Posted by panchmaster from host-148-244-221-58.block.alestra.net.mx (184.108.40.206) on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 at 6:22PM :
It seems to me that rather than being bloodthirsty and savage, as our ancestors are singularly portrayed, the Assyrian attitude towards those who "deserve to die" as well as how they determined who it should be was about as civilized, even exemplary, as the time and place could allow.
Attacking a fortified city was an almost impossible thing to pull off successfully in those days, before the Assyrians found ways to do it. The people would simply gather inside, close the gates to wait it out while the beseiger could devastate the countryside, sit in his tents and wait till his supplies ran out or disease struck his camp.
If a walled city rebelled against its overlord it meant a good deal of expense, trouble and risk to gather the army, supply it and set out for the long march to confront the rebels. Once there the attacking force had to go through all the maneuvers and wait it out in camp while those inside simply went about their business, more or less, with their cupboards well stocked againt the attack they knew was coming.
At any point of weakness or distress within the ruling elite, vassal states could throw off their yoke, thus forcing the new ruler or newly re-established one to set off to re-secure the outlying districts with the result that other cities of the realm at distant corners could seize the opportunity to break away as well so that the beleagured monarch would have to settle one hot spot after another.
Several Assyrian kings spent years on constant campaign, not seeing their palace and family for long periods of time in order to secure their borders so their people back home could enjoy peace and security. And, as sure as the sun would rise each day, had the Assyrians not ventured out to create a buffer zone, they would have been overrun by any number of equally ambitious, but less capable kings surrounding them. Assyria had no natural protection...no steep slopes or mountains that were intimidating enough to discourage attack from all directions but lay wide open and inviting.
Indeed it was the invention of battering rams and other seige engines as well as the use of sappers to tunnel under walls and cause their collapse that made the Assyrian army unique in its ability to get inside a city's walled defenses. This presented them with the opportunity to deal with captive rebels who no longer could count on thumbing their noses from the safety of a city's high and thick walls until the invading force went away. Had the Assyrians been less than they were, they would not have become as great as they were.
Rebellion began with the vassal himself and his general staff. The common people might resent foreign taxes and domination but the difference between the conditions they endured under their own ruling family and the added imposition from a foreign king could not have been that much worse. Not bad enough to risk another war. In any rebellion the common folk would suffer the most so from their point of view perhaps peace, even with additional taxes, was better than a war whose outcome could kill them either way. It would be the deposed prince and his advisors who'd be chaffing under a foreigner, their pride and vanity, as well as their supply of treasure, hurt beyond endurance.
A rebellion would start at the top and it was the people at the top the victorious Assyrians would skin alive and make popsicles of...not the common folk. It was wise policy...nothing personal, meant to save innocent lives in the long run. The ones leading the rebellion deserved to die and in ways that would strike fear into anyone contemplating a similar move in the future. It was no easy thing for the ruling monarch to risk his life and the lives of his troops, to leave his family behind to face the intrigue and deceit of palace malcontents who might seize upon the royal absence to mount a rebellion of their own...marching off hundreds of miles away to deal with a handful of rebellious ringleaders. You'd want to skin them alive too...or at least say you had.
In Gordon and Rendsbergs book, "The Bible and the Ancient Near East", there is a quick and passing reference to a "regretable" incident when a Jew king went too far...probably influenced by the rotten example of an Assyrian king..."Yahwe, Yahwe, he made me do it"!!! Much is sneeringly made of the number of palace revolts and assassinations among the Assyrian kings as if it was fitting that such ruthless people would inspire the same sort of behavior towards themselves...but like I said, Assyrians didn't write the bible. In the book there is the following passage; "Zechariah, son of Jeroboam II, succeeded his father, but lasted only six months. He was assassinated by Shallum, who reigned only one month, to be assassinated around 742 BCE by Menahem, who seized the throne and perhaps (sic) enjoyed the reputation of an avenger of his soveriegn(Zechariah) rather than that of a usurper(another instance of giving the benefit of the doubt whenever possible to a Jew while removing all doubt of inbred iniquity from an Assyrian who, under the circumstances, would have been called a "shameless usurper" faster than you could say, "SHIT, not gefilte fish again!") Menahem was doubtless confronted with a civil war and his atrocities in quelling it included the ripping open of pregnant women in the city of Tipash (2 Kings 15:16)."
A civil war means a war among your own people, therefore it was Jewish women whose wombs the Jew was ripping open. I'm surprised the authors didn't quickly add how admirable it was that the bible mentions this awful act as an instance of unique "Hebrew Honesty"...never mind the deed itself. Funny...every horrific account the Assyrians gave is believed outright, though we know much of it was for propaganda used to frighten any but the most determined so that rebellions could be kept to a minimum. I think modern apologists might not want to suggest the Hebrews were doing the same, because it would cast some doubt on the actual atrocities of the Assyrians...maybe both of them were bragging just to scare people off. Instead and in order to leave the Assyrians looking as rotten as possible, even if it meant having to let stand the unpleasant idea that Hebrews ripped people open as well, the Jew chroniclers let the "facts" stand and either praised their own honesty for brutalities committed, trying to salvage something of good from the crimes, or let it pass hoping you wouldn't notice cause the Assyrians were, "so much worse", and your Christian eyes are on Jerusalem for your salvation anyway.
Any doubts you may have about the "specialness" of Jew decency has been quickly dispelled today when we see the most modern and best equipped army in history attacking children throwing rocks...something the Assyrians never did...because they had Ashur for a god...not a madman who tries to get people to kill his and other people's children for "Him". The people flayed alive by the Assyrians, impaled or chopped up were the ones "deserving to die"...the ones responsible for setting in motion acts that would lead to the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of innocent people...and we know today that given the weapons and the opportunity, Jews are as vicious as anyone, even more so.
Since we know that captives carried off to Assyria or Babylon, including the Jews, chose to remain and made good lives for their families and were allowed to worship their gods freely, being under the Assyrian yoke must not have been that onerous. But it certainly would have aroused the anger and envy of the kings and princes who lost, as well as the shills and "prophets" of the defeated gods...and it was this select group in which rebellion would breed.
Someone dies in every war...today it is Palestinian children and their parents being picked off like fish in a barrel, while in Iraq the mightiest nation on earth has been making war on children, causing the deaths of over a half million of them, as a matter of "acceptable policy". Assyrians never had that kind of policy. They went to the source, to the ringleaders and made sure to punish them severly and let it be known far and wide. They didn't kill the children or even the unoffending adults...and they especially respected the artist...ahem.
Assyrians were of a far different caliber than any modern state...and it is to our everlasting shame that we adopted the morals and methods of the Christian/Jews. We've been paying the price since then...it isn't like Yahweh and his son saved us...they kept us around to die a slow, humiliating death...begging at the heels of the dogs who ravage beautiful Betnahrain today. It seems Assyria is fated to die one day anyway...better to have gone out in a blaze of defiant glory than as slaves begging our bone in a Jew heaven. We're all going to die anyway, no amount of fawning or begging and cringing will add a minute to anyone's life. It's how you die that counts. I'd rather die an Assyrian...after living as one.
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