The second son born to Shem was called Asshur. The land that Asshur dwelt, became known as Assyria and it is this word that is used in the Bible. Historians also use the word Assyria to refer to the ancient peoples of Asshur and their ruling dynasties. Asshur is mentioned repeatedly throughout the Old Testament. Its relationship with the sons of Jacob was tempestuous at best and catastrophic at worst. The vying for centre stage and influence has been waged between the two most prominent sons of Shem, Asshur and Arphaxad from the beginning and continues to the present day.
As disclosed when discussing Madai [refer Chapter IV Madai] and his relationship with Elam or Turkey, Asshur is the ancestor of the peoples of Russia. As we have seen, scripture [Zephaniah 9.13] describes that he was to ultimately live in the north, where other nations of the north are located, such as Magog and Togarmah – Northern China and the two Koreas. Most identity aficionados are familiar with Asshur and his prominence in the Bible. They with secular Assyriologists, share a passion for all things Assyrian, yet do not truly understand which modern people they actually have a fascination for. Nor are they aware of the considerably greater threat posed by Asshur as Russia, compared to the nearly universal erroneous belief within the identity community that Germany is Assyria. One wonders if the fascination is more with Germany than it is for Asshur. It would be flippant to say Russia backwards spells Aissur, though in essence this highlights exactly how many identities are based on nonsensical assumptions, often lacking a thorough line of reasoning.
Russia is a land of superlatives, a country stretching over a vast expanse nearly twice the size of the territory of Canada, the world’s second largest nation. Extending across the whole of northern Asia and the eastern third of Europe, spanning eleven time zones; incorporating deserts and semiarid steppes to deep forests and Artic tundra. Russia contains Europe’s longest river the Volga, its largest lake Ladoga and the world’s deepest lake, Baikal.
The first modern state in Russia was founded in 862 CE by King Rurik of the Rus, who was made the ruler of Novgorod. The Rus King Oleg later conquered the city of Kiev and started the kingdom of the Kievan Rus in 882. During the tenth and eleventh centuries the Kievan Rus became a powerful empire, reaching its peak under Vladimir the Great in 980 and Yaroslav I the Wise in 1015. In 1237, the Mongols led by Batu Khan, overran the region and scattered the Kievan Rus.
In its wake, the Grand Duchy of Moscow under Ivan III in 1462 rose to power and became the head of the Eastern Roman Empire, driving out the Mongols in 1480. Ivan IV or the Terrible, crowned himself the first Tsar of Russia in 1547 and began the exponential expansion of Russian lands. Tsar etymologically denotes a name for Caesar, for the Russians called their empire the Third Rome. In 1613, Mikhail Romanov established the Romanov dynasty – lasting until 1917. Under the rule of Tsar Peter the Great [1689-1725], the Russian empire continued to expand.
It became a major power and the capital was moved again, by Peter the Great from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 1713. As the Russians have moved their capitals from Novgorod, Kiev, St Petersburg [also called Leningrad] and Moscow; the Assyrians had a proclivity to do the same with their capitals of Ashur, Calah and Nineveh respectively.
In 1762, Tsar Peter III was assassinated and his wife Catherine II, a German assumed the crown. She ruled for thirty-four years in what would be called the Golden Age of the Russian Empire. In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia unsuccessfully. During the nineteenth century, the influence of Russian culture was at its peak. Artists and writers, Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy became famous throughout the world.
In 1853 the Crimean War began, which Russia eventually lost to an alliance of France, the Ottoman Empire, Britain, and Sardinia. In 1867, Russia sensationally sold Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million dollars. In 1897, the Social Democratic Party was established. It would later split into the Bolshevik and Menshevik parties. In 1904, Russia went to war against Japan in Manchuria and decisively lost.
In 1917 Vladimir Lenin – who was half Tatar – led the Bolshevik Party in revolution overthrowing the Tsar. Civil war broke out in 1918 and eventually the communist Soviet Union was born in 1922. After Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin – who was half Georgian – seized power. Under Stalin, approximately 20 – 40 million people ultimately died, in concentration camps, executions and famines in the great purge beginning in 1934. During World War II, Russia initially allied with the Germans; however, the Germans invaded Russia in 1941. In 1942, the Russian army defeated the German army at the Battle of Stalingrad. This was the major turning point in World War II. From 1949, an arms race developed between Russia and the United States and the Cold War ensued.
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary. He instituted freedom of speech and openness of the government [Glasnost] as well as a restructuring of the economy [Perestroika]. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred in December 1991. The preeminent empire of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Soviet Union [U.S.S.R], became an independent country, now called the Russian Federation.
The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ – commonly known as the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood – is illuminated at night in St. Petersburg, Russia
Origin of the Nations, Herman Hoeh, 1957 – capitalisation his, emphasis & bold mine:
‘The children of Abraham called Asshurim received that name as a result of migrating to the land of Assyria or Asshur. We shall know where the Asshurim are if we first locate the modern day descendants of Assyria or Asshur.’
This would appear to be a reasonable line of reasoning, yet Abraham and Keturah’s children did not live anywhere near Asshur. We have seen duplication of names already with children from Japaheth, Ham and Shem. The duplication shows a different people with the same name and may mean an amalgamation or it may not. In this instance we will learn it is the latter.
‘Asshur means “strong” or “powerful”. Asshur was a brother of Arphaxad (Genesis 10:22). The Assyrians – who came from Asshur – settled along the Tigris River around the city of Nineveh (Genesis 10:11). None of the sons of Asshur are mentioned in the Bible, but history gives us several of their names. Some of the sons of Asshur are these: Kharmen, or Germanni – meaning men of war; Khatti; Akkadians; Almani, or Halmani; and Kassites, or Cossaei. (For these names see any article on “Assyria”, or these separate names, in Biblical encyclopaedias).’
The Germani, Khatti, Akkadians and Kassites are not Assyrian names, but rather neighbours from different ancestors in different eras.
‘Where are these tribes today? They are no longer in ancient Assyria! Where did they go? The entire tenth chapter of Isaiah pictures the power that Asshur – the Assyrians – shall wield in these latter days. But where shall we look for them? First of all the Assyrians were driven from their land shortly after their fall in 610 B.C. Pliny, the Roman historian of the time of Christ, says the “Assyrians were north of the Crimea in Russia (NATURAL HISTORY, book IV, section xii). About 300 years later Jerome writes that “Asshur is also joined with the tribes invading Western Europe ALONG THE RHINE” (Letter CXXIII, section 16, from NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS).
So the Assyrians migrated to Central Europe! Notice the tribes coming into Central Europe – into Germany and Austria: the Khatti (the ancient name for Hessians – see ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANICA article “Germany” ): the Quadians (Latin for the Akkadians); the Germanni from which the word German” comes today; the Chauci (the Cossaei of ancient Assyria); and the Allemani (the Latin name for the ancient Alman tribe of Assyria ). CERTAINLY HERE ARE THE TRIBES OF ASSYRIA! Germany is Assyria in prophecy! The North Germans, basically, are therefore the sons of Asshurim of Keturah. The remainder of the Germans and Austrians are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians or Asshur.’
Peoples migrated and their names did not always travel with them. The Khatti [Hessians] are linked with Italy. The Germanni dwelt throughout much of Western Europe and beyond. The Asshurim though settling close to Germany are not in Germany today. Asshur did not travel into western Europe as a Germanic tribe. They are an eastern people; genetically, culturally and geographically linked to the Slavic peoples.
‘The ancient Assyrians deified their ancestor Asshur. In the Indo-Germanic language the name Asshur was spelled Athur (ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANICA article “Mesopotamia”, section Persians). And when the Assyrians are next found in Central Europe they are still worshipping Athur as Thur or Thor! And we still commemorate Asshur by the name Thursday – Asshur’s day! The name Asshur or Athur is still preserved among the Thuringian Germans.’
A H Sayce says in The Races of the Old Testament, page 59-60 and 136-137 – emphasis and bold mine:
‘Asshur, or Assyria… belonged both in race and language to the Semitic stock. The features of the Assyrian, as portrayed upon his monuments, are of a typical Semitic cast, and his mental and moral characteristics were those of the Semitic race. The country of Assyria took its name from the old capital Assur, or Asshur, now represented by the mounds of Kalah Sherghat, a little to the north of the junction of the Tigris with the Lower Zab. The founders of the city of Asshur and the kingdom of Assyria had moved northward from Babylonia. The Semitic language of Babylonia differed from that of Assyria only as the dialect of Middlesex differs from that of Oxfordshire.
It was from Babylonia that the Assyrians had brought their religion, their customs, their art of writing, their science, and their traditions. Their gods were the gods of Babylonia, with the sole exception of the supreme Assur. They built their houses of brick in a land of stone and raised their temples and palaces on lofty platforms, because this had been necessary in the alluvial plain of Babylonia, where stone did not exist and protection had to be sought from the floods of winter. It was the ambition of those Assyrian kings who aimed at empire to be crowned in Babylon. Only so could their right to dominion out side the boundaries of Assyria itself be recognised and made legitimate. To become king of Babylon and the adopted child of the Babylonian Bel was to the Assyrian monarch what coronation in Rome [the Vatican] was to the mediaeval German prince.
… the Assyrian… favourite occupations were commerce and war. But the Assyrian remained to the last merely a conquering caste. His superiority, physical and mental, to the older population of the country had made his first invasion of it irresistible, and the iron discipline and political organisation which he subsequently maintained enabled him to preserve his power. He has been called the Roman of the East, and in many respects the comparison is just. Like the Roman he had a genius for organising and administering, for making and obeying laws, and for submitting to the restraints of an inexorable discipline. The armies of Assyria swept all before them, and the conception of a centralised empire was first formed and realised by the Assyrian kings.’
The Assyrians had the advantage of a larger population, considerable intellect, with the ability to control their people as a organised militaristic unit. Some would offer the same could be said about the Germans. The difference being that Germany exhibits these tendencies sporadically, whereas Russia possesses them continually. We will learn that the Russians do actually have a connection with the Romans, specifically the later empire of the East and that it can be no surprise that Asshur was foremost in having a centralised, totalitarian and militaristic society to build empires. The history of Asshur and Russia is replete with examples of this parallel behavioural endeavour.
Before continuing with an article on Assyria, it would be beneficial to list the main Assyrian Kings during the period we will study the most closely. There are multiple king lists that differ prior to Ashur-dan I. He began his reign in 1178 BCE and the king lists are identical in their contents from this date. Ashur-dan I was a king of the Middle Assyrian Empire. The next era we will be most interested, is the Neo-Assyrian epoch of 912 – 609 BCE. This line of Assyrian kings ended with the defeat of Assyria’s final king Ashur-uballit II by the combined efforts, of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Median Empire in 609 BCE.
The Adaside dynasty:
Shalmaneser IV: 783 – 773 BCE – son of Adad-nirari III
Ashur-dan III: 773 – 755 BCE – son of Adad-nirari III
Ashur-nirari V: 755 – 745 BCE – son of Adad-nirari III
The Pre-Sargonid kings:
Tiglath-Pileser III: 745 – 727 BCE – claimed to be the son of Adad-nirari III, though actually a General who usurped the throne from Ashur-nirari III
Shalmaneser V: 727 – 722 BCE – son of Tiglath-Pileser III
Sargonid dynasty kings:
Sargon II: 722 – 705 BCE – claimed to be the son of Tiglath-Pileser III and usurped the throne from his [brother?] Shalmaneser V
Sennacherib: 705 – 681 BCE – son of Sargon II
Esarhaddon: 681 – 669 BCE – son of Sennacherib
Ashurbanipal: 669 – 631 BCE – son of Esarhaddon
Ashur-etil—ilani: 631 – 627 BCE – son of Ashurbanipal
Sinsharishkun: 627 – 612 BCE – son of Ashurbanipal
Sin-shumu-lishir: 626 BCE – General of Ashur-etil-ilani who rebelled against Sinsharishkun, attempting to claim the throne for himself
Ashur-uballit II: 612 – 609 BCE – unclear relationship, possibly the son of Sinsharishkun
The following article is primarily about Germany and linking it with Assyria, though there is valuable material we can recall when we study the identity of Germany. There are also interesting sections worth highlighting with regard to Assyria.
The History of Germany, Stephen Flurry, 1997 – capitalisation his, emphasis and bold mine:
‘For several years now… we have taught that modern-day Germany descended from the people the Bible refers to as the Assyrians. In this article, we will prove this fact from the Bible and other historical sources.
As Noah’s family multiplied exceedingly, many migrated… to a plain in the land of Shinar… (modern-day Iraq). Genesis 10 gives only the briefest account of this occurrence, mainly by just listing the lineages of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. But God does draw special attention to Nimrod… Nimrod’s name means “he rebelled” – against God, that is. Nimrod established the kingdom of Babylon. Babylon means confusion, which is what happened when God confounded their language at the tower of Babel. Aside from Nimrod, Genesis 10 also draws special attention to Asshur. “Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah.” (Genesis 10:11).
As the margin suggests, a better translation of this verse would reveal that Asshur and Nimrod went out of the land of Shinar to build Nineveh and other cities. There is strong evidence to indicate that Asshur worked with Nimrod, probably in the military field, and helped to build Babel and Nineveh, as well as other cities.’
We will study Nimrod in depth in the next chapter, after Asshur. According to an unconventional chronology, Arphaxad was born circa 10,717 BCE, thus Asshur as the second son of Shem would have been born slightly before Arphaxad, circa 10,750 BCE. Nimrod was apparently the second generation after the flood. The Tower of Babel instigated by Nimrod, ended c. 6755 BCE. The descent from the ark to the Indus Valley, building a civilisation there and then migrating to Mesoptamia would likely mean that the cities built in Shinar and Assyria would have taken place circa 8000 BCE.
‘Now notice verse 22: “The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.” Notice that Arphaxad is listed in this verse as the third son of Shem. Now read Genesis 11:10: “These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood.” Neither of Shem’s first two sons, Elam or Asshur, are mentioned! That’s because they were rejected as the heirs of Shem’s inheritance. If they were working alongside Nimrod, you can see why Shem (and God) rejected them! Asshur parted with his father and raised up the Assyrian Empire.’
There is debate over whether Arphaxad was born or conceived two years after the flood. According to the following four verses, Shem’s son Arphaxad would have been born on the ark: Genesis 5:32, Genesis 7:11, Genesis 11:10 and Genesis 8:13. However, according to Genesis 8:15-19 and Genesis 9:18-19, no children left the Ark. The only way to resolve this mathematical conundrum is to say the wording applies to conception rather than birth. This would be the only way to fit the three sons of Elam, Asshur and Arphaxad in a very busy two year period for Shem’s wife.
If on the other hand, the sexagesimal Sumerian counting system is correctly applied as per an unconventional chronology [and not the mis-leading Biblical edited interpretation], then Arphaxad was actually born 120 years after the flood.
‘Notice what the historian Josephus recorded concerning Asshur: “Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons… Ashur lived at the city of Nineveh; and named his subjects Assyrians, WHO BECAME THE MOST FORTUNATE NATION; BEYOND OTHERS.” (Antiquities, I, vi, 4). Assyria quickly became the most prosperous, powerful nation of the day.
… in Genesis 14:1-2: “And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal KING OF NATIONS; That these made war…” These four kings in verse 1 were allied as a gigantic Assyrian empire, as Josephus points out: “At this time, when the Assyrians had the dominion over Asia, the people of Sodom were in a flourishing condition… the Assyrians made war upon them; and, dividing their army into four parts, fought against them. Now every part of the army had its own commander; and when the battle was joined, the Assyrians were conquerors; and imposed tribute on the kings of the Sodomites, who submitted to this slavery twelve years… but on the thirteenth year they rebelled, and then the army of the Assyrians came upon them, under their commanders, Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer, and Tidal. These kings had laid waste all Syria, and overthrown the offspring of the giants.” (Antiquities, I, ix, 1).
… Lange’s Commentary says, “According to Ktesias and others, the Assyrians were the first to establish a world-dominion.” (vol.1, p.403). The last king listed in Genesis 14:1 is Tidal, the “king of nations”. He ruled in the region of Asia Minor. The word Tidal comes from a Hebrew word which means “to fear, make afraid, dreadful and terrible.” For centuries, Assyria caused many nations GREAT FEAR! These four Assyrian generalscame to make war with the kings in Canaan because of their rebellion (GEN 14:4). The Assyrians routed the people of Canaan, including the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 14:17 says that Abram also killed the four top leaders of the Assyrian Empire, mentioned in verse 1. It was a complete rout! The power of Assyria was smashed in one night! Think about how the course of history was changed at this point.’
We have learned in the preceding chapter regarding Chedorlaomer, how this was a period of Elamite ascendancy and that these were four Kings of separate city-states, not four Generals of one state. Flurry has made some very big assumptions not supported by the Biblical account. Though he may be forgiven for ascribing Assyria to Tidal and Arioch, the Bible clearly states the king of Elam, Asshur’s elder brother and the king of Shinar which included Akkad and Sumer and their main cities Babylon and Uruk. These peoples were descended from Asshur’s younger brother Arphaxad. Assyria was a region at this time in northern Mesopotamia; it had no jurisdiction over southern Mesopotamia that incorporated the Land of Shinar – Akkadia and Sumer – or Elam to the far southeast. Josephus states the kings had ‘laid waste all Syria’. The Guti, Hurrian, Mitanni and Chatti states were predominantly Syrian or Aramean regions – allied with peoples from Haran and Nahor – to the north and west of Shinar and Asssyria. We also know that only Arioch of Ellasar [Larsa], the giant possibly died. Genesis 14:17 reveals Abraham defeated Chedorlaomer’s forces during his ambush night attack; not who died in the confrontation. The Assyrians were neither involved or decimated; nor was the cause of history changed for Assyria.
