|Location||Saladin Governorate, Iraq|
|Coordinates||35°27′24″N43°15′45″E / 35.45667°N 43.26250°E Coordinates: 35°27′24″N43°15′45″E / 35.45667°N 43.26250°E|
|Founded||Early Dynastic Period|
|Abandoned||3rd century AD |
|Periods||Early Bronze Age to classical antiquity|
|Public access||Inaccessible (in a war zone)|
|Official name||Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat)|
|Designated||2003 (27th session)|
Aššur ( /ˈæsʊər/ ; Sumerian: 𒀭𒊹𒆠 AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: Aš-šurKI, "City of God Aššur";   Syriac : ܐܫܘܪĀšūr; Old Persian 𐎠𐎰𐎢𐎼Aθur, Persian : آشور: Āšūr; Hebrew : אַשּׁוּר, ʾAššūr, Arabic : اشور), also known as Ashur and Qal'at Sherqat, was the capital of the Old Assyrian city-state (2025–1364 BC), the Middle Assyrian Empire (1363–912 BC), and for a time, of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–609 BC). The remains of the city lie on the western bank of the Tigris River, north of the confluence with its tributary, the Little Zab, in what is now Iraq, more precisely in the al-Shirqat District of the Saladin Governorate.
Occupation of the city itself continued for approximately 4,000 years,  from the Early Dynastic Period to the mid-14th century AD, when the forces of Timur massacred its predominately Christian population. The site is a World Heritage Site, having been added to that organisation's list of sites in danger in 2003 following the conflict that erupted following the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq and as a result of a proposed dam which would flood some of the site. Assur lies 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of the site of Nimrud and 100 km (60 mi) south of Nineveh.
Exploration of the site of Assur began in 1898 by German archaeologists. Excavations began in 1900 by Friedrich Delitzsch, and were continued in 1903–1913 by a team from the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft led initially by Robert Koldewey and later by Walter Andrae.      More than 16,000 clay tablets with cuneiform texts were discovered. The German archeologists brought objects they found to Berlin enhancing the collection of the Pergamon Museum.
More recently, Ashur was excavated by B. Hrouda for the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Bavarian Ministry of Culture in 1990.  During the same period, in 1988 and 1989, the site was being worked by R. Dittmann on behalf of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. 
Aššur is the name of the city, of the land ruled by the city, and of its tutelary deity from which the natives took their name, as did the entire nation of Assyria which encompassed what is today northern Iraq, north east Syria and south east Turkey. Today the Assyrians are still found throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and the Diaspora in the western world. Assur is also the origin of the names Syria and terms for Syriac Christians, these being originally Indo-European derivations of Assyria, and for many centuries applying only to Assyria and the Assyrians (see Etymology of Syria) before also being applied to the Levant and its inhabitants by the Seleucid Empire in the 3rd century BC.
According to the Oxford Companion to the Bible, Assur was "built on a sandstone cliff on the west bank of the Tigris about 35 km (24 mi) north of its confluence with the lower Zab River".  Archaeology reveals the site of the city was occupied by the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. This was still the Sumerian period, before Assyria emerged. The oldest remains of the city were discovered in the foundations of the Ishtar temple, as well as at the Old Palace. In the subsequent period, the city was ruled by kings from the Akkadian Empire. During the Third Dynasty of Ur, the city was ruled by Assyrian governors subject to the Sumerians. 
By the time the Neo-Sumerian Ur-III dynasty collapsed at the hands of the Elamites around the end of the 21st century BC according to the Middle Chronology and mid-20th century according to the Short Chronology following increasing raids by Gutians and Amorites. The native Akkadian-speaking Assyrian kings were now free while Sumer fell under the yoke of the Amorites. The historically unverified king Ushpia is credited with dedicating the first temple of the god Ashur in his home city, although this comes from a later inscription from Shalmaneser I in the 13th century. In around 2000 BC, Puzur-Ashur I founded a new dynasty, with his successors such as Ilushuma, Erishum I and Sargon I leaving inscriptions regarding the building of temples to Ashur, Adad and Ishtar in the city. Prosperity and independence produced the first significant fortifications in this period. As the region enjoyed relative peace and stability, trade between Mesopotamia and Anatolia increased, and the city of Ashur greatly benefited from its strategic location. Merchants would dispatch their merchandise via caravan into Anatolia and trade primarily at Assyrian colonies in Anatolia, the primary one being at Karum Kanesh (Kültepe). 
