What made the Assyrian army so powerful?

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If an empire expects to build into a great military power, it should anticipate making a substantial commitment to achieve such glory. In most instances, a great military requires trade-offs or sacrifices in the areas of education or the arts. The Assyrians were willing to make such a commitment and the end result was an army that was feared throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The Assyrians were successful on the battlefield for a number of reasons. They were the first to utilize iron weapons, which gave them an advantage over armies using bronze. The Assyrians committed to training and funding a large professional army. Their army was organized into units with different functions. There were units of archers, charioteers, lancers, and foot soldiers. The organization of the military was groundbreaking for the time period.

The Assyrians also utilized engineering to aid in the success of the military. Roads were built that connected all parts of the empire so that the king could quickly respond to rebellion. They also had a corps of engineers that helped the army to build bridges, battering rams, and towers. This commitment towards military success was unrivaled.

The Assyrians also developed a reputation as being brutal and annihilistic. This spread fear into the enemies of the Assyrians and was a major psychological advantage. This reputation was warranted as the Assyrians did not think twice about slaughtering or torturing their enemies. Kings boasted about the brutality in their writings and were rather proud of the destruction they brought upon their neighbors.

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