Ancient Assyria's timeline spans from 5000
BCE, when its first sites were inhabited, to 609 BCE when
Ashur-Uballit II, the last Assyrian king,
retreated in defeat at Harran.
Ancient Assyria is the term used to describe a region on the
Upper Tigris River, named for its original capital, the ancient
city of Assur. According to some Judeo-Christian traditions,
the city of Ashur was founded by Ashur the son of Shem, who was
deified by later generations as the city's patron god.
The upper Tigris River valley seems to have been ruled from
Sumer, Akkad, and northern
Babylonia in its earliest
stages, and was part of Sargon the Great's empire.
Assyria proper was located in a mountainous region,
extending along the Tigris as far as the high Gordiaean or
Carduchian mountain range of Armenia, sometimes called the
"Mountains of Ashur."
Later, as a nation and Empire, it also came to include
roughly the northern half of Mesopotamia. (The southern half
Through history, The Assyrian kings
controlled large kingdoms at three different
times. These are called:
- The Old Kingdom - (2000 to 1500 BCE)
- The Middle Kingdom (1500 to 1000 BCE)
- The Neo-Assyrian Kingdom (1000 to 609 BCE)
The Assyrians were passionate about the subjects of
Astronomy, Astrology, History, Mythology, and Science and their
Metaphysical implications to daily life.
For example, one Assyrian king,
Assurbanipal, who ruled in the seventh century
BCE from 668 BCE to 625 BCE, was famous for
assembling a great library of cuneiform tablets in Nineveh
on the subjects of Astrology, History, Mythology and
Using Astrology, for the interpretation of omens,
some of Assurbanipal's astrologers, such as Rammanu-sumausar
and Nabu-musisi, became so adept at interpreting omens from
daily movements of the planets that a system of making
periodical reports to the king came into being.
Receiving swift messengers detailing 'all occurrences
in heaven and earth' throughout his kingdom, and the results of
his astrologer's examinations of
them, Assurbanipal used the information as a
political weapon, for the practical day-to-day running of
After his death, the Assyrian city of Nineveh fell to the
Medians and the Chaldean Babylonians, and Assurbanipal's
library was destroyed or dispersed.
Millennia later, there is ongoing discussion
over the nature of the Nimrud lens. A
piece of rock crystal unearthed in 1850 from the Nimrud
palace complex in northern Iraq. Some believe that it is
evidence for the existence of ancient Assyrian telescopes,
which could explain the great accuracy of Assyrian