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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
Assyria and Babylonia
ASSYRIA AND BABYLONIA
1. Natural features and Civilization . Strictly speaking, Assyria was a small district bounded on the N. and E. by the mountains of Armenia and Kurdistan, on the W. by the Tigris, on the S. by the Upper Zab. The W. bank of the Tigris was early included, and the limits of the kingdom gradually extended till the Empire included all Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and parts of Asia Minor and Egypt. The term ‘Assyria,’ therefore, was widely different in meaning at different periods. The earliest capital was Asshur, on the W. of the Tigris, between the mouths of the Upper and Lower Zab. The above-named district, a natural stronghold, was the nucleus of the country. For the most part hilly, with well-watered valleys and a wide plain along the Tigris, it was fertile and populous. The cities Calah at the junction of the Upper Zab, Nineveh on the ChÃ´ser, Dur-Sargon to the N.E., Imgur-Bel S.E., Tarbis to the N.W., and ArbÃ§la between the rivers Zab, were the most noted in Assyria itself.
The climate was temperate. The slopes of the hills were well wooded with oak, plane, and pine; the plains and valleys produced figs, olives, and vines. Wheat, barley, and millet were cultivated. In the days of the Empire the orchards were stocked with trees, among which have been recognized date palms, orange, lemon, pomegranate, apricot, mulberry, and other fruits. A great variety of vegetables were grown in the gardens, including beans, peas, cucumbers, onions, lentils. The hills furnished plenty of excellent building stone, the soft alabaster specially lent itself to the decoration of halls with sculptures in low relief, while fine marbles, hard limestone, conglomerate and basalt, were worked into stone vessels, pillars, altars, etc. Iron, lead, and copper were obtainable in the mountains near. The lion and wild ox, the boar, deer, gazelle, goat, and hare were hunted. The wild ass, mountain sheep, bear, fox, jackal, and many other less easily recognized animals are named. The eagle, bustard, crane, stork, wild goose, various ducks, partridge, plover, the dove, raven, swallow, are named; besides many other birds. Fish were plentiful. The Assyrians had domesticated oxen, asses, sheep, goats, and dogs. Camels and horses were introduced from abroad.
The Assyrians belonged to the North Semitic group, being closely akin to the AramÃ¦ans, PhÅ“nicians, and Hebrews. Like the other Mesopotamian States, Assyria early came under the predominating influence of Babylonia. According to Genesis 10:11 , Nimrod went out from the land of Shinar into Assyria and built Nineveh, etc. That Babylonian colonies settled in Assyria is probable, but it is not clear that they found a non-Semitic population there. The Assyrians of historic times were more robust, warlike, ‘fierce’ ( Isaiah 33:19 ), than the mild, industrial Babylonians. This may have been due to the influence of climate and incessant warfare; but it may indicate a different race. The culture and religion of Assyria were essentially Babylonian, save for the predominance of the national god Ashur. The king was a despot at home, general of the army abroad, and he rarely missed an annual expedition to exact tribute or plunder some State. The whole organization of the State was essentially military. The literature was borrowed from Babylonia, and to the library of the last great king, Ashurbanipal, we owe most of the Babylonian classics. The Assyrians were historians more than the Babylonians, and they invented a chronology which is the basis of all dating for Western Asia. They were a predatory race, and amassed the spoils of all Mesopotamia in their treasure-houses, but they at least learned to value what they had stolen. The enormous influx of manufactured articles from abroad and the military demands prevented a genuinely native industrial development, but the Assyrians made splendid use of foreign talent. In later times, the land became peopled by captives, while the drain upon the Assyrian army to conquer, garrison, colonize, and hold down the vast Empire probably robbed the country of resisting power.
2. History . The excavations conducted at Nineveh and Calah by Layard, 1845 to 1851; by Botta at Khorsabad, 1843 1845; continued by Rassam, G. Smith, and others up to the present time; the edition of the inscriptions by Rawlinson, Norris, and Smith, and the decipherment of them by Rawlinson, Hincks, and Oppert, have rendered available for the history of Assyria a mass of material as yet only partially digested. Every year fresh evidence is discovered by explorers in the East, and the wide-spread influence of Assyria may be illustrated by the discovery of a stele of Sargon in Cyprus, a stele of Esarhaddon at Zinjerli on the borders of Cilicia, a letter from Ashur-uballit, king of Assyria, to Amenophis IV., king of Egypt, at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, of statues of Assyrian kings at Nahrel-Kelb near Beyrout. Besides this primary source of history, chiefly contemporaneous with the events it records, we have scattered incidental notices in the historical and prophetical books of the OT giving an important external view, and some records in the Greek and Latin classics, mostly too late and uncritical to be of direct value. Owing to the intimate connexion of Assyria and Babylonia, a great deal may be treated as common matter, but it will conduce to clearness to separate their history. Some of the common sources for history will be noticed here.
( a ) Chronology
( Î± ) Year-names . The Babylonians gave each year a name. Thus the names of the first four years of the reign of Hammurabi are: (1) the year in which Hammurabi became king; (2) the year in which Hammurabi established the heart of the land in righteousness; (3) the year in which the throne of Nannar was made; (4) the year in which the wall of MalgÃ¢ was destroyed. These dates, or year-names, were decided upon and notice sent round to the principal districts, early each year. Thus we know that the date, or year-name, to be used for the eighth year of Samsu-iluna was sent as far as the Lebanon, where the tablet giving the order was found. Until the new year-name was known, the year was dated ‘the year after’ the last known date. Thus the fourth year of Hammurabi would be called ‘the year after that in which the throne of Nannar was made.’ The scribes kept a record of these dates, and a long list of year-names, in two recensions, has been published, which, if perfect, would have given the year-names from Sumu-abi to the tenth year of Ammi-zaduga. It was natural that the same ideogram MU should denote ‘year’ and ‘name.’ When, therefore, this list counts 43 MU to the reign of Hammurabi, we do not know that he reigned ‘43 years,’ but only that he used 43 year-names in his reign. We know that the same year was sometimes called by two different names. When, therefore, the King’s List gives him a reign of 55 years, we may explain the discrepancy by supposing that the list of year-names gives only the number of separate names. As a year-name often mentions a campaign, it seems most unlikely that it could have been given at the beginning of the year, still more when it records such an event as the fall of a city. The list of year-names records some event, usually domestic, religious, or military, for each year, and consequently has been called a ‘chronicle.’ This system of dating occurs as early as Sargon I. Its ambiguity for future generations is obvious. The kings of Larsa developed an era, the years being called the first, second, etc. (up to the 30th), ‘after the capture of Isin.’ In the third dynasty the method of dating by the year of the king’s reign was introduced. If a king died in the 20th year of his reign, he is said to have reigned 20 years. The remainder of the year was ‘the accession year’ of his successor, and his first year was that beginning on the first of Nisan after his accession. Thus over a long series of years, the sum of the reigns is accurately the length in years, except for the margin at the beginning and end: it is exact to a year.
( Î² ) Eponym Canon . The Assyrians devised a modification of the year-name which avoided all difficulty. They named each year after a particular official, who could be selected at the beginning of the year, which was called his limmu or eponymy. The particular official for each year was originally selected by lot ( pÃ»ru ), but later a fixed order was followed, the king, the Tartan, the chief of the levy, the chief scribe, etc., then the governors of the chief cities. As the Empire extended, the governors of such distant places as Carchemish, Razappa, Kummuh, or even Samaria, became eponyms. Later still the order seems to be quite arbitrary, and may have been a royal choice. Lists of these officials, in their actual order of succession, known as the Eponym Canons, were drawn up, are fairly complete from b.c. 911 to b.c. 668, and can be restored to b.c. 648. This method of dating is at least as early as Arik-dÃ§n-ilu, and was in use in Cappadocia, possibly much earlier. A very large number of names of Eponyms are known, which are not in the Canons, but as yet they can rarely be dated.
