The Assyrian Empire <ul><li>The World’s First Military Machine </li></ul>
Introduction to Assyria A militaristic empire only succeeds when lead by the right authority. Assyria’s rise and decline accentuated that moral. When ruled by the right government, Assyria thrived, and during the time at which the authority weakened, the great empire fell. This reflects the value that if rulers are strong and able to make sound and rational decisions much can be accomplished and a civilization can, can advance and become a powerful empire. Assyrian military tactics were very effective in early Assyria. When building a foundation for an empire, the tactics provided a basis to expand at later times as well as protect themselves as they grew as a society. Assyria was able to use military advantages to conquer great expanses of land in order to control more of the Middle East. Although violence was a positive aspect from their culture, they accomplished many key tasks in creating a copious civilization. Violence has become a part of western culture partly due to the Assyrians. This has an affect on the current way of life as one can see the rise of a powerful, violent, and vicious empire, and how their own military conquests led to its downfall. This illustrates to people today the importance of the Assyrian empire and their many accomplishments.
5000 B.C.- 2500 B.C. 2500- 1480 B.C. 1480- 934 B.C. Emerging Assyria Expansion Through Military Tactics Assyrian military tactics were effective in building a foundation for an empire. It gave the Assyrians a basis to expand their empire in later times. As well as protect themselves while they were growing as a society. In this beginning period, though the tactics were under developed, the slow formation of a militaristic empire can be seen in their societies.
In The Beginning... 5000-2500 B.C. <ul><li>Assyria’s first established city was Nineveh in 5000 B.C. </li></ul><ul><li>Assyrian calendar starts at 4750 B.C. when the first Assyrian temple is built in Assur, the second established city. </li></ul><ul><li>A third city, Arbel, was established sometime before 2500 B.C., but there’s no archeological evidence of exactly when. </li></ul><ul><li>By 2500 B.C, Nineveh, Assur, and Arbel are set as Assyria’s prosperous metropoli </li></ul>
In The Beginning: Technological Advances <ul><li>During this period advancements such as animal domestication, agriculture, pottery, controllable fire, and smelting </li></ul><ul><li>In terms of agriculture, Arbel was one of the very earliest permanent settlements because of it fertile corn fields </li></ul><ul><li>Assyrians develop specialization of workers and writing, ideas thought to be borrowed from Sumerians </li></ul><ul><li>Assyrian cities have large walls built around them implying that they have outside attacking forces, and a need for warfare </li></ul>
5000 B.C.- 2500 B.C. 2500- 1480 B.C. 1480- 934 B.C. Emerging Assyria Expansion Through Military Tactics Assyrian military tactics were effective in building a foundation for an empire. In this time period strong military tactics when supported by a strong leader helped Assyria expand and develop in ways that might have not been possible otherwise.
Slowly Progressing Sargon of Akkad <ul><li>Sargon of Akkad rose to power in 2371 B.C. He created the first Assyrian kingdom in Southern Mesopotamia. </li></ul><ul><li>According to Assyrian fable, Sargon was found floating down the Euphrates by a gardener. His mother was a priestess in a town near the Euphrates, (his real father is unknown). </li></ul><ul><li>Raised as a gardener, Sargon attained a political position in Kish without any political ties. </li></ul><ul><li>He obtained supremacy by defeating Lugalzaggisi of Uruk. Lugalzaggisi had already united Sumer under his rule, therefore when Sargon defeated him, Sargon controlled all of Sumer. </li></ul>Sargon of Akkad declared himself Sharru-kin ("Rightful King")
Sargon of Akkad’s Expansion <ul><li>Sargon defeated cities along the middle Euphrates to northern Syria the mountains of southern Anatolia and the Zagros Mountains of western Iran. </li></ul><ul><li>He improved commercial trade with Indus Valley, the coast of Oman, the islands of the Persian Gulf, the mines of Badakhshan, the cedars of Lebanon, the Taurus Mountains, Cappadocia, Crete, and Greece. </li></ul><ul><li>Sargon Falls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rebellions were said to be caused by the sacrilegious acts that he might have committed. Most likely, the conflicts can be attributed to the fact that one man couldn’t control such a large empire without a better developed administration. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The empire did not collapse completely. Sargon’s successors maintained some power in government. Sargon’s empire “fell” in 2334 B.C. Sargon ruled for 56 years. He died in 2278 B.C. was succeeded by his son, Rimush. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sargon of Akkad is thought of as the founder of the Military tradition. </li></ul>
Akkadian Falls <ul><li>In 2254 B.C. King Naram Sin, another son of Sargon, further expanded the empire to north as well as the east. He died in 2217 B.C. and is succeeded by his son Sharkalisharri </li></ul><ul><li>In 2180 B.C. the Akkadian empire was destroyed by the Guti, who invaded from the north, and the Elamites of Susa regain the independence that had been taken sometime ago. </li></ul><ul><li>From then on no extreme progress was made until 1900 B.C. when the cities of Assur and Nineveh form an Assyrian kingdom. The Assyrians used the city of Ashur to establish colonies in Anatolia, taking base in Nesa. </li></ul>Naram Sin
5000 B.C.- 2500 B.C. 2500- 1480 B.C. 1480- 934 B.C. Emerging Assyria Expansion Through Military Tactics Assyrian military tactics were effective in building a foundation for an empire. It gave the Assyrians a basis to expand their empire in later times. As well as protect themselves while they were growing as a society. With the conflicts they faced during this period of time it was essential that the Assyrians had strong military tactics.
