The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform: mat Aš-šur KI, "Country of the city of god Aššur"; also phonetically mat Aš-šur)[a] was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and became the largest empire of the world up until that time.[unreliable source?] The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in later empires. The Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, and their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics.
Following the conquests of Adad-nirari II in the late 10th century BC, Assyria emerged as the most powerful state in the world at the time, coming to dominate the Ancient Near East, East Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Caucasus, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, eclipsing and conquering rivals such as Babylonia, Elam, Persia, Urartu, Lydia, the Medes, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Israel, Judah, Phoenicia, Chaldea, Canaan, the Kushite Empire, the Arabs, and Egypt.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Old Assyrian Empire (c. 2025–1378 BC), and the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–934 BC) of the Late Bronze Age. During this period, Aramaic was also made an official language of the empire, alongside Akkadian.
Upon the death of Ashurbanipal in 631 BC, the empire began to disintegrate due to a brutal and unremitting series of civil wars in Assyria proper. In 616 BC, Cyaxares, king of the Medes and Persians, made alliances with Nabopolassar, ruler of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, and also the Scythians and Cimmerians against Assyria. At the Fall of Harran (609 BC), the Babylonians and Medes defeated an Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria largely ceased to exist as an independent state. A last defeat at Harran ended the Assyrian Empire. Although the empire fell, Assyrian history continued; there are still Assyrians living in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere, in the present day.