external image ASSYRIAN.GIF

Team Members: Stephanie, Ryan, Max®
I. History
A. Early Assyria
1. Assyria, as opposed to the city-state of Assur, did not gain independence until 1400 B.C. The empire though, sprouted through Assur. Assur was just a provincial capital of the third dynasty of Ur. Assyria as a whole, however is unlikely to have been indefinitely secured because the date formulas of Shulgi and Amar-Su’ena differ in the accounts of the destruction of the nearby Urbilum.
From the time of 1813 B.C. to 1781 B.C., Assyria was governed by Shamshi-Adad I. He ruled at the time of Hammurabi and was no less wise than Hammurabi was. Shamshi-Adad I’s father, of Amorite descent had ruled close to Mari. Shamshi-Adad I then ascended to the throne as a foreigner after coming out of exile in Babylon. Shamshi-Adad I’s eldest son, Ishme-Dagan succeeded his father on the throne. He was probably the first king to create an archive about his reign and other facts about his empire. Later on, Hammurabi conquered Mari. After Ishme-Dagan died, Assyrian history is lost for one hundred years. -Max
B. Middle Assyria
1. With the demise of Ishme-Dagan, Babylon conquered Ashur reducing Assyria to vassal states, only to then be conquered by the Hurrians. Later, in 1400 B.C., the Assyrians finally regained their independence. They not only regained independence, but they conquered Babylon as well under Usher-uballit.
Tiglath-pileser raised the power of Assyria to new heights. He raised an army and conquered eastern Anatolia and southern Armenia. He trained his army to fight in the mountains, enabling him to conquer the Aramaeans, a bedouin people. Other than the war effort. Tiglath-pileser paid attention to agriculture, political improvement, and finding better ways for training scribes.
Ashurnasirpal II (883-859) continued his ancestors policy of conquest. His downside though, was that he was very cruel. He gave detailed accounts of having his enemies impaled or beheaded after a battle. Later on, Ashurnasipal II found the pointlessness of the mass executions and reverted to deporting the conquered peoples. This was a new concept, there were others as well. He was the first Assyrian to use battering rams and cavalry units in his armies. He also moved the capital to Nineveh.
The son of Ashurnasipal had a short lived rule. After four years of ruling, the crown prince Ashur-dá-apela led a rebellion and forced him to flee to Babylon, thus ending the period. -Max
C. Neo-Assyria.
1. Tiglath-pileser III (745-727) brought the empire to its greatest expanse. He minimized the size of the provinces to bring the governors closer together. He cut tax privileges in some cities in order to have a more balanced tax load throughout his kingdom. He aided Nabu-nasir in the fight against Aramaean tribes and won. His next goal was to separate the Urartu and the Medes. He then went to the city of Syria in 743 and defeated an army of Urartu there. 3 years later, after a long siege he captured Arpad. He later defeated northern Syria and forced the princes of Damascus east of Anatolia were forced to pay tribute. Tiglath-pileser went even farther and invaded southern Syria and Philistine and some parts of Palestine. Damascus and Israel wanted to set up a resistance group against Tiglath-pileser and was seeking help from Judah. Tiglath-pileser surprised Israel and forced it to surrender up a lot of land. He then attacked Damascus and then killed the king. The queen of southern Arabia, Samsil, was now also forced to pay tribute to Assyria. King Nabonassar of Babylonia died and the Aramaean Ukin-zer assumed the throne. Tiglath-pileser defeated him and made himself king over Babylon.
Tiglath-pileser’s son, Shalmaneser V, succeeded him. He named himself Ululai and continued the ways of his father. He marched against Hosea of Israel in 724 after he had rebelled. There were not many written records for him because they were destroyed by his successor. His successor argued that Ashur did not support Shalmaneser V’s rule because of acts of disrespect.-Ryan
2. Although it is uncertain; Sargon II, the younger brother of Shalmaneser, succeeded the throne of Assyria in 721. He had support from the priesthood and merchant class because he promised them certain privileges that were taken away from them. For example, one privilege was the tax exemptions of the temples. Merodach-baladan assumed the throne of Babylon in 721 and kept it until 710 with the aid of Elam. Sargon II’s first move to regain Babylonia was stopped by Elam in 721. Samaria, during that same year, was defeated and Israel became an Assyrian province. Judah was still forced to pay tribute. In 720, Sargon nullified a rebellion that was caused by Egypt and defeated Hanunu of Gaza and an Egyptian army. Sargon also went to northern Syria to conquer lands there and went to Cilicia to thwart any plans King Midas might have against him.
