What led to the improvement of Assyria’s methods of government?

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By Kristy Tolley

Assyria’s government in the Bronze Age

The Assyrian civilization emerged in the Bronze Age and was known for its powerful military and impressive architectural achievements. However, the methods of government in the early days were primitive and decentralized. The Assyrians were organized into city-states, each with its own ruler, laws, and customs. This fragmentation made it difficult for the Assyrians to unite against external threats, and they were often attacked and conquered by neighboring empires.

The rise of the Assyrian Empire

Around the 14th century BC, the Assyrians began to expand their territory and influence. They conquered neighboring kingdoms, including Babylonia, and established their own empire. This marked a turning point in the Assyrian government, as they needed a more centralized and organized system to govern such a vast territory. The Assyrians developed a complex bureaucracy to manage their affairs, and the king became the ultimate authority in all matters of state.

The need for a centralized government

The Assyrian Empire covered a vast area, and it was difficult to maintain control over such a large territory without a centralized government. The Assyrians recognized this need and established a system of administration that ensured the smooth running of the empire. The king appointed governors to oversee the various regions, and these governors were responsible for enforcing the king’s laws and collecting taxes. The Assyrians also established a network of roads and communication systems to facilitate the movement of people and goods throughout the empire.

The establishment of a bureaucracy

To manage the affairs of the empire, the Assyrians developed a bureaucracy. This bureaucracy was made up of officials who were responsible for various aspects of government, including taxation, law enforcement, and military organization. These officials were appointed by the king and were expected to carry out their duties competently and efficiently. The Assyrians also established a system of record-keeping, using clay tablets to document their transactions and laws.

The role of the king in Assyrian government

The king was the ultimate authority in Assyrian government. He was responsible for making laws, enforcing them, and maintaining order throughout the empire. The king was also the commander-in-chief of the army, and he led military campaigns personally. The king’s power was absolute, and he was considered to be a god on earth. The Assyrians believed that the king was chosen by the gods to rule, and as such, he was revered and feared by his subjects.

The use of written laws and treaties

The Assyrians were one of the first civilizations to use written laws and treaties. The Code of Hammurabi, created by the Babylonians, served as a model for the Assyrians. The Assyrians used their laws to regulate trade, punish criminals, and settle disputes. They also used treaties to establish alliances, divide territories, and set the terms of peace agreements. The use of written laws and treaties helped to ensure that the Assyrian government was fair and just.

The development of a standing army

The Assyrians were known for their powerful military, which they used to conquer neighboring kingdoms and expand their empire. The Assyrians developed a standing army, which was composed of professional soldiers who were trained and equipped for battle. The army was organized into units, each with its own commander. The Assyrians also used advanced weapons, such as chariots and siege engines, to gain a tactical advantage over their enemies.

The use of terror and propaganda

The Assyrians were infamous for their use of terror and propaganda. They believed that fear was a powerful tool for maintaining control over their subjects, and they used it to great effect. The Assyrians would often execute prisoners publicly, and they would display the heads of their enemies on spikes outside the city gates. They also used propaganda to promote the king’s image and to justify their conquests. The Assyrians created elaborate artworks and reliefs that glorified the king and depicted his military victories.

The expansion of the empire

Under the Assyrian Empire, the territory of the kingdom expanded vastly. The empire extended from modern-day Iran in the east to Egypt in the west. The Assyrians conquered many kingdoms and city-states, including Babylon, Syria, and Israel. The expansion of the empire brought new challenges for the Assyrian government, as they needed to maintain control over such a vast territory.

The importance of tribute and taxation

The Assyrians relied heavily on tribute and taxation to fund their government. The Assyrians demanded tribute from the kingdoms they conquered, and they also imposed taxes on their own subjects. The Assyrians used this income to fund their military campaigns, build infrastructure, and pay for their bureaucracy. The collection of tribute and taxes was a well-organized process, overseen by the king’s officials.

The fall of the Assyrian Empire

Despite their impressive achievements, the Assyrian Empire fell in the 7th century BC. The reasons for their downfall are not entirely clear, but it is believed that internal strife, economic problems, and external pressures from neighboring kingdoms contributed to their demise. The Assyrian Empire was eventually conquered by the Babylonians and the Medes.

Conclusion: Legacy of Assyrian government

The Assyrian government was one of the first examples of a centralized and organized system of government. The Assyrians developed a complex bureaucracy, used written laws and treaties, maintained a powerful military, and relied on tribute and taxation to fund their government. Their legacy can be seen in the governance systems of many modern states. However, the Assyrians were also known for their use of terror and propaganda, which raises questions about the ethics of their methods of control.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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