Friday, February 8, 2013

The Assyrians in Mesopotamia

The Assyrians in Mesopotamia
After the collapse of Hammurabi's Babylonian Empire, Mesopotamia was ruled by several different groups of people. Around 1600 B.C. the Kassites, from what is now the country of Iran, claimed the region. The Kassites ruled Mesopotamia for more than 400 years. Eventually the Assyrian Empire gained control of the region. This empire included lands that lay outside of Mesopotamia, such as parts of present-day Turkey, Egypt, and the Persian Gulf.

Assyria was a region of rolling hills between the Tigris River and the Zagros Mountains in northern Mesopotamia. Some Assyrians lived in cities, of which the most important were Assur, Kalhu, and Nineveh. Around each city were many small farming villages.
The Assyrians had a great desire to control trade routes in southwestern Asia. By conquering neighboring lands, they could better meet this goal. Advancing in war chariots, the Assyrians conquered their neighbors one by one. They continued to claim land until their empire covered much of southwestern Asia.

After completing their conquest, the Assyrians worked to bring the people of their many lands together. They began building a system of roads throughout their empire.

During this time, the Assyrians made many improvements to their city of Nineveh. Throughout the city many new buildings rose, including a magnificent palace. Nineveh's new buildings dazzled with stone carvings.

In time the mighty Assyrian Empire was brought down. In 612 B.C. the Medes attacked Nineveh and killed its king.


The Medes came from Media, a land that was located in what is now northwestern Iran. A writer who may have lived near Nineveh described the fall of the city. The description offers evidence of how violent this age of conquest was.

Woe to the bloody city!...
The noise of a whip and the noise of rattling wheels,
And of the prancing horses, and of leaping chariots.
The horseman lifts up the bright sword and glittering spear,
And there is a multitude slain....

Why did the Assyrians seek more land?

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