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The ancient Assyrian culture revolved around conquest and war. In order for the Assyrians to survive in this warlike environment they had created, they developed the most innovative military weapons and tactics of the time. Assyria was the most powerful empire in Mesopotamia at the height of its reign. Its legacy was one of extreme brutality and advanced craftsmanship in the art of war (Youtube). The Assyrians conquered the entirety of Mesopotamia and extended their rule as far as the prosperous western country of Egypt (Bauer). The Empire of Assyria was a violent and brutal conqueror that used its advanced military tactics to overwhelm its enemies, its culture was unstable due to its reliance on war, and ultimately its fall was caused by the war it used to hold itself up (Youtube).  The Assyrian victory in warfare was mainly in part of their superior skills in innovation, battle tactics, and pure brutality. Their major era of conquest began when Tiglath Pileser ? came to power. He organized the first standing paid army in the ancient world, as opposed to soldiers working the fields in the farming seasons and joining the army for conquests during the rest of the year. Afterwards, he created the armory, where the soldiers were each outfitted with their standard iron helmet, interlocking bronze breastplate, and leather boots. The armory also was a storage area for horses, weapons, and other supplies. The soldiers were divided into groups based on their height and skill. Taller soldiers were spearmen, outfitted with daggers for close combat, a shield, and a spear. Others were skilled archers that were defended by men carrying only an iron or bronze and leather shield (Youtube). These men grew up in a war based society and had no problem killing and being killed for the sake of Assyria. War was the life of an average Assyrian from birth and was no abnormal occurrence for them. From a young age an Assyrian male would have instilled in their minds the idea of an obligation to the state and nothing else. Young children were removed from their homes and moved to the armory for training. These statist practices eliminated the concept of a traditional family, which may have improved the forcefulness of the standing army, but contributed to the slow process of destabilizing national unity in Assyria. This would prove to be a growing problem throughout future generations (Youtube).The Assyrian’s success at conquest was not only because of their vast standing army of potentially over hundreds of thousands of soldiers (Compare Contrast), but also because of their skills in craftsmanship and its application to war. The Assyrians were a people of rationality and sought out to understand the world in order to use it to their advantage. They built siege engines, large wheeled tower carts made of wood, sturdy iron, and strategically placed flaming-arrow proof leather. Not only did it provide good cover for the men working inside of the tower, but it also was used as a massive portable shield for the legions marching behind it, protecting them from archers on the enemy walls. The siege engines were rolled up to the weakest point in a city’s defenses such as a gate or thin wall, and they would break through it using a long battering ram manned by a team of soldiers (Youtube). Once broken, the city’s inner defenses were faced by an overwhelming number of superiorly trained Assyrian spearmen and archers. These ruthless fighters would show no mercy and were known to kill everyone in their path including women and children (Ancient Civilizations). Another tribute to the advanced craftsmanship of the Assyrians was the chariot The Assyrian chariot design was adapted from the Egyptian design after they conquered Egypt in 675 B.C. (Youtube). The Assyrian chariot had two wheels and was pulled by two horses. It was significantly quicker and more maneuverable than other chariots. On it, usually rode a driver, a skilled archer, and either one or two men who carried shields to protect both the archer and driver. These men were called shield-bearers (Woolf). The constant devotion to war seen in the Assyrian Empire is outstanding. Their obligation to the state and its cause was unparalleled amongst other Mesopotamian nations (Youtube). By the end of their reign, they had gained control over most of the Fertile Crescent, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Babylonia, and many other smaller cities and towns that linked them together (Garrett).The Assyrian religion originated with the first Assyrian king. His name is unknown, but we know his mission. He believed that the king of the many regional gods, Ashur, personally told him to depopulate and then repopulate all the reaches of the world in the name of the Assyrians. This fueled the fire for the Assyrian war machine that would terrorize and enslave the known world for the next century. Because of this, the Assyrians were raised to raze the opposition of all other lands. They found more