Timeline of the Assyrian Empire - History

Timeline of the Assyrian Empire - History

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Timeline of the assyrian empire

2356-1199 BC .....Assuruballit I King
1275-1246 BC.....Shalmaneser I
1209-1117 BC......Decline of Assyria
1116-1078 BC .....The Empire of Tiglathpileser I
935- 860 BC......Resurgeance of Assyria
859-825 BC.......Reign of Shalmaneser III
745-728 BC.......Reign of Tiglathpileser III
726-706 BC.......Shalmaneser V and Saragon II
705-682 BC.......The Reign of Sennacherib
669-627 BC.......Reign of Assurbanapal
610 BC.......Harran Falls-End of Assyrian Empire

Babylonian and Assyrian

The source from which the exploration of Mesopotamian chronology started is a text called Ptolemy’s Canon. This king list covers a period of about 1,000 years, beginning with the kings of Babylon after the accession of Nabonassar in 747 bc . The text itself belongs to the period of the Roman Empire and was written by a Greek astronomer resident in Egypt. Proof of the fundamental correctness of Ptolemy’s Canon has come from the ancient cuneiform tablets excavated in Mesopotamia, including some that refer to astronomical events, chiefly eclipses of the Moon. Thus, by the time excavations began, a fairly detailed picture of Babylonian chronology was already available for the period after 747 bc . Ptolemy’s Canon covers the Persian and Seleucid periods of Mesopotamian history, but this section will deal only with the period up to the Persian conquest (539 bc ).

The chief problem in the early years of Assyriology was to reconstruct a sequence for Assyria for the period after 747 bc . This was done chiefly by means of limmu, or eponym, lists, several of which were found by early excavators. These texts are lists of officials who held the office of limmu for one year only and whom historians also call by the Greek name of eponym. Annals of the Assyrian kings were being found at the same time as eponym lists, and a number of these annals, or the campaigns mentioned in them, were dated by eponyms who figured in the eponym lists. Moreover, some of the Assyrian kings in the annals were also kings of Babylonia and as such were included in Ptolemy’s Canon.

Good progress was therefore being made when, soon after 1880, two chronological texts of outstanding importance were discovered. One of these, now known as King List A, is damaged in parts, but the end of it, which is well preserved, coincides with the first part of Ptolemy’s Canon down to 626 bc . The other text, The Babylonian Chronicle, also coincides with the beginning of the canon, though it breaks off earlier than King List A. With the publication of these texts, the first phase in the reconstruction of Mesopotamian chronology was over. For the period after 747 bc , there remained only one serious lacuna—i.e., the lack of the eponym sequence for the last 40 years or so of Assyrian history. This had not been established by the early 1970s.

A Timeline of World Empires

An Assyrian relief

620s BC The Assyrian Empire is split by civil war

612 BC A rebellion led by Babylon brings the Assyrian Empire to an end. The Babylonians then create their own empire.

559-529 BC Cyrus the Great founder of the Persian Empire reigns

546 BC Cyrus conquers Lydia in Asia Minor

539 BC Babylon is captured by the Persians

525 BC The Persians conquer Egypt

490 BC The Greeks defeat the Persians at the Battle of Marathon

480 BC The Greeks defeat another Persian invasion

C. 480 BC The Phoenicians found Carthage in Tunisia

391 BC The Romans defeat the Etruscans

322 BC In India the Mauryan Empire is founded

338 BC Philip of Macedon conquers Greece

334 BC Alexander the Great invades the Persian Empire

333 BC Alexander wins the Battle of Issus

332 BC Alexander conquers Egypt

330 BC Alexander controls all of the former Persian Empire

Alexander the Great

323 BC Alexander dies and his generals split his empire between them

247 BC The Parthian Empire is founded in Persia

273-236 BC The great Indian Emperor Asoka lives

264-241 BC The First Punic War is fought between Rome and Carthage (on the North African coast). Rome wins and gains Sicily.

The Second Punic War is fought. The great Carthaginian general Hannibal leads an expedition through Spain over the Alps against Rome but he fails to capture the city.

202 BC The Romans defeat the Carthaginians in at the battle of Zama in North Africa

185 BC The Mauryan Empire in India ends

149-146 BC The Third Punic War is fought between Rome and Carthage. Rome destroys Carthage.

58-51 BC Julius Caesar conquers Gaul (France)

30 BC Egypt becomes a province of the Roman Empire

98-117 AD Trajan is Emperor of Rome. The Roman Empire reaches its peak.

Roman soldier

224 AD In Persia a member of the Sassanid family kills the last Parthian king and founds the Sassanid Empire

c 320 In India the Gupta Empire begins

395 The Roman Empire permanently splits into two parts, East and West

407 Germanic tribes overrun Gaul (France)

410 The Goths capture Rome

455 AD The Vandals capture Rome

476 AD The Western Roman Empire ends completely

527-565 Justinian rules the Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire)

c 550 The Gupta Empire in India ends

642 The Arabs conquer Egypt. They begin the conquest of Persia.

651 The Sassanid Empire ends

698 The Arabs conquer Carthage in Tunisia

732 The Franks defeat the Moors at the Battle of Tours in France

800 Charlemagne is crowned Emperor. He rules a great empire including France, Germany and North Italy.

814 Charlemagne dies. After his death his empire splits up.

976 The Great Byzantine emperor Basil II rules. He strengthens the Byzantine Empire.

1055 The Seljuk Turks, a people from Central Asia take Baghdad

1071 The Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantine Empire at the battle of Manzikert

1076 The Seljuk Turks take Damascus and Jerusalem

1099 The Crusaders capture Jerusalem

1187 Saladin captures Jerusalem

1206 Genghis Khan unites the Mongols and begins to build a huge empire

1211 The Mongols invade Northern China

1221The Mongols attack Delhi

1236 The Mongols invade Russia

1241 The Mongols invade Poland and Hungary but they retreat after the death of Ogedei, Genghis Khan’s son

1250 The Mamelukes take power in Egypt

1258 The Mongols capture Baghdad

1260 The Mamelukes of Egypt defeat the Mongols

1279 The Mongols capture Southern China

1281 A Mongol invasion of Japan fails

C. 1325 The Aztecs found their capital at Tenochtitlan

Tamerlane king of Samarkand builds up a great empire in Asia. He conquers Herat in 1381 and destroys Delhi in 1398. In 1401 he takes Baghdad and in 1402 he defeats the Ottoman empire in Turkey.

