Assyria, (1365 – 609) B.C.
Assur was the name of a god, a city, a land, and, in another form, the name of a people, the Assyrians. Assyria was located in what is now northern Iraq. “The ancient city of Ashur (Assur) was located on the west bank of the river Tigris in northern Mesopotamia. Although it had controlled an extensive trading network in the early second millennium B.C. and formed a core area of the empire of Shamshi-Adad I (r. 1813–1781 B.C.), the city had slipped into the shadows in the following centuries.” (1) Middle Assyrian period and Neo-Assyrian period. Assyrian rose to dominance in Mesopotamia. Their use of iron (instead of bronze) gave them superior weapons over others in Mesopotamia. The Assyrians were extremely war-like and engaged in war with political reasons to ensure their hold over a society. They controlled most of Mesopotamia by the ninth century B.C.E and by the early seventh century, they extended their influence as far as west Egypt. Strongly influenced by Sumerian culture, the Assyrians adopted the ziggurat form preserved Sumerian texts. (2) The Sumerians built an enormous structure for worship called ziggurats, which were stepped pyramidal structures with a temple or shrine on top. Ziggurats showed the wealth, prestige, and stability of a city’s ruler and it most importantly glorified its gods. Each ziggurat had its own religious specialists, which eventually became the priest class that controlled the rituals ands sacred sites and made sure that the gods were being honored properly. The Anu ziggurat, built 3100 BCE was made of mud bricks in modern day Warka, Iraq. It consists of 2 levels with a central staircase that led to the temple of Anu, the sky god, called the white temple. Another example of a ziggurat is the Nanna Ziggurat located in Muqaiyir, Iraq and built in 2100-2050 BCE, also made from mud bricks. It is dedicated to the moon god Nanna and is known as “the offering table of heaven” and “the waiting room...
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