911-612 BCE


General Info: The Assyrians were located in Northern Mesopotamia, spanning across four countries: Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The land was hiller, had a more temperate climate and greater rainfall yield than the Babylonian Empire to the South.The Empire expanded dramatically when the Neo-Assyrian Rulers led a series of ambitious and incredibly successful military campaigns, in which the Assyrian territory stretched from Anatolia to Syria-Palestine to Egypt to Armenia to Iran.

Social: Peasants became foot soldiers in Assyrian army.The Assyrian Royalty and social elites consisted of nobles and skilled professions such as priests, diviners, scribes, doctors, and artisans. An oral code, as it were, resided throughout the Assyrian social ladder. Yet, the common people, the cultural elite, and even the deportees residing in the Assyrian homeland were considered to be "human beings", entitled to the same legal protections and liable for the same labor and military service. Similarly, gender roles were of no importance to the Assyrians, both men and women were treated equally for the crimes they committed and women had just as much of a right to defend themselves as men did. Examples of this are represented in the Code of the Assura c.1075 BCE.
I.13. If the wife of a man go out from her house and visit a man where he lives, and he have intercourse with her, knowing that she is a man's wife, the man and also the woman they shall put to death.

Relief: king and eunuch attendant, 883–859 B.C.; Neo-Assyrian period, reign of Ashurnasirpal II Excavated at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)

Culture: Wealth accumulated from the territories acquired by the Assyrians led to the creation of many luxury items and places. An early 19th Century Assyrian King Assurnasirpal II created the Kalhu palace for his inauguration, in which 70,00 were invited to. There were also large limestone carvings that demonstrated the beautiful and terrifying power and wealth of the Assyrian kings. Included with the creation of Limestone carvings and luxury palaces is the creation of the Assyrian Megacity Assur, named after the chief god Ashur, for whom the Assyrians prayed to most frequently.

Economics: Mostly driven by agriculture, taxation, trading and plundering on the military's part. The Assyrian elite gained massive amounts of wealth from over taxation of a vast empire, added to the fact that they had a huge surplus of labor because of the prisoners they took from military campaigns.

Human Interaction With Environment:

Originated from Fertile Crescent, Assyrians learned how to cultivate the land early on, and had an easy time with farming due to the ideal conditions in which Assyria resided in. They were close to the Tigres and Euphrates Rivers, giving them access to freshwater and a consistant water source. Their acquiring of large areas of land also gave them new land to cultivate and many more field hands to help them produce more agricultural yield.

Political: The Armenian King was considered the center of the Assyrian universe. It was said that the God-king directly corresponded with Ashur, the chief god, and every military conquest was seen as proof of Ashur's obvious superiority of the conquered peoples god. Below the Assyrian King were the cultural elite who swore oaths of obedience to support the monarchy or be put to death.

Bulliet, Richard, et al. Earth and Its People, AP Edition, (Boston: Wadsworth, 2011)
Tignor, Robert. Worlds Together Worlds Apart, 2nd Edition (New York: Norton, 2009)