1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Babylonia and Assyria/Assyria and Babylonia contrasted

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VI. Assyria and Babylonia contrasted.—The sister-states of Babylonia and Assyria differed essentially in character. Babylonia was a land of merchants and agriculturists; Assyria was an organized camp. The Assyrian dynasties were founded by successful generals; in Babylonia it was the priests whom a revolution raised to the throne. The Babylonian king remained a priest to the last, under the control of a powerful hierarchy; the Assyrian king was the autocratic general of an army, at whose side stood in early days a feudal nobility, and from the reign of Tiglath-pileser III. onwards an elaborate bureaucracy. His palace was more sumptuous than the temples of the gods, from which it was quite separate. The people were soldiers and little else; even the sailor belonged to Babylonia. Hence the sudden collapse of Assyria when drained of its fighting population in the age of Assur-bani-pal.