As'shur (Heb. Ashshur', אִשּׁוּר, prob. i. q. אֲשׁוּר, a step; Sept. Α᾿σσούρ and Α᾿σσούριοι; Auth. Vers. "Asshur," in Ge 10:11; Nu 24:22,24; 1Ch 1:17; Eze 27:23; Eze 32:22; Ho 14:3; "Assur" in Ezr 4:2; Ps 83:8; "Assyrian" or "Assyrians" in Ps 14:7; Ps 19:14; Ps 30:12; Ps 31:8; Ps 52:4; La 5:6; Eze 16:28; Eze 23:9,12,23; Ho 5:13; Ho 11:5; Ho 12:1; Mic 5:5-6; elsewhere and usually "Assyria" in very many occurrences) appears in the O.T. to be the name
(1.) properly (Ge 10:11; see Michaelis, Spic. i, 235 sq.; Vater, Comm. i, 125, in loc.) of a state in Western Asia, different from Babylonia (Shinar), of which it was accounted a colony. The metropolis was Nineveh (q.v.), i.e. the Ninus of the Greeks; besides which the cities Resen, Rehoboth, and Calnah (q.v. severally) are named, apparently as included in the same district, although the signification and application of these names are uncertain.
(2.) In the books of the Kings (and the prophets) it designates a victorious and tyrannical kingdom, which (according to 2Ki 18:11) included also Mesopotamia, Media (comp. Isa 7:20; Isa 10:8-9; Isa 22:25), as well as (according to 2Ki 17:20; 2Ch 33:11) Babylonia, and whose inhabitants are described (Eze 23:6,17,23) as wealthy (Nineveh being a mart, Na 3:16, the entrepot between the eastern, and western trade), but also arrogant (Isa 10:9 sq.; Zec 10:11), and occupying a fertile tract (Isa 18:2,7; Na 3:19). It is the region also well known to the Greeks as Assyria (once, Mic 5:5, called "the land of Nimrod"), which, together with its capital Ninus, was destroyed by the Medes and Chaldaeans. As in the Bible, we find likewise
(a.) in Greek and Roman writers Assyria (Α᾿σσυρία, Ptol. 6:1; oftener Α᾿τουρία, Strabo, 16:507, or Α᾿τυρία, Dio Cass. lxviii, 28) named as the country shut in on the north by the high mountain range (Mt. Niphates) of Armenia, on the south almost entirely level, watered by several rivers, and hence very: fruitful; which was bounded on the east by Media, on the south by Susiana and Babylonia, on the west (by means of the Tigris) by Mesopotamia, and now forms the greater part of the province of Kurdistan (comp. Plin. v, 13; Strabo, 16:736; see Bernhard, ad Dionys. Perieg. p.
739). (b.) Far oftener Assyria was the name given by the ancients to the provincial satrapy of the Persian empire, consisting of the joint districts Assyria and Babylonia (Herod. i, 178; comp. 106; Strabo, 16:507; Ammian. Marc". 23:20), including Mesopotamia (Arrian, Alex. 7:21, 2; Ammian. Marc. 24:2), and even extended at times its name to a part of Asia Minor (Dionys. Perieg. 975; comp. Mannert, V, ii, 424 sq.). Assyria Proper (Herod. i, 102, "the Assyrians who live in Ninus") is, on the other hand; called Adiabene (Plin. v, 13, 6; Strabo, 16:512; Ammian. Marc. 23:6; in the Syriac, Chedib, Assemani, Biblioth. Or. III, ii, 708; by the Talmudists, Chadib, חִדִיב; comp. Dib, the Arabic name of two .streams of this province, Rosenmfller, Alterth. I, ii, 113), which was only a province of Assyria, lying between Arrapachitis and the Garamaeans (Plin. 6:16; Mannert, V, ii, 450 sq.). SEE BABYLONIA; SEE MESOPOTAMIA.
