The Assyrian Empire depended greatly on its military for protection and expansion. Assyrian civilization was a warrior society – which meant that children were raised as soldiers, to ensure that they would have plenty of strong of mighty and intelligent generals. The Assyrian Army was particularly strong because of their advanced military strategy.
In fact, having a strong military was so important to the Assyrians that they based the structure of their country around it.
The roads of Assyria were built wide enough to fit a four-horse carriage, so that the military units of the nation would be able to walk them without any trouble! Towns were built in the same way, with wide gates and high walls to let the army move in and out without trouble.
The aggressive foreign policy followed by the Assyrian Army allowed the Assyrian Empire to expand rapidly, and this added a lot to the growth of the Assyrian Empire during its time in power.
The military strategy followed by the Assyrians is like the one used by the Roman Empire, who took inspiration from its success!
The Assyrian Army was among the first to organize their army into groups of standard numbers – e.g., 10,000 – who were all trained and equipped the same as each other.
This system meant that the Assyrians could very easily manage their forces, and the leaders of the army could see which soldiers were performing poorly.
The King of Assyria was a soldier, too, and only strong warriors who had proven themselves in combat became king. The king’s court generally accompanied him while on a war campaign, which included his family, servants, assistants and even entertainers.
Some Assyrian kings – e.g., King Sargon II – died in combat because of this, but that was a risk that the Kings of Assyria had to take to keep their crown.
The Assyrian Army was an invading force, meaning that they were trained to attack foreign cities. They used large blocks of wood and stone called “battering rams” to break down the walls of fortified cities, and would engage in “siege warfare” (a system of war that involved surrounding a city and waiting until the leader surrendered) to obtain new land and resources.
The Assyrians used terror as a conquering tactic, as well. This meant that they were very cruel to their prisoners and would execute or torture people to show their strength. Eventually, the Assyrians became so renowned for their brutality that cities would surrender to their forces as soon as they arrived, to avoid having to fight them.
The Assyrians also had very well-developed weaponry and military technology, including chariots that could be pulled by 4 horses, and iron weapons (previously, only bronze had been used.) The Assyrians typically used spears in combat.
There was an emphasis on archery in the Assyrian army, particularly when it came to the chariots they used. Most chariots had two people riding inside – one who would steer the horses, and the other who would take shots at enemies with their bow.
The only armor used by the Assyrian soldiers was a shield and helmet, and they rarely covered their bodies from attack. This meant that they were very vulnerable in combat. Because of this, the Assyrian soldiers were trained to be very strong and fast.
The Assyrian Army was comprised of between 150-200 thousand men and was the largest military force ever before seen in the Middle East when it was formed. Its soldiers were very frightening, and inspired terror in the people whose countries they invaded.
– Protection and expansion.
– They were an invading force and fought to obtain new land and resources.
– Somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 soldiers.
– Horses. They pulled their chariots!