- Babylonia and Assyria
During the period when they were competing for dominance in Mesopotamia, the neighbouring sister-states of
Babyloniaand Assyriadiffered essentially in character. Babylonia was a land of merchants and agriculturists; Assyria became an organized military power, [cite book
last = Burenhult
first = Göran
title = Bra böckers encyklopedi om människans historia. 5, Civilisationens vaggor: tidiga högkulturer i Mesopotamien, Egypten och Asien
accessdate = 2008-02-03
language = Swedish
isbn = 9171331719
oclc = 186397556
pages = pp. 37
quote = Assyrien har med rätta kallats världens första militärmakt.
ref = ] with an autocratic king as its supreme ruler, [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=ZBQpNEB8k8EC&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:1402174071#PPA90,M1 Archibald, pp. 90] ] whilst in Babylonia, the priesthood was the highest authority. The Assyrian dynasties were founded by successful generals; in Babylonia it was the priests whom a revolution raised to the throne. The Babylonian king remained a priest to the last, under the control of a powerful hierarchy; the Assyrian king was the autocratic general of an army, at whose side stood in early days a feudal nobility, aided from the reign of
Tiglath-Pileser IIIonwards by an elaborate bureaucracy. His palace was more sumptuous than the temples of the gods, from which it was quite separate. The people were soldiers and little else; even the sailor belonged to the state. Hence the sudden collapse of Assyria when drained of its fighting population in the age of Ashurbanipal.
ocial life in Babylonia and Assyria
The priesthood of
Babyloniawas divided into a great number of classes, including a medicinal class. It had a counterpart in the military aristocracy of Assyria. The army was raised by conscription; the concept of a standing army seems to have been first organized in Assyria. Successive improvements were introduced into it by the kings of the second Assyrian empire; chariots were replaced by cavalry; Tiglath-Pileser IIIgave the riders saddles and high boots, and Sennacheribcreated a corps of slingers. Tents, baggage-carts and battering-rams were carried on the march, and the "tartan" or commander-in-chief ranked next to the king.
In both countries, there was a large body of slaves; above them came the agriculturists and commercial classes, who were comparatively few in Assyria. The scribes, on the other hand, were a more important class in Assyria than in Babylonia. Both countries had their artisans, money-lenders, poets and musicians.
The houses of the people contained little furniture; chairs, tables and couches were used, and
Ashurbanipalis represented as reclining on his couch at a meal while his wife sits on a chair beside him.
After death, the body was usually partially cremated, along with the objects that had been buried with it. The cemetery adjoined the city of the living, and was laid out in streets through which ran rivulets of "pure" water. Many of the tombs, built of crude brick, were provided with gardens, and there were shelves or altars with offerings to the dead. As the older tombs decayed, a fresh city of tombs arose on their ruins. It is remarkable that thus far, no cemetery older than the Seleucid or
Parthian period has been found in Assyria!
*Archibald Henry Sayce, "Social Life among the Assyrians and Babylonians", ISBN 1402174071
* History of Babylonia and Assyria:
History of Sumer
3rd dynasty of Ur"Sumerian Renaissance"
Kings of Babylon
Kings of Assyria
Geography of Babylonia and Assyria
Babylonian and Assyrian religion
Art and architecture of Babylonia and Assyria
Social life in Babylonia and Assyria
Classical authorities of Babylonia and Assyria
Modern discovery of Babylonia and Assyria
Chronology of the Ancient Orient
Chronology of Babylonia and Assyria
Chronological systems of Babylonia and Assyria
* [http://encyclopaedic.net/american-encyclopedia/the-assyrians-and-babylonians.html American Encyclopedia - The Assyrians and Babylonians]
* [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16653/16653-h/16653-h.htm Myths of Babylonia and Assyria] by Donald A. MacKenzie, available at
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.