1453 The Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople and bring the Byzantine Empire to an end

1517 The Ottoman Turks conquer Egypt

1521 Cortes conquers the Aztecs in Mexico

1522 The Ottoman Turks capture Belgrade

1526 In India Babur founds the Mughal Empire

1530 The Portuguese settle in Brazil

1533 Pizarro conquers the Incas

1556-1605 In India Akbar the Great rules over the Mogul Empire

1565 The Turks fail to capture Malta

1568 The Dutch rebel against Spanish rule

1571 The Turkish fleet is badly defeated by Spanish and Venetian ships

1587 The Mogul Emperor Akbar takes Kashmir

1592 In India Akbar the Great conquers Sind

1607 The English found Jamestown, Virginia the first permanent English colony in North America

1626 The Dutch found New Amsterdam, which later becomes New York

1627-1658 Shah Jahan, Mughal Emperor expands his empire

1648 Spain recognizes Dutch independence

1652 The Dutch found a colony in South Africa

1655 England takes Jamaica from Spain

1664 The English capture New Amsterdam, which is renamed New York

1683 The Ottoman Turks besiege Vienna but fail to capture the city

1687 The Austrians defeat the Turks at the Battle of Mohacs. The Turkish Ottoman Empire begins a long, slow decline.

C 1690 In India the Mogul Empire is at its height

1707 The Mogul Empire in India begins to break down

1733 Georgia, the last of the original 13 North American colonies is founded

1757 The British defeat the French at Plassey in India ensuring that India will become a British colony

1759 The British defeat the French at Quebec ensuring Canada becomes British

1775-1783 The American War of Independence is fought

1788 The first settlers arrive in Australia from Britain

1799 Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power in France

1806 The British take over the Dutch colony of South Africa

1813 Napoleon is defeated at Leipzig

1815 Napoleon escapes from exile and becomes emperor of France again but he is defeated at Waterloo

1816 Argentina becomes independent

1818 Chile becomes independent

1818 Shaka founds the Zulu Empire in southern Africa

1821 Mexico, Peru and Guatemala become independent

1825 Bolivia becomes independent

1828 In Africa Shaka, the Zulu emperor is murdered

1829 Following 7 years of fighting Greece becomes independent of Turkey

1830 The French invade Algeria. Over the following years, the French build up an empire in North Africa

1881 Tunisia becomes a French protectorate

1882 The British army occupies Egypt and Sudan

1884 The Germans take Namibia, Tanzania, Togo and Cameroon

1885 Italy takes Eritrea, Belgium takes The Republic of Congo and Britain takes Botswana

1886 Kenya becomes a British colony

1888-89 The British take control of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

1894 The British take Uganda

1898 War between the USA and Spain takes place. The USA takes the Philippines.

1901 The Australian colonies are united to form the Commonwealth of Australia


Name and Location.
Assyria can be found at the north part of Mesopotamia with two symbolic rivers running through it, the Tigris and the Euphrates along with many tributaries. Its name came from mât Aššur Asshur is its original capital, it literally means “the country of the god Asshur”. On its west is an alluvial land deposited by the Tigris that requires irrigation for agriculture to be possible while the foothills of Zagros on the east supply ample rainfall.

Birth of Power. The Assyrian Empire is shown on the Biblical Timeline Chart from the mid 23rd century BC to 608 BC. Its capital, Nineveh was situated near the Tigris River. At its peak, its power extended from Nineveh, Ashur, and Kalakh to Egypt up to the Persian Gulf.

Assyrians were known for their great ability in warfare as much as for brutality and inhumane violence. They believed their diving mission was to wipe out nationalism and impose their religion on the people under their domination and make them worship their gods.

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Known for their excellent combat strategies, they were also feared for ripping their prisoners alive and slitting different parts of their body. And while they pioneered in using iron weapons and light horse-drawn chariot, they also ranked high on having the bloodiest warfare method, callously displaying piles of human skulls to promote fear among other nations.

What Part of The Bible Mentions Assyria?

It is not until the later history of the Old Testament that Assyria is mentioned. 2 Kings 15:19 states that, Pul, the King of Assyria was given a thousand talents of silver by the King of Israel, Menahem, to show “that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.”

Early settlers of Assyria are believed to have come from Babylonia (Genesis 10:22) and descended from Asshur. Out of Noah’s three sons, the Assyrians originated from Shem (Genesis 10:6-8). In 1300 BC, with its great warrior Nimrod “mighty hunter before the Lord” (Genesis 10:9-12), it lead the ancient world and conquered Babylon along with other cities and its future capital, Nineveh.

It’s religion focused on the divinity of nature, worshiping natural objects they believed were possessed by a spirit. They were very superstitious.They would first ask the opinions of their diviners and follow several rituals before proceeding to any military actions. Their pagan belief extended from the chief god, Asshur to others related to nature, the planets, along with the other lesser and patron gods for numerous cities. For this, they were strongly condemned by the prophets and even God (Ezekiel 16:18).

Assyria’s wickedness and paganism were of great concern to God (Jonah 4:10-11 who asked Jonah to preach to the city of Ninevah who at first repented(Jonah 1:1-2). However, years later, the King of Assyria insulted God and told his people neither to listen to nor to trust God’s words (2 Kings 18:29-32) and even challenged God’s power and likened Him to their gods (2 Kings 18:33-35). This angered and dismayed God (2 Kings 19:21-27). Disappointed Him enough to make Him say, “I will make you return by the way you came” (2 Kings 19:28).

True to His word, years later, the Prophet Nahum warned, “the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished” (Nahum 1:3) and further revealed the “end of Nineveh” (Nahum 1:8). And around 609 BC, after dominating for more or less 300 years, the once great empire finally fell when the coalition of the Babylonians and Medes leaded by Nabopolassar, burnt Nineveh to the ground.

History Crash Course #21: Assyrian Conquest

The Assyrians conquer northern Israel and vanquish the nation with exile.

At a time when the Jewish people of the northern kingdom of Israel are weakening spiritually, as well as physically and militarily, the Assyrians are growing stronger.

