Assyria called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant. It existed as a state from as early as the 25th century BC 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. From the end of the seventh century BC to the mid-seventh century AD, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers such as the Parthian and early Sasanian Empires between the mid-second century BC and late third century AD, the final part of which period saw Mesopotamia become a major centre of Syriac Christianity and the birthplace of the Church of the East. A Semitic-speaking realm, Assyria was centred on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia; 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, Babylonia, Assyria reached the height of technological and cultural achievements for its time.
At its peak, the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911 to 609 BC stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean to Iran, from present-day Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus to the Arabian Peninsula and eastern Libya. The name "Assyria" originates with the Assyrian state's original capital, the ancient city of Aššur, which dates to c. 2600 BC - one of a number of Akkadian-speaking city-states in Mesopotamia. In the 25th and 24th centuries BC, Assyrian kings were pastoral leaders. From the late 24th century BC, the Assyrians became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from c. 2334 BC to 2154 BC. After the Assyrian Empire fell from power, the greater remaining part of Assyria formed a geopolitical region and province of other empires, although between the mid-2nd century BC and late 3rd century AD a patchwork of small independent Assyrian kingdoms arose in the form of Assur, Osroene, Beth Nuhadra, Beth Garmai and Hatra.
The region of Assyria fell under the successive control of the Median Empire of 678 to 549 BC, the Achaemenid Empire of 550 to 330 BC, the Macedonian Empire, the Seleucid Empire of 312 to 63 BC, the Parthian Empire of 247 BC to 224 AD, the Roman Empire and the Sasanian Empire of 224 to 651 AD. The Arab Islamic conquest of the area in the mid-seventh century dissolved Assyria as a single entity, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people became an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority in the Assyrian homeland, surviving there to this day as an indigenous people of the region. Assyria was sometimes known as Subartu and Azuhinum prior to the rise of the city-state of Ashur, after which it was Aššūrāyu, after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late seventh century AD variously as Achaemenid Assyria, referenced as Atouria, Ator and sometimes as Syria which etymologically derives from Assyria according to Strabo, Assyria and Asōristān. "Assyria" can refer to the geographic region or heartland where Assyria, its empires and the Assyrian people were centered.
The indigenous modern Eastern Aramaic-speaking Assyrian Christian ethnic minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, southeast Turkey and northwest Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians. As Babylonia is called after the city of Babylon, Assyria means "land of Asshur"Etymologically, Assyria is connected to the name of Syria, with both being derived from the Akkadian Aššur. Theodor Nöldeke in 1881 was the first to give philological support to the assumption that Syria and Assyria have the same etymology, a suggestion going back to John Selden. A 21st-century discovery of the Çineköy inscription confirmed that Syria, being a Greek corruption of the name Assyria, is derived from the Assyrian term Aššūrāyu. In prehistoric times, the region, to become known as Assyria was home to a Neanderthal culture such as has been found at the Shanidar Cave; the earliest Neolithic sites in what will be Assyria were the Jarmo culture c. 7100 BC, the Halaf culture c. 6100 BC, the Hassuna culture c. 6000 BC.
The Akkadian-speaking people who would found Assyria appear to have entered Mesopotamia at some point during the latter 4th millennium BC intermingling with the earlier Sumerian-speaking population, who came from northern Mesopotamia, with Akkadian names appearing in written record from as early as the 29th century BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, a intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Akkadians throughout Mesopotamia, which included widespread bilingualism; the influence of Sumerian on Akkadian, vice versa, is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium BC as a sprachbund. Akkadian replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere after the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC, although Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD, as did use of the Akkadian cuneiform.
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The Umayyad Caliphate spelt Omayyad, was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty; the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, was a member of the Umayyad clan. The family established dynastic, hereditary rule with Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, who became the sixth Caliph after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661. After Mu'awiyah's death in 680, conflicts over the succession resulted in a Second Civil War and power fell into the hands of Marwan I from another branch of the clan. Syria remained the Umayyads' main power base thereafter, Damascus was their capital; the Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Transoxiana, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 11,100,000 km2 and 33 million people, making it one of the largest empires in history in both area and proportion of the world's population.
The dynasty was overthrown by a rebellion led by the Abbasids in 750. Survivors of the dynasty established themselves in Cordoba in the form of an Emirate and a Caliphate, lasting until 1031; the Umayyad Caliphs were considered too secular by some of their Muslim subjects. Christians, who still constituted a majority of the Caliphate's population, Jews were allowed to practice their own religion but had to pay a head tax from which Muslims were exempt. There was, the Muslim-only zakat tax, earmarked explicitly for various welfare progammes. Muawiya's wife Maysum was a Christian. Relations between the caliphate's Muslim and Christian subjects were stable in this time; the Umayyads were involved in frequent battles with the Christian Byzantines without being concerned with protecting themselves in Syria, which had remained Christian like many other parts of the empire. Prominent positions were held by Christians, some of whom belonged to families that had served in Byzantine governments; the employment of Christians was part of a broader policy of religious accommodation, necessitated by the presence of large Christian populations in the conquered provinces, as in Syria.