( Î³ ) Chronological statements . This system, however, provided an accurate means of dating, and warrants great reliance on the statements of the kings as to the dates of events long before their times. Provided that they had access to earlier Eponym Canons than we possess, there is no reason why they should not be exact. Later kings were not disinclined to give such chronological statements. Thus Shalmaneser I. states that Erishum built the temple of Ashur, in Asshur, which Shamshi-Adad rebuilt 159 years later, but which was destroyed 580 years later by a fire and built afresh by him. The king does not state in which year of either of the reigns these events took place. Esarhaddon also states that the temple was built by Erishum, restored by Shamshi-Adad, son of Bel-kabi, and again by Shalmaneser I. 434 years later, and again by himself. The former statement may be preferred, as Shalmaneser I. was much nearer to the events, and it is easier to reconcile with other statements. Sennacherib’s Bavian inscription states that he recovered the gods of Ekallati, which had been carried away by Marduk-nadin-ahe, king of Akkad, in the days of Tiglath-pileser I., 418 years before, thus dating both Marduk-nadin-ahe and Tiglath-pileser I. at about b.c. 1107. Tiglath-pileser I. tells us that he rebuilt the temple of Ashur and Adad which had been pulled down by his great-grandfather Ashur-dan I., 60 years before, and had then stood 641 years since its foundation by Shamshi-Adad, son of Ishme-Dagan. This puts Shamshi-Adad about b.c. 1820 and Ashur-dan about 1170. Sennacherib also states that a seal captured from Babylon by Tukulti-Ninib I. had been carried away to Babylon again and was brought back by him 600 years later. This puts Tukulti-Ninib I. about b.c. 1289. Ashurbanipal states that on his capture of Susa he brought back the image of Nana, which had been carried off by Kudur-nanhundi, 1635 years before. This puts an invasion of Babylon at b.c. 2275. A boundary stone dated in the 4th year of BÃ§l-nÃ¢din-apli states that from Gulkishar, probably the sixth king of the second Babylonian Dynasty, to Nebuchadrezzar I. there were 696 years. This puts Gulkishar about b.c. 1820. Nabonidus states that he restored a temple in Sippara, which had not been restored since Shagarakti-shuriash, 800 years before. This puts that king about b.c. 1350. Further, that Naram-Sin, son of Sargon I., was 3200 years before him, which dates Naram-Sin about b.c. 3750. Further, that Hammurabi lived 700 years before Burna-buriash. This dates Hammurabi about b.c. 2100, or b.c. 2150, according as we understand Burna-buriash I. or II. to be intended. It is evident that all such dates are vague. The numbers may be only approximate, 600 for 560 or 640, say. Further, we do not know from which year of the writer’s reign to reckon, nor to which year of the king named. This may add a further margin of uncertainty.
( Î´ ) The Kings’ List, Ptolemy’s Canon, Eponym List . The Babylonian Kings’ List, if complete, would have given the names of the kings of Babylonia from the First Dynasty down to the last native ruler, Nabonidus, with the lengths of their reigns. It does furnish these particulars for long periods. The famous Canon of Ptolemy begins with Nabonassar, b.c. 747, and gives the names of the kings, including the Assyrians Poros (Tiglath-pileser III.), Sargon, and Esarhaddon, with the dates of their reigns, down to Nabonidus, then the AchÃ¦menids to Alexander the Great, the Ptolemys and Romans, so connecting with well-known dates. The Eponym Canon lists record the eclipse of b.c. 763, and their dates are thus fixed. So far as they overlap, the last three sources agree exactly. We may then trust the Eponym Canons to b.c. 911 and the Kings’ List wherever preserved.
( Îµ ) Genealogies, Date Documents . The kings usually mention their father and grandfather by name; often an earlier ancestor, or predecessor, naming his father, and we are thus enabled to trace back a dynasty from father to son over long periods. Unfortunately we are rarely told by them how long a king reigned, but where we have documents dated by the year of his reign, we can say he reigned at least so many years.
In both Assyrian and Babylonian history there are still wide gaps, but exploration is continually filling them up. The German explorations at Asshur added quite 20 new names to the list of Assyrian rulers. It is dangerous to argue that, because we do not know all the rulers in a certain period, it ought to be reduced in length. It is as yet impossible to reconcile all the data, because we are not sure of the kings referred to. We already know five or six of the same name, and it may well be that we mistake the reference.
( Î¶ ) Synchronous History . The so-called Synchronous History of Assyria and Babylonia dealt with the wars and rectification of boundaries between the two countries from b.c. 1400 to b.c. 1150 and b.c. 900 to b.c. 800; and the Babylonian Chronicle gave the names and lengths of reign of the kings of Assyria, Babylonia, and Elam from b.c. 744 to b.c. 668. These establish a number of synchronisms, besides making considerable contributions to the history.
The bulk of the history is derived from the inscriptions of the kings themselves. Here there is an often remarked difference between Assyrian and Babylonian usage. The former are usually very full concerning the wars of conquest, the latter almost entirely concerned with temple buildings or domestic affairs, such as palaces, walls, canals, etc. Many Assyrian kings arrange their campaigns in chronological order, forming what are called Annals. Others are content to sum up their conquests in a list of lands subdued. We rarely have anything like Annals from Babylonia.
The value to be attached to these inscriptions is very various. They are contemporary, and for geography Invaluable. A king would hardly boast of conquering a country which did not exist. The historical value is more open to question. A ‘conquest’ meant little more than a raid successful in exacting tribute. The Assyrians, however, gradually learnt to consolidate their conquests. They planted colonies of Assyrian people; endowing them with conquered lands. They transported the people of a conquered State to some other part of the Empire, allotting them lands and houses, vineyards and gardens, even cattle, and so endeavoured to destroy national spirit and produce a blended population of one language and one civilization. The weakness of the plan lay in the heavy taxation which prevented loyal attachment. The population of the Empire had no objection to the substitution of one master for another. The demands on the subject States for men and supplies for the incessant wars weakened all without attaching any. The population of Assyria proper was insufficient to officer and garrison so large an empire, and every change of monarch was the signal for rebellion in all outlying parts. A new dynasty usually had to reconquer most of the Empire. Civil war occurred several times, and always led to great weakness, finally rendering the Empire an easy prey to the invader.
The following table of monarchs is compiled from the above-mentioned materials. Where the relationship of two kings is known, it is indicated by S for ‘son,’ B for ‘brother,’ of the preceding king. When two kings are known to be contemporaries = is placed between their names. Probable dates of accession are given with a query, known dates without. Where a figure with + is placed after a name it indicates monumentally attested minimum length of reign, thus 25 + means ‘at least 25 years.’ The lengths of reigns in the Year List or Chronicle for the First Dynasty are given in brackets.
