All keeps being very interesting and fascinating. I especially like how you manage to get across the Assyrian perspective on things. Sinbanipal reign is shaping as a transformative event for the structure of the Assyrian state, which is becoming increasingly decentralized and, thus, significatly more flexible.Maybe. With only making a short comment on this point, we can say that Hebrew is a Canaanite variety if we assume that the Canaanite identity spread so far south as to reach into Edom and Moab. My understanding, is that both of these peoples were near indistinguishable from the Hebrews of Judah. This to me, displays more of a greater Western Semitic and proto-Canaanite inhabitance from Judah into Northern sections of Arabia and Jordan. What would have at one point been a similar people in the Copper Age or the very early Bronze Age, were diverged by the time that we mean, such that the pastoralists Hebrews and others may have migrated into the lands from Northern Arabia. I also would like to note, that the closeness and proximity at times shared between Judah and the Nabtu and other Arabs, has always interested me. One would imagine if the Hebrew were closer to the peoples of Tyre and Sidon in culture, they would have besought their aid against their enemies, rather than groups often far afield to the south. Just a thought though, not a major point.
In payment for derailing the thread, perhaps, what is your thoughts on the recent wars and expectation for the campaign headed by Sinbanipal unfolding during the recent narrative. Or any opinions on other points, such as Sinbanipal and his rule.
I suppose this is where it needs to go in order to expand and last indeed.
Colchis is shaping to be a major problem in the near future, one that cannot be deferred much long by now.
It seems like it has formed as a mirror of Urartu itself, defining its polity as a coaliscing response to Assyrian encroaching imperialism to become a formidable foe - one that Sinbanipal will likely have to deal with decisively after the later developments, in order to avenge the earlier setbacks. Speaking of which, clearly his first defeat in Barbashru was deeply formative to him , his policies and general outlook to the future of the Empire.
Now that the East has been at least temporarily secured (as long as Cambyses does not get any ideas) the Northern border becomes the most pressing military offensive/defensive concern for Assyria (as it has been in the long term anyway) and I suppose that Sinbanipal will have to go there in full force again soon.
All these waves of steppe nomads need to be kept in check, or Transcaucasia may become a permanent rival.
Regarding the next campaign into Arabia, does Sinbanipal plan to cross the whole peninsula from the wherebouts of Hagar/Gerrha to Hijaz? That would be an impressive feat if successful, but also a demanding task: Najd is not a forgiving environment.