Laying Foundation: Ashur-Uballit <ul><li>In 1480 B.C. the neighboring Aryan Mitanni, a non-Semitic society from upper Iran and Syria, empire began to conquer neighboring societies in the area. Despite some conflict with the Egyptians the Mitanni king, Saustatar conquered Assyria by 1400 B.C. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1480 B.C. the neighboring Aryan Mitanni empire began to conquer neighboring societies in Eurasia. Despite some conflict with the Egyptians the Mitanni king, Saustatar conquered Assyria by 1400 B.C. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1365 Ashur-Uballit became the king of Assyria and restored Assyrian independence </li></ul><ul><li>Ashur-Uballit and his army </li></ul>
Laying Foundation: Ashur-Uballit <ul><li>He destroyed Nineveh and sent off the image of Assyria’s deity Ishtar to the Amenhotep IV, the Egyptian pharaoh. </li></ul><ul><li>Ashur-Uballit allied with the Kassite successors. </li></ul><ul><li>He later ended Hittite and Hurrian rule. </li></ul><ul><li>By intermarriage he then influenced the Kassite dynasty and eventually dominated all of Babylonia. He paved the way for later Assyrian developments. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1307 B.C. He destroyed the rule of the Aryan Mitanni . </li></ul><ul><li>Amenhotep IV </li></ul>
Conflict With Arameans <ul><ul><li>Through previous conflict with the Aryan Mitanni Assyria made advances in war; developing iron swords, lances, and metal armors, but that didn’t stop the period of unrest from continuing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 1225 B.C. the Assyrians, under king Tukulti-Ninurta I, captured Babylon though was later killed by his son in 1208 B.C. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 1100 B.C. the Assyrian king Tiglat-Pileser conquered Syria from their current suppressors, the Arameans. They also conquered Armenia. Shortly after the Arameans began to retake control as well as migrate into Assyrian territory. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 1077 B.C. Tiglat-Pileser died while the Aramaeans continuously invaded Assyrian cities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 934 B.C. Assyrian king Asurdan II fought the Arameans to once again rule Assyria. </li></ul></ul>
Expanding Assyria:650 B.C. to 612 B.C. Ancient Assyria was made up of strong governments which ruled their growing territory successfully for a long period of time. On the top is a map of the Assyrian empire at its greatest height, where it had taken over a large portion of what is today known as the Middle East. Ancient Assyria taxed people and had an efficient economic system. Although this empire was harsh, and killing was always a second resort, the empire prospered and became abundantly powerful.