Sargon was now going to attack Merodach-baladan because Elam has abandoned him. Merodach-baladan fled to his native land, then later to Elam. Sargon was then titled the governor of Babylonia because he freed the Babylonians from the rule of Merodach-baladan and worked with the wishes of the priests.-Ryan
3. Sennacherib, son of Sargon, was next in line to be king of Assyria. He built a palace in Nineveh and decorated it with many different types of art. This showed how the Assyrians excelled at art. In 681, there was a rebellion and Sennacherib was killed by one of his sons in the temple of Ninurta. It was believed that his death was punishment for mistreating the gods Marduk and Ninurta. Esarhaddon became the next king after Sennacherib. His brothers did not comply very well with the fact that their younger brother becoming king, but Esarhaddon had the loyalty of the army and his brothers fled to Urartu. Esarhaddon was faced with difficulties at home. His eldest son had died and the nation did not like Shamash-shum-ukin, his second son, to become king because he was too friendly with the Babylonians. Esarhaddon’s third son, Ashurbanipal, succeeded the Assyrian throne in 672 and Shamash-shum-ukin became the prince of Babylonia. A lot of people and leaders disliked this change, but later they learned to live with it. Another problem Esarhaddon was facing was his health. He was afraid of three eclipses that were appearing during his 12-year reign and treated them as bad omens. He would hire replacement kings to rule in his stead during these three eclipses. After their brief time as king, the replacements were killed and Esarhaddon assumed kingship once again. This odd system he had showed that the gods could not distinguish the difference between the real king and a fake one, which contradicted the normal practices of the religion. Esarhaddon, too, built a palace in Kalakh and filled with many artworks from Tiglath-pileser’s palace. Esarhaddon died while on a campaign to extinguish a resistance force in Egypt.-Ryan
4. After 648, the Assyrians tried to get their revenge about the Aramaean prince in Elam. But Elam refused to return him to Assyrians so the Assyrians attacked their capital city of Susa and destroyed it. Elam was engrossed as one of Assyrian’s new provinces and the upper class people of Elam were deported to Assyria. Cyrus I of Persia wanted to secure his safety so he sent gifts of hostages and tribute to Nineveh.-Ryan
5. The fall of the Assyrian Empire was caused by groups of outside invaders that united and invaded Assyria in waves. The Medes conquered Arrapkha in 615 and captured Ashur in 614. The Cyaxares and Nabopolassar worked together and took over Kalakh and Nineveh in 612. The king of Assyria, Sin-shar-ishkum, died during the slaughter. The commander of the Assyrian army in the west was chosen king in the city of Harran and changed his name to Ashur-uballit II, after the founder of the Assyrian empire. The new chosen king had the task of facing both the Babylonians and the Medes. By 610, Harran was conquered. The Assyrians surrendered in 609 and naught was heard of them afterwards.-Ryan
D. Assyria facts
1. The Assyryans were a very warlike people, having little care for those that they conquered. They would often adorn their walls with the skin of their enemies. The Bible mentions them in the book of Jonah. Jonah was so afraid of these people, that he attempted to sail to the other side of the known world. -Max
2. The Assyrians were most likely named after Shem's son Asshur, who happened to build Assyria's first known city; Assur. In its early stages, this city establish colonies in the eastern area. The colonies were more trading ports than cities. It is reported that the area of Assur was settled by the third milenium B.C. The city became a part of the Mesopotamian empire in 1800 B.C., but soon regained independence. -Max
3. The fearsome king Sennacherib, the son of Sargon, prided himself in conquest. He bragged that he sacked 89 cities and 820 villages, as well as sacking Babylon and massacing the majority of its inhabitants. It is mentioned in the Bible that he sent an army of 185,000 to sack Jerusalem but failed to take it because an angel destroyed his army. Because he was prideful, he counted the battle as a victory.- Max
II. Geography
1. Assyria extends from the border of present day Iraq to the mouth of the Zab river. The western portion of the land is best suited for nomadic life because of the steppe-like features. The eastern section was fertile and had a steady supply of water from rivers. To the east also lay the Zagros mountains. The main portion of Mesopotamia was to the west and Sumer lay to the south. -Max
2. There is a distinct difference between the geography of Assyria and Babylon. The general area of Assyria is fertile. It has fertile soil and fields in every region. The Arbel and Nineveh plains are the greatest of these fields. -Max

