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Ancient Mosul (Arabic Mawsil)

City in northwestern Iraq. It lies on the right bank of the Tigris River across from the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh. Probably built on the site of an earlier Assyrian fortress Mosul succeeded Nineveh as the Tigris bridgehead of the road that linked Syria and Anatolia with Persia. By the 8th century AD it had become the principal city of northern Mesopotamia ...

Only a handful of European travelers crossed the Syrian Desert to the Euphrates to the ramshackle town of Mosul on the Tigris remarkable only for the dusty mounds of biblical Nineveh on the other side of the river. When French archeologist Emile Botta and Englishman Austen Henry Layard unearthed Assyrian civilization at Khorsabad and Nineveh in the 1840s the devout remembered their prophet in Zephaniah 2:13:

And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria;
and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert ...

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium