The Assyrian Empire
For hundreds of years the Assyrians occupied a territory that was bordered by more powerful civilizations. As a result, the Assyrians were frequently attacked by their neighbors. The constant threat of attack led the Assyrians to develop what would become the most powerful army in the region.
By 900 B.C., their well practiced and well equipped army was ready to dominate the region. The Assyrians began attacking and conquering the peoples who once threatened them. As they did so, they earned a reputation of extreme cruelty to those whom they conquered, often burning their cities, and torturing their peoples.
By 650 B.C., the Assyrians had conquered a vast empire stretching between the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
This Empire was ruled by a king who lived in the capital city of Nineveh. The king appointed governors to rule provinces, to collect taxes, and to maintain order.
Because of the cruelty and unfair treatment by the Assyrians, they were despised by the people they had conquered. In 612 B.C., the Chaldeans formed an alliance with the Medes and overthrew them, bringing down the Assyrian Empire.