The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia. Originating in eastern Turkey, the Euphrates flows through Syria and Iraq to join the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab, which empties into the Persian Gulf; the Ancient Greek form Euphrátēs was adapted from Old Persian Ufrātu, itself from Elamite ú-ip-ra-tu-iš. The Elamite name is derived from a name spelt in cuneiform as, which read as Sumerian language is "Buranuna" and read as Akkadian language is "Purattu". In Akkadian the river was called Purattu, perpetuated in Semitic languages and in other nearby languages of the time; the Elamite and Sumerian forms are suggested to be from an unrecorded substrate language. Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav Ivanov suggest the Proto-Sumerian *burudu "copper" as an origin, with an explanation that Euphrates was the river by which the copper ore was transported in rafts, since Mesopotamia was the center of copper metallurgy during the period.
The earliest references to the Euphrates come from cuneiform texts found in Shuruppak and pre-Sargonic Nippur in southern Iraq and date to the mid-3rd millennium BCE. In these texts, written in Sumerian, the Euphrates is called Buranuna; the name could be written KIB. NUN. or dKIB. NUN, with the prefix "d" indicating that the river was a divinity. In Sumerian, the name of the city of Sippar in modern-day Iraq was written UD. KIB. NUN, indicating a strong relationship between the city and the river; the Euphrates is the longest river of Western Asia. It emerges from the confluence of the Kara Su or Western Euphrates and the Murat Su or Eastern Euphrates 10 kilometres upstream from the town of Keban in southeastern Turkey. Daoudy and Frenken put the length of the Euphrates from the source of the Murat River to the confluence with the Tigris at 3,000 kilometres, of which 1,230 kilometres is in Turkey, 710 kilometres in Syria and 1,060 kilometres in Iraq; the same figures are given by Mikhailova. The length of the Shatt al-Arab, which connects the Euphrates and the Tigris with the Persian Gulf, is given by various sources as 145–195 kilometres.
Both the Kara Su and the Murat Su rise northwest from Lake Van at elevations of 3,290 metres and 3,520 metres amsl, respectively. At the location of the Keban Dam, the two rivers, now combined into the Euphrates, have dropped to an elevation of 693 metres amsl. From Keban to the Syrian–Turkish border, the river drops another 368 metres over a distance of less than 600 kilometres. Once the Euphrates enters the Upper Mesopotamian plains, its grade drops significantly; the Euphrates receives most of its water in the form of rainfall and melting snow, resulting in peak volumes during the months April through May. Discharge in these two months accounts for 36 percent of the total annual discharge of the Euphrates, or 60–70 percent according to one source, while low runoff occurs in summer and autumn; the average natural annual flow of the Euphrates has been determined from early- and mid-twentieth century records as 20.9 cubic kilometres at Keban, 36.6 cubic kilometres at Hīt and 21.5 cubic kilometres at Hindiya.
However, these averages mask the high inter-annual variability in discharge. The discharge regime of the Euphrates has changed since the construction of the first dams in the 1970s. Data on Euphrates discharge collected after 1990 show the impact of the construction of the numerous dams in the Euphrates and of the increased withdrawal of water for irrigation. Average discharge at Hīt after 1990 has dropped to 356 cubic metres per second; the seasonal variability has changed. The pre-1990 peak volume recorded at Hīt was 7,510 cubic metres per second, while after 1990 it is only 2,514 cubic metres per second; the minimum volume at Hīt remained unchanged, rising from 55 cubic metres per second before 1990 to 58 cubic metres per second afterward. In Syria, three rivers add their water to the Euphrates; these rivers rise in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains along the Syro–Turkish border and add comparatively little water to the Euphrates. The Sajur is the smallest of these tributaries; the Balikh receives most of its water from a karstic spring near'Ayn al-'Arus and flows due south until it reaches the Euphrates at the city of Raqqa.
