Sometimes called the Rome of the Mideast, Assyria was a formidable empire of ancient times. Assyrian armor allowed them to accomplish feats that are staggering even by today's standards. The Assyrians were able to dominate the Mideast region for a good 800 years from 1400 BC to 600 BC due to superior soldiers, weapons, and of course armor.
Although some earlier civilizations used body armor to outfit their armies, the Assyrians were one of the first civilizations to realize the massive impact armor could have. You can imagine the portly military adviser scouring the military expense sheets trying to reduce their operating costs. When the light bulb finally went off I wouldn't have envied him trying to explain to the king that they'd have to spend more money to save on future costs such as military training and hospital bills by spending more on Assyrian armor.
The Assyrian army was mostly divided into two large groups of soldiers, infantry and archers. Of course there were chariots, cavalry and siege engines but the Assyrians had a special fondness for their archers. The archers wore a conical helmet most likely made of bronze in the early years and later made from iron. The archers wore a short sleeved, ankle length, body armor referred to as lamellar. It was again most likely made from bronze early on and later iron. Oftentimes the archers would have dedicated shield bearers to protect them with large shields made from tightly woven reeds. Before they instated the dedicated shield bearers they probably had trouble with the front line circling around the back when the commanders weren't looking. Later the Assyrians would come up with the brilliant idea of making a tall, movable wall of shields to protect their archers effectively putting the shield bearers out to beg the streets.
The Assyrian infantry was the other half of the war machine. The infantry also wore conical helmets but with protective ear flaps. In the ways of body armor the infantry were a little less armored than their archer brethren. Most only wore a circular pectoral made of metal in the center of their chests. The infantry also wielded circular or rectangular shields.
The Assyrians were unrivaled in their time period. Assyrian armor enabled them to conquer all opposition and forge one of the largest and scariest empires of ancient times. All empires come to end though, and so did the Assyrian one. Eventually Ninevah, the Assyrian capital, was conquered by the Babylonians ending the Assyrian period of dominance.