Map of the Assyrian Empire at its Greatest Extant (900-607 BC.)
This map reveals the Assyrian Empire in 671 BC under its greatest rulers: Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC), Sargon II (722-705 BC), Sennacherib (705-681 BC), Esarhaddon (680-669 BC), and Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC). After Ashurbanipal died in 627 BC the Assyrian Empire was doomed and it was not long before Babylon would set its sights for world domination.
The Empire of Assyria (The Largest Boundaries)
Under Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC) the boundaries of the Assyrian Empire reached as far as the Caucasus Mountains in the north to Egypt, Arabia, and down to Nubia in the south, and from Cyprus and Antioch in the west to Persia in the east.
The largest boundaries of the Empire of Assyria around 671 BC were as follows:
1. The Northern Boundary were the cities of Kanish and Tushpa in the Caucasus Mountains.
2. The Western Boundary was the Mediterranean Sea which included the cities of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Gaza, all the way to Cyprus. In the south the western boundary extended past Memphis in Egypt.
3. The Eastern Boundary were the cities of Susa and Ecbatana in Persia.
4. The Southern Boundary went all the way to Nubia past Thebes and Jeb.
History of the Assyrian Empire
The Assyrian Empire began to arise around 1270 BC, in the area far north on the Tigris River after the fall of Chaldea. The first capital of Assyria was Assur, and after that Nimrod became the capital of ancient Assyria. Later in 702 BC Nineveh became capital, and this was during the reign of king Sennacherib. Nineveh soon became one of the largest cities of the ancient Near East. At the height the Assyrian Empire the kingdom embraced the lands of the northern Tigris, Armenia, Media, Babylonia, Elam, Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel, Judah, and the northern portion of Egypt. The greatest Assyrian Kings were Shalmaneser, Sargon, Sennacherib, and Esarhaddon. The city of Nineveh was finally destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians who came against them at once, and the Kingdom of Assyria was defeated and came to an end in 625 BC.
Note on the ancient Chaldean Empire: The Early Chaldean Empire was founded in 2300 BC at Ur, south of the Euphrates. It was at its height in the time of Abraham, under Chedorlaomer, and continued, with varying fortunes, for about one thousand years.
Assyrian Timeline B.C. 2234 First authentic date in Chaldaean history 1250 Chaldsean subjection and Assyrian independence 1130 Age of Tiglath-pileser 747 Era of Nabonassar 745 Assyrian revival under Tiglath-pileser II 625 Overthrow of Assyria by the Medes under Cyaxares
Kings of Assyria
(From 885-607 BC)
Assur-nasirpal II (885-860 B.C.) A cruel warrior king, he made Assyria into the most fierce fighting machine of ancient world. Shalmaneser III (860-825 B.C.) His reign was marked by almost constant war. He was the first Assyrian king to come into conflict with Israel. King Ahab fought against him, and king Jehu paid him tribute in 841 BC. His royal inscriptions were more detailed and more numerous than any other king. His building works were massive just like his father Assurnasirpal II. Shamsi-Adad V (825-808 B.C.) Most of his reign was focused on Babylonia and his own internal conflicts. Adad-nirari III (808-783 B.C.) The little information about his reign mentions his building projects at Calah and Nineveh, as well as a conflict at Der in Babylonia and collecting tribute in Damascus, Syria. Shalmaneser IV (783-771 B.C.) The limited knowledge of his reign reveal some conflicts in Damascus and a period of decline in Assyria. Assur-dayan III (771-753 B.C.) The little information about this ruler reveals Assyria being in a period of decline. Assur-nirari V (753-747 B.C.) There is very little information about his reign. The king of Urartu boasted of a victory over this king of Assyria in an inscription. Tiglath-pileser III (Pul) (747-727 B.C.) He restored Assyria to a major world power. He is the "Pul" mentioned in the Bible and the one who began to destroy Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He carried many away into captivity. This captivity is mentioned in his own inscriptions, the Babylonian Chronicle, and the Bible. Shalmaneser V (727-722 B.C.) He besieged Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He died during the siege after imposing taxation on the holy city (Asshur), and his son Sargon came to power. Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) He completed the destruction of Samaria and the captivity of Israel. He was also famous for his magnificent palace with his colossal winged guardians. Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) He was the most famous of the Assyrian kings. He mentions the name of Hezekiah on his prism during his war campaigns, he claimed to have "Hezekiah captured in his own royal city (Jerusalem) like a caged bird." His army was defeated at the gates of Jerusalem by the Angel of the Lord. Sennacherib returned back to Nineveh and was killed violently by his own son, as mentioned in the Babylonian Chronicle, The Bible, and various other inscriptions. He also conquered Babylon. Esar-haddon (681-668 B.C.) He rebuilt Babylon, invaded and conquered Egypt by crossing over the Sinai Desert with Arab camels carrying water for his army, and was one of Assyria's greatest kings. He died fighting Egypt. Assur-banipal (668-626 B.C.) He destroyed the Thebes in Egypt and collected a great library, innumerable clay tablets were found. Assur-etil-ilani (626-607 B.C.) It was under his reign that the Assyrian Empire fell.
