Assyrian Empire | Definition, Meaning, Culture, History & Facts

One of the principal ethnic groups in ancient Mesopotamia was the Assyrian. They were locals of northern Mesopotamia, close to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers’ sources. Throughout history, the Assyrian Empire grew and shrank countless times.

The First Rise

When the Akkadian Empire collapsed, the Assyrians first gained control. The Assyrians ruled the north of Mesopotamia, while the Babylonians ruled the south. King Shamshi-Adad, one of their most powerful commanders at the period, was one of them. Shamshi-Adad’s reign developed to encompass a large portion of the northern region, and the Assyrian people prospered. But with Shamshi-Adad’s demise in 1781 BC, the Assyrians weakened and were soon subjugated by the Babylonian Empire.

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Second Rise

From 1360 BC through 1074 BC, the Assyrians gained supremacy once more. The empire was enlarged this time to include most of the Middle East, including Egypt, Babylonia, Israel, and Cyprus, as well as all of Mesopotamia. The reign of King Tiglath-Pileser I saw them at their height.

Empire of Neo-Assyria

From 744 BC until 612 BC, the last and possibly strongest of the Assyrian Empires was in power. Assyria was ruled by a succession of strongmen throughout this time, including Tiglath-Pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, and Ashurbanipal. The empire was developed by these rulers into one of the strongest empires in history. They took control of most of Egypt and the Middle East. In 612 BC, the Babylonians once more overthrew the Assyrian Empire.

Great warriors

The Assyrians’ formidable army was undoubtedly their greatest claim to fame. Fighting was a way of life in their warrior society. It was their means of survival. They were renowned as the most vicious and brutal fighters in the entire country.

The Assyrians were great fighters thanks to their iron weapons and lethal chariots. They created iron weapons that were more durable than some of their enemies’ copper or tin weaponry. They were extremely adept at using their chariots, which terrified their adversaries.

The Nineveh Library

Ashurbanipal, the last great Assyrian monarch, built a huge library in the city of Nineveh. In Mesopotamia, he gathered clay tablets from several locations. These comprised the Hammurabi Code, the Gilgamesh tales, and other works. The ruins of this library are where we learn a lot about Mesopotamian civilizations in antiquity. Over 30,000 tablets have been found, according to the British Museum in London. There are almost 10,000 different texts on these tablets.

Interesting Facts about Assyrian History

Ashur, Nimrud, and Nineveh were some of the important cities in the Assyrian Empire. The old empire’s capital and chief deity was Ashur.

To facilitate the swift movement of his army and messengers, Tiglath-Pileser III constructed highways throughout the realm.

In terms of siege warfare, the Assyrians were masters. In order to capture a city, they employed battering rams, siege towers, and other strategies like restricting water sources.

Their cities were majestic and powerful. They had colossal walls constructed to withstand a siege, numerous water channels and aqueducts, and opulent palaces for its kings.