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The Ancient Assyrians Paperback – Jan 30 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (Jan. 30 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855321637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855321632
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.4 x 25.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #392,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Mark Healy was born in 1953. He has a Master's degree in Political Theology from Bristol University. He is by profession a schoolteacher and is head of the Humanities faculty in a large school in Somerset. He has written a number of Osprey titles including Elite 40 New Kingdom Egypt and Campaign 16 Kursk 1943. He has a great interest in both the ancient and modern periods, is married with one son and lives in Dorset.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Healy's book gives a quick review of the Assyria Empire from start to finish in a mere 64 pages. However its shortness is made up by the wonderful photos (12 in color) and diagrams presented in the book. One unusaul aspect of this book is there is no table of contents, index, or biblography. It's almost written like a research paper that was converted into a published book. Nevertheless the purchase price is well worth the money.
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Format: Paperback
Without detracting from an otherwise well researched & written book, the awesome artwork in this book is worth the price tenfold. Best illustrations anywhere on the subject.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa7a6db7c) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa71ea3fc) out of 5 stars "The Ancient Assyrian" a short history of Ashur July 24 2000
By M Manning - Published on
Format: Paperback
Healy's book gives a quick review of the Assyria Empire from start to finish in a mere 64 pages. However its shortness is made up by the wonderful photos (12 in color) and diagrams presented in the book. One unusaul aspect of this book is there is no table of contents, index, or biblography. It's almost written like a research paper that was converted into a published book. Nevertheless the purchase price is well worth the money.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa71eacfc) out of 5 stars A Caution May 15 2007
By The Laughing Heretic (strikes again) - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a history major, for the record. I've heard all manner of semi-scholarly critisism of these Osprey books so I'll sum it all up and rather than give the book a one star for what it isn't, I'll review it for what it is.

These books are very entertaining introductory histories of their various (military) topics. The illustrations demonstrate their intent quite clearly: to entertain as much as to inform. These books are intended for laymen who enjoy military history, possibly the re-enactment crowd, and definitely bright adolescents. As "Illustrated Histories" go, they're quite excellent and I'm collecting them for my kids.


There are no footnotes, endnotes, citations, and no bibliography. There is the occasional (usually relatively minor) inaccuracy which is not a big deal for kids and laymen but is a major issue for academics.

That said, these books could help you out as introductions to material. For example, I bought and read this one as a general introduction to Assyrian military practices. It gave me enough of a grasp of the material to focus the thesis of my paper and know what kinds of things I should research. I did not use this book as a source!!

It is what it is, and as an entertaining introductory read for youths and laymen it is great. You ought not to expect a mass market paperback to live up to academic standards. If thats what you want, you should know that books meeting those standards are usually published by "(Insert name of Institution) Univeristy Press" or are primary sources (people who were there and wrote down what they saw).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa71ea888) out of 5 stars The latter part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire Dec 27 2012
By JPS - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is another good introductory volume from Osprey, despite its age (first published in 1991). There are however a few glitches and I will start with these before moving on to the book's more numerous qualities.
First of all, the title is a bit misleading. The book is centred on the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and more particularly on its last 150 years (from BC 745 to the fall of Nineveh on BC 612), rather than on the whole history of Assyria, which begins in circa BC 1800. The previous periods are dealt with in three pages which are intended to provide background.

Second, the book lacks both a table of contents, which is not much of a problem, but also a bibliography. The latter is more problematic, if only because books in this collection are meant as illustrated introduction to a topic. One could expect them to provide the means for interesting readers to learn more about the topic that they cover, as more recent Osprey publications seem to do systematically nowadays. There is a second - more specific - reason to regret this absence and this has to do with the topic itself. Given its location (in northern Irak), archaeology and excavations have not exactly been a priority over the last two or three decades. Apart from some publications which tend to cover middle-eastern civilizations more generally, and a few others which cover very specific aspects of the Ancient civilizations of Irak (religion, for instance), there are very few recent publications that are centred on the Assyrians themselves, and ever fewer on the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Having mentioned this, and as far as I can make out, the overview provided by this book seems to be complete and a good one. The reasons for the Assyrian expansion - it was essentially surrounded by hostile neighbours and had not direct access to vital mineral resources such as bronze and tin - are well presented. So are the reforms and the development of the army, the various services, and how the army was organized when on campaigns. Very appreciated are the various sections on the main campaigns of the main Assyrian warrior-kings from Tiglath-Pilaser III who introduced the first reforms to Assurbanipal, the last great king of what had become the Assyrian Empire and whose last years saw the Empire begin to crumble.

