Assyria Was Unstrategically Located
Assyria was unstrategically located. Between it and Akkad to the south was a plain where no invader could possibly be stopped except by stronger forces. The precipitous Zagros range to the east and the formidable Armenian plateau to the north, both sloping towards Assyria, made attack from those dimensions easy but defense difficult. The western steppe was no effective barrier either, for it was easy for a foe to traverse as for Assyrians. In its early history, and intermittently afterwards, Assyria was therefore ruled by foreign invaders.
There was only one means to overcome these geographical handicaps: a strong army. Assyria therefore proceeded to build up the most powerful military machine the world had yet seen, and to use it not only for defense but for expansion abroad. But unlike the Roman legions, which were formidable even when led by mediocrities, the Assyrian army depended for victory on brilliant generals, so that Assyrian power depended on the prowess of the king.
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