Essay by candyman1High School, 10th gradeA+, October 1996

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The Assyrians

There are different periods of the Assyrian empire. The first was called the Old Assyrian period which lasted from 2000-1550 BC. Then there was the Middle Assyrian period which lasted from 1550-1200 BC. The last was the Neo-Assyrian period which lasted from 1200-600 BC. The final phase of the Neo-Assyrian period is called the Assyrian Empire.

The Old and Middle Assyrian periods ( 2000 - 1200 BC )

The name Ashur was used by the Assyrians to designate not only their country, but also their most ancient city and their national god. The cities of Ashur (near modern al-Sharqat), Nineveh, and Irbil formed a triangle that defined the original territory of Assyria. Assyria's early history was marked by frequent episodes of foreign rule. Assyria finally gained its independence around 2000 BC. About this time the Assyrians established a number of trading colonies in Cappadocia (central Anatolia), protected by treaties with local Hattic rulers.

The most important of these was at Kultepe (Kanesh), north of present-day Kayseri, Turkey. Political developments Brought this enterprise to an end in 1750 BC. Assyria lost its independence to a dynasty of Amorite. Then Hammurabi of Babylon took over and established himself ruler of Assyria. The collapse of Hammurabi's Old Babylonian dynasty gave Assyria only temporary relief. It soon fell under the control of the Mitanni, until that state was destroyed by the Hittites c.1350 BC.

The Early Neo-Assyrian Period (c.1200-600 BC)

After the collapse of Mittanni, Assyria regained its independence and was able to hold it thanks to the weakness of its neighbors. The most important event in Assyrian history during the 13 century BC, was the capture of Babylon by King Tukulti-Ninurta (r.1244-1208 BC). Although the conquest was short-lived the memory of it remained strong. In the following centuries the chief adversaries...