‘James McCabe, author of History of the World, says the Assyrians were a “fierce, treacherous race, delighting in the dangers of the chase and in war. The Assyrian troops were notably among the most formidable of ancient warriors… They never kept faith when it was to their interest to break treaties, and were regarded with suspicion by their neighbors in consequence of this characteristic… In organization and equipment of their troops, and in their system of attack and defence and their method of reducing fortified places, the Assyrians manifested a superiority to the nations by which they were surrounded.” (vol.1, pp.155, 160).
Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote, “Ancient Assyria was the greatest war-making power in all history” (January 1963, Plain Truth, “Germany in Prophecy!”).
James Hastings wrote, “The Assyrians of historic times were more robust, warlike, ‘fierce’, than the mild industrial Babylonians. This may have been due to the influence of climate and incessant warfare; but it may indicate a different race…The whole organization of the State was essentially military.”(Dictionary of the Bible, article “Assyria and Babylonia”).
Leonard Catrell in Anvil of Civilization, wrote: “In all the annals of human conquest, it is difficult to find any people more dedicated to bloodshed and slaughter than the Assyrians. Their ferocity and cruelty have few parallels save in modern times.” (It’s interesting that Catrell can only compare their ferocity with those “in modern times.” By far, the Germans have been more dedicated to bloodshed than any other nation in this century.)’
The unfortunate reality as borne out by the figures of the dead, is that Russian rule has been more fierce than the Germans, responsible for the deaths of many, many millions more. Comparisons have been made between Hitler’s and Stalin’s regimes by historians, with Stalin clearly the more diabolical, terrorising and blood-thirsty.
‘C. Leonard Woolley described what these people looked like in his book, The Sumerians: “In the Zagros hills and across the plain to the Tigris, there lived a… fair-haired… people akin to the Guti (Goths) who… remained in what was afterwards Assyria.” (p.5).
Here is what Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote in “Germany in Prophecy!”: “When the ancient Greek writers wanted to distinguish the Assyrians from the Arameans or Syrians, the Greeks called the Assyrians, ‘Leucosyri’ – meaning ‘whites’ or ‘blonds’ as distinct from the very brunette Syrians… ” (Plain Truth, January 1963, page17).
By the time of Christ, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder recorded that the Assyrians were now dwelling north of the Black sea (Natural History, IV, 12, p.183). By this time, they had moved north. Much was written about the early German tribes which poured into Europe during the first and second centuries A.D., thanks in large part to the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus, who lived at that time. Among the most significant of these early German tribes are the Chatti… Chatti means “to break down by violence; to make afraid or terrify.” The ancestors of this German tribe, before migrating, lived mostly in Asia Minor, and were called the Assyrian Chatti.
Many of these early German tribes were in constant conflict with the Roman Empire which is why the Romans collectively labeled them Germani, meaning “war men”. These early tribes migrated into Central Europe, as historians verify. The Romans labeled all of them “war men”. But from where did they come? Smith’s Classical Dictionary answers: “There can be NO DOUBT that they [the Assyrians]… migrated into Europe from the Caucasus and the countries around the Black and Caspian seas.” (article “Germania”, page 361).’
Modern Germany has inherited the name ‘Germany’. The Germans do not call themselves by that name. They are known by different names in different languages. They call themselves Deutsch, far removed from German. The quote from Smith’s Classical Dictionary does not include ‘the Assyrian’, this has been added as an assumption. We will study the Chatti [Hatti] – as there are two different nations [a former and a latter peoples] who were known by that name – later in detail.
‘Some have argued that the Assyrian people spoke a Semitic language, not Indo-Germanic, and therefore the Germans could not be the descendants of the ancient Assyrians. Yet there is a passage in the Bible which clearly reveals how and why most of the ancient Assyrians acquired a new and different language. In the days of Nimrod, a tower was constructed at Babel which was to be the capital city of a world-ruling dictatorship, under which, God’s truth would have been completely stamped out. Concerning the rebellious people of Nimrod’s day, God said, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”(GENESIS 11:6).
To keep civilization from progressing to a point of self-destruction so soon, God had to “confound their language” (v.7). This miraculous intervention by God was the origin of differing languages. This was when most of the Assyrians acquired the Indo-Germanic tongue and other related languages. Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote in his article, “Germany in Prophecy!”: “European scholars have thoroughly studied the language of the land of Hatti – the ancestors of the Hessians. They found it to be an Indo-Germanic tongue – numerous words of which were akin to Old High German!…
The language of the Hatti was the language of the West Assyrians… Scholars admit that for centuries the language of the people who inhabited Assyria was not merely Semitic.” (Plain Truth, January 1963, page 27).’
The later Hatti are associated with the Germans and the link with High German we will explore. These Hatti became known as Hittites and were linked to Assyria, living to their west in ancient Anatolia. These Hatti or Hittites were a distinct, separate people allied to Assyria. A similar relationship has existed in more recent history, which we will cover. The language of the Hatti, was not ‘the language of the West Assyrian,’ in that the Hatti were not Assyrian. This is a stretch, as is also saying the Assyrians went from a Semitic language to Indo-Germanic at the time of Peleg – we do not know this. Those scholars who profess Semitic speaking Asshur could not be the ancestor of the Indo-Germanic speaking Germans are correct.
‘On the banks of the Mosel River in western Germany, just six miles from the Luxembourg border, sits the ancient German city of Trier. The Romans claim to be the founders of this ancient city. But German tradition, and even the name of the city, suggests otherwise.
“On the Rotes Haus (Red House) beside the Steipe, there is a text in Latin boasting that Trier, or Treves, is older than Rome, thirteen hundred years older in fact. That is when Trebeta, son of Semiramis, is said to have founded the town.” That’s what it says in the opening paragraph of the Trier Colorphoto Guide to the Town. Josef K.L. Bihl writes in his German textbook, In deutschen Landen, “Trier was founded by Trebeta, a son of the famous Assyrian King Ninus” (page 69). The biblical name for Ninus is Nimrod.
Semiramis was married to Nimrod, the founder of Babylon (Genesis 10:8-10… Genesis 10:11 says that Asshur and his descendants went out of Babylon and constructed the Assyrian capital – Nineveh. But as the margin correctly indicates, it was Nimrod who led Asshur out of Babylon and who actually supervised the construction project in Nineveh. Early on, the Bible indicates a close alliance between Nimrod and Asshur.’
Two important points from Stephen Flurry’s comments. If Ninus is Nimrod and Ninus is an Assyrian king, how does this square with Nimrod supposedly being a son of Cush? Secondly, if Nimrod led Asshur himself or Asshur’s people out of Babylon in the land of Shinar to build Nineveh, the future main city and capital of Assyria, how does this equate with Nimrod being from Cush? Was a descendant of Cush really ruling Shinar and Asshur? Was Nimrod actually descended from Ham’s son Cush? We shall return to these very important questions.
Asshur in Hebrew means: ‘level plain, step, happy, just.’ Derived from the verb asher, ’to go (straight) on’, or yasher, ‘to be level, straight up, just.’
Abarim Publications – emphasis & bold mine:
‘There are two men and one empire called Asshur (=Assyria) in the Bible, and the names of all of these probably derive from the similarly named primary deity of Assyria. Asshur, Assyria and the Assyrians are not to be confused with:
- The name Aram, the country directly north of Israel, which in Greek times became known by its present name of Syria. Its capital has been Damascus since ancient times. Even though Syria and Assyria are different countries, the Greeks called them both [the same], which isn’t all that strange since several cities and regions in Assyria are known by names that contain Aram; see for instance the names Aram-naharaim and Paddan-aram.
- The quite different name Ashhur, belonging to the head [leader] of Tekoa (1 Chronicles 2:24)
- The quite similar name Asher, which belonged to the eighth son of Jacob and second of Zilpah (Genesis 30:13).
- The Asshurim, who were a people descending from Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:3).
The lesser known man named Asshur is mentioned in the genealogy of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:24), and has no further role in the Bible. The other man named Asshur was a son of Shem… (Genesis 10:22), and, on the Biblical stage, from him sprang the people called the Assyrians, who lived in Assyria, which in the Bible is known simply as Asshur. Its capital city Nineveh was built by Nimrod, according to the Bible (Genesis 10:11).
In the demographical record, the country Assyria started out as a small settlement named Assur, “built on a sandstone cliff on the west of the Tigris about 35 kilometers north of its confluence with the lower Zab River” (says The Oxford Companion to the Bible). It became an empire in the 19th century BC, but soon dwindled, reemerged in the 14th century during which it even took control over Babylon to its south, but quickly faded again.
Under Tiglath-pileser I (1115-1076 BC) the empire experienced brief and extensive success, but succumbed to the invasion of the Arameans. In 935 BC Assyria began to reconquer its territories lost to Aram, which brought them in range of Canaan, and also created the formidable Neo-Assyrian empire that we hear so much about in the Bible.
The foundations of the Neo-Assyrian empire were laid by king Ashurnasirpal II (884-859 BC), who built the city of Calah, which is also known as Nimrud (in the Bible personified as Nimrod), and expanded the (up to then marginal) town of Nineveh. Ashurnasirpal’s son Shalmaneser III (859-824 BC) fought at the battle of Qarqar (853 BC), which entailed a clash between the Assyrian imperial army and a coalition of eleven states headed by king Hadadezer of Damascus, and which included the Arameans… and Israel under king Ahab. The Bible omits this battle and we know about it from the Kurkh monoliths, which were found in 1861 in Iraq. These monoliths contain the only (possible) reference to Israel in Assyrian and Babylonian records. At Qarqar the progression of the Assyrian empire was checked and in the years that followed its power diminished.
In 745 BC, a revolt in Calah led to the assumption of the Assyrian throne by the vigorous Tiglath-pileser III… who spent his career in conflict intervention all over the broader region. Even king Ahaz of Judah called upon the intervention of this imperial sheriff, when he found his kingdom besieged by kings Rezin of Aram and Pekah of Israel (2 Kings 16:7). He embellished his request with a gift made of silver and gold from the temple of YHWH, and Tiglath-pileser responded by capturing Damascus, exiling its people to Kir and executing Rezin (2 Kings 16:9). Still, the Chronicler wryly asserts that Tiglath-pileser’s assistance didn’t help Ahaz all that much (2 Chronicles 28:21). As part of the same campaign, Tiglath-pileser also invaded the land of Naphtali in the north of Israel and apparently also the territories of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh on the east (1 Chronicles 5:6, 5:26), and deported* the people in what became known as the First Deportation (1 Kings 15:29). King Pekah of Israel was murdered and succeeded by Hoshea, son of Elah, who was made to pay an annual tribute to the king of Assyria.
After six years of paying taxes to Assyria, king Hoshea figured he could get away from it by allying Israel with Egypt. Tiglath-pileser’s son Shalmaneser V (727-722) didn’t think so, marched on Samaria, besieged it for three years and finally captured it. He imprisoned Hoshea and deported the city’s population (2 Kings 17:4-6). His successor was the usurper Sargon II (722-705 BC), who is mentioned only once in the Bible, in Isaiah 20:1 in reference to the battle of Ashdod. But it was he who deported the rest of Israel in what is known as the Second Deportation. This action effectively ended the northern kingdom of Israel and virtually wiped out the tribes other than Judah and the two nationally absorbed tribes of Levi and Simeon.
Sargon’s son Sennacherib (705-681 BC) sacked Babylon, deported its population and besieged Jerusalem in the fourteenth year of the reign of king Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:13). King Hezekiah initially bought him off with a tribute of 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold (2 Kings 18:14) but Sennacherib wanted Jerusalem’s submission. He sent Rabshakeh and a division of his army to negotiate Jerusalem’s peaceful surrender but king Hezekiah wouldn’t budge (18:36). Hezekiah sent his chief of staff Eliakim to the prophet Isaiah, who told him that the Lord had said that Jerusalem would not fall to the Assyrians (19:7, 19:20). When Rabshakeh went to report Hezekiah’s refusal to surrender to Sennacherib, he found his king engaged in battle with the army of Libnah and realized that the heat was off Jerusalem (19:8). Then one night the Lord decimated the Assyrian army by undisclosed means, and Sennacherib went home. He was killed by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer in the temple of the god Nisroch, and his son Esarhaddon became king in his place (681-669 BC).
King Esarhaddon died of an illness and was succeeded by the great Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC), who expanded the Assyrian empire to its record size. In the Bible he’s mentioned only as the king who brought people from outside to Samaria (Ezra 4:10). After his death his empire succumbed to civil war and was left without central reign. Finally, a man named Sin-shar-ishkun (approximately 623-612) took the throne, but within a decade the empire was invaded by a coalition of Medes and Babylonians, who captured the central provinces.
The last king of Assyria was Ashur-uballit II (612-609), who ruled in Haran, in the empire’s remaining western territories. He had support from Egypt but lost his lands to the Babylonians. The Assyrian empire and its vibrant culture remained forgotten until archeologists of the modern age revived it.
The name Asshur is highly similar to the Hebrew name Asher but is spelled with a waw before the resh… [the]verb (‘ashar) covers a decisive progression or a setting right, and is often applied to describe happiness and prosperity…’
We learn of two sons born to Asshur in the Book of Jasher 7:16
And the sons of Ashar were Mirus and Mokil…
In Isaiah 66:19 ESV, we read the verse in connection with Tarshish, Lud, Tubal and Javan. Pul is mentioned and commentators sometimes define Pul as Phut or Put.
… and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish [Japan], Pul [H6322 – Puwl: distinguishing], and Lud [Iran], who draw the bow, to Tubal [Southern Coastland China] and Javan [Archipelago South East Asia], to the coastlands [Gomer, continental SE Asia] far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.
In 2 Kings 15:19 ESV, we learn:
Pul the king of Assyria came against the land, and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that he might help him to confirm his hold on the royal power.
1 Chronicles 5:26
English Standard Version
So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser [745-727 BC] king of Assyria, and he took them into exile*, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day [time of writing].
Pul is not Phut, but rather a king of Assyria; either Tiglath-pileser III himself, or a successor. Isaiah could well be referring to a future ruler. I would lean towards the spirit [or mind] of Tiglath-pileser being moved to take Israel captive. In Hebrew, Pul means: ‘distinctive, discerner’ or ‘darkling.’ From the verb palal, ‘to distinguish’ or ‘discern.’ Related names via the verb are amazingly, Amraphel the alternate name we discovered for Hammurabi, [former ally then enemy of Chedorlaomer] and also the Nephilim, which we will discuss in the chapter following Nimrod.
Abarim Publications, bold mine:
‘The name Pul is assigned to one human male and one country:
- Pul the man is the same as Tiglath-pileser III, king of Assyria.
- Pul the country is mentioned by the prophet Isaiah… Since the other lands that Isaiah lists are all well known, commentators nowadays believe that this otherwise unmentioned Pul is the same as the better known Put. This obviously remains conjecture.
It’s been a long surviving mystery where the name Pul might have come from. In Context of Scripture (2002), William W. Hallo submits: “Today we know that Tiglath-pileser III was Pul, though there is still some discussion among Assyriologists concerning the etymology and use of the name Pul”. Barry J. Beitzel writes in Biblica — The Bible Atlas (2007): “For centuries it was assumed that Pul and Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria were separate kings, as implied by the account in 2 Kings. It is now known that “Pul” is a diminutive form of Tiglath-pileser, presumably from the middle portion of the name from where it may have been associated in folk etymology. Pul or Pulu is a well-known Assyrian name, meaning “limestone (or block of limestone)””.
There aren’t many ways to write Pul in Hebrew, but it appears that his name was really Pulu… also associated to the words for Wonderful, Judge and Gloom. NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to go with the old tradition and reads Strong.’
In Ezekiel 27:23 ESV, we see Assyria linked in trade with Tyre, other European nations and the Medes:
Haran, Canneh, Eden, traders of Sheba, Asshur [Russia], and Chilmad traded with you.
‘The name Chilmad occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Ezekiel 27:23, where it is listed among the many nations that traded with Tyre. Unlike most of the other names of this list, it’s not clear where Chilmad might have been located. Some scholars… have proposed that Chilmad isn’t really a name but simply means “all Media”… Since it’s not clear where Chilmad might have been it’s also not clear from which language this name comes, let alone what it might have meant. It’s not even certain that Chilmad is really a name, or was ever intended as one. Ancient Hebrew scribes often transliterated foreign names into barely recognizable forms, often to make a point or pun.
…we surmise that our “name” may have originated as a compressed version of, “all measure” or “all sorts”, in the vein of the similar phrase, “all wealth”, (Ezekiel 27:12 and 27:18), and the phrases, “all spices”, and, “all stones” (both 27:22). The first part of our “name” looks like the noun (kol), meaning all or the whole… And the second part of our name looks like it has to do with the name for Media, namely from the verb (madad), to measure… It’s unclear what the name Chilmad means, but among a Hebrew audience there might have been a creative few who heard Of All Sorts or In Every Measure or even All Disease.’
In Psalm 83:4-8 ESV, we read of a past alliance or at least a list of the main adversaries against Jacob’s sons and Asshur’s powerful military involvement or presence. We will return to this passage when we have studied all the identities listed. All the identities apart from Assyria, are usually identified as being in the Middle East or the Islamic world, which is not correct.
4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” 5 For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant – 6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, 7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Asshur also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot…
English Standard Version
5 Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it; he will spare and rescue it.” 6 Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. 7 For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you. 8 “And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, shall devour him; and he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be put to forced labor. 9 His rock shall pass away in terror, and his officers desert the standard in panic,” declares the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
This event occurred in part, when Sennacherib’s army was decimated prior to their planned attack circa 701 BCE on Jerusalem, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah [Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, (Simeon & Levi)]. It is principally revealing a future event, as the young men of Asshur were not taken as slaves in Sennacherib’s defeat.
