The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 3, Part 2: The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires and Other States of the Near East, from the Eighth to the Sixth Centuries BC - PDF Free Download (2024)

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THE

CAMBRIDGE

ANCIENT

HISTORY

VOLUME

III

PART 2

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

THE CAMBRIDGE ANCIENT HISTORY SECOND

EDITION

VOLUME

III

PART 2

The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires and other States of the Near East, from the Eighth to the Sixth Centuries B . C . Edited by JOHN BOARDMAN

F . B . A .

Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art, in the University of Oxford

I. E. S. E D W A R D S

F . B . A .

Formerly Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities. The British Museum

N. G . L. H A M M O N D

F . B . A .

Professor Emeritus of Greek, University of Bristol

The Late E. S O L L B E R G E R

F . B . A .

Formerly Keeper of Western Asiatic Antiquities, The British Museum

With the assistance of C. B. F. W A L K E R Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities, The British Museum

g § § CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

PRESS

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P U B L I S H E D

BY

T H E

PRESS

S Y N D I C A T E

O F

T H E

U N I V E R S I T Y

O F

C A M B R I D G E

The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, United K i n g d o m C A M B R I D G E

U N I V E R S I T Y

PRESS

T h e Edinburgh Building, Cambridge C B 2 2 R U , U K 40 W e s t 2 0 t h Street, New Y o r k , N Y 1 0 0 1 1 - 4 2 1 1 , U S A 4 7 7 W i l l i a m s t o w n Road, Port Melbourne, V I C 3 2 0 7 , Australia Ruiz de Alarcon 1 3 , 2 8 0 1 4 Madrid, Spain D o c k H o u s e , The Waterfront, Cape Town 8 0 0 1 , South Africa http://www.cambridge.org © Cambridge University Press 1 9 9 1 This b o o k is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and t o the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, n o reproduction of any part may take place w i t h o u t the w r i t t e n permission of Cambridge University Press. First published 1 9 9 1 Sixth printing 2 0 0 6 Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge L i b r a r y of Congress catalogue card number: 6 8 - 1 8 3 4 3 British Library Cataloguing

in Publication

data

The Cambridge ancient history. - 2 n d edn. Vol.3 Pt. 2 T h e A s s y r i a n and Babylonian empires and other states of the N e a r East, from the eighth to the sixth centuries b.c. 1. W o r l d , ancient period I. Boardman, J o h n 930 L i b r a r y of Congress catalogue card number: 7 5 - 8 5 7 1 9 ISBN 0 521 2 2 7 1 7 8 hardback

SE

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C O N T E N T S

List

of maps

page xi

List

of text-figures

xii

Preface

xv

PARTI 21

22

23

ASSYRIA A N D

BABYLONIA

B a b y l o n i a in the s h a d o w o f A s s y r i a ( 7 4 7 - 6 2 6 B . C . ) by j . A . B R I N K M A N , Charles H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Mesopotamian History in the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago I Background and general trends 11 Initial Assyrian involvement in Babylonia, 747-722 B . C . in The Chaldaean struggle for independence, 721—689 B . C . iv Babylon: destruction and rebirth, 689-669 B . C . v Sibling monarchs: Shamash-shuma-ukin and Ashurbanipal, 669—653 B . C . vi The Great Rebellion (652-648 B . C . ) and its aftermath: Ashurbanipal versus Shamash-shuma-ukin and his allies v n Kandalanu and the decline of Assyrian power, 647-626 B . C . v i n Note on sources ix Conclusion A s s y r i a : T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r III to S a r g o n II (744—705 B . C . ) by A . K . G R A Y S O N , Professor in the University of Toronto 1 Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 B . C . ) I I Shalmaneser V (726-722 B . C . ) in Sargon II (721-705 B . C . ) A s s y r i a : Sennacherib and E s a r h a d d o n (704—669 B . C . ) by

A.

K.

A.

K.

47 53 60 63 68 71 71 85 86 103 103 122

A s s y r i a 668-635 B . C : the reign o f A s h u r b a n i p a l by

1 23 26 38

G R A Y S O N

1 Sennacherib (704—681 B . C . ) 11 Esarhaddon (680—669 B . C . ) 24

1

G R A Y S O N

v

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142

VI

25

26

C O N T E N T S

T h e fall o f A s s y r i a (635-609 B . C . ) by J O A N O A T E S , Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge I Sources 11 Ashurbanipal and Kandalanu (635—627 B . C . ) i n The years o f conflict (627-623 B . C . ) iv Sin-sharra-ishkun (623-612 B . C . ) v Ashur-uballit and Carchemish: the final years (612-605 B . C . ) v i The Aramaeans vii The archaeology viii Assyria after the fall

163 166 172 175 182 184 186 189

Assyrian civilization

194

by

A.

K.

G R A Y S O N

I II in iv v vi VII

The monarchy The bureaucracy Social structure Law The economy Warfare The hunt VIII Religion ix Libraries 27

28

162

B a b y l o n i a 605—5 39 B . C . by D . j . W I S E M A N , Emeritus Professor of Assyriology in the University of London I The defeat o f Egypt I I Nebuchadrezzar's campaigns in the West i n The fall o f Jerusalem iv The rebuilding of Babylon v Nebuchadrezzar's character vi Internal rivalries V I I Nabonidus

194 199 206 210 212 217 221 222 227 229

229 230 233 236 239 240 243

T h e culture o f Babylonia

280 N e o - B a b y l o n i a n society and e c o n o m y by M . A . D A N D A M A E V , Member of the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad 1 The social structure o f Neo-Babylonian society II The law i n The palace and the temples iv Basic branches of the economy v Compulsory and free labour v i Trade 28^ B a b y l o n i a n mathematics, a s t r o l o g y , and a s t r o n o m y by A S G E R A A B O E , Professor of History of Science and Mathematics, and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures in Yale University Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

252

252 257 261 264 266 272 276

Vll

C O N T E N T S

i 11 in iv

Babylonian mathematics Babylonian astronomy Celestial omen texts, astrology Astronomical diaries and related texts

276 277 279 282

28c First-millennium B a b y l o n i a n literature by E R I C A R E I N E R , John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor of Assyriology in the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago 1 Definition and tradition 11 Narrative poetry in Other poetry iv Prayers v Wisdom literature vi Secular poetry vii Rituals VIII Medicine ix Scholarly literature x Omens xi Hemerologies

P A R T II

29

THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN THE BLACK SEA

by

T.

1 11 in iv 31

C.

T.

Hezekiah's later years The reigns of Manasseh and A m o n The reign of Josiah The last kings of Judah

I II in iv v

C.

322

322 338 344 371

M I T C H E L L

T h e B a b y l o n i a n E x i l e and the restoration o f the J e w s in Palestine ( 5 8 6 — 5 0 0 B . C . ) by

293 300 306 309 310 312 313 316 318 319 320

A N D

Israel and J u d a h from the c o m i n g o f A s s y r i a n d o m i n a t i o n until the fall o f Samaria, and the s t r u g g l e for i n d e p e n d e n c e in J u d a h (c. 750—700 B . C . ) by T . c. M I T C H E L L , Formerly Keeper of Western Asiatic Antiquities, The British Museum 1 Tiglath-pileser III and the Assyrian threat 11 The fall of Samaria in Ahaz and Hezekiah

30 J u d a h until the fall o f Jerusalem (c. 700—586 B . C . )

293

371 373 383 392

410

M I T C H E L L

Palestine during the Exile The Jewish Exile in Babylonia The beginning o f the Jewish diaspora in Egypt The restoration of the Jews in Palestine Aspects o f Hebrew culture Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

410 418 429 430 440

viii 32

33

C O N T E N T S

P h o e n i c i a and Phoenician c o l o n i z a t i o n by the Late w. C U L I C A N , Formerly Reader in History at the University of Melbourne 1 Setting and history I I Archaeology, arts, and crafts i n Phoenicians in the West

461 472 48 5

S c y t h i a and T h r a c e

33a T h e S c y t h i a n s by theLate T . S U L I M I R S K I , and T . T A Y L O R Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford 1 Prolegomena 11 The Cimmerians i n The Scythians

547 ,

Lecturer in 547 555 560

33^ T h r a c e b e f o r e the Persian entry i n t o E u r o p e by G . M I H A I L O V , President of the International Association of Greek and Latin Epigraphy I Sources I I A geographical summary i n Migratory movements and the Cimmerian problem iv T h e Thracian tribes v Political history vi Thracian society and civilization 34

461

591

591 591 595 597 607 608

Anatolia

34« T h e n a t i v e k i n g d o m s o f A n a t o l i a by M . M E L L I N K , Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Bryn Matvr College 1 The Phrygian kingdom 11 The Lydian kingdom i n Lycia iv Caria

619 Archaeology,

34^» A n a t o l i a n l a n g u a g e s by o. M A S S O N , Emeritus Professor of Greek Linguistics in the University of Paris X 1 The Phrygian language 11 The Lydian language i n The Lycian language iv The Carian language 3 5 E g y p t : the Twenty-fifth and T w e n t y - s i x t h D y n a s t i e s by T . G . H . J A M E S , Formerly Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities, The British Museum I The origins of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty I I Py's conquest and withdrawal Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

622 643 655 662 666

666 669 671 674 677

677 682

C O N T E N T S

in iv v vi vii vin ix x xi

Dynastic expansion and Asiatic adventure Taharqa — the brief triumph and disaster The Theban principality The rise of Psammetichus I The Saite concern with Asia The growth of Egyptian maritime policy The Nubian campaign of Psammetichus II Domestic policies and internal affairs of the Saite kings Art and culture during the Nubian and Saite dynasties

Chronological

Note

table

IX

689 695 703 708 714 720 726 730 738 748

on the calendar

750

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1

Abbreviations

75

A

A s s y r i a and B a b y l o n i a 1 General 11 Assyria 1 General history 2 Letters 3 Legal and administrative documents 4 Art and archaeology 5 Reigns of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon 6 Reigns of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon 7 Reign of Ashurbanipal 8 The fall of Assyria 9 Assyrian life i n Babylonia 1 Historical events, 747-626 B . C . 2 Historical events, 605-5 39 B . C . 3 Neo-Babylonian society and economy 4 Babylonian mathematics, astrology, and astronomy 5 First-millennium Babylonian literature

755 75 5 757 757 75 759 760 761 764 768 769 771 776 776 7^8 795 799 800

B

Israel and J u d a h

805

C

Phoenicia and the P h o e n i c i a n colonies I General I I Setting and history in Archaeology, arts, and crafts iv Colonial problems v Carthage and North Africa vi Sicily vii Malta and Pantelleria v i n Sardinia

819 819 819 821 824 825 826 827 828

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8

C O N T E N T S

X

ix The Spanish peninsula x The Balearic Islands and the north-west Mediterranean coast xi M o r o c c o and the Atlantic coast

829 834 836

D

S c y t h i a and T h r a c e 1 Scythia 11 Thrace

837 8 37 846

E

Anatolia 1 History and archaeology 11 Languages 1 Phrygian 2 Lydian 3 Lycian 4 Carian

848 848 854 854 855 856 858

F

Egypt

859

Index

869

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MAPS

1 Babylonia 2 Assyria and its neighbours 3 The Assyrian and Babylonian empires with neighbouring kingdoms 4 Palestine 5 The Near East showing places outside Palestine with Jewish settlements 6 Phoenicia 7 North Africa 8 Phoenician sites in Sicily 9 Phoenician sites on Malta and G o z o 10 Phoenician and Punic sites in Sardinia 11 Phoenician and Punic sites in Spain 12 Phoenician sites in Morocco 13 Scythia 14 Thrace 15 Anatolia 16 Nubia

XI

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page z 72 104 3 24 412 462 492 500 502 506 514—15 542 548—9 5 92—3 620 678

TEXT-FIGURES

1 Kudurru o f Ashur-nadin-shumi page 36 2 Shamash-shuma-ukin and Ashurbanipal, the appointed heirs, shown on the sides of the stela of Esarhaddon from Zincirli 48 3 Plan o f Calah (Nimrud) 84 4 Plan o f the South-West Palace, Kouyunjik, Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh 114 5 Reconstruction of the Akitu temple o f the New Year's festival, built by Sennacherib at Ashur 116 6 Plan o f Fort Shalmaneser, Nimrud 136 7 Royal stamp seal (one of many with similar device) from a bale 15 8 sent to Shalmaneser III at Nimrud 8 Plan of the Nabu temple at Nimrud 173 9 Plan of Nineveh 181 10 Late Assyrian stamp seals 188 11 Plan o f Babylon in the time of Nebuchadrezzar II 237 12 Graph plotting A A as function o f line number 289 13 Plan o f Jerusalem 358 14 Series o f bas-reliefs which decorated the walls of room X X X V I in the Palace o f Sennacherib at Kouyunjik, the citadel mound o f ancient Nineveh. The reliefs depict the siege and capture of the city o f Lachish by Sennacherib in 701 B . C . 362—4 15 Stone statuette from Amman 451 16 Bronze figurine of a woman from Tel Dan 45 3 17 Bronze lion from Arad 45 3 18 Stone 'incense spoons' and saucer, from Tell Beit Mirsim, Megiddo and Shechem 45 5 19 Palestinian seals from the mid-eighth and seventh centuries B . C . 459 20 Types of Phoenician piriform jugs 480 21 The Baurat-Schiller gold crowns. Tenth century B . C . ? 481 22 Glass face beads from Carthage and elsewhere 483 23 Painted ostrich eggs from Carthage 484 24 Inscribed gold medallion from Carthage 494 2 5 Engraved stelae from Logrosan, Magacela, and Torrejón del Rubio 516 26 Stone capital from Cerro de las Vírgenes (Córdoba) 533 27 Terracotta figurine from Ibiza 539 xii

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T E X T - F I G U R E S

28 Examples of Catacomb graves of the Bronze A g e in the Ukraine 29 Bronzes from the princely burial of the second half of the seventh century B . C . , the so-called 'Small Mound' (Malyi Kurgan) in the Milskaya steppe, East Soviet Azerbaijan 30 T w o sections of the incised scene on the rim of the bronze coffin from Ziwiye: (a) viceroy and court officials; (b) a group of foreigners being ushered into the presence of the viceroy The Kostromskaya barrow, fifth century B . C . Gold stag from the iron shield in the Kostromskaya barrow (Fig. 3i)

40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Х Ш

556

563

5 66 570 571

Gold casing o f a sword hilt from the Litoi (Melgunov) barrowgrave, with a reconstruction drawing and details of the decoration. A b o u t 600 в.с. Early Iron A g e dolmens in the Strandza Mountains and in the village of Balgarska Poljana (Topolovgrad District) Bronze horse-trappings (harness pieces and decorative plaques) from the village of Sofronievo (Vraca District), Gevgeli, and Bjala Slatina. Seventh century в.с. Bronze belt buckles, seventh century в . с , from Sofronievo (Vraca District) and Vidin District (a) A bronze horse of the seventh century в.с. from near Philippi (Aegean Thrace), (b) A bronze 'axe-amulet' of the seventh—sixth centuries в.с. from Rila Monastery A bronze bit and bronze horse trappings o f the ninth-sixth centuries в.с. from the village of Gigen (Nikopol District) (a) Bronze spiral fibula from Darzanica near Vidin. (b-d) Bronze fibulae from the same site, from the Vidin area and from Panagjuriste. Seventh century B . C . Plan of Gordium, Phrygian period at destruction level Graffiti showing gabled buildings from megaron 2, Gordium Plan of the tomb chamber (the Midas tomb) in tumulus M M , Gordium Reconstruction of a table from the Midas tomb, Gordium, by Elizabeth Simpson Wooden relief panel with horsem*n, from megaron 3, Gordium Bone bridle crossings from building R, Gordium Section through the siege-mound and walls at Old Smyrna (Bayrakli) Marble relief naiskos of Cybebe from Sardis Phrygian graffiti on vase fragments from Gordium. Fifth century

582 615

615 616

616 617

617 627 629 633 636 636 637 648 654 667

B.C.

49 The Phrygian, Lydian, and Lycian alphabets 50 Lydian—Greek bilingual inscription from Sardis. Fourth century в.с. 51 Carian false door with inscription, from Saqqara

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668 670

675

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PREFACE

T h e first part o f this v o l u m e deals w i t h the rivalries and t r i u m p h s o f the A s s y r i a n s and the B a b y l o n i a n s in the period o f their greatest a c h i e v e ­ ments and fame. B a b y l o n i a s l o w l y r e c o v e r e d f r o m a l o n g e c o n o m i c decline and u n d e r the leadership o f Chaldaean tribal chieftains b e g a n the attempt to assert its i n d e p e n d e n c e from the o v e r s h a d o w i n g p o w e r o f A s s y r i a , but w h i l e A s s y r i a ' s e n e r g y remained, the s t r u g g l e w a s an unequal one. A s s y r i a appeared t o m o v e from strength to strength. T h e o l d e n e m y in the n o r t h , U r a r t u , w a s defeated by S a r g o n in a spectacular c a m p a i g n . E x p a n s i o n in the w e s t led to the capture o f Samaria and the elimination o f Israel by S a r g o n in the e i g h t h century, and to the i n v a s i o n o f E g y p t b y A s h u r b a n i p a l in the s e v e n t h century. In the east, E l a m w a s crushed. T h e great palaces built b y T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r III at C a l a h ( N i m r u d ) , b y S a r g o n at D u r - S h a r r u k i n ( K h o r s a b a d ) , and b y Sennacherib and A s h u r b a n i p a l at N i n e v e h ( K o u y u n j i k ) are public m o n u m e n t s to A s s y r i a n success, and the libraries, sculptures and ornament found in t h e m are the e p i t o m e o f M e s o p o t a m i a n culture. In contrast, the internecine s t r u g g l e b e t w e e n A s h u r b a n i p a l and his brother S h a m a s h - s h u m a - u k i n , a p p o i n t e d as K i n g o f B a b y l o n , p r o v e d t o be the b e g i n n i n g o f a fatal w e a k n e s s . T h e sudden arrival o n the international scene o f the M e d e s and the Scythians and their alliance w i t h the B a b y l o n i a n s led t o the u n e x p e c t e d defeat and collapse o f A s s y r i a in 612 B . C . , and its almost total disappearance from the historical record. B a b y l o n i a under a n e w dynasty w a s at first q u i c k t o fill the v o i d and take o v e r m u c h o f the A s s y r i a n d o m a i n , further e x p a n d i n g in the w e s t w i t h the destruction o f Jerusalem and the s u b j u g a t i o n o f J u d a h . I n terms o f sheer scale the b u i l d i n g undertaken b y the t r i u m p h a n t N e b u c h a d r e z ­ zar II at B a b y l o n outstrips a n y t h i n g attempted b y the A s s y r i a n k i n g s . O f other c o n t e m p o r a r y cultural achievements there are f e w e r traces. M u c h o f w h a t is told here o f B a b y l o n i a n literature is d e r i v e d from the A s s y r i a n libraries and represents the culmination o f centuries o f tradition. O n c e again internecine strife, this time b e t w e e n N a b o n i d u s and his priest­ h o o d , seems to h a v e w e a k e n e d the empire, and w i t h the o n s l a u g h t o f the xv

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X V I

P R E F A C E

Persian k i n g C y r u s in 539 B . C . M e s o p o t a m i a ' s i n d e p e n d e n c e w a s at an e n d and its culture w e n t into decline. T h e r e remained, h o w e v e r , one last flash o f B a b y l o n i a n genius, w i t h the flowering o f mathematical and o b s e r v a t i o n a l a s t r o n o m y from the fifth century B . C . o n w a r d s , the fruits o f w h i c h c o n t i n u e d t o be enjoyed, t h r o u g h their transmission to the G r e e k s , d o w n t o the M i d d l e A g e s . T h e chapters o n the history o f Israel and J u d a h d o w n t o the end o f the E x i l e in B a b y l o n i a tell a story w h i c h has b e c o m e an intimate part o f the w e s t e r n cultural heritage. T h e constant s t r u g g l e s , internally for religious p u r i t y a n d externally for freedom first f r o m A s s y r i a and then from B a b y l o n i a , the disaster o f the destruction o f Jerusalem, and the despair o f the E x i l e hardly n e e d to be rehearsed. In this field the a d d i t i o n o f n e w w r i t t e n d o c u m e n t a t i o n is sparse b y c o m p a r i s o n w i t h M e s o p o t a m i a , but the h i g h level o f a r c h a e o l o g i c a l e x p l o r a t i o n in the land o f the Bible c o n t i n u e s t o t h r o w n e w light on the details o f the story and t o enrich its background. In the setting o f imperial struggles b e t w e e n A s s y r i a , B a b y l o n i a , and E g y p t the P h o e n i c i a n s found themselves forced e v e r further w e s t for trade and r o o m t o l i v e . T h e i m p o r t a n c e o f n e w d i s c o v e r i e s in Phoenician a r c h a e o l o g y is easily underestimated by c o m p a r i s o n w i t h the more familiar r e c o r d o f G r e e c e and Italy. A r c h a e o l o g i c a l w o r k in the west M e d i t e r r a n e a n , especially in T u n i s i a and Spain, c o n t i n u e s t o enhance o u r p i c t u r e o f these t o u g h , enterprising p e o p l e . C a r t h a g e b e c a m e their m o s t i m p o r t a n t f o c u s , but they spread e v e n w i d e r . Persistently they f o r c e d their w a y i n t o most parts o f the M e d i t e r r a n e a n w o r l d , sailing a l o n g e v e r y coast and e x p l o r i n g the river v a l l e y s , until their expansion w a s halted g e o g r a p h i c a l l y b y the A t l a n t i c O c e a n and politically by G r e e k c o l o n i a l i s m and the rise o f R o m e . V e r y different f r o m the Phoenicians w e r e the S c y t h i a n s and the T h r a c i a n s , w h o had n o interest o r skill in seafaring b u t excelled in r a i d i n g and h o r s e m a n s h i p . T h e Scythian raids in A s i a c o n t r i b u t e d t o the d o w n f a l l o f the A s s y r i a n empire, and s o m e o f their tribes, m i g r a t i n g f r o m their h o m e l a n d in southern Russia, w e r e in conflict w i t h the p e o p l e s o f the l o w e r D a n u b e valley, w h o b e l o n g e d linguistically t o the T h r a c i a n g r o u p . In Chapter 3 3 the identification and the distribution o f the n a m e d S c y t h i a n and T h r a c i a n tribes in the E a r l y I r o n A g e are d e s c r i b e d b y the masters o f the subject, the late P r o f e s s o r T . Sulimirski and P r o f e s s o r G . M i h a i l o v . R e c e n t a r c h a e o l o g i c a l d i s c o v e r i e s h a v e shed n e w l i g h t o n the tribal systems and the burial c u s t o m s o f b o t h p e o p l e s . In this c h a p t e r the scene is set for the arrival o n the coasts o f T h r a c e and S c y t h i a o f the G r e e k colonists ( V o l u m e 1 1 1 Part 3) and for the Persian i n v a s i o n o f T h r a c e and Scythia ( V o l u m e i v ) .

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P R E F A C E

XVII

T h e fertile crescent and its history d o n o t m o n o p o l i z e this v o l u m e . In A n a t o l i a , successor states t o the Hittites, the P h r y g i a n and then the L y d i a n , d e v e l o p e d a distinctive c u l t u r e w h i c h has b e c o m e better k n o w n to us in the last forty years from e x c a v a t i o n s in their capitals at G o r d i u m and Sardis. N o t the least o f their interest lies in their relations w i t h the g r o w i n g strength o f the A e g e a n G r e e k s , exemplified by a d o p t i o n o f alphabets that seem to o w e n o t a little t o G r e e k e x a m p l e . L y d i a especially is to play a major role in G r e e k Ionia and is the major w e s t e r n centre o f Persian p o w e r . T h e c o n q u e s t o f E g y p t b y P y in c. 728 B . C . resulted in a period o f K u s h i t e ( N u b i a n ) d o m i n a t i o n o v e r the c o u n t r y w i t h o u t i n v o l v i n g any fundamental political o r religious c h a n g e . L o c a l chiefs retained their former p o s i t i o n s , w h i l e o w i n g allegiance t o the K u s h i t e k i n g , and the k i n g s t h e m s e l v e s were already adherents o f the cult o f A m u n , the centre o f w h i c h in N u b i a lay at G e b e l B a r k a l , c l o s e to their capital, N a p a t a , in the vicinity o f the F o u r t h Cataract. T h e n e w dynasty, the T w e n t y - f i f t h , consisted o f four kings besides P y : S h a b a k o (his brother), S h e b i t k u and T a h a r q a (his sons), and T a n t a m a n i (a n e p h e w o f T a h a r q a ) . E g y p t o N u b i a n armies battled o n a n u m b e r o f o c c a s i o n s w i t h A s s y r i a n forces o p e r a t i n g in Palestine and Syria, as the O l d T e s t a m e n t records, but the results did little to enhance E g y p t ' s military reputation. T a h a r q a , in c. 674 B . C , w a s able to resist E s a r h a d d o n ' s first attempt t o invade E g y p t , but n o t his second attack three years later. A further, and m o r e destructive, A s s y r i a n i n v a s i o n in 664—663 B . C , in the time o f A s h u r b a n i ­ pal, b r o u g h t the K u s h i t e rule o v e r E g y p t t o an end. It w a s f o l l o w e d b y a dynasty, the T w e n t y - s i x t h , o f native k i n g s under w h o m the arts prospered. F o r e i g n mercenaries, m o s t l y Carian and L y d i a n , streng­ thened the E g y p t i a n army and, w i t h their h e l p , a successful e x p e d i t i o n w a s c o n d u c t e d in N u b i a in the reign o f P s a m m e t i c h u s II, but against the B a b y l o n i a n forces in the L e v a n t they fared n o better than their predecessors had d o n e against the A s s y r i a n armies. A B a b y l o n i a n i n v a s i o n o f E g y p t by N e b u c h a d r e z z a r II in 568 B . C , w h e n A m a s i s w a s o n the t h r o n e , seems to h a v e s o o n been f o r g o t t e n . T h e dynasty came t o an end w i t h the defeat o f P s a m m e t i c h u s III in 525 B . C . by C a m b y s e s . It was decided n o t to set close c h r o n o l o g i c a l limits for all the material in this v o l u m e . W h e r e c h r o n o l o g i c a l data exist, the c o n n e x i o n s w i t h p r e v i o u s v o l u m e s w e r e easy to m a k e ; but in other subjects, such as the Scythians and the T h r a c i a n s , w e w e r e dealing w i t h the p e n u m b r a b e t w e e n prehistory and history. A t the l o w e r e n d it p r o v e d to be in the nature o f the subjects that a w r i t e r s h o u l d s o m e t i m e s r o u n d off his a c c o u n t w i t h a p r e v i e w , for instance, o f the restoration o f the J e w s f r o m E x i l e o r the afterlife o f A s s y r i a n traditions.

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T h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f this v o l u m e w a s d e l a y e d sadly by the illness o f D r E . S o l l b e r g e r , w h o had planned m u c h o f the contents and c h o s e n s o m e o f the c o n t r i b u t o r s before he w i t h d r e w in 1982. W e express o u r d e e p s o r r o w at the n e w s o f his death o n 21 J u n e 1989. H e w a s a m o s t friendly a n d helpful c o l l e a g u e . V e r y fortunately M r C . B . F. W a l k e r , w h o w a s w o r k i n g w i t h D r Sollberger i n the same department in the British M u s e u m , c a m e t o the rescue o f the E d i t o r s . H e has c o - o r d i n a t e d the w o r k o f the c o n t r i b u t o r s t o C h a p t e r s 21—32, edited their texts and h e l p e d w i t h the c o m p i l a t i o n o f the b i b l i o g r a p h i e s . W e are i m m e n s e l y grateful t o h i m . I n v a l u a b l e assistance has b e e n g i v e n t o h i m and the E d i t o r s b y M r s S t e p h a n i e D a l l e y , w h o has h e l p e d , w i t h the final stages o f s o m e texts, p r e p a r e d c h r o n o l o g i c a l tables and s u g g e s t e d suitable subjects for line-drawings. T h e death o f Professor W . C u l i c a n o n 24 M a r c h 1984 d e p r i v e d us o f a l e a d i n g a u t h o r i t y o n a fast-changing subject and o f access t o his e n v i a b l e c o m m a n d o f the a r c h a e o l o g y o f P h o e n i c i a n s east and w e s t . H i s chapter h e r e , l i g h t l y r e v i s e d b y Mr W a l k e r and w i t h s o m e added b i b l i o g r a p h y , is his fullest and last statement o n the subject to w h i c h he d e v o t e d his life as a scholar. T h e w r i t i n g o f Chapter 33a, ' S c y t h i a n s and C i m m e r i a n s ' , w a s u n d e r t a k e n first b y Professor E . D . Phillips o f T h e Q u e e n ' s U n i v e r s i t y o f Belfast, and t h e n on his death b y Professor T . Sulimirski w h o c o m p l e t e d his typescript in 1979. Since the death o f Professor S u l i m i r s k i the u p d a t i n g and the revision o f this section w i t h the title ' T h e S c y t h i a n s ' has been m o s t g e n e r o u s l y u n d e r t a k e n by M r T . F. T a y l o r , L e c t u r e r in A r c h a e o l o g y , B r a d f o r d . H e has w r i t t e n the P r o l e g o m e n a and f o o t n o t e s 1—24, and he has m a d e additions t o f o o t n o t e s 25—124 (his additions b e i n g e n c l o s e d in square brackets) and t o the B i b l i o g r a p h y . It s h o u l d be b o r n e in m i n d that M r T a y l o r is n o t necessarily in a g r e e m e n t w i t h the late P r o f e s s o r S u l i m i r s k i o n s o m e matters, as is indeed to be e x p e c t e d in a field in w h i c h there have b e e n so v e r y m a n y d i s c o v e r i e s in recent years. T h e E d i t o r s are particularly grateful t o M r T a y l o r for his care i n this delicate task. M r T . G . H . J a m e s wishes t o express his thanks to the m a n y c o l l e a g u e s w h o s e studies h a v e done s o m u c h t o increase o u r k n o w l e d g e o f the T w e n t y - f i f t h and T w e n t y - s i x t h E g y p t i a n D y n a s t i e s , and in particular to P r o f e s s o r K . A . K i t c h e n , P r o f e s s o r J. L e c l a n t , Professor A . B . L l o y d , P r o f e s s o r H . D e M e u l e n a e r e , D r A . S p a l i n g e r and Professor J. Y o y o t t e . D e s p i t e the inevitable delay in the c o m p l e t i n g o f this v o l u m e it has b e e n p o s s i b l e for the b i b l i o g r a p h i e s t o be k e p t generally u p t o date. T h e Staff o f the C a m b r i d g e U n i v e r s i t y Press h a v e g i v e n the greatest p o s s i b l e help t h r o u g h o u t the preparation o f this v o l u m e , and the E d i t o r s

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w i s h t o express their g r a t i t u d e . M r s T . M i n o r s k y translated P r o f e s s o r D a n d a m a e v ' s chapter f r o m the Russian. M r s Henrietta M c C a l l c o m p i l e d the Index. T h e m a p s h a v e b e e n d r a w n b y E u r o m a p L t d . M a r i o n C o x prepared the illustrations. W i t h the p u b l i c a t i o n o f this v o l u m e D r I. E . S. E d w a r d s and P r o f e s s o r N . G . L . H a m m o n d c o m p l e t e their w o r k as E d i t o r s . D r E d w a r d s has b e e n E d i t o r - i n - C h i e f for V o l u m e s I . I , 1.2, n . 1 and 11.2, and P r o f e s s o r H a m m o n d for V o l u m e s i r i . i , i n . 2 , 1 1 1 . 3 and i v . F e b r u a r y 1990 J.B. I.E.S.E. N.G.L.H. N O T E

O N

F O O T N O T E

R E F E R E N C E S

Works cited in the various sections o f the Bibliography are referred to in footnotes by the appropriate section letter followed by the number assigned to the work in the sectional bibliography, followed by volume number, page references etc. Thus A 137 11, 5 is a reference to p. 5 of vol. n of M . E. L. Mallowan's Nimrud and its Remains — no. 137 of Bibliography A : Assyria and Babylonia.

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C H A P T E R 21

B A B Y L O N I A IN T H E S H A D O W O F A S S Y R I A (747—626 B . C . )

J.

I.

A.

B R I N K M A N

B A C K G R O U N D A N D G E N E R A L

T R E N D S

B a b y l o n i a in the early centuries o f the first m i l l e n n i u m B . C . reached a nadir in its history. Political p o w e r w a s effectively fragmented b e t w e e n a w e a k central g o v e r n m e n t , semi-independent cities, and v i g o r o u s tribes w h o c o n t r o l l e d substantial portions o f the hinterland. T h e older settled p o p u l a t i o n h a d declined significantly in size as w e l l as influence, a l t h o u g h the cities c o n t i n u e d as religious and intellectual centres. L o n g stretches o f w a t e r c o u r s e s , the lifelines o f irrigation agriculture, w e r e a b a n d o n e d o r h a d fallen into disuse. R e c o r d e d e c o n o m i c life had all b u t ceased, a n d there is n o e v i d e n c e for significant f o r e i g n trade b e i n g carried o n b y the settled p o p u l a t i o n . B e c a u s e o f her political and e c o n o m i c debility, B a b y l o n i a ' s international h o r i z o n s d u r i n g this p e r i o d w e r e c o n s i d e r a b l y n a r r o w e d ; almost all k n o w n c o n t a c t s w e r e w i t h her i m m e d i a t e n e i g h b o u r s to the north and east: A s s y r i a , L u r i s t a n , and Elam. 1

In the six score years b e t w e e n 747 and 626 B . C , B a b y l o n i a u n d e r w e n t a substantial b u t g r a d u a l transformation f r o m political and e c o n o m i c w e a k n e s s t o r e i n v i g o r a t e d national strength o n the threshold o f territor­ ial e x p a n s i o n . T h e L a t e A s s y r i a n empire d o m i n a t e d m o s t o f s o u t h - w e s t A s i a d u r i n g these decades. F o r B a b y l o n i a , A s s y r i a n military and political o p p r e s s i o n s e r v e d in effect as a catalyst: it stimulated the p e o p l e o f the land to d e v e l o p n e w social institutions, to heal political fragmentation, and to transcend military b a c k w a r d n e s s . T h e stabilization o f the B a b y l o ­ nian m o n a r c h y u n d e r A s s y r i a n o c c u p a t i o n e n h a n c e d the e c o n o m i c e n v i r o n m e n t and prepared the w a y for revitalization o f urban structures. It is the p u r p o s e o f this chapter to chart the career o f B a b y l o n i a o v e r these crucial decades and t o p r o b e the reasons b e h i n d the transforma1

Year dates in this chapter are given according to the Julian calendar. Years cited simply as ' 7 4 7 ' stand for 7 4 7 / 6 , since the Babylonian New Year fell in the early spring. In accordance with Babylonian custom, regnal dates for monarchs are considered to begin with the first full year of reign and exclude the accession year (except when the king's reign did not extend beyond the accession year); thus Shamash-shuma-ukin, whose reign is listed as 6 6 7 - 6 4 8 , came to the throne in 668. The chronology followed here is based on A 543.

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Map i. Babylonia.