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III. Culture
A. Government
1. The Assyrians did not have a policy of uniform conquest and incorporation of territory. They instead established a pattern of conquest that included recieving gifts from independent rulers, who were considered rulers of client states. If the client state failed to provide tribute, the Assyrians treated the act as an act of open rebellion and attacked the client state. A local ruler would then be appointed or the country would be annexed by a provincial governor. -Max
2. The Assyrians were able to send large groups of the conquered people away from their homelands and reoccupying them with other people. This hindered any chance of a conquered nation or people to arise and regain power. -Ryan
3. Another important aspect to the success of the Assyrians over their conquered nations was that they had a very thorough civil service system. The point of the civil system was to make a very efficient way of adding new conquered territory to the empire. The civil system had different rankings for different civil servants. Tartan being the highest followed by the palace overseer, the main cupbearer, the palace administrator, and so on. The civil servants were usually the former people who dwelled in the conquered land.-Ryan
B. Economy
1. The Assyrians lived in small villages with complex irrigation systems to water the crops. There were some cites that were centers of trade and crafts, including Assur, Kalhu, and Nineveh. Their society was made of citizens: farmers, artisans, and traders. Farmers grew barley, raised animals, and made milk products. Artisans made pottery using natural minerals. Traders traveled to other nations to trade goods. They lived in small straw or mud huts. There were very little slaves. ~Stephanie
2. Another group of people were troops of wanderers. They consisted of runaways and nomads. Most of the time, they invaded the cites and stole the goods. There was always trouble between the raiders and the city people. ~Stephanie
C. Religion
1. The Assyrians were polytheistic, like many of the other ancient civilizations. They believed that their gods controlled the fate of humans. The gods also had power over all of nature, including the sky, earth, water, fire, and storms. The Assyrians also believed that magic and daily rituals would cast out demons. ~Stephanie
2. The Assyrian religion consisted of trinities of gods. The first trinity was Anu, the sky god; Enil, the storm god; and Ea, the water god. The next trinity was Sin, the moon god; Shamash, the sun god; and Ishtar; the goddess of love. A thousand years later, their main god was Ashur, or Assur. The Assyrian king was not only the most powerful political leader, but also the high priest. He was considered Ashur’s official on earth. ~Stephanie
3. Priests made prophecies by analyzing the internal organs of animal sacrifices and reading the signs of events in nature. Later, priests had specific tasks to do, including calming the gods with singing, prophesizing, and more. The Assyrians sacrificed food and rare items to their gods. They believed that their role in their religion was to cater to all the gods’ wants and obey them unquestioningly. ~Stephanie
D. Society
1. Assyrian culture was almost identical to Babylonian culture, with the exception of royalty. The marrige customs and family life was the same as well. The Assyrians really took after the people they conquered. -Max
2. The social status of women during the time of Tiglath-pileser was considerably lower than that of most societies of the period. A man was able to sent away his wife at his whim with or without giving divorce money. If a man’s wife committed adultery, he was legally permitted to kill or mutilate her. Society in Assyria at this time was very unfavorable to women- Max
E. Thoughts and learning
1. Despite being a brutal people, the Assyrians were educated. Ninevah held one of the ancient world's largest libraries. The king who created the library, King Ashurbanipal was able to read in several languages. The library also contained over 25,000 clay tablets fom throughout the empire- Max
2. Some of the earliest recorded history of biology is derived from the reliefs the Assyrians and the Babylonians made of their plants and from carvings that convey their veterinary medicine. Many papyrus sheets contain knowledge of medical subjects; one of which recognizes the importance of the human heart. -Max

