The powerful Neo-Assyrian Empire influenced the surrounding region culturally as well as politically. In the west a number of small but powerful Aramaean city-states acted as a barrier between Assyria and the Mediterranean coast. These have been called Neo-Hittite city-states because of their dynastic continuity and relation to the preceding Hittites of Anatolia. These rival states were gradually brought under the control of the Neo-Assyrian Empire by military conquest.
Stone slabs carved in low relief had traditionally decorated the walls of the Neo-Hittite palaces and temples. Workmanship was often strong if crude. The figures were carved with little descriptive detail engraved on the surface, but it is nevertheless possible to detect, in some of the reliefs, the influence of Assyrian art in the choice of scene, the types of chariots and horse gear, and the galloping posture of the horses.