The vast empire of Assyria was never more than a loosely tied bundle of petty states. The records of the kings, engraved on slabs and cylinders, reveal a constant succession of revolts, wars, subjugations, and deportations of whole populations. Thus Assyria had no inherent strength, and after culminating in the 7th century it began rapidly to fall in pieces.
Some Scriptures Mentioning Assyria
Jeremiah 2:18 - And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
2 Kings 16:10 - And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that [was] at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.
2 Kings 19:4 - It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that are left.
Isaiah 37:4 - It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that is left.
Jeremiah 2:36 - Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.
2 Chronicles 32:9 - After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he [himself laid siege] against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that [were] at Jerusalem, saying,
2 Chronicles 30:6 - So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.
2 Kings 16:7 - So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I [am] thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
2 Kings 18:9 - And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which [was] the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [that] Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it.
2 Kings 18:17 - And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which [is] in the highway of the fuller's field.
2 Kings 17:26 - Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.
2 Kings 17:24 - And the king of Assyria brought [men] from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed [them] in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
2 Kings 20:6 - And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
2 Chronicles 28:21 - For Ahaz took away a portion [out] of the house of the LORD, and [out] of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave [it] unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.
Zechariah 10:10 - I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and [place] shall not be found for them.
Jeremiah 50:17 - Israel [is] a scattered sheep; the lions have driven [him] away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
2 Kings 18:16 - At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of the LORD, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
Isaiah 36:8 - Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
Nehemiah 9:32 - Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.
Micah 5:6 - And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver [us] from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
2 Kings 23:29 - In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
Isaiah 27:13 - And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
Isaiah 36:2 - And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field.
2 Kings 18:23 - Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
2 Kings 18:28 - Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:
2 Kings 19:10 - Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Isaiah 36:13 - Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.
2 Kings 15:19 - [And] Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.
2 Kings 16:8 - And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent [it for] a present to the king of Assyria.
2 Kings 18:30 - Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Nineveh in Easton's Bible Dictionary First mentioned in Gen. 10:11, which is rendered in the Revised Version, "He [i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria and builded Nineveh." It is not again noticed till the days of Jonah, when it is described (Jonah 3:3; 4:11) as a great and populous city, the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36; Isa. 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah.1:14; 3:19, etc.). Zephaniah also (2:13-15) predicts its destruction along with the fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in gospel history (Matt. 12:41; Luke 11:32). This "exceeding great city" lay on the eastern or left bank of the river Tigris, along which it stretched for some 30 miles, having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river back toward the eastern hills. This whole extensive space is now one immense area of ruins. Occupying a central position on the great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient cities. About B.C. 633 the Assyrian empire began to show signs of weakness, and Nineveh was attacked by the Medes, who subsequently, about B.C. 625, being joined by the Babylonians and Susianians, again attacked it, when it fell, and was razed to the ground. The Assyrian empire then came to an end, the Medes and Babylonians dividing its provinces between them. "After having ruled for more than six hundred years with hideous tyranny and violence, from the Caucasus and the Caspian to the Persian Gulf, and from beyond the Tigris to...
