Pivot of the Sky - Chapter 215
The city of Salem became the logistical base for Anu Legion’s attack to the south, but the defense of the city and the Charcoal Marsh pass remained in the hands of Salem.
The legion was composed of 6,000 warriors, with 20,000 to 30,000 non-combatants in charge of logistics and supplies, and there were more than 10,000 of them that were always staying in Salem, bringing prosperity and development to the new city.
On the other hand, Aesop’s new policies also made Salem very appealing, attracting people from all over the continent to join the city. They came here to make their own homes, to create their dreams with their hands from nothing. What they gained in this way was the most valuable, and thus the strongest fighting spirit was raised when the city and their homes were threatened. As such, the city of Salem had grown the most rapidly since its founding, despite the small-scale friction with the northern city of Enlil.
The Anu Legion moved three hundred kilometers south in the Plains of Duc and eastward on the northern shore of the inland lake to attack the city of Marduc, founded by Ussir, but the battle did not go well because the Kingdom of Bablon also mobilized its elite forces to cross the Euphrates River to meet the battle. The kingdom’s elite Bablon Legion, the Kish Legion on the western border, and the Uruk Legion were all sent to the front.
The leader of the Uruk Legion was no longer Gilgamesh, and the fighting power was not as strong as when Enkidu was alive, but it was still a force to be reckoned with.
In addition to the Anu Legion, which came south from the Plains of Duc, another elite Enlil Legion also set out from the city of Syah to attack the city of Kish eastward along the southern shore of the inland lake. If they could capture the land of Kish west of the Euphrates River, Marduc City in the Plains of Duc would be cut off from reinforcements and would be surrounded by two armies.
Knowing that the situation was not good, Ussir, the lord of Marduc City, immediately sent a messenger to Metatro, with whom he had private cooperation, offering to ally with Salem City to provide strategic supplies against Enlil City in the north, as long as Salem City closed the Charcoal Marsh trade route and did not cooperate with the Hittite Kingdom. Metatro took the letter and laughed bitterly for half a day, and only replied with a single sentence – “What have you been doing for so long?”
Although the alliance was not successful, Ussir breathed a sigh of relief, because at this moment, Bablon Legion arrived in Marduc City. At the same time, two other legions crossed the Euphrates River and assembled at the border of the city of Kish to meet the advancing Enlil Legion. The Hittite army was on the offensive and the Bablon army was on the defensive. The war lasted for more than a year, and even though the Hittite army had the upper hand, they had never managed to win a decisive victory.
The kingdom of Bablon had mobilized all their forces in this war, and the commander-in-chief was the currently popular Prince Benut. This war was obviously very unfavorable to Bablon, as if he lost, they would lose Marduc City and the land of Kish west of the Euphrates River. Furthermore, even if they won, they would not be able to take any advantage of the Hittite kingdom, and the most they could achieve was to damage the opponent’s army.
The last war took place in this area, which gave him a reputation of being admired by all. However, it now also put him in this position where the Bablonian ministers did not hesitate to elect him as the commander-in-chief of the battlefield.
Prince Benut could be considered very talented, as he appointed the mayor of Arcade, Tich, as the chief quartermaster, and although the battle to defend the land was a tough one, they did not suffer defeat either. This situation may have been expected by King Asher, as although Anu Legion did not take Marduc City and Enlil Legion did not drive the Bablonian army to the east bank of the Euphrates, they cooperated to accomplish another task.
The two legions built docks on the north and south shores of the inland lake and built boats to open up waterways that could communicate with each other. And the Anu Legion developed a fertile land in the wilderness on the northern shore of the inland lake, first as a place for the rear army to camp, and then as a place to stockpile supplies for the forward base, the scale of which grew from a village to a town, and then from a town to a city.