The Assyrians at this time occupy the territory immediately north -- what is today's Syria, Iraq, and Turkey -- and they are continuing to build their empire.

If you go the British Museum in London, you can see some fascinating Assyrian artifacts from this period.

You can see there the four sided Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. The Obelisk depicts the tribute paid by King Jehu of the northern kingdom of Israel to Shalmanaser III, king of Assyria. You can also see a relief from the walls of the magnificent palace at Nineveh, Assyria's capital city.

That palace belonged to King Sennacherib, and the relief shows the siege of the Israelite city of Lachish it was conquered by Sennacherib, who then boasted about it on his palace walls. The British stripped the relief from the Nineveh palace and brought to the British Museum.

The dates that you will find inscribed in the British Museum (and in other history books and other museums housing Middle Eastern artifacts) do not agree with Jewish dating that we are following in this series. This is because this series relies on the traditional Jewish dating system for ancient history -- that is for the dates "before the common era," -- BCE. The Jewish dating system and the Christian dating system vary by as much as 164 years for the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian periods, but by the time we get to the Roman period (i.e. the Christian year 1) the discrepancy disappears. (1)Why?

While it is beyond the scope of this book to present a detailed explanation of the various chronologies of the ancient world, we will explain briefly the dominant dating systems used by modern historians.

The Jewish dating system is taken primarily from a book called Seder Olam Rabba, dating back to the 2nd century CE and attributed to Rabbi Yosef ben Halafta. The sources for the dates in Halafta's book come from rabbinic traditions recorded in the Talmud as well as numerous chronologies written in the Hebrew Bible (Tanach).

It is also essential to remember that traditional Jewish chronologies, (since the beginning of the Jewish calendar almost 6,000 years ago) have always been based on absolute and highly accurate astronomical phenomenon: the movement of the moon around the earth (months) and the earth around sun (years). A combination of an unbroken tradition of the Hebrew Bible and an accurate, astronomical, time-based system, gives traditional Jewish chronology a high degree of accuracy, especially when it comes to the major events of Jewish history.

Contrary to what you might think, the chronology used by modern historians is far from exact. It was not until the 20th century that the entire world recognized one universal calendar system -- the Christian calendar (also known as the Gregorian calendar). If we go back in time however, the calendar situation is far more chaotic. Accurate historical records were almost unheard of and every empire used its own calendar system which was often based on totally different criteria. With no unbroken historical traditional and no universally accepted standard for how to calculate time, there is no non-Jewish equivalent to Seder Olam Rabba nor for the Jewish calendrical calculation system passed down from antiquity.

So how do we get the chronology that historians use today?

Historians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries worked backward and pieced it together. This was done primarily through comparing what little historical records survived from ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt, together with archaeological finds, various scientific dating methods and major astronomical phenomenon such as a solar eclipse.

Because there are margins of error in virtually all of these methods and much is open to interpretation, significant debates erupted between different scholars which continue to this day. Therefore, the chronologies used by modern historian are by no means 100% accurate and you will often find disagreements amongst various scholars as to the exact dates of major ancient events and dynasties.

Because this series is written from the traditional Jewish perspective, and because Jewish chronology makes a stronger case for historical accuracy, we have chosen to use the traditional Jewish dates.

Today there are a number of renowned scholars also challenging the modern chronology and even attempting to reconcile it with the Jewish chronology. Amongst them is British scholar Peter James who writes:

With that in mind, we can continue the story.


In 6th century BCE, Assyrian king Tiglathpileser III strengthens Assyria and establishes it as a great empire to be reckoned with. (Eventually, Assyria will even challenge the mighty Egypt.) He also introduces a very interesting way of dealing with conquered peoples. It's called exile . To pacify the lands they invade, the Assyrians take the indigenous people, move them someplace else, and bring others to take their place. By the time the exiles figure out where they are, decades pass and they don't remember to rebel any more.

Starting around 575 BCE, as a way of pacifying the northern kingdom, Tiglathpileser takes over the lands belonging to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and exiles them.

Then, Shalmanaser V, another Assyrian emperor, takes over the lands belonging to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, and exiles them.

Finally in 556 BCE Sargan II, one of the great emperors of Assyria, completes the job, and the whole northern part of the country ceases to exist as a Jewish state.

The important and obvious lesson to be learned from this quote is that why the superficial reason for the fall of the Northern Kingdom was linked to the geopolitical realities of the ancient Near East, the real cause was violation of the Torah.

With the Jews driven out, who takes their place?

The Assyrians bring in a bunch of people from someplace else, who -- because they are now living in Shomron or Samaria -- come to be known as Samaritans.

The Samaritans are people who more or less adopt Judaism, but not properly or for the right reasons. Because their conversion is not complete or sincere, they are never accepted by the Jewish people, and they're very resentful.

Indeed, the Samaritans have a long history of animosity towards the Jews, and while many people are familiar with the story of the "good Samaritan" from the Christian gospels, in Jewish consciousness (and history) the Samaritans are rarely considered good.

Today there are only about 600 Samaritans left, their cult site is in Mount Grizim, which is right next to the city of Shechem, called Nablus in Arabic.

Meanwhile the Jewish people of the north have settled in various locations throughout the Assyrian empire. What happens to those ten tribes? They assimilate and are known today as the ten lost tribes.

There are numerous people throughout the world, especially in the Middle East and Asia who claim to be descended from the ten lost tribes. Today there are a number of people who have dedicated much time and effort to locating the lost tribes of Israel. One such person is Dr. Tutor Parfitt of London University. He has made it his specialty to track and trace different exotic peoples who claim to be of Jewish origin. He has written a book called "The Thirteenth Gate," and he's researched the people who claim to have Jewish connections. (2)

It's amazing how many people, many of whom know nothing about Judaism, claim to be descended from Jews. For example, many of the Pathans, Muslim fundamentalists who reside in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, claim to be descended from the ten lost tribes.

There is a Midrash that says the ten lost tribes live "over the River Sambatyon," which is a mystical river that flows all week with sand and stones but "rests" on Shabbat.

We have a concept that at the end of days, all the lost Jews will come back. The great sage, the Vilna Gaon, taught that converts are lost Jewish souls who are trying to find their way back to the Jewish people.