external image alphabet.gifThis is the Assyrian alphabet.-Ryan

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The people of western Sumer wrote using cuneiform, not surprisingly, so did the Assyrians. -Max

3. Assyrians used two languages, the first being Akkadian and the other neo-syriac. The Assyrians used Akkadian, which was a form of cuneiform using stone tablets, until about 750 B.C. By that time, a new way of writing was discovered using papyrus paper or parchment. The Arameans brought this writing style with them and their language the Aramaic and became the Assyrian’s empire second official language in 752 B.C. The Assyrians, although adopted this new form of speech, did not speak completely use it. They mixed in a lot of the Aramaic words with Akkadian words, which scholars know as Assyrian Aramaic.-Ryan
F. Arts and crafts
1. King Sennarcherib created a three mile long wall at Nineveh. That wall was the largest wall built at the time. The unfornunate part of the wall though were the grotesque bloody images of brutal military campaigns and hunting.-Max
2. The last main king of Assyria, Ashurnasipal inspired sculptors, artists, architects, and structural engineers to create great monuments; the greatest of which was his own palace in Kalakh, which covered about 269,00 square feet. Most of his art was done in relief, but he had murals painted as well; most of which were conveyed a threatening image to enemies. Kalakh, under Ashurnasipal became the cultural center of the Assyrian empire. It is said that Ashurnasipal boasted to have entertained 69, 574 guests at his palace. -Max
3. Most of the late Assyrian sculptures found are relief carvings. The ineptitude of the sculptors of most of these carvings seem to convey their inexperience in the area of relief carving. Most of these relief carvings are religious, but mostly of the glorification of kings. The most popular theme on the reliefs was brutal; suppressing rebellion. The sculptures are lined in order of first gathering the army, second, attacking the city, third, destroying the city, and lastly executing the enemy generals. Other reliefs have to do with hunting. Many of the Animals that the Assyrians hunted no longer live in the area, such a lions.- Max
4. Most of the creation of artificial waterways in ancient times was for irrigation purposes. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, built a 50-mile stone-linked canal 20-meters wide to import fresh water from Bavian to Nineveh. In the canal was a stone aqueduct 300 yards long. Astonishingly advanced practices were used, including a dam with sluice gates. According to a plaque on the site where the canal was built. The project took one year and three months to build. -Max
5. The main portion of Assyrian art is not seen until the 9 century B.C., when the capital of Assyria was moved to Kalakh. The rise in Assyrian imperial power also gave rise to the vitality to Assyrian architecture as well. Palaces and other structures of importance in those days were artificially raised on a platform that was the same level as the top of the city wall. The inner chambers of the palaces were adorned with pictorial reliefs carved on orthostats, or stone slabs placed upright. Most decorations were panels of alabaster and limestone in relief carvings. The main subjects were hunting, ceremony, and war. Palace platforms been seen at Khorsabad as well as Kalakh. In both Kalakh and Nineveh, temples and palaces were created by monarchs in succession. -Max
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The citidel of Khorsabad, as it is likely to appear at the time of Sargon II- Max

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The dying lion. Assyrians seemed to have an affinity to sadism. This is not Duck Hunt.- Max

IV. Customs.
A. Dress

1. The dress worn in early Mesopotamian civilizations changed into a more sophisticated rendition of Assyrian styles. Evidence of this can be seen on relief sculptures of the period. There were two primary garments for both genders: the tunic and the shawl. The tunic had short sleeves and a rounded neckline. Over the tunic was draped one or more shawls of different sizes and different colors. Broad belts held the shawls into position. Shoes for both genders was made from leather in the form and boots or sandals. -Max
2. Obedience of a vassal is implied in a treaty-covenant. Case law defined beforehand the obligation of a vassal in certain circumstances. Generalized statements of obligation are in the form of a command. These statements deal mainly the military assistance, the treatment of fugitives, and foreign policy. Treaty relationships with other states violate the covenant. -Max

Bibliography (Max)
History: **http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-55453/history-of-Mesopotamia** (Max)
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-55495/history-of-Mesopotamia|http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-55495/history-of-Mesopotamia (Max)
the Bible (Max)
Geography: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761564347/Assyria.html#s1 (Max)
http://homepage.newschool.edu/~siung/SundaySchool/Assyria/image/Assyria760BC.JPG (Max)
http://www.aina.org/aol/peter/brief.htm#Geography (Max)
Arts and crafts: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-37865/Mesopotamian-art-and-architecture (Max)
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-72482/canals-and-inland-waterways#592586.hook (Max)
Culture: Abeka History of the World (Max)
Thoughts and learning: McDougal Litell World History (Max)
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-48828/biology#498687.hook (Max)
society: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-55451/history-of-Mesopotamia (Max)
http://encarta.msn.com/media_461516629_761564347_-1_1/Cuneiform.html (Max)
covenant: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-34044/covenant#410346.hook (Max)
Government: National Geographic Atlas of World History Concise Edition (Max)
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-55457/history-of-Mesopotamia (Ryan)
http://www.angelfire.com/nt/Gilgamesh/assyrian.html (Ryan)
dress: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-14011/dress#168681.hook (Max)
Religion: World Book Encyclopedia, __**http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-MidErel.html**__
Economy: World Book Encyclopedia, http://lexicorient.com/e.o/assyria.htm

The Assyrian Alphabet: http://www.aina.org/images/alphabet.gif
Lion: http://www.photo.net/bboard-uploads/00FWeM-28612684.jpg
Map: http://www.ancienttimes.net/ikonboard/upload/assyrmap.gif
Palace: http://www.britannica.com/eb/art-2376