Imperial Expansion, 744-705 BC
The Neo-Assyrian properly became an empire under the visage of the kings in this era. Tiglath-pileser III began the expansion with multiple victories and incursions into Urartu, Babylonia, and northern Syria. Shalmaneser V, for which records are scant, continued the expanse into the Levantine coastline and added to Assyrian territory with his destruction of Israel and its capital Samaria in 722/21 BC. Though information is lacking, it seems that Shalmaneser V was ultimately replaced by his brother, Sargon II, through violent usurpation.
Sargon II’s reign began with multiple revolts stemming most likely from disgruntlement concerning the nature of his ascension. Sargon quelled the rebellion in Hamath early on, but failed to be successful in reconquering Babylon after Marduk-apla-iddina II’s revolt. Urartu also made some advances during this period. Sargon II spent his reign regaining and consolidating these areas. In 714 Sargon II decimated the armies of Urartu and took control of the buffer state of Musasir. Around 710-707 Sargon II was able to recapture Babylon, and then he turned his attention to continuing his father’s expansive work in the Levant by conquering the pentapolis of the Philistines. Sargon was finally killed in battle in 705 against the Cimmerians in Anatolia.
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