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 ground.
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 demons.