Portal:Ancient Near East

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Shedu
The Neo-Assyrian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 934 BC and ended in 609 BC. During this period, Assyria assumed a position as a great regional power, vying with Babylonia and other lesser powers for dominance of the region, though not until the reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III in the 8th century BC, did it become a powerful empire. In the Middle Assyrian period of the Late Bronze Age, Assyria had been a minor kingdom in northern Mesopotamia, competing for dominance with its southern Mesopotamian rival Babylonia. Beginning with the campaign of Adad-nirari II, it became a great regional power, growing to become a serious threat to 25th dynasty Egypt. During this period, Aramaic was also made an official language of the empire, alongside the Akkadian language.

Assyria finally succumbed to the rise of the Median Empire and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, with the Fall of Nineveh in 612 BC.

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Achaemenid Empire
Cyrus II, the Great (Old Persian: Kūruš; reigned 559 – c. 530 BC), was the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty. The empire expanded under his rule, eventually conquering most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, from Egypt and the Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, to create the largest state the world had yet seen.

During his twenty-nine year reign, Cyrus fought against some of the greatest states of his time, including the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in August 530 BC.

Beyond his nation, Cyrus left a lasting legacy on Jewish religion (through his Edict of Restoration), politics, and military strategy, as well as on both Eastern and Western civilization.

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Entemena's Vase
Credit: Jastrow
Entemena's Vase
Sumer, ca. 25th century BC (Louvre)

Silver vase dedicated by Entemena of Lagash to the god Ningirsu in Girsu

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Did you know...

Silver cup from Marvdasht with Linear Elamite inscription on it, c. 3rd millennium BC (National Museum of Iran)
...that the ancient Elamite language is proposed to be distantly related to the modern Dravidian languages? It is attested from c. 2500 BC, and a still undeciphered "proto-Elamite" goes back to c. 3000 BC.

...that the earliest attested Semitic language is Akkadian, c. 2500 BC?

...that the earliest attested Indo-European language is Hittite, from c. the 18th century BC?

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