B.C. I. First Dynasty of Babylon. Length of Reign. Patesis of Asshur. B.C. 2396 ? Sumu-abi 15(14) 2382 ? Sumu-lÃ¢-el 35(36) 2347 ? Zabum, S 14 2333 ? Apil-Sin, S 18 2325 ? Sin-muballit, S 30(20) 2285 ? Hammurabi, S 55(43) = Shamshi-Adad i. 2230 ? Samsu-ilÃ»na, S 35(38) Ushpia 2195 ? AbÃ§shu, S 25 KikÃ®a 2170 ? Ammi-satana, S 25 Kate-Ashir 2145 ? Ammi-zadÃ»ga, S 21 Shalim-abum, S 2124 ? Samsu-satÃ¢na, S 31 Ilu-shÃ»ma, S II. Dynasty of Uru-azag. ErishÃ»m, S 2093 ? Ilu-ma-ilu 60 Ikunum, S 2033 ? ltti-ili-ibi 55 Shar-kenkate-Ashir 1978 ? Damki-ilishu 36 Ishme-Dagan i. 1942 ? Ish-ki-bal 15 Ashur-nirari i. S 1927 ? Shushshi, B 27 BÃ§l-kabi 1900 ? Gulkishar 55 Shamshi-Adad ii. S 1845 ? Peshgal-daramash, S 50 Igur-kapkapi 1795 ? A-dara-kalama, S 28 Shamshi-Adad iii. S 1767 ? Akur-ul-auna 26 Ishme-Dagan ii. 1741 ? Melam-kurkurra 7 Shamshi-Adad iv. S 1820 ? 1734 ? Ea-gÃ¢mil 9 III. Kassite Dynasty. Kings of Assyria. 1725 ? Gandash 16 Adasi 1709 ? Agum I. S 22 BÃ§l-ibni, S 1687 ? Agu-iashi 22 BÃ§l-kapkapi 1665 ? Adshi, S 8 SulÃ®lu 1657 ? Adumetash Ashur-rabi, S Tazzigurumash Ashur-nirari ii. S Agum ii. S Ashur-rÃ®m-nishÃ§shu, S Kurigalzu i. S Melishihu i. S Puzur-Ashur i. Marduk-apliddina i. S Ashur-nirari iii. Kara-indash i. = Ashur-bÃ§l-nishÃ§shu, S Burna-buriash i. S = Puzur-Ashur ii. Adad.â€¦ Ashur-nÃ¢din-ahi Kara-indash ii. Erba-Adad i. S Kadashman-harbe i. Ashur-uballit i. S Nazi-bugash Ashur-nÃ¢din-ahe Kurigalzu ii. = Ashur-uballit ii. S Burna-buriash ii. S 25 + BÃ§l-nirari, S Kurigalzu iii. S 26 = Arik-dÃ§n-ilu, S Nazi-maruttash, S 24 + = Adad-nirari i. S Kadashman-Turgu 16 + Kadashman-BÃ§l 6 + Kudur-BÃ§l 9 + 1355 ? Shagarakti-shuriash, S 23 + Shulmanu-ashared i. S Bitiliashu, S 8 = Tukulti-Ninib i. S 1310 ? BÃ§l-nÃ¢din-shum 1 1 / 2 Ashur-nÃ¢zir-apli i. S Kadashman-harbe ii. 1 1 /2 Ashur-nirari iv. Adad-shum-iddina 6 NabÃ»-dan Adad-shum-usur 30 = Ninib-tukulti-Ashur 1289 ? Ashur-shum-lishir BÃ§l-kudur-usur Melishihu ii. 15 = Erba-Adad ii. Marduk-apliddina ii. 13 Ninib-apil-Esharra, S Zamama-shum-iddina 1 Ashur-dan i. S BÃ§l-nÃ¢din-ahi 3 IV. Dynasty of Isin. Marduk-ahÃ§-erba 17 (Unknown name) 6 Mutakkil-Nusku, S NabÃ»-kudur-usur i. = Ashur-rÃ§sh-ishi, S BÃ§l-nÃ¢din-apli 4 + Marduk-nÃ¢din-ahÃ§ 10 + = Tukulti-apil-Esharra i. S 1107 ? Marduk-shÃ¢pik-zÃ§ri = Ashur-bÃ§l-kala, S Adad-apliddina 22 Shamshi-Adad v. B Marduk.â€¦ 1 1 /2 Ashur-dÃ¢n ii. B Marduk-zÃ§r.â€¦ 13 Adad-nirari ii. S NabÃ»-shum.â€¦ 9 Ashur-nÃ¢zir-apli ii. V. Dynasty of the Sealand. Simbar-shihu 18 Ea-mukÃ§n-zÃ§ri 5 mo. Kashshu-nÃ¢din-ahi 3 VI. Dynasty of Bazi. Eulmash-shÃ¢kin-shum 17 Ashur-kirbi Ninib-kudur-usur 3 Shilanum-shuqamuna 3 mo. VII. Dynasty of Elam. An Elamite 6 VIII. Dynasty of Babylon. NabÃ»-mukÃ®n-apli 36 Adad-nirari iii. Unknown 8 mo. Tukulti-apil-Esharra ii. S Ashur-dan iii. S 914 ? Shamash-mudammik Adad-nirari iv. S 911 NabÃ»-shum-ishkun i. = Tukulti-Ninib ii. S 889 879 ? NabÃ»-apliddina 31 + = Ashur-nÃ¢zir-apli iii. S 884 Marduk-shum-iddina, S ShulmÃ¢nu-ashared ii. S 858 851 ? Marduk-balatsu-ikbi = Shamshi-Adad vi. S 823 Bau-ah-iddina Adad-nirari v. S 810 Marduk.â€¦ ShulmÃ¢nu-ashared iii. S 781 NabÃ»-shum-ishkun ii. 8 + Ashur-dan iv. 771 747 NabÃ»-nÃ¢sir Adad-nirari vi. S 763 733 NabÃ»-nÃ¢din-zÃ§r 2 Ashur-nirari v. S 753 731 NabÃ»-shum-Ã»kÃ®n 42 days = Tukulti-apil-Esharra iii. 745 IX. Dynasty of ShashÃ®. 731 UkÃ®n-zÃ§r 729 PÃ»ln Dynasty of Tinu 727 Ululai = ShulmÃ¢nu-ashared iv. 727 721 Marduk-apliddina iii. 12 Sharru-kÃ§nu ii 722 = 710 Sharru-kÃ§nu ii. 704 Sin-ahe-erba = Sin-ahe-erba, S 705 Marduk-zÃ¢kir-shum 1 mo. Marduk-apliddina iii. (returned) 9 mo. 702 BÃ§l-ibni 2 700 Ashur-nÃ¢din-shum 6 693 Nergal-ushÃ§zib 1 692 MushÃ§zib-Marduk 3 689 Sin-ahe-erba 7 681 Ashur-ahiddin = Ashur-ahiddin, S 681 667 Shamash-shum-ukÃ®n = Ashur-bÃ¢ni-apli, S 668 648 KandalÃ¢nu Ashur-etil-ilÃ¢ni. S, 4+ 626 X. ChaldÃ¦n Dynasty. Sin-shar-ishkun, B, 7+ ? 625 NabÃ»-aplu-usur 21 = Fall of Nineveh 606 604 NabÃ»-kudur-usur ii. S 43 561 Amel-Marduk, S 2 559 Nergal-shar-usur 3 556 Labashi-Marduk 555 NabÃ»-nÃ¢’id 16 539 Oct. 10, Fall of Babylon ( b ) Early traditions . We may dismiss as mythical the Assyrian claim that Nineveh was founded directly after the Creation, but it points to a tradition of immemorial antiquity. Sargon claimed to have been preceded on his throne by 350 rulers of Assyria; but even if he counted ancient Babylonian overlords of Assyria, we have no means of checking his figures. Sennacherib professed to trace his lineage back to Gilgamesh, EabÃ¢ni, and Humbaba, the heroes of the Babylonian National Epic, through such ancient rulers as Egiba, La’iti-Ashur, Ashur-gamilia, Shamash-sulnlishu, etc., whose names are not otherwise known. The reference made by Gudea to his having built a temple for Nana (= Ishtar) in Nineveh may be meant for the Babylonian city of the same name, and an inscription of Dungi found in Nineveh might have been carried there by Assyrian conquerors.
( c ) Earliest mention . Hammurabi, however, in one of his letters refers to troops in Assyria, and in the prologue to his celebrated code of laws states that he ‘returned to Asshur its gracious protecting deity and made glorious the name of Ishtar in her temple at Nineveh.’ As these benefactions are placed after the benefits conferred on the Babylonian cities, we may conclude that Asshur and Nineveh were subject to him, and that the deity referred to had been carried off by invaders, perhaps the Elamites, or Kassites. A contemporary letter mentions a defaulting debtor as having gone to Assyria. These are the earliest references to the country.
( d ) Earliest rulers . The earliest rulers of Assyria styled themselves ‘patesi of Asshur.’ The title was that borne by the city rulers of Babylonia. Its Assyrian equivalent was ishshakku , and it often interchanges with shangÃ» , ‘priest.’ It was still borne by the kings of Assyria, but while it designated them then as ‘chief priest’ of the nation, we may conclude that when used alone it implied that its bearer was subject to some king. Hence it has usually been supposed that the patesi of Asshur was subject to Babylonia. In the fourth year of Hammurabi one Shamshi-Adad is named in a way that suggests his being the patesi of Asshur, subject to Hammurabi. We know the names of many of these rulers. Thus Ushpia was the founder of the temple of Ashur in the city of Asshur, and may be the earliest of all. KikÃ®a, who may be the same as Kiki-BÃ§l otherwise known, founded the city wall of Asshur, and may be as early, if not earlier. The title descended from father to son for five generations, of whom we put Erishum as early as b.c. 2000. Then we know some pairs, father and son, of whom the last Ishme-Dagan II. and Shamshi-Adad IV. are about b.c. 1820. The order in which these groups are arranged is at present purely conjectural, and we know nothing of the intervals between them. Shamshi-Adad II., son of BÃ§l-kabi, should be some sixty years before Shamshi-Adad IV.