In terms of length
King of the Universe
King of the Universe interpreted as King of Everything, King of the Totality, King of All or King of the World, was a title of great prestige claiming world domination used by powerful monarchs in ancient Mesopotamia. The etymology of the title derives from the ancient Sumerian city of Kish, the original meaning being King of Kish. Although the equation of šar kiššatim as meaning "King of the Universe" was made during the Akkadian period, the title of "King of Kish" is older and was seen as prestigious, as the city of Kish was seen as having primacy over all other Mesopotamian cities. In Sumerian legend, Kish was the location where the kingship was lowered to from heaven after the legendary Flood; the first ruler to use the title of King of the Universe was the Akkadian Sargon of Akkad and it was used in a succession of empires claiming symbolical descent from Sargon's Akkadian Empire. The title saw its final usage under the Seleucids, Antiochus I being the last known ruler to be referred to as "King of the Universe".
It is possible, at least among Assyrian rulers, that the title of King of the Universe was not inherited through normal means. As the title is not attested for all Neo-Assyrian kings and for some only attested several years into their reign it might have had to be earned by each king individually through completing seven successful military campaigns; the similar title of šar kibrāt erbetti may have required successful military campaigns in all four points of the compass. Some scholars believe that the titles of King of the Universe and King of the Four Corners of the World, with near identical meanings, differed in that King of the Universe referred to rule over the cosmological realm whereas King of the Four Corners of the World referred to dominion over the terrestrial. During the Early Dynastic Period in Mesopotamia, the rulers of the various city-states in the region would launch invasions into regions and cities far from their own, at most times with negligible consequences for themselves, in order to establish temporary and small empires to either gain or keep a superior position relative to the other city-states.
This early empire-building was encouraged as the most powerful monarchs were rewarded with the most prestigious titles, such as the title of lugal. Most of these early rulers had acquired these titles rather than inherited them; this quest to be more prestigious and powerful than the other city-states resulted in a general ambition for universal rule. Since Mesopotamia was equated to correspond to the entire world and Sumerian cities had been built far and wide it seemed possible to reach the edges of the world. Rulers attempting to reach a position of universal rule became more common during the Early Dynastic IIIb period during which two prominent examples are attested; the first, king of Adab, is claimed by the Sumerian King List to have created a great empire covering the entirety of Mesopotamia, reaching from modern Syria to Iran, saying that he "subjugated the Four Corners". The second, king of Uruk, conquered the entirety of Lower Mesopotamia and claimed that his domain extended from the upper to the lower sea.
Lugalzaggesi was titled as "King of Uruk" and adopted the title "King of the Land" to lay claim to universal rule. This title had been employed by some earlier Sumerian kings claiming control over all of Sumer, such as Enshakushanna of Uruk; the earliest days of Mesopotamian empire-building was most a struggle between the kings of the most prominent cities. In these early days, the title of "King of Kish" was recognized as one of particular prestige, with the city being seen as having a sort of primacy over the other cities. By the time of Sargon of Akkad, "King of Kish" meant a divinely authorized ruler with the right to rule over all of Sumer, it might have somewhat referred to a universal ruler in the Early Dynastic IIIb period. Use of the title, not limited to kings in possession of the city itself, implied that the ruler was a builder of cities, victorious in war and a righteous judge. According to the Sumerian King List, the city of Kish was where the kingship was lowered to from heaven after the Flood, its rulers being the embodiment of human kingship.
Sargon began his political career as a cupbearer of the ruler of the city of Kish. Aftker somehow escaping assassination, Sargon became the ruler of Kish himself, adopting the title of šar kiššatim and in 2334 BC founding the first great Mesopotamian empire, the Akkadian Empire. Sargon used the title King of Akkad; the title of šar kiššatim was prominently used by the successors of Sargon, including his grandson Naram-Sin, who introduced the similar title of "King of the Four Corners of the World". The transition from šar kiššatim meaning just "King of Kish" to it meaning "King of the Universe" happened during the Old Akkadian period
Ashurbanipal spelled Assurbanipal or Ashshurbanipal, was King of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 668 BC to c. 627 BC, the son of Esarhaddon and the last strong ruler of the empire, dated between 934 and 609 BC. He is famed for amassing a significant collection of cuneiform documents for his royal palace at Nineveh; this collection, known as the Library of Ashurbanipal, is now in the British Museum, which holds the famous Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal set of Assyrian palace reliefs. In the Hebrew Bible he is called Asenappar. Roman historian Justinus identified him as Sardanapalus, although the fictional Sardanapalus is depicted as the last king of Assyria and an ineffectual and debauched character, whereas three further kings succeeded Ashurbanipal, in fact an educated, efficient capable and ambitious warrior king. Ashurbanipal was born toward the end of a 1,500-year period of Assyrian ascendancy, his father, the youngest son of Sennacherib, had become heir when the crown prince, Ashur-nadin-shumi, was deposed by rebels from his position as a vassal for Babylon.
