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A New Look At The End Of The Assyrian Empire

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Chapter Summary

The collapse of the Assyrian Empire in 612 B.C.E. has been a source of controversy and fascination since ancient times as the sequence of events is far from clear and the lacunae in the sources inhibit historical analysis. Modern interpreters of Assyria's demise have proposed various causes including decreasing returns on production, external and internal dissention, population decline in the heartland, resource depletion, and fundamental military weakness. The purpose of this chapter is to shed further light on the problem by using a new approach. Applying some of the tenets of military and strategic theory, the author argue that Assyria's own cultural assumptions about warfare, coupled with its long history of military success and a failure of strategic imagination, played a vital role in rendering the heartland vulnerable to the type of bilateral attack which destroyed it.

Keywords: Assyrian empire; bilateral attack; strategic theory



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