With Shamshi-Adad I's (1813–1781 BC) capital at Assur, he magnified the city's power and influence beyond the Tigris river valley, establishing what some regard as the first Assyrian Empire. In this era, the Great Royal Palace was built, and the temple of Assur was expanded and enlarged with a ziggurat. However, this empire met its end when Hammurabi, the Amorite king of Babylon conquered and incorporated the city into his short lived empire following the death of Ishme-Dagan I around 1756 BC, while the next three Assyrian kings were viewed as vassals. Not long after, the native king Adasi expelled the Babylonians and Amorites from Assur and Assyria as a whole around 1720 BC, although little is known of his successors. Evidence of further building activity is known from a few centuries later, during the reign of a native king Puzur-Ashur III, when the city was refortified and the southern districts incorporated into the main city defenses. Temples to the moon god Sin (Nanna) and the sun god Shamash were built and dedicated through the 15th century BC. The city was subsequently subjugated by the king of Mitanni, Shaushtatar in the late 15th century, taking the gold and silver doors of the temple to his capital, Washukanni, as spoils. 
Ashur-uballit I emulated his ancestor Adasi and overthrew the Mitanni empire in 1365 BC. The Assyrians reaped the benefits of this triumph by taking control of the eastern portion of the Mitanni Empire, and later also annexing Hittite, Babylonian, Amorite and Hurrian territory. The following centuries witnessed the restoration of the old temples and palaces of Assur, and the city once more became the throne of a magnanimous empire from 1365 BC to 1076 BC. Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1208 BC) also constructed a new temple to the goddess Ishtar. The Anu-Adad temple was established later during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1075 BC). The walled area of the city in the Middle Assyrian period made up some 1.2 square kilometres (300 acres). 
In the Neo-Assyrian Empire (912–605 BC), the royal residence was transferred to other Assyrian cities. Ashur-nasir-pal II (884–859 BC) moved the capital from Assur to Kalhu (Calah/Nimrud) following a series of successful campaigns and produced some of the greatest artworks in the form of colossal lamassu statues and low-relief depictions of the royal court as well as battles.  With the reign of Sargon II (722–705 BC), a new capital began to rise: Dur-Sharrukin (Fortress of Sargon). Dur-Sharrukin was originally planned to be built on a scale set to surpass that of Ashurnasirpal's.  However, he died in battle and his son and successor Sennacherib (705–682 BC) abandoned the city, choosing to magnify Nineveh as his royal capital. However, the city of Ashur remained the religious center of the empire and continued to be revered as the holy crown of the empire, due to its temple of the national god Ashur. In the reign of Sennacherib (705–682 BC), the House of the New Year, Akitu, was built, and the festivities celebrated in the city. Many of the kings were also buried beneath the Old Palace while some queens were buried in the other capitals such as the wife of Sargon, Ataliya. The city was sacked and largely destroyed during the decisive battle of Assur, a major confrontation between the Assyrian and Median armies.  
After the Medes were overthrown by the Persians as the dominant force in ancient Iran, Assyria was ruled by the Persian Achaemenid Empire (as Athura) from 549 BC to 330 BC (see Achaemenid Assyria). The Assyrians of Mada (Media) and Athura (Assyria) had been responsible for gold and glazing works of the palace and for providing Lebanese cedar timber, respectively. The city and region of Ashur had once more gained a degree of militaristic and economic strength. Along with the Assyrians in Mada, a revolt took place in 520 BC but ultimately failed. Assyria seems to have recovered dramatically, and flourished during this period. It became a major agricultural and administrative centre of the Achaemenid Empire, and its soldiers were a mainstay of the Persian Army. 
The city revived during the Parthian Empire period, particularly between 150 BC and 270 AD, being resettled and becoming an administrative centre of Parthian-ruled Assuristan. Assyriologists Simo Parpola and Patricia Crone suggest Assur may have had outright independence in this period. New administrative buildings were erected to the north of the old city, and a palace to the south. The old temple dedicated to the national god of the Assyrians Assur (Ashur) was rebuilt, as were temples to other Assyrian gods.
Assyrian Eastern Aramaic inscriptions from the remains of Ashur have yielded insight into the Parthian-era city with Assyria having its own Aramaic Syriac script, which was the same in terms of grammar and syntax as that found at Edessa and elsewhere in the state of Osroene.
German semiticist Klaus Beyer (1929-2014) published over 600 inscriptions from Mesopotamian towns and cities including Ashur, Dura-Europos, Hatra, Gaddala, Tikrit and Tur Abdin. Given that Christianity had begun to spread amongst the Assyrians throughout the Parthian era, the original Assyrian culture and religion persisted for some time, as proven by the inscriptions that include invocations to the gods Ashur, Nergal, Nanna, Ishtar and Shamash, as well as mentions of citizens having compound names that refer to Assyrian gods, such as ʾAssur-ḥēl (Ashur [is] my strength), ʾAssur-emar (Ashur decreed/commanded), ʾAssur-ntan (Ashur gave [a son]), and ʾAssur-šma' (Ashur has heard; cf. Esarhaddon). 