Military Development <ul><li>The Assyrians were military savvy. They covered themselves in metal armor and stiff leather to prevent against wounds. They also created iron helmets, padded loin clothes and leather skirts layered with metal scales. </li></ul><ul><li>They designed chariots and having the advantage of horses they were able to conquer many civilizations having the advantage of being above those who were fighting below. They could simply aim downwards and had an easier chance in winning battles. </li></ul><ul><li>To the right is a map of the Assyrian Empire as it expanded, gaining conquered territory and becoming a vast empire. Both the Euphrates and Tigris rivers pass through this empire and the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf all touch an edge of the Assyrian Empire. </li></ul>
Military Development <ul><li>An Assyrian king by the name of Sennacherib had invaded 89 cities and 820 villages, burned Babylon, and ordered those who had lived in Babylon prior to the burning to be killed. </li></ul><ul><li>The original capital, Nineveh was the location where the Assyrian Empire was first established. From then on the Empire branched out and many capitals were reigned by the Assyrian Empire. Some of these capitals are Ashur, Kalhu, Babylon, Carchemish, Haran, Tarsus, Babylon, </li></ul><ul><li>The Assyrians made iron-pointed spears and swords. </li></ul><ul><li>Their military tactics consisted of building bridges upon which armies could fight over water. </li></ul><ul><li>They would also dig beneath city’s walls to weaken their enemy and would march side by side- one soldier by the next in order to create a type of human barricade or protective shield. </li></ul><ul><li>Assyrian soldiers and kings had no sympathy for their opponent and burned over 3,000 captives alive to show how much power they held. </li></ul>
The Decline of the Empire The Assyrians were able to create a mighty and extensive empire. Their accomplishments were mainly based upon their massive and powerful military. Although the Assyrians were able to successfully expand their empire, this was a major reason for their decline. The empire was vast, stretching across the Fertile Crescent, and Southwest Asia; but the extent of their expansion was a key factor in their downfall. The Assyrians over expanded and their control over their empire diminished. This extend of the empires expansion can be observed in the two maps on the right. As the Assyrians expanded, their conquests won them many enemies. This was a result of the Assyrians not being kind to the people they conquered. When they entered a new territory, they killed, enslaved, and sent its people into exile as they destroyed the cities. Due to their cruelty, the Assyrians were hated by the people they conquered. When their enemies united, they formed a powerful force that also aided in the decline and destruction of the great Assyrian empire. Beginning of the empire Fall of the empire
Nebuchadnezzar II Gains Power Once the Assyrians were defeated in the Battle of Carchemish, the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II took control. He made Babylon the new capital, giving it a renovation as he erected a new and extremely thick wall around the city and rebuilt temples and ziggurat. He ruled from 604 -562 B.C., during which time he embarked on several ambitious building projects. One of Nebuchadnezzar’s many great projects was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This consisted of a man-made mountain covered with shrubs, trees, and flowering plants. Legends state that the gardens were built on terraces for the king’s wife, Amytis because she missed her luscious homeland. The gardens were considered to be so magnificent that Greek scholars added them to the list of the Seven Wonders of the World, but historians disagree on whether they existed . Another great accomplishment of Nebuchadnezzar was the completion of the Ishtar Gate. The Ishtar Gates were created in 575 B.C. and were made for the goddess Ishtar. In total, there were eight gates that led into the inner city and created from blue colored bricks with bulls and dragons on them. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon A recreation of the Ishtar Gate
The Collapse of the Empire Enraged by the Assyrians cruelty, the conquered territories of the empire began to revolt Enemies of the Assyrian Empire included: From the west: Phoencia and Palestine From the south: Babaylonia (Chaldeans ) From the east: Medes Many others also joined in the fight The Medes and Chaldeans decided to work together to bring down the Assyrian empire. They combined their military strength, and marched their armies to the capital at Nineveh. In 612 B.C., the armies burned down Nineveh and a new Babylonian king came to power, Nebuchadnezzar II. * The Egyptians were the only people that stayed loyal to the Assyrians, but their attempts to provide help failed.
Essentials to a Civilization <ul><li>A civilization wouldn’t survive without these advances in culture. Unique art, writing, and archetecture creates a diversity to such a militaristic society. These things are not only examples of artistic endeavors, but they are proof that militaristic empires can exist to the same extent as non-violent civilizations </li></ul><ul><li>Assyrians were military geniuses and excelled in conquering as much land as possible. as a result their empire grew vast. Artists became the idols of today and their sculptures remain scattered in famous museums throughout the world. The Assyrians had a golden period in which they controlled much of what is now known as the Middle East. Assyrians were the founders of tactics and technology that benefit our everyday lives that we take for granted. Assyrians also built massive buildings and intricate sanctums, which due to the stability and dry weather still stand to this day. </li></ul>
