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Assyria

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Assyria circa 824 BC

BACKGROUND

Information: An empire.

Assyria, also called the Assyrian Empire, was a major Semitic-speaking Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant1. It existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE in the form of the Assur city-state, until its collapse between 612 BCE and 609 BCE, spanning the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. From the end of the seventh century BCE to the mid-seventh century CE, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers.

Centered on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia (modern northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and the northwestern fringes of Iran), the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires at several times. Making up a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization", which included Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, and Babylonia, Assyria was at the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time.

The region of Assyria fell under the successive control of the Median Empire, the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Seleucid Empire, the Parthian Empire, the Roman Empire, and the Sasanian Empire. The Arab Islamic Conquest in the mid-seventh century finally dissolved Assyria (Assuristan) as a single entity, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people (by now Christians) gradually became an ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious minority in the Assyrian homeland, surviving there to this day as an indigenous people of the region.

Language: Assyrian was a dialect of Akkadian language, a member of the eastern branch of the Semitic family and the oldest historically attested of the Semitic languages, which began to appear in written form in the 29th century BCE

Religions: The Assyrians, like the rest of the Mesopotamian peoples, followed ancient Mesopotamian religion, with their national god Ashur having the most importance to them during the Assyrian Empire.

Levant
1 The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and most of Turkey southeast of the middle Euphrates. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the Eastern Mediterranean with its islands, that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to the eastern coastal region of Libya.


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