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3

B A C K G R O U N D

2

t i o n . W e shall b e g i n in the present section w i t h a general discussion o f the institutional landscape in w h i c h these c h a n g e s t o o k place; w e shall then deal c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y w i t h the e v e n t s t h r o u g h w h i c h these trends manifested themselves (Sections I I - V I I ) , discuss t h e textual a n d a r c h a e o l o g i c a l sources (Section V I I I ) , and c o n c l u d e w i t h a n o v e r a l l perspective (Section I X ) . 3

Recently published a r c h a e o l o g i c a l surface s u r v e y s p r o v i d e data for appraising the d e m o g r a p h i c base o f B a b y l o n i a n society o v e r the l o n g e r time span b e t w e e n 1 1 5 0 and 626 B . C . D e s p i t e their m e t h o d o l o g i c a l and practical limitations, these s u r v e y s help to c o m p e n s a t e for an absence o f adequate c o n t e m p o r a r y d o c u m e n t a t i o n , especially pertaining t o t h e e c o n o m y and to rural s o c i e t y . T h e detailed s u r v e y s c o n c e r n e d w i t h this t i m e c o v e r less than one-third o f the settled area in the a l l u v i u m b e t w e e n the l o w e r T i g r i s and E u p h r a t e s ; t h e s u r v e y o r s c h o s e t o c o n c e n t r a t e a l o n g the main course o r courses o f the l o w e r E u p h r a t e s as k n o w n in the fourth and third millennia B . C . T h u s a c o m p a r a t i v e l y n a r r o w belt (c. 40— 70 k m w i d e ) around the former E u p h r a t e s channels from a b o u t 45 k m n o r t h w e s t o f N i p p u r d o w n to the v i c i n i t y o f U r has been subjected to at least limited s u r v e y , as has the s o u t h e r n end o f the l o w e r D i y a l a basin. F o r these r e g i o n s , the c o v e r a g e m a y at present b e p r e s u m e d t o b e reasonably representative. 4

5

6

7

8

9

Statistics for all intensively s u r v e y e d r e g i o n s p o i n t t o a significant d r o p in p o p u l a t i o n in t h e late s e c o n d and early first millennia B . C C o m p a r e d w i t h the p r e c e d i n g p e r i o d (c. 1600—1150), the g r o s s settled a r e a in each r e g i o n declined, p r o g r e s s i v e l y m o r e severely as o n e m o v e s from south t o north. T h e e x t r e m e p r o p o r t i o n s v a r y f r o m U r , w h e r e the settled area w a s 78 per cent as large as it had been in Kassite times, t o the l o w e r D i y a l a , w h e r e the area w a s o n l y 23 per cent o f its former size. T h o u g h w e are n o t as yet i n a p o s i t i o n t o m a k e due a l l o w a n c e f o r possible diachronic shifts i n p o p u l a t i o n - d e n s i t y ratios, the raw figures s u g g e s t that relative losses in p o p u l a t i o n in the early stages o f the 115 o— 626 p e r i o d m a y h a v e r a n g e d f r o m a b o u t o n e p e r s o n in four in the far 10

2

For the geographical and institutional background of Babylonia in this period, the reader is referred to 0 4 H I I I . I , 2 8 5 - 9 5 . Footnote documentation in this chapter is intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive, especially in the case of Assyrian royal inscriptions (which are treated more fully in chapters 2 2 - 4 below). Additional documentation for many of the subjects discussed here may be found in A 5 5 1 . I.e., from about the end of the Kassite dynasty to the beginning of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty under Nabopolassar. A 5 1 3 , chapter 2; A 705. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 3 n. 4. A 5 5 1 , 3 n. 5; A 5 5 2, 1 7 7 . A 5 I I ; A J I 3 ; A 5 1 4 ; A 783. Supplementary material in A ¡ 6 8 , 1 - 1 3 and plan 1; A 599, 20-4; A 624; 2

3

4

5

6

7

A 6 2 5 ; A 726. 8

A primary research interest for the surveyors was the origins and early development o f urbanism in Mesopotamia; hence they tended to focus in areas where settlement was heaviest between 4000 and 2000 B . C . 5

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 4 and n. 8.

1 0

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 4 n. 9.

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4

21.

B A B Y L O N I A

T a b l e i . Percentage 11

or less,

I N

T H E

S H A D O W

of settled surface area occupied

2j00-626

O F

A S S Y R I A

by settlements

of ten

hectares

B.C.

B.C.

L o w e r Diyala

Nippur—Uruk

E a r l y D y n a s t i c II—III

2700—2350

52.9

9.9

Akkadian

2350-2100

57.8

18.4

U r III-Larsa

2100-1800

61.9

25.1

Old

1800—1600

74-5

29.6

Kassite

1600—11;0

81.5

Post-Kassite

1150-626

Babylonian

IOO.O

56.8 64.3

12

s o u t h ( U r ) t o three persons in four in the north-east ( l o w e r D i y a l a ) . It m u s t be stressed that these e b b s in p o p u l a t i o n size are n o t t o be v i e w e d as a u n i q u e sharp d e c l i n e b r o u g h t o n b y catastrophic events, but rather as p a r t o f a secular trend t o w a r d l o w e r p o p u l a t i o n levels w h i c h had b e g u n i n m o s t areas o f southern M e s o p o t a m i a after the U r III p e r i o d (c. 2000 B . C . ) and reached its climax at this t i m e . A l s o t y p i c a l o f this period is a further decline in urbanism: p r o p o r t i o ­ n a t e l y m o r e p e o p l e were l i v i n g in small t o w n s or villages, that is, s e t t l e m e n t s that w e r e ten hectares o r less in area. T h i s t o o is part o f a l o n g - t e r m trend, in m o s t areas g o i n g b a c k to the Early D y n a s t i c periods (c. 2700—2350), w h e r e b y the p e r c e n t a g e o f the p o p u l a t i o n concentrated i n small settlements gradually increased. H e r e , t o o , regional variations m a y be n o t e d ( T a b l e 1). T h u s , b o t h the l o w e r D i y a l a and the N i p p u r U r u k r e g i o n s , t h o u g h starting f r o m s u b s t a n t i v e l y different patterns o f u r b a n i s m o r hierarchical settlement d i s t r i b u t i o n , gradually b e c a m e m o r e v i l l a g e - o r i e n t e d . In contrast, the area a r o u n d U r , a c c o r d i n g to H e n r y W r i g h t ' s s u r v e y , s t o o d o u t sharply: after 2900 B . C . the distribution o f s m a l l e r settlements (here 9.5 ha o r less) fluctuated in n o regular pattern b e t w e e n 40 p e r cent and 49 per cent o f the total settled area, r e a c h i n g a m a x i m u m in O l d B a b y l o n i a n times a n d a m i n i m u m under the K a s s i t e d y n a s t y . T h u s the tendency for a g r o w i n g p e r c e n t a g e o f the p o p u l a t i o n t o l i v e in small settlements w a s p r o n o u n c e d , but n o t universal. T h i s ruralization m o v e m e n t reached its a p o g e e in the early first m i l l e n n i u m , b u t w a s clearly b e i n g reversed by 600 B . C , e x c e p t in the D i y a l a . A l s o o f interest in the early first m i l l e n n i u m B . C . are the g e o g r a p h i c a l patterns o f a b a n d o n m e n t , c o n t i n u i t y , a n d n e w settlement w i t h i n each r e g i o n . In the l o w e r Diyala basin, the o n l y extended w a t e r c o u r s e that 1 3

14

15

1 1

1 2

1 4

A

2

Sources of data: A 5 1 1 , 3 9 - 5 7 ; 5 ' 3 , ' 4 table 13 (cf. p. 138 table 12). As emended in a 5 1 3 , 1 7 9 table 16 (81.1 per cent in a 5 1 1 , 56 table 1 j). a 783. Where the reversal began only in Seleucid times (a j i3, 179). 1 5

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1 3

a j 5 2, 1 7 3 .

5

B A C K G R O U N D

definitely remained in use in the p e r i o d w a s o n the far eastern e d g e o f the s u r v e y e d z o n e ; m o r e o v e r , o n l y 5.7 per cent o f the settled area w a s o c c u p i e d b y n e w settlements - the a b n o r m a l l y l o w p e r c e n t a g e p r e s u m ­ ably reflecting the inability o r u n w i l l i n g n e s s o f the p o p u l a t i o n to assume n e w risks in the sparsely settled countryside. A l o n g the N i p p u r - U r u k axis, there w a s e x t e n s i v e a b a n d o n m e n t o n the east side o f the s u r v e y e d r e g i o n and in the central area b e t w e e n Ishan a l - H o w a o n the n o r t h and Q a l a D u l u o n the south. O n l y the western part o f the U r u k area s o u t h o f Q a l a D u l u had a significant percentage o f stable, c o n t i n u i n g c o m m u n i t i e s . It is s t r i k i n g that in the N i p p u r - U r u k r e g i o n there w e r e n o n e w settlements s o u t h o f Isin and A d a b and o n l y a b o u t 18 per cent o f the g r o s s settled hectarage in the n o r t h e r n sector represented fresh settlement. 16

c

c

c

c

In the s o u t h e r n m o s t r e g i o n a r o u n d U r , a b a n d o n m e n t w a s particularly p r o n o u n c e d in the n o r t h e r n z o n e : the former U r channel o f the Euphrates w a s r e d u c e d t o a small canal s u p p o r t i n g o n l y a few villages besides U r itself. B u t in the U r s u r v e y r e g i o n as a w h o l e m o r e than half the settlements w e r e n e w , and these represented 22 per cent o f the total settled area. It is difficult t o estimate h o w m u c h o f this o v e r a l l relocation may h a v e been d u e primarily t o h y d r o l o g i c a l factors (such as the d r y i n g u p or shifting o f w a t e r c o u r s e s ) and h o w m u c h to political disruption. B u t the decline in the w e s t e r n part o f the l o w e r D i y a l a basin and in the eastern section o f the N i p p u r - U r u k r e g i o n o c c u r r e d w h e r e one w o u l d expect pressures f r o m n e w l y arrived A r a m a e a n t r i b e s m e n t o h a v e been greatest; and o n e c o u l d m a k e a similar case for Chaldaean—Aramaean stress (especially f r o m the B i t - Y a k i n and P u q u d u tribes) in the n o r t h e r n U r area. T h e rise in small u n d e f e n d e d settlements o n the s o u t h e r n m o s t fringe o f the U r r e g i o n c o u l d indicate sedentary l i n k a g e w i t h n e i g h b o u r ­ i n g A r a b tribes w h o w e r e m o v i n g t h r o u g h the a r e a . The low p r o p o r t i o n o f i n v e s t m e n t in n e w settlements w a s p r o b a b l y d e p e n d e n t o n several factors, i n c l u d i n g r e d u c e d p o p u l a t i o n size and unreliable defence mechanisms in times o f political unrest. 17

T h u s from the surface s u r v e y s one gains a g e n e r a l picture o f p o p u l a t i o n decline, dispersal i n t o smaller settlements, and relocation o u t o f vulnerable areas. F r o m the jejune textual e v i d e n c e , especially for the period f r o m 1100 t o 750 B . C . , o n e can detect c o m p l e m e n t a r y b a c k g r o u n d hints o f climatic irregularity, c r o p failure, o u t b r e a k s o f p l a g u e , and disruptive tribal p o p u l a t i o n m o v e m e n t s . B u t there remain questions a b o u t w h e t h e r the b r o a d picture o f decline applies w i t h equal validity to all o f B a b y l o n i a and for all o f the time span b e t w e e n 1 1 5 0 and 626 B . C . 18

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A 5 5 1 , 7 and n. 19. Compare the data in A 534, 258; A 583; A 783, 333; A 829, no. 1 6 7 . A 535, 389 n. 2180; A 7 6 3 , 430 and 432; cf. A 25, 76.

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A l t h o u g h g e n e r a l l y unnoticed, there is e v i d e n c e w h i c h indicates that: ( i ) b y the early first m i l l e n n i u m B.C. the intensively s u r v e y e d r e g i o n s m a y n o l o n g e r h a v e b e e n typical for B a b y l o n i a as a w h o l e , and (2) the general d e c l i n e in B a b y l o n i a may h a v e been substantially arrested before 720 B . C . , rather t h a n a century later. T h e detailed s u r v e y s did n o t t o u c h s e v e r a l crucial areas where major e c o n o m i c and political activity is d o c u m e n t e d in the e i g h t h and seventh centuries, particularly the north­ w e s t s e c t i o n o f the a l l u v i u m ( w h e r e urban centres w e r e c o n c e n t r a t e d ) a n d the p r i n c i p a l tribal homelands o f the Chaldaeans in the w e s t and s o u t h e a s t . A c c o r d i n g to the l o n g e r a c c o u n t s o f Sennacherib's first c a m p a i g n , these tribal areas held a large n u m b e r o f cities and fortified s e t t l e m e n t s . A l s o , in the early first m i l l e n n i u m B . C . , t w o additional factors m u s t b e t a k e n into a c c o u n t . First, the major E u p h r a t e s courses h a d b y t h e n shifted considerably t o the w e s t o f the o l d Nippur—Uruk axis (and s o o u t s i d e the area c o v e r e d b y the intensive s u r v e y s ) and thus the p r i n c i p a l b a n d o f c o n t e m p o r a n e o u s E u p h r a t e s - b a s e d settlements w o u l d b e e x p e c t e d t o lie t o the west o f the s u r v e y e d z o n e . S e c o n d l y , m u c h o f the N i p p u r — U r u k hinterland w o u l d h a v e been c o n t r o l l e d b y A r a m a e a n tribal g r o u p s at a c o m p a r a t i v e l y l o w l e v e l o f u r b a n i s m , that is, g r o u p s w h o s e i m p e r m a n e n t quarters w o u l d n o t leave traces that are readily identifiable b y traditional surface reconnaissance t e c h n i q u e s . T h u s the m a j o r scene o f a c t i o n in l o w e r M e s o p o t a m i a f r o m at least the middle o f the n i n t h c e n t u r y w o u l d n o t be e x p e c t e d t o lie in the f o r m e r urban ' h e a r t l a n d ' , b u t o u t s i d e the intensively s u r v e y e d areas, especially to the n o r t h w e s t , w e s t , a n d south east. In addition, the substantial d o c u m e n ­ tation — a d m i n i s t r a t i v e , legal, and epistolary — that c o m m e n c e s a b o u t 747 a n d increases significantly after 722 s u g g e s t s b y b o t h its quantity and c o n t e n t s that the d e p t h s o f the prior dark a g e w e r e o v e r in the third q u a r t e r o f the e i g h t h c e n t u r y . T h u s , w h i l e the b r o a d picture o f p o p u l a t i o n d e c l i n e m a y be generally valid for central l o w e r M e s o p o t a ­ mia in the early first millennium B . C . , there is e v i d e n c e i n d i c a t i n g that: 19

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(1) the p e r i o d o f w o r s t decline e n d e d in the s e c o n d h a l f o f the e i g h t h c e n t u r y rather than one h u n d r e d years later (2) a p r i m a r y f o c u s o f urban activity after the m i d - n i n t h century lay o u t s i d e the i n t e n s i v e l y s u r v e y e d r e g i o n s , that is, t o the n o r t h w e s t o f the N i p p u r — U r u k corridor (3) the m a j o r tribal areas - i n c l u d i n g fortifications and t o w n s — lay a l o n g the u n s u r v e y e d b a n k s o f the c o n t e m p o r a r y E u p h r a t e s t o the w e s t o f

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Notably Babylon, Borsippa, Dilbat, and Sippar. This area was covered principally by an early survey which is considered inadequate by present standards (see A 5 5 1 , 4 and n. 6). Especially Bit-Dakkuri. Bit-Yakin. Topography of this area: A 7 2 6 ; A 783. A 270, 5 2 - 4 . Cf. A 5 5 1 , 9 n. 30. And perhaps from the mid-twelfth century on. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , i o n . 33. 2 0

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N i p p u r and U r u k and in the marshy territories t o the east o f U r u k and U r . 2 6

T h e r e f o r e the general picture o f p o p u l a t i o n decline s h o u l d be modified to reflect local variations as well as adjustments in p e r i o d i z a t i o n . F o r the late e i g h t h and seventh centuries, w r i t t e n sources supplement and add d e p t h to the r o u g h d e m o g r a p h i c portrait d r a w n from archaeolo­ gical s u r v e y s . C o n t e m p o r a r y letters and e c o n o m i c r e c o r d s , as w e l l as the c a m p a i g n narratives o f A s s y r i a n royal inscriptions, help to fill in details a b o u t the p o p u l a t i o n o f the t o w n s and c o u n t r y s i d e o f B a b y l o n i a . T h e inhabitants o f B a b y l o n i a in the late e i g h t h century w e r e c o m p o s e d o f t w o principal g r o u p s : the older ' B a b y l o n i a n ' native s t o c k (an a m a l g a m o f descendants o f the Sumerians and A k k a d i a n s and such assimilated later i m m i g r a n t s as the A m o r i t e s and K a s s i t e s ) , and relatively recently arrived tribesmen, such as A r a m a e a n s and Chaldaeans, w h o w e r e as yet unassimilated. B y 750 B . C . , the constituent elements o f the older p o p u l a t i o n had lost their political and ethnic identity and shared a c o m m o n B a b y l o n i a n culture. T h i s g r o u p f o r m e d the majority o f the p o p u l a t i o n in the urban centres in the n o r t h - w e s t a l l u v i u m and in the south w e s t . Because o f the urban focus o f the extant d o c u m e n t a t i o n , w e d o n o t yet k n o w w h e t h e r significant n u m b e r s o f this p o p u l a t i o n g r o u p resided in the c o u n t r y s i d e , for instance in n o r t h e r n B a b y l o n i a . T h e d o m i n a n t social unit a m o n g the o l d e r B a b y l o n i a n s w a s the family (nuclear o r e x t e n d e d ) , a l t h o u g h under the hectic political c o n d i t i o n s o f the seventh c e n t u r y smaller family units in the cities increasingly came t o align t h e m s e l v e s into broader kin-based g r o u p s that traced descent from c o m m o n e p o n y m o u s ancestors o r b o r e distinctive family n a m e s . T h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t larger k i n - g r o u p s e v e n t u a l l y came t o d o m i n a t e the civil and r e l i g i o u s hierarchy in several t o w n s , particularly in n o r t h e r n Babylonia. T h e tribesmen, w h o are distinguished primarily by their social s t r u c t u r e , c o n t r o l l e d substantial p o r t i o n s o f the c o u n t r y s i d e . T h e r e w e r e t w o major tribal g r o u p s , the A r a m a e a n s and the C h a l d a e a n s , b o t h o f W e s t Semitic o r i g i n . It s h o u l d be stressed that the d i c h o t o m y b e t w e e n the diverse p o p u l a t i o n s in B a b y l o n i a w a s n o t based o n place o r type o f residence (urban versus rural, sedentary v e r s u s non-sedentary), but o n social o r g a n i z a t i o n (tribal versus non-tribal). M a n y tribesmen lived in t o w n s , and s o m e e v e n in large urban c e n t r e s . 27

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Note the qualifying statements in A 5 1 3 , 15 2 - 4 and the reservations in A 6 0 1 , 40. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , ion. 35. Notably at Babylon, Borsippa, Sippar, Dilbat, and Nippur. Particularly at Uruk and Ur. Discussion: A 11 n. 38. A 545, 237—8; A 590. Discussion: A 12 n. 40. For Arabs in Babylonia, see p. 17 below. Further discussion: A 5 5 1 , i 2 n . 4 i . I.e., their basic linguistic affiliation lay with Semitic groups outside the East Semitic (AssyroBabylonian) language family. Towns: A 1 8 5 , 44 and 58-60; A 270, 52—4. Large urban centres: A 270, 54. 2 7

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T h e A r a m a e a n s h a d been in B a b y l o n i a l o n g e r than the C h a l d a e a n s , b u t w e r e o n the w h o l e more f r a g m e n t e d and less s e d e n t a r y . A r a m a e a n s h a d b e g u n a r r i v i n g in l o w e r M e s o p o t a m i a in large n u m b e r s at the b e g i n n i n g o f the e l e v e n t h c e n t u r y and had settled principally across the n o r t h e r n e n d o f the a l l u v i u m , a r o u n d N i p p u r , and o n b o t h sides o f the l o w e r T i g r i s . T h e r e were m o r e than forty A r a m a e a n tribes, s o m e o f w h i c h w e r e u n d e r the s i m u l t a n e o u s leadership o f as m a n y as e i g h t sheikhs (tiasiku). T h e most p r o m i n e n t o f these tribes in the late e i g h t h and s e v e n t h centuries were: ( i ) the G a m b u l u , l i v i n g in a marshy r e g i o n (perhaps centred a r o u n d m o d e r n Wasit) near the E l a m i t e b o r d e r ; (2) the P u q u d u , a c t i v e b o t h a l o n g the Babylonian—Elamite frontier and in the v i c i n i t y o f U r u k in s o u t h - w e s t e r n B a b y l o n i a ; and (3) the R u ' u a near N i p p u r . T h e A r a m a e a n s h a d generally resisted assimilation t o B a b y l o ­ nian w a y s ; they h a d retained their distinctive personal names and tribal structure and h a d n o t taken an a c t i v e role in the B a b y l o n i a n political s y s t e m . I n d i v i d u a l A r a m a e a n s w e r e usually identified in texts n o t b y a B a b y l o n i a n t w o - t i e r g e n e a l o g y (such as ' N a d i n u son o f Z a k i r - s h u m i ' ) , b u t simply b y their o w n personal n a m e plus a gentilic adjective referring t o their tribe — ' S a m u n u , the G a m b u l i a n ' (Samunu Gambülayu). The A r a m a e a n s had f e w large t o w n s , and their e c o n o m y w a s primarily pastoral. T h e i r principal i m p a c t o n B a b y l o n i a seems t o h a v e been in the realm o f l a n g u a g e , where in this p e r i o d A r a m a i c w a s fast replacing B a b y l o n i a n as the vernacular; b y the late e i g h t h century, the use o f A r a m a i c in B a b y l o n i a may h a v e b e c o m e so w i d e s p r e a d that officials had t o be dissuaded f r o m using it in g o v e r n m e n t c o r r e s p o n d e n c e . It is u n f o r t u n a t e that w e are n o t better informed a b o u t the A r a m a e a n s in B a b y l o n i a and A s s y r i a at this time because the w i d e s p r e a d l a n g u a g e c h a n g e s m a y already have b e e n s y m p t o m a t i c o f an incipient A r a m a i z a tion o f M e s o p o t a m i a n culture; at maturity, this trend w a s t o impart a distinctive character t o M e s o p o t a m i a n civilization, especially in the centuries b e t w e e n the demise o f independent B a b y l o n i a (539 B . C . ) and the c o m i n g o f Islam (c. A . D . 637). 36

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On the Aramaeans in Babylonia, see A 535, 2 6 7 - 8 5 ; A 574 (with adjustments noted in A 544);

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A 185,.45 n. 9; A 5 4 ; ,

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n. 49. The theory that an eleventh-century king of Babylonia (Adad-apla-iddina) was Aramaean has now been shown to be based on a textual misreading: C . B. F. Walker in A 54, 4 1 4 . Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 1 3 - 1 4 n. 52. A 570, 90; A 575, no. 10. Further discussion of Aramaean influence in Babylonia at this time: 4

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T h e C h a l d a e a n s , a l t h o u g h later a r r i v a l s , w e r e b o t h m o r e sedentary a n d m o r e unified than the A r a m a e a n s . T h e r e w e r e three major a n d t w o m i n o r C h a l d a e a n tribes, e a c h n a m e d the ' H o u s e o f S o - a n d - s o ' (after an e p o n y m o u s ancestor), and each u n d e r the c o n t r o l o f a single c h i e f t a i n . T h e major tribes w e r e : (a) B i t - A m u k a n i , o n the l o w e r E u p h r a t e s a b o v e U r u k ; (b) B i t - D a k k u r i , o n the central E u p h r a t e s south o f B o r s i p p a b u t occasionally active a r o u n d B a b y l o n itself; and (c) B i t - Y a k i n , the m o s t p o w e r f u l o f the C h a l d a e a n tribes, d o m i n a t i n g the land a r o u n d U r a n d the marshes t o the east (the ' S e a l a n d ' ) . O f lesser i m p o r t a n c e w e r e the B i t Sha'alli and the B i t - S h i l a n i , smaller tribes w h i c h are m e n t i o n e d o n l y infrequently in the s o u r c e s . B y the late e i g h t h c e n t u r y , the C h a l d a e a n s a l t h o u g h p r e s e r v i n g their basic tribal structure - w e r e b e c o m i n g B a b y l o n i z e d : m a n y o f t h e m b o r e B a b y l o n i a n n a m e s , w e r e settled in fortified t o w n s and v i l l a g e s , and w e r e e n g a g e d in c u l t i v a t i n g date p a l m s and raising cattle. I n d i v i d u a l C h a l d a e a n s cited their g e n e a l o g y in m o s t cases simply by calling t h e m s e l v e s ' s o n ' o f their tribe's e p o n y m o u s Because they ancestor (thus: Ea-zera-iqisha ' s o n ' o f A m u k a n u ) . c o n t r o l l e d m o s t o f the c o u r s e o f the E u p h r a t e s t h r o u g h B a b y l o n i a as w e l l as the marshes at the head o f the Persian G u l f , the C h a l d a e a n s w e r e in a p o s i t i o n t o regulate a substantial p o r t i o n o f international and d o m e s t i c trade. B e g i n n i n g in the early e i g h t h c e n t u r y , they also e n t e r e d actively i n t o B a b y l o n i a n political life; before the year 730, each o f the three principal C h a l d a e a n tribes had in turn furnished at least o n e o c c u p a n t o f the B a b y l o n i a n t h r o n e . 45

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T h e k i n g o f B a b y l o n p r e s i d e d o v e r this h e t e r o g e n e o u s p o p u l a t i o n , t h o u g h his p o w e r w a s in effect limited by i n d e p e n d e n t actions o f b o t h the larger cities and the tribes. S o m e o f the w e a k e r k i n g s w e r e u n a b l e t o police dissident elements, and u n c o n t r o l l e d civil unrest and d i s r u p t i o n o f trade routes are p r o b a b l y w h a t attracted the initial A s s y r i a n military i n t e r v e n t i o n in B a b y l o n i a in 745 B . C F o l l o w i n g the political collapse o f B a b y l o n i a at the end o f the ninth c e n t u r y , the hereditary p r i n c i p l e for m o n a r c h i c a l succession h a d b e e n u n d e r m i n e d in practice: there is o n l y o n e k n o w n instance o f B a b y l o n i a n father—son succession b e t w e e n 810 and the rise o f the N e o - B a b y l o n i a n e m p i r e in 6 2 6 . T h e m o n a r c h y w a s 52

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further d e s t a b i l i z e d b y a rapid t u r n o v e r in rulers, especially in the years f r o m 733 t o 689 ( w h e n there w e r e n o less t h a n fourteen reigns a v e r a g i n g just 3.2 years e a c h ) . A l t h o u g h w e a k e n e d , the B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y e n d u r e d as an institution and served as a f o c u s o f c o n t e n t i o n in the late e i g h t h a n d s e v e n t h centuries, w h e n C h a l d a e a n s and A s s y r i a n s v i e d w i t h e a c h o t h e r t o ensure succession o f their o w n candidates to the t h r o n e . L o c a l g o v e r n m e n t in B a b y l o n i a w a s administered t h r o u g h a p r o v i n c e (pihatu) s y s t e m , w i t h most major cities and m a n y m i n o r t o w n s s e r v i n g as capitals o f their o w n small p r o v i n c e s . T h e far south-eastern section o f the c o u n t r y , w h i c h had extensive marshes a n d n o large cities, w a s treated as a separate l a r g e r p r o v i n c e u n d e r its o l d n a m e , the 'Sealand'. M o s t p r o v i n c e s w e r e u n d e r the jurisdiction o f a r o y a l l y a p p o i n t e d g o v e r n o r , the sakin femi (an older title w h i c h had t a k e n o n an elevated function a b o u t the m i d d l e o f the ninth c e n t u r y ) ; a f e w p r o v i n c e s , such as N i p p u r a n d the S e a l a n d , had g o v e r n o r s w h o b o r e traditional titles, such as sandabakku ( N i p p u r ) and saknu ( S e a l a n d ) . O c c a s i o n a l l y local rulers w i t h d y n a s t i c p r e t e n s i o n s affected a m o r e a m b i t i o u s titulary; thus v a r i o u s m e m b e r s o f the N i n g a l - i d d i n family, w h i c h held the g o v e r n o r s h i p at U r b e t w e e n 680 and 648, styled themselves saknu o r e v e n fakkanakku. T h e B a b y l o n i a n city remained a s t r o n g political and cultural institu­ t i o n . T h e historical picture is u n d o u b t e d l y s k e w e d b y the urban o r i g i n s o f m o s t s u r v i v i n g d o c u m e n t a t i o n , but the elitist bias o f the sources is n o t u n r e p r e s e n t a t i v e : cities d o m i n a t e d the e c o n o m i c and intellectual life o f the c o u n t r y . R e t a i n i n g an aura o f tradition that in s o m e instances dated b a c k t o the g o l d e n era of city states in p r e c e d i n g millennia, the city w a s still a p r o v i n c i a l seat of g o v e r n m e n t and had an assembly o f citizens w h i c h f u n c t i o n e d as a law c o u r t in t r y i n g c o n t e s t e d c a s e s . T e m p l e s in the l a r g e cities remained p o w e r f u l institutions w i t h their splendid l i t u r g i c a l c e r e m o n i e s , prestigious officials, lucrative prebends, and e x t e n s i v e p r o p e r t i e s . Citizens in major cult cities, especially in the n o r t h ­ w e s t a l l u v i u m , held privileges o f e x e m p t i o n f r o m taxes, c o r v e e , and a r m y s e r v i c e . U r b a n centres such as N i p p u r and B a b y l o n w e r e d i s t i n g u i s h e d for their pluralist, c o s m o p o l i t a n society, w h i c h included f o r e i g n e r s as w e l l as tribal r e s i d e n t s ; cities w e r e n o t only the h o m e o f intellectuals and scribal s c h o o l s , but c o n t a i n e d a b r o a d spectrum o f 53

54

55

56

57

58

59

5 3

Statistics: A 5 5 1 , i 6 n . 65. Studies of the royal titulary in the eighth and seventh centuries: A 5 3 5 , 1 6 7 - 8 ; A 89s, v. 9 , 5 3 - 6 5 and 99—100; A 5 4 1 , 4 1 2 - 1 3 n. 25. Discussion of the powers and duties of the king: A 535, 2 8 9 - 9 6 ; 5 4

A 5 4 1 ; CAH 5 5

2

111 .1,

290. 5 6

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 17 n. 68. A 5 5 1 , 17 n. 69. See provisionally A 729, 146-7. Particularly in Sippar, Nippur, Babylon, and Borsippa; see CAH i n . i , 2 9 1 . Note also the general right of Babylonian citizens to appeal directly to the king (A 7 1 4 ) . Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 18 n. 73. 5 7

5 8

2

5 9

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

BACKGROUND

classes f r o m m e r c h a n t s and temple officials to settled agriculturalists and pastoralists. T h e line b e t w e e n t o w n and c o u n t r y p o p u l a t i o n w a s n o t so sharply d r a w n as in s o m e m o d e r n W e s t e r n societies. Cities d r e w their e c o n o m i c s u p p o r t f r o m a r a n g e o f sources: temple e n d o w m e n t s , private landed p r o p e r t y , international and d o m e s t i c trade, the skilled crafts, and the agricultural and stock-raising activities o f the hinterland. D e s p i t e the d e m o g r a p h i c trend t o w a r d ruralization in the early first m i l l e n n i u m , u r b a n i s m remained the n o r m : successful or p r o s p e r o u s tribes built cities and t o w n s and fortified t h e m w i t h w a l l s . B e c a u s e o f their w e a l t h and prestige, cities w e r e o b v i o u s targets for A s s y r i a n a g g r e s s i o n ; yet they w e r e n o t a l w a y s as v u l n e r a b l e as one m i g h t e x p e c t i n a non-militaristic society. T h e w a l l e d cities o f the n o r t h - w e s t a l l u v i u m p r o v e d formidable obstacles to the A s s y r i a n s in the time o f the G r e a t R e b e l l i o n (65 2—648), and B a b y l o n itself l o n g held o u t against t w o sieges: for m o r e than fifteen m o n t h s i n 690—689 and for m o r e than t w o years in 6 5 0 - 6 4 8 . It is surely significant that the m o s t a m b i t i o u s b u i l d i n g p r o g r a m m e in B a b y l o n i a d u r i n g this p e r i o d w a s carried o u t b y a city g o v e r n o r (Sin-balassu-iqbi o f U r ) rather t h a n a k i n g ; and another city g o v e r n o r dated by his o w n regnal y e a r s . Cities w e r e the focus o f local g o v e r n m e n t , society, and e c o n o m y and remained critical factors in the p o l i t i c a l and cultural life o f the land. 60

61

6 2

63

T h e tribes seem generally to h a v e remained o u t s i d e the p r o v i n c e system a n d t o h a v e operated under their o w n leaders. T h e Chaldaean tribes B i t - Y a k i n and B i t - D a k k u r i and the A r a m a e a n tribes G a m b u l u and P u q u d u w e r e politically the m o s t p o w e r f u l g r o u p s in the land; w h a t p r e v e n t e d t h e m f r o m d o m i n a t i n g the entire c o u n t r y w a s that they seldom a g r e e d to w o r k under c o m m o n direction for a c o m m o n p u r p o s e . W h e n an e x c e p t i o n a l leader such as M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n o r M u s h e z i b M a r d u k appeared and personally w o n their allegiance, the disparate tribes c o u l d w o r k t o g e t h e r w i t h the rest o f B a b y l o n i a and offer surprisingly effective resistance to the militarily superior A s s y r i a n s . O c c a s i o n a l l y there w e r e strained relations or hostile incidents b e t w e e n tribe and tribe o r b e t w e e n a tribe and the o l d e r p o p u l a t i o n . T h i s seems s e l d o m t o h a v e d e v e l o p e d into l o n g - l a s t i n g o r deep-seated enmity; but, in the case o f U r and the B i t - Y a k i n tribe ( w h i c h c o n t r o l l e d m u c h o f U r ' s h i n t e r l a n d ) , there w a s c o n t i n u i n g friction that e r u p t e d into warfare several times d u r i n g the p e r i o d . 64

T h o u g h politically w e a k and internationally insignificant in the mid6 0

6 1

A 185, 4 4 and 58-60; A 270, 5 2 - 4 ; A 234, 52-3 Episode 13; A 337, 70. Borsippa and Ur also endured long sieges in the seventh century; see A 5 5 1 , 18 n. 7 5 .

6 2

* 5 37.

6 4

Including (at various times) the towns of Eridu, Larsa, and Kissik (A 2 7 0 , 5 3 ; cf. A 1 8 ) , 58 and

A 534, 2 4 9 - 5 1 .

63

A

g

2 9 ;

n

o

s

2

?

a n (

j

9

C

64).

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12

21.