( e ) Early kings . We do not know the exact date at which Assyria achieved her independence of Babylon, but it may well have synchronized with the Kassite conquest of Babylonia, or have contributed to it. A possible reference to the ‘war of independence’ is contained in a tablet which names a great conflict between the king of Babylon and the prince of Assyria, to whom the title ‘king’ is not conceded, which ended in the spoils of Babylon being carried to Assyria; but we are given no names to date events. Esarhaddon traced his descent from Adasi, father of BÃ§l-ibni, ‘who founded the kingdom of Assyria.’ If we credit this, Adasi or BÃ§l-ibni was the first ‘king.’ Adad-nirari III. states that BÃ§l-kapkapi was an early king who lived before SulÃ®lu. It is doubtful whether the group of three, Ashur-rabi, Ashur-nirari II., and Ashur-rÃ®m-nishÃ§shu, the last of whom restored the city wall of Asshur, should not be put before the ‘kings.’ As Ashur-bÃ§l-nishÃ§shu restored the wall of the ‘Newtown’ of Asshur, which a Puzur-Ashur had founded, we must put a Puzur-Ashur I. before him. The interval of time we do not know, but a city wall surely lasted years before the reign of Ashur-bÃ§l-nishÃ§shu’s father, Ashur-nirari III.
( f ) Relations with Egypt and Babylonia . About b.c. 1500 an Assyrian ruler sent gifts to Thothmes III., in his 24th and 30th years; but we are not told which king. The synchronous history now comes to our aid. AshurbÃ§l-nishÃ§shu made a treaty with Kara-indash I. as to the boundaries of the two countries: a few years later Puzur-Ashur II. made a fresh treaty with Burna-buriash I. Ashur-uballit names Erba-Adad I. his father and AshurnÃ¢din-ahi his grandfather, in the inscription on the bricks of a well he made in Asshur. Adad-nirari I. names Puzur-Ashur, Ashur-bÃ§l-nishÃ§shu, Erba-Adad and Adad â€¦, in this order, as builders at the wall of ‘Newtown.’ But the Ashur-uballit who wrote to Amenophis IV. in the Tell el-Amarna tablets says that his father Ashur-nÃ¢din-ahe was in friendly relationship with Amenophis III., and he was followed by his son BÃ§l-nirari, whose son was Arik-dÃ§n-ilu and grandson Adad-nirari I., who names this Adad.â€¦ He must therefore follow Ashur-uballit I.
( g ) Extension to the West . Ashur-uballit II. gave his daughter Muballitat-SherÃ»a to Burna-buriash I. to wife. Her son Kadashman-harbe I. succeeded to the throne of Babylon, but the Kassites rebelled against him, put him to death and set up a Kassite, Nazi-bugash. Ashur-uballit invaded Babylonia, deposed the pretender, and set Kurigalzu II., another son of Burna-buriash, on the throne. With Asher-uballit also begins Assyrian history proper the expansion to the W., which was so fateful for Palestine. In the time of the Tell el-Amarna tablets Egypt was the overlord of Palestine, but already Mitanni, the Hittites, and further to the east Assyria and Babylonia, were treating with Egypt on equal terms. Tushratta, king of Mitanni, offered to send Ishtar of Nineveh to Amenophis III. This has been taken to mean that Mitanni then ruled over Nineveh; it may mean only that Ishtar of Nineveh was worshipped in Mitanni. But Ashur-uballit wrested Melitia from Mitanni, and conquered the Shubari to the N.W. of Assyria. Hence he probably ruled Nineveh also. BÃ§l-nirari was attacked by Kurigalzu III. at Sugagu on the Zalzallat, but defeated him and made a fresh boundary settlement. Arik-dÃ§n-ilu (often read Pudi-ilu) conquered N., E., and W., penetrating as far as Halah on the Habor, subduing Turuku, Nigimtu, Gutium, the AramÂ¿ans, Ahlami, and the Bedouin SÃ»ti. Adad-nirari I. was, early in his reign, defeated by Kurigalzu III., and lost the southern conquests of his predecessors, but later conquered Gutium, the Lullumi and Shubari, turned the tables by defeating Nazi-maruttash, and rectified his boundary to the S. On the W. he extended his conquests over Haran to the Euphrates. Shalmaneser I. (Shulmanu-ashared) crossed the upper waters of the Tigris, placed Assyrian colonies among the tribes to the N., subdued the AramÃ¦ans of Upper Mesopotamia, took Melitia, the capital of Hani, defeated the Hittites, Ahlami, Musri, and SÃ»ti, captured Haran and ravaged up to Carchemish. He made Calah his capital, and restored the temple of Ishtar at Nineveh. He first bore the title shar kishshÃ¢ti , supposed to mark the conquest of Haran.
( h ) Capture of Babylon . Tukulti-Ninib I. conquered Gutium, the Shubari, 40 kings of Nairi, the UkumÃ¢ni, ElhÃ»nia, Sharnida, Mehri, Kurhi, Kummuh, the Push-shÃ§, Mumme, Alzi, MadÃ¢ni, NihÃ¢ni, Alaia, Arzi, Purukuzzi. His chief triumph, however, was over Babylon. He defeated and captured Bitiliashu, and took him prisoner to Assyria, ruling Babylonia seven years by his nominees. The first, BÃ§l-nÃ¢din-shum, ruled eighteen months. Elam now appeared on the scene, invaded Babylonia, and a Kassite, Kadashman-harbe II., was set up. After eighteen months more, Tukulti-Ninib I. took Babylon, slew its people with the sword and set up Adad-shum-iddina, who ruled six years. Tukulti-Ninib deported the god Marduk to Assyria and carried off great spoil from Esaggila, his temple in Babylon. Among other things he carried off a seal of lapis lazuli, which had belonged to Shagarakti-shuriash, father of Bitiliashu, and engraved his own name and titles on it. It was afterwards carried back to Babylon, whence Sennacherib brought it once more 600 years later. We thus get a date b.c. 1289, which must fall either in Tukulti-Ninib’s reign or in that of Ninib-tukulti-Ashur’s, 16 (?) years later, when Marduk was carried back to Babylon. After Adad-shum-iddina had reigned six years, the Kassites and Babylonians set Adad-shum-usur on ‘his father’s throne.’ Tukulti-Ninib had built a city called Kar-Tukulti-Ninib, close to Asshur, which he intended for a new capital, but that evidently estranged his own people, for his son Ashur-nazir-apli I. rebelled against him, besieged him in a house in his new city, and finally killed him. Of the reign of the parricide we know nothing. Adad-shum-usur corresponded with two kings of Assyria, Ashur-nirari IV. and NabÃ»-dÃ¢n, who appear to be reigning both at the same time. Perhaps they were sons of Tukulti-Ninib I., or it may be another Adad-shum-usur who was their contemporary. They are usually placed here, but we know nothing further about them. It was Ninib-tukulti-Ashur who carried back Marduk, and perhaps the seal above named, to Babylon. Possibly he took refuge from Ashur-shum-lishir. There is much doubt about this period, but Adad-shum-usur lived to defeat and kill BÃ§l-kudur-usur. Erba-Adad II. is known only as father of Ninib-apil-Esharra, whom Tiglath-pileser I. calls ‘a powerful king that truly shepherded the hosts of Assyria.’ He was besieged by Adad-shum-usur in Asshur. Ashur-dÃ¢n I. defeated Zamama-shum-iddina and captured several Babylonian cities, carrying off much spoil to Assyria. He had a long reign. We know little of Mutakkil-Nusku. Ashur-rÃ§sh-ishi began to revive the military glories of Assyria, conquering the Ahlami, Gutium and Lullumi. He then invaded Babylonia, and Nebuchadrezzar I. attacked him in Assyria, but was defeated and lost his commander-in-chief.
