added by archaeologs A solar deity which was the chief god of the city of Assur and the kingdom of Assyria. With the latter's conquests, Assur assumed leadership of the Assyrian pantheon and supremacy over the other gods of Mesopotamia. The deity was conceived in anthropomorphic terms. The image of the deity was fed and clothed and was responsible for fertility and security, and represented as a winged sun-disc. It is also the name of the ancient religious capital of the Assyrian empire in northern Mesopotamia, on the bank of the River Tigris at modern Qalaat-Shergat, which was a great trading center and the burial place of the kings even after the government moved to Nineveh. First recorded in the 3rd millennium BC as a frontier post of the empire of Akkad, it then became an independent city-state and finally the capital of Assyria. After Assyria's collapse in 614 BC it failed to survive but was briefly revived under the Parthians. Areas of the palaces, temples, walls, and town have been cleared, and a sondage pit was cut beneath the Temple of Ishtar (pre-Sargonid) to reveal the 3rd and early 2nd millennium levels (the first use of this technique in Mesopotamian excavation). Sumerian statues were found - among the earliest evidence of Sumerian contact outside the southern plain. For over 2000 years successive kings built and rebuilt the fortifications, temple, and palace complexes: inscriptions associated with these monuments have helped in the construction of the chronology of the site. Three large ziggurats dominated the city with the largest being 60 m square (completed by Shamsi Adad I c 1800 bc). It was originally dedicated to Enlil, but later to Assur; the dedication of the other temples also changed through time. Representations on cylinder seals suggest that many buildings might have had parapets and towers. Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) moved the capital to Calah and by 614 BC the city of Assur had fallen to the Median (Medes) army.
added by archaeologs (1) The old capital of Assyria lies naturally protected on a rock promontory on the bank of the River Tigris in northern Mesopotamia. The earliest levels excavated belong to the first half of the 3rd millennium bc. The remains of a pre-Sargonid temple dedicated to the goddess Ishtar were excavated and Sumerian statues were found — among the earliest evidence of Sumerian contact outside the southern plain. It is thought that Assur might originally have been a trading post. For over 2000 years successive kings built and rebuilt the fortifications, temple and palace complexes: inscriptions associated with these monuments have helped in the construction of the chronology of the site. The fortifications were rebuilt on many occasions, the latest under Shalmaneser III (859-824 bc) who added a new outer wall. Very little is known about the secular buildings at Assur, as most work has been done in the temple and palace complex, with the three large ziggurats dominating the city. The largest was 60 metres square and was completed by Shamsi Adad I (cl800 bc). It was originally dedicated to Enlil, but later to Assur; the dedication of the other temples also changed through time. Next to the ziggurats, the ‘Old Palace’ featured a labyrinth of rectangular chambers and storerooms, with private shrines and courtyards. A later ‘New Palace’ of which only the foundations remain was built by Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244-1208 bc), who also built a residential suburb outside the city. Representations on cylinder seals suggest that many buildings might have had parapets and towers. Assurnasirpal II (883-859 bc) moved the capital to Calah and by 614 bc the city of Assur had fallen to the Median army. (2) The national god of Assyria, leader of the Assyrian pantheon. The god Assur is represented as a winged sun-disc and was the god most commonly represented on Assyrian reliefs. The emblem suggests that his original nature was a fertility god, rather than the war god he became in the Assyrian state.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983