BABYLONIA

IN

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e i g h t h c e n t u r y , B a b y l o n i a nonetheless enjoyed a limited regional i m p o r t a n c e . It f o r m e d the vulnerable southern b o r d e r o f A s s y r i a and s t o o d astride several important trade routes: the s o u t h e r n section o f the E u p h r a t e s ( w h i c h w a s a crucial link in c o m m e r c e b e t w e e n the Persian G u l f and the M e d i t e r r a n e a n ) , the b e g i n n i n g o f the B a g h d a d — K e r m a n shah—Hamadan r o a d t o the east, the o v e r l a n d route t o E l a m v i a D e r , and the d e v e l o p i n g c a r a v a n tracks w e s t o n t o the A r a b i a n desert. A s s y r i a , as it g r e w i n t o an i m p e r i a l p o w e r , c o u l d n o t afford t o i g n o r e d i s r u p t i v e t r i b e s m e n c l o s e to its southern frontier; they n o t o n l y m e n a c e d the o u t s k i r t s o f A s s y r i a itself b u t threatened the B a b y l o n i a n h u b o f international trade. A s s y r i a thus m a d e a c o n c e r t e d effort t o neutralize d e s t a b i l i z i n g influences in B a b y l o n i a , and this it did primarily b y l a u n c h i n g a series o f massive strikes against B a b y l o n i a ' s tribal p o p u l a t i o n . T h e e n s u i n g s t r u g g l e b e t w e e n the A s s y r i a n s and the tribesmen d o m i n a t e d the p o l i t i c a l history o f B a b y l o n i a from 745 to 626. A s s y r i a n initiatives in B a b y l o n i a t o o k a variety o f f o r m s , i n c l u d i n g c a m p a i g n s into tribal areas, w h o l e s a l e d e p o r t a t i o n o f tribal p o p u l a t i o n s , d i p l o m a t i c efforts t o secure the allegiance o f the non-tribal urbanites, and direct i n t e r v e n t i o n in g o v e r n m e n t t h r o u g h the installation o f A s s y r i a n o r p r o - A s s y r i a n rulers o n the B a b y l o n i a n throne (in effect, m a k i n g B a b y l o n i a a client state). C a m p a i g n s into tribal r e g i o n s t e n d e d to focus o n fortified t o w n s , w h i c h w e r e unable to w i t h s t a n d a g g r e s s i v e A s s y r i a n siege t e c h n i q u e s . T h e effectiveness o f this strategy v a r i e d in direct p r o p o r t i o n to the p e r c e n t a g e o f the tribal p o p u l a t i o n f o u n d in these t o w n s ; the tactic w a s essentially a failure in the case o f the relatively n o n sedentary A r a m a e a n s and o n l y a qualified success in t h e case o f the Chaldaeans, w h o t o o k somewhat longer to regroup. Deportation was a n o t h e r t e c h n i q u e m u c h in f a v o u r w i t h the A s s y r i a n s ; it w a s e m p l o y e d several times o n a l a r g e scale in B a b y l o n i a in the s e c o n d h a l f o f the e i g h t h c e n t u r y , b o t h t o e x p o r t i n s u r g e n t tribesmen and t o i m p o r t potentially m o r e d o c i l e inhabitants from other l a n d s . A c c o r d i n g t o official i f t e n d e n t i o u s A s s y r i a n statistics", almost half a million p e o p l e w e r e r e m o v e d f r o m B a b y l o n i a b e t w e e n 745 and 702; m o r e than half o f these w e r e C h a l d a e a n s . T h e c o m b i n e d tactics o f repeated military c a m p a i g n s and d e p o r t a t i o n s w e r e responsible for the eclipse o f the B i t - Y a k i n tribe in the s e v e n t h c e n t u r y and for the t e m p o r a r y ascendancy o f the B i t D a k k u r i a m o n g the Chaldaeans b e t w e e n 693 and 6 7 5 . F o r m o s t o f the p e r i o d u n d e r consideration (85 out o f 121 years), A s s y r i a c o n t r o l l e d t h e B a b y l o n i a n throne either b y h a v i n g the A s s y r i a n m o n a r c h p e r s o n a l l y rule also as k i n g o f B a b y l o n i a o r b y installing o n e o f 65

66

67

6 8

6 5

E.g.,

6 6

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 20 n. 80. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 2 0 n. 82.

6 8

A 1 8 5 , 44 and

¡ 8 - 6 0 ; A 270, 5 2 - 4 ; A 337, 6 7

70.

Statistics and discussion: A 5 5 1 , 20 n. 81.

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

BACKGROUND

!3

its o w n n o m i n e e s (sometimes a m e m b e r o f the A s s y r i a n royal family) as k i n g . T h e latter m e t h o d e v e n t u a l l y p r o v e d m o r e successful; and the t w o l o n g reigns from 667 t o 627 stabilized the B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y and p r o v i d e d s u p p o r t for the b u r g e o n i n g e c o n o m y - despite the n o t a b l e interruption o f the G r e a t R e b e l l i o n (652-648). A s s y r i a did n o t a l w a y s respect the territorial integrity o f B a b y l o n i a , especially east o f the T i g r i s ; at v a r i o u s times it incorporated s u c h centres as D e r , L a k h i r u , K h i h m m u , and Pillatu w i t h i n its o w n b o r d e r s , albeit w i t h o n l y m i x e d s u c c e s s . In the area o f local administration w i t h i n B a b y l o n i a , A s s y r i a in the late e i g h t h century attempted to o v e r r i d e the structure o f small p r o v i n c i a l units w h e n S a r g o n d i v i d e d the land into t w o large p r o v i n c e s w i t h o n e g o v e r n o r in B a b y l o n and another in the eastern r e g i o n o f G a m b u l u . T h e n e w s y s t e m did n o t succeed and m a y h a v e been a b a n d o n e d already in the next r e i g n . A s s y r i a c o n d u c t e d local administration either by a p p o i n t i n g B a b y l o n i a n s o n w h o m it c o u l d rely o r by installing A s s y r i a n emissaries, the latter usually in m i n o r positions and for shorter p e r i o d s . Officials s e r v i n g in B a b y l o n i a f r o m the k i n g d o w n t o local temple stewards w e r e required t o take a loyalty oath (adu) to the A s s y r i a n m o n a r c h and to promise that they w o u l d faithfully report to the A s s y r i a n c o u r t any s u b v e r s i v e actions o r p l o t s . T h e A s s y r i a n s did n o t maintain c o n t r o l in B a b y l o n i a b y stationing large garrisons o n B a b y l o n i a n soil, but relied o n an efficient intelligence n e t w o r k t o direct army units based in A s s y r i a to major trouble s p o t s . T h e local A s s y r i a n military p o l i c y w a s o n e o f defence-in-depth: q u i c k l y suppressing insurgence w i t h forces f r o m outside rather than l a y i n g an e x t e n s i v e internal n e t w o r k to forestall revolt. 6 9

70

7 1

72

73

74

75

76

A s s y r i a n relations w i t h the o l d e r u r b a n centres o f B a b y l o n i a d e s e r v e further c o m m e n t . P r e v i o u s A s s y r i a n rulers in the ninth and early e i g h t h centuries had had a special relationship w i t h the v e n e r a b l e religious cities o f the n o r t h - w e s t a l l u v i u m , n o t a b l y B a b y l o n , B o r s i p p a , and C u t h a ; they had b e s t o w e d gifts on the major temples and had s p o n s o r e d sacrifices t h e r e . Shalmaneser III (858-824) had feted the citizens o f B a b y l o n and B o r s i p p a at lavish banquets and presented t h e m w i t h festal g a r m e n t s and o t h e r g i f t s . In the late e i g h t h and s e v e n t h centuries, w h e n the A s s y r i a n m o n a r c h s came t o rule either directly o r t h r o u g h intermediaries in southern M e s o p o t a m i a , they increased efforts to establish solidarity b e t w e e n t h e m s e l v e s and B a b y l o n i a n c i t y - d w e l l e r s . T h e y pursued a tactic o f a t t e m p t i n g t o separate this urban p o p u l a t i o n from the tribesmen; in times o f unrest, they appealed directly t o the men o f B a b y l o n for s u p p o r t 77

78

6 9

7 1

7 0

A 540, 9 0 - 2 . E.g., A 5 } 5 , 240; A 6 7 6 , no. 70. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 21 n. 84. A 1 8 ) , 66. Discussion: A J J I , 21 n. 85. A 5 51, 21 n. 86. 7 2

7 3

A 54j, 232-3.

7 5

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 21 n. 89.

7 7

A

S 3 ! . 197

7 4

and 2 1 7 .

A 6 7 4 , 3 1 - 4 0 ; cf. A 7 2 , nos. 7 6

7

8

287 and

327; A 344,

28-30.

A 545,235. A

535,

197.

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a g a i n s t C h a l d a e a n and other rebels, such as M u k i n - z e r i and Shamashs h u m a - u k i n . T o secure this political allegiance, the A s s y r i a n s offered p o l i t i c a l a n d e c o n o m i c a d v a n t a g e s t o the city-dwellers and t o their t e m p l e s . M o s t A s s y r i a n m o n a r c h s o f this time sent g e n e r o u s offerings t o the m a j o r deities o f B a b y l o n i a , particularly t o M a r d u k and N a b u . T h e y r e n e w e d t h e traditional p r i v i l e g e s o f the citizens o f the o l d religious c e n t r e s , i n c l u d i n g freedom f r o m certain t a x e s . S a r g o n attempted t o b r o a d e n his base o f s u p p o r t b y e x t e n d i n g c o m p a r a b l e p r i v i l e g e s t o s u c h s o u t h e r n cities as U r u k , U r , K i s s i k , and E r i d u , w h i c h d o n o t seem t o h a v e h a d t h e m p r e v i o u s l y . B u t , e x c e p t in the far s o u t h , acceptance o f A s s y r i a n r u l e seems generally t o h a v e been l u k e w a r m ; and cities that sided w i t h A s s y r i a ran the risk o f finding themselves isolated f r o m their c o u n t r y m e n . A s the g o v e r n o r o f N i p p u r w r o t e to the A s s y r i a n court: 79

8 0

81

82

f

83

T h e king k n o w s that people everywhere hate us because of our allegiance to Assyria. W e are not safe anywhere; wherever we might g o , we would be killed. People say, ' W h y did you submit to Assyria?' W e have now locked our city gates tight and do not g o out . . . M

E v e n u n d e r E s a r h a d d o n , w h o m a d e a s h o w o f restoring B a b y l o n and reinstating its p r i v i l e g e s , there w e r e tax protests in the capital and o b v i o u s s i g n s o f A s s y r i a n u n p o p u l a r i t y . In times o f major r e v o l t , cities in the n o r t h w e s t s u p p o r t e d the anti-Assyrian side, e v e n t h o u g h t h e y w e r e particularly v u l n e r a b l e t o A s s y r i a n reprisals. T h u s the A s s y r i a n p o l i c y o f c u l t i v a t i n g B a b y l o n i a n urban centres for religious and political reasons yielded m a r g i n a l results that on the w h o l e w e r e n o t f a v o u r a b l e t o A s s y r i a , especially after the accession o f S e n n a c h e r i b . A n t i - A s s y r i a n resistance in B a b y l o n i a w a s generally led by the C h a l d a e a n s . R e v o l t s w h i c h b r o u g h t a m e m b e r o f the older B a b y l o n i a n p o p u l a t i o n t o the t h r o n e w e r e i n v a r i a b l y taken o v e r and the B a b y l o n i a n c a n d i d a t e displaced in f a v o u r o f a C h a l d a e a n w i t h i n a few w e e k s o r m o n t h s . B e f o r e the time o f S e n n a c h e r i b , the Chaldaeans chose tribal areas as sites for their military e n g a g e m e n t s against the A s s y r i a n s , p e r h a p s b e c a u s e they were u n s u r e o f the support o f the older urban p o p u l a t i o n . A f t e r Sennacherib's a c c e s s i o n , many o f the battles t o o k p l a c e in n o r t h e r n B a b y l o n i a near c i t i e s , and the Chaldaeans d r e w o n 85

86

87

88

8 9

90

A 7 2 , no. 301 ( = A 698, no. n j ) ; A 79, no. I . A 185, ;8; A 204 11, pi. xxxiv 9 - 1 0 ; A 234, 24 Episode 33; A 344, 2 2 6 - 4 8 ; A 689, no. 132. Also A 7 2 , no. 1241 + A 5 7 ; , no. 1 1 2 ; cf. A 7 2 , no. 339 ( = A 7 3 , no. 293; A 7 7 , 5 1 1 ) . A 6 6 3 , 1; A 234, 2 5 - i Episode 37; A 5 5 1 , 22 n. 95. A 185, 64. Where cities such as Uruk and Ur, which were situated in enclaves in tribal territory, saw an advantage in having an Assyrian defender. A 7 2 , no. 327 ( = A 698, no. 1 2 1 ) . A 7 2 , nos. 327 and 340 ( = A 7 3 , no. 276). 7

9

8 0

8 1

8 2

8 3

8

4

8 6

8 8

9 0

8

5

Notably in 7 0 3 , 6 9 4 - Ó 8 9 , and 6 5 2 - 6 4 8 .

8 7

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 23 n.

101.

8 9

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 23 n. 102. Examples: A 5 5 1 , 23 n. 103. Perhaps because Sennacherib even early in his reign was perceived as anti-Babylonian.

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15

urbanités, A r a m a e a n tribesmen, and f o r e i g n c o n t i n g e n t s for assistance. N o t all Chaldaeans w e r e consistently anti-Assyrian. T h e A s s y r i a n s m a y occasionally h a v e m a n i p u l a t e d the accession o f w e l l - d i s p o s e d chieftains, and Chaldaean soldiers s e r v e d w i t h the A s s y r i a n a r m y . B y the m i d d l e o f the seventh c e n t u r y , B i t - A m u k a n i had effectively fallen u n d e r A s s y r i a n d o m i n a t i o n and w a s itself subject to A r a m a e a n r a i d s . B u t in general, especially b e t w e e n 732 and 646, the C h a l d a e a n s w e r e the mainstay o f a n t i - A s s y r i a n politics in B a b y l o n i a , and o c c a s i o n a l extra­ ordinary tribal leaders w e r e able to c o m b i n e the political strength o f their unified tribes, e c o n o m i c p o w e r based on their animal h u s b a n d r y and trade, and tactical benefits o f their e n v i r o n m e n t t o g o o d a d v a n t a g e in harrying the A s s y r i a n s . 91

92

93

94

O v e r the years, repeated A s s y r i a n attacks o n the tribal c o u n t r y s i d e and A s s y r i a n interference in B a b y l o n i a n g o v e r n m e n t stimulated the g r o w t h o f m o r e effective political and military strategies a m o n g b o t h the older B a b y l o n i a n s and the tribal p o p u l a t i o n s . B a b y l o n i a u n d e r A s s y r i a n stress b e c a m e m o r e adept in utilizing its natural resources - especially its h y d r o l o g i c a l features — for offensive and defensive strategy. U s e o f m a r s h e s as bases for m o b i l e raiding parties and the deliberate shifting o f w a t e r c o u r s e s (either t o p u t pressure o n u n s y m p a t h e t i c cities o r for defensive flooding a r o u n d tribal t o w n s ) e v i n c e a h e i g h t e n e d a w a r e n e s s o f the tactical potential o f the e n v i r o n m e n t in resisting a militarily superior e n e m y . In addition, B a b y l o n i a n s and C h a l d a e a n s b r o a d e n e d anti-Assyrian resistance into a regional m o v e m e n t b y b r i n g i n g in their nearby trading partners, the E l a m i t e s and A r a b s , to furnish auxiliary t r o o p s for hostilities in B a b y l o n i a . T h i s inevitably e x p a n d e d the theatre o f conflict into n e i g h b o u r i n g lands, w h i c h presented f o r m i d a b l e natural obstacles for A s s y r i a n armies: hills and mountains in E l a m , desert in A r a b i a , and extremes o f climate in b o t h areas. F u r t h e r m o r e , in times o f stress, there appeared, especially from the Chaldaean B i t - Y a k i n tribe, a remarkable series o f leaders, w h o c o m m a n d e d substantial s t r e n g t h f r o m the various parts o f B a b y l o n i a : M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , M u s h e z i b - M a r d u k , and N a b u - b e l - s h u m a t i , t o name o n l y the m o s t p r o m i n e n t . These leaders, w i t h a c o r e o f s u p p o r t from their native tribe, learned t o rally widespread a n t i - A s s y r i a n forces from other tribes and the o l d e r p o p u l a ­ tion o f B a b y l o n i a , as w e l l as from foreign lands. E v e n t u a l l y these 95

9 6

97

9 1

A 254, 52 Episode 12; A 497, nos. 105 and 1 3 9 . Cf. A 5 5 1 , nn. 106, 1 8 5 , 188. 7 2 , no. 2 7 5 ; cf. A 7 2 , no. 896 and A 497, no. 139. Particularly the marshy terrain and the dispersed population. A 5 39, 279; A 588, chapter ;. The Chaldaean economic base (especially agriculture and trade) would have been particularly vulnerable to Assyrian military moves. A j j i, 24 n. 1 1 0 . A 5 j 1, 25 n. 1 1 1 . The older Babylonian population produced few leaders who were able to survive even a short time. See A 5 5 1 , 23 n. 103. 9

2

A

9 3

9 4

9

5

9

6

9 7

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traditional alliances were available to assist e v e n the A s s y r i a n arch-rebel, S h a m a s h - s h u m a - u k i n , w h o led B a b y l o n i a and its allies in a devastating b l o w to the u n i t y o f the A s s y r i a n empire. U n q u e s t i o n a b l y , the peren­ nially i n t e r f e r i n g presence o f a s t r o n g A s s y r i a spurred the political and military d e v e l o p m e n t of B a b y l o n i a in the e i g h t h and s e v e n t h centuries. D e s p i t e the f o c u s o f much o f the extant d o c u m e n t a t i o n , B a b y l o n i a n A s s y r i a n c o n t a c t s at this time w e r e n o t entirely political or military. T h e v e n e r a b l e c u l t u r e o f B a b y l o n i a w i t h its flourishing traditions o f scholar­ s h i p , belles leitres, a n d ancient r e l i g i o n exerted a s t r o n g attraction for A s s y r i a . F r o m the b e g i n n i n g o f the s e c o n d h a l f o f the eighth century, B a b y l o n i a n a s t r o n o m y experienced a significant r e v i v a l , and astronomi­ cal o b s e r v a t i o n s w e r e again recorded w i t h g r e a t c a r e . T h e r e is also e v i d e n c e for at least a passing interest in h o r t i c u l t u r e . Babylonian scribes c u l t i v a t e d the tradition o f M e s o p o t a m i a n lexical s c h o l a r s h i p , a n d the stylistic q u a l i t y o f l o n g e r royal inscriptions u n d e r M e r o d a c h b a l a d a n a n d S h a m a s h - s h u m a - u k i n s h o w s that scribal authors w e r e s t r i v i n g w i t h m i x e d success to emulate literary m o d e l s . Babylonian literary a n d scientific w o r k s o c c u p i e d a p r o m i n e n t place in A s s y r i a n libraries; a n d A s h u r b a n i p a l , w h e n a u g m e n t i n g his o w n palace collection o f c u n e i f o r m tablets, sent emissaries to search t h r o u g h B a b y l o n i a n t e m p l e a r c h i v e s as w e l l as collections in p r i v a t e h o u s e s . Individual B a b y l o n i a n s w e r e b r o u g h t to A s s y r i a t o b e e d u c a t e d as scribes and c o u r t i e r s , in the h o p e that they w o u l d o n e day p r o v e loyal to A s s y r i a . E v e n the l a n d s c a p e o f the south held a fascination for the A s s y r i a n s : S e n n a c h e r i b , w h e n planning amenities for his r e n o v a t e d capital at N i n e v e h , laid o u t a park imitating the C h a l d a e a n c o u n t r y s i d e w i t h its d i s t i n c t i v e trees, marshes, and w i l d l i f e . It is difficult to estimate the cultural i m p a c t o f B a b y l o n i a o n A s s y r i a in the sphere o f religion; A s s y r i a n k i n g s p r o u d l y r e c o r d e d their offerings to B a b y l o n i a n tem­ p l e s and c e l e b r a t e d a N e w Y e a r ' s Festival (akitu) in A s s y r i a , but w e d o n o t k n o w h o w m u c h o f this w a s due t o B a b y l o n i a n influence and h o w m u c h m a y h a v e b e e n reshaping o f native A s s y r i a n c u s t o m s . In the realm o f l a w , there w a s a m i n g l i n g o f B a b y l o n i a n and A s s y r i a n traditions in a f e w legal d o c u m e n t s dated early in the reign o f E s a r h a d d o n , but it is u n c l e a r w h e t h e r this ever w e n t b e y o n d the a d o p t i o n o f a few superficial traits o f s t y l e . I n material culture, n o t a b l y in the few s u r v i v i n g e x a m p l e s o f c o n t e m p o r a r y B a b y l o n i a n architecture, in g l y p t i c , and in 98

99

100

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1 0 2

1 0 3

104

1 0 5

106

1 0 7

9 8

9 9

1 0 1

A 535, 227; A ; 3 2 , 49 under 44.3.12; A 7 7 2 , 2 0 - 1 . Cf. A 5 5 1 , 26 n. 1 1 4 . A 532, 48 under 44.3.5. Cf. A 204, 60-2 ( = A 35, 1 § 794). A 5 5 1 , 26 n. 1 1 6 . A 595; A 6 5 1 I I , 6—8; A 676, no. 37. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 49 n. 230. 1 0 0

1 0 2

A 508; A 632 x x n

1 0 3

A 270, 54 and A 7 0 3 , 33-4. A 270, 97; cf. ibid., pp. 1 1 5 - 1 6 . Note especially the lavish gifts of Sargon (A 226 1, 124—6). Cf. A 5 5 1 , 27 n. 1 2 2 . Cf. A 5 5 1 , 27 n. 123.

1 0 5

1 0 6

no.

1 ( A 88 iv, 2 1 2 - 1 4 no.

6).

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ceramics, there w e r e n e w aesthetic a n d stylistic d e v e l o p m e n t s , perhaps b u t this has yet t o be satisfactorily influenced b y A s s y r i a n a d v a n c e s , studied. O n e w o u l d n o t e x p e c t that after 625 the architectural and artistic a c h i e v e m e n t s o f the dynasty o f N a b o p o l a s s a r a n d N e b u c h a d r e z z a r c a m e to fruition w i t h o u t relation t o their native predecessors. 108

W h e n v i e w e d from a b r o a d e r r e g i o n a l p e r s p e c t i v e , B a b y l o n i a w a s i n v o l v e d in a close n e t w o r k o f relationships w i t h nearby lands. T i e s w i t h A s s y r i a w e r e traditional, b u t n o w u n a v o i d a b l y h e i g h t e n e d because o f A s s y r i a ' s direct political i n v o l v e m e n t in t h e s o u t h . Relations w i t h t h e E l a m i t e s a n d A r a b s d e v e l o p e d m o r e s p o n t a n e o u s l y as a result o f g e o g r a p h i c a l p r o x i m i t y , c o m m e r c i a l ties, m i n g l i n g o f p o p u l a t i o n s , a n d shared political interests (usually a n t i - A s s y r i a n ) . F l e e t i n g B a b y l o n i a n c o n t a c t w i t h the state o f J u d a h in Palestine m a y have been m o t i v a t e d b y c o m m o n antipathy to A s s y r i a n e n c r o a c h m e n t s . Babylonian—Arab relations in t h e late e i g h t h a n d s e v e n t h centuries are sparsely attested; b u t there is a g e n e r a l pattern o f c o m m e r c i a l a n d social interaction, l i g h t A r a b settlement o n t h e outskirts o f B a b y l o n i a , a n d occasional A r a b military assistance t o B a b y l o n i a in its a n t i - A s s y r i a n s t r u g g l e s . I n the time o f S e n n a c h e r i b , the q u e e n o f the A r a b s sent her b r o t h e r w i t h t r o o p s t o assist M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n i n the rebellion o f 703. H a l f a century later, A r a b chieftains a n d their m e n e n d u r e d considerable hardship in B a b y l o n w i t h S h a m a s h - s h u m a - u k i n w h e n the city w a s under A s s y r i a n s i e g e . T h e r e is also scattered and o c c a s i o n a l l y a m b i g u o u s e v i d e n c e f o r p e n e t r a t i o n o f A r a b s o r A r a b influence into B a b y l o n i a : A r a b t o p o n y m s i n w e s t e r n C h a l d a e a in the late e i g h t h century, small p o p u l a t i o n m o v e m e n t s o f A r a b tribesmen b e t w e e n E r i d u a n d Q e d a r territory o n the d e s e r t , the visit o f a merchant f r o m T e m a t o the k i n g o f B a b y l o n , an A r a b raid o n S i p p a r , n e w small settlements just off the desert t o the s o u t h o f U r , and a g r o w i n g n u m b e r o f A r a b o r P h o e n i c i a n trade objects - as w e l l as inscriptions in a script a k i n t o early e p i g r a p h i c S o u t h A r a b i c - f o u n d in first-millennium levels in e x c a v a t i o n s in s o u t h e r n M e s o p o t a m i a (principally at N i p p u r , Uruk, and U r ) . " 109

110

111

112

113

1 1 4

115

1 1 6

1

B a b y l o n i a ' s m o s t v a l u e d ally w a s E l a m , its eastern n e i g h b o u r , w h i c h also possessed a literate urban c i v i l i z a t i o n . B a b y l o n i a a n d E l a m had c l o s e trade relations, shared r e l i g i o u s i n t e r e s t s , a n d often p u r s u e d a 118

1 0 6

1 0 9

A ( J 1, 27 n. 124; cf. ibid., pp. 120—1. General treatment of the early Arabs: A 19. Onomastic evidence in Mesopotamia: A 784.

1 1 0

A 2 7 0 , j 1.

1 , 2

A J 8 J ; discussion: A 551, 28 n. 128. A 7 2 , no. 1404. A 7 2 , no. 88. A 7 8 } , 333; cf. A 5 ; I , 28 n. 1 3 2 .

1

1

4

1

,

6

1 1 7

> " A 544,68.

1

,

1 1 3

A 829, no. 167.

5

A 5 2 2 ; A 534, 2 s 8 n . i ; A 583, 1 0 9 - 1 0 ; A 6 3 1 , 4 3 - 4 ; cf. A 7 8 4 . The exact date of the objects and

inscriptions has yet to be determined.

1 1 8

Discussion: A ; ; 1, 28 n. 134.

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c o m m o n a n t i - A s s y r i a n policy. T h e eastern tribal r e g i o n s o f B a b y l o n i a a b u t t e d o n the E l a m i t e border; and the n e a r b y large tribes o f G a m b u l u a n d B i t - Y a k i n traditionally h a d c l o s e ties w i t h the E l a m i t e m o n a r c h s and people. D u r i n g the period o f m o s t c o - o r d i n a t e d C h a l d a e a n resistance t o A s s y r i a , first u n d e r M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n a n d later u n d e r M u s h e z i b M a r d u k , E l a m i t e t r o o p s became h e a v i l y i n v o l v e d in fighting in B a b y l o ­ nia. C h a l d a e a n leaders in time o f major crisis sent substantial gifts (tatti) t o secure E l a m i t e s u p p o r t ; and large E l a m i t e armies t o o k part in d e c i s i v e field battles in or near n o r t h e r n B a b y l o n i a . E l a m i t e generals p l a y e d p r o m i n e n t roles at t h e battle o f K i s h in 703 and at K h a l u l e in 691. B e s i d e s p r o v i d i n g direct military a i d t o B a b y l o n i a , E l a m o n o c c a s i o n h a r b o u r e d political f u g i t i v e s from A s s y r i a n w r a t h — n o t a b l y M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n (after 700) a n d N a b u - b e l - s h u m a t i (after 6 4 8 ) . R e l a t i o n s b e t w e e n E l a m a n d B i t - Y a k i n w e r e particularly s t r o n g a n d u n d o u b t e d l y a c c o u n t e d for s o m e o f the staying p o w e r in t h e l e n g t h y C h a l d a e a n resistance m o v e m e n t i n s o u t h e r n M e s o p o t a m i a . B u t B a b y l o n i a ' s eastern alliance c o u l d n o t a l w a y s b e relied o n . T h e E l a m i t e m o n a r c h y , especially after 6 9 3 , w a s subject t o p e r i o d s o f instability b e c a u s e o f the uncertain health o f s o m e k i n g s and because o f T h e r e w e r e also times o f political f r a g m e n ­ frequent r e v o l u t i o n s . t a t i o n , w h e n t w o o r more k i n g s ruled s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n such centres as S u s a , M a d a k t u , a n d K h a i d a l u . A f t e r 670, E l a m w a s beset b y v a g a r i e s o f c l i m a t e : d r o u g h t led t o famine a n d caused p e o p l e t o flee t h e country. O n o c c a s i o n , E l a m d r e w d i p l o m a t i c a l l y closer t o A s s y r i a , especially i n t h e q u a r t e r century b e t w e e n 690 a n d 665; in t h e time o f E s a r h a d d o n a f o r m a l peace a g r e e m e n t w a s c o n c l u d e d b e t w e e n the t w o l a n d s , a n d A s s y r i a later p r o v i d e d sustenance a n d shelter f o r E l a m i t e s h a r d pressed b y f o o d s h o r t a g e s . G e n e r a l l y , h o w e v e r , E l a m b a c k e d B a b y l o n i a in its s t r u g g l e against A s s y r i a . B e t w e e n 652 and 648, a l t h o u g h three E l a m i t e k i n g s w e r e d e p o s e d in q u i c k succession, each n e w ruler s o o n a d o p t e d the c o u n t r y ' s a n t i - A s s y r i a n and p r o - B a b y l o n i a n s t a n c e . T h i s p o l i c y o n o c c a s i o n led t o E l a m i t e i n v a s i o n s o f southern M e s o p o t a m i a w h e n t h e B a b y l o n i a n t h r o n e w a s o c c u p i e d b y an A s s y r i a n m o n a r c h , and s u c h incursions o c c a s i o n a l l y resulted i n the harsh t r e a t m e n t o f B a b y l o n i a n cities such as 1 1 9

120

121

1 2 2

123

1 2 4

1 2 5

1 2 6

1 2 7

128

129

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1 1 9

1 2 1

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Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 29 n. 135. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 29 n. 136. Note particularly the battles of Der (720), Cuthaand Kish (703), and Khalule (691). Cf. A 7 5 1 ,

45-8. 1 2 2

A 270, 45 and 5 1 . The evidence for 691 is unclear.

1 2 4

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 29 n. 140.

1 2 6

1 2 7

1 2 5

1 2 3

Discussion: A ; 5 1 , 29 n. 139.

A 2 ; , 7 7 - 8 1 ; A 344, 32—4, etc.

A 8, chapters 9 and 11 (the discussion there requires revision). A

337> 5 6 - 8 ; cf. A 7 2 , no. 295.

1 2 8

A 2 3 4 , 5 8 - 9 ; A 3 3 7 , 56—8; A 688, 102. Cf. A 7 0 3 , 34 n. 66.

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A 344, 32—62.

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Examples: A

; o n . 146.