Nineveh in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Nimrod builded Nineveh (Genesis 10:11); Herodotus (i. 7) makes Ninus founder of Nineveh. and grandson of Belus founder of Babylon; which implies that it was from Babylon, as Scripture says, that Nineveh's founder came. Nin is the Assyrian Hercules. Their mythology also makes Ninus son of Nimrod. Jonah is the next Scripture after Genesis 10 that mentions Nineveh. (See JONAH.) Sennacherib after his host's destruction "went and dwelt at Nineveh" (2 Kings 19:36). Jonah (Jonah 3:3) describes it as an "exceeding great city of three days' journey" round (i.e. 60 miles, at 20 miles per day) with 120,000 children "who knew not their right hand from their left" (Jonah 4:11), which would make a population in all of 600,000 or even one million. Diodorus Siculus (ii. 3), agreeing with Jonah's "three days' journey," makes the circumference 55 miles, pastures and pleasure grounds being included within, from whence Jonah appositely (Jonah 4:11) mentions "much cattle." G. Smith thinks that the ridges enclosing Nebi Yunus and Koyunjik (the mounds called "tels" opposite Mosul) were only the walls of inner Nineveh, the city itself extending beyond to the mound Yarenijah. The parallelogram in Assyria covered with remains has Khorsabad N.E.; Koyunjik and Nebi Yunus (Nineveh in the narrow sense) near the Tigris N.W.; Nimrud and Athur between the Tigris and Zab, N.W.; and Karamles at a distance inward from the Zab S.E. From Koyunjik to Nimrud is 18 miles; from Khorsabad to Karamles 18; from Koyunjik to Khorsabad 13 or 14; from Nimrud to Karamles 14. The length was greater than the breadth; so Jonah 3:4 "entered into the city a day's journey." The longer sides were 150 furlongs each, the shorter 90 furlongs, the whole circuit 480 or 460 miles. Babylon had a circuit of only 385 miles (Clitarchus in Diod. ii. 7, Strabo xvi. 737). The walls were 100 ft. high, with 1,500 towers, and broad enough for three chariots abreast. Shereef Khan is the northern extremity of the collection of mounds on the eastern bank of the Tigris, and is five and a half miles N. of Koyunjik. There is also an enclosure, 5,000 yards in circuit, once enclosed by a moat at Selamivah three miles N. of Nimrud. Nimrud in inscriptions is called Kalkhu or Calah in Genesis 10:11; Khorsabad is called Sargina from Sargon. At Kileh Sherghat is the presumed original capital," Asshur," 60 miles S. of Mosul, on the right or western bank of the Tigris. Sennacherib first made Nineveh the capital. Nineveh was at first only a fort to keep the Babylonian conquests around. It subsequently, with Rehoboth, Ir, Calah, and Resen, formed one great city, "Nineveh" in the larger sense. Thothmes III of Egypt is mentioned in inscriptions as capturing Nineveh. Phraortes the Mede perished in attempting to do so (Herodotus i. 102). Cyaxares his successor, after at first raising the siege owing to a Scythic invasion (Herodotus i. 103, 106) 625 B.C., finally succeeded in concert with the Babylonian Nabopolassar, 606 B.C., Saracus the last king, Esarhaddon's grandson, set fire to the palace and perished in the flames, as Ctesias states, and as the marks of fire on the walls still confirm. So Nahum 3:13; Nahum 3:15, "fire shall devour thy bars." Charred wood, calcined alabaster, and heat splintered figures abound. Nahum (Nahum 2) and Zephaniah (Zephaniah 2:13-15) foretold its doom; and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 31) shortly after attests the completeness of its overthrow, as a warning of the fatal issue of pride, Isaiah 10:7-14; Diodorus (ii. 27) says there...