English Standard Version
The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod.
The Assyrians are used to being the Rod of the Creator’s anger, not at the end of it.
Isaiah 10:4-8, 11-16, 24-27
New Century Version
4… God Will Punish Assyria. 5 God says, “How terrible it will be for the king of Assyria. I use him like a rod to show my anger; in anger I use Assyria like a club [rod]. 6 I send it to fight against a nation that is separated from God. I am angry with those people, so I command Assyria to fight against them, to take their wealth from them, to trample them down like dirt in the streets.
7 But Assyria’s king doesn’t understand that I am using him; he doesn’t know he is a tool for me. He only wants to destroy other people and to defeat many nations. 8 The king of Assyria says to himself, ‘All of my commanders are like kings… 11 As I defeated Samaria and her idols, I will also defeat Jerusalem and her idols.’”
12 When the Lord finishes doing what he planned to Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will punish Assyria. The king of Assyria is very proud, and his pride has made him do these evil things, so God will punish him. 13 The king of Assyria says this: “By my own power I have done these things; by my wisdom I have defeated many nations. I have taken their wealth, and, like a mighty one, I have taken their people. 14 I have taken the riches of all these people, like a person reaching into a bird’s nest. I have taken these nations, like a person taking eggs. Not one raised a hand or opened its mouth to stop me.”15 An ax is not better than the person who swings it. A saw is not better than the one who uses it. A stick cannot control the person who picks it up. A club cannot pick up the person! 16 So the Lord God All-Powerful will send a terrible disease upon Assyria’s soldiers. The strength of Assyria will be burned up like a fire burning until everything is gone.
24 This is what the Lord God All-Powerful says: “My people living in Jerusalem, don’t be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and raise a stick against you, as Egypt did. 25 After a short time my anger against you will stop, and then I will turn my anger to destroying them.” 26 Then the Lord All-Powerful will beat the Assyrians with a whip as he defeated Midian at the rock of Oreb. He will raise his stick over the waters as he did in Egypt. 27 Then the troubles that Assyria puts on you will be removed, and the load they make you carry will be taken away…
English Standard Version
The men of Nineveh [capital of Assyria, equating to Moscow today] will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah…
The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints – emphasis & bold mine:
‘In 721 B.C. Assyria swept out of the north, captured the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and took the ten tribes into captivity. From there they became lost to history. Assyria, named from the god Ashur (highest in the pantheon of Assyrian gods), was located in the Mesopotamian plain. It was bordered on the west by the Syrian desert, on the south by Babylonia, and on the north and east by the Persian and Urarthian hills. This area today is primarily the nation of Iraq.
“[The Assyrians] took their common language and their arts from Sumeria, but modified them later into an almost undistinguishable similarity to the language and arts of Babylonia.
Their circumstances, however, forbade them to indulge in the effeminate ease of Babylon; from beginning to end they were a race of warriors, mighty in muscle and courage, abounding in proud hair and beard, standing straight, stern and solid on their monuments, and bestriding with tremendous feet the east-Mediterranean world. Their history is one of kings and slaves, wars and conquests, bloody victories and sudden defeat.” (Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, The Story of Civilization, 1:266.)
Assyria’s ascent as a formidable power in the Near East was due in large measure to strong kings who increased her borders and subjected other nations as tributaries. Assyria first became an independent nation between 1813 and 1781 B.C. under Shamshi-Adad. Under [their] kings Assyria reached its greatest apex of power, controlling the area that included not only Assyria but also Babylonia, Armenia, Media, Judea, Syria, Phoenicia, Sumeria, Elam, and Egypt. This empire “was without doubt the most extensive administrative organization yet seen in the Mediterranean or Near Eastern world; only Hammurabi and Thutmose III had approached it,and Persia alone would equal it before the coming of Alexander” (Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, 1:270).
The most vital part of the Assyrian government was its army. Warfare was a science to the leaders of Assyria… cavalry [was] introduced by Ashurnasirpal to aid the infantry and chariots, [as were] sappers, armor made from iron, siege machines, and battering rams [which] were all developed or perfected by the Assyrians. Strategy and tactics were also well understood by the Assyrian officers. But it was not just Assyrian effectiveness in warfare that struck terror to the hearts of the Near Eastern world. They were savage and brutal as well.
“A captured city was usually plundered and burnt to the ground, and its site was deliberately denuded by killing its trees. The loyalty of the troops was secured by dividing a large part of the spoils among them; their bravery was ensured by the general rule of the Near East that all captives in war might be enslaved or slain. Soldiers were rewarded for every severed head they brought in from the field, so that the aftermath of a victory generally witnessed the wholesale decapitation of fallen foes. Most often the prisoners, who would have consumed much food in a long campaign, and would have constituted a danger and nuisance in the rear, were dispatched after the battle; they knelt with their backs to their captors, who beat their heads in with clubs, or cut them off with cutlasses. Scribes stood by to count the number of prisoners taken and killed by each soldier, and apportioned the booty accordingly; the king, if time permitted, presided at the slaughter. The nobles among the defeated were given more special treatment: their ears, noses, hands and feet were sliced off, or they were thrown from high towers, or they and their children were beheaded, or flayed alive, or roasted over a slow fire. …”
“In all departments of Assyrian life we meet with a patriarchal sternness natural to a people that lived by conquest, and in every sense on the border of barbarism. Just as the Romans took thousands of prisoners into lifelong slavery after their victories, and dragged others to the Circus Maximus to be torn to pieces by starving animals, so the Assyrians seemed to find satisfaction – or a necessary tutelage for their sons—in torturing captives, blinding children before the eyes of their parents, flaying men alive, roasting them in kilns, chaining them in cages for the amusement of the populace, and then sending the survivors off to execution. Ashurnasirpal tells how ‘all the chiefs who had revolted I flayed, with their skins I covered the pillar, some in the midst I walled up, others on stakes I impaled, still others I arranged around the pillar on stakes…”
“As for the chieftains and royal officers who had rebelled, I cut off their members.’ Ashurbanipal boasts that ‘I burned three thousand captives with fire, I left not a single one among them alive to serve as a hostage.’ Another of his inscriptions reads: ‘These warriors who had sinned against Ashur and had plotted evil against me… from their hostile mouths have I torn their tongues, and I have compassed their destruction. As for the others who remained alive, I offered them as a funerary sacrifice… their lacerated members have I given unto the dogs, the swine, the wolves… By accomplishing these deeds I have rejoiced the heart of the great gods.’ Another monarch instructs his artisans to engrave upon the bricks these claims on the admiration of posterity: ‘My war chariots crush men and beasts… The monuments which I erect are made of human corpses from which I have cut the head and limbs. I cut off the hands of all those whom I capture alive.’ Reliefs at Nineveh show men being impaled or flayed, or having their tongues torn out; one shows a king gouging out the eyes of prisoners with a lance while he holds their heads conveniently in place with a cord passed through their lips.” (Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, 1:271, 275–76.)
Under the reign of Tiglath-pileser II, Assyria began consolidating its power in the western part of the empire. Around 738 B.C. he demanded and received tribute from Damascus, the capital of Syria, and Samaria, the capital of Israel (2 Kings 15:19-20). But four years later, the two… states rebelled, and once again Tiglath-pileser moved in. Damascus was conquered, as was part of the territory of the Northern Kingdom, and the people were carried off into captivity (2 Kings 15:29). It seems to have been Tiglath-pileser who originated large-scale deportations of conquered peoples. By deporting a conquered people en masse to a foreign land, Tiglath-pileser hoped to break their unity and destroy their national identity. The practice of large deportations continued under Shalmaneser and later Sargon II, successors to Tiglath-pileser who also played an important role in the history of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.’
I am reproducing almost in its entirety the entry for Assyria located on Britannica. The casual reader may skim or miss; those readers with a special interest in Asshur and Assyria, may find much value if they have not read the article previously.
‘Strictly speaking, the use of the name “Assyria” for the period before the latter half of the 2nd millennium BCE is anachronistic; Assyria – as against the city-state of Ashur – did not become an independent state until about 1400 BCE. In contrast to southern Mesopotamia… written sources in Assyria do not begin until very late, shortly before Ur III [Neo-Sumerian Empire 2100 BC]. In the early 2nd millennium the main cities of this region were Ashur (160 miles north-northwest of modern Baghdad), the capital (synonymous with the city god and national divinity)… [and] Nineveh, lying opposite modern Mosul…
In Assyria, inscriptions were composed in Akkadian from the beginning. Under Ur III, Ashur was a provincial capital. The inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia called Assyria Shubir in Sumerian and Subartu in Akkadian; these names may point to a Subarean population that was related to the Hurrians.’
‘The Assyrian dialect of Akkadian found in the beginning of the 2nd millennium differs strongly from the dialect of Babylonia. These two versions of the Akkadian language continue into the 1st millennium. In contrast to the kings of southern Mesopotamia, the rulers of Ashur styled themselves not king but partly issiakum, the Akkadian equivalent of the Sumerian word ensi, partly ruba’um, or “great one.” Unfortunately, the rulers cannot be synchronized precisely with the kings of southern Mesopotamia before Shamshi-Adad I.
Aside from the generally scarce reports on projected construction, there is at present no information about the city of Ashur and its surroundings. There exists, however, unexpectedly rewarding source material from the trading colonies of Ashur in Anatolia. The texts come mainly from Kanesh (modern Kultepe, near Kayseri, in Turkey) and from Hattusa (modern Bogazkoy, Turkey), the later Hittite capital. In the 19th century BCE three generations of Assyrian merchants engaged in a lively commodity trade (especially in textiles and metal) between the homeland and Anatolia, also taking part profitably in internal Anatolian trade. Clearly these forays by Assyrian merchants led to some transplanting of Mesopotamian culture into Anatolia. Thus the Anatolians adopted cuneiform writing and used the Assyrian language.
From about 1813 to about 1781 [1652 – 1620 BCE] Assyria was ruled by Shamshi-Adad I… Shamshi-Adad’s father – an Amorite, to judge by the name – had ruled near Mari. The son, not being of Assyrian origin, ascended the throne of Assyria as a foreigner and on a detour, as it were, after having spent some time as an exile in Babylonia. He had his two sons rule as viceroys, in Ekallatum on the Tigris and in Mari, respectively, until the older of the two, Ishme-Dagan, succeeded his father on the throne. Through the archive of correspondence in the palace at Mari, scholars are particularly well informed about Shamshi-Adad’s reign and many aspects of his personality. Shamshi-Adad’s state had a common border for some time with… Babylonia… Soon after Shamshi-Adad’s death, Mari broke away, regaining its independence under an Amorite dynasty that had been living there for generations; in the end, Hammurabi conquered and destroyed Mari. After Ishme-Dagan’s death, Assyrian history is lost sight of for more than 100 years.
Very little can be said about northern Assyria during the 2nd millennium BCE. Information on the old capital, Ashur, located in the south of the country, is somewhat more plentiful. The old lists of kings suggest that the same dynasty ruled continuously over Ashur from about 1600. All the names of the kings are given, but little else is known about Ashur before 1420. Almost all the princes had Akkadian names, and it can be assumed that their sphere of influence was rather small. Although Assyria belonged to the kingdom of the Mitanni [Hurrians] for a long time, it seems that Ashur retained a certain autonomy. Located close to the boundary with Babylonia, it played that empire off against Mitanni whenever possible. Puzur-Ashur III concluded a border treaty with Babylonia about 1480, as did Ashur-bel-nisheshu about 1405. Ashur-nadin-ahhe II (c. 1392–c. 1383) was even able to obtain support from Egypt, which sent him a consignment of gold.
Ashur-uballit I (c. 1354 – c. 1318) was at first subject to King Tushratta of Mitanni. After 1340, however, he attacked Tushratta, presumably together with Suppiluliumas I of the Hittites. Taking away from Mitanni parts of northeastern Mesopotamia, Ashur-uballiṭ now called himself “Great King” and socialized with the king of Egypt on equal terms, arousing the indignation of the king of Babylonia. Ashur-uballiṭ was the first to name Assyria the Land of Ashur, because the old name, Subartu, was often used in a derogatory sense in Babylonia. He ordered his short inscriptions to be partly written in the Babylonian dialect rather than the Assyrian, since this was considered refined.
Marrying his daughter to a Babylonian, he intervened there energetically when Kassite nobles murdered his grandson. Future generations came to consider him rightfully as the real founder of the Assyrian empire. His son Enlil-nirari (c. 1326–c. 1318) also fought against Babylonia. Arik-den-ili (c. 1308–c. 1297) turned westward, where he encountered Semitic tribes of the so-called Akhlamu group.
Still greater successes were achieved by Adad-nirari I (c. 1295–c. 1264). Defeating the Kassite king Nazimaruttash, he forced him to retreat. After that he defeated the kings of Mitanni, first Shattuara I, then Wasashatta. This enabled him for a time to incorporate all Mesopotamia into his empire as a province, although in later struggles he lost large parts to the Hittites. Adad-nirari’s inscriptions were more elaborate than those of his predecessors and were written in the Babylonian dialect. In them he declares that he feels called to these wars by the gods, a statement that was to be repeated by other kings after him. Assuming the old title of great king, he called himself “King of All.” He enlarged the temple and the palace in Ashur and also developed the fortifications there, particularly at the banks of the Tigris River. He worked on large building projects in the provinces.
His son Shalmaneser I (Shulmanu-asharidu; c. 1263–c. 1234) attacked Uruatru (later called Urartu) [refer Chapter XVII Lud] in southern Armenia, which had allegedly broken away. Shattuara II of Hanigalbat, however, put him into a difficult situation, cutting his forces off from their water supplies. With courage born of despair, the Assyrians fought themselves free. They then set about reducing what was left of the Mitanni kingdom into an Assyrian province. The king claimed to have blinded 14,400 enemies in one eye – psychological warfare of a similar kind was used more and more as time went by. The Hittites tried in vain to save Hanigalbat. Together with the Babylonians they fought a commercial war against Ashur for many years. Like his father, Shalmaneser was a great builder. At the juncture of the Tigris and Great Zab rivers, he founded a strategically situated second capital, Kalakh (biblical Calah; modern Nimrud).
His son was Tukulti-Ninurta (c. 1233–c. 1197), the Ninus of Greek legends. Gifted but extravagant, he made his nation a great power. He carried off thousands of Hittites from eastern Anatolia. He fought particularly hard against Babylonia, deporting Kashtiliash IV to Assyria. When the Babylonians rebelled again, he plundered the temples in Babylon, an act regarded as a sacrilege, even in Assyria. The relationship between the king and his capital deteriorated steadily. For this reason the king began to build a new city, Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, on the other side of the Tigris River. Ultimately, even his sons rebelled against him and laid siege to him in his city; in the end he was murdered. His victorious wars against Babylonia were glorified in an epic poem, but his empire broke up soon after his death. Assyrian power declined for a time, while that of Babylonia rose. Assyria had suffered under the oppression of both the Hurrians and the Mitanni kingdom. Its struggle for liberation and the bitter wars that followed had much to do with its development into a military power.
In his capital of Ashur, the king depended on the citizen class and the priesthood, as well as on the landed nobility that furnished him with the war-chariot troops. The breeding of horses was carried on intensively; remnants of elaborate directions for their training are extant. After a period of decline following Tukulti-Ninurta I, Assyria was consolidated and stabilized under Ashur-dan I [1178-1133 BCE] and Ashur-resh-ishi I (c. 1133–c. 1116). Several times forced to fight against Babylonia, the latter was even able to defend himself against an attack by Nebuchadrezzar I. According to the inscriptions, most of his building efforts were in Nineveh, rather than in the old capital of Ashur. His son Tiglath-pileser I (Tukulti-apil-Esharra; (c. 1115–c. 1077) raised the power of Assyria to new heights.
First he turned against a large army of the Mushki that had entered into southern Armenia from Anatolia, defeating them decisively. After this, he forced the small Hurrian states of southern Armenia to pay him tribute. Trained in mountain warfare themselves and helped by capable pioneers, the Assyrians were now able to advance far into the mountain regions. Their main enemies were the Aramaeans… whose many small states often combined against the Assyrians. Tiglath-pileser I also went to Syria and even reached the Mediterranean, where he took a sea voyage. After 1100 these campaigns led to conflicts with Babylonia. Tiglath-pileser conquered northern Babylonia and plundered Babylon, without decisively defeating Marduk-nadin-ahhe. In his own country the king paid particular attention to agriculture and fruit growing, improved the administrative system, and developed more thorough methods of training scribes.
Three of his sons reigned after Tiglath-pileser, including Ashur-bel-kala (c. 1074–c. 1057). Like his father, he fought in southern Armenia and against the Aramaeans with Babylonia as his ally. Disintegration of the empire could not be delayed, however. The grandson of Tiglath-pileser, Ashurnasirpal I (c. 1050–c. 1032), was sickly and unable to do more than defend Assyria proper against his enemies. Fragments of three of his prayers to Ishtar are preserved; among them is a penitential prayer in which he wonders about the cause of so much adversity. Referring to his many good deeds but admitting his guilt at the same time, he asks for forgiveness and health. According to the king, part of his guilt lay in neglecting to teach his subjects the fear of god. After him, little is known for 100 years.