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Sippar. B u t , in g e n e r a l , Elamite—Babylonian relations w e r e c o r d i a l and n o t just b e t w e e n the tribal p o p u l a t i o n s and the E l a m i t e s ; there w e r e also direct contacts b e t w e e n the older, urban inhabitants - especially the family o f G a k h a l - and E l a m . E l a m w a s intimately i n v o l v e d in the political fate o f B a b y l o n i a , especially in the three-quarters o f a c e n t u r y b e t w e e n 720 and 6 4 6 ; and E l a m i t e s u p p o r t o r lack t h e r e o f w a s often decisive in d e t e r m i n i n g the political strength o f such a n t i - A s s y r i a n m o v e m e n t s as the C h a l d a e a n resistance ( 7 2 1 - 6 8 9 ) and the G r e a t R e b e l ­ lion (652—648). H a d E l a m itself enjoyed greater political stability, the h e g e m o n y o f the A s s y r i a n e m p i r e m i g h t n o t have been so l o n g - l i v e d . 1 3 2

133

1 3 4

T h e B a b y l o n i a n e c o n o m y t o o s h o u l d be placed in r e g i o n a l p e r s p e c ­ tive, a l t h o u g h d o c u m e n t a r y e v i d e n c e is sparse and m u c h essential research in this area remains to be d o n e . It w o u l d be anachronistic to regard B a b y l o n i a t h r o u g h o u t the late e i g h t h and s e v e n t h centuries as merely a desiccated s h a d o w o f its former self, possessing a h i g h culture o f v e n e r a b l e antiquity, b u t seriously u n d e r p o p u l a t e d , politically w e a k , and generally p o v e r t y - s t r i c k e n . In the seventh century, as the B a b y l o ­ nian m o n a r c h y g r a d u a l l y stabilized and l o n g e r reigns p r o v i d e d greater continuity in g o v e r n a n c e , there are signs o f increasing e c o n o m i c prosperity: a significant rise in the n u m b e r o f e c o n o m i c r e c o r d s , g r o w i n g c o n c e r n w i t h land-tenure and the maintenance o f irrigation n e t w o r k s , d e v e l o p i n g t e c h n o l o g y and trade, and m o r e a m b i t i o u s c o n ­ struction p r o g r a m m e s ( b o t h m o n u m e n t a l and r e s i d e n t i a l ) . Babylo­ nian temples remained i m p o r t a n t e c o n o m i c institutions; and projects requiring major capital e x p e n d i t u r e s , such as securing the i n t e r v e n t i o n o f Elamite armies, w e r e o n o c c a s i o n financed from t e m p l e t r e a s u r i e s . T h e B a b y l o n i a n e c o n o m y c o n t i n u e d to rest o n the t w i n pillars o f agriculture and animal h u s b a n d r y , w h i c h p r o v i d e d the internal basis for extensive trade relations. A l t h o u g h the present state o f research d o e s n o t permit a detailed analysis o f the B a b y l o n i a n e c o n o m y , w e can at this juncture offer a few preliminary o b s e r v a t i o n s . 135

136

B a b y l o n i a n agriculture in this p e r i o d concentrated primarily o n p r o d u c i n g barley and dates, w h i c h w e r e g r o w n e x t e n s i v e l y e v e n in tribal areas. M o s t s u r v i v i n g real-estate transactions i n v o l v i n g rural land c o n c e r n e d date-palm o r c h a r d s , often located in places d e s c r i b e d as ' s w a m p s ' near large cities. W i n e w a s p r o d u c e d locally in hilly r e g i o n s east o f the T i g r i s s u c h as K h i r i m m u , but w a s n o t a significant 1 3 1

1 3 2

A 25, 78 and 83. See A 5 j 1, 7 8 - 9 n. }8o. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 30 n. 148. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 31 n. 149. For a general appraisal of Babylonian—Elamite relations at this time, see A 5 5 2 A . Discussion: A J J I , 31 n. 150. An even more significant indication of prosperity may be the wealth of ordinary people, reflected in the richness of contemporary grave gifts at Nippur (A 664, 1 4 7 ) . A 234, 13 Episode 4; A 270, 42. 1 3 3

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c o m m e r c i a l i t e m . A t y p i c a l l y , B a b y l o n i a in the early first millennium a p p e a r s as a p r o d u c e r o f timber; the s o u t h e r n and eastern sections o f the c o u n t r y (especially Chaldaea and K h a r a r a t u ) g r e w musukkannu trees, w h i c h w e r e p r i z e d for palace and t e m p l e c o n s t r u c t i o n . T h e r e are many a n d v a r i e d references to agricultural land in legal contracts; and the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f r e v i s e d t o p o n y m i c t e r m i n o l o g y indicates shifting pat­ terns at the l o w e r levels o f rural society. T h e r e w a s a n e w unit o f local a g r i c u l t u r a l administration called the ' F i f t y ' (banlu) presided o v e r b y the ' C o m m a n d e r o f the Fifty' (rab banle). L o c a l canals and irrigation w o r k s w e r e often n a m e d the harm (or harri) o f S o - a n d - s o (for e x a m p l e , the canal ' H a r r i - o f - M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' ) , and v a r i o u s C o m m a n d e r s o f Fifties w e r e a l l o c a t e d r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the maintenance o f s e g m e n t s o f local irriga­ t i o n s y s t e m s . T h e s e n e w d e v e l o p m e n t s and their ramifications h a v e yet t o b e s t u d i e d in detail. A n i m a l h u s b a n d r y , practised b y b o t h the o l d e r settled p o p u l a t i o n and the t r i b e s m e n , raised a variety o f beasts: sheep, g o a t s , b o v i n e s , d o n k e y s , m u l e s , a n d e v e n horses and camels. T r a n s p o r t animals w e r e m u c h in d e m a n d for the m o v e m e n t o f g o o d s and for military service; sheep's w o o l a n d g o a t - h a i r w e r e used in the manufacture o f textiles, a traditional B a b y l o n i a n high-quality export. A g r i c u l t u r e a n d l i v e s t o c k - r a i s i n g thus created a local resource base to s u p p o r t trade. B a b y l o n i a , as o b s e r v e d earlier, w a s the crossroads o f m a n y trade r o u t e s reaching w e s t t o the M e d i t e r r a n e a n and t o the A r a b i a n desert, n o r t h into A s s y r i a , n o r t h east i n t o the Z a g r o s m o u n ­ tains, east i n t o E l a m , and south east b y the Persian G u l f . W i t h i n this b r o a d n e t w o r k , B a b y l o n i a n o t o n l y e x p o r t e d its o w n p r o d u c t s and i m p o r t e d necessities as well as l u x u r y g o o d s for its o w n c o n s u m p t i o n , b u t also s e r v e d as an entrepot for transshipment o f g o o d s from and to m a n y f o r e i g n lands. A l o n g these radiating routes m o v e d substantial a m o u n t s o f c a r g o , s o m e o f it requisitioned b y w a y o f b o o t y and tribute (an e c o n o m i c d i m e n s i o n o f the N e o - A s s y r i a n e m p i r e ) . In the late e i g h t h and s e v e n t h c e n t u r i e s , B a b y l o n i a ' s m o s t i m p o r t a n t e x p o r t w a s p e o p l e , r e m o v e d i n l a r g e n u m b e r s from tribal areas as w e l l as from cities, especially o v e r the six decades f r o m 745 t o 6 8 5 . A l t h o u g h these d e p o r t a t i o n s are described in the A s s y r i a n r o y a l inscriptions primarily as p o l i t i c a l o r military m a n o e u v r e s , they n o n e t h e l e s s had an e c o n o m i c side. S u b j e c t p e o p l e s , i n c l u d i n g C h a l d a e a n s and A r a m a e a n s , w e r e p r e s s e d i n t o w o r k i n g on S e n n a c h e r i b ' s m a s s i v e urban renewal project for N i n e v e h a n d its e n v i r o n s ; and B a b y l o n i a n A r a m a e a n s w e r e set to 137

138

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141

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1 3 8

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Botanical identification not yet established. Discussed in more detail in A 706; A ; ; 1, 32—3 and nn. 1 5 7 - 6 1 . A 545, 227 and 234—5; further discussion: A 5 5 1 , 34 n. 166. S e e p . 12 above. A 270, 95. 1 4 1

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agricultural tasks in western M e s o p o t a m i a near H a r r a n and in S y r i a . T h e s e c o n d m o s t important e x p o r t from B a b y l o n i a w a s animals, k n o w n m o s t l y t h r o u g h A s s y r i a n b o o t y lists; these i n c l u d e d transport and d r a u g h t animals ( o x e n , d o n k e y s , mules, horses, a n d camels), p r o d u c e animals ( c o w s , sheep, and g o a t s ) , and to a m u c h lesser extent e x o t i c beasts such as wild b o a r . G r a i n , dates, and w i n e w e r e also taken from B a b y l o n i a as spoil; a n d Chaldaeans and A r a m a e a n s w e r e r e c k o n e d a m o n g the princi­ pal suppliers o f w o o d for the decoration o f the palace o f Tiglath-pileser I I I . D u r a n d has recently made a case for interpreting certain enigmatic B a b y l o n i a n tags found in A s s y r i a as ' w o o l d o c k e t s ' , that i s , labels attached to p a c k e t s o f w o o l at the time o f shearing a n d then taken w i t h other captured g o o d s t o A s s y r i a after the fall o f D u r - Y a k i n . T e x t i l e s , especially g a r m e n t s w i t h m u l t i c o l o u r e d trim, w e r e also obtained from the s o u t h . R e e d s w e r e c u t d o w n in the C h a l d a e a n marshes a n d b r o u g h t t o A s s y r i a for use in c o n s t r u c t i o n . O t h e r items i m p o r t e d into B a b y l o n i a w e r e captured b y t h e A s s y r i a n s , i n c l u d i n g silver, g o l d , p r e c i o u s stones, and l u x u r y w o o d s such as e b o n y ; the magnificence o f s u c h spoil c o n v e y s an impression o f significant w e a l t h a m o n g the ruling classes in B a b y l o n i a , particularly a m o n g the tribal chieftains. A s yet m o s t m o v e m e n t o f g o o d s t o a n d from B a b y l o n i a in this period must b e reconstructed largely from forced transactions d o c u m e n t e d in t h e A s s y r i a n b o o t y and tribute l i s t s ; w e h a v e n o systematic information a b o u t the scale and s c o p e o f such e x a c t i o n s , m u c h less o f their impact o n the B a b y l o n i a n e c o n o m y . It is possible that the g e o g r a p h i c a l spread o f the A s s y r i a n empire expanded the market for B a b y l o n i a n trade o r at least facilitated the m o v e m e n t o f B a b y l o n i a n g o o d s . 1 4 3

1 4 4

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146

147

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B y the s e v e n t h century, the t e c h n o l o g y o f the I r o n A g e w a s m a k i n g inroads in B a b y l o n i a . In addition t o i r o n t o o l s found at N i p p u r , there is an increasing n u m b e r o f references in a c c o u n t texts t o iron objects: nails, d a g g e r s , razors, bedsteads, and pot-stands. T h e r e is also the first specific m e n t i o n in a B a b y l o n i a n d o c u m e n t o f an ironsmith ( L U . S I M U G A N . B A R ) , w h i c h seems t o b e a n e w o c c u p a t i o n in t h e land. A t least s o m e o f the iron used in B a b y l o n i a w a s i m p o r t e d from Cilicia {mat Hume).™ 151

1 5 2

A n o t h e r t o p i c a b o u t w h i c h w e s h o u l d like t o b e better informed for this period is t h e B a b y l o n i a n military. T h e c o n q u e r i n g armies o f 1 4 2

Examples: A 5 5 1 , 34 n. 169.

1 4 4

E.g., A 1 8 5 , 4 6 ; A 270, 26, 5 5 , and 57; A 204 1, 7 4 ( = A 35 1, § 804). Cf. A 93 11 ( 1 9 0 1 ) , no. 1 0 1 3

1

4

3

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 34 n. 1 7 0 .

rev. 12—14. 1 4 5

A 578, 258-9.

1 4 7

A 270, 95.

' « A 2 0 4 I , 6 2 ( = A 35 I , § 7 9 4 ) . ' « A 1 8 5 , 60; A 204 I , 62 ( = A 35 I , § 794); A 2 7 0 , 5 6 - 7 ; A 3 3 7 , 70.

1 4 9

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 35 n. 1 7 6 .

1 5 1

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 36 n. 1 7 8 .

1 5 3

A 5 5 1 , 36 nn. I 8 0 - 3 .

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>

32

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 3J n. 1 7 7 . A6oi,43.

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N a b o p o l a s s a r , w h i c h in the t w o d e c a d e s after 625 B . C . p u t an end to the A s s y r i a n e m p i r e and then p u s h e d w e s t to w i n C a r c h e m i s h and Syria, w e r e n o t w i t h o u t their B a b y l o n i a n forerunners, despite the relative silence o f the texts. N o r s h o u l d the h e a v y reliance o f the C h a l d a e a n s o n E l a m i t e g e n e r a l s , officers, a n d soldiery (especially archers) o b s c u r e the fact that the C h a l d a e a n s , A r a m a e a n s , and o l d e r B a b y l o n i a n s had t r o o p s o f their o w n and o c c a s i o n a l l y f o u g h t battles w i t h o u t substantial f o r e i g n a i d . A t D u r - A t k h a r a in 710, M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' s forces are said to h a v e and 4,000 g a r r i s o n soldiers (sabe i n c l u d e d 600 c a v a l r y m e n (pethallu) suluti).™ In the f o l l o w i n g year, at the A s s y r i a n siege o f D u r - Y a k i n , M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' s capital in the s o u t h , Chaldaean forces i n c l u d e d a c e n t r a l c o n t i n g e n t under the k i n g (kisjr sarruti) and horses trained for A s h u r b a n i p a l c l a i m e d that he had g i v e n S h a m a s h - s h u m a chariot use. the three major c o m p o n e n t s o f u k i n infantry, c a v a l r y , and c h a r i o t r y , c o n t e m p o r a r y a r m e d forces. B a b y l o n i a n armies b y t h e m s e l v e s p r o v e d c a p a b l e o f c a p t u r i n g major cities s u c h as N i p p u r (693) and C u t h a (651). S o u t h e r n M e s o p o t a m i a n s w e r e apparently n o t d e v o i d o f m i l i t a r y skills, since the A s s y r i a n a r m y in the time o f A s h u r b a n i p a l i n c l u d e d t r o o p s recruited f r o m a m o n g B a b y l o n i a n s , C h a l d a e a n s , and b u t w e have as yet d i s c o v e r e d practically n o d o c u m e n ­ Aramaeans; t a t i o n c o n c e r n i n g the B a b y l o n i a n a r m y itself. A l t h o u g h the a r m y in the e i g h t h and s e v e n t h centuries w a s generally n o t a m a t c h for the A s s y r i a n f o r c e s and their m o r e a d v a n c e d t e c h n i q u e s , it w a s able to face the A s s y r i a n s in the field and o n several o c c a s i o n s to c h e c k A s s y r i a n moves. T h e s e t h e n are s o m e of the factors in the transformation o f B a b y l o n i a b e t w e e n 7 4 7 and 626 B.C. T o w h a t at the b e g i n n i n g o f this p e r i o d had b e e n a sparsely p o p u l a t e d , i m p o v e r i s h e d , and unstable land w i t h rival tribal and traditional g r o u p s , A s s y r i a n military i n t e r v e n t i o n and g o v e r ­ n a n c e m e a n t o p p r e s s i o n a n d limited e c o n o m i c e x p l o i t a t i o n . B u t the A s s y r i a n p r e s e n c e aroused l o c a l resistance, helped t o heal political f r a g m e n t a t i o n , and led B a b y l o n i a to d e v e l o p r e g i o n a l alliances w i t h E l a m and the A r a b s . A series o f political leaders, m o s t l y C h a l d a e a n b u t c u l m i n a t i n g in the disaffected A s s y r i a n prince S h a m a s h - s h u m a - u k i n , o r g a n i z e d a series o f national and international coalitions to o p p o s e A s s y r i a n e n c r o a c h m e n t . A l t h o u g h B a b y l o n i a n forces i n e v i t a b l y suc­ c u m b e d in e a c h protracted e n c o u n t e r , their perennial s t r u g g l e s r e v e a l e d A s s y r i a n v u l n e r a b i l i t y at the h e i g h t o f the L a t e A s s y r i a n e m p i r e . T h e B a b y l o n i a n m e t a m o r p h o s i s u n d e r A s s y r i a n stress w a s n o t s i m p l y p o l i t i 1 5 5

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185, 44. A 185, 60; cf. A 1 8 5 , 72 and A 226 1, 1 1 8 . Literally 'men, horses, chariots' (A 344, 28). A 2 ; , 78 and 1 2 9 . A 4 9 7 , no. 105; cf. A 100, 38 N D 2 6 1 9 . A j 5 1 , 37 n. 189. And the inadequacy of imperial bureaucratic methods. A

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cal and military; its social and e c o n o m i c d i m e n s i o n s w e r e also i m p r e s ­ sive. W i t h the eventual stabilization o f the B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y u n d e r A s s y r i a n d o m i n a t i o n , the B a b y l o n i a n e c o n o m y s h o w e d signs o f increas­ i n g g r o w t h , e v e n after d i v e r s i o n o f g o o d s and services for A s s y r i a n use. B a b y l o n i a n cities p r o s p e r e d financially and, under royal or g u b e r n a t o r i a l p a t r o n a g e , also architecturally. T h e o l d e r B a b y l o n i a n settled p o p u l a t i o n increased in size and, in o r d e r t o s u r v i v e in a w o r l d d o m i n a t e d b y A s s y r i a n s and tribesmen, d e v e l o p e d b r o a d e r kinship-based g r o u p s w i t h a m o r e effective v o i c e than the isolated family unit. T h e great families o f the urban n o r t h w e s t - the G a k h a l , the E g i b i , the A r k a ( t ) - i l a n i - d a m q a rose to p r o m i n e n c e . B a b y l o n i a ' s pluralist p o p u l a t i o n w i t h its l o n g ­ standing capacity t o a b s o r b h e t e r o g e n e o u s n e w c o m e r s , at l e n g t h , f o u n d its l a n g u a g e and, to a lesser extent, its culture g i v i n g w a y under g r o w i n g A r a m a e a n influence. In these decades, the s h a d o w o f the A s s y r i a n empire meant c o m ­ p r o m i s e d independence and a m u t e d political career for B a b y l o n i a ; b u t it also meant relative stability, p r o s p e r i t y , and p r o t e c t i o n f r o m o u t s i d e foes. In the w o r d s o f S a r g o n , subject p e o p l e s w e r e a d v i s e d t o enjoy the p r o t e c t i v e benefits o f t h e p a x a s s y r i a c a : ' E a t y o u r bread [and] drink y o u r w a t e r [under] the s h a d o w o f the k i n g m y lord, [and] be g l a d . ' Under these c o n d i t i o n s , political and social institutions u n d e r w e n t substantial transformation, and B a b y l o n i a e x p a n d e d its international h o r i z o n s . A l t h o u g h t h w a r t e d in its attempts t o assert its freedom, B a b y l o n i a in the course o f its s t r u g g l e created n e w m e c h a n i s m s that w o u l d — in the t w o decades after 625 B . C . — n o t o n l y dispel the A s s y r i a n s h a d o w b u t eradicate the empire that cast it. 1 6 1

II. I N I T I A L A S S Y R I A N

I N V O L V E M E N T IN

747—722 B . C .

BABYLONIA,

1 6 2

A r o u n d 750 B . C . , the major states o f M e s o p o t a m i a w e r e beset b y debilitating political lassitude. Effective p o w e r in b o t h A s s y r i a and B a b y l o n i a w a s s e g m e n t e d a m o n g w e a k m o n a r c h s , quasi-independent g o v e r n o r s , and a g g r e s s i v e tribal g r o u p s . T h e p o p u l a t i o n o f A s s y r i a had suffered from t w o severe o u t b r e a k s o f p l a g u e in the p r e c e d i n g fifteen y e a r s . East o f the T i g r i s , the b o r d e r l a n d b e t w e e n the t w o c o u n t r i e s , m o s t o f w h i c h had been taken o v e r b y A s s y r i a in c a m p a i g n s in the late ninth c e n t u r y , had g r a d u a l l y fallen a w a y from A s s y r i a n c o n t r o l a n d had resisted A s s y r i a n attempts t o retake i t . Chaldaean and A r a m a e a n 163

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A 82, 1 8 2 - 4 ; A 198, 2 2 - 3 ; cf. CAH irP.i, 4 2 1 . Detailed documentation for Section II may be found in A 535, 2 2 6 - 4 5 . A 7 6 3 , 430 and 432. Cf. A 7 1 9 . Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 39 n. 194. 1 6 4

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t r i b e s m e n in n o r t h e r n and eastern B a b y l o n i a and in the adjacent b o r d e r l a n d w e r e p o s i n g serious p r o b l e m s for the major states. A g a i n s t this g e n e r a l b a c k g r o u n d , N a b o n a s s a r c a m e to the t h r o n e in B a b y l o n i a in 748 o r 7 4 7 , and T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r III acceded in A s s y r i a in 745. A l t h o u g h later ages w e r e to v i e w N a b o n a s s a r ' s accession as a t u r n i n g p o i n t in B a b y l o n i a n h i s t o r y , it is difficult t o discern qualities in N a b o n a s s a r o r his reign that w e r e e p o c h - m a k i n g . B a b y l o n i a c o n t i n u e d t o suffer f r o m w e a k central g o v e r n m e n t : a l o c a l r e v o l t in B o r s i p p a had to b e f o r c i b l y repressed, and officials in U r u k w e r e o b l i g e d to u s u r p the u s u a l l y r o y a l p r e r o g a t i v e o f t e m p l e - b u i l d i n g and reconstruct an Akitu shrine that had fallen into d i s r e p a i r . A l t h o u g h Babylonia was begin­ n i n g t o stabilize e c o n o m i c a l l y d u r i n g this r e i g n (if o n e can j u d g e f r o m the relative n u m b e r o f e c o n o m i c texts s u r v i v i n g ) , such stabilization s e e m s t o h a v e t a k e n place because T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r w a s p r o p p i n g u p the B a b y l o n i a n t h r o n e against d o m i n a t i o n b y the Chaldaeans. T h e forceful character o f T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r III o v e r s h a d o w s all o f M e s o p o t a m i a at this time. M o s t likely o f n o n - r o y a l parentage, he had c o m e t o the A s s y r i a n throne after a r e v o l t in C a l a h , the political capital. H e q u i c k l y b r o u g h t order t o A s s y r i a ; and, in three v i g o r o u s c a m p a i g n s i n the o p e n i n g years o f his r e i g n (745—743), he m o v e d against b o t h e r ­ s o m e t r o u b l e spots o f the p r e c e d i n g d e c a d e s — his south-eastern b o r d e r l a n d s ( e x t e n d i n g i n t o tribal areas o f B a b y l o n i a ) , N a m r i , and U r a r t u — a n d asserted A s s y r i a n d o m i n a n c e o n these fronts. H i s first c a m p a i g n (745) concentrated o n n o r t h e r n and eastern B a b y l o n i a . In the n o r t h he r e a c h e d the cities o f D u r - K u r i g a l z u and Sippar and perhaps w e n t as far as the vicinity o f N i p p u r , b u t his armies did n o t t o u c h the m e t r o p o l i t a n r e g i o n s near B a b y l o n . In the east he defeated several A r a m a e a n tribes, i n c l u d i n g the A d i l e , D u n a n u , H a m r a n u , and R a b i l u , a n d resettled c a p t i v e s in a n e w l y c o n s t r u c t e d city n a m e d K a r - A s h u r . In effect, h e s e c u r e d his s o u t h e r n flank and neutralized t r o u b l e s o m e A r a m a e a n tribes in N a b o n a s s a r ' s r e a l m . T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r after 745 turned his attention e l s e w h e r e and left the B a b y l o n i a n s t o shift for t h e m s e l v e s . N a b o n a s s a r , t h o u g h n o t a s t r o n g ruler, m a n a g e d to h o l d the t h r o n e for f o u r t e e n years and, at his death in 7 3 4 , t o pass his k i n g d o m o n to his s o n N a b u - n a d i n - z e r i . In the latter's s e c o n d r e g n a l year (732), a B a b y l o n i a n p r o v i n c i a l official d e p o s e d h i m 1 6 6

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Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 3 9 - 4 0 n . 195. 5 5 1 , 40 n. 196. For the use of a 'Nabonassar Era' by the 'Ptolemaic Canon', see A 5 5 1 , 40 n. 197. Borsippa: A 2 5 , 7 1 ; cf. CAH m . i , 3 1 1 - 1 2 . Uruk: A 536.

A

2

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 40 n. 199. Discussion of source problems for events of 7 4 5 : A ; j 1, 41 n. 200. A 204 it, pi. xi; cf. ibid., pis. X X X H - X X X I I I . A 25, 7 1 ; A 204 11, pi. xi. Cf. A 7 5 9 , 203 n. 2 1 . Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 4 2 n. 203. 1 7 4

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and t o o k the t h r o n e as N a b u - s h u m a - u k i n II. T h e n e w k i n g ruled for just o v e r a m o n t h before b e i n g displaced b y a Chaldaean, M u k i n - z e r i ( 7 3 1 729), chief o f the tribe o f B i t - A m u k a n i . In 732, the year o f the B a b y l o n i a n revolts, T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r w a s off c a m p a i g n i n g in Syria. H e reacted q u i c k l y to the presence o f a Chaldaean on the B a b y l o n i a n throne, returned t o Assyria, and o v e r the next three years concentrated his military and diplomatic skill o n r e m o v i n g M u k i n zeri. H e dispatched an e n v o y t o B a b y l o n in an attempt t o c o n v i n c e its citizens t o reject the C h a l d a e a n and to support the A s s y r i a n side. H e had retained the loyalties o f s o m e A r a m a e a n tribes and o f a few B a b y l o n i a n cities such as D i l b a t and N i p p u r . T h e Chaldaeans, o n the other hand, failed t o maintain a united front and e n g a g e d in petty intrigues. In a s h o w o f force, T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r w e n t south, c a m p a i g n e d against BitA m u k a n i and Bit-Sha alli, and effectively confined M u k i n - z e r i t o his local capital, Shapiya; this i n d u c e d other Chaldaean chieftains t o submit and pay substantial tribute. T h e description o f this p a y m e n t , in contrast to most prosaic b o o t y lists recorded by Tiglath-pileser's scribes, s h o w s the wealth o f the C h a l d a e a n leaders and particularly o f M e r o d a c h baladan o f B i t - Y a k i n , w h o is g i v e n p r o m i n e n c e b y the title ' K i n g o f the Sealand' in the A s s y r i a n a c c o u n t . M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , t h o u g h n o w portrayed as s u b m i s s i v e , w a s to p r o v e the main antagonist o f the Assyrians in B a b y l o n i a in the decades after 722 B.C. 1 7 5

D

After the c o n t a i n m e n t o f M u k i n - z e r i and the neutralization o f the tribesmen, T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r himself ascended the B a b y l o n i a n t h r o n e . T h i s personal a s s u m p t i o n o f the dual A s s y r o - B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y w a s to set a precedent for his successors o v e r the next century. T h e arrangement had the a d v a n t a g e o f p r e s e r v i n g a n o m i n a l i n d e p e n d e n c e for B a b y l o n i a rather than simply relegating it t o vassal status. T i g l a t h pileser personally participated in the pre-eminent rite o f the B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y and escorted the statue o f the g o d M a r d u k in the N e w Y e a r ' s procession at B a b y l o n . H e also w e a k e n e d potential local o p p o s i t i o n by d e p o r t i n g n u m e r o u s Chaldaeans from the c o n q u e r e d areas. 176

177

After T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r ' s death in 7 2 7 , his son Shalmaneser V succeeded to the dual m o n a r c h y and reigned for five y e a r s . H i s reign is p o o r l y d o c u m e n t e d , and the o n l y k n o w n major activity relating t o B a b y l o n i a is his deportation o f Chaldaeans from B i t - A d i n i ( p r o b a b l y a section o f Bit-Dakkuri). ' 178

17

T h e s e t w e n t y - f i v e years, 747—722, witnessed the initial i n v o l v e m e n t o f the nascent L a t e A s s y r i a n empire in securing its s o u t h e r n flank in and

A longer form of his name may be Nabu-mukin-zeri (A 535, 233 n. 1492). Cf. A 5 5 1 , 43 n. 208. Cf. A j 5 1 , 43 n. 209. Cf. A j 5 1 , 43 n. 2 1 0 . Cf. A j ; 1, 43 n. 2 1 1 . 1 7 7

1 7 9

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21. B A B Y L O N I A IN T H E S H A D O W O F A S S Y R I A

a r o u n d B a b y l o n i a . A t first T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r i n v a d e d o n l y t o pacify A r a m a e a n a n d C h a l d a e a n tribesmen; and, t h o u g h c l a i m i n g n o m i n a l s u z e r a i n t y , he left the B a b y l o n i a n k i n g undisturbed. Later, w h e n c o n f r o n t e d b y t h e prospect o f a C h a l d a e a n o n the B a b y l o n i a n throne, he c a m p a i g n e d m o r e extensively and eventually assumed personal c o n t r o l o f t h e B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y . T h e A s s y r i a n s also attempted t o avert future t r o u b l e s in the south b y d e p o r t i n g o r resettling substantial numbers o f tribesmen.

III.

THE C H A L D A E A N

S T R U G G L E FOR

INDEPENDENCE,

721—689 B . C .

T h e A s s y r i a n h o l d o n B a b y l o n i a p r o v e d t o be e p h e m e r a l , ceasing after the d e a t h o f Shalmaneser V in 722 w h e n the A s s y r i a n s b e c a m e p r e o c c u ­ p i e d w i t h a p o w e r s t r u g g l e in their o w n land. A l t h o u g h the sequence o f e v e n t s at this j u n c t u r e must be reconstructed from scattered and often a m b i g u o u s c l u e s , it appears that Shalmaneser lost his t h r o n e as the result o f a r e v o l u t i o n a n d the emergent m o n a r c h p r o v e d t o be a usurper from o u t s i d e the direct line o f succession w h o t o o k the w i s h f u l b u t assertive t h r o n e n a m e S a r g o n (Assyrian Sarru-kenu, 'legitimate k i n g ' ) . While S a r g o n w a s c o n s o l i d a t i n g his p o w e r in A s s y r i a , M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , the C h a l d a e a n w h o h a d paid tribute t o T i g l a t h - p i l e s e r in 7 2 9 , t o o k the o p p o r t u n i t y t o m a k e himself k i n g o f B a b y l o n i a . T h u s b e g a n a period o f three d e c a d e s in w h i c h Chaldaeans and A s s y r i a n s w e r e t o s t r u g g l e for c o n t r o l o v e r t h e B a b y l o n i a n throne. 1 8 0

T o place in p e r s p e c t i v e the history o f B a b y l o n i a d u r i n g these years, it is i m p o r t a n t t o c o n s i d e r the political situation in s o u t h - w e s t A s i a as a w h o l e . U n d e r S a r g o n and Sennacherib, the military apparatus o f the L a t e A s s y r i a n e m p i r e o v e r s h a d o w e d the w h o l e o f the Fertile Crescent f r o m Palestine in the south w e s t t o B a b y l o n i a in the s o u t h east. T h e A s s y r i a n s c o n t r o l l e d o r actively m e d d l e d in the g o v e r n m e n t o f each significant p o l i t y in this zone. In greater Syria, they p u t an e n d t o the last o f t h e N e o - H i t t i t e states east o f the T a u r u s ( K u m m u k h u ) . In Palestine, they d e p o r t e d the inhabitants o f Samaria and later r e d u c e d J u d a h and its n e i g h b o u r k i n g d o m s to the status o f t r i b u t e - p a y i n g vassals. A s s y r i a n a r m e d forces c a m p a i g n e d in the m o u n t a i n s and plains o n the outer rim o f the C r e s c e n t : A n a t o l i a , Urartu, the Z a g r o s h i g h l a n d s , and E l a m . In p o i n t e d c o n t r a s t t o the general pattern o f military successes t h r o u g h o u t the c o r e o f this area w e r e the perennial troubles at the south-east end o f

1 8 0

This is a traditional meaning of the name, but variant writings in Sargon's royal inscriptions reflect more than one scribal tradition and interpretation of the name's meaning.

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the C r e s c e n t , w h e r e a recalcitrant B a b y l o n i a resisted A s s y r i a n e n c r o a c h ­ m e n t w i t h frequent assistance f r o m its n e i g h b o u r E l a m . T h e three decades from 721 to 689 m a r k e d a t u r n i n g p o i n t for b o t h B a b y l o n i a and A s s y r i a . A l t h o u g h the L a t e A s s y r i a n empire w a s still e x p a n d i n g t h r o u g h the unrivalled p o w e r o f its armies, B a b y l o n i a w a s q u i c k t o take a d v a n t a g e o f p e r c e i v e d imperial w e a k n e s s e s : e x c e s s i v e d e p e n d e n c e o n the p e r s o n o f the m o n a r c h and inadequate local d e p l o y ­ m e n t o f t r o o p s to enforce the allegiance o f subject p o p u l a t i o n s . T h e r e m o v a l o f Shalmaneser V b y r e v o l u t i o n (722) and the death o f S a r g o n II in battle (705) s h o w e d the A s s y r i a n imperial structure as v u l n e r a b l e at the apex, despite its vast territories. In a d d i t i o n , after A s s y r i a had installed vassal k i n g s in B a b y l o n i a , it did n o t p r o v i d e sufficient l o c a l forces t o g i v e these rulers firm c o n t r o l o f their territory and their throne. T h e Chaldaeans in particular t o o k a d v a n t a g e o f o p p o r t u n i t i e s u n w i t ­ t i n g l y p r o v i d e d b y A s s y r i a , and o n several o c c a s i o n s their tribal leaders t o o k o v e r the B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y . T h e o l d e r , non-tribal p o p u l a t i o n o f B a b y l o n i a a c t i v e l y joined the a n t i - A s s y r i a n o p p o s i t i o n , particularly after the accession o f Sennacherib; they t w i c e r e v o l t e d (70 3,694) and p u t their o w n n o m i n e e s o n the throne. B u t o v e r a l l the Chaldaeans orchestrated the s t r u g g l e against A s s y r i a ; their tribes united b e h i n d a single leader and gradually built u p a w i d e r base o f s u p p o r t c o n s i s t i n g o f m o s t A r a m a e a n s , the majority o f B a b y l o n i a n urbanites, and E l a m i t e and A r a b allies. A s time w e n t o n and local resistance g r e w s t r o n g e r , A s s y r i a f o u n d itself c h a n n e l l i n g m o r e and m o r e o f its military resources against its s o u t h e r n n e i g h b o u r . A s w i l l be seen b e l o w , this crystallization o f o p p o s i t i o n in A s s y r i a and B a b y l o n i a t o o k place o v e r thirty years w i t h w i d e s p r e a d c o n s e q u e n c e s for b o t h countries. 1 8 1

1 8 2

M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , the n e w C h a l d a e a n k i n g o f B a b y l o n i a in 7 2 1 , w a s a w o r t h y o p p o n e n t for the L a t e A s s y r i a n e m p i r e (Pis. V o l . , pi. 3 2 ) . A s chief o f B i t - Y a k i n , the m o s t p r e s t i g i o u s and w e a l t h y o f the Chaldaean tribes, he c o n t r o l l e d extensive territories a l o n g the south-east c o u r s e o f the l o w e r E u p h r a t e s — terrain o f strategic i m p o r t a n c e as w e l l as the s o u r c e o f significant r e v e n u e from trade routes. In addition he d e m o n ­ strated c o n s i d e r a b l e personal skill as a political leader and d i p l o m a t . H e m a n a g e d t o w e l d t o g e t h e r the usually d i s c o r d a n t A r a m a e a n and C h a l ­ daean tribes into a united a n t i - A s s y r i a n front and t o retain their l o y a l t y despite military reverses. H e g r a d u a l l y reached outside B a b y l o n i a t o b o t h east and w e s t t o c o m b i n e o r c o - o r d i n a t e efforts w i t h s t r o n g anti183

1 8 1

Anatolia and especially Tabal were also troublesome areas, but on the north-west fringes of the empire - thus geographically more remote and generally of less concern than Babylonia. See CAH 1 8 2

1 8 3

2

III .I, 416-22.

Bel-ibni (702—700) and Ashur-nadin-shumi ( 6 9 9 - 6 9 4 ) . Sources for the reign of Merodach-baladan II: A 552; A 649; A 533, 8 - 1 3 .

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BABYLONIA

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A s s y r i a n m o v e m e n t s in E l a m , n o r t h e r n A r a b i a , and J u d a h . M a n y o f the o l d e r B a b y l o n i a n s in urban centres e v e n t u a l l y f o u n d h i m acceptable as m o n a r c h , and their attachment m a y h a v e been influenced b y his lineage: his a s c e n d a n t E r i b a - M a r d u k had o c c u p i e d the B a b y l o n i a n t h r o n e w i t h d i s t i n c t i o n s o m e decades earlier and had earned a reputation for fair d e a l i n g w i t h his non-tribal s u b j e c t s . T h e r e are, h o w e v e r , major s o u r c e p r o b l e m s in r e c o n s t r u c t i n g M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' s p o l i t i c a l career. M o s t pertinent texts are A s s y r i a n ; and, in a d d i t i o n t o the c u s t o m a r y p r o p a g a n d i s t i c distortion o f their narratives, t h e y e x p r e s s an u n w o n t e d d e g r e e o f personal v i t u p e r a t i o n against M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , perhaps b e c a u s e he for so l o n g m a n a g e d t o frustrate A s s y r i a n p u n i t i v e e x p e d i t i o n s . S a r g o n ' s scribes in particular t o o k great p a i n s t o p o r t r a y M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n as an outsider: a C h a l d a e a n w h o o c c u p i e d the B a b y l o n i a n t h r o n e against the w i l l o f the g o d s , an i l l e g i t i m a t e m o n a r c h rejected b y the r e l i g i o u s elite o f his capital, and an o p p r e s s o r w h o maltreated t h e n o n - t r i b a l p o p u l a t i o n by t a k i n g h o s t a g e s f r o m the m a j o r cities o f the n o r t h and b y r e m o v i n g d i v i n e statues f r o m the c u l t centres o f the s o u t h . In part, o f course, M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n w a s set u p in these inscriptions as an elaborate literary foil for S a r g o n himself, w h o w a s praised as fulfilling the d i v i n e w i l l and c h a m p i o n i n g the p o l i t i c a l a n d r e l i g i o u s rights o f v e n e r a b l e B a b y l o n i a n temples and cities. B y contrast, the f e w c o n t e m p o r a r y B a b y l o n i a n r o y a l s o u r c e s paint a different p i c t u r e : M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , as eldest s o n o f the earlier g r e a t m o n a r c h E r i b a - M a r d u k , dutifully r e v e r e d the shrines built b y his r e m o t e r o y a l p r e d e c e s s o r s ; he e x p e l l e d the ' w i c k e d e n e m y , the S u b a r i a n ' (the A s s y r i a n s ) f r o m B a b y l o n i a ; he p r e s e r v e d and e x t e n d e d the ancient p r i v i l e g e s o f the m a j o r cult cities o f B a b y l o n i a . T h e s e s e l f - s e r v i n g c l a i m s and c o u n t e r - c l a i m s o f partisan r o y a l inscriptions, b o t h B a b y l o ­ n i a n and A s s y r i a n , h a v e to b e v i e w e d critically; and due w e i g h t m u s t be p l a c e d o n i n d e p e n d e n t e v i d e n c e o f a m o r e prosaic type — particularly l e g a l and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e d o c u m e n t s — w h i c h indicates that B a b y l o n i a and K e e p i n g in m i n d its e c o n o m y p r o s p e r e d under M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n . these p a r a m e t e r s , w e may a t t e m p t a d i a c h r o n i c p e r s p e c t i v e o f M e r o d a c h b a l a d a n ' s career. A f t e r S h a l m a n e s e r ' s death in 7 2 2 , B a b y l o n i a and A s s y r i a drifted apart u n d e r the separate g o v e r n m e n t s o f their n e w rulers. A s s y r i a w a s p r e o c c u p i e d b y internal troubles in 7 2 1 , and the first c o n t a c t b e t w e e n the t w o c o u n t r i e s c a m e o n l y in the f o l l o w i n g year w h e n the A s s y r i a n g a r r i s o n at D e r w a s attacked as the result o f a joint B a b y l o n i a n - E l a m i t e initiative. T h e ancient t o w n o f D e r , near m o d e r n B a d r a h in eastern Iraq, 184

185

186

1 8 7

188

1 8 9

1 8 4

1 8 6

1 8 8

1 8 5

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 47 n. 2 1 6 . Shulgi and Anam (A 595, 1 3 3 ) . A 532, 1 5 - 1 8 ; A 5 5 3 , 8 - 1 3 .

