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8. Sennacherib’s Invasion of the Levant through the Eyes of Assyrian Intelligence Services

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the activities and structures of the Assyrian intelligence services during the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. It demonstrates that at least fifteen years before Sennacherib undertook his campaign against the Levant, an intelligence network was well-established in the Assyrian empire. The Assyrians made most of their structures to gather information, and forced their vassals to report on the situation in their regions, and set up a network of independent agents and informers to double-check incoming information. Moreover, they developed a simple but highly reliable system of protection for their own information, and their processing of raw data bears all features of well-organized intelligence service. Sennacherib as a crown prince had been fully immersed in his father's espionage services, and once he became the king of Assyria he successfully employed his father's intelligence network to map the situation in the East and to gather intelligence on Merodach-Baladan.

Keywords: Assyrian intelligence services; Levant; Merodach-Baladan; Sennacherib



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