The Assyrians also lived
in the land between two rivers. Their home was in northern Mesopotamia
towards the mountains. They were famous traders. Their donkeys and
caravans were known throughout the Mesopotamian area. Their religion was
similar to that of Sumer and Babylon. They worshiped many of the same
gods. But they had their own language and their own lifestyle.
The Assyrians were always at war with
somebody. Their warriors were fierce, and soon conquered many other
people. They tried to conquer the southern regions of Mesopotamia, with
an eye especially on controlling Babylonia,
but their revolts were put down. They were much more successful
attacking and conquering the people to the east and west.
Assyrian artists were very talented. We know a
great deal about life in ancient Assyria because of the wonderful legacy
of art discovered by archaeologists. Talented artisans used art to tell
stories of battles and war heroes with scenes painted on ceramics. There
are scenes of warrior camps, men striding in armor, and war chariots,
and baked bread. Bread must have been very important to these ancient
Not everyone lived in war camps. The Assyrians also built towns. In
each town, they built huge buildings. Each building was decorated with
huge demons to protect the building and the town from evil influences.
Archaeologists have discovered artifacts
that suggest the ancient Assyrians believed in an afterlife. The ancient
Assyrians buried their dead with a few of their favorite possessions,
like weapons, drinking cups, and other small personal items. The poor
would dig a hole somewhere and bury their dead at home. The rich would
build a room just for the burial. In both cases, an oil lamp was kept
burning near or at the gravesite, perhaps to light the way between
worlds, or perhaps in honor of the deceased.
Assyrians Conquer Babylon!
Around 1200 BCE, the Assyrians finally conquered Babylon.
Babylon was the greatest city of the age. Rather than take over the city
for their own use, the Assyrians leveled it. They hated the Babylonians.
Before they destroyed the town, they forced all the people to move to
various places in Assyria. That's what the Assyrians always did when
they conquered a new people. They moved them around, different people in
different places, so the conquered people would find it difficult to
After they leveled the city, the
Assyrians began to worry. What if Marduk,
the great god, thought they were attacking him? They worried and
worried, and finally decided to rebuilt the city, so that Marduk would
not punish them for destroying a city built in his honor.
They really had no use for the city. They
rebuilt Babylon, but left it an empty city. Eventually, people found the
empty city and moved in. Babylon rose again.
Library at Nineveh:
Around 600 BCE, before the
people of ancient Mesopotamia were conquered by the great Persian
Empire, the last Assyrian king started a project. He began collecting a
library of clay tablets of all the literature of Sumer, Babylon, and
Assyria. No one knows how many tablets he actually collected, but
when this library was discovered in modern times, over 30,000 tablets
still remained in the great library at Nineveh, his capital city.
These tablets are our single most
important source of knowledge about ancient Mesopotamia. The tablets
include the Story of Gilgamesh,
Code, and many other important documents and stories created
by these amazing people - the ancient Mesopotamians.
Palaces of Assyria
Yourself from Demons!
Life, Government, Invention, Religion
Sumer, Babylon, Assyria Clipart for Kids & Teachers
Mesopotamia Lesson Plans for Teachers
Presentations about Ancient Mesopotamia
to Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids