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Assyrian king Ashur-Dan II

Assyrian king Ashur-Dan II reigned BCE - BCE.

I brought back the exhausted people of Assyria who had abandoned their cities and houses in the face of want, hunger, and famine, and had gone up to other lands. I settled them in cities and houses that were suitable and they dwelt in peace. I constructed palaces in the various districts of my land. I hitched up plows in the various districts of my land and thereby piled up more grain than ever before. Grayson, via Van De Mieroop p 240

Ashur-dan II set the basic patterns of strategy and ideology that are elaborated by succeeding Assyrian kings. First, Ashur-dan II re-conquered Assyrian territories. Like his ancestors, he fought extensively in the mountainous and problematic northern frontier. Dominance in the mountains was strategically critical. They were adjacent to the Assyrian heartland and had routes to Anatolia (a source of crucial metals).

Notably, to the north and close to Assyrian territory, Kadmahu's bronze, tin, and precious stones were looted and its king was flayed so his skin could be exhibited on Arbela's walls; an Assyrian loyalist assumed his throne. To the west, Ashur-dan II's fragmentarily preserved annals reveal that Aramaeans in loosely controlled territory had revolted by slaughtering Assyrians. In response, he devastated the region and looted all valuable things and creatures. To the east, it was critical for Assyria to secure the limited mountain routes in the Zagros foothills down to the lower Zab.

Next, Ashur-dan II began a campaign of resettlement. After the hunger and instability of the Assyrian recension, Ashur-dan II built new fortified centers with plows, horses, and stores of grain. This allowed Assyrians to return to regions where they had been forced away, increasing Assyria's cultivatable land and its security. Also, Ashur-dan II continued the tradition of building palaces in various districts across his land.


Van De Mieroop. A History of the Ancient Near East.

Grayson. Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC. Volume 1: 1114-859 BC, p 134-135