There are two main reasons why the Neo-Assyrian Empire became so powerful between 934 – 610 B.C.First, through this era, the power of Assyria was largely dependant on the success of its army (Saggs, 1962).Winer (1961) states that the Assyrian military perfected the art of war.During this time period, some 180 punitive expeditions or campaigns were launched against foreign foes, rebellious vassals or other anti-Assyrian groups (Olmstead, 1923).Second, the Assyrians developed an efficient and effective administrative system with which to maintain, supply and expand their empire.
In Assyria, warfare was a way of life (Saggs, 1962) and its government was run as a military state (Winer, 1961).Early wars had been like raids; undertaken to obtain booty, settle disputes over land and water rights, or fought for military notoriety. During the second Assyrian Empire, war became a part of the state policy.The raid was replaced by a detailed and carefully planned scheme of conquest (Sayce, 1899).
The Assyrian Empire maintained a powerful standing army, not only to satisfy its imperialistic appetite, but also to safeguard the King against potential rebellious provincial governors.Sayce (1899) writes that nothing was spared to make the army as effective as possible.Army discipline was raised to the highest pitch of perfection, and its weapons and uniforms constantly underwent improvements (Sayce, 1899).Part of the army was composed of mercenaries, while another part was recruited by conscription (Sayce, 1899).Almost every male citizen had to bear arms.Only the essential services of bankers, carpenters, merchants and metal workers could, under special favour of the government expect to be occasionally made exempt from military service (Trueman, 1964).
The army was directly commanded by the King, or at times, his commander-in-chief, the Tartannu (Sayce, 1899).The main force of the army consisted of light and …