( i ) Tiglath-pileser I., etc. Tukulti-apil-Esharra (Tiglath-pileser) I. has left us very full accounts of a long reign and series of conquests; chiefly in Upper Mesopotamia along the base of the Caucasus, Armenia, and W. to the N.E. corner of the Mediterranean, ‘in all 42 countries with their princes.’ The Bedouin SÃ»ti were driven back across the Euphrates. The Babylonian king Marduk-nÃ¢din-ahe invaded the S. of Assyria and carried off the gods of EkallÃ¢te, but, after two years’ fighting, Tiglath-pileser defeated him and captured the chief cities of North Babylonia, including Sippara and Babylon itself. He was no less distinguished by his restorations of home cities, and he acclimatized all sorts of useful trees and plants. Ashur-bÃ§l-kala, Shamshi-Adad V., and Ashur-dÃ¢n II., sons of Tiglath-pileser, followed on the throne, but in what order is not known. Adad-nirari II. was son of Ashur-dÃ¢n II., and Ashur-nÃ¢zir-apli II. was son of Shamshi-Adad V.; but beyond these relationships nothing much is known of them. Shalmaneser II. tells us that he recaptured Pitru and Mitkunu on the far side of the Euphrates, which Tiglath-pileser had taken, but which were lost to Assyria in the reign of Ashur-kirbi. As Shalmaneser’s six predecessors cannot be separated, it is usual to put Ashur-kirbi here. Whether the king Ilu-hirbe who set up his image near the Amanus, also named by Shalmaneser, be the same or an earlier and more successful conqueror, is not yet clear. The interval between Tiglath-pileser I. and Ashur-nirari IV., with whom accurate chronology begins, also contained Adad-nirari III., Tukulti-apil-Esharra II., and Ashur-dÃ¢n III., as known from genealogical notices, but as there is a gap of unknown extent at the commencement of the 8th Dynasty of Babylon, we cannot tell its length or how many things are still unknown to us. Adad-nirari IV. warred with Shamash-mudammÃ®k and NabÃ»-shum-lshkun of Babylon; Tukulti-Ninib II. continued the subjugation of the mountaineers N. of Assyria, gradually winning back the Empire of Tiglath-pileser I.
With Ashur-nÃ¢zir-apli III. began a fresh tide of Assyrian conquest, b.c. 885. He rebuilt Calah, and made it his capital. The small AramÂ¿an State of BÃ®t-AdÃ®ni, between the Balih and Euphrates, held out against him, but he conquered the Mannai, KirrÃ»r, and ZamÃ»a between Lake Van and Lake Urmia. Carchemish, Unki (‘Amk), or Hattin on the Orontes were raided, and the army reached the Lebanon. Tyre, Sidon, Gebal, Arvad, etc., were fain to buy off the conqueror. Ashur-nÃ¢zir-apli had invaded the Babylonian sphere of influence, and NabÃ»-apli-iddina sent his brother ZabdÃ¢nu to support his allies. Ashur-nÃ¢zir-apll took ZabdÃ¢nu and 3000 troops prisoners.
( j ) Shalmaneser II., etc. The reign of Shalmaneser II., his son and successor, was one long campaign. He records 33 separate expeditions, and began to annex his conquests by placing governors over the conquered districts. The Armenian Empire now began to bar Assyria’s progress north. Assyria now first appeared on Israel’s horizon as a threatening danger. Shalmaneser’s celebrated bronze doors at Balawat and the Black Obelisk give us pictures of scenes in his reign. They represent ambassadors from GirzÃ¢n near Lake Urmia, from JahÃ»a (Jehu) of Israel, from Musri, from Marduk-aplu-usur of Suhi, and from Karparunda of Hattin. This Musri is N.E. of Cilicia ( 1 Kings 10:28 ), whence Solomon brought his horses. Shalmaneser invaded KuÃ§ in Cilicia, and Tabal (Tubal), where he annexed the silver, salt, and alabaster works. He reached Tarzi (Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul). To the N.E. he penetrated ParsÃ»a, the original Persia, in Babylonia, NabÃ»-apli-iddina was deposed by his son, Marduk-shum-iddina, against whom arose his brother Marduk-bÃ§l-usÃ¢te, who held the southern States of the Sealand, already peopled by the ChaldÂ¿ans. Shalmaneser invaded Babylonia, and, passing to the E., besieged Marduk-bÃ§l-usÃ¢te in MÃ§-turnat, drove him from one stronghold to another, and finally killed him and all his partisans. In the role of a friend of Babylon, Shalmaneser visited the chief cities and sacrificed to the gods, captured most of the southern States, and laid them under tribute.
Shalmaneser’s campaign against Hamath on the Orontes took place in b.c. 854. The fall of BÃ®t-AdÃ®ni had roused all N. Syria to make a stand. At Karkar the Assyrian army had against them a truly wonderful combination.
Chariots. Horsemen. Foot. Bir-idri of Damascus 1200 1200 20,000 Irhulini of Hamath 700 700 10,000 Ahabbu of Sir’il 2000 10,000 The GuÃ® (KuÃ§) 500 Musri 1,000 Irkanat 10 10,000 Matin-ba’al of Arvad 200 Usanat 200 Adunu-ba’al of Shiana 30 10,000 Ba’sa of Ammon 1,000 Gindibu the Arab 1000 Camels. The presence of Ahab in this battle in which Shalmaneser claims to have won the victory is most interesting. The battle was not productive of any settled results, as Shalmaneser had to fight the same foes in b.c. 849 and again in b.c. 846. In b.c. 842Samhalmaneser defeated Hazael, besieged him in Damascus, and carried off the spoils of Malaha, his residence. At this time he received tribute from Tyre, Sidon, and Jehu, ‘of the house of Omri.’ Jehu’s tribute is interesting it includes silver, gold, a vessel of gold, a ladle of gold, golden drinking cups, golden beakers, tin, a sceptre, and bedolach .
Shalmaneser’s last years were clouded by the rebellion of his son Ashur-dÃ¢nin-apli, who alienated more than half the Empire, and was not subdued by the successor to the throne, his brother Shamshi-Adad VI., till after eight years’ struggle. He may be considered actual king for those eight years. Shamshi-Adad had to fight the Babylonian kings Bau-ah-iddina and Marduk-balatsu-ikbi. He warred in ChaldÂ¿a and advanced into Media as far as Mt. Elvend to secure the Mannai and ParsÃ»a against the rising power of Armenia. Adad-nirari V. penetrated Media right up to the Caspian Sea. Armenia had pushed W. and secured Hani-rabbat and DaiÃ§ni, old conquests of Assyria. Adad-nirari V., however, fought several campaigns in the West. From the upper part of the Euphrates to the land of Hattl (N. Syria), Amurri (N. Palestine), Tyre, Sidon, the land of Omri (Israel), Udumu (Edom), and Palastu (Philistia), to the Mediterranean, he exacted tribute. He besieged Mari’a, king of Damascus, in his capital, captured it and carried off rich spoil. These expeditions may be placed in b.c. 804 and b.c. 797.
