Ancient Near East

Assyrian

The Assyrian empire dominated Mesopotamia and all of the Near East for the first half of the first millennium, led by a series of highly ambitious and aggressive warrior kings. Assyrian society was entirely military, with men obliged to fight in the army at any time. State offices were also under the purview of the military.

1365–609 B.C.E.

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Assyrian Sculpture
Assyrian Sculpture

Leveraging their enormous wealth, the Assyrians built great temples and palaces full of art, all paid for by conquest.

Lamassu from the citadel of Sargon II
Lamassu from the citadel of Sargon II

Winged, human-headed bulls served as guardians of the city and its palace—walking by, they almost seem to move.

<em>Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions</em>
Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions

Only the king was permitted to kill lions—and doing so signified his power and ability to keep nature at bay.

Assyria, an introduction
Assyria, an introduction

Led by aggressive warrior kings, Assyria dominated the fertile crescent for half a millennia, amassing vast wealth.

Selected Contributors | Assyrian