While the stalemate at the frontlines with Marduc City continued, personnel came constantly from the rear to cultivate the wilderness, and after two years of building, the city had finally taken shape. The name of this city was Meso, and there was plenty of space for development on the Plains of Duc, as this thousand-mile fertile land could definitely accommodate much more than the current cities.
King Asher’s expedition was a two-pronged plan, one to contain the expansion of the Bablon Kingdom and to repel it, and the other to take advantage of the opportunity to occupy the Plains of Duc and open up new territories. Amon had already anticipated this, but the situation of the city of Salem at that time could not prevent the Hittite kingdom from doing so, and could only cooperate for mutual benefit.
After more than a year of war, both sides were a bit disillusioned. Prince Benut led a very strong resistance, and a deadly fight would be less than worthwhile for both countries, while the Hittite Kingdom had already achieved its strategic goal and established a city in the Plains of Duc.
Most of the area controlled by Meso was in the Plains of Duc, with a small part in the grasslands on the southern shore of the inland lake, and the two territories were accessible to each other by ferry. Most of Enlil Legion had crossed the inland lake to join with Anu Legion, except for the part of the army that remained at the ferry. Although they were still at war with Bablon Kingdom, large-scale attacks were becoming less and less frequent, and the situation had gradually stabilized, forming a new balance.
Due to the establishment of the city and the opening of the inland lake channel, the logistical pressure on the Hittite expeditionary army was also getting less and less. If the situation continued to develop, it may only require a truce to be signed between the two kingdoms. Prince Benut had already asked the Bablon king to prepare to send an emissary to negotiate with the Hittite kingdom.
At that moment, no one expected that the Assyrian king, Sennachi, would throw his entire army around the Syah Plateau from the northeast and launch a surprise attack on the Kingdom of Bablon.
The Assyrian kingdom was the smallest and least productive in the surrounding area and was always considered to be the weakest country. Enlil City in the northern part of the Plains of Duc also attracted everyone’s attention. All countries knew that the Assyrian Kingdom had sent the Giant Legion over the Assyrian Plateau to establish this city in the northern part of the Plains of Duc, and after a great battle and continuous friction with the city of Salem, most had expected that they would not have any spare energy to pay attention to other things.
Even if the Assyrian Kingdom wanted to start a war, it would continue to increase its troops in Enlil City to consolidate the strategic base already established, and also to expand its sphere of influence. The Assyrian kingdom broke this traditional way of thinking and attacked where it was least expected.
After a big battle with the city of Salem, Assyria did not reinforce Enlil City with other legions, but ordered the Giant Legion to continue to assemble, and not to fight any large scale battles with the Salem, but only limited themselves to small scale skirmishes, maintaining a low-intensity state of war. If the Giant Legion wanted to siege the city of Salem, it would naturally be difficult, but if they merely wanted to defend Enlil City it would be no problem at all.
The Giant Legion had always been the most elite vanguard of the Assyrian kingdom, and its presence indicated the main direction of the Assyrian king’s military strategy, but this time it was nothing more than a feint. The Assyrian kingdom had been unremarkable for too long, and no one expected that King Sennachi had spent ten years training four integrated legions silently, each of which was comparable to the main forces of other kingdoms in terms of combat power.
How could the Assyrian kingdom support such a huge elite army? It could be said that Sennachi was ambitious and had planned all of this secretly and patiently for many years, unquestionably taking a path of military conquest for the kingdom. Most of Assyria’s land was a treacherous plateau of mountains, with little arable land and mostly barren land. But the Syah Plateau was rich in mines and gave them the resources to build weapons, and Sennachi had been quietly training his troops with the power of the nation over the years.
He sent the outstanding Giant Legion to the Plains of Duc, and the opportunity finally came when the great war between the Hittite and Bablon kingdoms reached a stalemate. Sennachi, as the commander-in-chief himself, led three legions to bypass the Assyrian Plateau and attacked the Bablon Kingdom’s hinterland from the northeast, catching the Bablon Kingdom by surprise.