State and society during the time of Tiglath-pileser were not essentially different from those of the 13th century. Collections of laws, drafts, and edicts of the court exist that go back as far as the 14th century BCE. Presumably, most of these remained in effect. One tablet defining the marriage laws shows that the social position of women in Assyria was lower than in Babylonia or Israel or among the Hittites. A man was allowed to send away his wife at his own pleasure with or without divorce money. In the case of adultery, he was permitted to kill or maim her. Outside her house the woman was forced to observe many restrictions, such as the wearing of a veil. It is not clear whether these regulations carried the weight of law, but they seem to have represented a reaction against practices that were more favourable to women.
Two somewhat older marriage contracts, for example, granted equal rights to both partners, even in divorce. The women of the king’s harem were subject to severe punishment, including beating, maiming, and death, along with those who guarded and looked after them. The penal laws of the time were generally more severe in Assyria than in other countries… The death penalty was not uncommon. In less serious cases the penalty was forced labour after flogging. In certain cases there was trial by ordeal. One tablet treats the subject of landed property rights. Offences against the established boundary lines called for extremely severe punishment. A creditor was allowed to force his debtor to work for him, but he could not sell him.
The greater part of Assyrian literature was either taken over from Babylonia or written by the Assyrians in the Babylonian dialect, who modeled their works on Babylonian originals. The Assyrian dialect was used in legal documents, court and temple rituals, and collections of recipes – as, for example, in directions for making perfumes. A new art form was the picture tale: a continuing series of pictures carved on square stelae of stone. The pictures, showing war or hunting scenes, begin at the top of the stela and run down around it, with inscriptions under the pictures explaining them. These and the finely cut seals show that the fine arts of Assyria were beginning to surpass those of Babylonia. Architecture and other forms of the monumental arts also began a further development, such as the double temple with its two towers (ziggurat). Colourful enameled tiles were used to decorate the facades.
The most important factor in the history of Mesopotamia in the 10th century was the continuing threat from the Aramaean[s]. Again and again, the kings of both Babylonia and Assyria were forced to repel their invasions. Even though the Aramaeans were not able to gain a foothold in the main cities, there are evidences of them in many rural areas. Ashur-dan II (934–912) succeeded in suppressing the Aramaeans and the mountain people, in this way stabilizing the Assyrian boundaries. He reintroduced the use of the Assyrian dialect in his written records.
Adad-nirari II (c. 911–891) left detailed accounts of his wars and his efforts to improve agriculture. He led six campaigns against Aramaean intruders from northern Arabia. In two campaigns against Babylonia he forced Shamash-mudammiq (c. 930–904) to surrender extensive territories. Shamash-mudammiq was murdered, and a treaty with his successor, Nabu-shum-ukin (c. 904–888), secured peace for many years. Tukulti-Ninurta II (c. 890–884), the son of Adad-nirari II, preferred Ninveh to Ashur. He fought campaigns in southern Armenia. He was portrayed on stelae in blue and yellow enamel in the late Hittite style, showing him under a winged sun – a theme adopted from Egyptian art.
His son Ashurnasirpal II (883–859) continued the policy of conquest and expansion. He left a detailed account of his campaigns, which were impressive in their cruelty. Defeated enemies were impaled, flayed, or beheaded in great numbers. Mass deportations, however, were found to serve the interests of the growing empire better than terror. Through the systematic exchange of native populations, conquered regions were denationalized.
The result was a submissive, mixed population in which the Aramaean element became the majority. This provided the labour force for the various public works in the metropolitan centres of the Assyrian empire. Ashurnasirpal II rebuilt Kalakh, founded by Shalmaneser I, and made it his capital. Ashur remained the centre of the worship of the god Ashur—in whose name all the wars of conquest were fought. A third capital was Nineveh. [Recall the Russians have moved their capitals from Novgorod, Kiev, St Petersburg (Leningrad) and Moscow].
Ashurnasirpal II was the first to use cavalry units to any large extent in addition to infantry and war-chariot troops. He also was the first to employ heavy, mobile battering rams and wall breakers in his sieges. The campaigns of Ashurnasirpal II led him mainly to southern Armenia and Mesopotamia.
After a series of heavy wars, he incorporated Mesopotamia as far as the Euphrates River. A campaign to Syria encountered little resistance. There was no great war against Babylonia. Ashurnasirpal, like other Assyrian kings, may have been moved by religion not to destroy Babylonia, which had almost the same gods as Assyria. Both empires must have profited from mutual trade and cultural exchange. The Babylonians, under the energetic Nabu-apla-iddina (c. 887–855) attacked the Aramaeans in southern Mesopotamia… Ashurnasirpal, so brutal in his wars, was able to inspire architects, structural engineers, and artists and sculptors to heights never before achieved. He built and enlarged temples and palaces in several cities. His most impressive monument was his own palace in Kalakh, covering a space of 269,000 square feet (25,000 square metres). Hundreds of large limestone slabs were used in murals in the staterooms and living quarters. [Recall Pul or Pulu, is a well-known Assyrian name, which includes the meaning ‘limestone’ or ‘block of limestone’].
Most of the scenes were done in relief, but painted murals also have been found. Most of them depict mythological themes and symbolic fertility rites, with the king participating. Brutal war pictures were aimed to discourage enemies. The chief god of Kalakh was Ninurta, a god of war and the hunt. The tower of the temple dedicated to Ninurta also served as an astronomical observaotory. Kalakh soon became the cultural centre of the empire. Ashurnasirpal claimed to have entertained 69,574 guests at the opening ceremonies of his palace.
The son and successor of Ashurnasirpal was Shalmaneser III (858–824). His father’s equal in both brutality and energy, he was less realistic in his undertakings. His inscriptions, in a peculiar blend of Assyrian and Babylonian, record his considerable achievements but are not always able to conceal his failures. His campaigns were directed mostly against Syria. While he was able to conquer northern Syria and make it a province, in the south he could only weaken the strong state of Damascus and was unable, even after several wars, to eliminate it. In 841 he laid unsuccessful siege to Damascus. Also in 841 King Jehu of Israel was forced to pay tribute. In his invasion of Cilicia, Shalmaneser had only partial success. The same was true of the kingdom of Urartu in Armenia, from which, however, the troops returned with immense quantities of lumber and building stone.
The king and, in later years, the general Dayyan-Ashur went several times to western Iran, where they found such states as Mannai in northwestern Iran and, farther away in the southeast, the Persians. They also encountered the Medes during these wars. Horse tribute was collected.
In Babylonia, Marduk-zakir-shumi I ascended the throne about the year 855. His brother Marduk-bel-usati rebelled against him, and in 851 the king was forced to ask Shalmaneser for help. Shalmaneser was only too happy to oblige; when the usurper had been finally eliminated (850), Shalmaneser went to southern Babylonia, which at that time was almost completely dominated by Aramaeans. There he encountered, among others, the Chaldeans, mentioned for the first time in 878 BCE, who were to play a leading role in the history of later times; Shalmaneser made them tributaries.
During his long reign he built temples, palaces, and fortifications in Assyria as well as in the other capitals of his provinces. His artists created many statues and stelae. Among the best known is the Black Obelisk, which includes a picture of Jehu of Israel paying tribute. In the last four years of the reign of Shalmaneser, the crown prince Ashur-da’in-apla led a rebellion. The old king appointed his younger son Shamshi-Adad as the new crown prince. Forced to flee to Babylonia, Shamshi-Adad V (823–811) finally managed to regain the kingship with the help of Marduk-zakir-shumi I under humiliating conditions. As king he campaigned with varying success in southern Armenia and Azerbaijan, later turning against Babylonia. He won several battles against the Babylonian kings Marduk-balassu-iqbi and Baba-aha-iddina (about 818–12) and pushed through to Chaldea. Babylonia remained independent, however.
Shamshi-Adad V died while Adad-nirari III (810–783) was still a minor. His Babylonian mother, Sammu-ramat, took over the regency, governing with great energy until 806. The Greeks, who called her Semiramis, credited her with legendary accomplishments, but historically little is known about her. Adad-nirari later led several campaigns against the Medes and also against Syria and Palestine. In 804 he reached Gaza, but Damascus proved invincible. He also fought in Babylonia, helping to restore order in the north. Shalmaneser IV (c. 783–773) fought against Urartu [Lud], then at the height of its power under King Argishti (c. 780–755). He successfully defended eastern Mesopotamia against attacks from Armenia. On the other hand, he lost most of Syria after a campaign against Damascus in 773. The reign of Ashur-dan III (772–755) was shadowed by rebellions and by epidemics of plague. Of Ashur-nirari V (754–746) little is known.
In Assyria the feudal structure of society remained largely unchanged. Many of the conquered lands were combined to form large provinces. The governors of these provinces sometimes acquired considerable independence, particularly under the weaker monarchs after Adad-nirari III. Some of them even composed their own inscriptions. The influx of displaced peoples into the cities of Assyria created large metropolitan centres. The spoils of war, together with an expanding trade, favoured the development of a well-to-do commercial class. The dense population of the cities gave rise to social tensions that only the strong kings were able to contain.
A number of the former capitals of the conquered lands remained important as capitals of provinces. There was much new building. A standing occupational force was needed in the provinces, and these troops grew steadily in proportion to the total military forces. There are no records on the training of officers or on military logistics. The civil service also expanded, the largest administrative body being the royal court, with thousands of functionaries and craftsmen in the several residential cities.
The cultural decline about the year 1000 was overcome during the reigns of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser III. The arts in particular experienced a tremendous resurgence. Literary works continued to be written in Assyrian and were seldom of great importance. The literature that had been taken over from Babylonia was further developed with new writings, although one can rarely distinguish between works written in Assyria and works written in Babylonia. In religion, the official cults of Ashur and Ninurta continued, while the religion of the common people went its separate way.
For no other period of Assyrian history is there an abundance of sources comparable to those available for the interval from roughly 745 to 640. Aside from the large number of royal inscriptions, about 2,400 letters, most of them more or less fragmentary, have been published. Usually the senders and recipients of these letters are the king and high government officials. Among them are reports from royal agents about foreign affairs and letters about cultic matters. Treaties, oracles, queries to the sun god about political matters, and prayers of or for kings contain a great deal of additional information. Last but certainly not least are paintings and wall reliefs, which are often very informative.
The decline of Assyrian power after 780 was notable; Syria and considerable lands in the north were lost. A military coup deposed King Ashur-nirari V and raised a general to the throne. Under the name of Tiglath-pileser III (745–727), he brought the empire to its greatest expanse. He reduced the size of the provinces in order to break the partial independence of the governors. He also invalidated the tax privileges of cities such as Ashur and Harran in order to distribute the tax load more evenly over the entire realm. Military equipment was improved substantially. In 746 he went to Babylonia to aid Nabu-nasir (747–734) in his fight against Aramaean tribes. Tiglath-pileser defeated the Aramaeans and then made visits to the large cities of Babylonia. There he tried to secure the support of the priesthood by patronizing their building projects. Babylonia retained its independence.
His next undertaking was to check Urartu [modern day Persians]. His campaigns in Azerbaijan were designed to drive a wedge between Urartu [Iran] and the Medes [Madai – Central Asian Republics]. In 743 he went to Syria, defeating there an army of Urartu. The Syrian city of Arpad, which had formed an alliance with Urartu, did not surrender so easily. It took Tiglath-pileser three years of siege to conquer Arpad, whereupon he massacred the inhabitants and destroyed the city. In 738 a new coalition formed against Assyria under the leadership of Sam’al (modern Zincirli) in northern Syria. It was defeated, and all the princes from Damascus to eastern Anatolia were forced to pay tribute. Another campaign in 735, this time directed against Urartu itself, was only partly successful.
In 734 Tiglath-pileser invaded southern Syria and the Philistine territories in Palestine, going as far as the Egyptian border. Damascus and Israel tried to organize resistance against him, seeking to bring Judah into their alliance. Ahaz of Judah, however, asked Tiglath-pileser for help. In 733 Tiglath-pileser devastated Israel and forced it to surrender large territories. In 732 he advanced upon Damascus, first devastating the gardens outside the city and then conquering the capital and killing the king, whom he replaced with a governor. The queen of southern Arabia, Samsil, was now obliged to pay tribute, being permitted in return to use the harbour of the city of Gaza, which was in Assyrian hands.
The death of King Nabonassar of Babylonia caused a chaotic situation to develop there, and the Aramaean Ukin-zer crowned himself king. In 731 Tiglath-pileser fought and beat him and his allies, but he did not capture Ukin-zer until 729. This time he did not appoint a new king for Babylonia but assumed the crown himself under the name Pulu (Pul in the Hebrew Bible). In his old age he abstained from further campaigning, devoting himself to the improvement of his capital, Kalakh. He rebuilt the palace of Shalmaneser III, filled it with treasures from his wars, and decorated the walls with bas-reliefs. The latter were almost all of warlike character, as if designed to intimidate the onlooker with their presentation of gruesome executions. These pictorial narratives on slabs, sometimes painted, have also been found in Syria, at the sites of several provincial capitals of ancient Assyria.
Tiglath-pileser was succeeded by his son Shalmaneser V (726–722), who continued the policy of his father. As king of Babylonia, he called himself Ululai. Almost nothing is known about his enterprises, since his successor destroyed all his inscriptions. The Hebrew Bible relates that he marched against Hoshea of Israel in 724 after Hoshea had rebelled. He was probably assassinated during the long siege of Samaria. His successor maintained that the god Ashur had withdrawn his support of Shalmaneser V for acts of disrespect.
It was probably a younger brother of Shalmaneser who ascended the throne of Assyria in 721. Assuming the old name of Sharru-kin (Sargon in the Bible), meaning “Legitimate King,” he assured himself of the support of the priesthood and the merchant class by restoring privileges they had lost, particularly the tax exemptions of the great temples. The change of sovereign in Assyria triggered another crisis in Babylonia.
An Aramaean prince from the south, Marduk-apal-iddina II (the biblical Merodach-Baladan), seized power in Babylon in 721 and was able to retain it until 710 with the help of Humbanigash I of Elam. A first attempt by Sargon to recover Babylonia miscarried when Elam defeated him in 721. During the same year the protracted siege of Samaria was brought to a close. The Samarian upper class was deported, and Israel became an Assyrian province. Samaria was repopulated with Syrians and Babylonians. Judah remained independent by paying tribute. In 720 Sargon squelched a rebellion in Syria that had been supported by Egypt. Then he defeated both Hanunu of Gaza and an Egyptian army near the Egyptian border. In 717 and 716 he campaigned in northern Syria, making the hitherto independent state of Carchemish one of his provinces.
He also went to Cilicia in an effort to prevent further encroachments of the Phrygians under King Midas (Assyrian: Mita).
In order to protect his ally, the state of Mannai, in Azerbaijan, Sargon embarked on a campaign in Iran in 719 and incorporated parts of Media as provinces of his empire; however, in 716 another war became necessary. At the same time, he was busy preparing a major attack against Urartu. Under the leadership of the crown prince Sennacherib, armies of agents infiltrated Urartu, which was also threatened from the north by the Cimmerians.
Many of their messages and reports have been preserved. The longest inscription ever composed by the Assyrians about a year’s enterprise (430 very long lines) is dedicated to this Urartu campaign of 714. Phrased in the style of a first report to the god Ashur, it is interspersed with stirring descriptions of natural scenery. The strong points of Urartu must have been well fortified. Sargon tried to avoid them by going through the province of Mannai and attacking the Median principalities on the eastern side of Lake Urmia. In the meantime, hoping to surprise the Assyrian troops, Rusa of Urartu had closed the narrow pass lying between Lake Urmia and Sahand Mount. Sargon, anticipating this, led a small band of cavalry in a surprise charge that developed into a great victory for the Assyrians. Rusa fled and died. The Assyrians pushed forward, destroying all the cities, fortifications, and even irrigation works of Urartu. They did not conquer Tushpa (the capital) but took possession of the mountain city of Musasir. The spoils were immense. The following years saw only small campaigns in Media and eastern Anatolia and against Ashdod, in Palestine. King Midas of Phrygia and some cities on Cyprus were quite ready to pay tribute.
Sargon was now free to settle accounts with Marduk-apal-iddina of Babylonia. Abandoned by his ally Shutruk-Nahhunte II of Elam, Marduk-apal-iddina found it best to flee, first to his native land on the Persian Gulf and later to Elam. Because the Aramaean prince had made himself very unpopular with his subjects, Sargon was hailed as the liberator of Babylonia. He complied with the wishes of the priesthood and at the same time put down the Aramaean nobility. He was satisfied with the modest title of governor of Babylonia.
At first Sargon resided in Kalakh, but he then decided to found an entirely new capital north of Nineveh. He called the city Dur-Sharrukin – “Sargonsburg” (modern Khorsabad, Iraq). Reminiscent of a certain Peter the Great, who moved his capital from Moscow to St Petersburg in 1713!
He erected his palace on a high terrace in the northeastern part of the city. The temples of the main gods, smaller in size, were built within the palatial rectangle, which was surrounded by a special wall. This arrangement enabled Sargon to supervise the priests better than had been possible in the old, large temple complexes. One consequence of this design was that the figure of the king pushed the gods somewhat into the background, thereby gaining in importance. Desiring that his palace match the vastness of his empire, Sargon planned it in monumental dimensions.
Stone reliefs of two winged bulls with human heads flanked the entrance; they were much larger than anything comparable built before.
The walls were decorated with long rows of bas-reliefs showing scenes of war and festive processions. A comparison with a well-executed stela of the Babylonian king Marduk-apal-iddina shows that the fine arts of Assyria had far surpassed those of Babylonia. Sargon never completed his capital, though from 713 to 705 BCE tens of thousands of labourers and hundreds of artisans worked on the great city. Yet, with the exception of some magnificent buildings for public officials, only a few durable edifices were completed in the residential section. In 705, in a campaign in northwestern Iran, Sargon was ambushed and killed. His corpse remained unburied, to be devoured by birds of prey.
