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I cut their throats like lambs. I cut off their precious lives [as one cuts] a string. Like the many waters of a storm, I made [the contents of] their gullets and entrails run down upon the wide earth.
— Sennacherib, King of Assyria

The Assyrians were a warlike people of Mesopotamia who began settlement in their original capital, Ashur, sometime in the 26th century BCE. Over the next two millennia, the fortunes of Assyria would steadily grow until they became the world's first true empire, controlling nearly all of the known Middle East and Egyptian North Africa at their greatest extent in the mid 7th century BCE. Their army was the source of their power, which in the late period had become a full standing army no longer tied to the imperatives of harvest cycles which constrained the armies of rival powers. It was an army built to campaign year-round in all terrain and weather. The invention of the leather military boot allowed the infantry to march longer over rough terrain, and specially-trained engineering units learned to build bridges to cross the marshy waters of Southern Mesopotamia. As their empire expanded and brought them into conflict with mountain peoples like the Urartians, Assyria gradually abandoned the chariot in favor of their new innovation, cavalry, signaling a decisive shift that was to shape warfare for the next two and a half millennia. But perhaps the greatest forte of the Assyrian army was its skill in siege warfare. For most of ancient history, sieges had been slow affairs of starvation, as armies did not yet possess the proper tools to breach reinforced city walls. However, the Assyrians, with their sappers who were trained to tunnel under walls and siege towers equipped with battering rams, almost invariably preferred a dramatic storming to the sit and wait game. Of course, this was for rebellious cities, as the primary purpose of any campaign was to collect tribute from vassal states. Those who refused to pay, however, were treated with the utmost cruelty, and the Assyrian official records often made little attempt to hide this fact.

Over a 2000-year time span, Assyria witnessed numerous revolutions in military affairs. From early Sumerian/Akkadian phalanx tactics through the introduction of the chariot, the bow, the composite bow, and iron technology. From about 1200 BCE onward, to the empire's demise at the end of the 7th century BCE, Assyria possessed the most highly trained and effective fighting force in all of Mesopotamia. By the late period, they fielded a well-balanced force of footmen, cavalry, and archers, equipped with composite bows, iron spears, swords, maces, and slings. For protection, they wore iron lamellar armor, which was so effective that in modern tests it was proven capable of resisting shot from muskets used in Napoleon's army. They also had shields ranging in size from small dueling shields to man-sized shields for archers. Cavalry were armed primarily with composite bows, though various reliefs to attest to the employment of lancers as well. This army was so effective that at Assyria's height, none could stand against the ferocity of their army. Among the major political powers that became its victims were the Mittani Empire , the Kushite 25th Dynasty of Egypt, Urartu , the Elamite Empire of Southwestern Persia, Babylon.

In the ideology of the Assyrian state, warfare was the a process of ordering the universe. War did not necessarily mean battle, as the inferior power could bow to the divine Assyrian order by paying tribute, but it was seen as natural and unavoidable so long as people resisted. In this line of reasoning, Assyrian warfare was represented as a self-defense against a "cosmic rebellion." In this respect, there is no evidence of any forcible attempt to convert subject peoples to Ashurism or destroy their idols. Instead, Assyrian kings often depicted themselves paying respect to foreign deities, because these deities can be said to ordain and justify Assyrian invasion as divine punishment for their sinful people. Sometimes gods were even "godnapped" into the service of Assyria.

As the pioneers of most of the military technologies that came to dominate battlefields for the next 2000 years, the Assyrians were the world's first true masters of war and foremost among all Iron Age powers. But their legacy is not merely recorded in their military exploits, for they left us crucial advances of of engineering and culture, such as the world's first aqueduct system, the first paved roads, the first postal service, and the first library. Their last great king, Ashurbanipal, was among the first kings in the world to not only be literate, but uniquely literate in multiple languages, including the archaic forms of Sumerian and Akkadian. The Royal Library at Nineveh was the greatest collection of Cuneiform tablets in the ancient world.

Battle vs. Shang Warrior (by Yetimonster)Edit

After a long time, all I got were a vote for each side. I'll go with instinct on this.


Somewhere in a feild in China, a Shang Warrior prepares arrows for a Composite Bow, beneath a tree. Nearby, the warrior's chariot and driver wait. Suddenly, a chariot carrying two Assyrians approaches. The Shang Warrior imeadiately spots them, and fires an arrow at the attackers. The arrow whizzes by the Assyrians, who are entirely unphased. The Shang Warrior fires a second arrow, with snaps after hitting the chariot. The Shang Warrior gets in his own chariot, and orders his driver to charge. The two chariots eventually pass by eachother, only to turn around once they reach the end of the feild. Once the two chariots pass eachother again, the Shang Warrior slashes the Assyrian driver's neck with his Ge dagger axe. The second Assyrian is forced to take control of the chariot to avoid crashing. The Assyrian then pulls his own Bow and Arrow, and fires twoards the Shang Warrior. The arrow kills the chariot driver while the chariot is still in motion, forcing the Shang Warrior to leap out before the horses drag the chariot into the nearby woods. The Shang Warrior arms himself with his Ji Haleberd, as opposed to the Assyrian's spear. The two battle for several seconds until, the Assyrian, stabs the Shang Warrior in the leg, and knocks the Ji away. The Shang Warrior, manages to flee into the forest, before the Assyrian can reach any of his weapons. The Assyian is then reduced to his Sapara and Sling. The Assyrian chases his foe into the forest, where he sees the Shang Warrior, armed with a Mao, standind up high on a cliff. The Shang Warrior, spins the spear wildly, and charges the Assyrian. The Assyrian hurls a rock at him with his sling, but the attack fails. The Assyiran (know using his Sapara) and Shang Warrior continue their battle, blocking eachother's strikes. The battle takes the two twoards the cliff, where the Shang Warrior knocks the Sapara away, and stabs the Assyrian through the chest. The Shang Warrior then tosses the body off the cliff to the ground below.

Expert's OpinionEdit

Please consider a contribution by writing an expert's opinion as to why the Shang Warrior won.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

Battle vs. Celt (by Urbancommando77)Edit

No battle written

WINNER: TIE

Expert's OpinionEdit

Due to a lack of votes, the author was unable to decide between the two warriors and therefore ended it in a tie.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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