Esarhaddon was the son not of Sennacherib's queen, Tashmetum-sharrat, but of the "palace woman" Zakutu, "the pure", known by her native name, Naqi'a. There are some suggestions Zakutu may have been an Israelite or Aramean concubine, while others point to her family origins being in the northern Assyrian city of Harran; the only queen known for Esarhaddon was Ashur-hamat, who died in 672 BC. Ashurbanipal grew up in the small palace called Bit Reduti, built by his grandfather Sennacherib when he was crown prince in the northern quadrant of Nineveh. In 694 BC, Sennacherib had completed the "Palace Without Rival" at the southwest corner of the acropolis, obliterating most of the older structures; the "House of Succession" had become the palace of the crown prince. In this house, Ashurbanipal's grandfather was assassinated by uncles identified only from the biblical account as Adrammelech and Sharezer. From this conspiracy, Esarhaddon emerged as king in 681 BC, he proceeded to rebuild as his residence the Bit Masharti.
The "House of Succession" was left including Ashurbanipal. The names of five brothers and one sister are known. Sin-iddin-apli, the intended crown prince, died prior to 672 BC. Not having been expected to become heir to the throne, Ashurbanipal was trained in scholarly pursuits as well as the usual horsemanship, chariotry, soldiery and royal decorum. In a unique autobiographical statement, Ashurbanipal specified his youthful scholarly pursuits as having included oil divination and reading and writing. Ashurbanipal succeeded his father Esarhaddon as king of Assyria and ruler of the Assyrian Empire in 668 BC. Esarhaddon had prepared for the accession of his son by imposing a vassal treaty upon his Persian and Parthian subjects, ensuring that they accepted Ashurbanipal's dominance in advance, he had rebuilt Babylon and set up another of his sons Shamash-shum-ukin to rule there, subject to his brother Ashurbanipal in Nineveh. Despite being a popular king among his subjects, he was known for his cruelty to his enemies.
Some pictures depict him putting a dog chain through the jaw of a defeated Arab king and making him live in a dog kennel. Many paintings of the period exhibit his brutality. Ashurbanipal inherited from Esarhaddon not only the throne of the empire but the ongoing war in Egypt with Kush/Nubia. Ashurbanipal ended Egyptian interference in the Near East, destroyed the Kushite Empire, drove the Kushites/Nubians from Egypt, conquered Egypt and Libya. However, the Nubians still had ambitions to resurrect their empire. Ashurbanipal sent an army against them in 667 BC that defeated the Nubian king Taharqa, near Memphis, while Ashurbanipal stayed at his capital in Nineveh. At the same time, some Egyptian vassals rebelled and were defeated. All of the vanquished leaders save one were sent to Nineveh. Only Necho I, the native Egyptian Prince of Sais, convinced the Assyrians of his loyalty and was sent back to become the Assyrian puppet Pharaoh of Egypt. After the death of Taharqa in 664 BC his nephew and successor Tantamani invaded Upper Egypt and took control of Thebes.
In Memphis, he defeated Necho may have died in the battle. Ashurbanipal sent another army and again it succeeded in defeating the Kushites/Nubians. Tantamani was routed and driven back to his homeland in Nubia and was never again to threaten Assyria or Egypt; the Assyrians took much booty home with them. How Assyrian rule in Egypt ended is not certain, but at some point, Necho's son Psammetichus I gained independence while wisely keeping his relations with Assyria friendly. An Assyrian royal inscription tells how the Lydian king Gyges received dreams from the Assyrian god Ashur; the dreams told him. After Gyges sent his ambassadors to accept Assyrian vassalage, he defeated his Cimmerian enemies, but when he supported the rebellion of the Egyptian rebels his country was overrun by the Cilicians. Assyria was by master of the largest empire the world had
Ekur is a Sumerian term meaning "mountain house". It is the assembly of the gods in the Garden of the gods, parallel in Greek mythology to Mount Olympus and was the most revered and sacred building of ancient Sumer. There is a clear association of Ziggurats with mountain houses. Mountain houses play a certain role in Mesopotamian mythology and Assyro-Babylonian religion, associated with deities such as Anu, Enlil and Ninhursag. In the Hymn to Enlil, the Ekur is linked to Enlil whilst in Enlil and Ninlil it is the abode of the Annanuki, from where Enlil is banished; the fall of Ekur is described in the Lament for Ur. In mythology, the Ekur was the centre of the location where heaven and earth were united, it is known as Duranki and one of its structures is known as the Kiur. Enamtila has been suggested by Piotr Michalowski to be a part of the Ekur. A hymn to Nanna illustrates the close relationship between temples and mountains. "In your house on high, in your beloved house, I will come to live, O Nanna, up above in your cedar perfumed mountain".
