- Actually, propaganda in the form or bas reliefs were one of the most important weapons of the ancient Assyrian kings they depicted what punishment would be meted out to anyone who tried to upset the Empire's civilised social order by rebelling or not paying their taxes/tribute.
When the propaganda failed the king then led the army against the rebellious city and after beseiging and conquering, only the city's leadership would be made to pay the price for upseting the social order. Cities were only destroyed after repeated rebellions and the troublesome people were then resettled in other parts of the empire where they gradually assimilated into the surrounding population.
This is validated by the late Assyriologist Henry Saggs who stated that, "There is no proven case of any atrocities committed by individual Assyrian soldiers as matters of mere sadism. It is true that there are some scenes on bas reliefs which do show the mutilation or barbarous killing (as by skinning) of prisoners, but the indications are that these represent what was done to ringleaders by order of the king, not random acts of barbarity by private soldiers. Indeed, there are indications that the king insisted on very strict discipline in the matter of treatment of prisoners-of-war, and one royal letter to an Assyrian administrator dealing with provisions for such prisoners actually warns the official: 'You shall not be negligent. If you are, you shall die.'"
(H.W.F. Saggs, The Might That Was Assyria, pp.262-3)
"Amongst all the aspects of ancient Mesopotamian life, there are few which have been more widely misunderstood and misrepresented than the nature of Assyrian imperialism. Few historians or other writers who touch upon Assyria in the period between 900 B.C. and its final fall just before 600 B.C. can resist the temptation to gather up their skirts and add yet another shocked comment upon barbarism, brutality and unmatched ruthlessness of the Assyrians. It is rare to find any attempt to look at Assyrian warfare and imperialism as a whole in its perspective. Yet, as it is hoped to show below, when one considers the whole functioning of the Assyrian Empire, and particularly when one passes judgement in accordance with the standards, not of our own times but of the other peoples of the ancient world, a very different picture emerges.
The Assyrian Empire was efficient and would not gladly bear those who wished to upset the civilised world order, but it was not exceptionally bloody or barbaric. The number of people killed or mutilated in an average Assyrian campaign in the interest of efficient administration was, even in proportion to the population, probably no more than the number of dead and mangled humans that most Western countries offer annually as a sacrifice to the motor-car, in the supposed interest of efficient transport."
(H.W.F. Saggs, Everyday Life In Babylonia and Assyria, p.99)
>> So why not destroy the cities and resources to stop the petty kings from disturbing the region? Terror or "shock and awe" was one of the more important weapons of the Assyrian kings. The fact is, Sennacherib' s policy worked.Stay connected to the people that matter most with a smarter inbox. Take a look http://au.docs.yahoo.com/mail/smarterinbox