The History of the Neo-Assyrians Period - Part One.

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The Neo-Assyrians - Part One

Museopics the free museum History


 

The Goden Age of Assyria

 

Circa 934 - 610BC

 

When the Arameans and Sea People attacks abated the Assyrians quickly expanded unopposed into the vacuum that was left by the collapse of the Old Hittite Empire. The Assyrians established themselves as the most powerful people in the Middle East only opposed by the Egyptians in the Mediterranean.

 

This was the start of the Neo Assyrian Era, the golden age of Assyria. This period has been divided into two parts by historians. Part one, the 9th century, was when the Empire rebuilt itself and regained its lost lands. The second phase lasted from the middle of the 8th century until the demise of the Empire in 610 BC.

 

As with the other Assyrian eras the Neo-Assyrian Period was well documented by Assyrian chroniclers. These primary Assyrian sources are supplemented by accounts by other peoples such as the Israelites.

 

The Neo Assyrian Era is further brought to life by the excavated relief sculpture orthostats from the great Assyrian palaces at Dur-Sharrukin, Nineveh and Kalhu (Nimrud). These Assyrian reliefs are as meticulously detailed as the Assyrian chronicles. The attention to detail and intricacy of the carving reveals a civilisation that valued the decorative arts. Fine detail of clothing reveals that the Assyrians would have dressed in fine patterned clothes. Depiction of Genies and other Gods show that they were a religious people who payed homage to their deities.

 

Assyrian art is not all sweetness and light though. The orthostats reliefs from the Assyrian Palaces are power statements and propaganda on a par with the fascist and socialist art of the 20th century. Although stylistically beautiful the Assyrian panels are designed to intimidate. They would have once been painted which would have given them more realism. Today the stark basalt carvings reveal a people who believed in absolute power. Many panels depict Assyrian battles and show the defeated being sent into exile or executed. Refugees are common place in Assyrian art and were a stark warning to visiting dignitaries of the punishment meted out by the Assyrians if they were double crossed. Other panels show the Assyrian Kings lion hunting with graphic scenes of lions dying full of arrows fired by the victorious all powerful Royal hunter. Assyrian relief panels demonstrate bombastic art at its most intense.

 

From the reign of Ashur-dan II, 934-912 BC, the Assyrian army embarked on ambitious missions to reclaim territory they had lost during the 11th century BC Late Bronze Age Collapse. Within a century Assyria controlled all the territory east of the Euphrates and the bridgeheads west of the River. If the local rulers of a captured area accepted the Assyrian King as his overlord they were allowed o stay in power. To their subjects they were Kings but to the Assyrians they were provincial governors. As local Kings died they would often be replaced by Assyrian administrators, often eunuchs so there was a guarantee they would have no descendants to claim the territories.

 

The Assyrians prospered as they expanded their Empire which allowed their kings to embark on the great Neo-Assyrian building projects that saw creation of fabulous Assyrian Palaces and cities.

 

 

 


Related MuseoPics Pages

Museopics the free online historical museum links to resources

 

Assyrian history In the Begining Sam'al Hittite Artefacts Relief Sculptures History of the Old Assyrian Kingdom History of the Middle Assyrian Kingdom History of the Neo-Assyrians History of Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal-II History of Assyrian King Sargon II History of Assyrian King Senacherib & Nineveh History of Assyrian Warefare & Military Army History of Assyrian Warefare & Military Army History of the downfall of the Assyrian Empire History of the Assyrian Palace at Ninevah, Kalha History of the Assyrian Palace at Dur Sharrukin History of the Assyrian Palace at Neneveh

 

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