But for now, the ten tribes are gone.

With the Jewish people dispersed from the northern kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians set their sights on the southern kingdom. But this one will not prove so easy.

1)The classic example is the date given for the destruction of the 1st Temple by the Babylonians. Traditional Jewish chronology gives the date as Jewish year 3338 equal to 422 BCE while secular histories give the date as 586BCE-a difference of 164 years. The source of this discrepancy is the based on conflicting opinions as to the number of kings who reigned during the Babylonian-Persian period. For a much more detailed discussion of this topic see: Jewish History in Conflict (get rest of citation)
2) Tudor Parfitt, The Thirteenth Gate-Travels among the Lost Tribes of Israel. (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson) 1987.

Timeline of the Assyrian Empire - History

This history website is currently being developed, beginning with the 2000, 1900 and 1800 sections.

Select a time period from above to view the articles or search the Assyrian History Timeline.

Assyrians — a historical summary

The Assyrians of today are the indigenous Aramaic-speaking descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, one of the earliest civilizations emerging in the Middle East, and have a history spanning over 6760 years. Assyrians are not Arabian or Arabs, we are not Kurdish, our religion is not Islam. The Assyrians are Christian, with our own unique language, culture and heritage. Although the Assyrian empire ended in 612 B.C., history is replete with recorded details of the continuous presence of the Assyrian people till the present time.

The Assyrian kingdom, being one of the base roots of Mesopotamia, encouraged urbanization, building of permanent dwellings, and cities. They also developed agriculture and improved methods of irrigation using systems of canals and aqueducts. They enhanced their language that served as a unifying force in writing, trade and business transaction. They encouraged trade, established and developed safe routes, protecting citizens and property by written law. They excelled in administration, documented their performance and royal achievements, depicting their culture in different art forms. They built libraries and archived their recorded deeds for prosperity. They accumulated wealth and knowledge raised armies in disciplined formation of infantry, cavalry and war-chariot troops with logistics and built a strong kingdom, an unique civilization and the first world empire.

The heartland of Assyria lays in present day northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran. The remains of the ancient capital of Assyria, Nineveh, is next to Mosul in northern Iraq.

Prior to the Assyrian Holocaust which occurred before, during and after World War I, the major Assyrian communities still inhabited the areas of Harran, Edessa, Tur Abdin, and Hakkari in southeastern Turkey, Jazira in northeastern Syria, Urmia in northwestern Iran, and Mosul in northern Iraq as they had for thousands of years.

The world’s 4 million Assyrians are currently dispersed with members of the Diaspora comprising nearly one-third of the population. Most of the Assyrians in the Diaspora live in North America, Europe and Australia with nearly 460,000 residing in the United States of America. The remaining Assyrians reside primarily in Iraq and Syria, with smaller populations in Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, and Jordan.

The Assyrians are not to be confused with Syrians even though some Syrian citizens are Assyrian. Although the name of Syria is directly derived from Assyria and Syria was an integral part of Assyrian civilization, most of the people of Syria currently maintain a separate Arab identity. Moreover, the Assyrians are not Arabs but rather have maintained a continuous and distinct ethnic identity, language, culture, and religion that predates the Arabization of the Near East. In addition, unlike the Arabs who did not enter the region until the seventh century A.D., the Assyrians are the indigenous people of Mesopotamia. Until today, the Assyrians speak a distinct language (called Aramaic [Syriac]), the actual language spoken by Jesus Christ. As a Semitic language, the Aramaic language is related to Hebrew and Arabic but predates both. In addition, whereas most Arabs are Muslim, Assyrians are essentially Christian.

The Assyrians were among the first to accept Christianity in the first century A.D. through the Apostle St. Thomas. Despite the subsequent Islamic conquest of the region in the seventh century A.D., the Church of the East flourished and its adherents at one time numbered in the tens of millions. Assyrian missionary zeal was unmatched and led to the first Christian missions to China, Japan, and the Philippines. The Church of the East stele in Xian, China bears testament to a thriving Assyrian Christian Church as early as in the seventh century A.D. Early on, the Assyrian Church divided into two ancient branches, the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Church of the East. Over time, divisions within these Assyrian Churches led to the establishment of the Chaldean Church (Uniate Catholic), Syrian Catholic Church, and Maronite Church. Persistent persecution under Islamic occupation led to the migration of still greater numbers of Assyrian Christians into the Christian autonomous areas of Mount Lebanon as well. With the arrival of Western Protestant and Catholic missionaries into Mesopotamia, especially since the nineteenth century, several smaller congregations of Assyrian Protestants arose as well. A direct consequence of Assyrian adherence to the Christian faith and their missionary enterprise has been persecution, massacres, and ethnic cleansing by various waves of non-Christian neighbors which ultimately led to a decimation of the Assyrian Christian population. Most recently and tragically, Great Britain invited the Assyrians as an ally in World War I. The autonomous Assyrians were drawn into the conflict following successive massacres against the civilian population by forces of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, Kurds, Arabs and Persians. Although many geopolitical and economic factors were involved in provoking the attacks against the Assyrians, a jihad or holy war was declared and served as the rallying cry and vehicle for marauding Turks, Kurds, and Persians. Although the Muslim holy war against the Armenians is perhaps better known, over three-fourths, or 750,000 Assyrian Christians were also killed between 1843-1945 during the Assyrian Holocaust.

The conflict and subsequent Assyrian Holocaust led to the decimation and dispersal of the Assyrians. Those Assyrians who survived the Holocaust were driven out of their ancestral homeland in Turkish Mesopotamia primarily toward the area of Mosul Vilayet in Iraq, Jazira in Syria, and the Urmi plains of Iran where large Assyrian populations already lived. The massacres of 1915 followed the Assyrians to these areas as well, prompting an exodus of many more Assyrians to other countries and continents. The Assyrian Holocaust of 1915 is the turning point in the modern history of the Assyrian Christians precisely because it is the single event that led to the dispersal of the surviving community into small, weak, and destitute communities.

Most Assyrians in the Diaspora today can trace their emigration from the Middle East to the Assyrian Holocaust of 1915. Many, who fled from their original homes into other Middle Eastern countries subsequently, just one generation later, once more emigrated to the West. Thus, many Assyrian families in the West today have experienced transfer to a new country for three successive generations beginning, for instance, from Turkey to Iraq and then to the United States.