E.g., A 18 5, 4 0 - 6 4 ; cf. A 532, 1 3 . A 5 9 ; , 1 3 3 - 4 ; A 6 7 6 , no. 37.

1 8 7

1 8 9

A 209, 3 7 - 8 and

94.

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w a s in f o r m e r B a b y l o n i a n territory that had been a n n e x e d b y A s s y r i a ; it lay at the n o r t h e r n e n d o f the principal access road t o E l a m . T h e city w a s t o have been assaulted b y the c o m b i n e d forces o f B a b y l o n i a and E l a m ; and its capture w o u l d h a v e meant for B a b y l o n i a the r e g a i n i n g o f an o l d possession and for E l a m e n h a n c e d p r o t e c t i o n f r o m A s s y r i a n a g g r e s s i o n . T h e B a b y l o n i a n c o n t i n g e n t o f M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n w a s d e l a y e d , so the Elamites, under their k i n g K h u m b a n - n i k a s h I ( U m m a n i g a s h ) , i n v a d e d the area b y t h e m s e l v e s and f o u g h t the A s s y r i a n s o n a plain outside the city. T h e immediate result o f the battle w a s a stalemate; the E l a m i t e s bested the A s s y r i a n a r m y in the field and gained s o m e territory s o u t h o f Der, but the A s s y r i a n s retained the city itself. T h e aftermath, h o w ­ e v e r , w a s significant: the A s s y r i a n s directed their military attentions elsewhere, and the B a b y l o n i a n s and Elamites w e r e left in peace for a full ten y e a r s . 1 9 0

191

T h i s decade free f r o m A s s y r i a n interference a l l o w e d B a b y l o n i a t o prosper, e v e n w i t h a C h a l d a e a n o n the t h r o n e . Merodach-baladan, despite his tribal b a c k g r o u n d , seems to h a v e c o n s c i e n t i o u s l y p e r f o r m e d the duties o f a B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h . H e repaired and e n d o w e d temples for the traditional g o d s o f M e s o p o t a m i a ; he a c k n o w l e d g e d the taxe x e m p t i o n p r i v i l e g e s o f the citizens o f the o l d sacred cities such as B a b y l o n , B o r s i p p a , and Sippar. H e k e p t p r o v i n c i a l administration functioning and s a w t o the maintenance o f canals, irrigation systems, and b r i d g e s ; one o f the major w a t e r w a y s near U r u k c a m e to bear his name. T h e l e g a l and administrative d o c u m e n t s s u r v i v i n g f r o m his time s h o w a significant rise in the n u m b e r o f e c o n o m i c transactions, reaching the highest l e v e l in five c e n t u r i e s . T h e r e is also e v i d e n c e for cultural and scientific activity. M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' s scribes w r o t e pass­ able Sumerian as w e l l as A k k a d i a n , and s o m e o f his r o y a l inscriptions h a v e d e c i d e d literary o v e r t o n e s . L a t e r traditions m e n t i o n a g a r d e n {gannatti) o f M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n filled w i t h e x o t i c plants, and formal records b e i n g k e p t o f a s t r o n o m i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n s d u r i n g his reign. T h e impression g a i n e d f r o m c o n t e m p o r a r y and later d o c u m e n t a t i o n is hardly that o f a tribal interloper alternately terrorizing o r n e g l e c t i n g the urban p o p u l a t i o n s , as S a r g o n ' s inscriptions w o u l d h a v e us b e l i e v e . 192

193

194

195

1 9 6

In the year 71 о the picture c h a n g e d abruptly. S a r g o n , w h o for a d e c a d e had been c a m p a i g n i n g e x t e n s i v e l y in the w e s t e r n and n o r t h e r n p o r t i o n s o f the Fertile C r e s c e n t , turned his attention t o the s o u t h e a s t . His decision w a s t o p r o v e fateful for b o t h A s s y r i a and B a b y l o n i a and t o h a v e 197

1

9

A

250, 90;

A

270, 39; Cf.

A

55

I,

48

П.

223.

1 9 1

A 532, 1 3 ; A 533, l 6 l - 2 J A 606,

1 9 2

A 5 3 2 , 1 5 - 1 8 , 37, 4 8 - 9 . Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 49 n. 226. Bridge text: A 7 7 1 , 64 no. 7 5 ; cf. A 567. Uruk waterway: A 532, 17 and n. 89; cf. A 654, 14. Statistics: A 5 5 1 , 49 n. 229. A 5 5 1 , 49 n. 230. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 50 n. 2 3 1 .

1 9 4

1 9 5

1 9 7

34О—2. 1 9 3

1 9 6

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IN

THE

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effects that lasted w e l l b e y o n d the t e r m o f his o w n r e i g n . B a b y l o n i a b e c a m e e n g a g e d in a determined s t r u g g l e t o p r e s e r v e its independence, a s t r u g g l e w h i c h in its early phases w a s d o m i n a t e d a l m o s t exclusively by C h a l d a e a n leaders a n d w h i c h relied h e a v i l y o n E l a m i t e s u p p o r t . A s s y r i a f o u n d itself g r a d u a l l y absorbed in a series o f often protracted c a m p a i g n s w h i c h c o n s u m e d a disproportionate a m o u n t o f its military and e c o n o m i c e n e r g y ; b e t w e e n 7 1 0 and 678, f r o m the twelfth year o f S a r g o n until w e l l i n t o the r e i g n o f his g r a n d s o n E s a r h a d d o n , m o s t major A s s y r i a n c a m p a i g n s w e r e directed at B a b y l o n i a o r its i m m e d i a t e n e i g h b o u r s . It is significant that the A s s y r i a n empire a l m o s t at its a p o g e e p r o v e d unable t o c o p e d e c i s i v e l y w i t h militarily inferior forces w h o w e r e relatively n e a r b y . O n e o f the reasons for Chaldaean and E l a m i t e successes h o w e v e r e p h e m e r a l — was that these p e o p l e s w e r e capable o f exercising a resilient, e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y based defence, since they w e r e able to w i t h ­ d r a w i n t o s w a m p s and r u g g e d h i g h l a n d s in w h i c h regular A s s y r i a n f o r c e s c o u l d n o t be d e p l o y e d to a d v a n t a g e . 198

In 7 1 0 S a r g o n forestalled the Babylonian—Elamite c o a l i t i o n that had e n g i n e e r e d the A s s y r i a n defeat ten years e a r l i e r . In an astute tactical m o v e , he sent his principal fighting forces a l o n g the eastern frontier o f B a b y l o n i a t o d r i v e a w e d g e b e t w e e n the e r s t w h i l e allies. H e himself set u p h e a d q u a r t e r s at K i s h in n o r t h e r n B a b y l o n i a and received the s u b m i s s i o n o f cities such as N i p p u r . M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n did n o t a t t e m p t t o d e f e n d t h e B a b y l o n i a n u r b a n centres, b u t instead made his stand at fortified sites on the tribal periphery, first (in 710) in the east at D u r - A t k h a r a a m o n g the G a m b u l u (the principal A r a m a e a n g r o u p in the r e g i o n ) and then (in 709) i n the south at D u r - Y a k i n , his o w n n a t i v e capital a m o n g the Chaldaeans. O n each o c c a s i o n he relied o n limited c o n t i n g e n t s o f his o w n t r o o p s , allied forces (mainly A r a m a e a n ) , and a d e f e n s i v e strategy that included extensive flooding o f the s u r r o u n d i n g terrain. 199

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T h e A s s y r i a n c a m p a i g n s w e r e successful in that they effectively d e p r i v e d M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n o f his tribal base and deterred the untried E l a m i t e m o n a r c h , Shutur-nahhunte, f r o m offering assistance t o the Chaldaeans. T h e capture o f D u r - A t k h a r a and the e n s u i n g m o p - u p o p e r a t i o n s n e u t r a l i z e d most o f the major A r a m a e a n tribes in eastern B a b y l o n i a b y the e n d o f 710. Before the next c a m p a i g n c o m m e n c e d early in the f o l l o w i n g y e a r , several major d e v e l o p m e n t s had taken place. S a r g o n b r o u g h t m o s t o f his troops into B i t - D a k k u r i , just south o f B a b y l o n . M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n fled the capital b y n i g h t , and B a b y l o n and B o r s i p p a then submitted to S a r g o n , w h o formally ascended the 202

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B a b y l o n i a n t h r o n e . M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n requested a s y l u m in E l a m from S h u t u r - n a h h u n t e , w h o forbade h i m t o enter the c o u n t r y . Shuturn a h h u n t e w i t h d r e w to the h i g h l a n d s and tried t o escape b e i n g d r a w n into the conflict. W i t h o u t E l a m i t e s u p p o r t , M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n w a s constrained t o m a k e a stand in 709 at his tribal capital o f D u r - Y a k i n , w h e r e he w a s s o o n defeated in the c o u n t r y s i d e and e v e n t u a l l y f o r c e d to yield the t o w n i t s e l f . 204

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A f t e r S a r g o n h a d w o n B a b y l o n i a , he t o o k d e c i s i v e steps to c o n s o l i ­ date his c o n q u e s t . H e centralized the m y r i a d small centres o f p r o v i n c i a l and tribal g o v e r n m e n t b y p l a c i n g them u n d e r the jurisdiction o f t w o principal g o v e r n o r s , o n e stationed in the eastern r e g i o n o f G a m b u l u and the o t h e r in the w e s t at B a b y l o n . In the tribal areas, a c c o r d i n g t o his official a c c o u n t s , S a r g o n resorted t o w h o l e s a l e relocation o f p o p u l a ­ tions: m o r e than 108,000 A r a m a e a n s and C h a l d a e a n s w e r e d e p o r t e d into v a r i o u s sections o f w e s t e r n A s i a . In return, S a r g o n later b r o u g h t m a n y p e o p l e f r o m C o m m a g e n e ( K u m m u k h u ) t o be settled in southern B a b y l o n i a . H e also transformed the t o w n s that had b e e n centres o f tribal resistance. T h e A r a m a e a n s t r o n g h o l d o f D u r - A t k h a r a he turned into an A s s y r i a n fortification and renamed D u r - N a b u . D u r - Y a k i n , M e r o d a c h baladan's l o c a l capital, he despoiled and then d e s t r o y e d in 7 0 7 . S a r g o n remained in B a b y l o n i a almost c o n t i n u o u s l y f r o m 7 1 0 t o 707 and s u p e r v i s e d these o p e r a t i o n s from close at h a n d . 2 0 6

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S a r g o n ' s inscriptions g i v e an official, if idealized, a c c o u n t o f his relations w i t h the non-tribal p o p u l a t i o n o f B a b y l o n i a . E v e n before the c o n c l u s i o n o f his c a m p a i g n s against M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , l e a d i n g citizens o f B a b y l o n and B o r s i p p a , i n c l u d i n g h i g h t e m p l e officials and scribes, had c o m e to S a r g o n ' s c a m p , offered h i m remnants f r o m cultic meals (a perquisite o f B a b y l o n i a n r o y a l t y ) , and i n v i t e d h i m to enter the capital. S a r g o n accepted the invitation and a s s u m e d the responsibilities o f the B a b y l o n i a n m o n a r c h y . H e participated as k i n g in the N e w Y e a r ' s rites at B a b y l o n , presented lavish gifts to B a b y l o n i a n t e m p l e s , and added B a b y l o n i a n r o y a l titles to his official titulary. H e r e m e d i e d specific p r o b l e m s caused b y M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' s abuse o r n e g l e c t : he released urban h o s t a g e s , restored p u r l o i n e d statues o f deities, and e x t e n d e d taxe x e m p t i o n p r i v i l e g e s to major southern cities (notably U r , U r u k , E r i d u , Larsa, K i s s i k , and N e m e d - L a g u d a ) . H e turned his attention t o the n e g l e c t e d c o u n t r y s i d e o f n o r t h - w e s t B a b y l o n i a , w h i c h o n e o f his m o r e c o l o u r f u l inscriptions depicts as h a v i n g lapsed from c u l t i v a t i o n , w i t h 209

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A 1 8 ; , 54; revised translation in A 533, 163. Sargon's final campaigns against the Chaldaeans: A 7 6 6 . For the location of Dur-Yakin, see the sources cited in A 5 5 1 , 5 2 n. 240. 207 A 5 j 1, 5 2 n. 242. A 766. Foreign tribute was delivered to him in Babylon during this time (A 18 5, 70). 2 0 5

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settlements in ruin and roads impassable, o v e r g r o w n w i t h dense u n d e r b r u s h , a n d infested w i t h w i l d beasts — an a b a n d o n e d area inhabited o n l y b y A r a m a e a n s and Sutians, tent d w e l l e r s , w h o p r e y e d o n travel­ l e r s . S a r g o n c u t d o w n trees, burned u n d e r b r u s h , s l e w b o t h w i l d beasts a n d A r a m a e a n s , a n d resettled the r e g i o n w i t h captives f r o m o t h e r lands. H e p u t a s t o p t o A r a m a e a n raids o n caravans in the v i c i n i t y o f S i p p a r . H e r e o p e n e d the o l d B a b y l o n - B o r s i p p a canal and s p o n s o r e d extensive c o n s t r u c t i o n in the E a n n a precinct at U r u k ( t h o u g h in the latter case he m a y in part h a v e b e e n t a k i n g credit for w o r k d o n e b y M e r o d a c h baladan). T h u s S a r g o n ' s texts claimed that he had significantly i m p r o v e d the l o t o f the non-tribal B a b y l o n i a n s , and the five years o f his r e i g n in l o w e r M e s o p o t a m i a (709-705) seem t o h a v e been free from major d i s o r d e r s . 211

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B a b y l o n i a n relations w i t h A s s y r i a u n d e r w e n t a substantial readjust­ m e n t after 705 B . C . , w h e n S a r g o n lost his life o n c a m p a i g n . In the late e i g h t h and s e v e n t h centuries, m u c h o f A s s y r i a n p o l i c y t o w a r d B a b y l o n i a seems t o h a v e b e e n d e t e r m i n e d personally b y the A s s y r i a n m o n a r c h , and a n e w k i n g often meant a radical c h a n g e in direction. S e n n a c h e r i b in particular seems t o h a v e been anxious to distance himself f r o m his father. H i s attitude w a s p r o b a b l y c o n d i t i o n e d by the inauspicious death o f the o t h e r w i s e successful S a r g o n ; a text o f Sennacherib inquires w h a t crime his father h a d c o m m i t t e d t o merit such an e n d . Sennacherib t o o k care t o chart n e w c o u r s e s : he shifted the seat o f g o v e r n m e n t f r o m the recently i n a u g u r a t e d capital o f D u r - S h a r r u k i n ( w h i c h his father had built) south t o the o l d city o f N i n e v e h ; contrary to the l o n g - s t a n d i n g A s s y r i a n r o y a l c u s t o m o f g e n e a l o g i c a l citation, he did not m e n t i o n his father's n a m e in his inscriptions; a n d he did n o t authorize the i n c o r p o r a t i o n o f B a b y l o n i a n r o y a l titles i n t o his t i t u l a r y . T o j u d g e f r o m the royal i n s c r i p t i o n s o f S a r g o n and Sennacherib, w h e r e a s the father had c o u r t e d B a b y l o n i a n f a v o u r and b a s k e d in signs o f acceptance, there is little i n d i c a t i o n that S e n n a c h e r i b v a l u e d B a b y l o n i a n o p i n i o n o r that he e v e r p e r f o r m e d the minimal c e r e m o n i a l duties required o f a B a b y l o n i a n monarch. 215

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D i d S e n n a c h e r i b have t o c o n t e n d w i t h a r e v o l t or unsettled c o n d i t i o n s in A s s y r i a o r B a b y l o n i a at the b e g i n n i n g o f his k i n g s h i p (705—704)? T h i s has s o m e t i m e s b e e n inferred because v a r i o u s texts f r o m later in his reign indicate c o n f l i c t i n g dates ( 7 0 5 , 7 0 4 , o r 703) for his first regnal y e a r . It is 2 2 0

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A 1 7 0 , 192. A 1 8 5 , 5 6 ; A 7 2 , no. 88 (Arab raid on Sippar). A 5; i, 5 3 - 4 n. 250. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 54 n. 2 5 1 . A 7 6 3 , 4 3 5 . Cf. A 7 7 , 235; A 209, 97; CAH i n . 1 , 422. A 756. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 54 n. 254Cf. A 5 5 1 , J5 n. 255. This conclusion is based on negative evidence and comparison with Sargon; for comparative purposes, there is an ample number of royal inscriptions surviving from both rulers. 2

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possible to explain these discrepancies in d a t i n g by p r e s u m i n g political u p h e a v a l or contested succession to the throne; b u t it is also c o n c e i v a b l e that A s s y r i a n scribes did n o t a l w a y s a c h i e v e precision w h e n calculating Sargon's a c c o r d i n g to the v a r y i n g calendrical systems then in u s e . scribes made similar mistakes in c a l c u l a t i o n . A t present, there is n o clear e v i d e n c e for political unrest in A s s y r i a or B a b y l o n i a in 705 o r 704, e v e n t h o u g h such unrest often attended a m o n a r c h ' s u n e x p e c t e d demise. 221

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Sennacherib's political relations w i t h B a b y l o n i a seem to h a v e had p r e d o m i n a n t l y military o v e r t o n e s . O u r k n o w l e d g e is o f course c o n ­ ditioned b y the nature o f the s o u r c e material, w h i c h consists principally o f formal r o y a l inscriptions c o m p o s e d b y Sennacherib's s c r i b e s ; as regards B a b y l o n i a , these inscriptions concentrate o n A s s y r i a n military efforts t o c o p e w i t h the perennial w i d e s p r e a d resistance to A s s y r i a n rule. T h e r e is o n e notable e x c e p t i o n that s h o w s Sennacherib in an u n a c c u s ­ t o m e d light as benefactor o f B a b y l o n i a ; this is the text o n the splendid breccia p a v e m e n t that he installed in the central Processional Street (Ayibur-shabu) in B a b y l o n . S e n n a c h e r i b tried v a r i o u s m o d e s o f g o v e r n ­ ance in s o u t h e r n M e s o p o t a m i a ; at different times he himself, his c r o w n prince ( A s h u r - n a d i n - s h u m i ) , and a native B a b y l o n i a n (Bel-ibni) ruled there as k i n g . N o n e o f these solutions p r o v e d entirely successful, t h o u g h A s h u r - n a d i n - s h u m i s e r v e d six years (apparently w i t h o u t major disturbance) until an A s s y r i a n e x p e d i t i o n p r o v o k e d the Elamites i n t o b r e a k i n g the peace. T i m e and again, t h r o u g h m o s t o f S e n n a c h e r i b ' s reign, successful urban—tribal coalitions in B a b y l o n i a rallied against A s s y r i a and w o n considerable s u p p o r t from n e i g h b o u r i n g p o w e r s , n o t a b l y the Elamites but also o c c a s i o n a l l y the A r a b s . In the case o f E l a m , the assistance w a s sometimes furnished after a substantial p a y m e n t h a d E l a m dispatched been sent from the B a b y l o n i a n s t o the E l a m i t e r u l e r . large n u m b e r s o f t r o o p s and h i g h - r a n k i n g military officers, w h o t o o k c o m m a n d o f allied forces in the major p i t c h e d battles. A s l o n g as B a b y l o n i a and E l a m w o r k e d t o g e t h e r , A s s y r i a c o n t i n u e d to h a v e serious difficulties in the south. 224

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A s far as w e k n o w at present, S e n n a c h e r i b ' s troubles in B a b y l o n i a b e g a n in 7 0 3 . Early in that year, a p r o v i n c i a l official from a p r o m i n e n t scribal family led a r e v o l t and s u c c e e d e d in m a k i n g himself k i n g as 2 2 8

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A 5 5 1 , ; j n. 259.

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Marduk-zakir-shumi II. H e w a s replaced after o n e m o n t h by the i n d e f a t i g a b l e M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , w h o in a n i n e - m o n t h r e i g n assembled a p o w e r f u l g r o u p o f supporters: u r b a n B a b y l o n i a n s , Chaldaeans, A r a ­ m a e a n s , E l a m i t e s , and A r a b s . Y a t i ' e , q u e e n o f the A r a b s , sent her b r o t h e r B a s q a n u w i t h an army. T h e E l a m i t e k i n g , Shutur-nahhunte, after r e c e i v i n g a massive p a y m e n t , sent e i g h t y thousand archers and thirteen high-ranking commanders. M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n split these f o r c e s i n t o t w o g r o u p s , s t a t i o n i n g t h e m at C u t h a and his capital, B a b y l o n ; he h i m s e l f remained in the capital. S e n n a c h e r i b left the city o f A s h u r in late 7 0 3 . H e sent an a d v a n c e p a r t y t o K i s h , just east o f B a b y l o n , w h i l e he concentrated his main forces a g a i n s t the allied a r m y at C u t h a . M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n m o v e d against the A s s y r i a n c o n t i n g e n t at K i s h and f o r c e d t h e m t o send to Sennacherib for h e l p ; S e n n a c h e r i b stayed l o n g e n o u g h t o defeat the allies at C u t h a and t h e n d e s c e n d e d o n K i s h . In a d v a n c e o f the A s s y r i a n arrival, M e r o d a c h Senna­ b a l a d a n h i m s e l f w i t h d r e w and t o o k refuge in the m a r s h e s . and then c h e r i b v a n q u i s h e d the allied forces r e m a i n i n g at K i s h p r o c e e d e d to B a b y l o n , w h e r e he c a p t u r e d M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' s w i f e and o t h e r female family m e m b e r s , the r o y a l treasury, and m a n y c o u r t i e r s . S e n n a c h e r i b a t t e m p t e d to set up a stable g o v e r n m e n t in B a b y l o n by i n s t a l l i n g as k i n g a B a b y l o n i a n c o m m o n e r , Bel-ibni, w h o m Senna­ c h e r i b ' s annals d e s c r i b e as a m a n ' w h o had g r o w n u p in m y palace like a young dog'. S e n n a c h e r i b t h e n m o v e d against M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n ' s supporters in tribal r e g i o n s o f B a b y l o n i a . T h e A s s y r i a n army despoiled m o s t major t o w n s and m a n y v i l l a g e s in the t e r r i t o r y o f f o u r Chaldaean tribes: BitD a k k u r i , B i t - S h a ' a l l i , B i t - A m u k a n i , a n d B i t - Y a k i n . U r b a n rebels, b o t h t r i b e s m e n and n a t i v e B a b y l o n i a n s , w e r e taken off as prisoners, as w e r e m a n y representatives o f the principal A r a m a e a n tribes. Particular m e n ­ t i o n is m a d e in Sennacherib's annals o f K h a r a r a t u and K h i r i m m u , o l d b o r d e r t o w n s east o f the T i g r i s : the f o r m e r submitted v o l u n t a r i l y and w a s let off w i t h the p a y m e n t o f a h e a v y tribute; the latter had t o be s u b d u e d b y force and was required t o m a k e annual p a y m e n t s in cattle a n d p r o d u c e t o the A s s y r i a n t e m p l e s . T h i s first c a m p a i g n o f Sennacherib s t r e t c h e d o v e r i n t o a second year (702) and w a s f o l l o w e d almost i m m e d i a t e l y b y a short e x p e d i t i o n i n t o adjacent Iranian m o u n t a i n r e g i o n s o c c u p i e d b y Kassite and Y a s u b i g a l l i tribes. W h e n S e n n a c h e r i b departed f r o m s o u t h e r n M e s o p o t a m i a , he left 2 3 0

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Bel-ibni as m o n a r c h o v e r the w h o l e o f B a b y l o n i a . E c o n o m i c texts dated under the latter's reign s h o w that h e w a s r e c o g n i z e d as ruler in the northern cities o f D i l b a t , N i p p u r , a n d B a b y l o n ; a n d a d a m a g e d taxe x e m p t i o n d o c u m e n t indicates that he w a s exercising authority in Chaldaean territory at s o m e p o i n t d u r i n g these y e a r s . B u t b y early 700 his jurisdiction had been officially restricted t o n o r t h e r n B a b y l o n i a , a n d A s s y r i a n officials w e r e said t o b e administering the s o u t h . I n fact, h o w e v e r , there is e v i d e n c e that it w a s the Chaldaeans, rather than t h e A s s y r i a n s , w h o w e r e n o w in c o n t r o l o f the s o u t h . I n any case, i n 700 Sennacherib regarded the situation in B a b y l o n i a as sufficiently o u t o f hand that he m o u n t e d another c a m p a i g n against t h e r e g i o n . He r e m o v e d Bel-ibni a n d his officials t o A s s y r i a - w h e t h e r for disloyalty o r i n c o m p e t e n c e is n o t k n o w n — and installed as k i n g in B a b y l o n s o m e o n e in w h o m h e placed m o r e confidence: his o w n eldest son, A s h u r - n a d i n shumi (Fig. 1 ) . T h e A s s y r i a n forces c a m p a i g n e d briefly against t h e Chaldaeans, defeating M u s h e z i b - M a r d u k in B i t - D a k k u r i ; b u t their m o s t important a c h i e v e m e n t w a s d r i v i n g M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n , the thirtyyear political veteran, o u t o f B a b y l o n i a permanently. M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n seems to h a v e been c a u g h t b y surprise; he fled across the ancient equivalent o f the H o r e l - H a m m a r t o N a g i t u , a settlement i n t h e marshes o n the E l a m i t e side, w h e r e h e died w i t h i n the next f e w y e a r s . T h e Assyrians gradually reasserted their c o n t r o l o v e r t h e s o u t h . 2 3 9

240

241

242

2 4 3

2 4 4

2 4 5

2 4 6

W i t h M e r o d a c h - b a l a d a n o u t o f the w a y , A s h u r - n a d i n - s h u m i ' s s t e w ­ ardship in B a b y l o n i a (699-694) seems t o h a v e been the m o s t peaceful and successful interval in S e n n a c h e r i b ' s early dealings w i t h that c o u n t r y . Six years w e n t b y w i t h n o r e c o r d e d r e v o l t s o r disturbances. It is unfortunate that the reign is as yet so little d o c u m e n t e d , since it m i g h t h a v e s h o w n w h a t this type o f A s s y r i a n administration c o u l d a c h i e v e u n d e r f a v o u r ­ able conditions. 247

In 694, S e n n a c h e r i b decided t o f o l l o w u p o n the successes o f his c a m p a i g n six years earlier a n d t o attack the Y a k i n i t e exiles a n d the 2 3 8

For letters that have sometimes been attributed to Bel-ibni, see A 549.

2 3 9

A j > 3 , 1 4 - 1 5 ; A 5 5 3 A , 99.

2 4 0

A 7 7 3 , no. 1; cf. A 5 53, 15 En. 1. A 5 2 1 , 1 1 4 — 1 5 variant, as pointed out in A 6 5 7 , 6 3 ; contrast the interpretation in A 660, 256. Cf.

2 4 1

A 658, 40. 2 4 2

Cf. A 829, no. 206 ( A 5 3 2 , 16). A 2 7 0 , 3 4 - 5 (cf. A 2 5 1 , 1 4 0 - 4 and A 632, xxvi, pis. 12—13); f ° further sources, see A 532, 26—7 and chapter 23 n. 14 below. The future king of Babylon (692-689). At least, he is not mentioned again in Assyrian sources when military action in this area resumed in 694. 2 4 3

r

2 4 4

2 4 5

2 4 6

Ashur-nadin-shumi was recognized as king at Uruk on 5 / V I 1 1 / 7 0 0 ( A 956, 2 0 2 - 3 date see A 538, 245). 2 4 7

n

o

r tr

- i> f ° >e

Sources: A 538; A 7 0 3 ; A j 5 3 , 1 5 - 1 6 ; A 5 53A, 99; A 5 5 3 B ; A 5 3 6 A , 129—30no. 5 5 5 . Cf. A 5 5 1 , 6 0 n .

289.

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

Fig. i. Kudurru of Ashur-nadin-shumi. (After A 7 3 7 , pi. 32a.)

248

E l a m i t e s w h o had granted t h e m r e f u g e . H e sent a naval expedition a c r o s s the m a r s h e s t o the E l a m i t e side, w h e r e it s u p p o s e d l y defeated b o t h E l a m i t e s a n d Chaldaeans and then t o o k m a n y o f t h e m as prisoners to A s s y r i a . T h e Elamites subsequently l a u n c h e d a counter-attack a g a i n s t n o r t h e r n B a b y l o n i a , c a p t u r i n g Sippar and c a r r y i n g off A s h u r n a d i n - s h u m i , w h o w a s betrayed by a g r o u p o f B a b y l o n i a n s . The E l a m i t e k i n g , K h a l l u s h u - I n s h u s h i n a k ( 6 9 9 - 6 9 3 ) , then installed N e r g a l u s h e z i b , a m e m b e r o f the p r o m i n e n t B a b y l o n i a n family o f G a k h a l , o n the t h r o n e in B a b y l o n . A n A s s y r i a n army c a m e against the E l a m i t e s and r e b e l l i o u s B a b y l o n i a n s , but suffered a reverse; and so the Elamites and N e r g a l - u s h e z i b ' s forces were left in c o n t r o l o f n o r t h e r n B a b y l o n i a . O n e w o n d e r s at this point w h i c h cities w e r e s u p p o r t i n g w h a t cause, since b o t h sides subsequently seem to h a v e taken military action against areas that o n e m i g h t have expected w o u l d be allied w i t h t h e m . T h e first 2 4 9

250

251

2 4 8

2

4

9

2 5 0

Fullest account of this campaign: A 270, 7 3 - 6 . A

270,

87.

Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 61 n. 293.

2 5 1

A 703.

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CHALDAEAN

S T R U G G L E FOR

INDEPENDENCE

37

e v e n t s r e c o r d e d b y the B a b y l o n i a n C h r o n i c l e for the next year (693) w e r e N e r g a l - u s h e z i b ' s capture and p l u n d e r i n g o f N i p p u r (dated 1 6 / i v ) . T h e n an A s s y r i a n army p u s h e d s o u t h , entered U r u k ( I / V H ) , and t o o k as spoil the statues o f the principal g o d s o f U r u k and L a r s a . Finally the A s s y r i a n army a n d that o f N e r g a l - u s h e z i b clashed o n o p e n g r o u n d in the p r o v i n c e o f N i p p u r ( 7 / v n ) ; N e r g a l - u s h e z i b w a s taken p r i s o n e r and r e m o v e d to A s s y r i a . In the same m o n t h ( 2 6 / v n ) the E l a m i t e s d e p o s e d K h a l l u s h u I n s h u s h i n a k and replaced h i m w i t h K u d u r - n a h h u n t e . T h e A s s y r i a n s t o o k a d v a n t a g e o f political vicissitudes in E l a m and c a m p a i g n e d there until the onset o f w i n t e r forced them t o w i t h d r a w . A t this time they m a n a g e d to regain for A s s y r i a territory that S a r g o n had lost almost three d e c a d e s b e f o r e . T h e A s s y r i a n s , h o w e v e r , did n o t attempt to regain c o n t r o l o f n o r t h - w e s t e r n urban B a b y l o n i a ; and the Chaldaean, M u s h e z i b - M a r d u k o f B i t - D a k k u r i , succeeded N e r g a l - u s h e z i b as k i n g . 252

In the f o l l o w i n g year, 692, another r e v o l t in E l a m r e m o v e d K u d u r n a h h u n t e and b r o u g h t his y o u n g e r b r o t h e r , Khumban-nimena ( M e n a n u ) to the t h r o n e . Instability in t h r o n e tenure in b o t h E l a m and B a b y l o n i a had little i m m e d i a t e impact o n the external politics o f the t w o countries. M u s h e z i b - M a r d u k , the n e w C h a l d a e a n k i n g in B a b y l o n i a , had lived in E l a m as an exile and so turned to E l a m for military assistance. A c c o r d i n g t o A s s y r i a n a c c o u n t s , the B a b y l o n i a n s u n d e r M u s h e z i b M a r d u k sent to the n e w E l a m i t e ruler a substantial present o f g o l d and silver t a k e n f r o m the treasury o f the M a r d u k t e m p l e in B a b y l o n . T o g e t h e r B a b y l o n i a and E l a m assembled a w i d e array o f t r o o p s , i n c l u d i n g A r a m a e a n s , Chaldaeans, and m e n f r o m such diverse places in w e s t e r n Iran as E l l i p i , A n s h a n (Ativan), and Fars (Parsuas). P r o b a b l y in 6 9 1 , the allied forces m a r c h i n g n o r t h a l o n g the T i g r i s from B a b y l o n i a met the A s s y r i a n army in a fiercely c o n t e s t e d battle at the site o f Khalule. T h e A s s y r i a n sources claimed a v i c t o r y o f s t u n n i n g p r o p o r ­ tions, w h e r e a s the B a b y l o n i a n C h r o n i c l e stated that the allies forced the A s s y r i a n s t o w i t h d r a w . T h e latter may be literally true, b u t the B a b y l o n i a n - E l a m i t e c o a l i t i o n p r o b a b l y a c h i e v e d either a pyrrhic v i c t o r y o r one w i t h o u t significant lasting e f f e c t s . B y the next year, 690, the A s s y r i a n s w e r e in a sufficiently s t r o n g p o s i t i o n t o erect a stela o n the battle site and to press f o r w a r d a siege o f B a b y l o n itself. A legal text dated at B a b y l o n o n 28/V/690 describes c o n d i t i o n s in the city at that time: 2 5 3

2 5 4

255

The land was gripped by siege, famine, hunger, want, and hard times. Everything was changed and reduced to nothing. T w o qa of barley [sold for] one shekel of silver. The city gates were barred, and a person could not g o out in 2

5

2

2 5 3

2 5 4

2

5

5

А 25О, 90;

A 270,

$9.

Date: A 5 5 1 , 6 3 n. 3 0 6 . Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 6 3 n. 3 0 7 . A 5 4 0 , 9 3 ; this is argued in more detail in

A 658,

48-51.