Nineveh in Naves Topical Bible Capitol of the Assyrian Empire Ge 10:11,12 -Contained a population of upwards of one-hundred and twenty thousand people, when Jonah preached Jon 4:11 -Extent of Jon 3:4 -Sennacherib in 2Ki 19:36,37; Isa 37:37,38 -Jonah preaches to Jon 1:1,2; 3 -Nahum prophesies against Na 1; 2; 3 -Zephaniah foretells the desolation of Zep 2:13-15
Nineveh in Smiths Bible Dictionary (abode of Ninus), the capital of the ancient kingdom and empire of Assyria. The name appears to be compounded from that of an Assyrian deity "Nin," corresponding, it is conjectured, with the Greek Hercules, and occurring in the names of several Assyrian kings, as in "Ninus," the mythic founder, according to Greek tradition of the city. Nineveh is situated on the eastern bank of the river Tigris, 50 miles from its mouth and 250 miles north of Babylon. It is first mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with the primitive dispersement and migrations of the human race. Asshur, or according to the marginal reading, which is generally preferred, Nimrod is there described, Ge 10:11 as extending his kingdom from the land of Shinar or Babylonia, in the south, to Assyria in the north and founding four cities, of which the most famous was Nineveh. Hence Assyria was subsequently known to the Jews as "the land of Nimrod," cf. Mic 5:6 and was believed to have been first peopled by a colony from Babylon. The kingdom of Assyria and of the Assyrians is referred to in the Old Testament as connected with the Jews at a very early period, as in Nu 24:22,24 and Psal 83:8 but after the notice of the foundation of Nineveh in Genesis no further mention is made of the city until the time of the book of Jonah, or the eighth century B.C. In this book no mention is made of Assyria or the Assyrians, the king to whom the prophet was sent being termed the "king of Nineveh," and his subjects "the people of Nineveh." Assyria is first called a kingdom in the time of Menahem, about B.C. 770. Nahum (? B.C. 645) directs his prophecies against Nineveh; only once against the king of Assyria. ch. Na 3:18 In 2Ki 19:36 and Isai 37:37 the city is first distinctly mentioned as the residence of the monarch. Sennacherib was slain there when worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god. Zephaniah, about B.C. 630, couples the capital and the kingdom together, Zep 2:13 and this is the last mention of Nineveh as an existing city. The destruction of Nineveh occurred B.C. 606. The city was then laid waste, its monuments destroyed and its inhabitants scattered or carried away into captivity. It never rose again from its ruins. This total disappearance of Nineveh is fully confirmed by the records of profane history. The political history of Nineveh is that of Assyria, of which a sketch has already been given. [ASSYRIA] Previous to recent excavations and researches, the ruins which occupied the presumed site of Nineveh seemed to consist of mere shapeless heaps or mounds of earth and rubbish. Unlike the vast masses of brick masonry which mark the site of Babylon, they showed externally no signs of artificial construction, except perhaps here and there the traces of a rude wall of sun-dried bricks. Some of these mounds were of enormous dimensions, looking in the distance rather like natural elevations than the work of men's hands. They differ greatly in form, size and height. Some are mere conical heaps, varying from 50 to 150 feet high; others have a broad flat summit, and very precipitous cliff-like sites furrowed by deep ravines worn by the winter rains. The principal ruins are-- (1) the group immediately opposite Mosul, including the great mounds of Kouyunjik and Nebbi Yunus; (2) that near the junction of the Tigris and Zab comprising the mounds of Nimroud and Athur; (3) Khorsabad, about ten miles...
