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Assyria

2500 BC–609 BC
Overview map in the 15th century BC showing the core territory of Assyria with its two major cities Assur and Nineveh wedged between Babylonia downstream on the Tigris and the states of Mitanni and Hatti upstream.
Overview map in the 15th century BC showing the core territory of Assyria with its two major cities Assur and Nineveh wedged between Babylonia downstream on the Tigris and the states of Mitanni and Hatti upstream.
Capital Aššur
(2500–1754 BC)
Shubat-Enlil
(1754–1681 BC)
Aššur
(1681–879 BC)
Kalhu
(879–706 BC)
Dur-Sharrukin
(706–705 BC)
Nineveh
(705–612 BC)
Harran
(612–609 BC)
Official languages
Common languages Akkadian
Aramaic
Religion
Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Government Monarchy
King  
• c. 2500 BC
Tudiya (first)
• 612–609 BC
Ashur-uballit II (last)
Historical era Bronze Age
• Kikkiya overthrown
2500 BC
• Decline of Assyria
612 BC 609 BC
Area
194,249 km2 (75,000 sq mi)
Currency Mina
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Akkadian Empire
Median Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire

Assyria, also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East in the area today known as the Levant that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC (in the form of the Assur city-state) until its collapse between 612 BC and 609 BC — spanning the periods of the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age.

This vast span of time is divided into the Early Period (2500–2025 BC), Old Assyrian Empire (2025–1378 BC), Middle Assyrian Empire (1392–934 BC) and Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–609 BC).

Assyria was centred on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia, in modern terms, northern Iraq, northeast Syria, and southeast Turkey.

The Assyrians came to rule powerful empires in several periods. Making up a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization", which included Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, and Babylonia, Assyria reached the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time.

Starting around 900 BC, the Assyrians began campaigning to expand their empire and to dominate other people. They conquered, exacted tribute, building new fortified towns, palaces and tempels.

The Assyrians created an empire that stretched from eastern Libya and Cyprus in the East Mediterranean to Iran, and from present-day Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Transcaucasia to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt in the south.

The name "Assyria" originates with the Assyrian state's original capital, the ancient city of Aššur, which dates to c. 2600 BC — originally one of a number of Akkadian-speaking city-states in Mesopotamia.

Assyrian people

Assyrians are an ethnic group whose descendents remain in what is today Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, but who have gone to the Caucasus, North America and Western Europe during the past century. Hundreds of thousands more live in Assyrian diaspora and Iraqi refugee communities in Europe, the former Soviet Union, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.

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