This policy boosted Muawiya's popularity and solidified Syria as his power base. According to tradition, the Umayyad family and Muhammad both descended from a common ancestor, Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, they came from the city of Mecca in the Hijaz. Muhammad descended from Abd Manāf via his son Hashim, while the Umayyads descended from Abd Manaf via a different son, Abd-Shams, whose son was Umayya; the two families are therefore considered to be different clans of the same tribe. While the Umayyads felt deep animosity towards the Hashimites before Muhammad, their animosity deepened after the Battle of Badr of 624; the battle saw. This fueled the opposition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the grandson of Umayya, to Muhammad, his family, Islam as a whole. Abu Sufyan sought to exterminate the adherents of the new religion by waging another battle against the Medina-based Muslims only a year after the Battle of Badr, he did this to avenge the defeat at Badr. Scholars regard the Battle of Uhud as the first defeat for the Muslims, since they incurred greater losses than the Meccans.
After the battle, Abu Sufyan's wife Hind, the daughter of Utba ibn Rabi'ah, is reported to have cut open the corpse of Hamza, taking out his liver which she attempted to eat. In 629, within five years of the defeat in the Battle of Uhud, Muhammad took control of Mecca and announced a general amnesty for all. Abu Sufyan and his wife Hind embraced Islam on the eve of the conquest of Mecca; the Umayyad's ascendancy began when Uthman ibn Affan, an early companion, second cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad became the third Caliph. Uthman placed some members of his clan at positions of power. Most notably, he appointed his first cousin, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, as his top advisor, which created a stir among the Hashimite companions of Muhammad, as Marwan had been permanently exiled from Medina by Muhammad. Uthman appointed his half-brother, Walid ibn Uqba, whom Hashimites accused of leading prayer while under the influence of alcohol, governor of Kufa and appointed his foster-brother Abdullah ibn Saad as the Governor of Egypt, replacing Amr ibn al-As.
Most notably, Uthman consolidated Muawiyah's governorship of Syria by granting him control over a larger area. Muawiyah proved a successful governor, he built up a loyal and disciplined army composed of Syrian Arabs and befriended Amr ibn al-As, the ousted governor of Egypt. In 639 Muawiyah was appointed as the governor of Syria after the previous governor Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah died in a plague along with 25,000 other people. In 649 Muawiyah set up a navy manned by Monophysite Christian and Jacobite Syrian Christian sailors and Muslim troops, who defeated the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean. Uthman's rule saw the relaxing of restrictions instituted by the second Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khatt
History of Iraq
The current territory of the modern state of Iraq was defined by the Anglo-Iraqi treaty of 1922 which resulted from the 1920 Iraqi revolt against British occupation. It centers on Lower Mesopotamia but includes part of Upper Mesopotamia and of the Syrian Desert and the Arabian Desert; the history of this area has witnessed some of the world's earliest writing, sciences, mathematics and philosophies. As part of the larger Fertile Crescent, Mesopotamia saw the earliest emergence of civilization in the Neolithic Age and formed a significant part of the Ancient Near East throughout the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Mesopotamia fell under Persian and Greek rule. By the 3rd century, when it was once again under Persian control, the earlier and larger population was converted from the religion of the ancient and Christianity to Islam during the reign of Timur-lang. Furthermore, a small population of Arab Muslim ruling minority, succeeded in the transformation of the Mesopotamians old religions to Islam, yet with a significant help of the native Christians.
As for the Name of the country'Iraq' it is derived from the Sumerian city of'URUK', a name well known to the natives long before the Arrival of Arab Muslim invaders. The Sassanid Empire was destroyed by the Islamic conquests and displaced by the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century. Baghdad became the center of the "Islamic Golden Age" under the Abbasid Caliphate during the 9th century. Baghdad's rapid growth stagnated in the 10th century due to the Buwayhid and Seljuq invasions, but it remained of central importance until the Mongol invasion of 1258. After this, Iraq declined in importance. After the disintegration of the Ilkhanate, Iraq was ruled by the Jalairids and Kara Koyunlu until its eventual absorption into the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, intermittently falling under Iranian Safavid and Mamluk control. Ottoman rule ended with World War I, the British Empire administered Iraq as Mandatory Iraq until the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq in 1933. A republic formed in 1958 following a coup d'état.
