Image of Sumerian landscape


Assyria was a kingdom that emerged around 2500 BCE in Mesopotamia. It was centered on the city of Asshur. Assyrians spoke Assyrian, a semittic language (same group as Aramaeic, Hebrew and Arabic) written using cuneiform (wedges on clay). The Assyrian region survived as a state within other larger empires until about 700 AD, a total of over 3000 years.

Map of the city of Larsa
Image of elephant with ivory tusks

City of Asshur

Ashur was founded around 2600 BCE and was the capital of Assyria for most of the time between 2500 - 600 BCE. The city lies on the bank of the Tigris river. It lies in the al-Shirqat District in present-day Iraq, and is a World Heritage Site.

Sumeria had millions of sheep and a large agricultural surplus, due to all the irrigation canals. The area was very poor in stone, metals and wood, and these all had to be imported from far away. The largest trading areas for Sumeria was the Persian Gulf (particularly todays Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Pakistan and India), Anatolia (Turkey) and the Zagros Mountains area in Iran. For the trade with the Persian Gulf, typically Sumerians traded with Magan (Oman/UAE) and Dilmun (Bahrain) and they again traded further away. The Larsa trade seems to have been driven by private entrepreneurs, as compared to the trade with Ur which was mostly driven by institutional actors (like the temples).

Image of the Sumerian sun god Utu or Shamash


The main god in Assyria was Ashur, the city god of the city of the same name. Over time, Ashur became synonymous with Enlil, the main god in the Sumeria pantheon.

date palm




sculpture of worshipper at Larsa



cuneiform tablet with numbers

Assyrian language

Assyrian language.


Larsa today




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