The main force of the Bablon Kingdom’s army was fighting the Hittite army west of the Euphrates River, and all the important strategic supplies were shipped to the western city of Kish for stockpiling, so they could not be transferred back in a hurry. The cities in the northeast were the weakest, and their garrisons were no match for the Assyrian army. In just six months, six cities had fallen.
The kingdom of Bablon was taken advantage of and suffered such heavy losses, partly because the main forces were on the western front, but also because the two successive wars had seriously depleted its national strength. Seeing that the whole kingdom was in danger of being destroyed, the aged King Samsu ordered Prince Benut to lead his troops back to help.
With such a golden opportunity, how could King Asher of Hittite not order his army to launch a strong attack? As a result, Prince Benut’s efforts for a year and a half were in vain, and he had to beg for peace with the Hittite kingdom and cede the land west of the Euphrates River, while Marduc City also fell. The Hittite army established a city, attacked a city, and got a small half of the city of the Bablon kingdom on the west bank of the Euphrates, which became a newly opened territory and completely achieved its strategic goal!
The young King Asher laughed in his palace as he finally achieved what neither his predecessor nor Golier had achieved!
After capturing so much territory, the Kingdom of Hittite also needed time to consolidate its conquests, and King Asher’s plan was to pacify the residents of the cities first. He renamed the Marduc City as Budamia, overthrew the statue of Marduc and built the shrine of Enlil, and still allowed the native inhabitants to live and cultivate, but they had to swear allegiance to the Hittite kingdom and the god Enlil and become the subjects of the Hittite kingdom.
The second phase of this war between the powers, mainly between Assyria and Bablon, lasted for most of the year.
Although Prince Benut held the capital after his return, the kingdom was already badly wounded and faced with the raging Assyrian army, he had to beg for peace again and formally signed an agreement to officially cede the six cities that had fallen. The six cities had been occupied by the Assyrian kingdom, and with the current strength of the Kingdom of Bablon they simply could not take them back.
But once the formal document was signed, it was the same as acknowledging that the six cities were included in the Assyrian kingdom’s territory. It was still Prince Benut who signed the document on behalf of the Kingdom of Bablon, and he almost gritted his teeth at that time but had to hold back his tears. The six fallen cities had been completely destroyed, and many of them had been turned into scorched earth.
Before Sennachi started this war, he was still considered a wise and talented monarch, although he had committed many acts of brutality in the country. He implemented a military policy, and although the people’s lives were miserable, the Assyrian kingdom, which had tough people since ancient times, maintained a stable social order and built up a strong military force. Sennachi was perhaps a genius in military matters, knowing how to hold back and knowing how to find the most suitable opportunity for war.
Ten years ago, shortly after his accession to the throne, he carried out military reforms, not only requiring every adult male in the kingdom to be trained as a warrior for military service, but also introducing a recruitment system, recruiting distant highlander giants, bandit gangs, and wandering explorers to join the army, promising them lucrative rewards in war.
The legions of the Assyrian kingdom not only had the traditional charioteers and cavalry, but the infantry was also divided into heavily armored and lightly armored infantry, as well as specially trained siege soldiers and supply wagons, and engineering soldiers not found in other kingdoms’ legions. The army was equipped by the state with iron armor, weapons, and horses, as well as siege rams and stone-throwers.
When the Assyrian army advanced into the territory of Bablon with great force, Sennachi’s brutal nature finally came out completely, like a more twisted outbreak after years of repression. He was the monarch of a small, isolated kingdom, and he had been holding back for too long, so much so that he could not stand it, and only in the near-madness of the killing could he obtain the pleasure of venting.
The Assyrian soldiers had always been tough and brutal, but these soldiers have become almost beasts in the endless killing. They hung the bodies of their enemies on sharpened wooden poles, like a jungle, and when they encountered resistance, even the women and children in the whole town were not spared, and all the gold and silver were looted to become the spoils of war.
