Myths of Babylonia and Assyria
Revival of Assyrian Power--The Syro-Cappadocian Hittites--The Aramaean State of Damascus--Reign of Terror in Mesopotamia--Barbarities of Ashur-natsir-pal III--Babylonia and Chaldaea subdued--Glimpse of the Kalkhi Valley--The Hebrew Kingdoms of Judah and Israel--Rival Monarchs and their Wars--How Judah became subject to Damascus--Ahab and the Phoenician Jezebel--Persecution of Elijah and other Prophets--Israelites fight against Assyrians--Shalmaneser as Overlord of Babylonia--Revolts of Jehu in Israel and Hazael in Damascus--Shalmaneser defeats Hazael--Jehu sends Tribute to Shalmaneser--Baal Worship Supplanted by Golden Calf Worship in Israel--Queen Athaliah of Judah--Crowning of the Boy King Joash--Damascus supreme in Syria and Palestine--Civil War in Assyria--Triumphs of Shamshi-Adad VII--Babylonia becomes an Assyrian Province.
In one of the Scottish versions of the Seven Sleepers legend a shepherd enters a cave, in which the great heroes of other days lie wrapped in magic slumber, and blows two blasts on the horn which hangs suspended from the roof. The sleepers open their eyes and raise themselves on their elbows. Then the shepherd hears a warning voice which comes and goes like the wind, saying: "If the horn is blown once again, the world will be upset altogether". Terrified by the Voice and the ferocious appearance of the heroes, the shepherd retreats hurriedly, locking the door behind him; he casts the key into the sea. The story proceeds: "If anyone should find the key and open the door, and blow but a single blast on the horn, Finn and all the Feans would come forth. And that would be a great day in Alban."
After the lapse of an obscure century the national heroes of Assyria were awakened as if from sleep by the repeated blasts from the horn of the triumphant thunder god amidst the northern and western mountains--Adad or Rimmon of Syria, Teshup of Armenia, Tarku of the western Hittites. The great kings who came forth to "upset the world" bore the familiar names, Ashur-natsir-pal, Shalmaneser, Shamash-Adad, Ashur-dan, Adad-nirari, and Ashur-nirari. They revived and increased the ancient glory of Assyria during its Middle Empire period.
The Syro-Cappadocian Hittites had grown once again powerful and prosperous, but no great leader like Subbiluliuma arose to weld the various States into an Empire, so as to ensure the protection of the mingled peoples from the operations of the aggressive and ambitious war-lords of Assyria. One kingdom had its capital at Hamath and another at Carchemish on the Euphrates. The kingdom of Tabal flourished in Cilicia (Khilakku); it included several city States like Tarsus, Tiana, and Comana (Kammanu). Farther west was the dominion of the Thraco-Phrygian Muski. The tribes round the shores of Lake Van had asserted themselves and extended their sphere of influence. The State of Urartu was of growing importance, and the Nairi tribes had spread round the south-eastern shores of Lake Van. The northern frontier of Assyria was continually menaced by groups of independent hill States which would have been irresistible had they operated together against a common enemy, but were liable to be extinguished when attacked in detail.