Little is known of the early history of the Assyrian empire, for the ancient accounts are not only scanty, but confused, and in some cases contradictory, so that the most deserving efforts of modern (especially recent) scholars have scarcely availed to clear it up (see Schroer, Imperium Babylon. et Nini ex monument. antiq. Frckf. 1726; Uhland, Chronologia sacra in prcecip. chron. et hist. Babylon. Assyr. monumentis vindicata, Tubing. 1763). The Biblical notices, which embrace but a small part of its history, do not form a connected whole with those of profane (Greek) authors. According to the former (Ge 10:10) the kingdom of Assyria was founded by Nimrod (q.v.) of Babylon, but its princes are not named earlier than the Israelitish king Menahem (2Ki 15:19 sq.), and they appear subsequently in the hostile collisions with the two Hebrew kingdoms (comp. Ho 5:3; Ho 7:11). Those thus mentioned are the following:
(1.) Pul (2 Kings, as above), who exacted tribute (B.C. 769) of Israel (under Menahem).
(2.) Tiglath-Pileser (2Ki 16:7-10; 1Ch 28:16 sq.), in the time of Ahaz of Judah and Pekah of Israel, the latter of whom, with his ally Rezin (of Damascene Syria), was beaten by him (as a mercenary ally of Ahaz), and many of their subjects carried into captivity (B.C. 739).
(3.) Shalmaneser, who (B.C. 720) overthrew the kingdom of Israel and carried away the rest of the inhabitants into exile (2Ki 17:5 sq..; 18:9). Judah was also tributary to him (2Ki 18:7). Media and Persia formed part of this Assyrian king's dominions (2Ki 18:11), and he made successful incursions against Phoenicia (Joseph. Ant. 9:14, 2).
(4.) Sennacherib, who (B.C. 713) appeared before Jerusalem under Hezekiah after an attack upon Egypt (2Ki 18:13 sq.; 19:39; Isa 17; Isa 18).
(5.) Esarhaddon (B.C. post 712), the son of the preceding (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38; Ezr 4:2). There is, moreover, mention made of Sargon (only Isa 20:1), who probably reigned but for a short time between Shalmaneser and Sennacherib (B.C. 715). None of these names except Sennacherib (Sanacharib, Σαναχάριβος, Herod. ii, 141), the contemporary of the Egyptian king Setho (comp. Berosus, in Joseph. Ant. 10:1, 4), occur in Grecian authors (allusion is made to Shalmaneser in the passage cited by Joseph. Ant. 9:14, 2, from Menander the Ephesian, although the name does not occur in the extract). Moreover, Ctesias (in Diod. Sic. ii; comp. Agathias, De rebus Justiniani, 2), Julius Africanus, Eusebius (Chronicles Armen. i, 98 sq., 599; ii, 15 sq.), and Syncellus begin their series of proper Assyrian kings, whose empire extended during its prime to the Euphrates (although the notices in the Hebrew writers from the time of David are silent respecting its growth), with Ninus (Belus), and close it (260 years before Cyrus) with Sardanapalus (after a duration of 6520 years, according to Herod. i, 95, 130; of 1306  years according to Ctesias, in Diod. Sic. ii, 21, 28; of 1460 years according to Syncellus, p. 165; of 1240 years according to Eusebius, Chronicles Armen. ii, 16, 167) or (in Syncellus) Thonoscon-Colerus (Euseb. Chronicles ii, 167, places this Sardanapalus in the time of, Jeroboam II, and makes him a contemporary of Lycurgus). From this point they begin, with Arbaces, the conqueror of Sardanapalus, a new Median dynasty (comp. Athen. 12:528 sq.), which is continued down to Astyages (Marsham, Can. Chronicles p. 517 sq., 525 sq.; Vignoles, Chronologie, ii, 161 sq.). Herodotus, who, however, gives merely general references to Assyrian history, names (i, 98 sq,) as the first independent king of Media, Dejoces (comp. Joseph. Ant. 10:2, 2), and reckons to Astyages only, four (comp. Dion. Hal. i, 2) Median princes, including Astyages (according to him, these four Median kings reigned 150 years; according to Diod. Sic. the Median kingdom lasted from Arbaces over 282 years; according to Syncellus, 275 years, according to Eusebius, 259 years; the statements of Ctesias can hardly be reconciled with those of Herodotus; see Larcher, Chronolog. zu Herod. p. 144 sq.; Volney, Chronol. d'Herod. p. 199 sq.). Now, in order