By Kayleigh Junk and Ryan Pritchett
North Mesopotamia
Reaches west to the Euphrates river
and east to Lake Urmi (now Iran).
Approximately the size of Kansas
Major Cities- Ashur (original capital),
Nineveh (later capital), and Kalakh.
Taurus and Zagros mountains
• Rich corn fields made Arbel one of the
earliest agricultural settlements.
• Livestock- Pigs, sheep, goats, cattle
• Crops- Wheat, barley, corn
• Tools- Stone axes and hoes
• Small villages connected by an intricate
irrigation system
Government Structure
These city-states are organized into the
Assyrian empire (circa 5,000 B.C.E.)
Kings rule united empire, usually trying to
expand the boundaries
Temporarily ruled by vassal kings of
Each province had a king-anointed
Social Structure
King> Local Rulers> Merchants>
Soldiers> Artisans> Farmers> Slaves
There were fewer slaves than in most
other early civilizations, they played a
small role in the economy
A vast majority of population were farmers
Family Organization/
Earliest legal documents of Assyria show men and
women equal in marriage
The Code of Assura (1075 B.C.E.) shows how women’s
rights dramatically dropped
Children were considered property to father until they
came of age
From around 700 B.C.E. women had to wear veils
Men could divorce women with no compensation, a
Religious Beliefs
 Ashurism was the main religion
 Polytheistic, gods represent natural
circumstances important to Assyrians
 Gods are humanlike; prone to mortal mistakes
 Nearly identical to Babylonian religion
 A small population of Hebrews (they were
Population Growth and Decline
The population increased greatly when
Shalmaneser III conquers surrounding
lands including Kummuh, Urartu
Rassappa, and Babylonia (856 B.C.E.)
Population has mass decline when Medes
and Babylonia ally against Assyria and
defeat Ashur-Uballit in a three year war.
(612 B.C.E.)
• They believed that Spiritual, Mental, and
Physical health are interconnected.
• Illness= Not favored by the gods
• “Physicians” used herbs, magical stones,
and rituals to cure or prevent sickness.
• One must make amends with the god that
was offended in order to heal.
• Migration to Assyria from Balkan
Peninsula in 1200 B.C.E.
• Sargon II sent Hebrews out, 28,000
• Israelites become “Ten Lost Tribes of
Israel” 721 B.C.E.
Ten Lost Tribes
• The empire
collapsed and
relapsed many times
• The first civilization
to make military a
central focus.
• Used psychological
warfare to deter
enemies of the king
from attacking.
• Extremely gruesome
punishments to warn
other empires
• The first to use iron
spears, swords,
shields, arrows, and
battering rams
• Bronze weapons
useless against iron.
• Advanced cavalry
• Hand propelled
• Vehicles with armor
► Metals
were imported Antolia/Armenia
► Tin imported from northwestern Iran
► Lumber imported from the west
► Opening new trade routes was often the
cause of war.
► Assyrian and Babylonian empires profited
greatly from mutual trade.
The Arts
Polychrome stone carvings on monuments
 Art usually concerns royal affairs, hunting,
and war making
 Animal depictions of horses and lions
 Skillful pottery and clay making
 Winged beasts with bearded human heads
protect royal gateways
Writing System
• The earliest writing
form found in Assyria
is Akkadian, which is
written with
cuneiform on clay
• Later, leather and
papyrus were used as
surfaces for writing
• More modern system
is called Neo-Syriac.
• Both forms read left
to right.
Literature/Sacred Writing
• Assyrians studied from Babylonian texts
• Historians have discovered some epic
poems about religion and war
• Songs were used for entertainment
• There are inscriptions from the kings
which would make them into legends
• They preserved a library of over 30,000
clay tablets!?!?!?
The End