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Assyrian Military System (Essay Sample)


The instructions required me to Select a topic within any area of global history from prehistory to about 1650. It required a minimum of 5 full pages, doubled-spaced, the font in Times New Roman or Arial, size 12 and 1-inch margins all around. The sample explored the Assyrian empire discussing the factors that led to their success by looking into the military organization, strategy and tactics, psychological warfare, and siege warfare.


Assyrian Military System
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Assyrian Military System
The Assyrian Empire began as Mesopotamia's significant regional power in the second millennium BCE. It later expanded in stature and size in the first millennium BCE under the leadership of various mighty leaders, making it among the world's earliest empires. Assyria was located in northern Mesopotamia, currently covered by Iraq and parts of Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. The prominence and success affiliated to the Assyrian Empire began with the reign of Adad Nirari II and was maintained through his successors. These leaders laid robust strategies to take over enemy cities, thus blossoming while other empires came and went. The Assyrian Empire was the first to make iron weapons, superior to those made of bronze used by their enemies. They were also the first empire to have a separate and independent engineering unit that helped dig tunnels, fill up moats, and set up ladders for soldiers whenever they planned to invade a walled city. Additionally, the empire was the first to make chariots, which, together with the other technologies, made them powerful. This essay explores the Assyrian empire discussing the factors that led to their success by looking into the military organization, strategy and tactics, psychological warfare, and siege warfare.[Grant, Reg G. Battle: A visual journey through 5,000 years of combat. (Dk Pub, 2005): 12]
Military organization
The Assyrian Military System was similar to the other Mesopotamian empires. The king was the commander of the whole army. The people believed that the gods ordained the king, thus were given immense respect. He was obligated to appoint senior army officers to act on his behave on the battlefield when he was not physically available. The army enjoyed the advantage of various types and styles of military engines and vessels for warfare, including chariots, siege engines, and cavalry.[Healy, Mark, and Angus McBride. The Ancient Assyrians. (Osprey, 2000): 19]
Tiglath-Pileser III brought helpful reforms to the Assyrian Military System, which helped the army to be stronger. Tiglath-Pileser II came to power in 745 BC and increased the efficiency of the Assyrian security sector by introducing the standing army. It included a considerable number of foreign soldiers mixed with the local Assyrian army. The vassal states then supplied the men when the Assyrian king demanded. The soldiers were given Assyrian uniforms and equipment, making them indistinguishable. This meant that the standing army comprised many foreigners, mainly from Armenia and Greek but the Assyrian equipment like chariots and cavalry dominated. Before the Tiglath-Pileser III reforms, the Assyrian army was similar to those from other empires. They were mainly farmers and often went back to their farms after returning from battlefields. Few professional soldiers guarded the king and other officials. These professional soldiers rarely went to the battlefield unless under exceptional circumstances. This unprofessionalism made the Assyrian soldiers be killed on battlefields prompting Tiglath-Pileser III to introduce the reforms to improve it when he took over the empire's leadership.[Healy and Angus. The Ancient Assyrians: 19] [Dalley, Stephanie. "Foreign chariotry and cavalry in the armies of Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon II." Iraq 47 (1985): 37]
The Assyrian Empire had poor transportation and communication network that needed upgrading to cater to the military system's needs. The existing roads were used locally and were not well maintained—the need for improved communication and transport system to facilitate security operations on repressing revolts and constant moves. The Assyrian Empire became the first to control and maintain its road network across its territory continuously. The Assyrians cut through rugged mountains across their territory to decrease travel time. Engineers also constructed pavements leading to the grand Assur and Nineveh cities to boast to the foreigners about their wealth. The Assyrians built wooden bridges across the Euphrates by the second millennium BC while Assur and Nineveh had stone bridges by the first millennium BC showing how wealthy the Ashur Kingdom was. Therefore, the construction and maintenance of the road system meant that the Assyrian army enjoyed a smooth flow of goods, further strengthening the Assyrian warfare.[Bertman, Stephen. Handbook to life in ancient Mesopotamia. (Oxford University Press, 2005): 254]
Additionally, the Assyrians were the first to use camels to transport goods. Camels were more efficient compared to donkeys because they carried more load and went for long without water. The Assyrians also became the first to manufacture wheels from copper, bronze, and later iron. These wheels were a great advantage to the Assyrian soldiers because they were durable. The use of chariots and cavalries increased the probability of winning on battlefields. Chariots were used in flat areas, while cavalries were used even in the mountains.[Bertman. Handbook to life in ancient Mesopotamia: 255]
Strategy and tactics
The location of the empire provided the first strategy to keep safe from the enemy. Assur and Nineveh cities were located between rivers Tigris and Euphrates, making it challenging for enemies to attack. However, that did not provide the strategy. The Assyrians used colonization and destruction methods to defeat their enemies. The Assyrians sent some of their people and settled them as colonialists in foreign lands to establish a loyal power base. They hoped that this strategy would raise food, tax, and food as reliably as they would do in their territory. The Assyrians believed that the presence of their people in the foreign lands would be beneficial in conquering other resistance and rebellion from the natives. They also assisted the Assyrian governors in ensuring that the vassal states were loyal. After defeating a city, the Assyrian army destroyed anything they could not keep to weaken their enemies, making them incapable of rising to power anytime soon.[Grant. Battle: A visual journey through 5,000 years of combat: 17]
Psychological warfare
The Assyrians used offensive strategies and tactics through terrorizing their enemies. They accepted the surrender from their enemies or destroyed their ability to resist surrender. Assyrians used deportations as a psychological war tool. They began deporting their rebels to punish them back from 13 century BC. The thought of being deported threatened the people, making them obey the Assyrian authorities. It also increased integration, thus enhancing peaceful coexistence. The captured enemies preferred to work as slaves than be butchered, hence qualifying as a psychological war. The Assyrians made it a habit to deport their enemies by the 13th Century regularly. They captured an enemy territory and deported them to another enemy territory instead of their land to avoid a rebellion within their boundaries. The second psychological tactic was to brutally deal with rebels so that others attempt to go against the leadership. Other ways of dealing with rebels were mutilating men to death, raping women, and putting dead body parts in conquered territories. The Assyrians believed that gods installed the kings as leaders, and rebelling against them equaled rebelling against the gods.[Bertman. Handbook to life in ancient Mesopotamia: 268] [Grayson, A. Kirk. Assyrian rulers of the early first millennium BC I (1114-859 BC). (University of Toronto Press, 2016.): 201]
Siege warfare
The plains of Mesopotamia were fertile and attracted war from the surrounding occupants who want

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