Portal:Ancient Near East

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[[Image:|140x170px|left|Relief from the palace of Ashurnasilpal II in Nimrud]]Assyria was originally a region on the Upper Tigris river, named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur. Later, as a nation and empire that came to control all of the Fertile Crescent, Egypt and much of Anatolia, the term "Assyria proper" referred to roughly the northern half of Mesopotamia (the southern half being Babylonia), with Nineveh as its capital.

The Assyrians were warriors, who invented excavation to undermine city walls, battering rams to knock down gates, as well as the concept of a corps of engineers, who bridged rivers with pontoons or provided soldiers with inflatable skins for swimming. The Assyrian kings controlled a large kingdom at three different times in history. These are called the Old (20th – 15th centuries BC), Middle (15th – 10th centuries BC), and Neo-Assyrian (911 – 612 BC) kingdoms, of which the last is the most well known and best documented.

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Nabopolassar (Akkadian: Nabû-apal-usur, reigned 625 – 605 BC) was the founder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Along with the Medes, he rose in revolt against the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and together they captured its capital at Nineveh. Nabopolassar then went on to destroy the remaining remnants of the Assyrian empire, carving out a new empire in the process.

He also waged war against Egypt and started rebuilding Babylon. His son, crown prince Nebuchadrezzar II, defeated Egypt shortly before Nabopolassar died, and would then go on to make Babylon one of the wonders of the world.

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Murex shell bearing the name "Rimush, king of Kish"
Credit: Jastrow
Murex shell bearing the name "Rimush, king of Kish"
Akkadian Empire, ca. 23rd century BC (Louvre)

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Did you know...

Nabonidus Cylinder
...that the Hurrian language and the Urartian language are proposed to be distantly related to the modern Armenian language?

...that the Aramaic language, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East in Biblical times is still spoken as a first language today?

...that the syllabic cuneiform script was adapted to create a phonetic alphabet twice, for the Ugaritic language and for the Old Persian language?

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