The Tummal Inscription records the first king to build a temple to Enlil as Enmebaragesi, the predecessor of Gilgamesh, around 2500 BC. Ekur is associated with the temple at Nippur restored by Naram-Sin of Akkad and Shar-Kali-Sharri during the Akkadian Empire, it is the name of the temple of Assur rebuilt by Shalmaneser I. The word can refer to the chapel of Enlil in the temple of Ninimma at Nippur, it is mentioned in the Inscription of Gaddas as a temple of Enlil built "outside Babylon" referring to the Enamtila in west Babylon. It is used as part of such Sumerian phrases as e-kur-igi-gal; the Ekur was seen as the place from which Enlil's divine laws are issued. The ethics and moral values of the site are extolled in myths, which Samuel Noah Kramer suggested would have made it the most ethically-oriented in the entire ancient Near East, its rituals are described as: "banquets and feasts are celebrated from sunrise to sunset" with "festivals, overflowing with milk and cream, are alluring of plan and full of rejoicing".
The priests of the Ekur festivities are described with en being the high priest, lagar as his associate, mues the leader of incantations and prayers, guda the priest responsible for decoration. Sacrifices and food offerings were brought by the king, described as "faithful shepherd" or "noble farmer"; the physical structure of the Ekur included shrines and storehouses where foreigners brought offerings. These included the shrines of Enlil's wife Ninlil and their sons and Ninurta along with the house of his vizier Nuska and mistress Suzianna. Descriptions of these locations show the physical structures about the Ekur, these included an assembly hall, hut for ploughs, a lofty stairway up a foothill from a "house of darkness" considered by some to be a prison or chasm, it contained various gates such as the gate "where no grain was cut", the "lofty gate", "gate of peace" and "gate of judgement", it had drainage channels. Other locations such as a multi-story "giguna" are mentioned, among others which have proved unintelligible to modern scholars.
The Ekur was noted for inspiring fear, dread and panic in people amongst the evil and ignorant. Kramer suggested the Ekur complex may have included a primordial dungeon of the netherworld or "house of lament" where the damned were sent after judgement. Nungal is the Sumerian goddess, given the title "Queen of the Ekur"; the hymn Nungal in the Ekur describes the dark side of the complex with a house that "examines both the righteous and the wicked and does not allow the wicked to escape". This house is described as having a "River of ordeal" which leads to the "mouth of catastrophe" through a lock and bolt. Further descriptions of its structural components are given including foundations, doors, a fearsome gate, architrave, a buttressed structure called a "dubla" and a magnificent vault, all described with terrifying metaphors; the hymn references a "house of life" where sinners are rehabilitated and returned to their gods through the compassion of Nungal, who holds the "tablet of life". The destruction and fall of these various structures is remembered in various city laments, destroyed either in a great storm, flood or by variously Elamites, Subarians and some other, as yet unidentified "Su-people".
