Assyria Abigail, Cassidy, Xiao Xiao, Fannie Period 1


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Assyria Abigail, Cassidy, Xiao Xiao, Fannie Period 1

  1. 1. ASSRIA • In much of history, we learn about the rise and fall of many empires. Specifically, we learn about the factors that are catalysts in setting off chain reactions leading to civilizations. The Assyrian Empire had much in common with previous empires but what set it apart was its sheer skill on the battlefield. It was this aggressive behavior that became the reputation of the Assyrians. Their ruthlessness is what led to their rise and in some sense to their downfall. By studying this empire, we learn about how geography, military organization, and kings played key roles in the Assyrian Empire’s continental domination, art, religion, technology, and its eventual demise.
  2. 2. To what extent did the Assyrians develop their aggressive behavior??? • The Assyrians’ homeland’s lack of natural boundaries caused them to become violent in order to protect themselves from invaders. This violent behavior led them to create an army that excelled in conquering other peoples. Without this aggression, the empire would not have expanded as it did.
  3. 3. CLIMATE • - The winters in central Assyria were cold and rainy but generally did not last long nor have a strong impact. • - Along the mountain tract (from western Assyria to the North) the climate was very different than central Assyria due to the altitude difference. • - The mountain tract was very close to Armenia which had a large abundance of snow and long winters. • - In winter, the mountain tract at times experienced temperatures several degrees below zero. • - The snow that fell on the tract would stick, making the spring wet and stormy. The autumns were fairly good. • - West of the mountain tract (around Orfah and Harran) the temperatures were unnaturally high. • - The general climate of Assyria tended to be on the dry side, making it difficult for agriculture. Figure 1
  4. 4. GEOGRAPHY • -The Assyrian Empire stretched no less than a total of 75,000 square miles, over a span of four countries. • -The heart of Assyria was in northern Mesopotamia which is modern day Figure 2 Iraq. • -The part of the empire that extended into Syria lays west to that of the Euphrates River. • -In Turkey, the empire extended North to Harran, Diyarbakir, Edessa and Lake Van. • -The Assyrian empire was also present in parts of Iran, specifically Figure 3 east to Lake Urmi and in Iraq it extended south of Kirkuk. • -Outside of Assyria, to the north, lies two mountain ranges, the Taurus and Zagros. Figure 4
  5. 5. GEOGRAPHY • -In the southern point of Assyria there is alluvium which is clay, silt or gravel that is left behind by flowing bodies of water. In this area the alluvium comes from the Tigris River. • -Further south of the alluvium area there is insufficient rainfall making it necessary for irrigation. • -The Tigris and mountain ranges provided a boundary between Assyria and the land that was south of it, Figure 5 Assyria mostly laid out like a flat plain. • -The main rivers, the Tigris, the Euphrates, Upper and Lower Zab (branches of the Tigris) were enclosed by Nineveh which was Assyria’s capital, and Ashur, Arbel, Arrapkha and Nimrod (other Assyrian cities). Figure 6
  6. 6. RISE OF A WARRIOR PEOPLE • - Though Assyria expanded over many countries and had many natural features such as rivers and mountains, it was overall a flat plain. This left the land vulnerable to attacks. • - Nomadic people took advantage of Assyria’s flat land and constantly invaded the territory. • - The Assyrians were, at first, not prepared to defend themselves but learned to physically protect themselves in time. • - The Assyrians built an army for protection. • - Cumulatively their behavior became more aggressive as a defense. • - The army became more skilled as they learned from their mistakes. Ranks within the army began to form. Foot soldiers were usually in the front and nobles in the Figure 7 back. • - The deficiency in adequate natural protection led the Assyrians to develop a war lust and talent for battle, later being the power behind the expansion of Assyria.