Such a killing scene was too much even for the one who had come up with the strategic plans, the Sage Advisor Faust, and he felt his legs go a little weak when he saw the streets of the Bablon cities filled with corpses.
Faust was a beloved Sage in Assyria, and it was he who made the strategic plans for Sennachi. First, he watched the chaos of the three kingdoms of Ejypt, Hittite, and Bablon with a cold eye, and chose the right time to add a fire to stir up the dispute. He secretly sent the Giant Legion over the Syah Plateau to establish a strategic position and put a nail between the Hittite and Bablon kingdoms to attract attention and muddy the water. When the chaotic war was in the most favorable situation, he attacked the Bablon Kingdom in an unexpected way.
The strategic plan that Faust developed was completely successful, but he also did not expect King Sennachi to kill so brutally, and he could not help but admonish Sennachi with a stiff upper lip –
“My ever-victorious and great king, you started the war to build a meritorious career, but also for the permanent benefit of Assyria, so there is no need to kill unnecessarily. You indulge your soldiers to loot so much gold and silver, but that will not fully serve the purpose of waging war to feed war, and after the war ends we still need a long and peaceful rule to build a strong and prosperous great empire. “
At that moment, Queen Naqia, who had followed Sennachi’s imperial campaign, also came to the king and said that she did not want to see Assyrian soldiers raping and plundering anymore, otherwise she would not go to the battlefield to serve the kingdom. At first, Sennachi was furious and rebuked the Sage advisor and Queen, whom he had never rebuked before, but when the reports of the battle ahead came in, the resistance in the occupied areas became more and more fierce, and the war became more and more exhausting, he finally accepted Faust’s advice and gave a new order.
The Assyrian army stopped burning and killing in the occupied areas, and forcefully moved the inhabitants of the conquered areas into the Assyrian household registers and scattered them elsewhere, and all of them were not allowed to continue living in their original homes, nor were they allowed to gather according to their original villages or towns. These scattered inhabitants were given new plots of land to farm for Assyrian slave owners and pay taxes to the kingdom.
The Assyrian kingdom occupied the lands of the six cities as new frontiers and had a large number of slaves. The Assyrian participants in the military wars formed a new privileged group of nobles who were given land and slaves to rule the area, restoring some of the production and making up for the consumption of the war, and the killing finally stopped and the situation gradually stabilized.
These policies of Sennachi were made at the suggestion of Faust, and it was indeed beneficial to the rule of the occupied areas, while on the other hand, Faust’s main goal was not to see more slaughter and corpses everywhere. At the same time, at the firm request of Queen Naqia, Sennachi finally agreed.
Time was required for the policies to be implemented and for the Assyrian Kingdom to digest the newly occupied areas, while the Assyrian army had almost reached its limits and was still fighting at the frontlines. It was at this point that the Bablonian king sent Prince Benut to lead his army to resist Sennachi’s latest attack and offer a truce and peace.
Sennachi enjoyed the thrill of being on top of the world and was happy to see the formerly powerful Bablon kingdom submit to him, and because he could not afford to expand on a larger scale for the time being, he agreed to make peace. After the truce, the last batch of thousands of prisoners was brought back from the front, among them were the legionary warriors of the Bablon Kingdom, but most of them were the inhabitants of the towns that had resisted the Assyrian army.
As the Assyrian army did not achieve complete victory in the last battle, Sennachi was so angry that he ordered all of the prisoners, regardless of young and old, to be beheaded and skinned to deter those who tried to resist his authority. Faust and Naqia could not stand it and insisted that the king stop killing those who had surrendered, many of whom were just ordinary inhabitants and had never fought against the Assyrian army.
Sennachi was originally displeased, but suddenly changed his mind and said: “You want to plead for mercy for these people and pray for my mercy to keep them alive. Then, I will divide these slaves into two and give them to the Sage and the Queen. But I have a task for the two of you to complete, or these people will still have to die!”
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