Siege and Assyrians

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The economy of the Assyrian empire was based on agriculture, livestock raising, and trade. Assyrian agriculture, like that of other civilizations in the ancient Near East, centered on the growing of grains, fruits, and vegetables. Livestock provided meat, cheese, milk, and butter. As the empire grew, laborers from conquered populations were often brought to the Assyrian homeland and provinces to work on farming estates, helping to expand agricultural production. In the early years of the kingdom, the Assyrians made treaties with other peoples to ensure a steady flow of trade goods. They developed an extensive trading network, exporting agricultural products and textiles. In exchange, they imported lumber, stone, precious metals such as gold and silver, other metals such as tin and copper (both used to make bronze), and luxury items. One factor in the expansion of the Assyrian empire was the desire to protect existing trade routes and gain control of others.

The Assyrians worshiped many gods, though the chief god was Ashur. In addition to worshiping some gods publicly, Assyrian families usually adopted one god as a “family god” whom they worshiped privately at home. The religious beliefs of both the Assyrians and the Babylonians had their origins in the religion of the earlier Sumerians. The differences that developed reflected efforts by the Assyrians and Babylonians to reshape religious ideas to their own heritage and needs. In Assyria, the king served as the chief priest, and people believed that he was the god Ashur’s representative on earth. Conquests were made in Ashur’s name, and their success demonstrated the god’s approval. All Assyrian cities had temples to various gods, and each...
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