“Susa, the great holy city, abode of their gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods were amassed… I destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones towards the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and on their lands I sowed salt. –Ashurbanipal (Assyrian King in 647 BC. After the Battle of Susa)
Assyrians were one of the most warlike people in history, lovers of the violence of the war and hunt. Amongst the people of the ancient Middle East, they were famous for their cruelty. At the peak of its power, Assyria stretched from Egypt to the Persian Gulf. Their aggressiveness was partially attributed to their location: Assyria was in northern Mesopotamia, north of Babylon. As no natural borders like shores or mountains were found there, they were vulnerable to attacks from any direction. This required the presence of a strong and mobile army. Like the Babylonians, Assyrians were Akkadians, thus descending from the Semites that during the third millennium BC went out of Arabia and conquered Sumer and Akkad. Assyria emerged around 1900 BC, but it was under the control of the Mitanni kingdom. During this period, Assyrians developed a military tradition and during the 14th century BC, they started their campaigns.
... directly responsible to the king. Outside Assyria, slave states we retaken over and made into Assyrian provinces. In Syria, Tiglath-Pileser fought ... episodes of foreign rule. Assyria finally gained its independence around 2000 BC. About this time the Assyrians established a number of ... revolts. He led an expedition against Elam and captured Susa, its capital city. After his death, however, the empire ...
Military service was compulsory for all Assyrians, no matter the social class. A body of engineers was created during the 7th century BC, for attacking fortifications. Assyrians invented siege machines, like battering rams and mobile towers shooting arrows. The whole population of the besieged towns would be massacred and the human heads piled outside the city’s wall. Around the 7th century also, Assyrians passed from bronze weapons to iron weapons and were amongst the first users of the horse driven war chariots, carrying archers. They were the first people to introduce chivalry units in the army. Heavy chariots were driven by 4 horses and had two pairs of wheels. The crew was comprised of a driver and an archer. The anterior part was protected by a metal plate The power of the infantry was conferred by archers using “composed curb” bow, with high penetration power and long reach. First, they wore metallic vests, and then they protected themselves with long wooden shields and metal helmets. In direct combat, Assyrians employed axes and short swords. The Infantry was assisted by chariots and chivalry charges.