The Roman historian Festus wrote in about 370 that in AD 116 Trajan formed from his conquests east of the Euphrates the new Roman provinces of Mesopotamia and Assyria. The existence of the latter Roman province is questioned by C.S. Lightfoot and F. Miller.    In any case, just two years after the province's supposed creation, Trajan's successor Hadrian restored Trajan's eastern conquests to the Parthians, preferring to live with him in peace and friendship. 
There were later Roman incursions into Mesopotamia under Lucius Verus and under Septimius Severus, who set up the Roman provinces of Mesopotamia and Osroene.
Assur was captured and sacked by Ardashir I of the Sasanian Empire c. 240 AD, whereafter the city was destroyed and its population was dispersed. 
The site was put on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in danger in 2003, at which time the site was threatened by a looming large-scale dam project that would have submerged the ancient archaeological site.  The dam project was put on hold shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The territory around the ancient site was occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2015. Since ISIL had destroyed a number of ancient historical sites, including the cities of Hatra, Khorsabad, and Nimrud, fears rose that Assur would be destroyed too. According to some sources, the citadel of Assur was destroyed or badly damaged in May 2015 by members of IS using improvised explosive devices.  An AP report from December 2016 after the Iraqi forces had retaken the area, said that the militants tried to destroy the city's grand entrance arches, but they remained standing and a local historian described the damage as "minor". 
As of February 2017, the group no longer controls the site; however, it is not secure enough for archaeological experts to evaluate. 
Assyria was a major ancient Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a territorial state, and eventually an empire from the 14th century BC to the 7th century BC.
Chaldea was a small country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population of Babylonia. Semitic-speaking, it was located in the marshy land of the far southeastern corner of Mesopotamia and briefly came to rule Babylon. The Hebrew Bible uses the term כשדים (Kaśdim) and this is translated as Chaldaeans in the Greek Old Testament, although there is some dispute as to whether Kasdim in fact means Chaldean or refers to the south Mesopotamian Kaldu.
Babylonia was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia. It emerged as an Amorite-ruled state c. 1894 BC. During the reign of Hammurabi and afterwards, Babylonia was called "the country of Akkad", a deliberate archaism in reference to the previous glory of the Akkadian Empire. It was often involved in rivalry with the older state of Assyria to the north and Elam to the east in Ancient Iran. Babylonia briefly became the major power in the region after Hammurabi created a short-lived empire, succeeding the earlier Akkadian Empire, Third Dynasty of Ur, and Old Assyrian Empire. The Babylonian Empire rapidly fell apart after the death of Hammurabi and reverted to a small kingdom.
Mesopotamian religion was the original religious beliefs and practices of the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, particularly Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia between circa 6000 BC and 400 AD. The religious development of Mesopotamia and Mesopotamian culture in general, especially in the south, was not particularly influenced by the movements of the various peoples into and throughout the area. Rather, Mesopotamian religion was a consistent and coherent tradition which adapted to the internal needs of its adherents over millennia of development.
Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located in Iraq, 30 kilometres (20 mi) south of the city of Mosul, and 5 kilometres (3 mi) south of the village of Selamiyah, in the Nineveh Plains in Upper Mesopotamia. It was a major Assyrian city between approximately 1350 BC and 610 BC. The city is located in a strategic position 10 kilometres (6 mi) north of the point that the river Tigris meets its tributary the Great Zab. The city covered an area of 360 hectares. The ruins of the city were found within one kilometre (1,100 yd) of the modern-day Assyrian village of Noomanea in Nineveh Governorate, Iraq.
Adad-nārārī I, rendered in all but two inscriptions ideographically as mdadad-ZAB+DAḪ, meaning “Adad (is) my helper,” was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian Empire. He is the earliest Assyrian king whose annals survive in any detail. Adad-nārārī I achieved major military victories that further strengthened Assyria. In his inscriptions from Assur he calls himself son of Arik-den-ili, the same filiations being recorded in the Nassouhi kinglist. He is recorded as a son of Enlil-nirari in the Khorsabad kinglist and the SDAS kinglist, probably in error.
Balawat is an archaeological site of the ancient Assyrian city of Imgur-Enlil, and modern village in Nineveh Province (Iraq). It lies 25 kilometres (16 mi) southeast from the city of Mosul and 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the south of the modern Assyrian town of Bakhdida.
The history of Mesopotamia ranges from the earliest human occupation in the Paleolithic period up to Late antiquity. This history is pieced together from evidence retrieved from archaeological excavations and, after the introduction of writing in the late 4th millennium BC, an increasing amount of historical sources. While in the Paleolithic and early Neolithic periods only parts of Upper Mesopotamia were occupied, the southern alluvium was settled during the late Neolithic period. Mesopotamia has been home to many of the oldest major civilizations, entering history from the Early Bronze Age, for which reason it is often called a cradle of civilization.