Assyrian Writing/Languages <ul><li>The first ancient Assyrian alphabet was called Akkadian. This language originated in 2300 B.C. when the first Akkadian king spread the language across the land he possessed and later on the language diffused furthermore. </li></ul><ul><li>This writing system was written on clay tablets called cuneiforms. Cuneiforms were used until approximately 750 B.C. They consist of strokes, which are engraved into clay, wax, metal, or stone and were used for 3,000 years. </li></ul><ul><li>The Akkadian language consisted of an average of 600 signs, words or syllables. The sound system was made up of 20 consonants and 4 vowels, which in English are known as (a, i, e, u). </li></ul><ul><li>The second language that was spoken by the people of Assyria originated in 725 B.C. This system was called Aramaic. Aramaic is based off of the former Assyrian language, Akkadian, and many words from each language are similar to one another. </li></ul>background: figure 3
Assyrian Art- Sculptures <ul><li>The Assyrians created finely carved sculptures, many of which were military oriented. Most reflect the “lion hunt” in which the lion was depicted as a holy figure or animal. Many Assyrian mosaics reflect the lion in their artwork. </li></ul><ul><li>Other Assyrian sculptures consist of a human head with a winged bull’s or lion’s body. These sculptures resembled gods and grace-like beauty was associated with these massive sculptures carved out of stone. They took many years to build and as one zooms closer one can see the fine and intricate detail of the bull’s eyes and the feather neatly laid out on each of the bull’s wings. The Assyrians’ gods and their imaginations are shown through these sculptures they created. There are many duplicates of similar sculptures that stood guard outside kings’ entranceways to their palaces. One sculpture of a winged bull stood guard at the entrance of King Sargon II, who was an Assyrian king from 721-705 B.C. </li></ul><ul><li>The winged bulls weigh approximately sixteen tons and were used by the Assyrians to rid off evil. Smaller figures were buried around these sculptures to help provide security for the people of Assyria. On the underside of the bull there are names engraved of Assyrian kings and their ancestors and their accomplishments. </li></ul>
Daily Life <ul><li>Religion, art, medicine, occupations for men, and tending to their children for women took up a majority of Assyrian’s time. The men labored in the fields as farmers and herded cattle. They would also work with metals to create pots and pans and create cuneiforms with clay. The heads of the government had a large say in what went on in their empire and believed in acquiring as much land as possible. The army took over a large part of men’s lives and many of them died. The women sewed clothing for their families and tended for their households. They cooked food for their families while their husbands were out on the fields or in battles. Doctors were of vital importance to the Assyrians. Many a time one would fall ill and the disease would be unknown and the person would die. However many remedies were created to cease pain and to heal wounds. When men were fighting on the battlefield after the day had finished Assyrian doctors would provide ointments made out of herbs and other medicines mixed into a concoction to cure those who were dying- however some were to sick to assist in treatments and died to the science that was yet to be discovered. </li></ul>Below, is an image of ancient Assyrian battle fields where many wars were fought on. Now the field remains a historical site.
Assyrian Government <ul><li>At the peak of the Assyrian rule, around 650 B.C., the Assyrian civilization organized an army to conquer land in order to become an empire. The army was constantly adding new territories to the empire and in that way Assyria was forever expanding. In order to control the land, Assyrian officials governed the land closest to Assyria, while new rulers were chosen to rule independent territories. However, these independent territories were still under the influence of the king, who possessed the greater power. </li></ul><ul><li>The Assyrian king forced all civilians to pay taxes and tribute to the Assyrian government. If one refused to pay the Assyrian armies would destroy the city that they were from and send people to murder those who lived in their villages. Cruel deaths were often the punishment for disobedience in the Ancient Assyrian culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Assyria’s capital was Nineveh along the Tigris River. Nineveh had a huge library- one bigger than most libraries the world has ever seen. The king at this time went by the name King Ashurbanipal. He was proud at his ability to read several different languages and collected over 25,000 clay tablets from throughout the fertile crescent. These clay tablets were cuneiforms and were the start of recorded history. </li></ul>Above is a cuneiform that is engraved on a clay tablet. The language known as Akkadian is written on this tablet. It was the most recent of the Ancient Assyrian languages and used throughout the empire. Many tablets such as the one indicated above were stored in the library in Nineveh.
