By Shane Mountjoy
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Extra resources for The Tigris & Euphrates Rivers (Rivers in World History)
As a military force, the Assyrians were without equal. Although they continued to wage their campaigns on horseback, they also adopted the Hittite chariot and eventually began to use it as their primary military weapon. Their chariots were pulled by horses rather than the donkeys or oxen used by others who used chariots. In addition, the Assyrians employed an engineering corps, complete with siege towers and battering rams. These weapons of war would not be seen again until the Romans made use of similar equipment while expanding and maintaining their empire.
They purposely chose to make Babylon their capital, and Babylon retained its role as the cultural and educational center of the region despite persistent meddling, control, and even destruction by an assortment of marauding and conquering tribes. The successful rebirth of the Babylonian Empire can be attributed to the manifold achievements of Nebuchadnezzar II. NEBUCHADNEZZAR II (r. ) Nebuchadnezzar II rose to power and restored the strength and wealth of old Babylon as Assyrian power and influence deteriorated.
From some I cut off their hands and their fingers, and from others I cut off their noses, their ears . . of many I put out the eyes. . 22 The Assyrian Empire While he persisted in promoting the savagery and viciousness upon which the Assyrian Empire was built, Ashurnasirpal II also oversaw the construction of a new capital city called Calah, which is present-day Nimrud. There he built a massive and beautiful palace that covered six acres. It was lavishly decorated and contained many rooms. It was, in Ashurnasirpal’s words: A palace of cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, mulberry, pistachio-wood, and tamarisk, for my royal dwelling and for my lordly pleasure for all time I founded therein.