Neo-Assyrian Empire  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 612 BC. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in later empires.

Following the conquests of Adad-nirari II in the late 10th century BC, Assyria emerged as the most powerful state in the known world at the time, coming to dominate the Ancient Near East, East Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Caucasus, and parts of the Arabian peninsula and North Africa, eclipsing and conquering rivals such as Babylonia, Elam, Persia, Urartu, Lydia, the Medes, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Israel, Judah, Phoenicia, Chaldea, Canaan, the Kushite Empire, the Arabs, and Egypt.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Old Assyrian Empire (c. 2025-1378 BC), and the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365-1050 BC) of the Late Bronze Age. During this period, Aramaic was also made an official language of the empire, alongside the Akkadian language.

Upon the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate due to a brutal and unremitting series of civil wars in Assyria proper. In 616 BC, Cyaxares king of the Medes and Persians made alliances with Nabopolassar ruler of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, and also the Scythians and Cimmerians against Assyria. At the Fall of Harran (609 BC) the Babylonians and Medes defeated an Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria largely ceased to exist as an independent state, although the Assyrian army and remnants of its administration continued to hold out around Carchemish until 605 BC, and around Dur-Katlimmu until perhaps as late as 599 BC.

Background

Assyria was originally an Akkadian kingdom which evolved in the 25th to 24th centuries BC. The earliest Assyrian kings such as Tudiya were relatively minor rulers, and after the founding of the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from 2334 BC to 2154 BC, these kings became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian and Sumerian speaking peoples of Mesopotamia (including the Assyrians) under one rule.

The urbanised Akkadian speaking nation of Assyria emerged in the mid 21st century BC, evolving from the dissolution of the Akkadian Empire. In the Old Assyrian period of the Early Bronze Age, Assyria had been a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia (modern-day northern Iraq), competing for dominance initially with the Hattians and Hurrians of Asia Minor, and the ancient Sumero-Akkadian "city states" such as Isin, Ur and Larsa, and later with Babylonia which was founded by Amorites in 1894 BC, and often under Kassite rule. During the 20th century BC, it established colonies in Asia Minor, and under the 20th century BC King Ilushuma, Assyria conducted many successful raids against the states of the south.

Assyria fell under the control of the Amorite chieftain Shamshi-Adad I (c. 1809 – 1776 BC), who established a dynasty and was unusually energetic and politically canny, installing his sons as puppet rulers at Mari and Ekallatm.

Following this it found itself under short periods of Babylonian and Mitanni-Hurrian domination in the 17th and 15th centuries BC respectively, followed by another period of power from 1365 BC to 1074 BC, that included the reigns of kings such as Ashur-uballit I, Tukulti-Ninurta I (r. 1244–1208 B.C.), and Tiglath-Pileser I.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Neo-Assyrian Empire" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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