It was recorded that the terrible acts of final destruction of the Ekur and its divine laws was committed by Sargon the Great against his own people in 2300 BC. The Curse of Agade describes the same thing happening at the hands of Naram-Sin "Enlil, because his beloved Ekur had been attacked, what destruction he wrought"; the foundations are broken with large axes and its watercourses are disabled, the "gate of peace" is demolished and wars start all over the land, statues are burnt and wealth carried off. There is a body of evidence showing that Naram-Sin instead rebuilt the Ekur in a single building project that continued into the reign of his son Shar-Kali-Sharri, suggesting it was destroyed during Gutian raids, it was noted. Restorations of the Ekur were carried out b
In classical antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now Asian Turkey, centered on the Sangarios River. After its conquest, it became a region of the great empires of the time. Stories of the heroic age of Greek mythology tell of several legendary Phrygian kings: Gordias, whose Gordian Knot would be cut by Alexander the Great Midas, who turned whatever he touched to gold Mygdon, who warred with the AmazonsAccording to Homer's Iliad, the Phrygians participated in the Trojan War as close allies of the Trojans, fighting against the Achaeans. Phrygian power reached its peak in the late 8th century BC under another, king: Midas, who dominated most of western and central Anatolia and rivaled Assyria and Urartu for power in eastern Anatolia; this Midas was, however the last independent king of Phrygia before Cimmerians sacked the Phrygian capital, around 695 BC. Phrygia became subject to Lydia, successively to Persia and his Hellenistic successors, Pergamon and Byzantium.
Phrygians became assimilated into other cultures by the early medieval era. Phrygia describes an area on the western end of the high Anatolian plateau, an arid region quite unlike the forested lands to the north and west. Phrygia begins in the northwest where an area of dry steppe is watered by the Sakarya and Porsuk river system and is home to the settlements of Dorylaeum near modern Eskisehir, the Phrygian capital Gordion; the climate is harsh with cold winters. South of Dorylaeum, there is another important Phrygian settlement, Midas City, situated in an area of hills and columns of volcanic tuff. To the south again, central Phrygia includes the cities of Afyonkarahisar with its marble quarries at nearby Docimium, the town of Synnada. At the western end of Phrygia stood the towns of Aizanoi and Acmonia. From here to the southwest lies the hilly area of Phrygia that contrasts to the bare plains of the region's heartland. Southwestern Phrygia is watered by the Maeander and its tributary the Lycus, contains the towns of Laodicea on the Lycus and Hierapolis.
Inscriptions found at Gordium make clear that Phrygians spoke an Indo-European language with at least some vocabulary similar to Greek, not belonging to the family of Anatolian languages spoken by most of Phrygia's neighbors. One of the so-called Homeric Hymns describes the Phrygian language as not mutually intelligible with that of Troy. According to ancient tradition among Greek historians, the Phrygians anciently migrated to Anatolia from the Balkans. Herodotus says, he and other Greek writers recorded legends about King Midas that associated him with or put his origin in Macedonia. Some classical writers connected the Phrygians with the Mygdones, the name of two groups of people, one of which lived in northern Macedonia and another in Mysia; the Phrygians have been identified with the Bebryces, a people said to have warred with Mysia before the Trojan War and who had a king named Mygdon at the same time as the Phrygians were said to have had a king named Mygdon. The classical historian Strabo groups Phrygians, Mysians and Bithynians together as peoples that migrated to Anatolia from the Balkans.
This image of Phrygians as part of a related group of northwest Anatolian cultures seems the most explanation for the confusion over whether Phrygians and Anatolian Mygdones were or were not the same people. The apparent similarity of the Phrygian language to Greek and its dissimilarity with the Anatolian languages spoken by most of their neighbors is taken as support for a European origin of the Phrygians. Phrygian continued to be spoken until the 6th century AD, though its distinctive alphabet was lost earlier than those of most Anatolian cultures; some scholars have theorized that such a migration could have occurred more than classical sources suggest, have sought to fit the Phrygian arrival into a narrative explaining the downfall of the Hittite Empire and the end of the high Bronze Age in Anatolia. According to this "recent migration" theory, the Phrygians invaded just before or after the collapse of the Hittite Empire at the beginning of the 12th century BC, filling the political vacuum in central-western Anatolia, may have been counted among the "Sea Peoples" that Egyptian records credit with bringing about the Hittite collapse.