Sargon’s son Sennacherib, who had quarreled with his father, was inclined to believe with the priests that his death was a punishment from the neglected gods of the ancient capitals. Sennacherib (Assyrian: Sin-ahhe-eriba; 704–681) was well prepared for his position as sovereign. With him Assyria acquired an exceptionally clever and gifted, though often extravagant, ruler. His father, interestingly enough, is not mentioned in any of his many inscriptions. He left the new city of Dur-Sharrukin at once and resided in Ashur for a few years, until in 701 he made Nineveh his capital.
Sennacherib had considerable difficulties with Babylonia. In 703 Marduk-apal-iddina again crowned himself king with the aid of Elam, proceeding at once to ally himself with other enemies of Assyria. After nine months he was forced to withdraw when Sennacherib defeated a coalition army consisting of Babylonians, Aramaeans, and Elamites. The new puppet king of Babylonia was Bel-ibni (702–700), who had been raised in Assyria.
In 702 Sennacherib launched a raid into western Iran. In 701 there followed his most famous campaign, against Syria and Palestine, with the purpose of gaining control over the main road from Syria to Egypt in preparation for later campaigns against Egypt itself. When Sennacherib’s army approached, Sidon immediately expelled its ruler, Luli, who was hostile to Assyria. The other allies either surrendered or were defeated. An Egyptian army was defeated at Eltekeh in Judah. Sennacherib laid siege to Jersualem, and the king of Judah, Hezekiah, was called upon to surrender, but he did not comply. An Assyrian officer tried to incite the people of Jerusalem against Hezekiah, but his efforts failed. In view of the difficulty of surrounding a mountain stronghold such as Jerusalem, and of the minor importance of this town for the main purpose of the campaign, Sennacherib cut short the attack and left Palestine with his army, which according to the Hebrew Bible (2 Kings 19:35) had been decimated by an epidemic. The number of Assyrian dead is reported to have risen to 185,000. Nevertheless, Hezekiah is reported to have paid tribute to Sennacherib on at least one occasion.
Bel-ibni of Babylonia seceded from the union with Assyria in 700. Sennacherib moved quickly, defeating Bel-ibni and replacing him with Sennacherib’s oldest son, Ashur-nadin-shumi. The next few years were relatively peaceful. Sennacherib used this time to prepare a decisive attack against Elam, which time and again had supported Babylonian rebellions. The overland route to Elam had been cut off and fortified by the Elamites. Sennacherib had ships built in Syria and at Nineveh. The ships from Syria were moved on rollers from the Euphrates to the Tigris. The fleet sailed downstream and was quite successful in the lagoons of the Persian Gulf and along the southern coastline of Elam. The Elamites launched a counteroffensive by land, occupying Babylonia and putting a man of their choice on the throne. Not until 693 were the Assyrians again able to fight their way through to the north. Finally, in 689, Sennacherib had his revenge. Babylon was conquered and completely destroyed, the temples plundered and leveled. The waters of the Arakhtu Canal were diverted over the ruins, and the inner city remained almost totally uninhabited for eight years.
Even many Assyrians were indignant at this, believing that the Babylonian god Marduk must be grievously offended at the destruction of his temple and the carrying off of his image. Marduk was also an Assyrian deity, to whom many Assyrians turned in time off need. A political-theological propaganda campaign was launched to explain to the people that what had taken place was in accord with the wish of most of the gods.
A story was written in which Marduk, because of a transgression, was captured and brought before a tribunal. Only a part of the commentary to this botched piece of literature is extant. Even the great poem of the creation of the world, the Enuma relish, was altered: the god Marduk was replaced by the god Ashur. Sennacherib’s boundless energies brought no gain to his empire, however, and probably weakened it. The tenacity of this king can be seen in his building projects; for example, when Nineveh needed water for irrigation, Sennacherib had his engineers divert the waters of a tributary of the Great Zab River. The canal had to cross a valley at Jerwan. An aqueduct was constructed, consisting of about two million blocks of limestone, with five huge, pointed archways over the brook in the valley. The bed of the canal on the aqueduct was sealed with cement containing magnesium. Parts of this aqueduct are still standing today. Sennacherib wrote of these and other technological accomplishments in minute detail, with illustrations.
Sennacherib built a huge palace in Nineveh, adorned with reliefs, some of them depicting the transport of colossal bull statues by water and by land. Many of the rooms were decorated with pictorial narratives in bas-relief telling of war and of building activities. Considerable advances can be noted in artistic execution, particularly in the portrayal of landscapes and animals. Outstanding are the depictions of the battles in the lagoons, the life in the military camps, and the deportations. In 681 BCE there was a rebellion. Sennacherib was assassinated by one or two of his sons in the temple of the god Ninurta at Kalakh. This god, along with the god Marduk, had been badly treated by Sennacherib, and the event was widely regarded as punishment of divine origin.
Ignoring the claims of his older brothers, an imperial council appointed Esarhaddon (Ashur-aha-iddina; 680–669) as Sennacherib’s successor. The choice is all the more difficult to explain in that Esarhaddon, unlike his father, was friendly toward the Babylonians. It can be assumed that his energetic and designing mother, Zakutu (Naqia), who came from Syria or Judah, used all her influence on his behalf to override the national party of Assyria.
The theory that he was a partner in plotting the murder of his father is rather improbable; at any rate, he was able to procure the loyalty of his father’s army. His brothers had to flee to Urartu. In his inscriptions, Esarhaddon always mentions both his father and grandfather.
Defining the destruction of Babylon explicitly as punishment by the god Marduk, the new king soon ordered the reconstruction of the city. He referred to himself only as governor of Babylonia and through his policies obtained the support of the cities of Babylonia. At the beginning of his reign the Aramaean tribes were still allied with Elam against him, but Urtaku of Elam (675–664) signed a peace treaty and freed him for campaigning elsewhere. In 679 he stationed a garrison at the Egyptian border, because Egypt, under the Ethiopian king Taharqa, was planning to intervene in Syria.
He put down with great severity a rebellion of the combined forces of Sidon, Tyre, and other Syrian cities. The time was ripe to attack Egypt, which was suffering under the rule of the Ethiopians [Cush] and was by no means a united country. Esarhaddon’s first attempt in 674–673 miscarried. In 671 BCE, however, his forces took Memphis, the Egyptian capital. Assyrian consultants were assigned to assist the princes of the 22 provinces, their main duty being the collection of tribute.
Occasional threats came from the mountainous border regions of eastern Anatolia and Iran. Pushed forward by the Scythians, the Cimmerians in northern Iran and Transcaucasia tried to gain a foothold in Syria and western Iran. Esarhaddon allied himself with the Scythian king Partatua by giving him one of his daughters in marriage. In so doing he checked the movement of the Cimmerians. Nevertheless, the apprehensions of Esarhaddon can be seen in his many offerings, supplications, and requests to the sun god. These were concerned less with his own enterprises than with the plans of enemies and vassals and the reliability of civil servants. The priestesses of Ishtar had to reassure Esarhaddon constantly by calling out to him, “Do not be afraid.” Previous kings, as far as is known, had never needed this kind of encouragement.
At home Esarhaddon was faced with serious difficulties from factions in the court. His oldest son had died early. The national party suspected his second son, Shamash-shum-ukin, of being too friendly with the Babylonians; he may also have been considered unequal to the task of kingship. His third son, Ashurbanipal, was given the succession in 672, Shamash-shum-ukin remaining crown prince of Babylonia. This arrangement caused much dissension, and some farsighted civil servants warned of disastrous effects. Nevertheless, the Assyrian nobles, priests, and city leaders were sworn to just such an adjustment of the royal line; even the vassal princes had to take very detailed oaths of allegiance to Ashurbanipal, with many curses against perjurers.
Another matter of deep concern for Esarhaddon was his failing health. He regarded eclipses of the moon as particularly alarming omens, and, in order to prevent a fatal illness from striking him at these times, he had substitute kings chosen who ruled during the three eclipses that occurred during his 12-year reign.
The replacement kings died or were put to death after their brief term of office. During his off-terms Esarhaddon called himself “Mister Peasant.” This practice implied that the gods could not distinguish between the real king and a false one – quite contrary to the usual assumptions of the religion. Esarhaddon enlarged and improved the temples in both Assyria and Babylonia. He also constructed a palace in Kalakh, using many of the picture slabs of Tiglath-pileser III. The works that remain are not on the level of those of either his predecessors or of Ashurbanipal. He died while on an expedition to put down a revolt in Egypt.
Although the death of his father occurred far from home, Ashurbanipal assumed the kingship as planned. He may have owed his fortunes to the intercession of his grandmother Zakutu, who had recognized his superior capacities. He tells of his diversified education by the priests and his training in armour-making as well as in other military arts.
He may have been the only king in Assyria with a scholarly background. As crown prince he also had studied the administration of the vast empire. The record notes that the gods granted him a record harvest during the first year of his reign. There were also good crops in subsequent years. During these first years he also was successful in foreign policy, and his relationship with his brother in Babylonia was good.
In 668 he put down a rebellion in Egypt and drove out King Taharqa, but in 664 the nephew of Taharqa, Tanutamon, gathered forces for a new rebellion. Ashurbanipal went to Egypt, pursuing the Ethiopian prince far into the south. His decisive victory moved Tyre and other parts of the empire to resume regular payments of tribute. Ashurbanipal installed Psamtik (Greek: Psammetichos) as prince over the Egyptian region of Sais. In 656 Psamtik dislodged the Assyrian garrisons with the aid of Carian and Ionian mercenaries, making Egypt again independent. Ashurbanipal did not attempt to reconquer it. A former ally of Assyria, Gyges of Lydia, had aided Psamtik in his rebellion. In return, Assyria did not help Gyges when he was attacked by the Cimmerians. Gyges lost his throne and his life. His son Ardys decided that the payment of tribute to Assyria was a lesser evil than conquest by the Cimmerians.
Graver difficulties loomed in southern Babylonia, which was attacked by Elam in 664. Another attack came in 653, whereupon Ashurbanipal sent a large army that decisively defeated the Elamites. Their king was killed, and some of the Elamite states were encouraged to secede. Elam was no longer strong enough to assume an active part on the international scene. This victory had serious consequences for Babylonia. Shamash-shum-ukin had grown weary of being patronized by his domineering brother. He formed a secret alliance in 656 with the Iranians, Elamites, Aramaeans, Arabs, and Egyptians, directed against Ashurbanipal. The withdrawal of defeated Elam from this alliance was probably the reason for a premature attack by Shamash-shum-ukin at the end of the year 652, without waiting for the promised assistance from Egypt.
Ashurbanipal, taken by surprise, soon pulled his troops together. The Babylonian army was defeated, and Shamash-shum-ukin was surrounded in his fortified city of Babylon. His allies were not able to hold their own against the Assyrians.
Reinforcements of Arabian camel troops also were defeated. The city of Babylon was under siege for three years. It fell in 648 amid scenes of horrible carnage, Shamash-shum-ukin dying in his burning palace. After 648 the Assyrians made a few punitive attacks on the Arabs, breaking the forward thrust of the Arab tribes for a long time to come. The main objective of the Assyrians, however, was a final settlement of their relations with Elam. The refusal of Elam in 647 to extradite an Aramaean prince was used as pretext for a new attack that drove deep into its territory. The assault on the solidly fortified capital of Susa followed, probably in 646. The Assyrians destroyed the city, including its temples and palaces. Vast spoils were taken. As usual, the upper classes of the land were exiled to Assyria and other parts of the empire, and Elam became an Assyrian province. Assyria had now extended its domain to southwestern Iran. Cyrus I of Persia sent tribute and hostages to Nineveh, hoping perhaps to secure protection for his borders with Media. Little is known about the last years of Ashurbanipal’s reign.
Ashurbanipal left more inscriptions than any of his predecessors. His campaigns were not always recorded in chronological order but clustered in groups according to their purpose. The accounts were highly subjective. One of his most remarkable accomplishments was the founding of the great palace library in Nineveh (modern Kuyunjik), which is today one of the most important sources for the study of ancient Mesopotamia. The king himself supervised its construction. Important works were kept in more than one copy, some intended for the king’s personal use. The work of arranging and cataloging drew upon the experience of centuries in the management of collections in huge temple archives such as the one in Ashur. In his inscriptions Ashurbanipal tells of becoming an enthusiastic hunter of big game, acquiring a taste for it during a fight with marauding lions. In his palace at Nineveh the long rows of hunting scenes show what a masterful artist can accomplish in bas-relief; with these reliefs Assyrian art reached its peak. In the series depicting his wars, particularly the wars fought in Elam, the scenes are overloaded with human figures. Those portraying the battles with the Arabian camel troops are magnificent in execution.
One reason for the durability of the Assyrian empire was the practice of deporting large numbers of people from conquered areas and resettling others in their place. This kept many of the conquered nationalities from regaining their power. Equally important was the installation in conquered areas of a highly developed civil service under the leadership of trained officers. The highest ranking civil servant carried the title of tartan, a Hurrian word. The tartans also represented the king during his absence. In descending rank were the palace overseer, the main cupbearer, the palace administrator, and the governor of Assyria. The generals often held high official positions, particularly in the provinces. The civil service numbered about 100,000, many of them former inhabitants of subjugated provinces. Prisoners became slaves but were later often freed.
No laws are known for the empire, although documents point to the existence of rules and standards for justice . Those who broke contracts were subject to severe penalties, even in cases of minor importance: the sacrifice of a son or the eating of a pound of wool and drinking of a great deal of water afterward, which led to a painful death. The position of women was inferior, except for the queen and some priestesses.
As yet there are no detailed studies of the economic situation during this period. The landed nobility still played an important role, in conjunction with the merchants in the cities. The large increase in the supply of precious metals – received as tribute or taken as spoils – did not disrupt economic stability in many regions. Stimulated by the patronage of the kings and the great temples, the arts and crafts flourished during this period. The policy of resettling Aramaeans and other conquered peoples in Assyria brought many talented artists and artisans into Assyrian cities, where they introduced new styles and techniques. High-ranking provincial civil servants, who were often very powerful, saw to it that the provincial capitals also benefited from this economic and cultural growth.
Harran became the most important city in the western part of the empire; in the neighbouring settlement of Huzirina (modern Sultantepe, in northern Syria), the remains of an important library have been discovered. Very few Aramaic texts from this period have been found; the climate of Mesopotamia is not conducive to the preservation of the papyrus and parchment on which these texts were written. There is no evidence that a literary tradition existed in any of the other languages spoken within the borders of the Assyrian empire at this time, except in peripheral areas of Syria and Palestine.
Culturally and economically, Babylonia lagged behind Assyria in this period. The wars with Assyria – particularly the catastrophic defeats of 689 and 648 – together with many smaller tribal wars disrupted trade and agricultural production. The great Babylonian temples fared best during this period, since they continued to enjoy the patronage of the Assyrian monarchs. Only a few documents from the temples have been preserved, however. There is evidence that the scribal schools continued to operate, and “Sumerian” inscriptions were even composed for Shamash-shum-ukin. In comparison with the Assyrian developments, the pictorial arts were neglected, and Babylonian artists may have found work in Assyria.
During this period people began to use the names of ancestors as a kind of family name; this increase in family consciousness is probably an indication that the number of old families was growing smaller. By this time the process of “Aramaicization” had reached even the oldest cities of Babylonia and Assyria. Apparently this era was not very fruitful for literature either in Babylonia or in Assyria. In Assyria numerous royal inscriptions, some as long as 1,300 lines, were among the most important texts; some of them were diverse in content and well composed. Most of the hymns and prayers were written in the traditional style. Many oracles, often of unusual content, were proclaimed in the Assyrian dialect, most often by the priestesses of the goddess Ishtar of Arbela. In Assyria as in Babylonia, the beginnings of a real historical literature are observed; most of the authors have remained anonymous up to the present.
The many gods of the tradition were worshiped in Babylonia and Assyria in large and small temples, as in earlier times. Very detailed rituals regulated the sacrifices, and the interpretations of the ritual performances in the cultic commentaries were rather different and sometimes very strange. On some of the temple towers (ziggurats), astronomical observatories were installed.
The earliest of these may have been the observatory of the Ninurta temple at Kalakh in Assyria, which dates back to the 9th century BCE; it was destroyed with the city in 612. The most important observatory in Babylonia from about 580 was situated on the ziggurat Etemenanki, a temple of Marduk in Babylon. In Assyria the observation of the Sun, Moon, and stars had already reached a rather high level; the periodic recurrence of eclipses was established. After 600, astronomical observation and calculations developed steadily, and they reached their high point after 500, when Babylonian and Greek astronomers began their fruitful collaboration. Incomplete astronomical diaries, beginning in 652 and covering some 600 years, have been preserved. Few historical sources remain for the last 30 years of the Assyrian empire. There are no extant inscriptions of Ashurbanipal after 640 BCE, and the few surviving inscriptions of his successors contain only vague allusion to political matters.
In Babylonia the silence is almost total until 625 BCE, when the chronicles resume. The rapid downfall of the Assyrian empire was formerly attributed to military defeat, although it was never clear how the Medes and the Babylonians alone could have accomplished this. More recent work has established that after 635 a civil war occurred, weakening the empire so that it could no longer stand up against a foreign enemy. Ashurbanipal had twin sons. Ashur-etel-ilani was appointed successor to the throne, but his twin brother Sin-shar-ishkun did not recognize him. The fight between them and their supporters forced the old king to withdraw to Harran, in 632 at the latest, perhaps ruling from there over the western part of the empire until his death in 627. Ashur-etel-ilani governed in Assyria from about 633, but a general, Sin-shum-lisher, soon rebelled against him and proclaimed himself counter-king. Some years later (629?) Sin-shar-ishkun finally succeeded in obtaining the kingship. In Babylonian documents dates can be found for all three kings. To add to the confusion, until 626 there are also dates of Ashurbanipal and a king named Kandalanu. In 626 the Chaldean Nabopolassar (Nabu-apal-uṣur) revolted from Urek and occupied Babylon. There were several changes in government. King Ashur-etel-ilani was forced to withdraw to the west, where he died sometime after 625.