to reconcile the Biblical notices with those of the Greek historians and chronographers, nearly all modern investigators of history have been compelled to assume a new Assyrian empire (subsequent to this Sardanapalus), which Herodotus appears to sustain, in as much as after the revolt of the Medes under Dejoces he still constantly speaks of a not inconsiderable (comp. i, 102) Assyrian kingdom, with Ninus as its capital, which (but with the exception of the Babylo. nian portion, πλὴν τῆς Βαβυλωνίης μοίρης) Cyaxares first (i, 106) subdued (comp. Gatterer, Handb. p. 288 sq.; Beck, Weltgesch. i, 605 sq.; Jahn, Archaol. II, i, 184; Einl. II, ii, 605; Bredow, Handbuch, p. 192, sq.; Kannegiesser, in the Hall. Encyclop. 6:131 sq.; Raumer, Vorles. i, 98; in vain opposed by Hartmann, in the Allg. Lit.-Zeit. 1813, No. 39; and Linguist. Einleit. p. 145 sq.). The late independence of Assyria, which, in consequence of this Median revolution, had become for a long time merely a satrapy (comp. Syncellus, Chronicles p. 205), must have been established before B.C. 759, which is the latest date assignable to Pul; Tiglath-Pileser succeeded in conquering Western Asia; Shalmnaneser (B.C. cir. 728)'was already master of Babylon and Media (2Ki 17:24; 2Ki 18:1), and extended the Assyrian rule (Menander Ephes. in Joseph. ut sup.) in the west (as far as Phoenicia); and Sennacherib even attacked Egypt (Herod. ii, 141), but was compelled to retire. The attempt of the Babylonians to free themselves from the dominion of the Assyrians was not yet successful (Euseb. Chronicles Armen. i, 42 sq.); but under Esarhaddon the empire appears to have declined. Babylonia renewed her efforts to free herself from the Assyrian yoke, as Media (under Dejoces, according to Herod.) had earlier donc'(perhaps during Sennacherib's campaigns in the West), and finally (B.C. 625) the Median. king Cyaxares (probably with Babylonian aid; see Abyden. in Eusel). Chronicles p. 54) took and destroyed Ninus (Herod. i, 103, 106; Offerhaus, De regno Assyr. Hans. 1700). SEE NINEVEH.
The lately discovered abstract of Assyrian history in the Armenian Chronicle of Eusebius enables us to connect it more closely with the Biblical notices, although they by no means agree entirely with each other. In the extracts by Alexander Polyhistor from Berosus (in Euseb. Chronicles Armen. i, 44 sq.), Assyrian kings (of the later period) are named in the following series: Phul (more than 520 years after Semiramis); Sanherib, 18 years; Asordam, 8 years; Sammughes, 21 years; his brother, 21 years; Nabupalassar, 20 years; Nabucodrossor (Nebuchadnezzar), 43 years. Yet Sardanapal is mentioned (p. 44) as having engaged his son Nabucodrossor in a matrimonial alliance with the daughter of the Median king Asdahages (Astyages)., Abydenus gives (Euseb. Chronicles Armen. i, 53 sq.) the Assyrian princes in the following order: Sanherib, Nergilus (Adrameles), Axerdis, Sardanapallus, Saracus. This last introduced a barbarian army from beyond the sea, and sent his general, Busalossor (Nabopolassar), to Babylon; but the latter set himself up as King of Babylonia, and married his son Nabucadrossor to the daughter of the Median Prince Astyages, and thus Nineveh was overthrown. With the position, which both these references assign to Sardanapalus (after Sennacherib) essentially agrees Moses Chorensis (who, however, probably makes Sardanapalus a contemporary of the Median Arbaces). This so disagrees with the accounts of Herodotus, Ctesias, and Syncellus (see Baumgarten, Allgem. Welthist. iii, 549), as to lead to the supposition of a second Sardanapalus (see Suidas, s.v.; the name is perhaps rather a royal title than a personal appellation; comp. Rosenmuller, Alterth. I, ii, 129). Otherwise the revolution of Dejoces will fall during the reign of Sennacherib, about the same time when the Babylonians also revolted under Merodach-Baladan (q.v.). SEE CHALDEAN; SEE SENNACHERIB. In Persian cuneiform (q.v.) the name is written or Athura; comp. the Α᾿τυρία of Dio Cass., Α᾿τουρία of Strabo. (See Hertz, Cat. of Assyr. and Bab. Ant. Lond. 1852.) -Winer, i, 102. SEE ASSYRIA.