed iron weapons that made them superior in the art of war. They were famous for the cruelty with which their opponents were defeated in battle.
They captured their enemies and then cut their heads with an axe, and those that were alive had their eyes leaked. Those who did not die were turned into slaves and put to work hard. The peoples subjugated by the Assyrians had to pay high taxes.
3 Strategic Importance
The central core of Assyria was in the northern region of Mesopotamia, but by 800 BC it dominated the neighbors as no state had ever done. He fought mountain tribes in the north and east of his domain, but with the same tribes developed diplomatic relations.
Established in northern Mesopotamia, the Assyrian Empire was one of the most important civilizations in the Middle East. The first settlers known in the region were Semite nomads who began to lead sedentary life throughout the fourth millennium BC Some data attest to the formation, from the nineteenth century BC, of a small Assyrian state, which had commercial relations with the Hittite Empire.
In the fifteenth century BC, after a long period of submission to the Sumerian Empire, the Assyrian state with capital in Assur began to become independent to extend. Puzur-Assur III was the first monarch who freed of the Sumerian oppression undertook the expansion of the kingdom. Thanks to the commercial apogee, the Assyrians were able to launch under the reign of Shamsh-Adad I (1813-1781 bce or so), to the conquests that so much glory had brought him.
The king concentrated his efforts on the construction of a centralized state, modeled after the powerful Babylon Civilization. Their conquests extended to the middle valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates and north of Mesopotamia, but were barred in Aleppo, Syria. The king’s dead his sons could not maintain the empire by virtue of the constant attacks of the neighboring towns and the desires of independence of the subjects.
4 The Conquest Of Babylon
Assyria fell under the dominion of the kingdom of Mitani, from which it was liberated in the mid-14th century. BCE King Assur-Ubalit I (1365-1330) was considered by the successors as the founder of the Assyrian Empire, also known as the Middle Kingdom. To consolidate his power, he established relations with Egypt and intervened in the internal affairs of Babylon by marrying his daughter to the king of that state.
After its reign, Assyria went through a phase of warlike conflicts with the Hittites and Babylonians, which lasted until the end of the 13th century BC. Whoever succeeded in imposing himself was Salmanaser I (1274-1245 BC) who returned the Assyrian state to the Assyrian state.
This monarch extended his influence to Urartu (Armenia), supported by an effective army that managed to snatch from Babylon its routes and commercial points. The Middle Kingdom managed to reach its maximum power under the reign of Tukult-Ninurta I (1245-1208 BC),. The most important feat of this period was the incorporation of Babylon, which was under the administration of rulers dependent on Assyria. Babylon became an Assyrian colony.
5 Other Achievements
With the military conquest, the Empire stretched from Syria to the Persian Gulf. After the death of Tukult-Ninurta, the Assyrian power declined, which benefited Babylon. Babylon gradually freed itself from Assyrian power. After the period of wars against the Hittite and Mithyan invaders, Assyria re-emerged in the late 12th century BC, with Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077), who defeated Babylon in a very hard war.
After the death of Tiglate-Pileser I, the Assyrian fell under the rule of the Arameans. For many years it remained clutched and could not be freed. Freedom came only when Adade-Ninari II (911-891) assumed the throne of Assyria and made his first military campaign westward towards the upper Euphrates. The campaign ended with the tribes of the Arameans and other small peoples who inhabited the region.
The successor of Adade-Ninari, Tukulti-Ninurta II (890-884), continued the policy of his predecessor, of creating an Assyrian empire. He restored to Assyria the old grandeur and subdued the zone of influence of the Arameans, who were in the middle Euphrates to the rule of the Assyrians. Assurbanipal II succeeded him (884-859).
He was the most inhuman of the Assyrian kings, imposed his authority with unusual violence. He was the first Assyrian king to build chariots and cavalry units combined with infantry. During his reign the enemies were not defeated, they were shattered and killed coldly.
With Assurban king II, Assyria rose to the rank of Empire, with monumental constructions in Assur, Nínive and Calah and the assembly of a group of vassal states around the nucleus of the Assyrian territory. The dynasties of the regions affected by their military expeditions were obliged to pay taxes regularly, often also to the disposal of the Assyrian military troops.
The monumental constructions at Assur, Nineveh and Calah and the setting up of a “belt” of vassal states around the core of Assyrian territory showed the world of the time all the power of Assyria. The dynasties of the regions hit by their military expeditions were obliged to pay taxes regularly and often put at the disposal of the state oppressor military troops. His son Salmanaser III (859-824) was equally cruel. He conquered Syria and region.
The last period of the great Assyrian empire began with Tiglete-Pileser III (746-727), who dominated Mesopotamia. Assyria has reached the apex of military conquest dominating the entire ancient East. The king systematized the projects of vassalage and the territorial domains, unifying all the Near East. His boundless ambition led him to extend the empire to the kingdom of Judea, Syria and Urartu.
6 Highlight of Assyria In Science
Fruit of the multiple relations with other peoples to the Assyrian civilization reached a high degree of human development, something rare at the time. Among the scientific concerns of the Assyrians was astronomy. They established the position of the planets and stars and studied the Moon and its movements. In mathematics they reached a high level of knowledge, comparable to what would later occur in classical Greece.
7 Highlight of the Assyria in the Arts
The military spirit and warrior of the Assyrians are reflected in their artistic manifestations, mainly in the reliefs that decorate the monumental architectural constructions. They represent, mainly, scenes of war and hunting, in which figures of animals occupy the prominent place. They also cultivated the sculpture in ivory, in which they were great masters, as can be seen in the panels of Nimrud, which survived the wood of the furniture in which they were originally encrusted.
8 The Assyrian Gods
The Assyrian religion retained ancient Mesopotamian traditions, although it has undergone the introduction of other gods and myths. The eternal rivalry between Assyrians and Babylonians came to the religion with the preponderance of their great gods, the Assyrian Assur and the Babylonian Marduk.
9 The End Of Revolts
More or less in 730 BC a coalition was formed to end the domination in the Near East of the Ethiopian dynasties of Egypt. This reaction from Mesopotamia was led by Assyria. Salmanaser IV and Salmanaser V retained the power of Assyria, which annexed the region of Palestine during the reign of Sargon II (721-705).
This king decimated the Northern Kingdom, Israel, leaving only Samaria standing as its province. The son of this king, Sennacherib (704-681), had to face internal revolts, mainly in Babylon, religious center of the empire. In order to contain the revolts, Babylon was devastated by the troops of Sennacherib, thus giving the example to the other dominated peoples.
10 THE RUIN OF THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE
In 612 BC the Assyrian empire succumbed to the combined attack of the Medes and Babylonians. Under the ruins of a splendid civilization were the tragic memory of their merciless achievements and the unlimited ambition of kings. Most of the Assyrian lands were taken over by dynasties of Babylon.