About the year 626 the Scythians laid waste to Syria and Palestine. In 625 the Medes became united under Cyaxares and began to conquer the Iranian provinces of Assyria. One chronicle relates of wars between Sin-shar-ishkun and Nabopolassar in Babylonia in 625-623. It was not long until the Assyrians were driven out of Babylonia. In 616 the Medes struck against Nineveh, but, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, were driven back by the Scythians. In 615, however, the Medes conquered Arrapkha (Kirkuk), and in 614 they took the old capital of Ashur, looting and destroying the city. Now Cyaxares and Nabopolassar made an alliance for the purpose of dividing Assyria. In 612 Kalakh and Nineveh succumbed to the superior strength of the allies. The revenge taken on the Assyrians was terrible: 200 years later Xenophon found the country still sparsely populated.
Sin-shar-ishkun, king of Assyria, found death in his burning palace. The commander of the Assyrian army in the west crowned himself king in the city of Harran, assuming the name of the founder of the empire, Ashur-uballiṭ II (611–609 BCE).
Ashur-uballiṭ had to face both the Babylonians and the Medes. They conquered Harran in 610, without, however, destroying the city completely. In 609 the remaining Assyrian troops had to capitulate. With this event Assyria disappeared from history. The great empires that succeeded it learned a great deal from the hated Assyrians, both in the arts and in the organization of their states.’
The double headed eagle, an ancient symbol of Assyria and their allies the Hittites – top. Most famously associated with the Byzantine Empire – bottom.
Czar Ivan III [1462-1505] instituted the black double-headed** eagle as an official emblem of the Russian state, for he was eager to create a link between Byzantium and Russia.
It featured as a design motif in the regalia of the Russian Imperial Court until the fall of the monarchy in 1917. In 1992 the Russian Federation restored it to the state coat of arms. In Russia, the double-headed eagle was accompanied by another national symbol: a horseman slaying a serpent with a spear, portrayed on a shield. The horseman is a symbol of Russia’s capital, Moscow, and usually represents St. George the Victorious. Notice the small saltire in the tail feathers, reminiscent of Scotland’s state flag. It is worthy to note that the horseman slaying a serpent is in eerie contrast to the tribe of Dan, who are described as being a serpent who bites the horse’s heels and bringing its rider down [Genesis 49:17]. We will have much more to learn about the tribe of Dan.
The coat of arms has changed throughout history, with the eagle changing from gold to black, and then back to its current gold. It has gained and lost the crowns over its heads. Currently, each head is topped with another crown floating between them, which once more symbolizes unity. In its talons, the eagle holds an orb and a scepter – symbols of power and authority. The current interpretation of the coat of arms is quite similar to those used in the Russian Empire. After the monarchy was overthrown in 1917, the eagle became white; then the Bolsheviks gave the bird a rest for about 70 years, replacing it with the hammer and sickle.
Prior to Asshur’s re-appearance as the Rus and after their demise as the Assyrian Empire, the descendants of Asshur had another lengthy period of preeminence as the rulers of the early period of the Eastern Roman Empire. Parallels with their Assyrian empire, Byzantine and the Soviet Union are: The use of Tzar or Czar [Csar], for their kings and the etymological link with Caesar, the rulers of the Roman empire. The family name of Romanov in Russia derived from the word Roman. The Russian alphabet remarkably resembles the Greek alphabet and its letters used by Byzantium. Russia’s state religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the most similar too, yet still distinct from Roman Catholicism. Assyria had a parallel system of worship to ancient Babylon, substituting their god Assur for the Babylonian Marduk.
Marduk is thought to be derived from amar-Utu, the ‘immortal son of Utu’ or ‘the bull calf of the sun god Utu.’ The double-headed** Sumerian sun god had the epithet Bel [Baal], meaning Lord. Marduk was also know as the storm god [refer Chapter XV Casluh & Caphtor]. Nimrod was revered as the god, Marduk. Salient points are that Marduk is associated with the planet Jupiter, also important in the Roman pantheon of gods. Marduk is often depicted as a man and his predominant symbol is the serpent dragon. Marduk ascended to great power after being chosen to lead the Annunaki gods during a cosmic civil war – the Angelic rebellion. Marduk was the god of the great Nebuchadnezzar II of Chaldea-Babylon.
Shamash was the Sumerian sun god, though Assur was also represented as the solar disc that appears frequently in Assyrian iconography. Typically, the symbol of Assur was a winged disc with horns and rippling rays either side a circle or wheel, suspended from wings, enclosing a warrior drawing a bow to discharge an arrow.
A comment online states: ‘An Assyrian standard… has the disc mounted on a bull’s head with horns. The upper part of the disc is occupied by a warrior, whose head, part of his bow, and the point of his arrow protrude from the circle. The rippling water rays are V-shaped, and two bulls, treading river-like rays, occupy the divisions thus formed. There are also two heads – a lion’s and a man’s – with gaping mouths, which may symbolize tempests, the destroying power of the sun, or the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates.
Jastrow regards the winged disc as “the purer and more genuine symbol of Ashur as a solar deity”. He calls it “a sun disc with protruding rays”, and says: “To this symbol the warrior with the bow and arrow was added – a despiritualization that reflects the martial spirit of the Assyrian empire.” Notice the depiction of Assur with an eagles head.
In the past, Assyria kindled an allied relationship with the Hittites to their west in Anatolia; later replicating this relationship, with the western leg of the Roman empire – the original founding Romans. Russia in modern times has kept a covert relationship with the Hittites. Financing in part, the 1917 Revolution and lending support after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In return, Russia has provided military technology to the modern day Hittites.
The Byzantine Empire the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces, when its capital was Constantinople – formerly Byzantium. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century CE and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural and military presence in Europe.
We learned with ancient Elam how its power faded, its people migrating and re-appearing as the Persians. Their original home and the people remaining, dwelling there are called Elam by historians, even though they were not originally Elamites. Similarly, portions of Asshur migrated northwards during the middle of the first millennium CE; gradually leaving their name Byzantium behind and re-surfacing as the Rus. The Russian peoples progressively growing bigger and stronger with subsequent waves of migrants, just as Byzantium grew weaker.
The name Byzantine Empire is a term created after the end of the realm, as its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire and to themselves as Romans. Though the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, historians confirm the difference in distinguishing Byzantium from its predecessor the Roman empire. For it was centred in Constantinople not Rome, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture and characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity not Roman Catholic.
Several events from the fourth to 6sixth centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire’s Greek east and Latin west diverged. Constantine I – whom we mentioned regarding the Council of Nicea and the Arian controversy – ruling from 306 to 337 CE, reorganised the empire, making Constantinople the new capital in 330 [again, an Asshurite proclivity] and legalising Christianity, giving it imperial preference. Under Theodosius I [379–395], Christianity officially became the formal state religion. In the reign of Heraclius [610–641], the Empire’s military and administration were restructured as was the adoption of Greek for official use in place of Latin.
The West had suffered more heavily from the instability of the third century CE and the distinction between the Hellenised East and the Latinised West persisted; becoming increasingly important in later centuries, leading to a gradual estrangement of the two Roman worlds. An early instance of the partition of the Empire occurred in 293 when Emperor Diocletian created a new administrative system the tetrarchy, to guarantee security in all endangered regions of the Empire. He associated himself with a co-emperor, Augustus and each co-emperor then adopted a young colleague given the title of Caesar to share in their rule and eventually to succeed the senior emperor. The tetrarchy was short-lived, collapsing in 313 with Constantine I reuniting the two administrative divisions of the Empire as sole Augustus.
Theodosius I was the last Emperor to rule both the Eastern and Western halves of the Empire. In 391 and 392 he issued a series of edicts banning pagan religion. Pagan festivals and sacrifices were banned, as was access to all pagan temples and places of worship.The last Olympic Games are believed to have been held in 393. In 395, Theodosius I bequeathed the imperial office jointly to his sons: Arcadius in the East and Honorius in the West, dividing Imperial administration. During the fifth century the Eastern empire was spared the difficulties faced by the West. It had a more established urban culture and greater financial resources, allowing it to placate invaders with tribute or pay foreign mercenaries.
For instance, to fend off the Huns, Theodosius had to pay an enormous annual tribute to Attila. After the fall of Attila, the Eastern Empire enjoyed a period of peace, while the Western Empire continued to deteriorate due to the expanding migration and invasions of the Germanic barbarians. The West’s end is usually dated 476 CE when the Germanic eastern Roman Foederati general Odoacer, deposed the Western Emperor Romulus Augustulus.
Previously we have looked at the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the correlation of the Medes with the Turkic-Mongol peoples – of Central Asia [refer Chapter IV Madai] – and the Persians with Turkey [refer Chapter XVIII Elam] both representing the chest and two arms of Silver. In Daniel 2:33, 40-43 NET, it says:
33 Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay. Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others. 41 In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. 42 In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile.
43 And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
It would be highly unusual to miss out the Assyrians, from the statue, as other major European powers are included as we shall discover. The two legs represent the division of the Roman Empire – as the two arms reflect the dual nature of the Medo-Persian empire. One leg is the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium and this leg are the descendants of Asshur – the modern Russians. We will also study the identity of the other leg. Some commentators believe the ten toes, represent a grouping of nations yet to occur, or ten rulers administering regions of the earth; even proposing a divisional split of nations from Western and Eastern Europe. The legs are of iron, being much stronger than the silver of the Medes and Persians, yet not as culturally sophisticated or resplendent.
Only the toes are stated as iron and clay, a mix that cannot fully meld or last. Judging from Daniel chapter seven, the possibility exists that the mixing could be between flesh and spirit, humans and Nephilim or between humankind and Angelic kind. This would be a formidable mix, though ultimately flawed in any capacity to endure. The days of Noah are to be repeated in the latter days and so this scenario, is worthy of consideration.
The genesis of Rome and its end are split into different periods, dependant on what stage of its civilisation is being referred to. Rome was officially founded circa 753 BCE. Two brothers and demigods – Romulus and Remus – are credited with founding Rome and it was allegedly ruled by seven kings during the Roman Kingdom until 509 BCE. It was then that the monarchy was replaced with elected magistrates and is known as the Roman Republic, lasting until 27 BCE with the establishment of the Roman Empire by Octavius, appointing himself Augustus – the first emperor. The empire divided in 395 CE and the Western branch ended when it fell in 476 CE with the Eastern branch ending 1453.
Arithmetically, it would seem that one leg is longer than the other in that the Roman Empire lasted from 27 BCE to 476 CE. Whereas the Byzantine Empire lasted from 395 to 1453 CE. If we compare the period of the Roman Republic and Empire from 509 BCE to 476 CE, it is 985 years. Similarly, if we consider the Byzantine Empire beginning when the Western fell from 476 to 1453 CE, we have 977 years. The legs would appear to actually match. Rome began its conquest of Greece at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BCE – the same year Rome defeated Carthage.
Dan 7:7, 17-28
New English Translation
7 “After these things, as I was watching in the night visions a fourth beast appeared – one dreadful, terrible, and very strong. It had two large rows of iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and anything that was left it trampled with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns.
17 ‘These large beasts, which are four in number, represent four kings who will arise from the earth. 18 The holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will take possession of the kingdom forever and ever.’
19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others. It was very dreadful, with two rows of iron teeth and bronze claws, and it devoured, crushed, and trampled anything that was left with its feet. 20 I also wanted to know the meaning of the ten horns on its head, and of that other horn that came up and before which three others fell. This was the horn that had eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things, whose appearance was more formidable than the others.21 While I was watching, that horn began to wage war against the holy ones and was defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days arrived and judgment was rendered in favor of the holy ones of the Most High. Then the time came for the holy ones to take possession of the kingdom.
23 “This is what he told me: ‘The fourth beast means that there will be a fourth kingdom on earth that will differ from all the other kingdoms. It will devour all the earth and will trample and crush it. 24 The ten horns mean that ten kings will arise from that kingdom. Another king will arise after them, but he will be different from the earlier ones. He will humiliate three kings. 25 He will speak words against the Most High. He will harass the holy ones of the Most High continually. His intention will be to change times established by law.The holy ones will be delivered into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
26 But the court will convene, and his ruling authority will be removed – destroyed and abolished forever! 27 Then the kingdom, authority, and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be delivered to the people of the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; all authorities will serve him and obey him.’ 28 “This is the conclusion of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts troubled me greatly, and the color drained from my face. But I kept the matter to myself.
Note the impact this prophecy had on a very righteous man, Daniel [Ezekiel 14:14]. The ‘changing times by law’ has been interpreted as manipulations of the calendar, so as to make it difficult for worshipers in keeping the true sabbath and holy days. We will study what the possible ramifications mean, in an additional appendix. Each empire lasted a longer period of time than its may predecessor. The fourth empire lasted considerably longer than the other three, in fact longer than all of them combined. Each empire included territory greater in size than its predecessor. It is thought by most Biblical prophecy scholars that the fourth empire is a system that still exists today, or is continuance of the Holy Roman empire as exhibited through the last millennia and a half by the supremacy of the Church at Rome, a type of modern Babylon – for the Church has had influential control over governments of Europe and the crowning of its kings.
The ten horns are viewed as successive rulers of the ‘Roman system’ with the little horn a future ruler. We will study this further in the following chapter. The fourth beast is certainly not like the ones before, such as the bear or ram of Medo-Persia. The fourth beast is more liken to a Tyrannosaurus rex or Xenomorph, something Daniel was not familiar with, yet inspired horror.
If we are dealing with a supernatural intruder, the little horn may try to actually alter or revise time scales in latter day events, so as to thwart the Son of Man’s return. The little horn equates to the Son of Perdition and the Man of Lawlessness. This entity fulfils the role of the false prophet, the second beast that worships the first beast. We will discuss this relationship further, in the following chapter.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-13
New Century Version
3 Do not let anyone fool you in any way. That day of the Lord will not come until the turning away from God happens and the Man of Evil, who is on his way to hell, appears. 4 He will be against and put himself above any so-called god or anything that people worship. And that Man of Evil will even go into God’s Temple and sit there and say that he is God.
5I told you when I was with you that all this would happen. Do you not remember? 6And now you know what is stopping that Man of Evil so he will appear at the right time. 7 The secret power of evil is already working in the world, but there is one who is stopping that power. And he will continue to stop it until he is taken out of the way.
8Then that Man of Evil will appear, and the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath that comes from his mouth and will destroy him with the glory of his coming. 9 The Man of Evil will come by the power of Satan. He will have great power, and he will do many different false miracles, signs, and wonders. 10 He will use every kind of evil to trick those who are lost. They will die, because they refused to love the truth. (If they loved the truth, they would be saved.) 11For this reason God sends them something powerful that leads them away from the truth so they will believe a lie. 12So all those will be judged guilty who did not believe the truth, but enjoyed doing evil.
13 Brothers and sisters, whom the Lord loves, God chose you from the beginning to be saved. So we must always thank God for you. You are saved by the Spirit that makes you holy and by your faith in the truth.
The term holy ones can refer to righteous angels as in Daniel 4:13, 17 and 23, the Creator as in Isaiah 6:3, as well as including true believers in the latter days.
1 Thessalonians 3:13
English Standard Version
… so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
2 Thessalonians 1:10
New Century Version
This will happen on the day when the Lord Jesus comes to receive glory because of his holy people. And all the people who have believed will be amazed at Jesus. You will be in that group, because you believed what we told you.
1 Peter 1:15-16
New English Translation
… but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”
The Rus Grand Principality of Kiev began in 882 and lasted until 1239. Led by Rurik, the Rus Vikings had ruled the northern Slavs from Novgorod – a region between present day St Petersburg and Moscow. Kiev was captured – according to legend – by Askold and Dir, two Rus boyars of high nobility. The settlement was on the main north-south trade route that was used by the Vikings to reach the rich markets of Constantinople; conquering Kiev meant controlling trade. They were soon dispossessed by a Rus prince by the name of Oleg, a kinsman of Rurik who then moved the capital to Kiev from Novgorod. By the eleventh century the word Rus was associated with the Principality of Kiev, while the term Varangian was common as a term for Scandinavians traveling the river routes.
The Rus are considered to have originated on the Roslagen or Rus-law seashore of Uppland. This is not universally accepted, though Roslagen adapted into Slavic easily becomes Rus. An alternative option for naming the Rus is that it may originate in the Proto-Finnic word for Swedish Scandinavians Ruotsi; a possible Finnic origin for Rurik’s name. Possibly this name was used by the Rus for themselves, or alternatively by the eastern Slavs who would soon be subjects of the Rus. Ruotsi is derived from ruskea, meaning light brown which is related to the old Russian rusi, for brown, hence the name Rus and also a Slavic word rusy – referring only to hair colour from dark ash-blond to light- brown – cognate with ryzhy, for red-haired.
The two main theories of origin are the Normanist, which places the Rus ancestrally as Northern Vikings trading and raiding on the river routes between the Baltic and the Black Seas from the eighth to eleventh centuries and the anti-Normanist explanation which places their origins as autochthonous in the region of the Carpathian Mountains with subsequent political development. There is merit to both theories which can be reconciled as the Assyrian descended peoples would have travelled from Asia Minor to the Carpathian Mountains and then onwards to Scandinavia. The Russian Haplogroups are most similar to Slavic peoples and the Finno-Ugric peoples of the Baltic.