Nineveh in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE nin'-e-ve (nineweh; Nineue, Nineui; Greek and Roman writers, Ninos): I. BEGINNINGS, NAME, POSITION 1. First Biblical Mention 2. Etymology of the Name 3. Position on the Tigris II. NINEVEH AND ITS SURROUNDINGS 1. Its Walls 2. Principal Mounds and Gateways 3. Extent and Population within the Walls 4. Extent outside the Walls 5. Calah, Resen and Rehoboth-Ir 6. Khorsabad 7. Sherif Khan and Selamieh 8. Nimroud III. PALACES AT NINEVEH PROPER 1. The Palace of Sennacherib 2. The Palace of Assur-bani-apli IV. SENNACHERIB'S DESCRIPTION OF NINEVEH 1. The Walls 2. The Gates--Northwest 3. The Gates--South and East 4. The Gates--West 5. The Outer Wall: the Plantations 6. The Water-Supply, etc. 7. How the Bas-Reliefs Illustrate the King's Description 8. Nineveh the Later Capital V. LAST DAYS AND FALL OF NINEVEH LITERATURE I. Beginnings, Name, Position. 1. First Biblical Mention: The first Biblical mention of Nineveh is in Gen 10:11, where it is stated that NIMROD (which see) or Asshur went out into Assyria, and builded Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah, with the addition, "the same is the great city." Everything indicates that these statements are correct, for Nineveh was certainly at one time under Babylonian rule, and was at first not governed by Assyrian kings, but by issake or viceroys of Assur, the old capital. To all appearance Nineveh took its name from the Babylonian Nina near Lagas in South Babylonia, on the Euphrates, from which early foundation it was probably colonized. The native name appears as Ninua or Nina (Ninaa), written with the character for "water enclosure" with that for "fish" inside, implying a connection between Nina and the Semitic nun, "fish." 2. Etymology of the Name: The Babylonian Nina was a place where fish were very abundant, and Ishtar or Nina, the goddess of the city, was associated with Nin-mah, Merodach's spouse, as goddess of reproduction. Fish are also plentiful in the Tigris at Mosul, the modern town on the other side of the river, and this may have influenced the choice of the site by the Babylonian settlers, and the foundation there of the great temple of Ishtar or Nina. The date of this foundation is unknown, but it may have taken place about 3OOO BC. 3. Position on the Tigris: Nineveh lay on the eastern bank of the Tigris, at the point where the Khosr falls into that stream. The outline of the wall is rectangular on the West, but of an irregular shape on the East. The western fortifications run from Northwest to Southeast, following, roughly, the course of the river, which now flows about 1,500 yards from the walls, instead of close to them, as in ancient times. II. Nineveh and Its Surroundings. According to the late G. Smith, the southwestern wall has a length of about 2 1/2 miles, and is joined at its western corner by the northwestern wall, which runs in a northeasterly direction for about 1 1/3 miles. 1. Its Walls: The northeastern wall, starting here, runs at first in a southeasterly direction, but turns southward, gradually approaching the southwestern wall, to which, at the end of about 3 1/4 miles, it is joined by a short wall, facing nearly South, rather more than half a mile long. 2. Principal Mounds and Gateways: The principal mounds are Kouyunjik, a little Northeast of the village of `Amusiyeh, and Nebi-Yunas, about 1,500 yards to the Southeast. Both of these lie just within the Southwest wall. Extensive remains of buildings occupy the fortified area. Numerous openings occur in the walls, many of them ancient, though some seem to have been made after the abandonment of the site. The principal gate on the Northwest was guarded by winged bulls (see Layard, Monuments of Nineveh, 2nd series, plural 3; Nineveh and Babylon, 120). Other gates gave access to the various commercial roads of the country, those on the East passing through the curved outworks and the double line of fortifications which protected the northeastern wall from attack on that side, where the Ninevites evidently considered that they had most to fear. 3. Extent and Population within the Walls: According to G. Smith, the circuit of the inner wall is about 8 miles, and Captain Jones, who made a trigonometrical survey in 1854, estimated that, allotting to each inhabitant 50 square yards, the city may have contained...