Dated from the beginning of the seventh century B.C., it shows Assyrian slingers in action at a siege of the Israelite city of Lachish in 710 B.C.

Credit: British Museum

The Assyrians are a people who have lived in the Middle East since ancient times and today can be found all over the world.

In ancient times their civilization was centered at the city of Assur (also called Ashur), the ruins of which are located in what is now northern Iraq. The city had a god that was also called Assur or Ashur. The territory that the Assyrians controlled could be vast, stretching at times from southern Iraq to the Mediterranean Coast.

The city of Assur first gained its independence about 4,000 years ago. Before independence the city was controlled by a people known as the Sumerians and only gained its independence after the Sumerian civilization declined.