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IN T H E

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ASSYRIA

any o f the four directions. The corpses of men, with no one to bury them, filled the squares o f B a b y l o n . 256

D e s p i t e its d e s p e r a t e state, B a b y l o n held o u t for fifteen m o r e m o n t h s ; b u t at the e n d o f that time, M u s h e z i b - M a r d u k c o u l d n o l o n g e r c o u n t o n the c o u n t r y ' s traditional sources o f support from either east o r w e s t . T h e A s s y r i a n s h a d c a m p a i g n e d against and neutralized the A r a b s at A d u m m a t u in the w e s t e r n desert, p r o b a b l y in the year 6 9 0 . In N i s a n , the first m o n t h o f 689, K h u m b a n - n i m e n a , the E l a m i t e k i n g , suffered a s t r o k e and l i n g e r e d i n c a p a c i t a t e d for a l m o s t e l e v e n m o n t h s . D u r i n g this interval o f d i s l o c a t i o n in E l a m , t h e city o f B a b y l o n fell t o the A s s y r i a n s , just before the o n s e t o f w i n t e r ( I / I X ) . T h u s e n d e d the c o n c e r t e d Chaldaean-led s t r u g g l e for B a b y l o n i a n i n d e p e n d e n c e . T h r e e decades o f revolts against A s s y r i a n c o n t r o l had g r a d u a l l y u n i t e d the tribal a n d non-tribal p o p u l a t i o n s o f B a b y l o n i a and s c h o o l e d t h e m in the value o f outside alliances. A l t h o u g h the forces o f B a b y l o n i a and its allies h a d eventually b e e n s u b d u e d , their several successes in the face o f A s s y r i a n military superiority p r o v i d e d e n c o u r ­ a g e m e n t for future resistance m o v e m e n t s . B u t in the m e a n t i m e , w i t h the c o l l a p s e o f B a b y l o n in 689, Sennacherib w a s free t o reap the fruits o f victory. 257

IV. B A B Y L O N :

DESTRUCTION AND

REBIRTH,

689—669

B.C.

2 5 8

S e n n a c h e r i b ' s t r e a t m e n t o f B a b y l o n in defeat w a s u n e x p e c t e d l y harsh. H i s f o r b e a r a n c e h a d been taxed b y several l e n g t h y c a m p a i g n s , b y a p r o t r a c t e d s i e g e o f the capital, and n o t least b y the death in c a p t i v i t y o f his eldest s o n , A s h u r - n a d i n - s h u m i . A c c o r d i n g t o an official A s s y r i a n a c c o u n t , the d e s t r u c t i o n o f B a b y l o n w a s brutal and s y s t e m a t i c . A s s y r i a n soldiers p u t the defenders to death and left their c o r p s e s in the c i t y ' s squares. T h e y t o o k a w a y the defeated k i n g , M u s h e z i b - M a r d u k , and his family as prisoners t o A s s y r i a . A s s y r i a n t r o o p s w e r e a l l o w e d to l o o t the t e m p l e s and other l o c a l p r o p e r t y and to smash the statues o f the c i t y ' s g o d s . T h e y r a z e d the city, i n c l u d i n g the residential quarters, the t e m p l e s , the z i g g u r a t , and the city walls, and d u m p e d the debris into the Arakhtu river. T h e y r e m o v e d e v e n the surface soil f r o m the site, h a u l i n g it off t o the E u p h r a t e s w h i c h carried it d o w n s t r e a m to the Persian G u l f ; the A s s y r i a n s also put s o m e o f this soil o n display in the Akitu t e m p l e in A s h u r . T o obliterate e v e n the m e m o r y o f the city, 259

2 6 0

2 6 1

2 6 2

2 5 6

2 5 8

2 5 9

2 6 1

2

6

2

2 5 7

A s 5 1 , 64 n. j 1 1 . Date: A 5 51, 64 n. 3 1 2 . This period is dealt with in detail in A 588, chapter 4, sections 1—2. A 270, 8 3 - 4 ; cf. ibid., pp. 137—8. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 67 n. 3 1 8 . Cf. A 270, 1 3 7 (the debris was visible as far away as Dilmun). 2 6 0

A

270,

138.

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REBIRTH

39

they d u g canals t o flood the ruins and turned the area into a s w a m p . T h e treatment o f B a b y l o n w a s e x c e p t i o n a l l y ruthless and v i n d i c t i v e , w e l l b e y o n d the retribution usually exacted o f a rebel city and far in excess o f the punishment expected for a r e v e r e d religious centre, n o matter w h a t its o f f e n c e s . Sennacherib's graphic a c c o u n t o f the city's destruction has yet to b e substantiated from independent sources. L e n g t h y excavations at B a b y ­ lon by the D e u t s c h e O r i e n t - G e s e l l s c h a f t at the b e g i n n i n g o f this c e n t u r y found v a r i o u s destruction levels, b u t n o n e clearly assignable to the time o f S e n n a c h e r i b . T h e B a b y l o n i a n C h r o n i c l e records the capture o f the city in 689, but says n o t h i n g a b o u t subsequent p l u n d e r i n g or destruc­ tion. Later texts o f E s a r h a d d o n describe in detail h o w the city w a s d e s t r o y e d and turned into a s w a m p , h o w the g o d s deserted it, and h o w its p o p u l a t i o n w e n t into slavery in f o r e i g n lands; but these say n o t h i n g a b o u t the date o f the destruction o r A s s y r i a n i n v o l v e m e n t and identify the destructive a g e n c y as a flood caused b y the w r a t h o f M a r d u k . In general, B a b y l o n i a n writers seem t o h a v e a v o i d e d the topic e x c e p t t o r e c o r d that the M a r d u k cult had b e e n interrupted for t w o d e c a d e s . Later A s s y r i a n scribes, w h e n they m e n t i o n e d the affair at all, tastefully o m i t t e d any reference to participation o n the part o f their c o u n t r y m e n . Sennacherib's brutal actions against the o l d capital and the e n f o r c e d suspension o f the land's primary religious c u l t w o u l d have p r o f o u n d l y s h o c k e d the urban B a b y l o n i a n s . T h i s is reflected in later traditions, i n c l u d i n g the B a b y l o n i a n C h r o n i c l e and the ' P t o l e m a i c C a n o n ' , w h i c h refused to r e c o g n i z e Sennacherib's s e c o n d reign o v e r the land (688—681) and officially described the p e r i o d as ' k i n g l e s s ' . Sennacherib h i m s e l f d o e s n o t seem t o h a v e been o v e r l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h the g o v e r n a n c e o f the c o u n t r y . In n o r t h - w e s t B a b y l o n i a , Chaldaeans w e r e permitted t o take o v e r agricultural land w h i c h had b e l o n g e d to citizens o f B a b y l o n a n d B o r s i p p a . D u r i n g these eight years, e c o n o m i c activity in B a b y l o n i a sank t o the l o w e s t level in six decades: there are o n l y three k n o w n e c o n o m i c texts from this time, t w o o f t h e m dated at N i p p u r and one at K h u r s a g k a lama (the t w i n city o f K i s h ) . S o u t h e r n B a b y l o n i a m a y h a v e fared better than the north d u r i n g this interval. T o w a r d the v e r y end o f Sennacher­ ib's reign, in 681, the g o d s o f U r u k , stolen t w e l v e years earlier, w e r e restored to their c i t y . A l s o in the south, it is likely that g o v e r n o r s w h o w e r e subsequently p r o m i n e n t , Nabu-zer-kitti-lishir o f the Sealand and 263

264

2 6 5

266

267

2 6 8

2 6 9

2 7 0

2 6 3

The avowed ferocity of the treatment may reflect the personal character of Sennacherib's anger against the betrayers of his eldest son. For possible evidence from the residential quarter Merkes in Babylon see A 588, 6 5 - 6 ; A j 5 1 , 68 n. 322. 2 6 4

2 6 5

л 234,

2 6 8

Because of the absence or destruction of Marduk, the tutelary deity. A 553, 1 4 . Cf. A 7 2 , no. 327. A 5 5 1 , 70 n. 334.

2

6

9

1 4 - 1 5 ; л 5 jo, 59.

2 6 6

Cf. A j j i , 68 n. 325.

2

7

2 6 7

A J5 1, 6 8 - 9

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n.

326.

21.

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IN T H E

SHADOW

OF A S S Y R I A

N i n g a l - i d d i n o f U r , were a p p o i n t e d in the s e c o n d half o f Sennacherib's reign; b u t , as w i t h so m a n y o t h e r subjects pertaining to this time, a d e q u a t e attestation is l a c k i n g . T h e r e is v e r y little d o c u m e n t a t i o n in either A s s y r i a o r B a b y l o n i a for these y e a r s . T h e assassination o f Sennacherib and the accession o f E s a r h a d d o n in late 6 8 1 m a r k e d a turning p o i n t in B a b y l o n i a n h i s t o r y . W h e r e a s the p r e c e d i n g decades had been characterized by repeated A s s y r i a n i n v a s i o n s and by the instability o f the B a b y l o n i a n c r o w n (ten c h a n g e s o f m o n a r c h in t w e n t y - n i n e y e a r s ) , E s a r h a d d o n ' s reign stabilized t h r o n e t e n u r e a n d b r o u g h t enlightened p o l i c i e s o f rule. H e restored the B a b y l o n i a n capital as a political and c o m m e r c i a l centre and t o o k an interest in the reallocation o f a g r i c u l t u r a l r e s o u r c e s . T h i s n e w stability a n d c o n c e r n fostered a g r a d u a l l y i n c r e a s i n g material prosperity and initiated a major c y c l e of sustained e c o n o m i c g r o w t h that w a s t o last, w i t h o n l y o n e m i n o r recession, for the n e x t fifty y e a r s . A l t h o u g h it is difficult t o articulate c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y m a n y o f the events o f Esarhad­ d o n ' s r e i g n (his r o y a l inscriptions g e n e r a l l y eschew the n u m b e r e d c a m p a i g n s o f his immediate p r e d e c e s s o r s ) , major trends may be dis­ c e r n e d , a n d these m a r k a sharp reversal o f p r e v i o u s l y p r e v a i l i n g policies. In g e n e r a l , to j u d g e from the official stance c o n v e y e d in his r o y a l i n s c r i p t i o n s , E s a r h a d d o n fostered a p o l i c y o f peaceful relations w i t h b o t h B a b y l o n i a and its immediate n e i g h b o u r s , E l a m and the A r a b tribes. H i s n o n - c o n f r o n t a t i o n a l politics b o r e fruit in that B a b y l o n i a as a w h o l e n e v e r u n i t e d against E s a r h a d d o n ' s rule, and local disturbances did n o t attract w i d e s p r e a d support from either inside o r outside the c o u n t r y . It is difficult t o determine forces and m o t i v e s behind the A s s y r i a n c h a n g e o f direction. T h e t i m e - h o n o u r e d explanation o f a p r o - B a b y l o ­ n i a n p a r t y in A s s y r i a may h a v e s o m e merit, b u t is in need o f detailed critical r e - e x a m i n a t i o n . O n e s h o u l d n o t underestimate the i m p a c t o f S e n n a c h e r i b ' s v i o l e n t death on the i m p r e s s i o n a b l e and valetudinarian E s a r h a d d o n , w h o seems in any case t o h a v e been excessively p r e o c c u ­ p i e d w i t h manifestations o f d i v i n e w i l l . N o r s h o u l d one n e g l e c t social a n d e c o n o m i c factors w h i c h may h a v e b e e n c o n d u c i v e t o c h a n g e . B u t , h o w e v e r g r e a t o u r i g n o r a n c e o f the u n d e r l y i n g causes, it is plain that E s a r h a d d o n in effect a b a n d o n e d S e n n a c h e r i b ' s harsh a n t i - B a b y l o n i a n 2 7 1

2 7 2

273

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stance and returned t o the m o r e conciliatory attitude o f his grandfather. E s a r h a d d o n , h o w e v e r , w a s unable t o p r o c e e d w i t h his p r o g r a m m e directly after his accession. W i t h the assassination o f Sennacherib and the e n s u i n g c i v i l disturbances in A s s y r i a , the uncertainties in the royal succession there w e r e perceived in B a b y l o n i a as signs o f political w e a k n e s s and grasped by s o m e as an o p p o r t u n i t y for r e v o l t . Inchoate rebels l o o k e d for s u p p o r t to E l a m , the e r s t w h i l e b a c k e r o f B a b y l o n i a . A B a b y l o n i a n conspirator w r o t e to the E l a m i t e k i n g , K h u m b a n - k h a l t a s h II, p o i n t i n g o u t A s s y r i a ' s vulnerability in the w a k e o f Sennacherib's death and s e n d i n g g e n e r o u s gifts to enlist E l a m i t e s u p p o r t . The g o v e r n o r o f the Sealand, N a b u - z e r - k i t t i - l i s h i r o f the Y a k i n tribe, t o o k m o r e direct action. H e m o v e d his m e n into siege positions a r o u n d Ur, the o n l y major city in south-eastern B a b y l o n i a n o t under direct Y a k i n i t e c o n t r o l . A f t e r E s a r h a d d o n had g a i n e d the u p p e r hand in the delicate political situation in A s s y r i a , he dispatched t r o o p s s o u t h t o relieve Ur. A n t i c i p a t i n g their arrival, Nabu-zer-kitti-lishir w i t h d r e w to the supposed safety o f E l a m , w h e r e he w a s put to death. H i s brother, N a i d M a r d u k , w h o had a c c o m p a n i e d h i m , realized that the o l d Elamite— Y a k i n alliance w a s n o t to be r e v i v e d and fled t o N i n e v e h to submit to E s a r h a d d o n . T h e A s s y r i a n k i n g installed N a i d - M a r d u k as g o v e r n o r o f the Sealand in his brother's stead and i m p o s e d a h e a v y annual tribute on the p r o v i n c e . T h u s E s a r h a d d o n , w i t h the c o - o p e r a t i o n o f E l a m , w a s able b o t h t o preserve the a n d - Y a k i n i t e enclave at U r and to g a i n an acceptable Chaldaean g o v e r n o r to preside o v e r the strategic Sealand t e r r i t o r i e s . 2 7 9

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H a v i n g c i r c u m v e n t e d these early t r o u b l e s , E s a r h a d d o n p r o c e e d e d to i m p l e m e n t his p o l i c y o f reinstating B a b y l o n as the political and c o m m e r cial capital o f southern M e s o p o t a m i a . H i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f the restoration is w o r t h s u m m a r i z i n g , since it g i v e s a detailed statement o f w h a t E s a r h a d d o n intended to a c c o m p l i s h for B a b y l o n as well as an A s s y r i a n ' t h e o l o g i c a l ' interpretation o f B a b y l o n ' s misfortunes and their redress. In E s a r h a d d o n ' s B a b y l o n inscriptions, attention is focused o n the d i v i n e f r a m e w o r k w i t h i n w h i c h the destruction and resurrection o f B a b y l o n o c c u r r e d : malportent o m e n s , the iniquitous c o n d u c t o f the B a b y l o n i a n s (including misappropriation o f temple funds), the destruction o f the city by a severe flood, M a r d u k ' s decision to shorten the years o f desolation (from s e v e n t y t o e l e v e n ) , auspicious o m e n s , and restoration. T h e A s s y r i a n s assembled a large g r o u p o f skilled w o r k m e n d r a w n ( a c c o r d i n g to v a r i o u s versions) from all o f B a b y l o n i a , f r o m A s s y r i a , and/or from 283

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conquered lands; and E s a r h a d d o n claimed to h a v e t a k e n part in the w o r k p e r s o n a l l y . B a b y l o n i a n w o r k e r s prepared the site, c l e a r i n g reeds and trees and restoring the E u p h r a t e s t o its o l d b e d . Craftsmen s u p e r v i s e d m a s s i v e c o n t r u c t i o n w o r k s in the city, i n c l u d i n g the rebuild­ i n g o f E s a g i l a (the M a r d u k temple), E t e m e n a n k i (the z i g g u r a t ) , and the inner and o u t e r city walls. Statues o f g o d s and g o d d e s s e s that had been t a k e n as spoil w e r e returned f r o m A s s y r i a and from E l a m . E n s l a v e d o r i m p o v e r i s h e d exiles were b r o u g h t back t o the city and p r o v i d e d w i t h c l o t h i n g , h o u s i n g , o r c h a r d s , and e v e n canals (presumably for irrigation o f c r o p s ) . T h e citizens' o l d p r i v i l e g e s , i n c l u d i n g tax e x e m p t i o n s , w e r e reinstated. B a b y l o n was restored as the mercantile h u b o f the r e g i o n , w i t h routes o p e n e d up in all directions and c o m m e r c i a l relations re­ established. T h e s e w e r e E s a r h a d d o n ' s a v o w e d intentions for B a b y l o n i a , a c c o r d i n g t o his i n s c r i p t i o n s . D e t a i l s can be added f r o m o t h e r sources: agricultural lands a r o u n d B a b y l o n and B o r s i p p a w e r e t a k e n from C h a l d a e a n encroachers a n d restored to their rightful o w n e r s ; a n e w g o v e r n o r o f B a b y l o n was a p p o i n t e d to supervise the resettlement o f the city; and the local assembly o f citizens w a s again c o n v e n e d t o hear legal cases. E s a r h a d d o n ' s statement w a s p r o g r a m m a t i c ; n o t all the w o r k he describes w a s d o n e at o n c e , and s o m e o f it m a y n o t h a v e been d o n e at all. T h e material remains at B a b y l o n h a v e n o t permitted detailed verification o f his claims. T h o u g h there are bricks bearing his inscriptions, n o n e o f these has b e e n r e c o v e r e d in unmistakably c o n t e m p o r a r y c o n t e x t ; they w e r e either f o u n d loose i n rubble o r reused in later c o n s t r u c t i o n . C o r r e s p o n d e n c e p r e s e r v e d in the N i n e v e h archives includes a letter f r o m U b a r u , E s a r h a d d o n ' s new g o v e r n o r at B a b y l o n , r e p o r t i n g to the k i n g o n his arrival in the city. A l t h o u g h w e must a l l o w for a g e n e r o u s d o s e o f c o u r t l y o b s e q u i o u s n e s s , U b a r u states that he had been w e l c o m e d b y the m e n o f B a b y l o n and that the k i n g had been praised for restoring stolen p r o p e r t y t o the city; even the Chaldaean leaders are said t o h a v e blessed the k i n g for resettling the c a p i t a l . T o r o u n d o u t the rosy picture, one s h o u l d also n o t e that E s a r h a d d o n used the spoils o f his E g y p t i a n c a m p a i g n t o s p o n s o r temple reconstruction (also at B o r s i p p a , N i p p u r , and U r u k ) and returned d i v i n e statues t o D e r , U r u k , Larsa, and 287

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A 2 j 4 , 2o Episode 19. A 234, 20 Episode 2 1 . A 2 3 4 , 1 9 Episode 18. Note, however, that the wandering river was described elsewhere as the Arakhtu (A 234, 14 Episode 7 Fassung a). This did not include the images of the principal deities of Babylon, Marduk and his wife Zarpanitu. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 7 4 n. 359. A 234, 10—30; A 678; updated textual apparatus in A 550, 38. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 74 n. 363; A 644. A 7 2 , no. 4 1 8 ; A 234, j 2 Episode 1 2 ; A 7 5 3 , no. 4. Babylonian economic texts from Esarhaddon's reign: A 5 5 3 , 1 7 - 2 0 ; A J 53A, 99—100. A 6 3 ; ; A 724; Cf. A 636. A 7 2 , no. 4 1 8 . A J5 I , 7 5 - 6 n. 368. 2 8 8

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Sippar-Aruru. Later, booty from an Assyrian campaign in Shubria near Lake Van was said to have been sent as a gift to Uruk. The Assyrians under Esarhaddon actively sought reconciliation with Babylonia. Assyrian policies, however enlightened, did not elicit unanimous support from Babylonian officialdom or from local populations. In the central and northern alluvium, Nippur and Bit-Dakkuri did not welcome the resurgence of Babylon, a regional rival: there were severe disturbances in these areas, particularly in the first half of the reign when the resettlement of Babylon was still under way. The chief bone of contention may have been access to primary agricultural resources, namely land and water. In addition, increased supervision by the central government may not have appealed to local officials who had fattened their purses in the looser conditions prevalent under Senna­ cherib; officials at Borsippa, Cutha, and Dur-Sharrukin were accused of collusion with local financial interests and of blatant peculation with temple revenues. Even at Babylon, matters were not as straightfor­ ward as official texts would have us believe. A heavy tax was levied on the impoverished — and supposedly tax-exempt — citizens, and stories circulated of a protest in which the governor's messengers were pelted with clods. Esarhaddon dealt benevolently with Babylonia's erstwhile allies, the Arabs and the Elamites, with mutually favourable results. For the Arabs, Esarhaddon was in part reversing the harshness of Sennacherib; he returned stolen statues of deities to the ruler Hazael and only modestly increased his tribute. He appointed Tabua, a young Arab woman raised at Sennacherib's court, as queen of the Arabs, and restored missing divine statues to her people. Later he confirmed Yauta , son of Hazael, as king after his father's death. Although the Arab west was not totally quiet during Esarhaddon's reign, it was often preoccupied with internal squabbles; only a few sections of it were visited by Assyrian campaigns in the time of Esarhaddon. Esarhaddon's relations with Elam were surprisingly peaceful and on occasion even cordial. After decades of active Elamite-Assyrian hosti­ lity (720—691), there followed a significant quiet interval ( 6 9 0 - 6 6 5 ) 296

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which Esarhaddon undoubtedly fostered. As noted above, the Elamite king Khumban-khaltash II resisted Babylonian attempts to involve him in anti-Assyrian resistance in Esarhaddon's early years. The Assyrians, however, did not place unquestioning trust in the peaceful intentions of the Elamites; Esarhaddon reached an understanding with the paramount Aramaean tribe on Babylonia's eastern frontier, the Gambulu (under their sheikh Bel-iqisha), so that their chief city Sha-pi-Bel could monitor Elamite movements across the frontier. The only obvious Elamite act of hostility that can be unambiguously assigned to Esarhaddon's reign is their raid on Sippar in the year 6 7 5 . This stands out as an isolated event, the only apparent disruption in a quarter-century of otherwise good relations between Assyria and Elam. There are at least two divergent ways of explaining it: either (a) as Elamite conjuncture with contemporaneous disturbances in Bit-Dakkuri and Nippur, or (b) as a lapse of the chronicler, who inserted for the sixth year of Esarhaddon an entry originally composed for the sixth year of his similarly named brother who reigned two decades earlier. In any case, Khumban-khaltash II died in the same year (675) and was succeeded by his. brother Urtak. Early in his reign Urtak sent messengers to conclude a peace agreement with Esarhaddon and then returned to Babylonia some statues of Babylonian deities which had been in Elam. There followed several more years of friendly relations between the two powers, lasting into Ashurbanipal's reign; there is even an indication — far from certain — that during this time Assyrian princes and princesses were being brought up at the Elamite court, and young members of the Elamite royal family resided at Nineveh. Assyrian— Elamite relations remained peaceful during most of Esarhaddon's reign; Esarhaddon's diplomatic endeavours generally met with more success in Elam than they did in Babylonia. Esarhaddon's policies toward Babylonia and her neighbours did not eliminate urban and tribal unrest, but diffused its effects. New leaders of anti-Assyrian movements such as the Chaldaean chieftain Shamash-ibni of the Bit-Dakkuri were unable to garner widespread support in southern Mesopotamia or to invoke Elamite or Arab assistance from abroad. Consequently Assyria under Esarhaddon had to deal only with 302

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localized disruptions rather than with broad-based revolts carried out by urban—tribal coalitions assisted by foreign troops (as had been the case under Sennacherib). Nonetheless political conditions in Babylonia remained volatile. Reaction to Assyrian rule varied sharply from one locale to another; and, in some places, power oscillated between antiAssyrian and pro-Assyrian factions. Assyria did not attempt to over­ whelm the populace by stationing large garrisons within the cities or by leaving heavy troop concentrations in the countryside; her military control was generally loose and depended on an efficient system of intelligence reports to locate trouble spots and call for outside aid when necessary. The political fragmentation of Babylonia, with its local and vacillating reactions to Assyrian rule, led to internecine as well as anti-Assyrian conflicts. Chaldaeans were almost uniformly anti-Assyrian. Thus Nabuzer-kitti-lishir of Bit-Yakin attacked pro-Assyrian Ur and was put to flight only by the advance of an Assyrian army; and Shamash-ibni of Bit-Dakkuri had to be removed because of his penchant for appropriat­ ing agricultural land belonging to the inhabitants of Babylon and Borsippa. Other tribal leaders were willing to co-operate with the Assyrians: Na'id-Marduk (Bit-Yakin) acted for them as governor of the Sealand, and Bel-iqisha (Gambulu) agreed to let his city serve as a check on the Elamites. Nippur, despite a rapid turnover of governors early in Esarhaddon's reign, at one point had a pro-Assyrian administration which frankly admitted to Esarhaddon that the city was detested by its neighbours and in mortal danger because of its Assyrian sympathies. Ur at this time was governed by a stable and staunchly pro-Assyrian gubernatorial dynasty, founded by Ningal-iddin; its various governors adopted an elevated titulary, and Ningal-iddin himself dated documents by his own regnal years. The governor's office at Ur stayed in this family for more than thirty years and was passed down in succession to at least three of Ningal-iddin's sons. But Ur had become a frontier town on the limits of cultivation, serving not only as the local bastion against the Chaldaeans of Bit-Yakin but also keeping a close watch on Arab movements to and from the desert; its very survival depended on Assyrian favour, and it was fiercely loyal to its benefactors. The Assyrians monitored unrest and potentially disruptive Elamite contacts in Babylonia, although their officials were not always competent in dealing with problems. On at least four occasions during Esarhaddon's 311

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reign (680, 678, 675, 674), Assyrian military or disciplinary action had to be undertaken against sections of Babylonia, always at least partly against the Chaldaeans and in the final instance specifically against the town of Shamele in Bit-Amukani. We have no significant details for any of these operations, perhaps because Esarhaddon's scribes showed an almost Babylonian affinity for recounting his munificence and piety rather than particulars of his campaigning. There are also many tantalizing references in the Assyrian court correspondence to an individual named Sillaya fomenting discontent in several sections of Babylonia over these years; but the evidence is still too fragmentary and uncertain to yield more than a sketchy portrait of a revolutionary entrepreneur disconcerting and eluding the Assyrian authorities. At this time, urban Babylonia was generally under Assyrian control, but within broad limits. Toward the end of Esarhaddon's reign, events in Egypt and in Assyria came to dominate his attention, and Assyrian affairs eventually had a major impact on Babylonia. At this time perhaps late in 673, Esharrakhamat, the principal wife of Esarhaddon, died. Two months after­ wards, with the inevitable realignment of female personnel at court, Esarhaddon designated one of his younger sons, Ashurbanipal, as heir to the Assyrian throne and at the same time named Shamash-shuma-ukin as future king of Babylonia. As crown prince Shamash-shuma-ukin seems to have taken up residence in lower Mesopotamia and to have served as an administrator there for Esarhaddon. In these later years of Esarhaddon's reign, increasing use was made of the substitute-king (Jar рйЫ) ritual, whereby commoners were temporarily installed as surro­ gates on the Assyrian or Babylonian thrones to absorb the effects of evil omens and were then put to death. One of these substitute kings was the son of a major Babylonian religious official, and there was consider­ able unrest in Babylonia after his death. It is not clear whether Babylonia was involved in the great revolt in Assyria that led to the execution of so many of Esarhaddon's officials in 6 7 0 . In any case, we have no knowledge of major anti-Assyrian disruptions in Babylonia between 673 and Esarhaddon's death in 669. The two decades from 689 to 669 witnessed significant changes in the 320

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fortunes of Babylonia. Unfortunately, to reconstruct the political vicissitudes of the time, we are often dependent on the tendentious testimony of Assyrian royal inscriptions; we know only what the chancelleries of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon chose to record. The royal scribes of these two rulers paint sharply contrasting pictures: Babylon in 689 was captured and systematically destroyed, with its gods taken away and their cults suspended, its population dispersed into slavery and their agricultural holdings taken over by tribesmen; Babylon after 681 was revived and rebuilt, with its gods returned and their cults resumed, its population freed and resettled in the city, and its fields reclaimed by their former owners. Neither of these descriptions has been independently verified to a significant extent; and, while there is little reason to doubt the general maltreatment of the city and the removal of the cult statues, there are grounds for suspecting hyperbole in other details. Nonethe­ less it seems clear that Babylonia was regarded with unmistakable hostility in the closing years of Sennacherib's reign, that its capital was severely punished and that, some years later, Esarhaddon implemented a policy of reconciliation and did much to repair former ravages. The inhabitants of Babylonia, who seem to have been largely an ti-Assyrian in the time of Sennacherib, were in part reconciled to Esarhaddon; and Assyrian rule, while never popular with the bulk of the population, came to be accepted at least passively in most areas and with enthusiasm by such partisans as Ningal-iddin at Ur, who perceived that his own survival depended on Assyrian favour. Babylonia seems generally to have prospered under the stable government provided by Assyrian rule, commencing a long period of economic growth and benefiting from sponsored construction programmes. Discontent was sporadic, local, and readily contained. 328

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Esarhaddon's design to divide his royal powers between his sons Ashurbanipal (for Assyria) and Shamash-shuma-ukin (for Babylonia) was carried out after his death. Although it is not known whether Esarhad­ don had determined in detail the jurisdiction to be exercised by each monarch, it soon turned out that Ashurbanipal not only assumed full control of Assyria and the empire at large but closely supervised Babylonia as well. Shamash-shuma-ukin became in fact a dependent monarch, not only subject to Ashurbanipal in the areas of military defence and foreign policy, but also overshadowed in local political and 3 2 8

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Fig. 2. Shamash-shuma-ukin and Ashurbanipal, the appointed heirs, shown on the sides of the stela of Esarhaddon from Zincirli. For the front see Pis. Vol., pi. 5 1 . (Berlin, Staatliche Museen (East) V A 2708; after J . Borker-Klahn, Altvorderasiatischen Bi/dstekn (Mainz, 1982), pi. 219.)

religious matters. Shamash-shuma-ukin was obliged to swear an oath of fealty to Ashurbanipal, and his letters to his brother show him accepting a subordinate role. Since the relations between the two brothers were eventually to develop into a bloody civil war that would weaken the foundations of the Assyrian empire, it is worth inquiring into the antecedents of their quarrel and scrutinizing the ostensibly peaceful relations during the first sixteen years of their reigns. It is impossible to evaluate hidden reserves of sibling rivalry or fraternal jealousy that may have fuelled their animosity, but one can observe patterns of overt action on each side, especially Ashurbanipal's alternating procrasti­ nation and interference which must inevitably have caused tension between the brothers. Ashurbanipal's dilatory conduct seems to have begun soon after his father's death (i o/vm/669 B . C . ) . Ashurbanipal succeeded to the throne in the next month, but Shamash-shuma-ukin's installation was delayed so 330

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long (until late i or n/668) that his official accession year (668) fell a full year behind that of Ashurbanipal (669). Furthermore, even though the prized statue of Marduk was returned to Babylon at the beginning of Shamash-shuma-ukin's reign, major items of its cult furniture were retained in Assyria for at least fourteen years. Ashurbanipal was also slow to move his troops in response to an Elamite invasion of Babylonia, and Assyrian revenge for that invasion was delayed for more than a decade. It is difficult to determine in individual instances whether Ashurbanipal was unable or unwilling to act promptly on Shamash-shuma-ukin's behalf; but these incidents were clearly detri­ mental to Shamash-shuma-ukin and as a result he was unlikely to have been more kindly disposed toward Ashurbanipal. The military defence of Babylonia may have been a continuing source of friction between the brothers. Although Ashurbanipal states that he had given armed forces, including infantry, cavalry, and chariotry, to Shamash-shuma-ukin, these were insufficient to deal with significant troubles; and Assyria remained essentially responsible for Babylonia's defence. In 668, when raiders from Kirbitu in the eastern mountains were harassing trans-Tigridian Babylonia (Yamutbal), Assyrian forces had to be sent to the area to crush the offenders. But on occasion the quality and promptitude of Assyrian defence coverage were not all that was desired. When in about 664 the Elamites under Urtak invaded Babylonia, Ashurbanipal delayed dispatching troops until he had received word that the Elamites had spread out over northern Babylo­ nia. Even then the Assyrians did not attempt to punish the local fomenters of the invasion, Nabu-shuma-eresh the governor of Nippur and Bel-iqisha the chief of the Gambulu tribe; they and their descendants escaped Assyrian retribution for more than ten years, until the campaign of 653. Ashurbanipal contemplated an action against the Gambulu as early as 65 8, but this was not undertaken. Thus Babylonia's defence needs were not always well served by Assyrian troops; and perhaps in recognition of that fact, the city walls of both Babylon and Sippar were rebuilt during these years. Ashurbanipal intervened actively in Babylonian internal affairs that should have been within the jurisdiction of the Babylonian ruler. In his inscriptions Ashurbanipal claims sole credit for completing his father's reconstruction of the Marduk temple in Babylon (Pis. Vol., pi. 33), for re-establishing the tax-exemption privileges of Babylon's citizens, and 332

333

334

335

336

337

338

339

340

3 3 2

3 3 4

3 3 5

3 3 7

3 3 8

3 3 9

3 3 3

A 2 j , 129. Specifically Urtak's invasion about 664 B.C. Discussed in more detail in the succeeding paragraph. A 344, 28. A

8

3 3 6

Cf.

A331.86n.421.

ar

337. 4 >d parallels; cf. A 5 3 1 , 86 n. 422. Date of this campaign: A 5 5 1 , 87 n. 423.

A 498, no.

1 5 3 ; cf. A 230,

I I 7 . Cf. A 7 2 , no.

269.

3 4 0

A 344, 2 3 6 - 8 ; A 6 j 1 II,

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for installing Shamash-shuma-ukin as king (he makes no mention of Esarhaddon's testamentary instructions). Ashurbanipal also repaired major sanctuaries in Sippar, Babylon, Borsippa, and Uruk in his own name. Moreover, Ashurbanipal communicated directly with local officials in Babylonia, who reported to him on internal matters as well as on foreign affairs (especially concerning Elam). Despite the nominal allegiance of the Babylonian realm to Shamash-shuma-ukin, there were cities such as Uruk and Ur which seemed to be more in touch with the Assyrian than the Babylonian government. At Ur, economic texts were dated under Shamash-shuma-ukin as king; but Sin-balassu-iqbi, the local governor, undertook a massive reconstruction programme for the monumental buildings of the city and dedicated his work 'for the life of Ashurbanipal' rather than for his nominal sovereign. Spies resident in Shamash-shuma-ukin's capital, Babylon, reported to Ashurbanipal on the Babylonian king's activities. In fact, for the greater part of Shamash-shuma-ukin's reign, it is difficult to determine just what powers he was allowed to exercise as Babylonian king: apart from the use of his name in date formulae, he is known principally for his jurisdiction in cases involving land ownership and water traffic. The only provincial governors who were clearly subject to him were Sin-sharrausur at Ur (who made a dedication for the life of Shamash-shuma-ukin) and Shula at Dilbat; both of these are poorly attested and may have been appointed only in the days of the civil war (65 2—648). Although the evidence — and our perspective - may be far from balanced, one gains the impression that Shamash-shuma-ukin for most of his reign may have been simply a figurehead. Nonetheless, however nominal his royal power, Shamash-shumaukin's reign marks a period of increasing economic prosperity and governmental stability in Babylonia. The number of economic texts per year rises significantly, beginning in Shamash-shuma-ukin's tenth year; and the geographical distribution of the texts is impressive, encompass­ ing most major urban centres in the central Mesopotamian floodplain. In addition, significant building programmes were undertaken at Baby­ lon, Borsippa, Sippar, Uruk and Ur, perhaps supported from Assyrian 341

342

343

344

345

346

347

348

349

3 4 1

A 344, 226, etc. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 87 n. 426.

3 4 2

A 344,

3 4 3

A 534, 2 5 2 - 3 ; A 588,

3 4 4

Or

228—48; A 662; A 630, 60. Cf. A 5 J 1, 87 n.

427.

102. Discussion: A 5 5 1 , 88 n.

428.

