In c. 671 BCE the Iron Age Mesopotamian empire of Assyria was controlled by Ershaddon (r. 681–669) and dominated Assyria, Phoenicia, Babylonia, Elam and, after 671 BCE, Egypt. During his reign, Ershaddon suppressed a rebellion in Babylonia and countered attacks from the Cimmerians (horse-riding peoples from the southern shores of the Black Sea) in the Taurus Mountains. He sacked Sidon in 677 BCE after Phoenicia, allying itself with Nubian Egypt, attempted to overthrow Assyrian authority. He also held the Judean king hostage in Babylon. Tired of interference by the Egyptians, Ershaddon advanced on Egypt in 671 BCE and drove its pharaoh back to Nubia, thus ending the reign of the Kushite (Nubian) pharaohs. He created a stele commemorating this victory and called himself ‘king of Egypt… and Kush’). He also finally defeated the kingdom of Urartu in eastern Anatolia (which Assyria had previously defeated in an Egyptian-fomented war in 712 BCE), reducing it to vassalage status.
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