The main misfortune of the Assyrians turned out to be closely connected with their brilliant military victories. In wars with the strong and young state of Urartu (800-700 BC), the Assyrian state was on the verge of defeat more than once (see article Urartu). To win, the Assyrians replaced (about 750 BC) the militia with an army of mercenary soldiers specially trained in military affairs. To maintain such an army, the kings were forced again and again to go on predatory campaigns.
Since that time, the position of free peasants, the former militias, has been rapidly deteriorating. The nobles begin to enslave and enslave them. Dispossessed Assyrians, mingling with unfree people driven from distant lands, find themselves in the minority in their homeland ... The power of a great power begins to weaken rapidly. And in 614 BC. the Medes took the ancient capital of the country Ash-Shur, and two years later they, in alliance with the liberated Babylon, defeated Nineveh (see the article "Ancient Iran").
Assyria has disappeared from the face of the earth. It turned out that it was impossible to create a strong state with the help of fear, violence and robbery. This is also taught by the history of a small town, the merchants of which at first wanted only one thing - to trade freely in the peaceful eastern markets.
By 800 B.C. the threat of Assyrian enslavement loomed over the countries of Western Asia (see article "Assyria"). It seemed that no one could resist the onslaught of the Assyrian armies - neither the weak kings of Babylon, nor the rulers of small "fragments" of the great Hittite state, nor the leaders of the tribes that inhabited the Iranian Highlands and Transcaucasia. The establishment of Assyrian domination meant a catastrophe for these peoples - after all, it would inevitably lead to the terrible ruin of the conquered countries and the mass extermination of people.
And yet, at a time when the power of the Assyrian state was truly enormous, in Western Asia there was a people who not only decided on an open struggle with a formidable enemy, but also almost won a deadly confrontation with him. We are talking about closely related tribes that inhabited the mountain valleys of Transcaucasia approximately in the area where the borders of Turkey, Iran and Armenia now converge. At that time, two strong unions of tribes, two states, Urartu and Manna, were formed on this territory. Their centers were the valleys of the mountain lakes Van and Urmia.
For the time being, the Assyrians did not pay attention to the events that took place on the northern outskirts of their state. The rulers of the world treated the Urartians as one of the many semi-wild tribes, believing that they should be kept in constant fear and punished for disobedience by punitive campaigns. The Assyrians clearly underestimated the Urartians. And later this people demonstrated their military, political, administrative and cultural talents. Assyrian positions in Asia Minor were not as strong as one might think. The kings of Urartu Menua (810-786 BC) and his son Argishti I (786-764 BC) began to skillfully use this.
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