Part 1 - The Ancient World Of Mesopotamia
Bronze head of a king, perhaps
Sargon of Akkad, from Nineveh,
Akkadian period, c. 2300 BCE.
The two great empires, Assyria and Babylon, which grew up on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, can be separated as little historically as geographically. From the beginning their history is closely intertwined; and the power of the one is a measure of the weakness of the other. This interdependence of Assyrian and Babylonian history was recognized by ancient writers, and has been confirmed by modern discovery. But whereas Assyria takes the first place in the classical accounts to the exclusion of Babylonia, the decipherment of the inscriptions has proved that the converse was really the case, and that, with the exception of some seven or eight centuries, Assyria might be described as a province or dependency of Babylon. Not only was Babylonia the mother country, as the tenth chapter of Genesis explicitly states, but the religion and culture, the literature and the characters in which it was contained, the arts and the sciences of the Assyrians were derived from their southern neighbors, and as such they were similar in race and language and the ancestors of Iraqi peoples.