  7. 7. CLIMATE • - The climate is hard to generalize because of the extent of the empire. • - The Zagros Mountains (in the eastern part of Assyria) had constant snow on the summits. • - The climate to the east of Assyria was generally cooler than the land to the west of the Tigris. • - Western Assyria had hot summers but breezes helped balance the heat. • - There was sufficient rainfall in the area west of the Tigris, helpful concerning the agriculture. • - The winters in eastern Assyria were severe. • - The southern part of Assyria rarely differed from that of Babylonia which had extremely hot summers and and frosty but not very cold winters. • - Central Assyria had a climate that is quite cooler than that of the area that connects it to Babylonia. • - During the summer in central Assyria the temperatures were very hot, the mornings being Figure 8 the most agreeable. • - The best season in central Assyria was the spring though thunder and lighting storms were frequent and extreme. After the storms the skies would clear up and once again everything was mild. Autumn was favored next followed by Winter.
  8. 8. TERRITORIES THEY CONQUERED • - Babylonia was conquered in 648 B.C. • - Syria was taken over between 850 and 650 B.C. • - Within the same time period that Syria was taken over Palestine was conquered between 850 and 650 B.C. • - The northern part of Israel was conquered in 841 B.C. • - Samaria was conquered in 722 B.C. Figure 9 • - Egypt was conquered in 670 B.C. which led them to expand into parts of Africa.
  9. 9. To what extent did Assyrian war methods affect their expansion and rule??? The brutal and strategic ways the Assyrian government ruled enabled them to control and extend their empire.
  10. 10. Influential Kings Figure 1 Assyrian kings built the empire stretching from the east and north of the Tigris River to central Egypt. Ashurnaspiral II (884- 859 BCE) -- Ashurnaspiral II was one of the most successful military kings of Assyria. Sennacherib (704- 681 BC) -- Sennacherib was a brutal king who bragged about burning Babylon, sacking 89 cities and 820 villages and killing off most of its inhabitants. He also established the Assyrian capital, Nineveh, along the Tigris river. It was about a mile wide and about three miles long and was the largest cities of its day. (cont.)
  11. 11. Influential Kings (cont.) Tiglath III (745- 727 BC) -- Tiglath III started the important Assyrian practice of deporting rebellious people to other parts of the empire. That tactic was used to break up any patriotic feelings among the conquered people that might pose a threat to the Assyrian empire. King Ashurbanipal (668-627 BC) -- Ashurbanipal had one of the largest libraries of the ancient world and was able to read in several different languages. He had a collection of more than 25,000 clay tablets from throughout the Fertile Crescent. The dictionary tablets he collected later on helped archaeologists and scholars to better understand the Mesopotamian writing. He also helped conquer the southern upper part of Egypt. After the reign of Ashurbanipal, Assyria fell into another period of weakness and its capitals fell.
  12. 12. Government Around 650 BC, the Assyrian empire took over almost all of Southwest Asia. Officials ruled the land that are closest to Assyria as provinces and made them into dependent provinces. These dependent provinces were ruled by chosen rulers. The Assyrian army helped protect these territories from attacks and invasions. The Assyrian governed their empire by taxing the territories. This not only helped kings control the territories, but it also brought in money and tribute to the empire. If territories refuse to pay, the Assyrians will destroy their cities and send the conquered people into exile. This was a brutal but efficient and effective way of governing and extending an empire.
  13. 13. War Strategies Figure 2 The Assyrian army’s battle techniques made them to greatest power in Southwest Asia. The Army would start out by weakening the enemies by digging beneath the city walls. Afterwards, an army of foot soldiers, a trained cavalry, and the generals march into the battlefield. Foot soldiers would approach the city walls and sting their bows. When given the signal, they would release a shower of arrows over the wall of the surrounded city. While this was happening, another group of troops will force the city gates open. As soon as the gates open, they would kill or enslave everything in sight. Soldiers received an award for severed heads, so many of the victims were beheaded.
  14. 14. Important Battles Figure 3 At around 850 B.C., The Assyrians took over a large empire by brute force and its powerful army. This was the beginning of its powerful reign. Between 850-650 B.C., the Assyrian king conquered Babylonia, Syria, and Palestine. By doing so, the Assyrian rule extended into Egypt and Anatolia. Conquering Egypt helped extend the Assyrian empire into North Africa. By 650 B.C., the Assyrian Empire included Southwest Asia, most of the center of civilizations and was still expanding. The downfall of the Assyrian Empire occurred in 612 B.C. after King Ashurbanipal’s death. A combined army of Medes, Chaldeans, and others attacked the capital, Nineveh. Theses armies burned the entire city thoroughly and torched Nineveh's grand library. Although this was devastating to the Assyrians, many people in the region rejoiced.
