Tiglath‐pileser I, who ruled towards the end of the 2nd millennium BCE, called himself ‘king of the world, king of Assyria, king of the four rims of the earth’, and claimed conquests from the Lower Zab (a tributary of the Tigris) to the Upper Sea (that is, the Mediterranean). He campaigned in the Nairi region and took tribute from Gebal, Sidon, and Arvad. His army is said to have reached Lake Van, and he is reputed to have crossed the Euphrates twenty‐eight times. He controlled all of north Babylonia and he conquered the city of Babylon itself. However, this period of glory seems to have been short‐lived and to have been followed by a period of weakness.
A second period of strength came in the 9th century, with the reign of the brutal Ashurnasirpal II from Bit‐adini. He crossed the Euphrates, captured Carchemish, overran Hattina (north Syria), and claims to have washed his weapons in the Great (Mediterranean) Sea and exacted tribute from Tyre, Sidon, and Arvad amongst other places. He also went up into the Amanus Mountains. He was succeeded by Shalmaneser III (858–824) who greatly expanded Assyria's borders and boasted of having reached the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates. In the south he invaded Babylonia and entered Babylon, Cuthah, and Borsippa, and to the north he reached Lake Van. In 853 he invaded Syria. Aleppo submitted, but at Qarqar on the River Orontes he was confronted by a coalition of twelve kings, including Ahab of Israel and Hadad‐ezer of Damascus. In 841 he crossed the Euphrates for the sixteenth time, defeated Hazael of Damascus, and received tribute from Tyre, Sidon, and Jehu of Israel. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser depicts Jehu prostrating himself before the Assyrian king. Later, Adad‐nirari III (811–783) received tribute from J(eh)oash of Israel.