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Assyria

Top image: A photo of Assur. Inset: Head most likely of Sargon of Akkad.

Both Religion and Royalty Reigned in the Assyrian City of Assur

Known today also as Qal’at Sherqat, the ancient Assyrian city of Assur is located in the Saladin Governorate of modern day Iraq, about 280 km (174 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad. This city was...
Babylonian/Assyrian king by Angus McBride. (Public Domain) Background: Detail of a relief reconstruction from the processional way that lead to the Ishtar Gate.

Nabopolassar: The Rebel Ruler of Babylonia Who Had the Gods on His Side

Nabopolassar was the founder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which existed between the 7th and 6th centuries BC. But the Neo-Assyrians that were losing power at the time didn’t make his rise easy. If...
Fragment of talisman used to exorcise the sick, Assyrian era.

Mixing Magic and Medicine: New Study Shows Mesopotamian Doctors Had to Battle Demons

Analysis of a collection of clay tablets confirms that a Mesopotamian doctor had to deal with more than just physical ailments. The ancient healer was expected to exorcise demons, ward off witchcraft...
 The broken top and bottom sections of the Assyrian stele.

British Museum Decided Against Uniting a Cursed Assyrian Stele and Bad Luck Fell to the Police

“Whoever discards this image from the presence of Salmanu puts it into another place, whether he throws it into water or covers it with earth or brings and places it into a taboo house where it is...
Poseidon, god of the Mediterranean Sea

Poseidon’s Wrath - The Scourge of the Sea Peoples

Perhaps 3 000 years from now archaeologists will be debating the reasons for the diaspora that occurred in the lands around the Mediterranean Sea during the early 21st century. What would have...
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...
Assyrian attack on a town with archers and a wheeled battering ram, 865–860 BC.

Were the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel Ever Lost?

When examining the mysteries of the 8th century BC, all one has to do is look in the Bible or an ancient history book to realize that Assyria had no outside threats. The Hittites and Egyptians were a...
Astounding Ancient Assyria: The Grand Palace of Assurnasirpal

Astounding Ancient Assyria: The Grand Palace of Assurnasirpal

The grand palace of Assurnasirpal (Ashurnasirpal) II was one of the most incredible sites of ancient Assyria. Located in Nimrud, Iraq, the immense palace was richly decorated with sophisticated...
The Man who Assyria Feared: Demon Gallu and King of the Universe

The Man who Assyria Feared: Demon Gallu and King of the Universe

In 660 BCE, mighty Assyria was about to be shaken. A Scythian named Dugdammi united many nomadic tribes into a confederation. This nomadic confederation pushed at the borders of Assyria which so...
Hunting the Lions: The Last King of Assyria, and the Death of the Empire – Part II

Hunting the Lions: The Last King of Assyria, and the Death of the Empire – Part II

The Assyrian empire, with the death of King Ashurbanipal, was collapsing under the weight of politics and war. Kingdoms and leaders previously held in Assyria’s great grasp fell upon the vulnerable...
A lion is hunted, and is near death. Assyrian relief, Nineveh, north palace, 645-635 BCE

Hunting the Lions: A Dead King, and a Collapsing Assyrian Empire – Part I

The fall of Assyria was with a whimper and in no way ended with a bang. Instead, it ended in a slow, agonizing death. Ashurbanipal, Assyria's last great king, ascended the throne only to inherit a...
The Military Campaigns of Tiglath-pileser III: Priest King and Conqueror – Part 1

The Military Campaigns of Tiglath-pileser III: Priest King and Conqueror – Part 1

The year is 745 BCE and much of the Middle East is about to be conquered and confiscated by the powerful Assyrian Empire under King Tiglath-pileser III. Tiglath-Pileser III: stela from the walls of...
Deriv; 5th century BC Achaemenid-era carving of Persian and Median soldiers in traditional costume and eclipse

Kings of the Umman Manda (Media): Warnings and Omens – Part II

Once Cyaxares had finalized the conquest of Urartu, he handed it over to a certain tribe of Scythians who had inhabited the region of Armenia beforehand and thus extended their domain. It is said...
Apadana Hall, fifth-century BC carving of Persian archers and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots)

Kings of the Umman Manda (Media): Their Hidden Origins and History – Part I

The term Medes, as a single ethnic group that encompasses all Media, is generic. It seems that the region of Media encompassed many smaller and independent principalities ruled by chieftains instead...
Metal belt from Metsamor site, Armenia. Second century BC.

The Legacy of Armenia: Trade, Metallurgy, and Forging of Precious Metals of the Ancient World

Since ancient times, demand for metals has been a big part of commercial exchange between countries separated by great distance. The Armenian Highland is situated between the Anatolian and Iranian...
Mitanni invaders

A Forgotten Empire: The Ancient Kingdom of Mitanni

Mitanni was a state that existed between the 16th and 13th centuries BC. This state occupied the land of the Hurrians. This area is located in the upper Tigris-Euphrates basin, and corresponds today...

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