With almost everything lost outside her walls, she held out against the Scythian assaults till 606, and then fell to the Mede Uvakhshatra, known to the Greeks as Kyaxares. The fallen capital of West Asia was devastated by the conquerors to such effect that it never recovered, and its life passed away for ever across the Tigris, to the site on which Mosul stands at the present day.
Swarming through the territories of the Minni to the east of Ararat, they swooped down upon the Assyrian frontier, along with other northern nations from Media, Sepharad, and Ashchenaz. While a body of Kimmerians under Teuspa marched westward, the rest of the allies, under Kastarit or Kyaxares of Karu-Kassi, attacked the fortresses which defended Assyria on the north-east.
It is, indeed, a considerably larger area than was independent of the Farther East at the date of our last survey. Asia Minor was in all likelihood independent from end to end, from the Aegean to the Euphrates for in 600 B.C. Kyaxares had probably not yet come through Urartu and from the Black Sea to the Gulf of Issus.
First, we learn from Babylonian annals that Kyaxares, besides overrunning all Assyria and the northern part of Babylonia after the fall of Nineveh, took and pillaged Harran and its temple in north-west Mesopotamia.
We know nothing of the extent of Lydian power towards the east, unless the suggestions already based on the passage of Herodotus concerning the meeting of Alyattes of Lydia with Kyaxares the Mede on the Halys, some years later than the date of our present survey, are well founded.
The issue was fought out in central West Persia, which had been dominated by the Medes since the time of Kyaxares' father, Phraortes, and when it was decided by the secession of good part of the army of King Astyages, Cyrus of Anshan took possession of the Median Empire with the goodwill of much of the Median population.
Her foes gained fresh courage from the success that crowned the revolt of Babylonia. The Medes, a formidable nation to the east of Assyria, and which had often crossed arms with the Assyrians, entered into combination with Babylonia, and the two making several united assaults upon Nineveh, under the leadership of Kyaxares, at last succeeded in effecting an entrance.
If, as seems probable, the main element of Kyaxares' war strength was Scythian, we can hardly expect to find records either of his conquest or the subsequent career of the Medes, even though Ecbatana should be laid bare below the site of modern Hamadan; for the predatory Scyth, like the mediaeval Mongol, halted too short a time to desire to carve stones, and probably lacked skill to inscribe them.