During World War I, after the Assyrians sided with the victorious Allies, Great Britain had promised the Assyrians autonomy, independence, and a homeland. The Assyrian question was addressed during postwar deliberations at the League of Nations. However, with the termination of the British Mandate in Iraq, the unresolved status of the Assyrians was relinquished to the newly formed Iraqi government with promises of certain minority guarantees specifically concerning freedom of religious, cultural, and linguistic expression. The Assyrians ["Our Smallest Ally"] lost two-thirds of their population during the World Wars.

The Simele Genocide (Syriac: ܦܪܡܬܐ ܕܣܡܠܐ : Premta d-Simele) was the first of many massacres committed by the Iraqi government during the systematic genocide of Assyrians of Northern Iraq in August 1933. The term is used to describe not only the massacre of Simele, but also the killing spree that continued among 63 Assyrian villages in the Dohuk and Mosul districts that led to the deaths of an estimated 3,000 innocent Assyrians. Today, most of these villages continue to be illegally occupied by Arabs and Kurds.

Currently, the Assyrians are religiously and ethnically persecuted in the Middle East due to Islamic fundamentalism, Arabization and Kurdification policies, leading to land expropriations and forced emigration to the West.

Assyrians in the Akkadian Empire

Mesopotamia (Present-Day Iraq)

During the Akkadian Empire (2334–2154 BC), the Assyrians, like all the Akkadian-speaking Mesopotamians (and also the Sumerians), became subject to the dynasty of the city-state of Akkad, centered in central Mesopotamia. The Akkadian Empire founded by Sargon the Great claimed to encompass the surrounding "four-quarters". The region of Assyria, north of the seat of the empire in central Mesopotamia, had also been known as Subartu by the Sumerians, and the name Azuhinum in Akkadian records also seems to refer to Assyria proper. The Sumerians were eventually absorbed into the Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) population.

Mesopotamia (Present-Day Iraq)

Neo-Assyrian Empire, 1055–936 BC

Eriba-Adad II ruled for only two years, and in that time continued to campaign against the Arameans and neo-Hittites before he was deposed by his elderly uncle Shamshi-Adad IV (1053–1050 BC) who appears to have had an uneventful reign. Ashurnasirpal I (1049–1031 BC) succeeded him, and during his reign he continued to campaign endlessly against the Arameans to the west. Assyria was also afflicted by famine during this period. Shalmaneser II (1030–1019 BC) appears to have lost territory in the Levant to the Arameans, who also appear to have also occupied Nairi in southeast Asia Minor, hitherto an Assyrian colony.

Ashur-nirari IV took the throne in 1018 BC, and captured the Babylonian city of Atlila from Simbar-Shipak and continued Assyrian campaigns against the Arameans. He was eventually deposed by his uncle Ashur-rabi II in 1013 BC.

During the reign of Ashur-rabi II (1013–972 BC) Aramaean tribes took the cities of Pitru and Mutkinu (which had been taken and colonized by Tiglath Pileser I.) This event showed how far Assyria could assert itself militarily when the need arose. The Assyrian king attacked the Arameans, forced his way to the far off Mediterranean and constructed a stele in the area of Mount Atalur. [12]

Ashur-resh-ishi II (971–968 BC) in all likelihood a fairly elderly man due to the length of his father's reign, had a largely uneventful period of rule, concerning himself with defending Assyria's borders and conducting various rebuilding projects within Assyria.

Tiglath-Pileser II (967–936 BC) succeeded him, and reigned for 28 years. He maintained the policies of his recent predecessors, but appears to have had an uneventful reign.

His successor, Tukulti-Ninurta II (891–884 BC) consolidated Assyria's gains and expanded into the Zagros Mountains in modern Iran, subjugating the newly arrived Persians, Parthians and Medes as well as pushing into central Asia Minor.

Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC) was a fierce and ruthless ruler who advanced without opposition through Aram and Canaan (modern Syria, Lebannon, Jordan and Israel) and Asia Minor as far as the Mediterranean and conquered and exacted tribute from Aramea, Phrygia and Phoenicia among others. Ashurnasirpal II also repressed revolts among the Medes and Persians in the Zagros Mountains, and moved his capital to the city of Kalhu (Calah/Nimrud). 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 heavily fortified towns, such as Imgur-Enlil (Balawat), Tushhan, Kar-Ashurnasirpal and Nibarti-Ashur. Ashurnasirpal II also had a keen interest in Botany and Zoology collecting all manner of plants, seeds and animals to be displayed in Assyria.

Tiglath-Pileser III (745–727 BC), a usurper whose original name was Pulu, initiated a renewed period of Assyrian expansion Urartu, Persia, Media, Mannea, Babylonia, Arabia, Phoenicia, Israel, Judah, Samaria, Nabatea, Chaldea, Cyprus, Moab, Edom and the Neo-Hittites were subjugated, Tiglath-Pileser III was declared king in Babylon and the Assyrian empire was now stretched from the Caucasus Mountains to Arabia and from the Caspian Sea to Cyprus.

Expansion, 911–627 BC

Ashur-Dan II (935–912 BC) oversaw a marked economic and organisational upturn in the fortunes of Assyria, laying the platform for it to once again forge an empire. He is recorded as having made successful punitive raids outside the borders of Assyria to clear Aramean and other tribal peoples from the regions surrounding Assyria in all directions. He concentrated on rebuilding Assyria within its natural borders, from Tur Abdin to Arrapha (Kirkuk), he built government offices in all provinces, and created a major economic boost by providing ploughs throughout the land, which yielded record grain production.

Shalmaneser III (858–823 BC) had his authority challenged by a large alliance of a dozen nations, some of which were vassals, including Babylonia, Egypt, Elam, Persia, Israel, Hamath, Phoenicia, the Arabs, Arameans, Suteans and neo Hittites among others, fighting them to a standstill at the Battle of Qarqar. The failure of this alliance prevented pharaoh Osorkon II from regaining an Egyptian foothold in the Near East.