( k ) Tiglath-pileser III . Armenia was steadily rising in power, and Assyria gradually lost all its northern conquests in Upper Mesopotamia; under Ashur-nirari V. the dynasty fell and a new line came to the throne in Tiglath-pileser III., b.c. 745. The world of small States had given way to a few strong kingdoms; the ChaldÃ¦ans were strongly forcing their way into lower Babylonia; in the north, Armenia was powerful and ready to threaten W. Syria; Egypt was awaking and anxious to interfere in Palestine. Assyria and Babylonia bade fair to fall a prey to stronger nations, when Tiglath-pileser III. roused the old energy. The AramÃ¦ans were pouring into Babylonia, filled the Tigris basin from the lower Zab to the Uknu, and held some of the most celebrated cities of Akkad. Tiglath-pileser scourged them into subjection, and deported multitudes to the N.E. hills. The Medes were set in order, and then Tiglath-pileser turned to the west. The new kingdom of Arpad was strongly supported by Armenia, and Tiglath-pileser swept to the right into Kummuh, and took the Armenians in the rear. He crushed them, and for the time was left to deal with the West. Arpad took three years to reduce: then gradually all N. Syria came into Assyrian hands, b.c. 740. Hamath allied itself with Azrijahu of Iaudl (Azariah of Judah?) and Panammu of Samal. Tiglath-pileser broke up the coalition, devastated Hamath, and made the district an Assyrian province. The Southern States hastened to avoid invasion by paying tribute. Menahem of Israel, Zabibi of Arabia, Razunnu (Rezon) of Damascus, Hiram of Tyre are noteworthy; but Gebal, Carchemish, Hamath, Militia, Tabal, KullÃ¢ni (Calno, Isaiah 10:9 ) also submitted, b.c. 738. In b.c. 734 Hanno of Gaza was defeated. In b.c. 733 732 Damascus was besieged and taken, Israel was invaded, the whole of Naphtali taken, and Pekah had to pay heavy toll. In b.c. 731 he was murdered, and Tiglath-pileser acknowledged Hosea as successor. Ammon, Moab, Ashkelon. Edom, and Ahaz of Judah paid tribute. SamsÃ®, queen of the Arabians, was defeated, and the SabÂ¿ans sent presents. This Tiglath-pileser is the Pul of 2 Kings 15:19-20 , who, after defeating the ChaldÂ¿an UkÃ®n-zÃ§r, who had got himself made king of Babylon, in b.c. 728 was crowned king of Babylon, as Pulu.
( l ) Sargon . Shalmaneser IV. seems to have been son of Tiglath-pileser. He was king of Babylonia as Ulnlai, and succeeded to Tiglath-pileser’s Empire. In b.c. 724 he began the siege of Samaria, which fell after three years. We have no Assyrian accounts of this reign. Sargon at once succeeded him, but we have no knowledge of his title to the throne. He never mentions his immediate ancestors, nor does Sennacherib, but the latter evidently wished to claim ancient royal descent, and Esarhaddon claimed descent from an early king. That Sargon is called arkÃ» , ‘the later,’ in his own inscriptions may be meant to distinguish him from the great Sargon of Akkad, whose reign he so closely reproduced, or from some early Assyrian monarch, Shar-kÃ§n (Shar-kenkate-Ashir?). Samaria fell almost immediately (b.c. 722), and the flower of the nation, to the number of 27,290 persons, was deported and settled about Halab on the Habor, in the province of Gozan and in Media ( 2 Kings 17:6 ), being replaced by Babylonians and Syrians. Merodach-baladan , a king of BÃ®t Iakin, a ChaldÂ¿an State in S. Babylonia, who had been tributary to Tiglath-pileser III., had made himself master of Babylon, and was supported there by Elam. Sargon met the Elamites in a battle which he claimed as a victory, but he had to leave Merodach-baladan alone as king in Babylon for twelve years. This failure roused the West under Iaubidi of Hamath, who secured Arpad, Simirra, Damascus, and Samaria as allies, supported by Hanno of Gaza and the N. Arabian Musri. Sargon in b.c. 720 set out to recover his power here. At Karkar, Iaubidi was defeated and captured, and the southern branch of the confederacy was crushed at Raphia. Hanno was carried to Assyria, 933 people deported, Shabi (Sibi, Sewe, So), the Tartan of Pirn of Musri, fled, the Arabians submitted and paid tribute. Azuri of Ashdod, who began to intrigue with Egypt, was deposed and replaced by his brother, Ahimitl. A rebellion in Ashdod led to a pretender being installed, but Sargon sent his Tartan to Ashdod ( Isaiah 20:1 ), the pretender fled, and Ashdod and Gath were reduced to Assyrian provinces. Judah, Edom, and Moab staved off vengeance by heavy toll. Sargon’s heaviest task was the reduction of Armenia. Rusa I. was able to enlist all Upper Mesopotamia, including Mita of Mushki, and it took ten years to subdue the foe. Sargon’s efforts were clearly aided by the incursions of the Gimirri (Gomer) into N. Armenia. Having triumphed everywhere else, Sargon turned his veterans against Babylonia. The change of kings in Elam was a favourable opportunity for attacking Merodach-baladan, who was merely holding down the country by ChaldÃ¦an troops. Sargon marched down the Tigris, seized the chief posts on the east, screened off the Elamites and threatened Merodach-baladan’s rear. He therefore abandoned Babylon and fell on Sargon’s rear, but, meeting no support, retreated S. to his old kingdom and fortified it strongly. Sargon entered Babylon, welcomed as a deliverer, and in b.c. 709 became king of Babylon. The army stormed BÃ®t Iakin, but Merodach-baladan escaped over sea. Sargon then restored the ancient cities of Babylonia. His last years were crowned with the submission of far-off lands; seven kings of Cyprus sent presents, and Sargon set up a stele there in token of his supremacy. Dilmun, an island far down the Persian Gulf, did homage. Sargon founded a magnificent city, DÃ»r Sargon, modern Khorsabad, to the N.E. of Nineveh. He died a violent death, but how or where is now uncertain.
( m ) Sennacherib . Sennacherib soon had to put down rebellion in S.E. and N.W., but his Empire was very well held together, and his chief wars were to meet the intrigues of his neighbours, Elam and Egypt. Babylonia was split up into semi-independent States, peopled by AramÂ¿ans, ChaldÂ¿ans, and kindred folk, all restless and ambitious. Merodach-baladan seized the throne of Babylon from Marduk-zÃ¢kir-shum, Sargon’s viceroy, b.c. 704. The AramÃ¦ans and Elam supported him. Sennacherib defeated him at Kish, b.c. 703, and drove him out of Babylon after nine months’ reign. Sennacherib entered Babylon, spoiled the palace, swept out the ChaldÃ¦ans from the land, and carried off 208,000 people as captives. On the throne of Babylon he set BÃ§l-ibnl, of the Babylonian seed royal, but educated at his court. Merodach-baladan had succeeded in stirring the W., where Tyre had widely extended its power, and Hezekiah of Judah had grown wealthy and ambitious, to revolt. Ammon, Moab, Edom, the Arabians joined the confederacy, and Egypt encouraged. Padi, king of Ekron, a faithful vassal of Assyria, was overthrown by a rebellion in his city and sent in chains to Hezekiah. Sennacherib, early in b.c. 701, appeared on the Mediterranean coast, received the submission of the PhÅ“nician cities, isolated Tyre, and had tribute from Ammon, Moab, and Edom. Tyre he could not capture, so he made Itubai of Sidon overlord of PhÅ“nicia, and assailed Tyre with the allied fleet. Its king escaped to Cyprus, but the city heid out. Sennacherib meanwhile passed down the coast, reduced Ashkelon, but was met at Eitekeh by the Arabians and Egyptians. He gained an easy victory, and captured Eitekeh, Timnath, and Ekron. Then he concentrated his attention upon Judah, captured 46 fortified cities, deported 200,150 people, and shut up Hezekiah, ‘like a bird in a cage,’ in Jerusalem. He assigned the JudÃ¦an cities to the kings of Ashdod, Ekron, and Gaza, imposed fresh tribute, and received of Hezekiah thirty talents of gold, eight hundred talents of silver, precious stones, couches of ivory, thrones of ivory, precious woods, his daughters, his palace women, male and female singers, etc., an enormous spoil, which was carried to Nineveh. His siege of Lachish is depicted on his monuments. Before his campaign was over, Merodach-baladan had again appeared in Babylon. A difficulty has always been felt about the destruction of Sennacherib’s army, because, if it took place after this campaign, he could hardly have been so successful in Babylonia. His inscriptions end with b.c. 689, but Esarhaddon’s references to the conquests of his father in Arabia, and a fragmentary reference to Azekah, suggest that he invested Jerusalem again, on a second campaign, and that the destruction occurred then. The Biblical narrative suggests that Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, had already appeared on the scene. This would date the event after b.c. 691. Further, it seems to have occurred soon before his death in b.c. 681.
