Assyria Mesopotamia

Assyria is located in north Mesopotamia and spans four countries: In Syria it extends west to the Euphrates river; in Turkey it extends north to Harran, Edessa, Diyarbakir, and Lake Van; in Iran it extends east to Lake Urmi, and in Iraq it extends to about 100 miles south of Kirkuk.

The Assyrians were always at war with somebody. Their warriors were fierce, and soon conquered many other people. They tried to conquer the southern regions of Mesopotamia, with an eye especially on controlling Babylonia, but their revolts were put down. They were much more successful attacking and conquering the people to the east and west.

Assyrian palaces are some of the largest and most important ancient buildings found in Mesopotamia. They demonstrate the wealth and achievements of the Assyrian empire in the first millennium B.C. Palaces were built to show the power of the king as well as to inspire loyalty and fear in ordinary people and visitors.

The early kings of Assyria (or priest-princes, as they were often termed) were based at Ashur, which was already the dominant of the three main Assyrian city states. Even during the time of the Kings Whose Eponyms are Destroyed, Ashur had become the capital of a ruling elite. The first three kings especially are also mentioned on texts found in the trading colonies of Hattusa and Kanesh in Anatolia, dealing with a dynastic trading family.

Ninus, King of Assyria (presumed first monarch) conquered Babylon in 2126 B.C. with the cooperation of the King of Arabia (Nabonnebus who’s reign was from 2151 B.C. to 2126 B.C.) and ruled for 52 year. It is worth noting that the King of Arabia (Nabonnebus) (the region of Saudi Arabia today was Arabia in Ancient Mesopotamia; Arabia associated to the sons of Chus (Chus may be Cush) was deposed and slain by Ninus (who was the son of Nimrod) in 2126 B.C. after Babylon was conquered.

Of interesting note is that Ninus was put to death sometime after Semiramis, his wife and thus princess of Assyria, was given full power over all of Assyria by him. Babylon becomes independant later in history and is conquered by Cyrus of Persia in 538 B.C. and came to its own end in 331 B.C. by Alexander the Great.

The odd paradox of Assyrian culture was the dramatic growth in science and mathematics; this can be in part explained by the Assyrian obsession with war and invasion. Among the great mathematical inventions of the Assyrians were the division of the circle into 360 degrees and were among the first to invent longitude and latitude in geographical navigation. They also developed a sophisticated medical science which greatly influenced medical science as far away as Greece.

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Assyria in ancient Mesopotamia