Saddam Hussein governed from 1979 to 2003, into which period fall the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Saddam Hussein was deposed following the 2003 US-led invasion of the country. Over the following years, Iraq came to the brink of civil war, the situation deteriorated after the withdrawal of U. S. troops in 2011. By 2015, Iraq was divided, the central and southern part being controlled by the government, the northwest by the Kurdistan Regional Government and the western part by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. During 1957–1961 Shanidar Cave was excavated by Ralph Solecki and his team from Columbia University, nine skeletons of Neanderthal man of varying ages and states of preservation and completeness were discovered dating from 60,000–80,000 years BP. A tenth individual was discovered by M. Zeder during examination of a faunal assemblage from the site at the Smithsonian Institution; the remains seemed to Zeder to suggest that Neanderthals had funeral ceremonies, burying their dead with flowers, that they took care of injured and elderly individuals.
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." Sumer emerged as the civilization of Lower Mesopotamia out of the prehistoric Ubaid period in the Early Bronze Age Classical Sumer ends with the rise of the Akkadian Empire in the 24th century BC. Following the Gutian period, there is a brief Sumerian renaissance in the 21st century, cut short in the 20th century BC by Amorite invasion; the Amorite dynasty of Isin persisted until c. 1600 BC, when southern Mesopotamia was united under Kassite Babylonian rule. The north of Mesopotamia had become the Akkadian-speaking state of Assyria by the late 25th century BC. Along with the rest of Mesopotamia it was ruled by Akkadian kings from the late 24th to mid 22nd centuries BC, after which it once again became independent.
Babylonia was a state in Lower Mesopotamia with Babylon as its capital. It was founded as an independent state by an Amorite king named Sumuabum in 1894 BC. During the 3rd millennium BCE, there developed a intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. Akkadian replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC, but Sumerian continued to be used as a written or ceremonial language in Mesopotamia well into the period of classical antiquity. Babylonia emerged from the Amorite dynasties when Hammurabi, unified the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad. During the early centuries of what is called the "Amorite period", the most powerful city states were Isin and Larsa, although Shamshi-Adad I came close to uniting the more northern regions around Assur and Mari. One of these Amorite dynasties was established in the city-state of Babylon, which would take over the others and form the
The Parthian Empire known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran; the empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce. The Parthians adopted the art, religious beliefs, royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions.
The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire. The court did appoint a small number of satraps outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris, although several other sites served as capitals; the earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients; the Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius.
Various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the ensuing Roman–Parthian Wars of the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold on to them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus V, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania. Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources.
These include Greek and Roman histories, but Chinese histories, prompted by the Han Chinese desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources. Before Arsaces I of Parthia founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chieftain of the Parni, an ancient Central-Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the confederation of the Dahae; the Parni most spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia. The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, the Seleucid empires. After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Greek, Babylonian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer. Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain.
A. D. H. Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I "backdated his regnal years" to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased. However, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe. Homa Katouzian and Gene Ralph Garthwaite claim it was the year Arsaces conquered Parthia and expelled the Seleucid authorities, yet Curtis and Maria Brosius state that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC, it is unclear who succeeded Arsaces I. Bivar and Katouzian affirm that it was his brother Tiridates I of Parthia, who in turn was succeeded by his son Arsaces II of Parthia in 211 BC, yet Curtis and Brosius state that Arsaces II was the immediate successor of Arsaces I, with Curtis claiming the succession took place in 211 BC, Brosius in 217 BC. Bivar insists that 138 BC, the last regnal year of Mithridates I, is "the first established regnal date of Parthian history."
Due to these and other discrepancies
Athura called Assyria, was a geographical area within the Achaemenid Empire in Upper Mesopotamia from 539 to 330 BC as a military protectorate state. Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy, Achaemenid royal inscriptions list it as a dahyu, a concept interpreted as meaning either a group of people or both a country and its people, without any administrative implication, it incorporated the territories of Neo-Assyrian Empire corresponding to what is now northern Iraq in the upper Tigris, the middle and upper Euphrates, modern-day northeastern Syria and part of south-east Anatolia. However and the Sinai Peninsula were separate Achaemenid territories; the Neo-Assyrian Empire collapsed after a period of violent civil wars, followed by an invasion by a coalition of some of its former subject peoples, the Iranian peoples and Cimmerians in the late seventh century BC, culminating in the Battle of Nineveh, Assyria had fallen by 609 BC. Between 609 and 559 BC, former Assyrian territories were divided between the Median Empire to the east and the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the west.
