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The Ancient Near East Portal
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Shedu
The Neo-Assyrian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 934 BC and ended in 609 BC. During this period, Assyria assumed a position as a great regional power, vying with Babylonia and other lesser powers for dominance of the region, though not until the reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III in the 8th century BC, did it become a powerful empire. In the Middle Assyrian period of the Late Bronze Age, Assyria had been a minor kingdom in northern Mesopotamia, competing for dominance with its southern Mesopotamian rival Babylonia. Beginning with the campaign of Adad-nirari II, it became a great regional power, growing to become a serious threat to 25th dynasty Egypt. During this period, Aramaic was also made an official language of the empire, alongside the Akkadian language.

Assyria finally succumbed to the rise of the Median Empire and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, with the Fall of Nineveh in 612 BC.

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Ishtar gate from Babylon
Nebuchadrezzar II (Akkadian: Nabû-kudurri-uṣur, "Nabu, defend my firstborn son", reigned 605 – 562 BC) was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty and its greatest ruler. He was called "Nebuchadrezzar, the Great" in ancient times, but his destruction of temples in Jerusalem caused his vilification in the Bible.

He was a successful military leader before ascending the throne, defeating the Egyptians in the Battle of Carchemish. After his father Nabopolassar died and he became king, he defeated the Cimmerians and Scythians in Anatolia and continued campaigning in the Levant, including the capturing Jerusalem, destroying both city and temple and deporting a large portion of the population to Babylon. He then started a 13-year siege of Tyre, ending with Tyre's accepting Babylonian authority.

When he wasn't waging war, he continued he father's work of restoring Babylon, which had been devastated through years of Assyrian rule and more recent rebellions. He made Babylon one of the wonders of the world, with projects like the Ishtar Gate and the hanging gardens of Babylon.

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Goddess and Child
Credit: PHGCOM
Goddess and Child
Hittite, mid 2nd millennium BC (Metropolitan Museum)

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Did you know...

Nabonidus Cylinder
...that the Hurrian language and the Urartian language are proposed to be distantly related to the modern Armenian language?

...that the Aramaic language, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East in Biblical times is still spoken as a first language today?

...that the syllabic cuneiform script was adapted to create a phonetic alphabet twice, for the Ugaritic language and for the Old Persian language?

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60 news items

Haaretz

Haaretz
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:33:45 -0700

Apparently, mazeg in the Song of Solomon is a borrowing from Aramaic which in turn borrowed it from Akkadian, the language that Aramaic displaced as the lingua franca of the ancient Near East. The best theory is that the original Akkadian word was ...
 
Payvand
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:33:45 -0700

And one of those times is now and one of those histories is the obscure (hi)story of the greater ancient Near East and the Persians. Where else do we find such a tangled web of historical peoples and places coming together? After the fall of the ...
 
Daily Beast
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:51:52 -0700

These findings were presented in June at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Basel, Switzerland. Paul Zimansky, a professor of archaeology and ancient history at Stony Brook University, says the general area has ...
 
Daily Beast
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:33:02 -0700

These findings were presented in June at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Basel, Switzerland. Paul Zimansky, a professor of archaeology and ancient history at Stony Brook University, says the general area has ...

First Things

First Things
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:09:33 -0700

Burkert concludes from a reference to the mother goddess Tethys in the Iliad that Homer must have had access not only to the story but to the text of the Babylonian Enuma Elish. From the other side of the academic spectrum, ancient near-east specialist ...
 
Huffington Post
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:22:30 -0700

Biblical scholars teach us that the literary chain style this passage is written in is similar to a style used in the ancient Near East for recording military campaigns: "They left Elim and camped near the Red Sea. They left the Red Sea and camped in ...
 
Daily Beast
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:50:53 -0700

These findings were presented in June at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Basel, Switzerland. Paul Zimansky, a professor of archaeology and ancient history at Stony Brook University, says the general area has ...
 
First Things (blog)
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:45:00 -0700

Mesopotamian temples were sometimes made of bricks, and, according to M. J. Geller (a contribution to Figurative Language in the Ancient Near East), great care was taken with the first brick, the “auspicious brick.” Geller writes, “When a temple was ...
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