Angus McBride's illustrations are, as always, quite wonderful. They are also well chosen since they cover the evolutions of the war chariots, from light to heavy, and the development of the cavalry, also from light to heavy. They also show on a double page a superb illustration of an Assyrian siege with the warrior king taking part in the assault. Assyrian kings figure prominently in three of the illustrations. This is hardly surprising given that they spend perhaps most of their lives on campaigns putting down rebellions or conquering new territories.

Then there is the fearful reputation that the Assyrian forces earned for themselves, with massacres and mass deportation among other niceties. They were neither the first nor the last to use such means. These partly reflect their ruthless efficiency (a bit like the Romans a few centuries latter) but also deliberate policy choices made by their kings. With limited resources and surrounded by enemies, deportations was a good way of both weakening the potential of vanquished kingdoms that had been transformed into vassal states and of increasing the labour force in particular, and the population more generally, of the victor. The Hittites and the Egyptians, just to mention these two, did it also. Besides, there were, of course, no such niceties as Geneva conventions or even human rights at the time and behaviours that may strike us as horrific - and certainly were when you were on the receiving end - might have been much more common than what some of the sources (in the Ancient Testament, in particular) would seem to imply.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa71f1270) out of 5 stars A first-rate overview April 27 2012
By Michael K. Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback
Most people have heard the word "Assyrians," but most equally have no idea when their culture flourished, or where. The "when" is between 2,900 years and 2,600 years ago, more or less -- after the Babylonians and before the Achaemenid Persians -- and the "where" is in what used to be called the "Fertile Crescent," up the broad shallow valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers from the Arabian Gulf and on to the northeastern Mediterranean coast. In fact, most English-speakers probably have heard of the Assyrians only via the Old Testament, which is hardly an unbiased source. I first learned about them in an undergraduate course many years ago that was meant to provide background to the pre-Classical world that most of us are more likely to be interested in, and I always felt a bit sorry for them. Assyrian history has a few "great" kings, in the sense of being successful empire-builders, people like Tiglath-Pileser and Sargon and Sennacherib, but none of them are especially sympathetic. Assyria became an imperial power as a matter of survival, Mesopotamia being essentially broad and flat with few natural boundaries and being crowded at that time with highly competitive ethnic groups. She responded to depredations by her neighbors by doing them one better, but the empire was always mostly a matter of military occupation and suppression and not much cultural expansion, and when the empire collapsed rather suddenly after a mere three centuries, no one mourned her at all.

The volumes so far in Osprey's "Elite" series appear to be much like the longstanding "Men-at-Arms" series, only more so. They're thicker, with extended text, more color plates, and many more photos, maps, and diagrams. ("Elite" seems a misnomer when you're considering an entire culture, but that's just marketing.) Healy is an educator but not particularly an academic specialist in the ancient world. Still, his style is fluid and he does a good job in this overview, both in surveying Assyria's geopolitical goals and in interpreting the stone carvings which provide most of the pictorial evidence for what the Assyrian military was like. The plates, painted by the talented Angus McBride, are very good indeed, especially in showing detail and in pointing out the slow evolution of costume, armor, and weapons over three hundred years.
HASH(0xa71f1420) out of 5 stars Great account of a strong empire founded by war Jan. 5 2014
By Phil Historian - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Assyria was a large power in the Ancient Middle East known for the large size and aggressive fighting nature of their armies, which like most major powers is how they clung on to power before being destroyed by Babylon. this book covers the Assyrian army and all of their wars, including the ones with Israel, Babylon, and all the other powers they fought as well as rebellions in their own state. this is a better book to own than Osprey's Ancient Israel at war in the Essential Histories series and the Men-at-arms Ancient armies of the Middle East as this covers the same ground and talks all about the rise and fall of Assyria in just 64 pages as well as great illustrations. one of the better ones in the Elite series.