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Ancient Assyria was located on the western bank of the Tigris River between the Upper and Lower Zab. Assyria was cold and wet in the winter and warm in the summer. On the banks of the rivers there was abundant cultivation, besides pasture-land. There were plenty of palms, apples, figs, olives, pomegranates, almonds, mulberries, vines and all kinds of grain. In the forests were lions, and on the plains were wild bulls (rimi, Hebrew re'emim), wild asses, wild goats, ducks and gazelles. Horses were imported from Cappadocia. Even in the Bible the Lord spoke to His people about the captivity and the land of Assyria:
Isaiah 36:17 "until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards."
The people who inhabited Assyria belonged to the great Semitic race. In stature the Assyrians were of average modern European height, and were powerfully built. Their complexion was dark, forehead high, nose prominent, hair, eyebrows, and beard were black thick and bushy and the lips were full. They rarely intermarried with neighboring peoples.
In ancient Assyria the basic social unit was mainly the tribe and secondarily, the family. Almost every person lived in the cities where there was safety in numbers. There were laws that governed the cities and Assyriaís people were very conscious of their rights as citizens. A manís social status and position was dependant upon his family and tribe.
Women were given less status than men and were expected to utterly submit to their husband, father and brother.
At the top of the social ladder was the king and at the bottom were the slaves.
"To give the people an example of the power of Ashur, my lord, I hung the heads of Sanduarri and Abdi-Milkutti round the necks of their most prominent citizens, whom, thus adorned, I made walk in procession along the streets of Nineveh, to the strains of singers accompanying themselves on harps." [King Essarhaddon]
Ancient Assyrian Social Structure
The Story of the Bible
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