In Babylonia, BÃ§l-ibni proved unfaithful and was recalled. Ashur-nÃ¢din-shum, Sennacherib’s son, was installed as king, and reigned six years. Sennacherib devastated BÃ®t Iakin and defeated Shuzub, a ChaldÂ¿an king. He then employed PhÅ“nician shipbuilders and sailors to build ships at Til-barsip, on the Euphrates, and at Nineveh, on the Tigris. He floated his fleets down to the mouth of the rivers, shipped his army, and landed at the mouth of the KarÃ»n, where the ChaldÂ¿ans had taken refuge, b.c. 695. He sent the captives by ship to Assyria, and marched his army into S. Elam. The king of Elam, however, swooped down on Babylon and carried off Ashur-nÃ¢din-shum to Elam. Nergal-ushÃ§zib was raised to the throne, and, aided by Elamite troops, proceeded to capture the Assyrian garrisons and cut off the southern army. Sennacherib retreated to Erech and awaited Nergal-ushÃ§zib, who had occupied Nippur. He was defeated, captured, and taken to Assyria, b.c. 693. The Babylonians now made Shuzub, the ChaldÂ¿an, king under the name of MushÃ§zib-Marduk. A revolution in Elam tempted Sennacherib to invade that country, perhaps in hope of rescuing his son. He swept all before him, the Elamite king retreating to the mountains, but the severe winter forced Sennacherib to retreat, b.c. 692. MushÃ§zib-Marduk and the Babylonians opened the treasury of Marduk to bribe the Elamites for support. A great army of Elamites, AramÂ¿ans, ChaldÂ¿ans, and Babylonians barred Sennacherib’s return at HaiÃ»ie, on the E. of the Tigris, b.c. 691. Sennacherib claimed the victory, but had no power to do more, and left MushÃ§zib-Marduk alone for the time. He came back to Babylonia in b.c. 690, and the new Elamite king being unable to assist, Babylon was taken, MushÃ§zib-Marduk deposed and sent to Nineveh. Babylon was then sacked, fortifications and walls, temples and palaces razed to the ground, the inhabitants massacred, the canals turned over the ruins, b.c. 689. Sennacherib made Babylonia an Assyrian province, and was king himself till his death (b.c. 681). There is reason to think that he appointed Esarhaddon regent of Babylonia; at any rate it seems that this prince began to rebuild Babylon before his father’s death.
Sennacherib chose Nineveh, which had become a second-rate city, as his capital, and, by his magnificent buildings and great fortifications, made it a formidable rival to Calah, Asshur, and even Babylon before its destruction. His last few years are in obscurity, but he was murdered by his son or sons. See Adrammelech.
( n ) Esarhaddon came to the throne b.c. 680, after a short struggle with the murderers of his father and their party. He had to repel an incursion of the Cimmerians in the beginning of his reign, and then conquered the Medes. In b.c. 677 Sidon was in revolt, but was taken and destroyed, a new city called Kar-Esarhaddon being built to replace it and colonized with captives from Elam and Babylonia, Ezra 4:2 . In b.c. 676, Esarhaddon marched into Arabia and conquered the eight kings of Bazu and Hazu (Buz and Huz of Genesis 22:21 ). In b.c. 674 he invaded Egypt, and again in 673. In b.c. 670 he made his great effort to conquer Egypt, drove back the Egyptian army from the frontier to Memphis, winning three severe battles. Memphis surrendered, Tirhakah fled to Thebes, and Egypt was made an Assyrian province. In b.c. 668 it revolted, and on the march to reduce it Esarhaddon died. He divided the Empire between his two sons, Ashurbanipal being king of Assyria and the Empire, while Shamash-shum-ukÃ®n was king of Babylon as a vassal of his brother.
( o ) Ashurbanipal at once prosecuted his father’s reduction of Egypt to submission. Tirhakah had drawn the Assyrian governors, some of them native Egyptians, as Necho, into a coalition against Assyria. Some remained faithful, and the rising was suppressed; Tirhakah was driven back to Ethiopia, where he died b.c. 664. Tantamon invaded Egypt again, and Ashurbanipal in b.c. 662 again suppressed a rising, drove the Ethiopian out, and captured Thebes. Ashurbanipal besieged Ba’al, king of Tyre, and although unable to capture the city, obtained its submission and that of Arvad, Tabai, and Cilicia. Gyges, king of Lydia, exchanged embassies, and sent Ashurbanipal two captive Cimmerians, but he afterwards allied himself with Psammetichus, son of Necho, and assisted him to throw off the Assyrian yoke. The Minni had been restless, and Ashurbanipal next reduced them. Elam was a more formidable foe. Allying himself with the AramÃ¦ans and ChaldÃ¦ans, Urtaku, king of Elam, invaded Babylonia, but he was defeated and his throne seized by Teumman. Ashurbanipal took advantage of the revolution to invade Elam and capture Susa; and after killing Teumman put Ummanigash and Tammaritu, two sons of Urtaku, on the thrones of two districts of Elam. He then took vengeance on the AramÂ¿ans, E. of the Tigris. His brother, Shamash-shum-ukÃ®n, now began to plot for independence. He enlisted the ChaldÃ¦ans, AramÃ¦ans, and Ummanigash of Elam, Arabia, Ethiopia, and Egypt. A simultaneous rising took place, and Ashurbanipal seemed likely to lose his Empire. He invaded Babylonia. In Elam, Tammaritu put to death Ummanigash and all his family, but was defeated by Indabigash, and had to flee to Assyria. Ashurbanipal defeated his opponents and laid siege to Babylon, Borsippa, Sippara, and Cutha, capturing one after the other. Shamash-shum-ukÃ®n burnt his palace over his head, and Babylon surrendered b.c. 648. The conquest of S. Babylonia and ChaldÃ¦a was followed by campaigns against Elam, culminating in the capture of Susa and its destruction. Ashurbanipal then punished the Arabians, who, in his enforced absence in Babylonia, had invaded Palestine, overrun Edom and Moab, and threatened Damascus. The inscriptions, however, do not come down below b.c. 646, and the last years of the reign are in obscurity. Ashurbanipal appears to have reigned over Babylon as KandalÃ¢nu .
( p ) Fall of Nineveh . Ashurbanipal was succeeded by Ashur-etil-iiani, his son, who was succeeded by Sin-sharishkun, his brother. We do not know how long they reigned, but in b.c. 606 the Medes captured Nineveh and took the N. half of the Empire, while Nabopolassar, king of Babylon (since b.c. 626?), took Babylonia.
1. History . The history of Babylonia, as monumentally attested, falls naturally into periods: ( a ) the rise of the city-States and their struggle for supremacy; ( b ) the supremacy of Babylon and the First Babylonian Empire; ( c ) the Kassite supremacy and the rise of Assyria; ( d ) the contemporaneous kingdoms of Assyria and Babylonia; ( e ) the supremacy of Assyria to its fall; ( f ) the New Babylonian Empire.
( a ) The city-States . The prehistoric remains of the earliest settlers in Babylonia are numerous, but they have received no systematic study. The existence of a non-Semitic race, the so-called Sumerians, is at least the most convenient assumption to account for the problems of the earliest history, but it is impossible to decide how early they were intermixed with Semitic folk. It is as yet difficult to decide whether these Semites entered from the S.W., or from the side of Elam, or from N. Mesopotamia. The earliest monuments we possess show a variety of towns, each of which served as a nucleus to a wide area of villages. As populations grew, the needs of pasture for an eminently pastoral people brought about disputes as to boundaries, and wars ensued. The States entered into keen rivalry in other directions, as commerce developed. As early as b.c. 5000 the condition of things may be aptly compared with that of England under the Heptarchy. Eridu, modern Abu Shahrein, lay on the Gulf and W. of the Euphrates mouth. As the seat of the worship of Ea, god of the waters, its business was rather on the sea than on the land, but it was always reverenced as the primitive home of civilization and religion. We have no evidence that it was ever the seat of a kingdom. Some 10 miles to the W. lay Ur, modern Mugheir, then also on the Gulf, the home of the worship of Sin, the moon-god. Across the Euphrates, 30 miles to N.E., lay Larsa, modern Senkereh, where Shamash, the sun-god, was chief god. Twelve miles to the N.W. was Uruk, modern Warka (Erech), with its Ishtar cult. To the N. was Mar, modern Tel Ede. From Mar, 35 miles to the E., on the Shatt-el-Hai canal from the Tigris to the Euphrates, was Shirpurla or Lagash, modern Telloh, with its god Ningirsu. These six cities form the group with whose fortunes most of the Telloh finds are concerned. Nippur, modern Niffer, lay halfway between the Tigris and Euphrates, 60 miles from the Gulf. Its god was the very ancient En-lil, the old BÃ§l, ‘lord of mankind.’
