Some of us first encounter them as the wicked city that Jonah eventually visits. For others they’re one of the Asian empires that Herodotus surveys on his way to the grand showdown between the Persians and the Greek-speaking city-states. Some of us have run into their legendary figures Sardanapallus and Semiramis in Dante or Byron. And of course some of us still aren’t sure how to avoid the Gorge of Eternal Peril when the old man asks us “What is the capital of Assyria?” (We’ll address that one later.) But relatively few of us know much about the Assyrians as they present themselves and how they fit into the changing landscape of ancient civilization. So Christian Humanist Profiles is glad today to welcome Eckart Frahm, whose recent book Assyria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Empire does just what the title promises, showing us what that ancient world looks like from inside Assyria as well as the spectrum of views from beyond the fall of those grand urban walls.

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