' v i c e r o y ' (Sakkanakku), as he styles himself. F o r

the

titulary o f

the

seventh-century

g o v e r n o r s o f U r , see p. 10 a b o v e . 3 4 5

A 593, n o s . 168 a n d 1 7 0 ; A 744, n o . 102. Cf. A 7 2 , n o . 426 (see A 5 7 9 , 1 8 3 ) ; A 5 34, 248-5 3; A 5 37,

3 3 6 - 4 2 ; A 7 7 1 , nos.

81—6.

3 4 6

A 7 2 , no.

119.

3 4 7

A 633, n o . IO. A 7 2 , n o .

3 4 8

A 565, n o .

3 4 9

S i p p a r , C u t h a , K i s h , B a b y l o n , B o r s i p p a , D i l b a t , N i p p u r , U r u k , and U r . Cf. A 553,

1385.

13 ( d u p l i c a t e : A 581, no. 144); b i b l i o g r a p h y : A 5 5 1 , 1 1 7 n. 566. A 7 2 , n o .

A 588, 252; A 590.

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326. 25-39;

SHAMASH-SHUMA-UKIN

AND

ASHURBANIPAL

51 350

resources (if Ashurbanipal's sponsorship was more than nominal). There is also evidence for considerable scribal activity in both the religious and scientific spheres: composition and editing of prayers and rituals, copying of lexical and diagnostic texts, recording of astro­ nomical observations, and the earliest known astronomical diary text. Regardless of underlying political tensions, the stability in throne tenure from 669 to 653, following as it did the two preceding stable decades, provided a solid foundation for the growth of the Babylonian economy. The beginning of Shamash-shuma-ukin's reign was marked by considerable confusion. First, there was an interregnum prior to his installation; after Esarhaddon's death, the year 669 was not officially ascribed to any king of Babylonia. Economic texts in the latter part of that year were dated according to the accession year of Ashurbanipal, and later chronological texts assigned it variously to Esarhaddon and Shamash-shuma-ukin. In 1 1 / 6 6 8 the Marduk statue made a triumphal return from Ashur to Babylon; Shamash-shuma-ukin and an Assyrian army escorted the statue by boat amidst splendid ceremonies down the Tigris and eventually to Babylon, where the cult images of Shamash, Nergal, and Nabu from Sippar, Cutha, and Borsippa had gathered to welcome Marduk home. In the same year, an Assyrian army was sent against the region of Kirbitu, which was harassing eastern Babylonia. In x/668, a 'judge of Babylon', one Bel-etir, was executed; but his fault, presumably treason, was not recorded. It is hard to speak of a distinctive foreign policy for Babylonia in the years 669—65 3, since Assyria managed foreign relations on behalf of both lands. The former principal allies of Babylonia, the Elamites and Arabs, are not known to have maintained ties with Shamash-shuma-ukin during these years; practically nothing is known about the Arabs (their major hostilities with Ashurbanipal commence after 65 and the Elamites were aligned primarily with the Gambulu in opposition to both the Assyrians and the central government in Babylonia. In this case we should not over-interpret the silence of the texts, since both the Arabs and Elamites rallied round Shamash-shuma-ukin once the rebellion had begun. The history of relations over these years between Elam, Assyria, and Babylonia is worth reviewing. As noted above, a radical shift in the 351

352

353

354

355

356

2 ) ,

3

5

7

358

3 5 0

* 344, 2 2 6 - 4 8 ; A 7 2 , no.

1 1 9 (cf. A 7 5 , no. 60 and A 7 7 , 283 n. 522); A 651 11, 6 - 1 2 (cf. A 7 1 2 ,

no. 6); A 7 7 1 , no. 7 7 . Cf. A j 5 1 , 89 n. 438. List of sources: A 5 51, 89 n. 439. A 5 5 1 , 89 n. 440. 553 . I FGrH680 F 7; A 553, 21; A 7 7 0 , 305. 3 5 1

3 5 2

A

I 0 4 5 J

N O S

4 I 4

-I

7 ;

A

I 0 4

6 , 48 and pi. 3.

3 5 4

3 5 5

A 25, 86, 1 2 7 , and

1 3 1 ; A 344, 2 6 2 - 8 . Cf. A 684 and A 5 5 1 , 90 n.

3 5 6

A 25, 86 and

3 5 8

A 344, 3 0 - 4 , 64, and 68.

127; A 588, 99.

3 5 7

444.

A 19, 1 4 2 - 6 9 .

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5

21.

2

BABYLONIA

IN

THE

SHADOW

OF

ASSYRIA

traditional alignment of Elam and Babylonia versus Assyria took place around 691 B.C. After the battle of Khalule, Babylonia no longer had the support of Elam and was unable to organize effective large-scale resistance against Assyria. With the exception of one or another minor incident of hostilities, Elam and Assyria generally had peaceable rela­ tions during the quarter-century between 690 and 665. The high point seems to have been reached when Esarhaddon and Urtak, the Elamite king, entered into a pact around 674. Afterwards, in the early 660s, when patterns of severe climatic disruption caused drought in Elam and exceptionally bountiful rainfall in Assyria, the Assyrians not only sent grain as famine aid to Elam but provided temporary homes in Assyria for hard-pressed Elamites. Assyrian beneficence, however, had no lasting effect; for in 664 Elam unexpectedly turned hostile. The governor of Nippur and the chief of the Gambulu tribe had persuaded Urtak to invade Babylonia. Ashurbanipal, reacting slowly to news of the invasion, sent out only a reconnaissance mission, which confirmed that the Elamites were in northern Babylonia and that they had set up a camp which menaced Babylon itself. Only then did Ashurbanipal dispatch an army. According to Assyrian sources, the Elamite forces withdrew without resistance and were subsequently defeated as they neared their own land. Before the end of the year Urtak died; a revolution brought a new anti-Assyrian ruler, Teumman, to the Elamite throne and drove the families of Urtak and his predecessor Khumbankhaltash II into exile at the Assyrian court, where they later served as pawns in Assyrian manoeuvres to dominate the Elamite monarchy. Assyria, however, proved unable to punish most of the main actors in this invasion, though it eventually avenged itself on the areas involved. Marduk-shuma-eresh, the governor of Nippur, kept his office but died soon after of natural causes, as did Bel-iqisha, chief of the Gambulu tribe. But it was only eleven years afterwards (653) that campaigns against Elam and the Gambulu were undertaken. At that time an Assyrian army invaded Elam, defeated and killed Teumman in a battle at Tell Tuba on the Ulaya river, and installed in his place two Elamite princes who had been in exile at the Assyrian court. Then the Assyrians proceeded against the Gambulu, devastating their land and removing Dunanu and Samgunu, two of Bel-iqisha's sons, for punish­ ment in Assyria. At this point, just before the civil war broke out, Assyria should have been in a strong position. It had recently crushed Elam and Gambulu, 359

360

361

362

363

364

365

366

367

3 5 9

A

3 3 7 . 56—8; A 344» 6; cf. A j 5 1 , 9 1 n. 4 5 0 .

3

6

A 3 3 7 , 58; A 688, 102 iii.

3 6 1

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 9 1 n . 4 5 2 .

3 6 2

Cf. A j 5 1 , 92 n. 4 5 3 .

3 6 4

Cf. A ; ; 1 , 92 n. 4 5 ) .

3 6 5

A 337,60.

3

6

3

3 6 6

A 3 1 2 , 3 8 - 4 0 ; A 3 3 7 , 6 0 - 7 0 ; A 3 4 6 , i78fTnos. 5—17, 3 0 - 3 , 3J, etc. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 92 n . 4 5 7 .

3 6 7

A 3 3 7 , 7 0 - 6 ; Cf. A 346, 1 8 2 - 6 nOS. 1 8 - 2 6 , 29, 34, 36—8; A 3 1 2 , 4 0 - 2 .

A 337, 56-60.

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THE

GREAT REBELLION AND

ITS

AFTERMATH

53

two of the major trouble spots in the south east, and had divided jurisdiction in Elam between two princes who had lived in Assyria for more than a decade. But the flaw this time lay in central Babylonia: Shamash-shuma-ukin was no longer content with his subordinate role nor with Ashurbanipal's interference and inadequate defence policies. His resolution to set an independent course was to have fateful consequences both for Babylonia and for the Assyrian empire. VI. THE

G R E A T R E B E L L I O N (652-648 B.C.)

ASHURBANIPAL VERSUS

AND

ITS

AFTERMATH:

SHAMASH-SHUMA-UKIN ALLIES

AND

HIS

3 6 8

In the middle of the seventh century, a bitter struggle between the two most prominent members of the Assyrian royal family shook the base of the Assyrian empire. Shamash-shuma-ukin led Babylonia in a full-scale rebellion against Ashurbanipal and won support from Elam, Arabia, and elsewhere in western Asia. Assyrian military energies were absorbed for four years in dealing with the revolt in urban Babylonia and then for several additional years in cleaning up pockets of resistance in the Sealand and exacting vengeance from Babylonia's foreign supporters. These massive military efforts severely strained the resources of the Assyrian empire, for in its final three decades (after 640 B.C.) it launched few if any significant initiatives. The purpose of the present section is to describe the events of this revolt, which formed a watershed in Mesopotamian political history. To assess the impact of the rebellion on Assyria, we should be better informed of the empire's status c. 653 B.C., just before the outbreak of hostilities. It seems likely that Assyrian power had already begun to decline after the early years of Ashurbanipal. Assyria's control over Egypt had been slipping since about 660, Cimmerians were menacing Syria by 6 5 7 , and some associated states such as Lydia had renounced their connexions with Assyria. A major difficulty in interpreting the history of Ashurbanipal's reign is that reconstruction of the sequence of events often depends on vague statements in documents with little or no chronological perspective. We simply do not know how weak the Assyrian empire may have been, especially in the west, by around 653, and this seriously diminishes our ability to appraise events from a regional perspective. In the preceding section of this chapter, we discussed the background for Shamash-shuma-ukin's discontent - Ashurbanipal's interference in 369

3 7 0

371

3 6 8

A detailed discussion of the political and military events of this period may be found in A 588,

115-68. 3 6 5

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 9 5 n. 460.

3 7 0

Thus A 7 7 , 3 0 7 - 8 .

3 7

'Cf.A l . }

7

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54

21.

BABYLONIA

IN

THE

SHADOW

OF

ASSYRIA

Babylonian internal affairs and his inadequate military protection of the realm. When this was added to the general restlessness of Babylonia under the Assyrian yoke (evident from the preceding decades of political turmoil), it provided the occasion for concerted rebellion by the local population and their Assyrian-born leader. Whether there was a single cause which sparked the conflagration, such as Ashurbanipal's Elamite— Gambulu campaign(s) of 653, or his rumoured plans for treating Babylon more harshly, we do not know. In any case, Shamash-shumaukin's intention to raise the standard of rebellion had become known by 2 3 / 1 1 / 6 5 2 B . C . , for on that date Ashurbanipal wrote to the citizens of Babylon in a standard Assyrian manoeuvre to detach them from allegiance to their king. Although Ashurbanipal weighed the possibility of a quick move into Babylon as early as 1 7 / 1 V / 6 5 2 , almost eight months were to elapse between the discovery of Shamash-shuma-ukin's plot and the formal outbreak of hostilities ( 1 9 / X / 6 5 2 ) . One of the reasons for the delay may have been that Ashurbanipal could not count on the wholehearted support of Assyria (where there may have been insurrections in the very next year, 6 5 1 ) . By the time that battle was joined in Babylonia between the forces of Ashurbanipal and Shamash-shuma-ukin, the lines of adherence to the two monarchs seem to have been clearly drawn. Shamash-shuma-ukin could rely on the cities of northern and central Babylonia (with the possible exception of Cutha), as well as on Chaldaean and Aramaean tribal areas, with some exceptions in the far south to be noted presently. The Assyrians had their chief support in the non-tribal urban south - Uruk, Ur, Kissik, Kullab, Eridu, and Shatiddin — plus a few local tribal adherents such as the Gurasimmu and some of the Puqudu. We do not know who had the support of the countryside in northern Babylonia; forces from both sides marched through it apparently without opposition, and it may have been effectively neutral­ ized by its open and vulnerable position. To some extent this line-up within Babylonia reflects long-standing pro- and anti-Chaldaean senti­ ment, with the principal opposition coming from southern cities which were enclaves struggling to survive in a predominantly Chaldaean landscape. Outside Babylonia, the Elamites and Arabs seem generally to have supported the cause of Shamash-shuma-ukin, occasionally to the extent of participating in the fighting. Ashurbanipal claimed that Shamash372

373

3 7 4

375

3 7 6

377

378

379

3 7 2

3 7 3

3 7 4

3 7 6

3 7 7

3 7 9

A 7 2 , no. 301 ( = A 698, no. I I j ) . A 7 2 , no. J O I ( = A 698, no. I 15). Cf. A 55 I , 94 n. 465. A 497, no. 102 . A 25, I 3 I . A 25, 1 32; cf. A 5 5 I , 94—S n. 468. A s s i , 95 n. 470. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 95 n. 4 7 1 . E.g., A 19, i s 3 - 6 ; A 344, 3 0 - 4 , 64, 68; A 337, 76. 3 7 5

3 7 8

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GREAT REBELLION AND

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AFTERMATH

55

shuma-ukin had induced the 'kings of Gutium, Amurru, and Meluhha' (archaic names for such places as the middle Zagros, northern Syria, and Egypt-Nubia) to rebel and side with the Babylonian king; but we have no independent evidence that any of these regions actively assisted the Babylonian effort. Foreign support does not seem to have been a significant factor in determining the outcome or even the course of the fighting, except in so far as Elam assisted Chaldaean dissidents in prolonging hostilities in the south east for more than a year after the fall of Babylon and the death of Shamash-shuma-ukin. The principal actions of the war may be divided into two theatres, north and south. In each of these regions, from 65 2 to 648, major urban areas were particularly vulnerable and often under attack. Their hinter­ lands eventually came under enemy control, and though urban defenders could hold out under siege-like conditions — for periods of two years or more in such cities as Ur and Babylon — isolated cities were clearly at a disadvantage in these long-drawn-outfights.In the north, after hostili­ ties commenced on 1 9 / X / 6 5 2 , Shamash-shuma-ukin's forces were quickly checked; in less than three weeks ( 8 / X 1 / 6 5 2 ) he was forced to make a strategic withdrawal into Babylon 'in front of the enemy'. The Babylonian decline, however, was only temporary. In the next month there were two major battles between the Assyrian and Babylonian armies; in the latter of these, at Khirit in the province of Sippar on 27/xn/ 652, the Babylonian army suffered a serious defeat. Early in the war, Elamite troops sent to help Shamash-shuma-ukin were defeated at Mankisu (on the Tigris near modern Baghdad); and Arab troops arrived in Babylon, probably in 6 5 1 or thefirstmonths of 6 5 0 . Despite setbacks in early engagements, the Babylonian army continued to fight actively in both urban and rural areas and on 9/via/6j succeeded in capturing Cutha. But within a few months (before the end of x i / 6 5 1 ) the Assyrians gained Nippur in central Babylonia, and an Assyrian army put Babylon itself under siege on i/iv/650. Thus, in the northern theatre, most military action in the field took place in an eighteen-month period between x/652 and iv/650; after that time the Assyrians were in control of the countryside and had settled down to reducing urban strongholds such as Babylon, Borsippa, Cutha, and Sippar by siege. 380

3 8 1

382

383

384

385

386

1

387

388

389

1

The early course of the war in the south may have been similar, but there it was the pro-Assyrian cities that were under attack. (It should be 3 8 0

3 8 2

A 344, 30. See also A 5 j 1, 9 3 - 4 nn. 460 and 465. A 25, 129 and 1 3 1 . Cf. A 5 5 1 , 96 n. 4 7 5 .

3 8 1

A 2;, 131.

3 8 3

A 2 j , 132; A 588, 266—70; A 1046, 48 and pi. 3.

3 8 4

A 3 3 7 , 76; cf. A 588, Appendix c. A 344, 68. Date: A 1 9 , 154. A 344, 32. A 25, 129; A 7 2 , no. I I 17 (A 1 9 , I j 3 - 4 ) . A j 5 1 , 97 n. 4 8 1 . A 2 1 3 0 ; A 7 2 9 , no. 1 9 .

3 8 6

3 8 8

3 8 5

3 8 7

3 8 9

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IN T H E

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noted that most available evidence concerning the southern theatre comes from letters and their chronological vagueness permits many possible interpretations.) Uruk, Kullab, Ur, Kissik, Eridu, and a few other cities seem early to have declared their adherence to Ashurbanipal; but only Uruk seems to have been reinforced with Assyrian troops to the extent that it was never in serious danger from Chaldaean forces and the generally hostile countryside. In fact, Uruk seems to have served as a staging area for Ashurbanipal's forces in the south; and the Assyrian governors of Arrapkha, Lakhiru, and Zame exercised military com­ mands there. Early in the war, the Sealanders and the Puqudu tribe controlled the south and seriously pressed the pro-Assyrians; Eridu, Kullab, and the Gurasimmu tribe eventually defected to the side of Shamash-shuma-ukin. Ur under its governor Sin-tabni-usur found itself in dire straits, but held out against famine and the enemy for at least two years. Eventually a letter was dispatched to Ashurbanipal pleading for troops and warning that the wealth which his ancestors had bestowed on the temple of Sin, patron deity of Ur, would fall into enemy hands. Legal texts found at Ur and dated in 650 and 649 show men selling property rights and a prebend to raise money for food. Ur was subjected to extreme stress, and a damaged letter suggests that Sin-tabniusur may have been forced to submit to Shamash-shuma-ukin before relief came. But, if Ur actually was lost, it was only for a brief period; Assyrian troops eventually arrived with the governor of Uruk to rescue the city. As noted above, the southern theatre of war was dominated at first by tribal forces, especially the Sealanders and the Puqudu. The Sealanders were under the control of Nabu-bel-shumati, a grandson of Merodach-baladan, who was a symbol of anti-Assyrian resistance from early in the revolt until his death five years later. The Sealanders and Puqudu were closely allied with Elam; they drew military support from there, occasionally conducted raids from Elamite bases, and eventually — after the Assyrians had gained the upper hand in southern Babylonia — made Elam their permanent refuge. Nabu-bel-shumati was allied with 390

391

392

393

394

395

396

397

398

399

400

3 9 0

A 5 5 1 , 9 7 n.

483.

3 9 1

A 7 2 , no. 7 5 4 + A 5 7 ; , no. 250; A 7 2 , nos. 543 and 1108. Cf. A 7 2 , no. 1028. J . C. L. Gibson, Textbook ofSyrian Semitic Inscriptions 11 (Oxford, 1975), no. 2 o ( = A 1 5 , n o . 233) may also date from Uruk about this time. A 7 2 , no. 1 2 4 1 + A J 7 5 , no. 1 1 2 . A 7 2 , no. 290; cf. A 7 2 , no. 523 and A 4 9 7 , nos. 129 and 135. A 7 2 , no. 1 2 4 1 + A 5 7 5 , no. 1 1 2 . A 5 5 1 , 98 n. 489. A 7 2 , no. 1 2 7 4 (interpretation uncertain). A 7 2 , no. 7 5 4 + A 5 7 5 , no. 250 (interpretation uncertain). 398 T h e name may at this time designate primarily members of the Chaldaean tribe of Bit-Yakin. A 5 5 1 , 98 n. 492. A 588, chapter 4 section 4; A 7 5 1 , 51. Cf. A 7 2 , nos. 942 and 1241 + A 5 7 ; , no. 1 1 2 . 3 9 2

3 9 3

3 9 4

3 9 5

3 9 6

3 9 7

3 9 9

4 0 0

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four Ekmite kings, Khumban-nikash II, Tammaritu, Indabibi, and Khumban-khaltash III, who ruled in quick succession; the first three of them were deposed in revolts, but each new king sooner or later embraced the tradition of opposition to Assyria. Nabu-bel-shumati seems to have been unusually successful in his anti-Assyrian manoeuvres; the frequent occurrence of his name joined with slanderous epithets in the Assyrian court correspondence indicates not only his crucial role in undermining the Assyrian cause in the south, but also the violent antipathy that he aroused in his opponents. To stem the tide, Ashurbanipal in the middle of the war ( 5 / 1 1 / 6 5 0 ) sent Bel-ibni, the son of a former Babylonian official, as military commander to the Sealand. He struggled bitterly, if not always successfully, against Nabu-belshumati; but, after Assyria had gained the upper hand in the north and had the major cities there under siege, Ashurbanipal's cause came to prevail in the south as well. By the second half of 649, legal documents were being dated under Ashurbanipal in parts of Bit-Amukani and Bit-Dakkuri. We do not know the sequence of events that led to the collapse of the revolt in either the north or the south. Babylon, Borsippa, Cutha, and Sippar continued under siege — Babylon itself for more than two years — with food ever scarcer and plague becoming endemic. During this time, Arab auxiliaries who were serving in Babylon under Abiyate and Ayamu fought their way out of the besieged town, but suffered heavy losses. The last known documents dated under Shamash-shuma-ukin come from Babylon and Borsippa in the summer of 6 4 8 ; within the next few months the northern cities fell and Shamash-shuma-ukin perished in the conflagration at Babylon. Ashurbanipal reimposed his rule over the land and removed the surviving urban population of Cutha and Sippar to the capital city. After the suppression of rebellion in the north in 648, fighting in the south may have continued. Nabu-bel-shumati remained at large until 646; and, although details are far from clear, he seems to have been harassing the Assyrian side either from headquarters in the south east or from refuge in Elam. Elam continued to be a major problem for Assyria. After the defeat and death of Teumman at the hands of the Assyrians in 653, Ashurbanipal had apportioned the rule of Elam between two monarchs, Khumban-nikash II (with capitals at Madaktu and Susa) and Tammaritu I (with his capital at Khaidalu), both exiled princes who had 401

402

403

404

405

3

406

407

408

409

4 0 1

A 344, 60. For the reading of the name as Indabibi (rather than Indabigash), see A 5 5 1 , 101 n. 506. A 7 2 , no. 289. Cf. A 4 9 7 , no. 1 3 9 . A 5 5 1 , 99 n. 499. 4 0 2

4 0 3

4 0 5

4 0 4

A 344, 32. Cf. A 1 9 , 1 5 4 ; A 1 6 2 , no. 34; A 258, 3 5 - 7 ; A 344, 3 6 - 4 0 ; A 353, 3 4 - 6 ; A 563.

4 0 6

A 344, 68; A 1 9 , 1 5 4 - 6 .

4 0 6

Cf. A 5 5 1 , 100 n. 503.

4

4 0 9

7

A 5 5 1 , 100 n. 502.

A 344, 40; cf. A 5 5 1 , 100 n. 504.

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S H A D O W OF

ASSYRIA

been living at the Assyrian court. This division may have further destabilized what was already a highly volatile political environment. Khumban-nikash was overthrown by Tammaritu II, who was in turn dethroned by Indabibi and fled to the Assyrian court. Indabibi was killed and replaced by Khumban-khaltash III. These three revolutions took place in less thanfiveyears; and, as noted above, each new king regardless of previous Assyrian benefactions - came eventually to support the Babylonian rebels against Ashurbanipal. Thus, after reducing the cities of northern Babylonia, Ashurbanipal turned his attention to the next most troublesome region, south-eastern Babylonia and western Elam. Probably in 647 and 646, the Assyrian army conducted at least two campaigns reaching widely into Elam. The first of these punitive expeditions began in Aramaean territory in the eastern borderlands of Babylonia. Several prominent tribal towns there, including Khilimmu and Pillatu, submitted voluntarily rather than face a full-scale Assyrian assault. The Assyrian army then marched to Bit-Imbi, a local capital in western Elam, captured and despoiled it. Khumbankhaltashfledfrom Madaktu into the highlands; and Ashurbanipal set up Tammaritu II again as king in Susa. Tammaritu objected to the plundering of Elam by Assyrian armies and promptly lost his throne. Ashurbanipal claimed to have concluded this campaign with the capture, spoliation, and destruction of most of the major cities of western Elam, including Susa, Madaktu, and Dur-Untash; but, since some of these cities were stillflourishingon the occasion of his next campaign, his scribes may have been indulging in Assyrian narrative licence. In the second campaign, Assyrian troops ranged widely over western Elam, conquering and supposedly devastating extensive areas but never managing to engage in battle with Khumban-khaltash, who once again escaped to the highlands. In his anger, Ashurbanipal decided to make an object lesson of Susa, the venerable political and religious capital. He took up residence there in the royal palace and stripped it of treasure, furniture, vehicles, and animals. He had his soldiers destroy the temples and sanctuaries, pull down the ziggurat, and setfireto the sacred groves reserved for secret rites. The Assyrians took away the cult images of the principal gods and goddesses, their priests and sacred vessels, and the statues of earlier Elamite kings. They also desecrated the tombs of former monarchs: I exposed [them] to the sun and took their bones away to Assyria. I imposed resdessness upon their shades [and] deprived them of food-offerings and of people to pour libations for them. 410

411

412

413

414

4 1 0

4 1 2

4 1 4

A 5 5 1 , IOI П. 506.

4 1 1

A 344,

26, 32—6, 142—4; cf. A 3 1 2 , 4 0 - 4 .

A 3 1 2 , 46; A 344, 4 4 - 6 . Cf. A j J I, IOI П. 508. A 3 1 2 , 56.

4 1 3

A 3 12, 4 4 - 8 ; A 344, 4 О - 6 ; A 7 5 7 .

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THE

GREAT

R E B E L L I O N A N D ITS A F T E R M A T H

59

Ashurbanipal then proceeded to devastate the Elamite plain, destroying cities, deporting the population, and driving off to Assyria the vast flocks of animals that constituted Elam's chief source of wealth. He sowed salt and thorn-bearing plants over thefieldsand returned the land to a primeval state: In a month of days I levelled the whole of Elam. I deprived its fields of the sound of human voices, the tread of cattle and sheep, the refrain of joyous harvest songs. I turned it into a pasture for wild asses, gazelles, and all manner of wild animals. 415

The effect was decisive. Elam was never again a major political power, though Khumban-khaltash and other highland rulers would continue to prove a minor annoyance to Assyria. But, in the short term, Khumban-khaltash in his devastated capital at Madaktu agreed to comply with the wishes of Ashurbanipal and to extradite Nabu-bel-shumati. The latter, preferring to evade the grisly fate accorded most notorious anti-Assyrian leaders, had himself slain by his personal attendant (ki%u). Khumban-khaltash, fearing Ashurbanipal's further displeasure, packed the body in salt and dispatched it to Nineveh. A direct benefit to Babylonia from Ashurbanipal's Elamite campaigns was the return of a statue of the goddess Nanaya from Susa to its original home in Uruk. When the statue had been removed, we do not know; the texts of Ashurbanipal mention that it had been absent for 1,635 years, but suchfiguresare usually exaggerated. After Ashurbanipal's revenge on Elam, the last target of retribution remaining from the days of the Great Rebellion was the dissident Arab tribes in the western desert. In 645 or shortly thereafter, in order to punish these tribes both for their assistance to Shamash-shuma-ukin and for their continuing raids on Assyrian territories (probably on the middle Euphrates and in the neighbourhood of Palmyra), Ashurbanipal launched a lengthy and arduous summer campaign, designed to catch the nomads and their animals in the season when they would have to remain closest to their water supplies. The Assyrians pursued a strategy of quick marches and seizure of critical oases and watering points. Some of the Arab chieftains, notably Abiyate and Ayamu, surrendered. Uaite , chief of the Qedarites, was deposed and handed over to the Assyrians by his own people; and a later campaign resulted in the submission of the Nabayatu. Thus not only were pro-Babylonian actions punished, but the desert frontier was at least temporarily quieted. 416

417

418

419

420

421

3

3

422

4 1 5

4 1 7

4 , 8

4 2 0

A 344, 56—8.

4

1

6

A 3 1 2 , 4 8 - 6 0 ; A 344, 4 6 - 6 0 . Cf. A 5 J I , I02 П. J I 2 .

Perhaps to be identified with Tepe Patak (A 6 7 9 , 174). A 344, 6 0 - 2 ; cf. A 5 5 1 , 103 n. 5 1 4 . A 3 1 2 , 58; A 344, 58. 4 1 9

Date: A 1 9 , 1 5 7 .

4 2 1

A 1 9 , 1 5 7 - 6 5 ; A 344, 6 4 - 8 0 .

4

2

2

Cf. A 7 2 , no. 1 1 1 7 .

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

6o

21.

BABYLONIA

IN

THE

SHADOW

OF

ASSYRIA

Thus the Great Rebellion and its aftermath occupied the Assyrians for at least seven years, and the Assyrian royal inscriptions record no great campaign conducted thereafter by the imperial armies. Although Assyria had succeeded in recapturing Babylonia and in disciplining Babylonia's allies on both the Elamite plain and the Arabian desert, these actions had entailed disproportionate expenditures of time, manpower, and financial resources. Assyria had reasserted its hegemony; but the empire had declined in both power and geographical extent, and the long-drawn-out struggle had highlighted Assyrian vulnerability. More serious was the fact that, in decimating Elam, Ashurbanipal had removed a buffer state which had insulated Assyria from strong tribal groups in the Iranian interior. The next enemies of the empire who arose in south-west Iran and southern Babylonia would be more formidable and would not repeat their predecessors' mistakes. 423

VII.

KANDALANU

AND

THE

DECLINE

OF

ASSYRIAN

POWER,

647-626 B.C.

The two decades of the reign of Kandalanu ( 6 4 7 - 6 2 7 ) mark a period of relative quiet in Babylonia between two major anti-Assyrian upheavals. During the early years of this time, probably before 640, Ashurbanipal's armies were occupied in settling scores with the principal foreign supporters of Shamash-shuma-ukin's rebellion, that is the Elamites and Arabs. For the later years there were no major military campaigns recorded by Assyria; and this silence has generally been interpreted as indicating a decline in Assyrian strength. The history of Babylonia during this time must at present be reconstructed almost entirely from economic texts (administrative and legal); very little is known about political history. Kandalanu himself is practically unknown. Although he presided over Babylonia for twenty-one years at a time when the country fully regained its economic strength, his name is known only from chronolo­ gical texts (king lists and a chronicle) and from date formulae in documents referring to his reign. There is no contemporary evidence about his origin or about any action that he took as king. Because he is such a shadowy figure and because he and Ashurbanipal seem to have died in the same year (6 2 7 ) , it has sometimes been suggested that 'Kandalanu' is simply a throne name for Ashurbanipal. This hypothe424

425

426

427

428

4 2 9

430

4 2 3

Cf. A 5 J I, IO4 n. j 19.

4 2 4

T h e s e c a m p a i g n s are discussed in S e c t i o n V I a b o v e .

4 2 5

T h e p e r i o d h a s b e e n treated in detail in A 588, 1 6 8 - 8 2 .

4 2 7

A 25, 132.

4 3 0

O r e v e n t h a t K a n d a l a n u w a s a statue that represented A s h u r b a n i p a l at t h e N e w Y e a r ' s festival

4

2

8

A 5 5 1 , IOJ n. 5 2 j .

4

2

9

4

2

6

A 546, 368.

A s 5 1 , 106 n. 5 2 7 .

(A 3 9 3 . ')•

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

KANDALANU

AND ASSYRIAN

6l

DECLINE

sis, however, has little to recommend it. Other alleged cases of Assyrian kings bearing Babylonian throne names have been shown to be spuri­ ous. Furthermore, there seems little reason, if Kandalanu and Ashurbanipal were identical, to preserve two entirely different systems of chronological reckoning for one and the same king (dating at Nippur under the name Ashurbanipal with a reign officially beginning in 668 and elsewhere in Babylonia under the name Kandalanu with a reign starting in 647). Kandalanu was appointed to the Babylonian throne by Ashurbanipal probably within a year after the suppression of the revolt of Shamashshuma-ukin. It appears, however, that Babylonia was only gradually placed in his charge. Babylon itself was under his control by 6 / X / 6 4 7 and Uruk by /vn/646; but at some cities in the heartland of north-west Babylonia texts were still being dated under Ashurbanipal in Kandalanu's first and second regnal years: at Borsippa as late as 1 8 / 1 X / 6 4 7 and at Dilbat on 2 9 / 1 / 6 4 6 . After 646, only Nippur remained under the explicit control of Ashurbanipal, and elsewhere texts were uniformly dated under Kandalanu. The opening years of Kandalanu's reign saw Babylonia only slowly recovering from the effects of the Great Rebellion. Economic activity for hisfirstfiveyears dropped back to the level of some twenty-five years earlier. As for the rehabilitation of the Babylonian civil administ­ ration, Ashurbanipal stated: 'I imposed upon them [the people of Babylonia] the yoke of the god Ashur which they had cast off; I established over them governors [lakniiti] and officials [qipani] whom I had selected' - with no explicit mention of the installation of Kandalanu. In the south, Kudurru served as governor at Uruk after the revolt; and Bel-ibni continued his activity in the Sealand, which included raids against Elam. Elam also served as a refuge for fugitive Babylonians and Chaldaeans from Uruk, Nippur, Larak, Bit-Dakkuri, and Bit-Amukani, those who had withheld taxes from Ashurbanipal during the rebellion and later fled into exile; many of these people were eventually captured on the Assyrian campaigns into Elam and then taken off to Assyria. Nippur, the most persistently rebellious of the Babylo­ nian cities from 680 to 651, was kept under direct Assyrian supervision, perhaps as a garrison town strategically located in central Babylonia. By 642 economic activity had returned to its former pace before the 431

432

11

433

434

435

436

437

438

439

440

4 3 1

4 3 3

4 3 4

4 3 5

4 3 6

4 3 8

4 3 9

A 53s, 6 1 - 2 .

4 3 2

A 5 5 1 , 106 n. 530.

A 646, 321 (now published in A 66-ja, no. 399); A 9 5 7 , no. 13. For Ur, see A 5 5 1 , 1 0 6 - 7 - S 3 I.e., the last few years of Esarhaddon's reign. Cf. A 553, 1 9 , 39-40; A * 344. 4 ° - Cf. A 3 ) i , 107 n. 534. A 5 5 1 , 107 n. 535. E.g., A 7 2 , no. 280; cf. A 7 2 , no. 462 (A 588, 178 n. 1). A 258, 59 (text damaged); A 588, 1 7 5 - 6 . A 588, 169. n

2

553A,

4 3 7

4 4 0

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

99-101.

21.