Subsequent to this, Shalmaneser III attacked and reduced Babylonia to vassalage, including subjugating the Chaldean, Aramean and Sutean tribes settled within it. He then defeated Aramea, Israel, Moab, Edom, Urartu, Phoenicia, the Neo-Hittite states and the desert dwelling Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula, forcing all of these to pay tribute to Assyria.

It is in Assyrian accounts of the late 850's BC, recorded during the reign of Shalmaneser III, that the Arabs and Chaldeans first enter the pages of written history.

His armies penetrated to The Caucasus, Lake Van and the Taurus Mountains the Hittites around Carchemish were compelled to pay tribute, and the kingdoms of Hamath and Aram Damascus were subdued. In 831 BC, he received the submission of the Georgian kingdom of Tabal. 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.

However, his successor, Shamshi-Adad V (822–811 BC) (also known as Shamshi-Ramman II), inherited an empire beset by civil war in Assyria itself. The first years of his reign saw a serious struggle for the succession of the aged Shalmaneser III. The revolt, which had broken out by 826 BC, was led by Shamshi-Adad's brother Assur-danin-pal. The rebellious brother, according to Shamshi-Adad's own inscriptions, succeeded in bringing to his side 27 important cities, including Nineveh and Babylon. 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 both Babylonia and Elam, and forced a treaty in Assyria's favour on the Babylonian king Marduk-zakir-shumi I. In 814 BCE, he won the battle of Dur-Papsukkal against the new Babylonian king Murduk-balassu-iqbi, and went on to subjugate the immigrant tribes of Chaldeans, Arameans, and Suteans who had recently settled in parts of Babylonia.

He was succeeded by Adad-nirari III (810–782 BC), who was merely a boy. The Empire was thus ruled by his mother, the famed queen Semiramis (Shammuramat), until 806 BC. Semiramis held the empire together, and appears to have campaigned successfully in subjugating the Persians, Parthians and Medes during her regency, leading to the later Iranian and also Greek myths and legends surrounding her.

In 806 BC, Adad-nirari III took the reins of power from Semiramis. He invaded the Levant and subjugated the Arameans, Phoenicians, Philistines, Israelites, Neo-Hittites, Moabites and Edomites. He entered Damascus and forced tribute upon its Aramean king Ben-Hadad III. He next turned eastward to Iran, and subjugated the Persians, Medes and the pre Iranian Manneans, penetrating as far north east as the Caspian Sea. He then turned south, forcing Babylonia to pay tribute. His next targets were the migrant Aramean, Chaldean and Sutu tribes, who had settled in the far south eastern corner of Mesopotamia, whom he conquered and reduced to vassalage. Then the Arabs in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula to the south of Mesopotamia were invaded, vanquished and forced to pay tribute also.

It is from this general period that the Cilician Indo-Anatolian term Surai (Syria) first appears in historical record in what is now called the Çineköy inscription, not in reference to the region of Aramea now encompassing modern Syria in The Levant, but specifically and only to Assyria itself.

Adad-nirari III died prematurely in 782 BC, which led to a temporary period of stagnation within the empire. Assyria continued its military dominance, however Shalmaneser IV (782 - 773 BC) himself seems to have wielded little personal authority, and a victory over Argishti I, king of Urartu at Til Barsip is accredited to an Assyrian General (Turtanu) named Shamshi-ilu, who does not even bother to mention his king. Shamshi-ilu also scored victories over the Arameans, Phrygians, Persians and Neo-Hittites, and again, takes personal credit at the expense of his king.

Ashur-dan III ascended the throne in 772 BC. He proved to be a largely ineffectual ruler who was beset by internal rebellions in the cities of Ashur, Arrapkha and Guzana and his personal authority was checked by powerful generals, such as Shamshi-ilu. He failed to make any further gains in Babylonia, Canaan and Aram. His reign was also marred by Plague and an ominous Solar Eclipse and, as with his predecessor, military victories were credited to Shamshi-ilu.

Ashur-nirari V became king in 754 BC, the early part of his reign seems to have been one of permanent internal revolution, and he apprears to have barely left his palace in Nineveh. However, later in his reign he led a number of successful campaigns in Asia Minor and the Levant. He was deposed by Tiglath-pileser III in 745 BC bringing a resurgence to Assyrian expansion.

Shalmaneser V (726–723 BC) consolidated Assyrian power during his short reign, and repressed Egyptian attempts to gain a foothold in the near east, defeating and driving out Pharaoh Shoshenq V from the region. He is mentioned in Biblical sources as having conquered Israel and being responsible for deporting the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel to Assyria. He and his successor also brought the Samaritans, people originating from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Sepharvaim and Hamath, and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. [13]

Tiglath-Pileser III had reorganised the Assyrian army into the first professional fighting force in history, he also incorporated conquered peoples into the imperial army to serve as light infantry, thus expanding the size of the army. He greatly improved the civil administration of his empire, reducing the influence of hitherto powerful nobles, regional governors and viceroys, and deporting troublesome peoples to other parts of his vast empire, setting the template for all future ancient empires. Tiglath-Pileser III also introduced Mesopotamian Eastern Aramaic as the Lingua Franca of Assyria and its vast empire, whose Akkadian infused descendant dialects still survive among the modern Assyrian Christian people to this day. [14]

Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II (911–892 BC), Assyria once more became a great power, growing to be the greatest empire the world had yet seen. The new king firmly subjugated the areas that were previously only under nominal Assyrian vassalage, conquering and deporting troublesome Aramean, Neo-Hittite and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places. Adad-nirari II then twice attacked and defeated Shamash-mudammiq of Babylonia, annexing a large area of land north of the Diyala River and the towns of Hīt and Zanqu in mid Mesopotamia. Later in his reign, he made further gains against King Nabu-shuma-ukin I of Babylonia. He then conquered Kadmuh and Nisibin from the Arameans, and secured the Khabur region.