  15. 15. To what extent did the Assyrian governmental system affect its culture at the highest and lowest moments of its history??? With the same harsh and brutal governmental system, the Assyrian Empire was both brought to its peak, and to its demise. The Assyrians experienced a cultural height of rich artistry, religion, and technology as well as a downfall.
  16. 16. figure 1 Assyrian art forms and Artistry craftsmanship: -architects, designers, sculptors, metallurgists, engravers, upholsterers,workers in ivory, glass-blowers, embroiderers of dresses Excavations of cities like - Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Koyunjik reveal: vases, jars, bronzes, glass bottles, carved ornaments in ivory and mother-of-pearl, engraved gems, bells, dishes, earrings, arms, working implements, etc. H GRADE HOMEWORK!/Global/Assyria Powerpoint 11/25/08 Project/Final Project/Assyria- Abigail, page 16 Xiao Xiao Cassidy,
  17. 17. Sculptures and Wall Carvings -Archeological excavations on the sites of the capital city of Nineveh and other Assyrian cities reveal remains of detailed carved sculptures and wall carvings depicting their government's harsh war operations and lion hunting. figure 2 figure 3 H GRADE HOMEWORK!/Global/Assyria Powerpoint 11/25/08 Project/Final Project/Assyria- Abigail, page 17 Xiao Xiao Cassidy,
  18. 18. figure 4 Cylinder Seals Cylinder seals for documents became an art form with detailed patterns and shapes. H GRADE HOMEWORK!/Global/Assyria Powerpoint 11/25/08 Project/Final Project/Assyria- Abigail, page 18 Xiao Xiao Cassidy,
  19. 19. Palaces figure 5 Assyrian Kings built lavish palaces full of wall carvings, statues, and other art forms. Even just a pavement slab was ornate and detailed. (from the northern palace, Koyunjik) H GRADE HOMEWORK!/Global/Assyria Powerpoint 11/25/08 Project/Final Project/Assyria- Abigail, page 19 Xiao Xiao Cassidy,
  20. 20. figure 6 6 figure Religion  - Assyrians believed in a Polytheistic religion  - Their highest god was called Asshur -  Revered as:  “the great Lord,”  “the King of all the Gods”  “he who rules supreme over the Gods.”  It was believed he chose the Assyrian monarchs, controlled their reign, and protected their armies  Kings prayed to him for success. They ruled in his service, and invaded other empires to spread his worship.  No temples were found specifically in his name so it was inferred that he was a national deity that could share any temple or shrine with a lower level god
  21. 21. Other Gods  Because Assyrians believed in polytheism, there were many lower gods besides Asshur for aspects of the universe.  Examples:  Shamas- SUN GOD  Sin -MOON GOD figure 7  Nergal- God OF WAR  Ninip- GOD OF HUNTING- ! depicted in artwork of the lion hunt.  Vul- WIELDER OF THE THUNDERBOLT  Assyrians also had females goddesses most of whom were paired and dependent on their male counterparts
  22. 22. Temples and Rituals  Every major city had a Structure of temple large temple -home for Outdoor courtyard with a god or goddess and fountains for ceremonial place of holy washing and altars for communication sacrifice  During hard times,  Indoors was the house of people would confess the god represented by a their sins in humbleness statue- only certain people and pray for help from could enter the deity
  23. 23. Assyrians sacrificed animals and precious goods, like stone and rare metals, from countries conquered in their expansion. figure 8
  24. 24. Festivals and Belief about Death  There were daily temple rituals as well as more important monthly and annual ceremonies.  New Year Festival- Akitu- 11 days of lavish celebration that closed with marriage.  Bleak view of death- Assyrians simply believed that souls would enter the underworld- no paradise or reward for the righteous
  25. 25. figure 9 TECHNOLOGY -Architecture  Huge palaces stood on massive platforms of 2-foot inscribed brick.  Levelled