(Lower Tigris/Euphrates basin, East of Euphrates)
The area was first settled in around 3500 BC and inhabited by several small tribes which fought against Israel. It was subject to Sumer until around 2350 BC and then to the Assyrians who adopted most of the Sumerian religious and social structure. The early capital was Assur, later Nineveh. Assyria originally consisted of the narrow strip of fertile land each side of the river Tigris. It was under Babylonian and Egyptian supremacy until c 1450 BC and became a military power under King Ashuru-ballit (1380-40 BC) and his successors. Tukulti-enurta I conquered Babylon and took the title of King of Sumer and Akkad. Under Nebuchadnezzar I, Assyria was subject to Babylon again but was liberated by Tiglathpileser I although much land was lost during the Aramaean invasions. After the accession of Adad-nirai II from c 911 BC, Assyria expanded greatly, conquering Elam, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, the Arabian borders and Egypt. Events of this period are recorded in the Old Testament and inscriptions such as the Black Obelisk, which celebrates the triumphs of Shalmaneser III, survive. The C9th saw virtually continuous warfare with Syrian states and after the setback of the battle of Qarqar in 854 BC, there was a period of decline. Tiglath-pileser III's accession in 746 BC began the last period of Assyrian ascendancy which culminated in the conquest of Egypt in 671 BC.
Nabopolasser of Babylon and Cyaxares of Media united against the Assyrians and Nineveh was destroyed in 612 BC. Assyria became a Median province and later a principality of the Persian Empire which was conquered by Alexander the Great. Assyria began to regain prominence under Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander's generals, who became ruler, and later governor, of Babylonia after Alexander died in 323 BC. He conquered Syria and had himself crowned king in 306 BC but was killed after his policy of expansion led to conflict with the Ptolemies, another Macedonian dynasty, in Egypt. He founded Antioch or Antiocheia, which became the capital, and was succeeded by his son, Antiochus III, establishing the Seleucid Dynasty. During the reign of the last Seleucid king, Antiochus XIII, Pompey the Great made Syria a Roman province. It became part of the Roman and Byzantine empires and was conquered by the Saracens in 636. During the Middle Ages, it was the scene of conflict between European Crusaders and the Muslims and became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516. It is now the modern state of Iraq.
The Assyrians adopted the Sumerian pantheon with their own god, Ashur, taking the chief position.
|Ashur/Assur||Chief of gods|
|Shamsi-Adad II||c 1715|
|Tiglath-Pileser I||c 1115-1063|
|Assurdan II||c 934|
|Assurnasipal II||c 889|
|Shalmaneser III Ululaya||c 859-24|
|Shamsi-Adad V||c 824-11||Sammuramat / Semiramis|
|Semiramis||811-08||wife of Shamsi-Adad V|
|Tiglathpileser III Pulu||745-27|
|Sargon II||722-5||Son of Tiglathpileser III|
|Sennacherib||705-681||Son of Sargon II|
|Esarhaddon||681-69||Son of Sennacherib||Babylonian wife|
|Assurbarnapal||668-26||Son of Esarhaddon|
|Seleucus I Nicator||358-286||Alexander's general||Stratonice|
|Antiochus I Soter 'the Saviour'||c 286-61||son of Seleucus I|
|Antiochus II Theos 'the Divine'||261-47||son of Antiochus I||1 Laodice 2 Berenice d Ptol II Eg|
|Antiochus Heirax||son of Antiochus II|
|Seleucus II Callinicus||247-26||son of Antiochus II + 1|
|Seleucus III||-223 ex|
|Antiochus III 'the Great'||223-c187||brother or cousin of Seleucus III|
|Antiochus IV Epiphanes 'the Illustrious'||175-63||son of Antiochus III||cousin of Ptolemies of Egypt|
|Antiochus V||163-2 (9 yrs old)|
|Demetrius I Nicanor||162-150||deposed Antiochus V||Rhodogune of Parthia|
|Antiochus VIII Grypus||c 100 BC||1 Cleopatra of Egypt
2 Cleopatra Selene of Egypt, sister of 1
|Antiochus IX Cyzenicus||dep Ant VIII||brother of Ant VIII||Cleopatra Selene of Egypt|
|-||son of Ant IX||Cleopatra Selene of Egypt|
|Antiochus XIII||C1st BC Last Seleucid|
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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