In the N. more than 50 miles N.W. of Nippur was Cutha, modern Tel Ibrahim, with its god Nergal, lord of the world of the dead. Further N., on the E. bank of the Euphrates, was Sippar, modern Abu Habba, with its sun-god Shamash. Near by must have been Agade. The monuments place here: Kulunu (Calneh); Uhki, later Opis; and Kish. Later, Babylon (wh. see) and its sister city Borsippa came into importance. In Upper Mesopotamia, Haran was probably not much later in its rise as a commercial capital and centre of the moon-god cult.
The history of this period has many gaps, probably because systematic exploration has been carried out only at Telloh and Nippur. The evidence for other cities consists chiefly of references made by the rulers of these two cities, who either ruled over others or were ruled over by them. A king of Ur might leave offerings at Nippur, or order some building to be done there; or the rulers of Nippur might name the king of Ur as their overlord. Out of such scattered references we must weave what history we can. About b.c. 4500 Eushagsagana, king of Kengi in S.W., offered to BÃ§l of Nippur the spoils of Kish. Later, Mesilim, king of Kish, made Shirpurla a subject State. About b.c. 4200 Ur-Nina was able to call himself king of Shirpurla. Eannatum and Entemena of Shirpurla won several victories over other cities and imposed treaties upon them. Soon Lugalzaggisi, king of Uhki, about b.c. 4200, could call himself king of Erech, Ur, and Larsa. He was practically ruler of the First Babylonian Empire, from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. About b.c. 3850, Alusharshid, king of Kish, conquered Elam and Bara’se, to N.E. and E. of Babylonia.
ShargÃ¢ni-shar-ali (Sargon I.), king of Agade, b.c. 3800, and his son Naram-Sin, b.c. 3750 according to Nabonidus, were lords of Nippur, Shirpurla, Kish, Babylon, and Erech, and ruled, or at least levied tribute, from the Mediterranean N. into Armenia, over part of Elam, and S. into Arabia and the islands of the Persian Gulf. About b.c. 3500 Ur-Bau of Shirpurla ruled in peace, as a subject prince, or patesi . Gudea, about b.c. 3100, erected wonderful buildings, evidently had great resources, and even conquered Anshan, in Elam, but was not a king. About b.c. 3000, Ur-GÃ»r and his son Dungi, kings of Ur, built temples not only in Ur but in Kutha, Shirpurla, Nippur, and Erech. A dynasty of Erech and a dynasty of Isin later claimed authority over Nippur, Ur, Eridu, and other less noted cities. The next dynasty of Ur, founded by Gungunu, included Ine-Sin, Bur-Sin II., Gamil-Sin, Dungi II. and others, b.c. 2800 2500. They warred in Syria, Arabia, and Elam.
( b ) Supremacy of Babylon . The First Dynasty of Babylon (b.c. 2396) was founded by Sumu-abi. But Larsa was under its own king NÃ»r-Adad, who was followed by his son Sin-iddinam. The Elamites invaded the land, and under Kudur-nanhundi carried off the goddess NanÃ§ from Erech about b.c. 2290. Larsa became the seat of an Elamite king, Rim-Sin, son of Kudur-mabuk, ruler of Iamutbal in W. Elam. He ruled over Ur, Eridu, Nippur, Shirpurla, and Erech, and conquered Isin. He is thought by some to be Arioch of Ellasar who with Chedorlaomer of Elam, Amraphel of Shinar, (Hammurabi?), Tidal of Goiim overthrew the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah ( Genesis 14:1-24 ). At any rate he was expelled from Larsa by Hammurabi in the 31st year of his reign. Hammurabi ruled all Mesopotamia, from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. His reign was the climax of Babylonian civilization and culture. His successors maintained his Empire for a while, but then Babylonia had to submit to foreign conquest. His period is known to us by an enormous number of inscriptions and monuments, and deserves attention as characteristic of Old Babylonia at its best.
The second dynasty has left remarkably few monuments in the districts hitherto explored, and beyond its existence we know little of it.
( c, d, e ) Kassite supremacy, and rise of Assyria, etc. The third dynasty rose on the conquest of Babylonia by the Kassites, a mountaineer people from the N.E., of non-Semitic race, thought by many to be Cush in Genesis 10:8 . The Kassites attempted an invasion as early as the 9th year of Samsu-iluna, but were driven back. They first established themselves in the South, giving the name of Karduniash to it. They adopted the royal titles, worshipped the ancient gods, and wrote in the Babylonian language. The first king of whom we have important inscriptions was Agum-kakrime (Agum II.). He claims to rule over the Kashshu, the Akkadians, Babylonia, Ashnunak, Padan, Alman, and Gutium. He restored the images of Marduk and Zarpanit his consort, which had been carried away to Hani in N. Mesopotamia. Later we learn from the Tell el-Amarna letters that as early as the time of Amenophis III., king of Egypt, Kurigalzu of Babylon was in friendly relations with Egypt, and refused to support a Canaanite conspiracy against its rule. The relations with Assyria have been already dealt with. Kadashman-harbe co-operated with his grandfather in driving out the SÃ»ti, who robbed the caravans from the West and Egypt. Kurigalzu II. waged successful war with Elam, captured the king Hurbatila with his own hands, and sacked Susa. With Melishihu and Marduk-apliddina I. Babylonian power revived, but fell again under their successors. The Kassites first gave Babylonia a national name and exalted the worship of BÃ§l of Nippur. In their time, Babylonia had trade relations not only with Mesopotamia Syria, and Egypt, but with Bactria, and possibly China on the E., and with EubÅ“a on the West.
( f ) New Babylonian Empire . The new Babylonian dynasty was that of Pashe, or Isin, a native dynasty. Nebuchadrezzar I. was apparently its founder. He defeated the Elamites and wrested from them the provinces already occupied by them, and brought back the statue of BÃ§l which they had captured. He also reconquered the West, and left his name on the rocks of the Nahr el-Kelb. His attempts upon Assyria were unsuccessful. Henceforth Babylonia was pent up by Assyria and Elam, and merely held its own. The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth dynasties yield but a few names, of whose exploits we know next to nothing. The AramÃ¦an migration swallowed up Mesopotamia and drove back both Assyria and Babylonia. The ChaldÂ¿ans followed the old route from Arabia by Ur, and established themselves firmly in the S. of Babylonia. Akkad was plundered by the SÃ»ti. Thus cut off from the West, the absence of Babylonian power allowed the rise of Philistia; Israel consolidated, PhÅ“nicia grew into power. Hamath, Aleppo, Patin, Samal became independent States. Damascus became an AramÃ¦an power. Egypt also was split up, and could influence Palestine but little. When Assyria revived under Adad-nirari, the whole W. was a new country and had to be reconquered. Babylonia had no hand in it. She was occupied in suppressing the ChaldÃ¦ans and AramÃ¦ans on her borders; and had to call for Assyrian assistance in the time of Shalmaneser. Finally, Tiglath-pileser III. became master of Babylonia, and after him it fell into the hands of the ChaldÃ¦an Merodach-baladan, till Sargo
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Assyria and Babylonia'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/a/assyria-and-babylonia.html. 1909.
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19