Student Question

What were the foundations of Assyrian imperial power?

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The main foundation of Assyrian imperial power was an absolute monarchy that was supported by a powerful military.

The Assyrian Empire was constantly having to fight to maintain its size and power because there were many other empires around it that competed with it for territory and dominance.  Because of this, the military was the foundation of Assyria's power.  Historians say that there were three major aspects of Assyrian military power:

  • The were the first large army to have iron weapons.  This gave them a technological advantage that helped them defeat other armies.
  • They were tactically flexible.  This was an army that was able to fight guerrilla-type wars in the mountains, but also to besiege major cities.
  • They were brutal.  The Assyrians essentially terrorized opponents by being unbelievably cruel.  They did things like burning captives alive or mutilating them.  This was basically a warning to others not to mess with the Assyrians.

Through these factors, the Assyrian military was able to be the foundation of Assyrian imperial power.

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