Assyria was a major Semitic kingdom, and often empire, of the Ancient Near East, existing as an independent state for a period of approximately nineteen centuries from c. 2500 BC to 605 BC, spanning the Early Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. For a further thirteen centuries, from the end of the 7th century BC to the mid-7th century AD, it survived as a geo-political entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers, although a number of small Neo-Assyrian states arose at different times throughout this period.
Centered on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia ( northern Iraq, northeast Syria and southeastern Turkey), the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires at several times, the last of which grew to be the largest and most powerful empire the world had yet seen.
As a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization", Assyria was at the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time. At its peak, the Assyrian empire stretched from Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea to Persia (Iran), and from the Caucasus Mountains (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan) to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt.