In what I find to be very bad news, the radical ISIL terrorist army is holding the historic ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh hostage. Specifically, ISIL is threatening to destroy the invaluable ruins from ancient times if the Iraqi army attempts to recapture the city of Mosul (first link and second link). Any damage or destruction to the remaining portions of the original Assyrian walls and fortifications would be a terrible loss to the historic patrimony of mankind.
Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian empire. The first link estimates the population of ancient Nineveh was 150,000. Personally, I think it was considerably higher. Modern estimators of the populations of ancient cities tend to forget that the size of the walled cities enclosed only the defensive portion of the city that would shelter its remaining defenders during a siege. In peaceable times, many occupants of the city would be living outside the walls in tents, wooden structures or fabric-covered structures of some kind. Caravans, merchants, pilgrims, etc. would often live or stay in facilities outside the walls. In wartime, people would either flee the region or retreat inside the walls if they chose to remain.
Assyria would have been the head of the Mesopotamian coalition whose kings came to watch the battle between the alliance of the Mesopotamian and Syrian kings vs. the Israelite army under King David that had reached the Euphrates River (I Chronicles 18:3). Mesopotamia was led by Assyria at that time so the Assyrian king and his nobles were certainly present, and many of them had, no doubt, departed from Nineveh to watch the battle (I Chronicles 19:6-9). King David’s Israelite army routed the Mesopotamian army and went on to defeat and subjugate the Assyrian empire (secular accounts of this war are found in my book, The Origins and Empire of Ancient Israel). After the Israelite tribes lost vast numbers of soldiers in a later civil war between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (II Chronicles 13:1-20), the kingdom of Israel had to withdraw its garrison forces from Assyria and Assyria began to rebuild its military “from scratch.” The story of Assyria’s rebuilding effort is also found in my aforementioned book. The Israelite occupation of Assyria and Nineveh was likely harsh, and this accounted for Assyria’s intense determination to repeatedly attack the Israelite kingdom until it eventually fell and its citizens either fled elsewhere in the world as exiles or were taken captive by the Assyrians into Asia. The Assyrians were determined to avenge upon Israel the defeat that they had suffered at the hands of the Israelite/Syrian army under King David.
Nineveh was also the famous city where the prophet, Jonah, was sent to warn Nineveh that it was about to experience a destruction similar to what God sent upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Much to Jonah’s chagrin, Nineveh repented and God spared the city. The greatly misunderstood story of Jonah’s real motivation and mission to Nineveh is found in my article, Jonah–The Misunderstood Prophet. Jonah was not quite the “rebellious” prophet that a cursory reading of the book of Jonah indicates. When Jonah’s mission is understood in light of the contemporary geopolitics of that time between Israel and Assyria, the book of Jonah has an entirely different perspective.
Nineveh was finally conquered and the Assyrian empire was ended when it was invaded by an alliance of armies from Babylon, Media and Scythia circa 612 BC. Scythia was the region surrounding the Black Sea to which many Israelites fled when the kingdom of Israel fell, so their animosity toward Assyria was surely strong and included the motive of revenge. The “Medes” who helped conquer Nineveh likely also included many Israelites as the Israelites taken captive by Assyria circa 721 BC were re-settled in the land of the Medes (II Kings 17:6). The role of the Israelite tribes in ancient and modern history has been, in my judgment, withheld from the public as the anti-God, anti-Bible, evolution-propounding elites of the world do not want the truth about the Israelite tribes to be known. If the truth about such Israelite empires as Phoenicia/Israel, Carthage, Scythia, Parthia, etc. were known, it would be easy to see the Bible is an accurate historical record of ancient history and an accurate fore-teller of the future fates of modern nations. The full history of the ten tribes of Israel throughout the millennia since they went into exile can be found in my books. If you obtain them and read them, you will have a much more interesting and complete view of world history.
In conclusion, although Nineveh’s remaining ruins belonged to the enemies of Israel, I would hate to see those ruins destroyed. They are a vital testimony to the events of ancient history and should be preserved for all mankind to appreciate. It would also be most foolhardy and short-sighted of the current local combatants to allow Nineveh’s ruins to be destroyed. Whenever the current wars in the Mideast subside, the ruins of Nineveh would be a major tourist attraction and would generate revenue for whoever controls the region in which they are located.
My thanks to a friend who sent me the second link.