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Asshur (also spelled Ashur) was one of the first cities built after the Flood[1]. From its beginning it would grow in influence to become the capital of Assyria (also known as the Assyrian Empire). It was located south of Nineveh on the Tigris River.


Asshur is named after a son of Shem: Asshur.[2] The name is drawn from the root word "ASR," meaning "to advance, to progress." From this, it is apparent that the sons of Noah wished to fulfill the command to increase the population of the new world into which they had come [3].


Though rarely mentioned by name, as capital the city represented one of the most influential civilizations of the ancient world. Out from the halls of government there, armies would be sent to conquer most of Mesopotamia and the middle east all the way to Egypt.

Early History[]

Ashur was the founding and original city of the nation of Assyria and was its original capital. Asshur is said to have been founded during 2600-2500 BC. The city began by gaining wealth from trading among surrounding nations. Later, the Assyrian Empire arose and took control of the area.

While remaining an important as well as large city throughout Assyria's history, it was eventually replaced as capital by Nineveh. The city was founded by a man named Ashur, who was the grandson of Noah and son of Shem [4]. The name of the nation of Assyria derives from the name of Asshur, describing that land belonged to the city of Asshur (before Assyria itself became less dependent on Asshur). The town would survive through all the subsequent empires and past the first century AD.

In the third generation after the Flood, Nimrod, son of Cush, began a building program spreading out along the banks of the Tigris River and over towards the Euphrates as well. At the same time, his uncle Asshur built four cities, Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen (noted to be a great city)[5].

After the fall of Babel, long-lived Asshur (his brother Arphaxad lived to be 438 years old), would have fled with his growing family to a safe distance up river, establishing a town below Calah. His family would call the town by his name. Much like the people of Ur, the true God would be soon forgotten [6]. They would begin to worship a god they named Assur, after the city. A temple to this god would dominate the city after the capital had been moved.


  1. Genesis 10:11 (Link)
  2. Genesis 10:22 (Link)
  3. Genesis 9:2 (Link)
  4. Genesis 10:22 (Link)
  5. Genesis 10:11-12 (Link)
  6. Joshua 24:2 (Link)