The so-called Handmade Knobbed Ware found in Western Anatolia during this period has been tentatively identified as an import connected to this invasion. However, most scholars reject such a recent Phrygian migration and accept as factual the Iliad's account that the Phrygians were established on the Sakarya River before the Trojan War, thus must have been there during the stages of the Hittite Empire, earlier; these scholars seek instead to trace the Phrygians' origins among the many nations of western Anatolia who were subject to the Hittites. This interpretation gets support from Greek legends about the founding of Phrygia's main city Gordium by Gordias and of Ancyra by Midas, which suggest that Gordium and Ancyra were believed to date from the distant past before the Trojan War; some scholars dismiss the claim of a Phrygian migration
Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in modern days corresponding to most of Iraq, parts of Northern Saudi Arabia, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders. The Sumerians and Akkadians dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire, it fell to Alexander the Great in 332 BC, after his death, it became part of the Greek Seleucid Empire. Around 150 BC, Mesopotamia was under the control of the Parthian Empire. Mesopotamia became a battleground between the Romans and Parthians, with western parts of Mesopotamia coming under ephemeral Roman control. In AD 226, the eastern regions of Mesopotamia fell to the Sassanid Persians; the division of Mesopotamia between Roman and Sassanid Empires lasted until the 7th century Muslim conquest of Persia of the Sasanian Empire and Muslim conquest of the Levant from Byzantines.
A number of neo-Assyrian and Christian native Mesopotamian states existed between the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD, including Adiabene and Hatra. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC, it has been identified as having "inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the invention of the wheel, the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of cursive script, mathematics and agriculture". The regional toponym Mesopotamia comes from the ancient Greek root words μέσος "middle" and ποταμός "river" and translates to " between two/the rivers", it is used throughout the Greek Septuagint to translate the Aramaic equivalent Naharaim. An earlier Greek usage of the name Mesopotamia is evident from The Anabasis of Alexander, written in the late 2nd century AD, but refers to sources from the time of Alexander the Great. In the Anabasis, Mesopotamia was used to designate the land east of the Euphrates in north Syria.
The Aramaic term biritum/birit narim corresponded to a similar geographical concept. The term Mesopotamia was more applied to all the lands between the Euphrates and the Tigris, thereby incorporating not only parts of Syria but almost all of Iraq and southeastern Turkey; the neighbouring steppes to the west of the Euphrates and the western part of the Zagros Mountains are often included under the wider term Mesopotamia. A further distinction is made between Northern or Upper Mesopotamia and Southern or Lower Mesopotamia. Upper Mesopotamia known as the Jazira, is the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris from their sources down to Baghdad. Lower Mesopotamia is the area from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf and includes Kuwait and parts of western Iran. In modern academic usage, the term Mesopotamia also has a chronological connotation, it is used to designate the area until the Muslim conquests, with names like Syria and Iraq being used to describe the region after that date. It has been argued that these euphemisms are Eurocentric terms attributed to the region in the midst of various 19th-century Western encroachments.
Mesopotamia encompasses the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, both of which have their headwaters in the Taurus Mountains. Both rivers are fed by numerous tributaries, the entire river system drains a vast mountainous region. Overland routes in Mesopotamia follow the Euphrates because the banks of the Tigris are steep and difficult; the climate of the region is semi-arid with a vast desert expanse in the north which gives way to a 15,000-square-kilometre region of marshes, mud flats, reed banks in the south. In the extreme south, the Euphrates and the Tigris empty into the Persian Gulf; the arid environment which ranges from the northern areas of rain-fed agriculture to the south where irrigation of agriculture is essential if a surplus energy returned on energy invested is to be obtained. This irrigation is aided by a high water table and by melting snows from the high peaks of the northern Zagros Mountains and from the Armenian Highlands, the source of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that give the region its name.
The usefulness of irrigation depends upon the ability to mobilize sufficient labor for the construction and maintenance of canals, this, from the earliest period, has assisted the development of urban settlements and centralized systems of political authority. Agriculture throughout the region has been supplemented by nomadic pastoralism, where tent-dwelling nomads herded sheep and goats from the river pastures in the dry summer months, out into seasonal grazing lands on the desert fringe in the wet winter season; the area is lacking in building stone, precious metals and timber, so has relied upon long-distance trade of agricultural products to secure these items from outlying areas. In the marshlands to the south of the area, a complex water-borne fishing culture has existed since prehistoric times, has added to the cultural mix. Periodic breakdowns in the cultural system have occurred for a number of reasons; the demands for labor has from time to time led to population increases that push the limits of the ecological carrying capacity, should a period of climatic instability ensue, collapsing central government a
The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, became the largest empire of the world up until that time. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in empires, was, according to many historians, the first real empire in history; the Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics. Following the conquests of Adad-nirari II in the late 10th century BC, Assyria emerged as the most powerful state in the known world at the time, coming to dominate the Ancient Near East, East Mediterranean, Asia Minor and parts of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa and conquering rivals such as Babylonia, Persia, Lydia, the Medes, Cimmerians, Judah, Chaldea, the Kushite Empire, the Arabs, Egypt; the Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Old Assyrian Empire, the Middle Assyrian Empire of the Late Bronze Age. During this period, Aramaic was made an official language of the empire, alongside Akkadian.
