Human labour is the single most important commodity in the Assyrian Empire, as is of course true for all pre-modern states. Before the advent of machines, all labour had to be done by humans, by animals, or by nature. And in Assyria, human labour is the most important factor. So humans were very, very, very important. And we will focus now on the fact that the Assyrian Empire, in a very invasive way, tried to control and steer where in the realm people settled, where they lived. This concerned millions of people. You see here a table from a book by Bustenay Oded that tries to put together the information that we gained from the written sources. The written sources are, of course, not complete. But he arrives at a very, very high estimated total of 4.4 million people, give or take 900,000, who were resettled in the course of about 250 years. Now, 85% of the documented cases concerned people that were being resettled in central Assyria. We'll look at the map in a moment. But we have to be aware of the fact that, in antiquity of course, the Middle East would have been far less densely populated than it is now. And while we cannot really put concrete numbers, to the ninth century, the eighth century, the seventh century BC, the periods that we are most concerned with, it is a good mental experiment to assume that for every 100 people that live now in the Middle East, there would only have only been 1. So if we just imagine that there would only have been 1% of the inhabitants that are there now, then we are definitely not far off. And on the whole, this is a high estimate. So therefore, if we talk about 4.4 million people, give or take, being relocated in the span of 250 years. If we convert that to the present day, we would be talking about 44 million people, so gigantic numbers. I want you to be very, very aware of the fact that this concerned very, very many people in the Assyrian Empire. This is not something that was applied to a small minority. This would be something that people would have been likely to experience in their lives, and they would have been very familiar with this, okay? So the phenomenon that we are talking about is often described as deportation. We can also use the term population management, then it sounds slightly more benign. We are looking at a state that assumes so much power over all its inhabitants that the state says, “you live here, you live there. And I don't have to make any other statement to explain this but that you are part of this state, that is it.” So this was non-negotiable. If the Assyrian state was of the opinion that a certain group of people was better suited to live elsewhere, then it was done. Then it was implemented. We have to, however, also emphasise that the goal was not to punish, the goal was not to kill. The goal was to make use of the labour that these people represented in the way that was considered best for the state. So we are talking about a very invasive state, but one who is very, very aware that there is nothing more precious available than human labour and human ingenuity. And that, of course, sets the Assyrian Empire drastically apart from the way humans are often considered in the 21st century. So with these basic observations, let's look at one particular case. I want to point out the triangle that stands for central Assyria. And we'll want to emphasise again that, in the known cases, 85% of people were resettled in the Assyrian heartland. That means that by the seventh century, the Assyrian heartland is the most densely populated region of the Assyrian Empire. But the rest of the realm is not empty. Whenever people were deported, we are talking about complicated arrangements, prolonged arrangements. And I want to showcase this with one example, one of the most famous examples: the deportations of the people of Samaria in the year 722 BC. At that time, Samaria, now located in Israel, was conquered by the Assyrian forces. And part of its population was being moved to other places within the empire. In my map you see red dots and green dots. The green dots are the destinations of the people from Samaria. Guzana in the Khabur Triangle, Dur-Šarruken in the Assyrian heartland, at that time the new centre of Assyria, and then far in Iran, the cities of the Medes. The red dots represent those cities whose inhabitants were relocated to live in Samaria. So we have several cities in what is today southern Iraq, and we have the city of Hamat, now Hama in Syria, that give people up and they are resettled here in Samaria. So we are talking about an exchange of population. We are talking about people leaving Samaria and being sent to other cities. And we are talking about people from elsewhere who are being relocated in Samaria. We can say something about the time frame of all of this. Samaria was conquered in the year 722 BC. And the cities of the Medes, where part of the population from Samaria was relocated to, were only integrated into the Assyrian Empire in 716. So six years later. So obviously, no one from Samaria could be relocated to Iran before this had been achieved. So in this case, just reconstructing one of several cycles of population resettlement, we have one where people from Samaria are sent to live in Iran. People from Iran we know were sent to live in Assur, in the Assyrian heartland. And people from Assur were sent to live in Hamat, whereas people from Hamat were again made to live in Samaria. So a very complicated circular movement is in operation here. And we are talking about a time frame of six years in this case. And on the whole, we have to be aware of the fact that organising this would have been very, very complex and complicated. So lots of people were involved in managing this. This was, again, one of these very expensive strategies of the Assyrian Empire, but it was well worth it, because the state, by doing that, guaranteed that in the heartland, the best-educated, the best-trained people would be living, would be working, to the higher glory of the Assyrian Empire. Now, let's look at what kind of people were being relocated. This decoration from one of the Assyrian palaces shows the siege and the conquest of a city in Egypt. We can't identify the city precisely, but this is part of the River Nile and we are not concerned with the scenes of conquest here. We are concerned with this detail here. In this detail, we see a row of people leaving the city. And we have men, we have women, and we have children, and they have a lot of stuff. Whoever designed this image wanted to showcase that they are taking all their things, and that's why there are all sorts of containers. Those are the typical containers of ancient Assyria, of course. We've got wooden boxes, we've got pottery vessels, we have baskets, we have leather vessels - all sorts of things. The point being, they are leaving with their possessions. They are not leaving empty-handed, and they are leaving as a family. That's what is indicated here by the children looking back at their father. And that's also something that is backed up in the texts. People were deported in a family context, with their possessions. Nothing was rushed, this was all done in a very organised way and it took years. Despite the fact that in the decorations in the palaces, the time frame is of course shortened very much. And the conquest, the siege, the deportation of the inhabitants is all conflated in one image. But it did not all happen at the same time. Now the people from this Egyptian city we know were relocated in the Assyrian heartland. A great many of people from Egypt were relocated to central Assyria from the year 671 onwards. And as far as we can tell, their destination was, in each case, the centre of Assyria. We find them in texts from Nineveh and Assur, living there then for several generations. Now the big, important difference to the circular movements of population that we've described is that in this case no one was sent back to Egypt. Thousands, thousands of thousands, of Egyptians were moved away from Egypt after the Assyrian army had conquered the Nile Delta, but no one was sent back. This was a one-way street, because Egypt was never integrated into the Assyrian Empire. Therefore, the Assyrian king did not see any need to replace the population was taken away from Egypt, and that's very, very important for us. While the state saw to it that within the borders of the provincial system there wouldn't be any empty gaps. This was no concern at all when it came to regions outside of these borders. There basically every person that could profitably be relocated in Assyria was taken. And we have to be aware of the fact that an outcome of making this triangle the most densely populated region in the Middle East was also that the regions outside of the Assyrian provincial boundaries had to give up populations. And the long term impact, of course, was very, very dramatic.