The Assyrian Empire’s formidable army served as its foundation. Both deadly soldiers and creative generals were developed by the Assyrian martial society. To overwhelm their adversaries, they employed chariots, iron weaponry, and siege machinery.
A Standing Army
Early Assyrians lived in a martial culture. Every young man was supposed to prepare for battle by becoming a warrior. The Assyrian Empire expanded and developed a standing army.
An army that is always prepared to combat is known as a standing army. The Assyrian soldiers had received training in hand-to-hand fighting, siege warfare, and battle strategies. The Assyrian army would begin a combat campaign every spring. They would take over wealthy cities, enlarging the Assyrian Empire and bringing the king prosperity. The Assyrian army may have numbered up to a hundred thousand troops at its height.
Building an Empire
This formidable army was employed by the Assyrian monarchs to establish and grow their mighty realm. The freshly conquered population were kept in line by using terror of the troops. To make it easier for the army to get to trouble spots quickly, they constructed roads and forts all around the empire. Any revolt was put down immediately.
The Assyrian Empire eventually grew too large to be governed in this manner. The assyrian soldiers’ brutality sparked uprising throughout the empire, which made the army overstretched. In 612 BC, the Babylonians and Medes came together to overthrow the Assyrians and put an end to their rule.
The Assyrians expected their monarchs to be skilled fighters. They fought valiantly while leading the Assyrian army into combat. Of course, an elite army of soldiers whose task it was to keep the king alive was around them. However, some kings—like Sargon II—did perish away in battle.
The chariots of the Assyrian army were one of its greatest advantages. A wheeled vehicle pulled by two to four horses is called a chariot. The chariot would have standing riders. A driver and a soldier carrying a spear and a bow and arrow were typically the two riders. To protect the back, a third man would occasionally be added.
In order to provide a space for the rest of the army, chariots were utilized to ram into the enemy’s lines. They were also employed by commanders and generals able to issue instructions swiftly and move about the battlefield.
Swords, spears, bows and arrows, slingshots, and daggers were just few of the many weapons the Assyrians employed. Iron was initially used to build weapons by the Assyrians. Their use of iron, which was more powerful than the bronze their adversaries used, gave them a clear advantage.
Shields and helmets were the major pieces of protection worn by Assyrian troops. Shield-bearers would protect archers while they fired their arrows. The officers and generals were typically the only ones who wore full body armor.
Equipment for Siege
Some of the earliest siege weapons were created by the Assyrians to overthrow fortified cities. They scaled fortifications with siege towers and dismantled gates with battering rams. This was the first time intricate siege equipment had been employed in combat.
Facts to Know About the Assyrian Army:
In terms of logistics, the Assyrians were masters. To feed their army while it was on the move, they constructed food warehouses beside the routes of their dominion.
While engaged in a military campaign, the king’s court typically accompanied him. This comprised his household staff, personal assistants, advisers, and even entertainment.
One of the first armies to employ cavalry was the Assyrian one.
They floated rafts across rivers while pulling huge chariots over them using inflated sheep skins as sails.
To quickly send messages around the empire, they created a system akin to the Pony Express.