The history of the Assyrians encompasses nearly five millennia, covering the history of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Assyria, including its territory, culture and people, as well as the later history of the Assyrian people after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 609 BC. For purposes of historiography, ancient Assyrian history is often divided by modern researchers, based on political events and gradual changes in language, into the Early Assyrian, Old Assyrian, Middle Assyrian, Neo-Assyrian and post-imperial periods.
Athura, also called Assyria, was a geographical area within the Achaemenid Empire in Upper Mesopotamia from 539 to 330 BC as a military protectorate state. Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy, Achaemenid royal inscriptions list it as a dahyu, a concept generally interpreted as meaning either a group of people or both a country and its people, without any administrative implication.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the fourth and penultimate stage of ancient Assyrian history and the final and greatest phase of Assyria as an independent state. Beginning with the accession of Adad-nirari II in 911 BC, the Neo-Assyrian Empire grew to dominate the ancient Near East throughout much of the 8th and 7th centuries BC, becoming the largest empire in history up to that point. Because of its geopolitical dominance and ideology based in world domination, the Neo-Assyrian Empire is by many researchers regarded to have been the first world empire in history. At its height, the empire was the strongest military power in the world and ruled over all of Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt, as well as portions of Anatolia, Arabia and modern-day Iran and Armenia.
The Fall of Assur occurred when the first city and old capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire fell to Median, Babylonian, and other rebellion-led forces. The sack of the city that followed destroyed the city to some degree; however, it recovered during the Achaemenid Empire. The city remained occupied by Assyrians until the massacres of Tamurlane in the 14th century AD.
The Old Assyrian period was the second stage of Assyrian history, covering the history of the city of Assur from its rise as an independent city-state under Puzur-Ashur I c. 2025 BC to the foundation of a larger Assyrian territorial state after the accession of Ashur-uballit I c. 1363 BC, which marks the beginning of the succeeding Middle Assyrian period. The Old Assyrian period is marked by the earliest known evidence of the development of a distinct Assyrian culture and was a geopolitically turbulent time when Assur several times fell under the control or suzerainty of foreign kingdoms and empires. The period is also marked with the emergence of a distinct Assyrian dialect of the Akkadian language, a native Assyrian calendar and Assur for a time becoming a prominent site for international trade.
The Middle Assyrian Empire was the third stage of Assyrian history, covering the history of Assyria from the accession of Ashur-uballit I c. 1363 BC and the rise of Assyria as a territorial kingdom to the death of Ashur-dan II in 912 BC. The Middle Assyrian Empire was Assyria's first period of ascendancy as an empire. Though the empire experienced successive periods of expansion and decline, it remained the dominant power of northern Mesopotamia throughout the period. In terms of Assyrian history, the Middle Assyrian period was marked by important social, political and religious developments, including the rising prominence of both the Assyrian king and the Assyrian national deity Ashur.
Puzur-Ashur I was an Assyrian king in the 21st and 20th centuries BC. He is generally regarded as the founder of Assyria as an independent city-state, c. 2025 BC.
The timeline of ancient Assyria can be broken down into three main eras: the Old Assyrian period, Middle Assyrian Empire, and Neo-Assyrian Empire. Modern scholars typically also recognize an Early period preceding the Old Assyrian period and a post-imperial period succeeding the Neo-Assyrian period.
The Early Assyrian period was the earliest stage of Assyrian history, preceding the Old Assyrian period and covering the history of the city of Assur, and its people and culture, prior to the foundation of Assyria as an independent city-state under Puzur-Ashur I c. 2025 BC. Very little material and textual evidence survives from this period. The earliest archaeological evidence at Assur dates to the Early Dynastic Period, c. 2600 BC, but the city may have been founded even earlier since the area had been inhabited for thousands of years prior and other nearby cities, such as Nineveh, are significantly older.
Rʻuth-Assor, also transliterated Rʻuṯassor, Rʻūṯ’assor or Rʻūṯassor, was a local Assyrian king or city-lord in the early 2nd century AD, ruling the city of Assur under the suzerainty of the Parthian Empire. The continued veneration of Ashur and other Assyrian gods under Rʻuth-Assor and his predecessors and successors, as well as their stelae greatly resembling those erected under by the old kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, suggests that Rʻuth-Assor and the other rulers of Assur during this time saw themselves as the continuation of the ancient line of Assyrian kings.
The post-imperial period was the final stage of ancient Assyrian history, covering the history of the Assyrian heartland from the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 609 BC to the final sack and destruction of Assur, Assyria's ancient religious capital, by the Sasanian Empire c. AD 240. There was no independent Assyrian state during this time, with Assur and other Assyrian cities instead falling under the control of the successive Median, Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid, Seleucid and Parthian empires. The period was marked by the continuance of ancient Assyrian culture, traditions and religion, despite the lack of an Assyrian kingdom. The ancient Assyrian dialect of the Akkadian language went extinct however, completely replaced by Aramaic by the 5th century BC.