Portal:Ancient Near East

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King Melishipak presents his daughter to the goddess Nannaya
Babylonian astronomy refers to the astronomical theories and methods that were developed in ancient Mesopotamia. Babylonian astronomy formed the basis for much of the later astronomical traditions that developed in Greece, India, the Middle East and ultimately of modern Western astronomy.

Astral theology, which gave planetary gods an important role in Mesopotamian mythology and religion, began with the Sumerians (before 2000 BC), and created a place of importance for the study of astronomical phenomena. Texts from the First Babylonian Dynasty (ca. 1700 – 1531 BC (short chronology)), show the earliest use of mathematics to describe the variation in day length over a year, and the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa is the earliest evidence that planetary phenomena were recognized as periodic.

During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Babylonian astronomers developed a new empirical approach to astronomy. They began studying philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the universe and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to astronomy and the philosophy of science, and some scholars have referred to this new approach as the first scientific revolution.

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Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III (Akkadian: Tukultī-apil-Ešarra, "my trust is in the son of Eshara", reigned 745 – 727 BC) is considered the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. He is considered to be one of the most successful military commanders in world history, conquering most of the world known to the ancient Assyrians before his death. A former governor of Kalhu, he seized the throne on 13 Iyyar, 745 BC, in the midst of a civil war during which the royal family was killed.

Upon ascending the throne, Tiglath-Pileser instituted reforms to several sectors of the Assyrian state, which arguably revived Assyria's hegemony over the Near East. He curtailed the powers of the high officials, often by appointed eunuchs as governors to remove provincial dynastic threats, and reducing the size of provinces. He expanded the army by incorporating large numbers of conquered people in it, with native Assyrians comprising the cavalry and chariotry. This also allowed it to campaign year-round rather than seasonally, and he used it to conquer the entire middle east. Unlike previous Assyrian rulers, his heirs were able to maintain his empire.

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[[Image:|center|300x300px|Gold Helmet]]

Credit: Sumerophile
Gold Helmet
Meskalamdug's grave, Ur, ca. 26th century BC (National Museum of Iraq)

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Did you know...

[[Image:|100x100px|right|Earliest known pictographic writing c. 3500 BC]]...that c. 5300 BC Eridu was the first settlement in what would become the cradle of civilization?

...that the first writing system was developed in the late 4th millennium BC in Sumer? It was a logographic script which is still incompletely deciphered.

...that the Sumerian language, the Kassite language, and the Hattic language are all language isolates, unrelated to any other known language?

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