Both parts were subsumed into the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BC, it has been argued that they constituted the satrapies of Media and Aθurā, respectively. In Herodotus' account the Ninth Tributary District comprised "Babylonia and the rest of Assyria" and excluded Eber-Nari. Despite a few rebellions, Aθurā functioned as an important part of the Achaemenid Empire and its inhabitants were given the right to govern themselves throughout Achaemenid rule and Old Aramaic was used diplomatically by the Achaemenids. Known for their combat skills, Assyrian soldiers constituted the main heavy infantry of the Achaemenid military. Due to the major destruction of Assyria during the fall of its empire, some early scholars described the area as an "uninhabited wasteland." Other Assyriologists, such as John Curtis and Simo Parpola, have disputed this claim, citing how Assyria would become one of the wealthiest regions among the Achaemenid Empire. This wealth was due to the land's great prosperity for agriculture that the Achaemenids used for 200 years.
In contrast to the policy of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Achaemenid Persians did not intervene in the internal affairs of their ruling satrapies as long as they continued the flow of tribute and taxes back to Persia. Between the mid 14th centuries and late 11th century BC, again between the late 10th and late 7th centuries BC, the respective Middle Assyrian Empire and Neo-Assyrian Empire dominated the Middle East militarily, culturally and politically, the Persians and their neighbours the Medes, Parthians and Manneans were vassals of Assyria and paid tribute. In the late 7th century BC, the Assyrian empire descended into a period of civil war in 626 BC, which drastically weakened it, led to a number of its former subject peoples; the Battle of Nineveh in 612 BC left Assyria destroyed for years to come. The Assyrians continued to fight on, with the aid of another of their former vassals, Egypt who feared the rise of these new powers. A costly but victorious Battle at Megiddo against the forces of Judah allowed the Egyptians to advance to the rescue, only to be defeated by the Babylonian-Median-Scythian alliance.
Harran, the new Assyrian capital, was taken in 609 BC, thus ending the empire. Despite this, part of the remnants of the former Assyrian army continued to fight on, along with Egypt, until final defeat at Carchemish in 605 BC. Babylonian rule did not last long. In 539, Cyrus the Great defeated the Babylonian King Nabonidus, took Babylon and made it, along with Assyria, into provinces of the Persian Empire; the former major Assyrian capitals of Nineveh, Dur Sharrukin and Kalhu were only sparsely populated during Achaemenid rule. Most Assyrian settlement was in smaller cities and villages at plain level, in the mountains, or on mounds such as Tell ed-Darim. However, according to more recent Assyriologists such as Georges Roux, cities such as Arrapkha and Arbela remained intact, Ashur was to revive. Despite many of the Assyrian cities being left in ruins from the battles that led to the fall of its empire in the 7th century BC, rural Assyria was prosperous according to the Greek scholar Xenophon.
After passing Kalhu and Nineveh and the Greeks turned north-west, following the east bank of the Tigris River. He described rural Assyria as:..there was an abundance of corn in the villages, found a palace, with many villages round about it... In these villages they remained for three days, not only for the sake of the wounded, but because they had provisions in abundance – flour and great stores of barley, collected for horses, all these supplies having been gathered together by the acting satrap of the district; the testimony is an example of the rich agricultural resources of Assyria's region and the existence of a satrap's palace. It is not known where this palace was located, but Layard suggest it may have been near Zakho. An inscription found in Egypt, written by Arsames, describes Assyrian cities that obtained administrative centres under Achaemenid rule: Lair: Assyrian Lahiru, by the Diyala Valley Arzuhina: Tell Chemchemal, 40 kilometers east of Kirkuk Arbela Halsu: Location unknown Matalubash: Assyrian Ubaše (Te
Ottoman Iraq refers to the period of the history of Iraq when the region was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Before reforms, Iraq was divided into four eyalets: Baghdad Eyalet Shahrizor Eyalet Basra Eyalet Mosul EyaletOttoman Iraq was divided into the three vilayets: Mosul Vilayet Baghdad Vilayet Basra VilayetDuring World War I, an invasion of the region was undertaken by British Empire forces and was known as the Mesopotamian campaign. Fighting continued for the duration of the war; the most notable action was the Siege of Kut, which resulted in the surrender of the British and British Indian Army garrison of the town in April 1916, after a siege of 147 days. Of the 11,800 Allied soldiers who survived to be made prisoners, 4,250 died of disease or at the hands of their Ottoman guards during captivity. Mamluk dynasty of Iraq List of Ottoman governors of Baghdad British Mandate of Mesopotamia Sykes-Picot Agreement