In 716 BCE Sargon II crossed the Sinai and amassed an army on Egypt's border. Osorkon IV personally met the Assyrian king at the "Brook of Egypt" (most likely el-Arish) and was forced pay tribute to Sargon II to avoid being invaded. Mannea, Cilicia Cappadocia and Commagene were conquered, Urartu was ravaged, and Babylonia, Chaldea, Aram, Phoenicia, Israel, Arabia, Cyprus and the famed Midas (king of Phrygia) were forced to pay tribute. His stele has been found as far west as Larnaca in Cyprus. Sargon II conquered Gurgum, Milid, the Georgian state of Tabal, and all of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms of the Taurus Mountains. Egypt, now under a new Nubian dynasty, once again attempted to gain ground in the region by supporting Israel's rebellion against the empire, however Sargon II once again crushed the uprising, and Piye was routed and driven back over the Sinai. Sargon II was killed in 705 BC while on a punitive raid against the Cimmerians, and was succeeded by Sennacherib.

Sargon II (722–705 BC) maintained the empire, driving the Cimmerians and Scythians from Ancient Iran, where they had invaded and attacked the Persians and Medes, who were vassals of Assyria. Deioces, king of the Medes and Persians was then forced to pay tribute after launching a failed rebellion against Assyria. When in 720 BCE a revolt occurred in Canaan against Sargon II, king Hanno sought the help of Pharaoh Osorkon IV of the 22nd Dynasty of Egypt. The Egyptian king sent a general named Raia as well as troops in order to support the neighboring ally. However, the coalition was defeated in battle at Raphia: Raia fled back to Egypt, Raphia and Gaza were looted and Hanno was burnt alive by the Assyrians. [15] [16]

Sennacherib (705–681 BC), a ruthless ruler, defeated the Greeks who were attempting to gain a foothold in Cilicia, and then defeated and drove the Nubian ruled Egyptians from the Near East where the new Nubian Pharaoh Taharqa had once again fomented revolt against Assyria among the Israelites, Judeans and Canaanites.

Sennacherib was forced to contend with a major revolt within his empire, which included a large alliance of subject peoples, including Babylonians, Persians, Medes, Chaldeans, Elamites, Parthians, Manneans and Arameans. The prime movers in this rebellion were Mushezib-Marduk of Babylonia, Achaemenes of Persia, Khumban-umena III of Elam, and Deioces of Media. The Battle of Halule was fought in 691 BC between Sennacherib and his enemies, in which this vast alliance failed to overthrow Sennacherib. The Assyrian king was then able to subjugate these nations individually, Babylon was sacked and largely destroyed by Sennacherib. He sacked Israel, subjugated the Samaritans and laid siege to Judah, forcing tribute upon it. He installed his own son Ashur-nadin-shumi as king in Babylonia. He maintained Assyrian domination over the Medes, Manneans and Persians to the east, Asia Minor and the southern Caucasus to the north and north west, and the Levant, Phoenicia and Aram in the west.

Esarhaddon also completely rebuilt Babylon during his reign, bringing peace to Mesopotamia as a whole. The Babylonians, Egyptians, Elamites, Cimmerians, Scythians, Persians, Medes, Manneans, Arameans, Chaldeans, Israelites, Phoenicians and Urartians were vanquished and regarded as vassals and Assyria's empire was kept secure.

Sennacherib's palace and garden at Nineveh have been proposed by some scholars as the true location of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. [17] During the reign of Sennacherib, the major city of Nineveh (extant since approximately 3000 BC) which at the end of the Bronze Age had a population of 35,000, was transformed into the capital of Assyria, growing at its height to be the largest city in the world at the time, with a population of up to 150,000 people. [18]

Sennacherib was murdered by his own sons (according to the Bible the sons were named Adrammelech, Abimelech and Sharezer) in a palace revolt, apparently in revenge for the destruction of Babylon, a city sacred to all Mesopotamians, including the Assyrians.

To the west, the kings of Judah, Edom, Moab, Israel, Sidon, Ekron, Byblos, Arvad, Samarra, Ammon, Amalek, and the ten Greek kings of Cyprus, are listed as Assyrian subjects. Esarhaddon expanded the empire as far south as Arabia, Meluhha, Magan and Dilmun (modern Saudi Arabia, Bahrain the United Arab Emirates and Qatar).

The conquest by Esarhaddon effectively marked the end of the short lived Kushite Empire. He imposed a so-called Vassal Treaty upon his Persian, Parthian and Median subjects, forcing Teispes of Persia and Deioces of Media to submit both to himself, and in advance to his chosen successor, Ashurbanipal. [19] Esarhaddon died whilst preparing to leave for Egypt to once more eject the Nubians, who were attempting to encroach on the southern part of the country. This task was successfully completed by his successor, Ashurbanipal.

Ashurbanipal began his rule by once more defeating and chasing out the Nubian/Cushite king Taharqa, who had attempted to invade the southern part of Assyrian-controlled Egypt. Memphis was sacked. Ashurbanipal then put down a series of rebellions by the native Egyptians themselves, installing Necho I as a puppet Pharaoh, heralding the 26th Dynasty of Egypt. However, in 664 BC, the new Nubian-Kushite king Tantamani once more attempted to invade Egypt, however he was savagely crushed, Thebes was sacked and looted, and he fled to Nubia, bringing to an end, once and for all, Nubian-Kushite designs on Egypt.

Ashurbanipal 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 surveyed. To the east, Elam was devastated and prostrate before Assyria, the Manneans and the Iranian Persians and Medes were vassals. To the south, Babylonia was occupied, the Chaldeans, Arabs, Sutu and Nabateans subjugated, the Nubian empire destroyed, and Egypt paid tribute. To the north, the Scythians and Cimmerians had been vanquished and driven from Assyrian territory, Urartu (Armenia), Phrygia, Corduene and the neo Hittites were in vassalage, and Lydia pleading for Assyrian protection. To the west, Aramea (Syria), the Phoenicians, Israel, Judah, Samarra and Cyprus were subjugated, and the Hellenised inhabitants of Caria, Cilicia, Cappadocia and Commagene paid tribute to Assyria.

In 652 BC, just one year after his victory over Phraortes, his own brother Shamash-shum-ukin, the Assyrian king of Babylon who had spent seventeen years peacefully subject to his sibling, became infused with Babylonian nationalism, declaring that Babylon and not Nineveh should be the seat of empire. Shamash-shum-ukin raised a powerful coalition of vassal peoples resentful of being subject to Assyria, including- Babylonians, Chaldeans, Persians, Medes, Arameans, Suteans, Arabs, Elamites, Scythians, Cimmerians, Phoenicians, Israelites and even some disaffected Assyrians. War raged between the two brothers for five years, until in 648 BC, Babylon was sacked, and Shamash-shum-ukin slain. Ashurbanipal then wrought savage revenge, Elam was utterly destroyed, the Aramean, Chaldean, Sutean tribes were brutally punished, Arabia was sacked and ravaged by the Assyrian army, and its rebellious shiekhs put to death. Cyrus I of Persia (grandfather of Cyrus the Great) was forced into submission, as a part of this defeated alliance.