Upon the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate due to a brutal and unremitting series of civil wars in Assyria proper. In 616 BC, Cyaxares king of the Medes and Persians made alliances with Nabopolassar ruler of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, the Scythians and Cimmerians against Assyria. At the Fall of Harran the Babylonians and Medes defeated an Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria ceased to exist as an independent state. A failed attempt to reconquer Harran ended the Assyrian Empire. Although the empire fell, Assyrian history continued. Assyria was an Akkadian kingdom which evolved in the 25th to 24th centuries BC; the earliest Assyrian kings such as Tudiya were minor rulers, after the founding of the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from 2334 BC to 2154 BC, these kings became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under one rule. The urbanised Akkadian-speaking nation of Assyria emerged in the mid 21st century BC, evolving from the dissolution of the Akkadian Empire.
In the Old Assyrian period of the Early Bronze Age, Assyria had been a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia, competing for dominance with the Hattians and Hurrians of Asia Minor, the ancient Sumero-Akkadian "city states" such as Isin, Ur and Larsa, with Babylonia, founded by Amorites in 1894 BC, under Kassite rule. During the 20th century BC, it established colonies in Asia Minor, under the 20th century BC King Ilushuma, Assyria conducted many successful raids against the states of the south. Assyria fell under the control of the Amorite chieftain Shamshi-Adad I, who established a dynasty and was unusually energetic and politically canny, installing his sons as puppet rulers at Mari and Ekallatm. Following this it found itself under short periods of Babylonian and Mitanni-Hurrian domination in the 17th and 15th centuries BC followed by another period of power from 1365 BC to 1074 BC, that included the reigns of kings such as Ashur-uballit I, Tukulti-Ninurta I, Tiglath-Pileser I. Ashur-uballit extended Assyrian control over the rich farming lands of Nineveh and Arbela to the north.
Tiglath-Pileser controlled the lucrative caravan routes that crossed the fertile crescent from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Much campaigning by Tiglath-Pileser and succeeding kings was directed against Aramaean pastoralist groups in Syria, some of whom were moving against Assyrian centers. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Aramaean expansion had resulted in the loss of much Assyrian territory in Upper Mesopotamia. After the death of Tiglath-Pileser I in 1076 BC, Assyria was in comparative decline for the next 150 years; the period from 1200 BC to 900 BC was a Dark Age for the entire Near East, North Africa, Caucasus and Balkan regions, with great upheavals and mass movements of people. Assyria was in a stronger position during this time than potential rivals such as Egypt, Elam, Urartu and Media. Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II, Assyria again became a great power, overthrowing the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt and conquering Elam, Media, Mannea, Phoenicia/Canaan, Israel, Philistia, Moab, Cilicia, Chaldea, Commagene, Dilmun and Neo-Hittites.
Adad-nirari II and his successors campaigned on an annual basis for part of every year with an exceptionally well-organized army. He subjugated the areas under only nominal Assyrian vassalage and deporting Aramean and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places. Adad-nirari II twice attacked and defeated Shamash-mudammiq of Babylonia, annexing a large area of land north of the Diyala river and the towns of Hit and Zanqu in mid Mesopotamia, he made further gains over Babylonia under Nabu-shuma-ukin I in his reign. He was succeeded by Tukulti-Ninurta II in 891 BC, who further consolidated Assyria's position and expanded northwards into Asia Minor and the Zagros Mountains during his short reign; the next king, Ashurnasirpal II, embarked on a vast program of expansion. During his rule, Assyria recovered much of the territory that it had lost around 1100 BC at the end of the Middle Assyrian period. Ashurnasirpal II camp