At the same time that Babylon was rising to
greatness in southern Mesopotamia, in Northern Mesopotamia another group
was growing strong. The Assyrians were a much more warlike people
than the Babylonians. They were also known as great traders.
Their caravans traveled all over the place, bringing goods to trade as
well as food and wine to various cities in Mesopotamia.
They worshiped the same
gods as the people of Sumer and Babylon, but they had their own
language. Since they were nomadic warriors, they lived a very
different lifestyle then the Babylonians.
The Assyrians were
a very fierce people and soon conquered many nearby tribes and
peoples. They even tried their hand at Babylon, but the walls and
warriors of Babylon were too much for them to defeat. This defeat
at the hands of Babylon grew into a great hatred of everything
Babylonian. So they waited.
As the Assyrians
waited, they grew stronger and conquered all the tribes and cities that
supported and supplied Babylon. Babylon grew weaker. Finally
around 1200 BCE, the Assyrians attacked again. This time they
defeated Babylon. To get their revenge, they made all the people
living in Babylon move out to various parts of the Assyrian kingdom,
then they destroyed the city of Babylon. They leveled it to the
Once their anger
had ended and their revenge had been fulfilled the Assyrians looked back
and thought. Babylon had been built to honor Marduk. What if
Marduk got angry at them for destroying his city? So they rebuilt
the entire city of Babylon, but they refused to let anyone live in the
city. It remained an empty city for a long time.
The Assyrians did
not create small statues like the Sumerians or Babylonians.
Instead the Assyrians painted on ceramics. Most of their paintings
dealt with battles and the life of a warrior. We have learned a
lot about how the Assyrians went to battle and how soldiers lived
through their paintings.
The Assyrians lived in
towns. Even though they were herders and goat traders, they also
had places to settle when they grew tired of the nomadic life. In
their towns, they sometimes built huge buildings. We are not sure
what these buildings were for but they were decorated with
Library at Nineveh
Palaces of Assyria
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