Assyrian Wars (c. 1200–1032 B.C.E.)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Assyria vs. Armenia, Anatolia,
Syria, and Babylonia
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Present-day Middle East
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Assyrian expansion and
OUTCOME: Assyria asserted dominance in the Near East
during the reign of Tiglath-pileser I.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
The enthronement of Tiglath-pileser I (r. c. 1116–1077
B.C.E.) dramatically reversed the long decline of the Assyrian
Empire. Whereas Assyria had been losing territory
since about 1213 B.C.E., Tiglath-pileser I revived its military
traditions and began a modernization of the military,
which would reach its apogee of development under
Tiglath-pileser III (r. 744–27).
Tiglath-pileser I turned his attention to the south and
took advantage of the decadence of the Kassites in Babylonia.
That dynasty had been badly eroded by warfare with
the Elamites, and by 1180 much of Babylonia was ripe for
the taking. Tiglath-pileser I led his forces against Muski
(southern Armenia), using this as a stage from which he
launched invasions into Anatolia (modern Turkey) and
northern Syria. Once these regions had been conquered,
Assyria was in a position to challenge Babylonia itself.
About 1100 Tiglath-pileser I invaded Babylonian territory
proper, and the kingdom soon fell to him.
By the time of the death of Tiglath-pileser I in 1077, the
decline of Assyria had not only been arrested, the kingdom
was now the preeminent power in the entire Middle East.
Assyrian hegemony did not long survive, however, and it
was up to Tiglath-pileser III to restore its former glory.
See also ASSYRIAN WARS (c. 1032–c. 746 B.C.E.).
Further reading: John Oates, Babylon (London:
Thames and Hudson, 1967); Robert W. Rogers, A History
of Babylonia and Assyria (Santa Clarita, Calif.: Books for
Libraries, 1971); Nigel Tallis, Assyria at War, 1000–610 B.C.
(London: Osprey, 2002).