Ancient Empires of the Middle East Ancient World History Mr. Blais
The Assyrians • Assyria is located on the upper part of the Tigris River. • Assyrians were a warlike people, mainly because the hills and valleys of their homeland offered them little natural protection • Therefore learning to fight became an ingrained part of their society and culture
Assyrian Military • Around 1100 B.C.E. the Assyrians built a very large and powerful army. • Their military was well organized and diversified. • They had large organized groups of foot soldiers, archers, charioteers, and cavalry. • Soldiering was also a full time job and the Assyrians hired people from all over their territory.
Assyrian Technology • The number one advantage the Assyrians had over their neighbors was their use of iron. • Their iron weapons gave them clear advantage over their adversaries • They were also excellent at attacking and laying siege to cities. • They dug under city walls to weaken them, methodically hammered city gates with iron tipped battering rams, used ladders to scale walls, all the while covering the attack with a total barrage of arrows.
Assyrian Empire • Between 1100 B.C.E. and 612 B.C.E. the Assyrians used their army to build an extensive empire • They conquered all of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Canaan, Egypt, and even parts of Anatolia • This empire was governed by a series of strong kings and divided into separate provinces • Each province was governed by a chosen official who collected taxes and enforced the kings laws
Assyrian Culture • Little is known about the true extent of Assyrian culture. • However based on historical records and artifacts war and battle was central to their way of life. • Their conquests were brutal. • Cities they conquered were burnt to the ground and the citizens were killed to moved elsewhere in the empire. • Their brutal nature made them feared but also made them many enemies.
Ashurbanipal • Ashurbanipal was one of the last powerful Assyrian kings • He is most well known for the library he began in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh • This library held between 20 and 25 thousand clay tablets from area Mesopotamia • The numerous hymns, stories, discoveries, and biographies were all cataloged and separated by subject matter.
Assyrian Decline • By 650 B.C.E. the Assyrian Empire was in decline. • The size of their territory was simply to big to govern effectively • Their capital was attacked and conquered in 612 B.C.E. by a alliance of peoples, the most powerful of which were the Chaldeans. • They would now replace the Assyrian Empire with one of their own.
The Chaldeans • By 612 B.C.E. the Assyrians were defeated and the Chaldeans had replaced them as the rulers of the Middle East • The Chaldeans created an empire the stretched throughout the Fertile Crescent • They built their capital in Babylon and called themselves Babylonians • They organized, governed, and ruled in similar fashion to the Assyrians though they were far less brutal in their tactics.
Nebuchadnezzar • Nebuchadnezzar was the Neo-Babylonian’s most powerful king. • Much of his time was spent beautifying the city. • One of his most famous construction projects was the Hanging Gardens, which were rumored to be for his wife who missed her native land.
Babylon • At its height the city of Babylon had over 1 million people living there. • It became a center for trade and merchants from as far as India and Egypt traded there. • The walls surrounding the city were so immense that charioteers could ride across the top of them. • Babylon was also home to one of the largest ziggurats ever built at over 300 feet in height and seven different tiers
Astronomy • Astronomy, the study of the heavenly bodies, was very important to the Neo-Babylonians. • They believed that changes in the sky revealed the plans of the gods. • They used their seven-tiered ziggurat to make most of their observations. • They made detailed maps of the positions of the planets and phases of the moon. • They were the first to make a sundial, the first to have a seven day week, and created the foundations of modern astronomy and astrology.
Babylonian Decline • Though the Babylonians were able to accomplish many amazing feats, their reign over Mesopotamia was short lived. • Much of their collapse had to do with the difficulty they had in ruling all the people they conquered • By 540 B.C.E. Babylon felt to the Persians who came from northeastern Iran.