There is some minor influence evidenced from Scandinavia and vice-versa. In the words of F Donald Logan: ‘… in 839, the Rus were Swedes; in 1043 the Rus were Slavs.’
The Primary Chronicle is a Slavonic language narrative account of Rus history compiled from a wide range of sources in Kiev at the start of the thirteenth century. Coincidently, the chronicle includes the texts of a series of Rus–Byzantine Treaties from 911, 945 and 971. The Rus–Byzantine Treaties give a valuable insight into the names of the Rus. Of the fourteen Rus signatories to the Treaty in 907, all had Norse names, though by the Rus-Byzantine Treaty in 945, some signatories of the Rus had Slavic names while the vast majority still had Norse names.
Other possible origins for the name Rus include, three early emperors of the Urartian Empire [refer Chapter XVII Lud] in the Caucasus, north of Assyria from the eighth to sixth centuries BCE; their names being Russa I [733-714 BCE], II and III, documented in cuneiform monuments. The ancient Sarmatian tribe of the Roxolani, from the Ossetic, ruhs ‘light’; the Russian rusyje volosy, ‘light-brown hair’ or Dahl’s dictionary definition of rus: ‘world, universe’, literally ‘white world, white light.’
From the Old Slavic name that meant ‘river-people’, tribes of fishermen and ploughmen settled near and navigated the rivers Dnieper, Don, Dniester and Western Dvina. The rus root is preserved in the modern Slavic and Russian words ‘ruslo’ for river-bed and rusalka, ‘water sprite’. From one of two rivers in the Ukraine near Kiev and Pereyaslav, Ros and Rusna, whose names are derived from a postulated Slavic term for water, akin to rosa for dew. Lastly, a postulated proto-Slavic word for bear, cognate with Greek arctos and Latin ursus. This is interesting as we hear of Russia described, as the Russian Bear.
A look at an atlas shows the outline of Russia and its likeness to a bear. The Russias were all the lands of the Rus, incorporating the principalities and states which had existed from the ninth century onwards.
Ivan Vasilyevich [the Terrible] ruled from 1547 to 1584 and spent a great deal of his reign fighting the Livonian Wars in an effort to conquer Old Livonia and North Estonia; expanding his new empire westwards, though the forces of Sweden, Lithuania and Poland were able to check Ivan, keeping him out. Ivan IV, known as Grozny the Terrible was the first Car of all the Russias and was a descendant of Theodora, a daughter of Sartaq, Khan of the Golden Horde.
Descendants of Rurik of Novgorod ruled the Rus from the late ninth century. Their rule was ended in the early seventeenth century by an interregnum period of civil war following the murder of Czar Dimitri I and his successor being deposed by the Seven Boyars, or nobles. The same nobles invited Sigismund III of Poland-Lithuania into Moscow in 1610 and elected his son, Wladyislaw as czar; but Wladyislaw was unable to take up the position due to his father’s opposition and the czarate continued to fight itself for three years without any czar as ruler at all. This was known by later generations as the Times of Troubles.
A prominent family, the Romanovs formed Russia’s second dynasty. Mikhail Romanov was descended from the mysterious Boyar, Andrei Ivanovich Kobyla. During the reign of Ivan IV, Koblya’s descendants via his son Feodor, became known as the Yakovlev family. A grandchild of one of them, Roman Yurievich Zakharyin-Yuriev, assumed a form of a clan name by adapting his first name, as the Romanovs or Romanoff [essentially meaning the clan or descendants of Roman]. Roman’s daughter, Anastasia Zakharyina would become the wife of Ivan IV in 1547, bringing the family great wealth and power.
Following the expulsion of the Poles in 1612, the crown was offered to several Rurik and Gedimin princes whilst a number of pretenders also sought to claim the throne. In the end the son of the highly respected Filaret Romanov was asked – the sixteen year-old Mikhail Romanov I, who ruled from 1613 to 1645 and the nephew of Czar Feodor I. Once he had been persuaded to accept by his mother Kseniya Ivanovna Shestova, he pursued a policy of emphasising family ties with the Ruriks.
Mikhail made sure that he sought the advice of the Assembly of the Land on important issues, thereby ensuring that the populace loved him and the nobility respected him. Michael ended the wars against Sweden and Poland-Lithunia, allowing the return of his father from exile. Filaret Romanov then assumed the administrative duties of Czar, without the trappings of power. Michael’s role was ceremonial until his father’s death in 1633. The direct line of Romanov rulers died out with Elizabeth Petrovna – the daughter of Peter the Great, she ruled from 1741 to 1762 – although the direct male line had already ended with the death of Peter II in 1730. A period of crisis followed her death until a suitable candidate was sought amongst various more distant relatives. In the end, a grandson of Peter I was found in the German House of Holstein-Gottorp, a branch of the House of Oldenburg.
Peter III [Karl Peter Ulrich] was the son from a marriage between Grand Duchess Anne, daughter of Peter I and Duke Charles-Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp. Acclaimed as a Romanov, the fact remains he began the line of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov which ruled Russia until 1917. As the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp he had an extra degree of interest in affairs in Germany – too much for some elements of the Russian nobility. Peter III planed an attack on Denmark in order to restore areas of Schleswig to his duchy, and thereby withdrawing Russian troops from the Seven Years’ War.
The former Soviet Union at the height of its power and territory, which in reality was a modern day Empire and reflective of the dictatorial and militaristic martial based civilisation of the mighty Assyrian Empires of the past.
In Europe, the Seven Years War was fought between an alliance of France, Russia, Sweden, Austria, and Saxony against Prussia, Hanover, and Great Britain from 1756 to 1763. The war had international interest, particularly as Britain and France were fighting one another for domination of North America and India. As such, it had been originally referred to as the first world war.
The plot to depose Peter III was led by his own wife. He was transported to captivity at Ropsha, where he died after only six months on the throne, in mysterious circumstances. Catherine Yekaterina became Czarina and is known in history, as Catherine II and the Great, ruling from 1762 until 1796. Catherine casts a long shadow over neighbouring lands during her reign. In 1762, she tightened Russian control of Livonia or Estonia in 1775 and in 1764, the imperial province of Novorossiya or New Russia was formed along the central northern area of the Black Sea coast – which is now part of Ukraine.
The province was a merging of several military districts and the Cossack Hetmanate in order to improve and increase Russian control of the region as part of the ongoing process of impinging on the Ottoman Empire.
In 1767, all of Alania fell under the Russian Empire’s rule as part of Catherine’s thrust southwards through the Caucasus Mountains to remove territories from Turkey’s influence. During 1768 till 1774 the First Russo-Turkish War was part of Catherine’s desire to secure the conquest of territory on Russia’s southern borders. The most serious revolt during Catherines’s reign was the Ural Cossack rebellion of 1773 to 1775. Two battles fought back to back over four days at Kazan, eventually defeated the rebels. The second Russo-Turkish War occurred between 1787 and 1792, with Russia gaining from Turkish losses.
From 1791, Russia operated an area known as the Pale of Settlement. Initially it was small, but increased greatly from 1793 and the Second Partition of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the mid-nineteenth century it incorporated a substantial territory comprising modern Belarus [eastern Poland at the time], eastern Latvia, Lithuania, the province of Bessarabia [modern Moldova] and western Ukraine. Having formerly been citizens of the defunct commonwealth, the Jewish population of the Pale were restricted from moving eastwards into Russia. Catherine II died in 1796 after an eventful reign that greatly solidified and strengthened the Russian Empire. Her son Paul I reigned briefly [1796-1801]; killed in a palace coup.
The threads of Russia’s ties with Germany remained entwined when the new Bolshevik government seized control in 1917. The new government, far from stable, badly handled what remained of Russia’s First World War effort, holding out for a beneficial peace agreement with Germany. Instead, Russia was forced to accept the harsh terms of the Brest-Litovsk treaty. As a result of that as well as too many reforms in too short a period, Russia lost control over many of its outlying states and provinces. Principally those which had been handed over to Germany under the terms of the treaty, Bessarabia, such as Byelorussia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Russina Poland, western Ukraine, the Crimea, the industrial Donetz basin and the Don. It took the collapse of Imperial Germany and three long years of civil war before the Russian empire could be reborn under Soviet control.
Modern claims of sovereignty over the Russias included Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich Romanov to be the rightful heir to Czar Nicholas II, which was not disputed. However, since his death in 1992 the divided branches of the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov each put forward their own claimant as heir to the throne of the Russias. Prince Nicholas Romanovich is recognised by most of the family, bearing direct descent from the uncrowned successor to Nicholas II, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich. Meanwhile, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir, upholds her claim because her father issued a controversial decree recognising her as his successor.
The most infamous claim was by Anna Anderson the supposed daughter Anastasia, of Czar Nicholas who had been able to escape, when her father, mother, brother and sisters had all been shot and their bodies amateurishly cremated. Even so, her claim as a pretender to any throne was redundant while a valid male heir lived.
This map shows the extent of the Soviet Union’s geo-political power and reach after World War II until 1991. The apt term Iron Curtain was coined by Winston Churchill. The map is also significant as it shows the split between Western Europe and Eastern Europe – with the exceptions of Finland and Greece which should be orange and East Germany, blue – which we will discover is the family split of one of Shem’s sons – not including Turkey, Russia, Spain and Portugal.
Modern Russia is a federal, semi-presidential republic founded in 1991 in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. ‘Despite bearing the resemblance of a democratic state in terms of its offices and elections, it always manages to convey the impression that old habits die hard in terms of its tendencies towards strong centralist control.’ Russia lay at the heart of the CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States; a voluntary organisation of republics that had once formed part of the original Soviet empire.
Its creation had been principally masterminded by Boris Yeltsin the president of the Russian republic. The clever ploy had been carried out behind the back of Mikhail Gorbachev; leaving him with no other choice than to announce the dissolution of the Soviet state.
Most of the Russian population is concentrated in the western European portion of the country, especially in the fertile region surrounding Moscow. Moscow and St Petersburg, formerly Leningrad are the two most important cultural and financial centres in Russia and are among the most picturesque cities in the world. Russians are also populous in Asia; beginning in the seventeenth century and particularly pronounced throughout much of the twentieth century, a steady flow of ethnic Russians and Russian speaking peoples migrated eastward into Siberia, where cities such as Vladivostok and Irkutsk flourish today.
Russia is a multinational state with over one hundred and ninety ethnic groups within its twenty-two republics; all with unique languages and cultures. The population is 146,030,890 people of which eighty-one percent are ethnic or Slavic Russian. It is the most populous country in Europe, and the ninth most populous country in the world. Russia’s population density stands at only nine inhabitants per square kilometre, or twenty-three per square mile. Russia has one of the oldest populations in the world, with an average age of 40.3 years and a projected population by 2030 of 139,599,000 people.
The Russian economy can be fragile at times, though still ranks as one of the world’s biggest economies by nominal GDP. Russia is the world’s eleventh largest economy, with a GDP of $1.70 trillion as of 2019, 1.3% higher than in 2018.Russia has moved toward a more market-based economy over the three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, though government ownership of and intervention in business, is still common. As a leading exporter of oil and gas, as well as other minerals and metals, Russia’s economy is highly sensitive to swings in world commodity prices.
Austrian statesman Klemens Furst von Metternich aptly noted: “Russia is never as strong as she appears, and never as weak as she appears.”
Its expensive mineral and oil reserves have made it one of the world’s largest producers of gas and oil; using its power in this area as an economic weapon. Therefore, Russia is an energy superpower. The country has the world’s largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves and the eighth largest oil reserves. Russia is the world’s leading natural gas exporter – which gives it immense control over much of Europe – and the second largest oil exporter. Added to these impressive statistics, Russia is the fourth largest electricity producer and the ninth largest renewable energy producer in the world. Russia was the first country to develop civilian nuclear power and to construct the world’s first nuclear power plant. In 2019, nuclear energy generated twenty percent of the country’s electricity.
Russia’s land offers a massive source of crops and its Chernozemie region in Central Russia makes it one of the major bread basket nations of the world with China, Brazil, Canada and the United States. This region is renowned for its rich soil known as Black Earth. The soil contains a high humus percentage and other soil enriching nutrients such as ammonia and phosphorous. It is also deep and its clay like qualities give it water retaining properties. This makes the area an agricultural powerhouse of Russia. Main crops include grains, particularly wheat and sunflowers, corn, soy beans, peas, rapeseed and barley.
Of the top ten Countries with the most natural resources, Russia is ranked number five in the world; behind India at four and ahead of Brazil at six. Also, Russia is positioned at number two behind South Africa of the world’s top five mineral producing powers. Russia’s total estimated natural resources are worth $75 trillion [US dollars]. The country boasts the biggest mining industry in the world, which is a driving force in its national economy; producing substantial volumes of mineral fuels, industrial minerals, and metals. Russia is a leading producer of aluminum, arsenic, cement, copper, magnesium metal, as well as compounds like nitrogen, palladium, silicon, and vanadium. The nation is the second-largest exporter of rare earth minerals and accounts for up to 20% of nickel and cobalt production in the world and 7 % of global iron ore and coal exports.
Of the top ten technological nations in the world, Russia is at number six, ahead of the United Kingdom at seven and behind Germany at five. Russia led the space race with space exploration and moon landings. It is a leading producer and inventor of weapons technology and defence systems; being a major exporter of its equipment worldwide.
The richness of resources has not translated into an easy life for most of the country’s people; much of Russia’s history has been a grim tale of the very wealthy and powerful few, ruling over the great mass of their poor and powerless compatriots. An uncompromising parallel with the ancient Assyrians and their martial driven society and warlike persona. Despite such weighty problems Russia shows potential promise of re-gaining its superpower status.
‘The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Russian global shipments during 2020.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US $141.3 billion
- Gems, precious metals: $30.4 billion
- Iron, steel: $16 billion
- Cereals: $9.5 billion
- Machinery including computers: $8.3 billion
- Wood: $8.2 billion
- Fertilizers: $7 billion
- Copper: $5.6 billion
- Aluminum: $5.5 billion
- Fish: $4.6 billion
Gems and precious metals was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 98.9% from 2019 to 2020 propelled by greater international sales of gold and platinum. In second place for improving export sales was cereals via a 20.4% gain led by wheat and barley. Russia’s shipments of copper posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 8.1%.
The leading decliner among Russia’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -36% drop year over year. That decrease traces back to lower revenues for crude and processed petroleum oils as well as gas and coal.’
Russia is listed at number five in the world for countries with the largest gold reserves. Russia possesses 2,295.4 tonnes which equates to 22.0% for foreign reserves. ‘The Russian Central Bank has been one of the largest buyers of gold for the past seven years and overtook China in 2018’ who is now sixth. ‘In 2017, Russia bought 224 tonnes of bullion in an effort to diversifyaway from the U.S. dollar, as its relationship with the West has grown chilly since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in mid-2014. To raise the cash for these purchases, Russia sold a huge percentage of its U.S. Treasuries.’
As of 2017, the Russian military comprised over one million active duty personnel, the fifth largest in the world. It is mandatory for all male citizens aged 18–27 to be drafted for a year of service in Armed Forces. A distant residue of the militaristic mindset of Assyria. Russia’s tank force is the biggest in the world, while its surface navy and air force are among the largest. The country has a huge and fully indigenous arm industry producing most of its own military equipment with only a few types of weapons imported. It has been one of the world’s top supplier of arms since 2001, accounting for about thirty percent of worldwide weapons salesand exporting weapons to about eighty countries. Russia is the third biggest exporter of arms behind the United States and China.
- The state flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR] from 1922 to 1991
- The Russian Naval ensign adopted in 1712 and designed by Czar Peter I the Great, between 1692 – 1712, after proposing eight different designs. Inspiration taken from the Scottish Saltire of the same colours in reverse.
- The current flag of the Russian Federation.
A well known online Encyclopaedia – emphasis & bold mine:
‘The Russian Federation has been suggested as a potential candidate for resuming superpower status in the 21st century… while others have made the assertion that it is already a superpower. In his 2005 publication entitled Russia in the 21st Century: The Prodigal Superpower, Steven Rosefielde, a professor of economics at University of North Carolina… predicted that Russia would… augur another arms race… Rosefielde noted that such an end would come with tremendous sacrifice to global security and the Russian people’s freedom.
Matthew Fleischer of the Los Angeles Times contends that Russia will not become a superpower unless climate change eats away at the permafrost that covers, as of March 2014, two-thirds of the country’s landmass. The absence of this permafrost would reveal immense stores of oil, natural gas, and precious minerals, as well as potential farmland, which would allow Russia to “become the world’s bread basket – and control the planet’s food supply.”
… in December 2013, Russian president Vladimir Putin denied any Russian aspiration to be a superpower. He was quoted saying: “We do not aspire to be called some kind of superpower, understanding that as a claim to world or regional hegemony. We do not infringe on anyone’s interests, we do not force our patronage on anyone, or try to teach anyone how to live [a dig at the United States].”
Forbes writer Jonathan Adelman… summarized the arguments against Russia’s superpower potential… Russia has a trade profile of a Third World country [for now], a GNP the size of Canada which is less than 15 percent of the United States GDP, no soft power, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street or highly rated universities.” Former political journalist Peter Brown wrote that Russia “would like to reclaim the superpower status it held for nearly 40 years after World War II,” but in the 21st century “may lack the combination of economic and military power” to do so. He said that “Russia won’t be a superpower anytime soon,” citing Russia’s shrinking population, high levels of poverty and poor public health.