Assyrian Architecture <ul><li>Assyrians were experts in the way of engineering and built colossal buildings. Many of the architecture was made out of brick and clay. They built forts for the military and made homes for families. Villages were built very close together, as seen on the right. That village, however, was built on the outskirts of the Assyrian Empire- a small village built atop a mountain. The Assyrian terrain is and was made up of hills and dry plains. Clay was abundant and the architecture preserved well due to lack of rain or snow. The Assyrians had understood the concept of how to build an arch and because of that became successful engineers. The pictures to the right are as follows: Top; Assyrian fort for armies to recruit to, bottom left; Assyrian village, top right; Assyrian palace-mostly ruins, bottom right; Assyrian temple- religious sanctum. </li></ul>
Religion <ul><li>Ashurism was practiced in Assyria until 256 A.D. This religion was an early version of Christianity. Unlike Christianity, however, it was a polytheistic religion. Polytheism, when one believes and prays to multiple gods, was common in the Middle East. As time passed on the Assyrians grouped into different categories based on religion. This consisted of Sryiac Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Church of the East, Chaldean, and other. All of these religions are earlier types of Christianity and revolve around the birth of Jesus Christ. The differences between the religions listed above and Christianity are very hard to identify because Christianity is based off of these religions and these religions reflect many aspects of Christianity. Because of this, these religions are very intricately intertwined. Ashurism got simmered down into a monotheistic religion as time passed on and is still believed in to this day. </li></ul>FIGURE 11 Figure 12
Assyrian Wisdom <ul><li>Although the Assyrians were a militaristic empire, they also intellectuals that made many important contributions to the academic world. </li></ul><ul><li>Assyrians contributed knowledge to the field of astronomy. The Assyrians observed the planet Venus as well as the Moon, Sun, other planets, and stars. Priests documented the movement of thee objects in the sky, and believed their fate was decided upon their findings. </li></ul><ul><li>The Assyrians also had many technological breakthroughs. They created the shaduf. The shaduf was an invention created to help raise water. A shaduf was made of a pole, a rope, and a bucket. This made it easier to lift water as the Assyrians understood how to make the pole balance its weight at one end , making the bucket easier to lift. </li></ul>
The Assyrians did not have many natural resources available to them. Although there was fertile land in the Fertile Crescent, Assyrians lacked important resources, making foreign trade extremely important. Assyrians traded for metal, timber, and stone. Materials were brought along trading routes as seen in the map, via caravans. Assyrian merchants also transported goods along water routes with the help of ships. The ships set off on the Red and Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf. One of Assyria’s main trading partners was Anatolia in present day Turkey. A successful business relationship existed between the two places that remained for thousands of years. Over 10,000 clay tablets recording trade have been found In Turkey. Assyrian Trade
Conclusion <ul><li>The Assyrian Empire had a rise and decline in which it was successful for a long period of time. The government had a taxation system and an efficient army that conquered land all over the middle east. They developed several writing systems in which they were able to communicate with one another and was the building blocks for education. Due to the ability to communicate trade came into play and Assyria was able to gain goods from countries such as India and China that were ordinarily to far to travel on foot. They therefore got to possess spices and other supplies that were useful to many civilizations that made up the Assyrian Empire. Libraries were created in the capital of Assyria towards its golden age and the writing system of cuneiforms was established. It became vital for survival to maintain a proper set of rules which the civilians were forced to abide by. </li></ul><ul><li>Assyrian art, religion, architecture, and many other creative forms influenced the empire and remain idols in the 21 st century. This ancient empire is still known about to this day due to the strong government and the remnants of the civilization that still stand to this day. The heat of the Middle East preserved some of the most beautiful clay sculptures of winged bulls and mosaics of lions. The past is the building blocks of the present and provide further understanding of how people’s ancestors lived to see great prodigies and how after so many years the geniuses eras back still live to be remembered. Assyria was a high functioning empire with the five characteristics of a civilization, that being: 1. advanced cities 2. advanced technology 3. specialized workers 4. complex institutions 5. record keeping. Today Assyrian writing is translated into forms people can read and comprehend and gives historians and anthropologists insight into cultures of the past. </li></ul>
Bibliography Languages of the World. 16 November 2008. <http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/months/ aigist/Aramaic.html >. Saggs, H.W.F. Everyday Life in Babylonia and Assyria. 18 November 2008. <http://www.aina.org/books/eliba/eliba.htm>. Aljeloo, Nicholas. Who Are The Assyrians? Sydney, Australia, 2000. 15 November 2008. <http://www.nestorian.org/who_are_the_assyrians.html>. Ancient Scripts.com . 17 November 2008. <http://www.ancientscripts.co/aramaic.html>. Fergusson, James. “The Palaces of Nineveh and Persepolis Restored.” (1851): 1-368. Google Book Search. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 20 November 2008. <http://books.google.com/books? hl=en&id=Us0TAAAAYAAJ&dq=ancient+assyria +architecture&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=wks2VLL35D&sig=CA3mo4ap0Ppmy_JiPnr30XLRayA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPR5,M1>. Figure 1: http://www.aina.org/aol/peter/brief.htm#History Figure 2: http://www.zindamagazine.com/html/archives/2002/10.21.02/assyrian_treasures.jpg Figure 3: http://k41.pbase.com/u34/katwilkens/upload/31322936.611pbase.jpg Figure 6: http://wikis.lib.ncsu.edu/images/9/90/Cunei.jpg Figure 7: http://www.zindamagazine.com/html/archives/2007/01.08.07/pix/Arbil%20Fortress.jpg Figure 8: http://worldheritage.heindorffhus.dk/iraq-HatraRuins-photo.jpg Figure 10: http://www.theeasterncompany.com/Iraq%20General%20Info_files/image008.jpg Figure 11: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2086/2379718712_c6fbb0e2f3.jpg?v=0 Figure 12: http://www.aina.org/aol/peter/brief.htm#History