Esarhaddon (680–669 BC) expanded Assyria still further, campaigning deep into the Caucasus Mountains in the north, defeating king Rusas II and breaking Urartu completely in the process. Esarhaddon campaigned successfully subjugating the Scythian king Ishpakaia, and the Cimmerian king Teushpa in Asia Minor, and in Ancient Iran, the Manneans, Gutians, Persians and Phraortes the king of the Medes were subjugated.

Phraortes, the king of the Medes and Persians, also rebelled against Assyria, and attempted to attack Assyria itself in 653 BC, however he met with defeat at the hands of Ashurbanipal, and was killed. The succeeding Median-Persian kings, Madius and then Cyaxares the Great, were both in turn subjugated by Ashurbanipal, remaining his vassals. At around this time, Gyges king of Lydia in western Asia Minor, offered his submission to Ashurbanipal.

Mass alliances against Assyria were not a new phenomenon. During the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BC), peoples such as the Hittites, Babylonians, Mitannians/Hurrians, Elamites, Phrygians, Kassites, Arameans, Gutians and Canaanites had formed various coalitions at different times in vain attempts to break Assyrian power. During the Neo Assyrian Empire, in the reigns of Shalmaneser III in the 9th century BC, Sargon II in the 8th century BC, and Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal in the earlier part of the 7th century BC, combined attempts to break Assyrian dominance by alliances including at different times Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Elamites, Nubians, Medes, Chaldeans, Phoenicians, Canaanites, Lydians, Arameans, Suteans, Israelites, Judeans, Scythians, Cimmerians, Manneans, Urartians, Cilicians, Neo-Hittites and Arabs had all failed, Assyria being strong, well led and united, at the height of its power, and able to deal with any threat.

Timeline of Ancient Civilizations in Africa

Egypt – Ancient Egyptian Civilization

There is evidence of pastoral life and cultivation of grain in the Eastern Sahara.

6000 BC
Organized agriculture appears along with the construction of great cities.

5500 BC – 3100 BC
During the Pre-Dynastic period, the small settlements prospered along the Nile River.

3300 BC
Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, known has Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. The frontier between both was in modern-day Cairo, south of the Nile Delta.

3500 BC
The first acts of canalization and Hieroglyphic writing emerges.

3200 BC – 3100 BC
Proto-Dynastic period: In this period, the first authentic cities emerged. Vases carved from stone, knives, ceremonial blades, and dedicated scepter heads.

3100 BC – 2700 BC
Archaic Kingdom: Menes, the first Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, unified Upper and Lower Egypt.

2700 BC – 2250 BC
Ancient Kingdom. Memphis is established as the capital. During this period, the custom of building great pyramids began. The V Dynasty marked the ascent of the high priest.

2250 BC – 2050 BC
First Intermediate Period: Literature flourished in this period. The growth of the middle class created a new conception of belief that was reflected in the appearance of the so-called Texts of the Sarcophagi.

2050 BC – 1800 BC
Middle Kingdom: Period of great economic prosperity and outward expansion. Ambitious irrigation projects in Faiyum were completed to regulate the flooding of the Nile River, diverting it toward Lake Moeris. The Hyksos conquered Egypt, causing the fall of the Middle Period.

1800 BC – 1550 BC
Second Intermediate Period: Under the rule of the Hyksos, the city of Avaris acted as a capital city until the Egyptian leaders of Thebes declared the “Salvation of Egypt” and declared a “Salvation War” against the Hyksos.

1550 BC – 1070 BC
New Kingdom: In the outward expansion arrived at the Euphrates (Asia) as well as to Nubia (Africa). In the end, they faced invasions from the People of the Sea, people from the Aegean Sea and Libya.

1070 BC – 656 BC
Third Intermediate Period: 2 Libyan dynasties were established that divided Egypt.

656 BC – 332 BC
Late Period: With two periods of Persian rule, Egypt became a Satrap (protector of the land/country).

332 BC – 30 BC
Hellenistic Period: Started with the conquests of Alexander the Great from Macedonia and ended with the incorporation of Egypt into the Roman empire through the Battle of Actium. In the year 30 Bc, Cleopatra died.

30 BC – 640 AD
In the year 30 BC Alexander Octavio came around, making Egypt a Roman province. Egypt was passed to the Byzantines when the Roman empire was divided until the Arabic conquest in the year 640 AD

Society in the Middle Assyrian period [ edit ]

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 and the Hurrians. These people now controlled the Mediterranean ports, while the Kassites controlled the river route south to the Persian Gulf.

The Middle Assyrian kingdom was well organized, and in the firm control of the king, who also functioned as the high priest of Ashur, 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.

The main Assyrian cities of the middle period were Ashur, Kalhu (Nimrud) and Nineveh, all situated in the Tigris 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 c. 33,000). By the end of the Neo-Assyrian period, it had grown to a population of 120,000, and was possibly the largest city in the world at that time. ⎙]

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 on both 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 casus belli.

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 colorful 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 and Akkadian literary works were often copied with an Assyrian flavor. 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 to 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, with two towers and colorful enameled tiles.

Laws [ edit ]

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 and 13th centuries which, among other things, clearly shows that the social position of women in Assyria was lower than that of neighboring 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 that 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 labor. 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.

Despite the harsh laws, Assyria was open to homosexual relationships between men. ⎚] In the Middle Assyrian Laws, sex crimes were punished identically whether they were homosexual or heterosexual. ⎚] ⎛] An individual faced no punishment for penetrating someone of equal social class, a cult prostitute or someone whose gender roles were not considered solidly masculine. However, homosexual relationships between fellow soldiers, with slaves or royal attendants, and with those where a social better was submissive or penetrated, were treated as rape and were seen as bad omens. Omen texts referred to male homosexual acts without moral judgement or affirmation. ⎛]


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