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Empire of the Ancient Assyrians

            The Neo-Assyrian Empire, located in western Asia between approximately 824 and 612 BC, is considered among historians the first true empire in the world (Mark, J 2014). Over the centuries the Assyrians expanded their territory with their extensive military skills from their capital of Ashur to other well-known civilization including Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Levant (Mark, J 2014). Though due to their violent growth they earned the reputation of 'blood thirsty ruffians led by a megalomaniac tyrant', however historians such as Georges Roux beg to differ, stating that the Assyrians were in fact 'great people' wrongly labelled and should be considered the 'most civilised people of the time'. Due to extensive knowledge of the empires enhancements in science, technology, government, and art as well as the possible further reasoning for their violence, Roux's opinion of the Assyrians is considered quite valid.
             It is important to first evaluate the reasons behind the Assyrians 'violent, war-like' reputation. Their aggressiveness was partially attributed to their geographical location. Assyria was in northern Mesopotamia, north of Babylon and with no natural bounders like shores or mountains they were extremely vulnerable to attacks from any direction. This required the presence and most importantly a reputation of a strong and mobile army. The Assyrians achieved this by each year marching on the neighbour that posed the greatest threat and as historian Leonard Cottrell points out they fought with "a calculated use of violence and terror' never extending what they believed necessary (Mark, J 2014). These attacks are referred to as razzias, and were heavily documented on annals and palaces still intact today (Mark, J 2014). This includes an inscription by an Assyrian king Tiglathpileser translated to explain how their religious beliefs played a part in their conquests as well as the brutality of the razzia attacks: "Ashur and the great gods have given me the strength and power to extend the territory of their country.

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