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Assyria

Nestled between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Assyrian empire spanned over three millennia, leaving an indelible mark on history and shaping the world as we know it today. With its rich cultural heritage, military might, and unparalleled architectural achievements, Ancient Assyria stands as a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of human civilization.

Ancient Assyria, spanning from approximately 2500 BC to 609 BC, witnessed a series of significant events and prominent leaders that shaped its history. Here is a summary of some of the main events and leaders of this ancient civilization:

  1. Rise of Assyria: Assyria began as a small city-state in northern Mesopotamia but gradually expanded its influence and territory. During the early second millennium BC, the city of Ashur emerged as the capital and the Assyrian Empire started to take form.
  2. Middle Assyrian Period: Under leaders like Shamshi-Adad I (1813-1781 BC) and Ashur-Uballit I (1365-1330 BC), Assyria experienced territorial expansion and established its dominance in the region. The empire expanded its borders, including the conquest of Babylon.
  3. Neo-Assyrian Empire: The Neo-Assyrian Empire marked the zenith of Assyrian power and influence. Prominent leaders during this period included Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BC), who initiated significant military campaigns and administrative reforms, and Sargon II (721-705 BC), who further expanded the empire.
  4. Assyrian Conquests: The Neo-Assyrian Empire conducted numerous military campaigns to expand its dominion. These conquests included the capture of Samaria, the capital of Israel, by Sargon II in 722 BC, and the siege and fall of the Kingdom of Judah by Sennacherib (705-681 BC) in 701 BC.
  5. Ashurbanipal and the Library of Nineveh: Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC) was a renowned Assyrian king known for his patronage of learning and the establishment of a magnificent library in the city of Nineveh. The library housed an extensive collection of cuneiform tablets and played a crucial role in preserving ancient Mesopotamian knowledge.
  6. Fall of Assyria: Despite its military might, the Neo-Assyrian Empire faced a decline. A coalition led by the Babylonians and the Medes sacked the Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 612 BC. The empire finally fell in 609 BC with the capture of the last Assyrian king, Ashur-Uballit II.

The events and leaders of Ancient Assyria reveal a complex tapestry of conquests, cultural achievements, and power struggles. The empire's rise to prominence, its territorial expansions, and the subsequent downfall highlight the dynamic nature of this ancient civilization.

Detail of a bronze statuette of Pazuzu, circa 800 BC - circa 700 BC. Pazuzu was an Assyrian evil spirit believed to frighten away other evil spirits - protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes.

Mesopotamian Ghostbusters: The Evil Acts of Assyrian Ghosts and How They Were Vanquished

Assyria, like Mesopotamia in general, has always excited the Western imagination. Assyrian beliefs about the spiritual world are no exception. The Assyrians believed that ghosts could return from the...
Archaeologist Henry Layard's image of Nineveh.

Nineveh: Exploring the Ruins of the Crown City of Ancient Assyria

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A fragment of the stone stele from the Ishtar temple. It depicts the goddess Ishtar inside a starburst with rosettes. Source: Penn Museum

Assyrian Relics Resurrected at Nimrud, Defying Terrorist Destruction

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Left: front view of the Helmet of Coțofenești Right: Side view of the mythological creatures on the helmet.      Source: Left: National Museum of Romanian History, GFDL Right: © Radu Oltean / Wikimedia Commons

Demystifying the Famous, Fierce, Golden Helmet of Coțofenești

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These ancient Iraq carvings dating to the Assyrian Empire were unearthed near the Mashki Gate in Mosul, escaping destruction by IS in 2016. Source: Iraqi Ministry of Culture

Ancient Assyrian Carvings Found Near Mashki Gate Destroyed by ISIS

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The Nimrud lens. Source: The British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Is the Assyrian Nimrud Lens the Oldest Telescope in the World?

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The Tower of Babel. Source: Александр Михальчук / CC BY-SA 4.0

Gateway to the Heavens: The Assyrian Account of the Tower of Babel

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Neo-Assyrian artwork found in a subterranean tunnel complex in Turkey.	Source: Antiquity Publications Ltd

Neo-Assyrian ‘Divine Procession’ Discovered in Hidden Tunnel, Turkey

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Excavating Azekah: Defensive Bastion Of The Kingdom Of Judeah

Excavating Azekah: Defensive Bastion Of The Kingdom Of Judeah

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Assyrian relief panel, 883–859 BC. Source: Public Domain / Met Museum

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An aerial photo of the Tel Lachish in central Israel, which was quickly conquered by the Assyrians with their powerful siege ramp in 701 BC. The Assyrian siege ramp is the focus of a new study published in Oxford Journal of Archaeology. 	Source: The Lachish Expedition / Southern Adventist University

New Study Reveals How Legendary Assyrian Siege Ramp Overcame Lachish

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Excavators work at the site of the archaeological dig on the eastern bank of the Faidi canal, just north of Mosul, where evidence of an Assyrian wine press has been discovered. Source: The Kurdish-Italian Faida and Khinnis Archaeological Project

2,700-Year-Old Assyrian Wine Press Found in Northern Iraq

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A bronze statue of Lama, Lamma, or Lamassu, an Assyrian protective deity that became one of the Urartian gods.	Source: EvgenyGenkin / CC BY-SA 4.0

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Meeting Between Cambyses II and Psammetichus III by Adrien Guignet (Public Domain)

The Assyrian, Persian And Greek Conquest Of Ancient Egypt

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Mesopotamian relief of Assyrian warriors. Credit: kmiragaya / Adobe Stock

Ancient Mesopotamia and the Rise of Civilization

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Hegmataneh hill, Hamadan City, Iran, where the new Iranian Median Empire discoveries were made Source: IRNA

New Digs Provide Insights into the Median Empire and Capital

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A collection of fake artifacts (figurines) seized by customs at Heathrow.         Source: Trustees of the British Museum

Trunks of Fake Artifacts from the Middle East Seized at Heathrow

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Assyrian Palace Discovered in Terrorists’ Treasure Tunnels

Assyrian Palace Discovered in Terrorists’ Treasure Tunnels

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The leader of the excavation, archaeologist Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, and one of the Assyrian relief carvings unearthed in the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq.    Source: Alberto Savioli / Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project / University of Udine

3000-Year-Old Assyrian Reliefs Unearthed in ISIS Stomping Ground

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Deriv; Stone statue of Gilgamesh (CC BY 2.0), used here as a representation of an ancient Mesopotamian man. Background: Solar event. (CC0) Information provided by ancient Assyrian astrologers can help modern scientists predict future solar storms.

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Representation of the cuneiform inscription discovery about the ancient city of Karkemish

Ancient Inscription Details Conquest of Assyrian King Sargon II

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Medieval stargazers. People have been fascinated by the stars and their possible influence over our lives, long before and after the time of Babylonian astrology.

Complex Astronomical and Astrological Systems Detailed on Ancient Assyrian Tablets

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Bronze figurines found at Lchashen

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Ninurta

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