In 2011, British historian and professor Niall Ferguson… suggested that Russia is on its way to “global irrelevance”. [The scriptures paint a different picture of the King of the North. A few decades can change the fortunes of a nation considerably, particularly after a major conflagration such as a Third World War]. Russia has, however, shown a slight population growth since 2012, partly due to immigration. The number of Chinese in the Russia’s Far East has been growing.’
In Chapters XVII Lud and XVIII Elam, we studied the two sons of Shem that have the most in common with regard to their mtDNA [maternal] and Y-DNA [paternal] Haplogroups. The Persian Iranians and Turks exhibit considerable admixture with the neighbouring Arab peoples or the shared past history with the Turkic-Mongol peoples, respectively. Underlying these factors though, is the fact they’re Haplogroup sequencing bears similarity. Comparing them with the Russians, it soon becomes obvious there is a marked difference between the latter and the former two peoples.
What we will discover as we progress through all of Shem’s five sons is that some are more closely related to certain brothers than others. We will also find, especially towards the end how similar cousins can be to each other compared to their own siblings. It is quite common for cousins to be drawn to each other and get along better than with their own brothers or sisters. Haplogroups now reveal scientifically how and why this occurs.
Asshur shares Haplogroups predominately with Eastern Europe, partially with Northern Europe and almost negligible with Southern Europe or Western Europe. Contrastingly, Aram shares Haplogroups split between Western Europe and Southern Europe and minutely small commonalty with either Northern or Eastern Europe. The remaining son of Shem, Arphaxad sits in the middle of these two geographically and bridges the gap between the two genetically.
The key mtDNA Haplogroups for the Russians in descending order.
Russia: H [41.2%] – H1+H3 [15%] – U5 [ 10.4%] – J [7.8%] – T2 [6.5%] –
H5 [4.9%] – HVO+V [4.2%] – U4 [3.9%] – K [3.7%] – T1 [2.7%] – U [2.2%] –
I [2%] – HV [1.8%] – W [1.8%] – U2 [ 1.4%] – X [1.3%] – U3 [1.1%] – L [0.2%]
The main Haplogroups shared with Turkey and Iran include H, J and T2. Haplogroup H is the most frequent Haplogroup throughout West Eurasia; J is a major European Haplogroup and T, a more recent though prominent European Haplogroup.
The three Haplogroups that Iran and Turkey share higher levels, that Russia also possesses but in lower percentages include K, U and HV. Haplogroup K is higher in distinctive groups such as the Basque and Ashkenazi Jew and found in Central Asia as well as North Africa. In contrast to Haplogroup T, Haplogroup U is one of the oldest and most diverse of the European Haplogroups. Haplogroup HV is the ancestral group to both H and V and dominates Western European lineages.
The remaining Haplogroups that Russia has higher percentages in and that Turkey has but far lower and Iran has only one of the three in common, include H1+H3, U5 and H5.
H J T2 K U HV H1+H3 U5 H5
Russia 41 8 7 4 2 2 15 10 5
Turkey 31 9 4 6 6 5 5 3 2
Iran 17 14 5 7 12 7 3
Russia ostensibly has more in common with Turkey than Iran. We will learn that Russia in fact, has more commonality with the Northern Slavic and Baltic nations. Recall the first and fourth points in the introduction. Peoples today invariably live next to those peoples they are most related to – with a few notable exceptions and Haplogroups provide the evidence that this hypothesis is a provable fact.
Khazaria, Russian Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries, Kevin Alan Brook – emphasis & bold mine:
‘Russians are the dominant ethnicity in Russia today. The Russian language belongs to the East Slavic family and is related to Ukrainian and Belarusian. The Russian people, too, are closely related to their Belarusian and Ukrainian neighbors, and also fairly close to Poles and Slovenians… We can genetically divide the Russian people into two* main types: Northern Russians and Southern Russians.’
Mitochondrial DNA variability in Poles and Russians, Annals of Human Genetics 66, multiple authors, 2002, pages 261-283. Excerpts from the summary:
“The main mitochondrial haplogroup of the Polish and Russian sequences is group H, which is the most frequent haplogroup in Europe and also common in the Near East. Haplogroup H comprises the majority of the Russian (42.3%) and Polish (45.2%) samples… The node designated as HV* is highly important in mtDNA phylogeny because two of the most frequent haplogroups in Europe, H and pre-V, descend from it. The haplogroup HV*, rare in European populations, was identified in Polish and Russian samples with low frequency (1% and 2%, respectively)…
“Haplogroup J sequences in Poles and Russians are characterized by similar frequencies of 7.8% and 8%, respectively… Haplogroup U and K sequences, which are defined by a variant-12308HinfI, were found in 19.5% of the Polish mtDNAs and in 20.0% of the Russian mtDNAs.”
“The distribution of the subgroup U5a and U5b frequencies in Poles and Russians is approximately equal, with the U5a subgroup prevailing over U5b – 5.3% and 3.4% in Poles, and 7.5% and 3% in Russians. U4 (with CR motif 16356-195) is the next relatively frequent subgroup in the populations studied, being found at a frequency of 5% in Poles and 3.5% in Russians.”
Mitochondrial DNA variation in Russian populations… Genetika 38:11, multiple authors, 2002, pages 1532-1538. Excerpts from the abstract, translated into English:
“Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphism was examined in three Russian populations from the European part of Russia (Stavropol krai, Orel oblast, and Saratov oblast). This analysis showed that mitochondrial gene pool of Russians was represented by the mtDNA types belonging to haplogroups H, V, HV*, J, T, U, K, I, W, and X. A mongoloid admixture (1.5%) was revealed in the form of mtDNA types of macrohaplogroup M. Comparative analysis of the mtDNA haplogroup frequency distribution patterns in six Russian populations from the European part of Russia indicated the absence of substantial genetic differences between them. However, in Russian populations from the southern and central regions the frequency of haplogroup V (average frequency 8%) was higher than in the populations from more northern regions…”
The macrohaplogroup U structure in Russians, Human Genetics 53:4, multiple authors, 2017, pages 498-503. Abstract:
“The structure and diversity of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) macrohaplogroup U lineages in Russians from Eastern Europe are studied on the basis of analysis of variation of nucleotide sequences of complete mitochondrial genomes. In total, 132 mitochondrial genomes belonging to haplogroups U1, U2e, U3, U4, U5, U7, U8a, and K are characterized.
Results of phylogeographic analysis show that the mitochondrial gene pool of Russians contains mtDNA haplotypes belonging to subhaplogroups that are characteristic only of Russians and other Eastern Slavs (13.7%), Slavs in general (11.4%), Slavs and Germans* (17.4%), and Slavs, Germans, and Baltic Finns (9.8%).
Results of molecular dating show that ages of mtDNA subhaplogroups to which Russian mtDNA haplotypes belong vary in a wide range, from 600 to 17000 years [birth of Noah 16,837 BCE]. However, molecular dating results for Slavic and Slavic-Germanic* mtDNA subhaplogroups demonstrate that their formation mainly occurred in the Bronze and Iron Ages (1000 to 5000 years ago). Only some instances (for subhaplogroups U5b1a1 and U5b1e1a) are characterized by a good agreement between molecular dating results and the chronology of Slavic ethnic history based on historical and archaeological data.”
Genetic studies show that modern Russians are closest to Belarussians, Poles, Slovaks, Slovenes, Balts and Ukrainians. In an interesting twist, the Ethnographer Zelenin, affirms ‘that Russians overall are more similar to Belarusians and to Ukrainians than southern Russians* are to northern Russians.’
A study found that ‘the genetic distances from the Russians to the European language groups indicate that the gene pool of present-day Russians bears the influence of Slavic, baltic, Finno-Ugric and, to a lesser extent, Germanic groups, as well as Iranian and Turkic groups.’
These findings ‘uphold the traditionally held genetic differentiation between Northern and Southern Russians, with the decisive ethnic element being the Finno-Ugric one, more important in the north, the southern population having substantial – generally unacknowledged in historical debates about Russian ethnogenesis – Germanic influence.’
The Russians as Asshur are a bridge genetically amongst the sons of Shem and this will be affirmed and become more apparent when we study his brothers, Aram and Arphaxad. Aram and the western half ofArphaxad are both similar, as Lud and Elam are to each other. Asshur stands between the two pairings, though leans towards the eastern half of Arphaxad’s descendants. The reason and evidence for these relationships will be supported once Arphaxad’s Haplogroup genetics are studied.
In reiteration of point one on in the introduction, peoples today are living next to those people they are most related to. Even though Russia had interaction and some inter-marrying with Germanic and Finno-ugric peoples – as well as Turks and Iranians – their main association in shared history, culture and language has been with fellow Slavic peoples.
What historians and geneticists have not understood is that the Russians or the Rus, did not originate in the Carpathian Mountains nor from Uppland in Scandinavia. These were merely settlements along their northwestern route from the lands of Byzantium and before that Anatolia and originally from Assyria in upper Mesopotamia, north of Shinar.
The northward Russians, have similarity with the Finno-Ugric peoples as they have similarly high levels of Y-DNA Haplogroup N1c1. The southward Russians display higher levels of I1 and especially I2a1 like southeastern Europeans. Russians possess these two genetic splits, as does Arphaxad – yet geneticists and ethnologists seek to explain these Haplogroups as deriving from mixing alone. This would require considerable inter-marrying. If anything, the Haplogroup map of Europe shows that the R1a and N1c1 Haplogroups if they did not originate with the Russians as Asshur, they at least certainly appear to have influenced their near neighbours percentages. Ukraine, Belarus and Poland have suspiciously high levels of R1a like Russia. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland have high levels of N1c1, again like Russia.
The Haplogroups of Russians match the northern Slavic and Baltic peoples they reside next to; whereas, the nation of Germany’s Haplogroups match their neighbours. That is, the people with which they are related to in West-central Europe.
When we study the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe and the Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic, Latin peoples of Western Europe, it will be self-evident that Russia identifies with Asshur. And, why Germany cannot be Assyria.
Four of the five sons of Shem all live on the periphery of Europe, surrounding where Arphaxad’s descendants dwell. Asshur, Elam and Lud – Russia, Turkey and Iran – live in the East and to the Southeast of Europe. We will find that the sons of Aram also dwell in peripheral locations within and outside Europe.
As a guide it is worth mentioning as we delve into the European peoples more fully that broadly speaking, their principle Y-DNA Haplogroups of R1, I1 and I2 signify the four quarters of Europe. Haplogroup R1b is prominent in the west; R1a in the east; I1 and I2a2 in the north [and west] and I2a1 in the south [and east]. Added to this, is N1c1 prominent in the north and in counter balance J1 and J2, which are common in southern Europe.
Khazaria, Russian Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries, Kevin Alan Brook – emphasis & bold mine:
‘The Y-DNA (paternal) haplogroup R1a and its offshoots are very common among Russian men. Some specific subgroups of R1a found among ethnic Russians in the “Russia-Slavic DNA Project” include R1a1, R1a1a, R1a1a1g, and R1a1a1g2. The “Russia-Slavic DNA Project” includes men who have the sub-types R1b1a2 and R1b1a2a1a1b… [and] the sub-types I2a and I2a2. The Y-DNA haplogroup N is also common among Russian men… N haplogroups are often signals of Finnic ancestry… N1c1 is a sub-type that’s found in Russia. E1b1b Y-DNA haplogroups (ultimately originating in northeastern Africa) are not very common among Russian men, but some do have them.’
Two Sources of the Russian Patrilineal Heritage in Their Eurasian Context, American Journal of Human Genetics 82:1, multiple authors, 2008, pages 236-250. Excerpts from the abstract:
“… In the present study of the variation of the Y chromosome pool of ethnic Russians, we show that the patrilineages within the pre-Ivan the Terrible historic borders of Russia have two main distinct sources. One of these antedates the linguistic split between West and East Slavonic-speaking people and is common for the two groups; the other is genetically highlighted by the pre-eminence of haplogroup (hg) [N] and is most parsimoniously explained by extensive assimilation of (or language change in) northeastern indigenous Finno-Ugric tribes.
The distribution of all frequent Y chromosome haplogroups (which account for 95% of the Y chromosomal spectrum in Russians) follows a similar north-south clinal pattern among autosomal markers, apparent from synthetic maps.
Excerpts from middle of the study: We collected 1228 DNA samples from 14 regional Russian populations. All sampled individuals identified their four grandparents as ethnic Russians, with their mother tongue being Russian. The rural areas and small towns were chosen for sampling so that the influence of more recent migrations could be minimized. Only individuals with all four grandparents born in the local area were sampled… The 1228 Russian Y chromosomes analyzed, all except 20 (1.6%) fall into seven major haplogroups (E, G, I, J, K2, N, and R1) characteristic to West Eurasian populations.
Eleven samples could be classified up to the root level of haplogroups F and K, and nine samples (0.7%) fell into haplogroups C, Q, and R2 that are specific to East and South Asian populations. At a higher level of molecular resolution, only eight subclades of these major West Eurasian Y chromosome haplogroups are presented with their average frequency greater than 1%, including R1a, [N1c1], [I1], R1b, [I2], J2, [N1b1], and [E1b1b]. Taken together, they account for 95% of the total Russian Y chromosomal pool.
… Every second Russian Y chromosome belongs to haplogroup R1a… within the boundaries of Europe, R1a is characteristic for Balto-Slavonic populations, with two exceptions: southern Slavs and northern Russians. R1a frequency decreases in northeastern Russian populations down to 20% – 30%, in contrast to central-southern Russia, where its frequency is twice as high…
The second frequent among Russians is haplogroup [N1C1, formerly N3], which is a typical haplogroup for Altaic and Finno-Ugric populations of Siberia and northeastern Europe… within the Russian area, the frequency of [N1c1] decreases significantly from north (>35%) to south (<10%)… The third most frequent haplogroup in Russians is [I1, formerly I1b], and its variation is also clinal… The remaining two haplogroups, J2 and [E1b1b, formerly E3b], exhibit spotty frequencies in Russians, expected for low-frequency haplogroups.”
A 2008 paper, sampling 1,228 people in Russia who self-identified as ethnic Russians, found the following top four Y-DNA haplogroups among the sample:
Hg R1a: 19.8% to 62.7%, with an average of 46.7%
Hg N: 5.4% to 53.7%, with averages of 21.6% for all regions
Hg N: 10% Central and South Russia
Hg I: 0% to 26.8%, with an average of 17.6% for all regions
Hg I: 23.5% Central and South Russia
Hg R1b: 0% to 14%, with an average of 5.8%
Y-DNA Haplogroups listed for Russia, Turkey and Iran. We have noted the similarities between Turkey and Iran.
Russia: R1a [46%] – N1c1 [23%] – I2a1 [10.5%] – R1b [6%] – I1 [5%] –
I2a2 [4.5%] – J2 [3%] – E1b1b [2.5%] – T1a [1.5%] – Q [1.5%] –
Russia: R1a – N1c1 – I2a1 – R1b – I1 – I2a2 – J2 – E1b1b – T1a – Q – G2a – [N1b1 – F – K2 – R2]
Turkey: J2 – R1b – G2a – E1b1b – J1 – R1a – N1c1 – I2a1 – T1a – Q – I1 – I2a2 – [L1c – F – K – C – R2 – H]
Iran: J2 – R1a – G2a – R1b – J1 – E1b1b – L1c – Q – T1a – N1c1 – I – [F – K – H]
Turkey: J2 [24%] – R1b [16%] – G2a [11%] – E1b1b [11%] –
J1 [9%] – R1a [7.5%] – N1c1 [ 4%] – I2a1 [4%] – T1a [2.5%] –
Q [2%] – I1 [1%] – I2a2 [0.5%]
Iran: J2 [23%] – R1a [15.5%] – G2a [10%] – R1b [9.5%] –
J1 [8.5%] – E1b1b [6.5%] – L1c [6.5%] – Q [5.5%] –
T1a [3%] – N1c1 [1%] – I [0.5%]
From this comparison, we learn that Russia’s Y-DNA Haplogroups though similar, standout as different with those of Turkey and Iran, in sequencing and percentages. We will find that Asshur has a closer genetic relationship with his younger brother in Chapter XXIV Arphaxad.
J E1b1b G R1a R1b
Iran 31 7 12 14 10
Turkey 31 14 9 12 20
Russia 3 3 1 46 6
Viewing the table from the preceding chapters and adding Russia highlights the disparity between Russia and the other two in those Haplogroups more usually associated with North Africa, the Middle East and southern Europe of E1b1b, G2a, J1 and J2.
The one surprise is the low level of R1b in Russians, though six percent is an average and levels can be half way between Turkey and Iran in certain areas. What is more significant and shows Russia’s closer genetic ties with north and eastern Europeans is adding the percentages for R1b and R1a. Russia has 52% compared with 32% and 24% for Turkey and Iran respectively.
Selecting those key Haplogroups more closely associated with the majority of the European nations and Russia’s highest percentages also shows Iran’s and Turkeys similarity and Russia’s distinctiveness.
R1a R1b I1 I2 J2 N1c1
Iran 16 10 1 23 1
Turkey 8 16 1 5 24 4
Russia 46 6 5 15 3 23
For those readers interested in all things Assyrian or Russian, there is an excellent two volume historical novel that brings the ancient world of Assyria colourfully alive, called The Assyrian by Nicholas Guild, 1987 and its sequel The Blood Star, 1989.
If a wise man has a controversy with a foolish and arrogant man, The foolish man ignores logic and fairness and only rages or laughs… there is no peace… or agreement.
Proverbs 29:9 Amplified Bible
“… we must bear in mind that the cause of learning has often been promoted by scholars who are prepared to take a risk and expose their brain-waves to the pitiless criticisms of others.”
F F Bruce [1910 – 1990]
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