comfort in dying on the battlefield than living peacefully. The gods of Assyria were different from our God. They were regional gods, meaning that they only had power and dwelt over specific regions such as the god of the field and the god of the river. Things could be hidden from them and they were not all powerful to do what they willed. The Assyrian soldiers prayed to their gods, such as Ishtaar, before battle and had priests sacrifice bulls to bless their combat. As a result, the Assyrian idea of prosperity was destroyed by their religion. The harsh gods they worshipped reflected their mentality. They were very human and had emotions that could go from jovial and pleased to angered and destructive in an instant if they were not treated properly. The flaw was that the only way of knowing if a god was pleased was if they won a battle or had a good harvest, and do to the Assyrian’s prosperity in both of those, the gods were seemed pleased (Youtube).As Assyria grew in power and gained more land, negative effects of war were evident in its society. Overtime, the kings of Assyria became more ruthless and greedy to Assyrian citizens and foreigners. Tiglath Pileser ? was one of the most notable among these. He united the many city-states in Assyria into one empire, but once in power he killed relentlessly and was a heavy taxer on Assyrian citizens and conquered peoples. Another king, Tiglath Pileser ?, had a deportation policy for all conquered countries. The men, women, and even children were all banished from their homelands and were enslaved by the Assyrians as miners, farmers, or house servants, in order to deprive them of their national unity. This process could be seen as a way of breaking them in to Assyrian society. In addition to the injustices of the government of Assyria, the Assyrian people were constantly ravaged by war. At times the Assyrian army would have to march from the capital to the eastern side of Assyria to put down a revolt, and then receive word of another revolt beginning in a city on the western side of Assyria. They would have to race all of their resources to that city. This devotion effected their overall mentality on life. In reference to the Axiological, an Assyrian would most likely say that the subject of the most value is the glory of Assyria. All Assyrians were raised in this manner, that the world was entitled to them, and was theirs for the taking. This type of thinking set Assyria up for defeat, and often caused rebellions. The constant removal of peoples caused a state of disunity in Assyria, and there were often riots and rebellions because of it. This disunity along with the prideful mentality of the Assyrians and their ambitious army eventually led to the fall of Assyria (Garrett). In 612 B.C. the capital of Assyria, Nineveh was invaded and destroyed (Youtube). This was only fifteen years after the death of the great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal. During his rule, Nahum prophesized that Assyria would soon fall and be wiped from the face of the planet. Exactly as prophesized, Assyria fell when Babylon invaded Nineveh plundered it and burnt it to the ground. Since the Assyrian army was stretched so thin traveling across their vast empire to put down revolts, they were weak and completely open to attack from the Babylonians. There would be no epic comeback for the Assyrians, the people’s spirits were crushed under Assyrian rule and welcomed the Babylonians. As a result the Assyrian Empire was extinguished like the dying flame on a match. They had reached out so fast and harshly that they were unable to keep their grasp around the empire, and because of this, their controlling power dwindled (Garrett). As Shakespeare’s character John of Gaunt put it in the play King Richard ?, “He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes, with eager feeding food doth choke the feeder;” (Shakespeare). In other words, those who live by the sword, die by the sword (Garrett).  Assyria was a great empire that was built on a mission of conquest and death of all things separated from Assyria. This mentality led to the moral decay of its people and the weakness of its army. Even though their idea of prosperity was not at all the same as the Christian view of prosperity, they were innovative and their contributions to architecture, construction, and warfare were great. In the end their greatest strength, their dependence on the Assyrian army’s brutality, was the cause of their one weakness, the disunity, and disloyalty of their people. Many other empires such as the Persians, Greeks, and Babylonians would come to power after the Assyrians, but none would leave a legacy in the same way as the Assyrians. The Assyrians would be remembered for the vast amounts of brutality they displayed in conquest and for revolutionizing the idea of a standing army. Their unmatched military tactics led to it its ascension to power, however, its constant warlike state took a toll on its people and eventually caused its downfall (Garrett).