Much of Assyria's history is closely tied to its southern neighbor, Babylonia. The two Mesopotamian empires spoke similar languages and worshipped most of the same gods. They were often rivals on the battlefield for influence in the ancient Middle East.
The history of Assyria spans mainly from about 2000 BC, when the cities of Nineveh and Calah were founded, to the destruction of Nineveh in 606 BC.
Whereas Babylonia is best remembered for its contributions in literature, architecture, and the law, Assyria is chiefly remembered for its military prowess, advances in weaponry, and meticulously recorded conquests.
Geographically, Assyria occupied the middle and northern part of Mesopotamia. It was situated between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, and its major cities were Calah, Zab, Ashur, and the capital, Nineveh.
Frederick Arthur Bridgman, The Diversion of an Assyrian King (public domain)
The Power and the Gory
“I am powerful; I am all-powerful …. I am without equal among all kings.”
This was the boast of King Esarhaddon (680-669 BC), who expanded the Assyrian empire to its greatest extent. At the height of his great power, in 671 BC, he conquered Egypt in less than a month.
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