B A B Y L O N I A IN T H E S H A D O W O F A S S Y R I A

Rebellion. It then remained at a high level throughout the rest of Kandalanu's term in office. More than 200 dated economic texts are known from this reign, representing the heaviest concentration (texts per year) for any Babylonian king since the thirteenth century. Almost half of these texts (48 per cent) come from the principal cities in the north west: Babylon, Borsippa, Sippar, Dilbat, and Khursagkalama. In the far south Uruk is well represented in the first six years of the reign (28 per cent of the texts from 647 to 642), but then declines drastically (only 6 per cent of the texts from the whole reign). The texts embrace a wide range of activities; but livestock accounts (especially for sheep and goats), purchases of real estate, and promissory notes are most common. Particularly noteworthy are accounts dealing with oil and with iron (especially large quantities of iron, which was sometimes imported from Cilicia), and purchases of prebends. The only traces of active Assyrian intervention in the land are in Ashurbanipal's building activities at the religious centres of Babylon, Borsippa, Cutha, Nippur, and Sirara. Events at the close of Kandalanu's reign show Assyria rapidly losing control over Babylonia. In 627, Kandalanu died at some point between 8/111 and i( + )/ viii. Ashurbanipal may have died in the same year, according to evidence from the next century. About the same time as Kandalanu's death, civil disorder broke out in Babylon; and the Assyrian Sin-sharra-ishkun, who was later to govern parts of Babylonia, fled to Assyria. The Assyrian army subsequently entered the city of Shaznaku and set fire to its temple ( 1 2 / V 1 / 6 2 7 ) ; for protection, the gods of Kish were sent to Babylon. In vn/627, an Assyrian army forced Nabopolassar, the new Babylonian leader, to withdraw from Nippur and pursued him as far as Uruk, but was itself then compelled to retreat. The situation was clearly unstable. The year 626 saw further upheaval. Even in later historical tradition there was no agreement as to who was even nominally in control of the land. A Seleucid king list records that in this year the government of Babylonia was in the hands of two Assyrians, Sin-shumu-lishir and Sinsharra-ishkun; but a Babylonian chronicle refers to 626 as 'the first year in which there was no king in the land'. Early in the year (11/626), an Assyrian army came down to Babylonia and five months later attacked Babylon itself. In contrast to earlier occasions on which Babylon had first been besieged and later overwhelmed by the Assyrians, the men of Babylon sallied forth and plundered the Assyrian army. In the next 441

442

443

444

445

446

447

448

449

4 4 1

4 4 2

4 4 3

4 4 5

4 4 7

Cf. A 5 ; i, 108 n. J40. The accidents of discovery may significantly influence these statistics. A 5s 1, 108 n. 543. A 5 5 1 , 108 n. 544. Cf. A 5 s 1, 108 n. 545. For this dating, see A 5 5 1 , 109 n. 546. Cf. A 5 5 1 , 109 n. 5 4 7 . Cf. A 5 5 1 , 109 n. 548. A JJI, n o n. 550. 4 4 4

4 4 6

4 4 8

4 4 9

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SOURCES

month ( 2 6 / V H 1 / 6 2 6 ) , Nabopolassar officially mounted the throne in Babylon, inaugurating a new era. It is unfortunate that these decades, 6 4 7 - 6 2 7 , immediately antedating the rise of the Neo-Babylonian empire in Mesopotamia, are not better attested. It is clear that Babylonia's economy quickly recovered from the effects of the civil war; but Babylonia's king, Kandalanu, is at present known only as a name in dating formulae or in chronological docu­ ments. We cannot as yet appraise the factors which shaped the course of Babylonian history during this time. We do not know whether the economic recovery took place under stricter Assyrian occupation or whether stability was achieved because urban Babylonians and Chaldaeans temporarily abandoned their unsuccessful struggle for indepen­ dence and acquiesced in Assyrian rule; and there are obviously other alternatives that might be considered. The silence of the sources permits myriad interpretations. 450

VIII.

NOTE ON S O U R C E S

For the history of Babylonia between 747 and 626 B.C. there is a broad range of epigraphic and archaeological evidence and, in some parts of the documentary record, significant amounts of extant material. But, as is common in Mesopotamian studies, much of this evidence remains unpublished; and there has been little critical appraisal of either the published or unpublished sources. Thus the historian is faced with substantial data, almost all in very raw form; much basic research has yet to be done before the full potential of this material can begin to be realized. The following pages present a brief survey of the major types of sources, written and non-written, pertaining to this period. No attempt has been made at bibliographical completeness, which would expand this chapter well beyond the desired scope. We shall begin with the most illuminating and also the most voluminous of the written materials, the correspondence of the Assyrian court. In the imperial archives at Calah and Nineveh, more than 3,200 documents have been found which date between 735 and 645 B.C.; and a substantial portion of this material deals with affairs in Babylonia: reports from local officials on events of political or diplomatic signifi­ cance, requests for economic or military aid, and comments on the unpopularity of the Assyrian regime, to name a few topics. The letters are not spread evenly over this period, but are concentrated principally in three phases (in 720—717 and 713—705 under Sargon II and in 673—664 4 5 0

To be discussed in Chapter 25 below. For Nabopolassar's supposed Chaldaean origin, see A J5I, I 10-11 n. 5 5 1 .

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21.

BABYLONIA

IN T H E S H A D O W

OF A S S Y R I A

under Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal) with sparser coverage of certain years under Tiglath-pileser III ( 7 3 5 - 7 2 7 ) and Ashurbanipal ( 6 5 5 645). Of particular significance is the dearth of letters under Senna­ cherib (705—681) and late in the reign of Ashurbanipal (645—627), since this skews the source materials available for these decades. The extensive court correspondence furnishes insights into the inner work­ ings of the administrative system of the Assyrian empire and, apart from occasional self-serving statements by officials, gives a private, nonpropagandistic view of Assyrian successes and failures. These letters contain a wealth of incidental detail on life in Babylonia: tribal disputes, irrigation problems, regional rivalries, the rhythm of the economy. But there are serious difficulties in using these archives: (1) many of the tablets containing the letters are broken or heavily damaged; (2) their language tends to be highly idiomatic and is therefore not always readily comprehensible; (3) the historical context of the message is often unclear, since a writer seldom rehearses well-known background for his correspondent; and (4) the date of each document must usually be inferred (less than ten of the letters are explicitly dated). There are few letters from this period which were found in Babylonia itself, and only two of these have been plausibly dated to the early seventh century. Also to be placed here is the so-called Ashur Ostracon, a letter written in Aramaic and found at Ashur, which was sent as a report from southern Babylonia about the middle of the seventh century. Another significant corpus of material is the scattered group of more than six hundred indigenous economic texts (legal and administrative) dating from between 747 and 626. More than 60 per cent of these documents come from the major urban centres of Sippar, Babylon, Borsippa, Dilbat, Nippur, and Uruk, which have been subjected to controlled and uncontrolled excavations. Most of the texts are legal documents, and they are concerned principally with financial trans­ actions or with income-producing property: purchases of land (agricul­ tural and urban), loans, and acquisition of prebends. There are various types of account texts, many of them dealing with herds of sheep or cattle, allocation of foodstuffs, or disbursem*nt of metal (silver, gold, and iron). Of particular interest for future study will be two common features of legal texts: the witness lists with their individual genealogies and the detailed descriptions of real estate (house plots,fields,and date451

452

453

454

455

456

4 5 1

See the chart in A 7 6 , 136 for the Assyrian material. The distribution of comparable Babylonian letters conforms to the same general pattern. The years from 664 to 655 are only slightly represented. Bibliography of letters found in Assyria: A 5 51, 113 n. 5; 2. A 5 5 1 , 1 1 4 n. 5 56. J . C. L. Gibson, Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions 11, no. 20 ( = A 15, no. 233). Cf. A 5 5 1 , 115 n. 5 5 8 . 4 5 2

4 5 3

4 5 4

4 5 3

4 5 6

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

SOURCES

palm groves). As yet, only about one-third of these texts have been published in any form, and no systematic attempt has been made to utilize them for historical purposes. These documents should prove a mine of information for researchers interested in demography, social institutions, economic history, and even ancient technology. Also of considerable interest is the extensive corpus of Assyrian royal inscriptions, which contain detailed accounts of the Babylonian campaigns of Tiglath-pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, and Ashurbanipal. The Assyrian scribes recorded much information that is invaluable to the modern historian — details about the topography, flora, fauna, and social and economic institutions of the inhabitants. If one prescinds from the tendentious style glorifying the Assyrian monarchy and military, one quickly strikes a core of usable data. For example, statistics given by these texts for people deported to various parts of the empire are among the few numbers available for Babylonian and tribal populations, even though they are difficult to use critically. The figures seem uniformly too high, probably because greater magnitude was perceived as ideologically desirable. Babylonian royal inscriptions are a much smaller and duller lot. There are a few short texts written in the name of Merodach-baladan II and Shamash-shuma-ukin; but, except for a veiled reference to an Assyrian military reversal in 720, most of the texts are either conventional expressions of pious sentiments or laconic records of repair to religious structures. Inscriptions written by or for local officials or dignitaries present a more interesting and variegated picture. From the reign of Nabonassar there is a text written in the name of two private individuals who describe how they repaired the Akitu temple at Uruk because this duty had been neglected by those responsible (the king and local officials). Three decades later, a governor of Kish recorded his construction of a bridge over the principal local waterway (the Banitu canal). Toward the close of the eighth century, a local temple official restored plundered statues of the gods to the town of Sha-usur-Adad and secured tax exemptions from Bel-ibni, the reigning monarch. From Ur about 665 — 650 date several monumental building inscriptions in the name of the local governor Sin-balassu-iqbi as well as a votive text of his brother and successor, Sin-sharra-usur. Contemporary texts of at least incidental value include formal omen inquiries from the Assyrian court, soliciting information from the gods 457

458

459

460

461

462

463

464

4 5 7

4 5 8

A Y >

4 6 1

4 6 3

Bibliography of these texts: A j 5 3, A 5 5 3 A. For technology, see A ; 5 ZB. A 35; A 185; A 204; A 226; A 234; A 270; A 3 1 2 ; A 3 1 3 ; A 337; A 344; A 663. A 3 5 1 , 1 1 6 , n. 5 6 1 . « ° A 536, with duplicates noted there. Latest edition: A 7 7 1 , no. 7 5 . A 7 7 3 , no. 1 (cf. A 353, 15 En. 1). A 393, nos. 168-83; A 744, no. 102. Bibliography: A 5 j 1, 1 1 7 n. 566. 4 6 2

4 6 4

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

66

21.

BABYLONIA

IN

THE

SHADOW

OF

ASSYRIA

465

on how current crises were to be resolved. Also of interest are scholarly texts, including lexical series (Erimkhush), a compendium listing flora associated with Merodach-baladan's garden (gannatu), and prayers and rituals written down in the time of Shamash-shuma-ukin; these represent various scribal traditions thatflourishedin this period. In addition there are passing references to Babylonia and its inhabitants in contemporary economic texts in Assyria; these have yet to be systemati­ cally collected and evaluated. Providing an essential chronological framework for the overall historical picture are the king lists and chronicles, which are concerned primarily with chronology and with military and religious event-history. The king lists, Babylonian and Assyrian, give the names and sequence of monarchs who ruled during this period and sometimes their lengths of reign. The heterogeneous Babylonian chronicles furnish an indispens­ able chronological listing of the beginnings and ends of reigns for kings in Babylonia, Elam, and Assyria, especially for the years from 747 to 668; they also mention and often date major events of political or religious significance. The Assyrian Eponym Chronicles record the destination of the principal annual campaigns of the Assyrian army between 747 and 699 (with some lacunae) and give supplementary details for the years 7 4 5 , 7 2 9 - 7 2 8 , 710—709, 707, 704, and 7 0 0 . Additional chronological information is provided by other texts: an astronomical diary and nineteen-year cycle texts, astronomical records including later refer­ and the so-called 'Ptolemaic Canon' ences in Ptolemy's Almagest* (which includes a list of Babylonian monarchs and the lengths of their reigns, beginning with Nabonassar). Later texts of interest include sections from the writings of the Hellenistic historian Berossos, from Biblical books, and from Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews.* These late traditions are frequently garbled and sometimes difficult to interpret chronologically. They add incidental details to the historical picture, but must be used with considerable caution. Turning now to the extensive non-epigraphic materials, we note first the regional evidence reconstructed from surface surveys: location of watercourses and settlements, urban and village hierarchies, and syn­ chronic and diachronic patterns of expansion and abandonment. For 466

467

468

469

470

471

11

473

474

475

16

477

4 6 5

A 497.

4 6 1

A 607, nos. 3.3, 3 . 5 , 3 . 1 2 , 3.17.

4 6 6

4 6 9

A 763, 428-3).

A ; 32, 48 under 4 4 . 3 . 5 ; see also A 5 J i, 89 nn. 4 3 9 - 4 0 . 4 7 0

4 6 8

A 25, nos. 1, 2, 1 4 - 1 6 .

A 1046, pi. 3.

4 7 1

E.g., BM 33809, mentioned in A 588, 19—20.

4 7 2

A 1045, nos. 1 4 1 4 - 1 8 (and possibly 1 4 1 3 ) ; cf. A 5 5 1 , 89 n. 4 4 1 . A 7 7 2 . Almagest: A 6 7 5 ; A 1049.

4 7 3

A 770, 304-6.

4 7 5

II K i . 1 7 : 2 4 and 20:12—21; II Chron. 32:31 (cf. 3 3 : 1 1 ) ; Is. 3 9 : 1 - 8 ; Ezra 4:9—10.

4 7 6

ix.xiv.3; x.ii.2. For additional late texts, see A 5 5 1 , 1 1 8 - 1 9 - 5

4 7 7

A5

4 7 4

FCrH680

(A 7; A 7 3 5 ) . n

I t;

8

2

A

A

74S -

A 5 1 2 ; A 5 1 3 ; A 5 14; A 568; A 597; A 783. Cf. A 625; A 7 2 6 .

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

S O U R C E S

the lower Diyala basin and the ribbon of settlement extending along the older course of the Euphrates from just above Nippur down to Ur, we now have preliminary statistics for a local history of urbanism. Excavations at Babylon, Kish-Khursagkalama, Nippur, Uruk, and Ur, as well as in the Hamrin, have revealed monumental buildings and residences in use in this period; but, except at Ur in the massive reconstruction undertaken by Sin-balassu-iqbi, there are few of these buildings which can be seen to have originated - rather than simply to have been repaired — at this time. In most instances, we know more about major building projects from inscriptions than we do from excavations. The material culture of this age, whether reconstructed from archaeological evidence or from texts, has not been seriously studied and remains a prime area for future research. A satisfactory typology for the pottery of eighth- and seventh-century Babylonia has yet to be worked out, though there seem to be distinctive ceramic remains from this time, including vessels in use at Nippur which have decoration akin to Assyrian palace ware. We note also Porada's pioneering typology of early Neo-Babylonian glyptic, although in this regard studies of seals and seal impressions from stratified excavations will remain an essential desideratum. It will be of particular importance to determine possible cultural influences between contemporary Babylonian and Assyrian art styles, as well as between Babylonian and Elamite art. Another archaeological area of high potential interest is the use of wall reliefs from Assyrian palaces as pictorial sources for Babylonian history. The systematic interpretation of Assyrian reliefs as historical evidence is in its infancy. The most recent detailed study of the portrayal of nonAssyrians in the reliefs unfortunately excluded Babylonians (including Aramaeans and Chaldaeans) and Elamites from consideration. It is to be regretted that primary publications of Assyrian reliefs have on occasion been insufficiently critical in identifying specific historical persons and places in particular scenes. This area of research is still underdeveloped, but with improving methodology one may anticipate significant advances in historical and ideological interpretation. This brief survey has outlined the principal indigenous and external sources, epigraphic and archaeological, that are presently available for the history of Babylonia from 747 to 626 B . C . It is important that we be 478

479

480

481

482

483

484

485

486

4 7 8

Summarized in A 534, 2 4 9 - 5 1 ; A 537,

336-42.

4 7 9

48

Bibliography in A 5 5 1 , 119—20 n. 586. ° Cf. A 5 5 1 , 120 n. 587. A 5 5 1 , i 2 o n . 588. « A 713. C f . A6OI. Note the preliminary comments in A 680. The archaeological material from this period in Babylonia is discussed in more detail in A 5 ¡ 1, 1 1 9 - 2 1 . A 155. 4 8 1

4 8 3

4 8 4

4 8 6

A I I 5 ; A I l 6 ; A II7; A I l 8 ; A 126; A 1 2 7 ; A I 3 2 ; A 133; A I 3 5 ; A I 4 7 ; A 1 5 3 . Cf. A I 36,

Bagh. Milt. 10 ( 1 9 7 9 ) , 1 7 - 4 9 , 5 2 - 1 1 0 ; and

11 ( 1 9 8 0 ) 7 1 - 8 7 .

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68

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IN

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S H A D O W OF

ASSYRIA

aware of inevitable distortions in the material. First, the bulk of the textual sources (correspondence and royal inscriptions) originates in the Assyrian or Assyrian-dominated bureaucracy. The letters reflect the interests of that bureaucracy and tend to be obscure to the modern reader (because of background obvious to the correspondents and thus unexpressed); the royal texts are intended primarily to glorify the achievements of the ruler, and literal truth is on occasion sacrificed to ideological preferences. Second, the native Babylonian source material is composed principally of legal and administrative documents, concerned chiefly with property rights of the urban population and with temple offices, especially in the north-west alluvium; non-economic and rural affairs are seriously underrepresented. In the archaeological surveys, the bias is reversed; and well-known areas tend to be rural and along the old bed of the Euphrates and in the lower Diyala. The extent of urban centres such as Nippur and Uruk in this period is very poorly known, and the main band of settlements and larger cities along the contempor­ ary course of the Euphrates has barely been touched. Excavations, however, have concentrated on cities and their public edifices; little is known of smaller sites or even of residential quarters within the larger centres. The presently available source material is rich, and much work remains to be done on relatively untapped data. But it is also desirable that future fieldwork be directed to redressing current biases in the distribution of sources: to seek out more Babylonian native materials — textual as well as archaeological — in rural areas and in urban residential quarters; and to extend survey coverage to deal effectively with larger towns and cities and with settlements along the contemporary Euphrates and in north-eastern and south-eastern Babylonia. IX.

CONCLUSION

This chapter has presented a survey of Babylonian history over the turbulent decades between 747 and 626 B.C., from the beginning of the reign of Nabonassar to the accession of Nabopolassar. These years saw the transformation and revitalization of Babylonia on many levels — demographic, political, socio-economic, and cultural - despite almost constant pressure from the Late Assyrian empire. Although critical appraisal of the voluminous source materials is still at a primitive stage, it may be useful to offer here a provisional synthesis of presently observ­ able trends, if for no other reason than to help formulate questions which should be asked as research progresses. Babylonia in the mid-eighth century was underpopulated, impover­ ished, and politically fragmented. Disruption caused by its uncontrolled tribal populations soon attracted Assyrian military intervention; but Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

CONCLUSION

occasional Assyrian repression of the tribes did not suffice to stabilize the land, and Assyria was eventually drawn into direct administration of the Babylonian government. This brought Assyria into almost continual conflict with the Chaldaeans, who over a period of four decades (732— 689) alternated with Assyria in control of the Babylonian monarchy. Against the constant threat of Assyrian domination, the Chaldaeans forged far-reaching internal and external alliances, uniting previously discordant tribesmen (Aramaeans as well as Chaldaeans) and the nontribal populations of Babylonia in a common anti-Assyrian movement and joining to them their eastern and western neighbours, the Elamites and Arabs. This transformation of anti-Assyrian elements within Baby­ lonia into a political coalition was to provide the effective power base for the later Neo-Babylonian state after 626 B.C. The political dimension, however, was only one aspect of Babylonia's growth during these decades. Paradoxically, despite frequent disrup­ tions by war and the damage wrought on cities and countryside, there are hints that Babylonia generally prospered, both economically and cultur­ ally. With the stabilizing of the monarchy after 689 under Assyrian aegis, the rise in the volume offinancialtransactions and the monumental building projects betoken a strengthening of the Babylonian economy. Despite occasional military interruptions, Babylonian agriculture, live­ stock-raising, and international trade seem to have thrived, and it is likely that the alliances with Elam and the Arabs brought commercial advantages as well. As population density increased, urbanites whose social organization had previously centred on the family gradually aligned themselves into broader kin-based groups that achieved more effective economic and political recognition. Urban centres, though vulnerable to Assyrian devastation and deportation, nonetheless boasted cosmopolitan populations with upper strata of considerable wealth and prestige; and, even after depopulation, the number of residents seems to have been quickly replenished, perhaps by implosion from the hinter­ lands. The culturalflorescenceof the land in both science and literature continued a long scholarly tradition that was not impaired by the rise of Aramaic as the vernacular. Babylonia in 626, on the eve of the NeoBabylonian empire, had not only achieved political unity, but had reached a stage of socio-economic and cultural development that could benefit from territorial expansion and augmented international horizons. Nonetheless there are other significant factors in the history of these decades that we are as yet unable to assess, given the present state of research. In a land where the ecological balance was fragile, the vagaries of climate and demography, still so seldom examined, would have had a profound impact. The shifting status of basic topography - wandering Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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rivers, seasonal marshes, and migratory dunes - must have significantly affected the population. We also know little about the essential features of the rural landscape: its inhabitants, their society and mode of life, their relation to the land, and the precariousness of urban authority in the countryside. We are ill informed about even the more prominent tribes among the Chaldaeans and Aramaeans, their social (or socio-political) structure, their economy, their internal development and change under pressure of Assyrian political power, much less their culture or their inter-relations with the older Babylonian population. Much remains to be investigated about the urban population: their cultural and economic status, their living conditions, their lack of involvement in politics, their gradual reorientation from small family units to larger kin-based groups that would gain them more effective recognition in a world dominated by tribes and Assyrians. We should also take into consideration local history and urban particularism, exemplified in such features as the Babylon—Uruk rivalry. In addition, Babylonia itself should be scruti­ nized as a national state; it does not seem to have been a 'well-defined territorial polity' and it seems to have lacked internal cohesion for much of the period under consideration. One may at least begin to look forward to holistic historical treatment for both Babylonia and the Assyrian empire, a treatment that will integrate intellectual and cultural history into the political, social, and economic dimensions of the presently available presentations. It is plain that much work remains to be done on many levels and on topics other than those adumbrated here. Finally, the role of Assyria as catalyst in the eighth- and seventhcentury transformation of Babylonia should not be underestimated. Anti-Assyrianism provided a rallying cry for the heterogeneous Babylo­ nian populations and stimulated political unity. Assyrian governance in Babylonia eventually strengthened the local monarchy and, especially after 689, created a climate for economic prosperity. But in its Babylo­ nian involvement, the Assyrian empire revealed its own weaknesses and especially the ineffectiveness of its methods for controlling territories that it had won by aggression. The political drama in seventh-century Babylonia highlighted Assyrian inability to effect long-term consoli­ dation of political gains and demonstrated why massive military expen­ diture would not suffice to keep the empire intact. Despite geographical proximity and strong cultural ties, Assyria with all its armed might could not achieve lasting political control over Babylonia. The history of these decades illustrates the rise of Babylonia to the threshold of its greatest political successes and the paradoxical role of Assyria in facilitating that rise.

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CHAPTER 22 A S S Y R I A : T I G L A T H - P I L E S E R III T O S A R G O N II (744-705 B.C.)

A.

K.

GRAYSON

The rebirth of the Assyrian empire after the dark days of 'the Interval' is the main theme during the period covered by this chapter. Tiglathpileser III devoted his entire career to fighting on foreign campaigns and, after a brief interlude under Shalmaneser V, Tiglath-pileser's mantle fell upon Sargon II, who not only continued the extensive offensive but also began to find time for non-military matters. By the end of the era with which this chapter is concerned the Assyrian empire had become the largest political power the world had ever seen, and the conquest of Egypt was a tantalizing possibility. I. T I G L A T H - P I L E S E R

1 1 1 (744—727 B . C . )

The eclipse of Assyria during the Interval came to an end with the accession of Tiglath-pileser III, who achieved his goal of restoring Assyrian fortunes by a series of campaigns of exceptional intensity; the west was reconquered, Urartu was intimidated, and the Babylonian crown was placed on the Assyrian king's head. Sources for the reign are more numerous than for the preceding decades and consist of royal inscriptions, chronographic texts, letters, legal and administrative documents, and sculptured reliefs found at Calah (below, pp. 8 3-4). The annals of Tiglath-pileser are in a very bad state of preservation and there are many problems and gaps in our knowledge, although a study being prepared by Tadmor is making great strides forward with this material. A curious feature of the chronology is that Tiglath-pileser's annalists numbered the years of his reign (paid) according to his campaigns, and 1

2

3

4

5

1

For a detailed although dated history of the reign see A I 5 6. For the moment cf. A 2 1 2 . The royal inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III are being edited by H. Tadmor and I wish to thank Professor Tadmor for allowing me to read a preliminary manuscript of his work while writing this chapter. Unfortunately, until his corpus is published one must use the unsatisfactory work by P. Rost, A 204. In this chapter, reference to Tiglath-pileser Ill's royal inscriptions will normally be made to the translations in A 3;. Further bibliography will be found in A 25, 248, to which add A 1 1 6 , A 179, A 1 8 3 , and A 199; see also A 5 under relevant authors. For all references see A 25, 248f. Also note the Eponym Chronicles O 1 and 0 3 (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 0 - 2 ) . 2

3

4

1

See A 7 2 - 8 8 .

5

See A 8 9 - 1 0 9 .

71

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Map 2. Assyria and its neighbours.

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TIGLATH-PILESER

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thus the first paid is actually his accession year, since he campaigned in Babylonia that year. Tiglath-pileser bore a second name, Pulu (Pul in the Bible), which may have been a hypocorism derived from the second element of his name. The old assumption that Pulu was his name as king of Babylonia is not valid. 6

i.

The

accession

Tiglath-pileser III came to the throne as a result of revolution: the Eponym Chronicle for 746 states that there was rebellion in Calah and two months later ( 1 1 / 7 4 5 ) Tiglath-pileser became king. No details are available regarding these events, but it is of interest that there is some doubt about the king's origins. Most significant is the fact that there are two conflicting witnesses as to his parentage. On an inscribed brick from Ashur, Tiglath-pileser records that he is the 'son of Adad-nirari, king of Assyria', and this can only be Adad-nirari III. The other witness is one exemplar, the latest in date, of the Assyrian king list in which Tiglathpileser III appears and is said to be the 'son of Ashur-nirari', clearly the fifth king of this name who was Tiglath-pileser Ill's immediate pre­ decessor. There are two possible solutions to the contradiction: either it is a matter of scribal error, or it is deliberate misrepresentation. If it is only scribal error, then almost certainly the Assyrian king list is at fault, for it is unlikely that one of Tiglath-pileser's own scribes would be so careless. Assuming so much, Tiglath-pileser III would be the son of Adad-nirari III and a brother of Ashur-nirari V, his immediate pre­ decessor. This is chronologically feasible; if Tiglath-pileser had been born towards the end of Adad-nirari Ill's reign, he would have been in his early forties when he ascended the throne and about sixty when he died. It is not necessary to postulate that 'son of means 'grandson o f or even 'descendant o f in this case. The assumed error in the Assyrian king list involves only one cuneiform sign (either 'son' instead of the correct 'brother', or 'Ashur' instead of the correct 'Adad'). Scribal error does not, however, fully explain some other phenomena. Thus one must consider the alternative solution, deliberate misrepresen­ tation. It is a curious fact that there is not a single royal inscription, apart from the brick quoted earlier, in which the name of Tiglath-pileser Ill's father is given. One questions why this brick inscription should be unique and whether its testimony is valid. Moreover, if the royal inscriptions were totally silent as to Tiglath-pileser's parentage, this would be suspicious enough, but the fact is alluded to in an unusual way. The epithet 'offspring of Baltil' (an ancient quarter of the city Ashur) first 7

8

9

6

9

8

See A 535, 6if. ' O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 430). A 3j 1, 822, 1. Assyrian King List iv, 24f. (A 607, §3 King List 9, §76).

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appears in the royal epithets of Tiglath-pileser III, and one wonders why Tiglath-pileser makes such an amorphous claim to ancient Assyrian lineage rather than a specific statement of his parentage. The evidence of the Assyrian king list can also be called in question. This document portrays the descent of Assyrian sovereignty within a single dynastic line and rarely recognizes, particularly in the later period, any disruption in this line. While one cannot prove that such a portrayal is false at any point, it remains dubious. In sum, there is good reason to question whether Tiglath-pileser was in the direct royal line, and there is reason to believe that he was a usurper who took advantage of the chaotic times to stage a coup d'etat and win the Assyrian crown for himself. 10

2 . The war with

Urartu

The major foreign power with which Tiglath-pileser III had to contend was the kingdom of Urartu, which, during the years preceding this reign, had grown at Assyria's expense to be the greatest state in south­ west Asia. Tiglath-pileser's reassertion of Assyrian imperialism meant direct confrontation with the young kingdom. The conflict took place both in the north and in the west, for Urartu had expanded westward into the Taurus range and the region of the upper Euphrates. Tiglathpileser regarded the kingdoms and peoples in these areas as belonging to the Assyrian empire, although they, through lack of Assyrian presence, had long since changed their political ties. Arpad (Bit-Agusi), once a vassal state of Adad-nirari III and a treaty partner with Ashur-nirari V, was independent; Gurgum, once friendly to Assyria or at least to the Assyrian king's representative, Shamash-ili, was now anti-Assyrian; Kummukhu had recently become a vassal state of Urartu, but it is uncertain if Carchemish suffered the same fate; and even the various peoples along the middle Euphrates were lost to the central monarchy. There is no information about how Tiglath-pileser regained control over the middle Euphrates, but one may assume that he was unopposed in his march through this region, and that the inhabitants more or less automatically resumed their dependent status. Thefirstresistance, according to the extant sources, was led by Arpad. Mati'el of Arpad had organized an anti-Assyrian alliance consisting of himself, Sarduri III of Urartu, Sulumal of Melid, Tarkhulara of Gur­ gum, and Kushtashpi of Kummukhu. It was this formidable coalition which Tiglath-pileser III faced when he invaded the area in 7 4 3 . The 11

12

1 0

See A 5 1 , 2 2 5 ; A 1 8 3 , 1 6 i 23; cf. A 4 1 7 , 2 7 . See A 2 1 0 , 2 4 0 and the bibliography there. Also cf. A 1 7 7 , 7 2 f (Carchemish) and 8 0 (Kummukhu); САН i n , i, 4o6f. 11

2

1 2

О 1 (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 0 , and cf. A 2 1 0 , 2 5 2 - 4 ) ; A 33 1 , § § 7 6 9 , 7 8 5 , 7 9 7 , 8 1 3 , 8 2 1 ; A 1 1 6 , xx-xxiv and pis. 2

XLV-LV, LVIII-LIX, LXIV-LXVII. Cf. A 2 1 0 , 2 3 9 - 5 8 , A I 7 7 and САН III .1, 4 1 0 ; A I 5 7 .

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major battle was fought with the Urartian army, led personally by Sarduri, in Kummukhu. Assyria won the day and the Urartian king fled the battlefield. Tiglath-pileser proceeded to Gurgum, subdued it, accepted the tribute of Tarkhulara, and made him an Assyrian vassal. Despite this initial success, Arpad itself remained a staunch centre of resistance, and for the next three years (742—740) Tiglath-pileser conti­ nued his offensive against it until its fall in or about 740, when the area became an Assyrian province. Thus Urartu's hold on the west was considerably weakened early in the reign, and Tiglath-pileser could temporarily turn his attention to another border with that kingdom, to the north. Assyria was even more vulnerable on the northern frontier, for Urartian influence had crept south into a region called Ulluba on the very edge of the Assyrian heartland. Ulluba, which ancient geographers regarded as part of Khabkhu, was approximately 100 km north of Nineveh and was divided from Assyria by a range of mountains called Mount Nal. The modern location of the area is provided by an inscribed rock relief found at Mila Mergi, in which Tiglath-pileser records his campaign against Ulluba in 739. This campaign was prompted by an intended invasion of Assyria by the Ullubaeans and their allies, and one suspects that Urartu had a hand in this in an attempt to relieve pressure on the western front. Tiglath-pileser successfully conquered Ulluba and organized it into an Assyrian province. A year later (738) he transported people to the district from Tushkha. The area was still not secure, however, for three years later (736) Tiglath-pileser, according to the Eponym Chronicle, once again marched to Mount Nal. There is nothing preserved in the fragmentary annals regarding this campaign, but the building of a provincial capital called Ashur-iqisha, described in display texts, may date to this later occasion. With the conquest and annexation of Ulluba, Tiglath-pileser had not only secured this part of his northern frontier but also gained an excellent bridgehead for the invasion of Urartu in 735. Before describing this daring deed, however, it is necessary to recount activities that had been taking place in the west since the fall of Arpad in 740. A new anti-Assyrian coalition appeared on the scene while Tiglathpileser was occupied with Ulluba. The alliance was led by a man called Azriyau (not to be confused with Azariah, king of Judah). The coalition included a number of north Syrian coastal cities and part of the kingdom of Hamath. As is so often the case with Tiglath-pileser, the 13

14

15

1 3

O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 0 ) ; the relevant portion of the annals is not preserved. Regarding the question of 741 or 740 as the date of the fall, see most recently A 208, which argues for 7 4 1 . 1 4

O

1 5

A 210. But see now A 2 5 , 1 1 1 n. 1; A 187, 228-39; A 274; J . D. Hawkins, 'Izrijau', in A 1 6 , 5 , 227.

1 (A 7 6 3 , 4 5 1 ) ; A 199; A 35 1, § § 7 7 0 , 785, 7 9 6 ,

814.

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fragmentary sources provide no details about how Assyria defeated these armies and occupied their lands, but this was done in 7 3 8 . It is significant that a number of important kingdoms were not involved in the alliance, and as soon as Tiglath-pileser had achieved his victory the non-belligerent states that paid tribute included Carchemish, Melid, Kummukhu, Gurgum, Tabal, Tuna, Sam'al, Kaska, and Que. On the same occasion tribute was received from southern regions such as Damascus, part of Hamath, Byblos, Tyre, and Samaria. Perhaps Kullani (also known as Kinalua, Unqi, or Patinu) was a member of Azriyau's league; for on the same campaign this state was taken and made a province. It was also in this year that Tushkha was recaptured and, as mentioned earlier, people of Tushkha were transported to Ulluba. This was part of a massive resettlement project by which Tiglath-pileser hoped to bring peace and security to his western and northern frontiers with Urartu. Groups of people were shunted back and forth, and Assyrian contingents carried out raids in Babylonia to capture Ara­ maeans, who were removed to the newly formed provinces in Syria. By 735 Tiglath-pileser felt that his military victories and provincial organization had sufficiently prepared the ground for a direct attack on Urartu. Information about this campaign is scarce and disjointed because of the mutilated state of the annals, so that unfortunately very little is known about one of the most significant accomplishments of the reign. The Assyrians marched right through Urartu and laid siege to its capital, Turushpa (Tushpa, modern Van). The city did not fall, but Tiglath-pileser boasts that he defeated Sarduri at the city gate and erected a stela to commemorate the victory. That an Assyrian king could strike such a blow against Urartu only a decade after the period of Assyria's eclipse is remarkable. Clearly Tiglath-pileser had planned and acted with consummate skill. The campaign included the acquisition of more northern territories, and these were added to various provinces, such as those of Ashur-iqisha (Ulluba) and Nairi. This bold thrust into Urartu brought to an end Tiglath-pileser's war with Urartu, and in subsequent years the Assyrians concentrated on other areas. As for the kingdoms in the Taurus range, there is record of one further disturbance; at some unknown date Wassurme (Uassurme) of Tabal was deposed by Tiglathpileser and replaced by Khulli. Thus Tiglath-pileser Ill's war with 16

17

18

19

1 6

O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 1 ) ; A 3) i, § § 7 7 0 - 2 , 801; A 183, 18 ii 1 - 2 3 ; II K.i. 1 j : 19?. Sec A 1 7 7 , 8 1 - 3 ; A 2 1 0 ,

2 6 6 - 7 1 ; A 225; A 2 7 4 ; CAH

2

III .I, 59—64; and cf. A 208 and A 182.

1 7

See J . D. Hawkins,'Izrijau', in A 1 6 , j , 2 2 7 . C f . A 1 1 6 , xxivf and plates. On the identification of Unqi, Patinu and Kinalua/Kullani as referring to the same place, see A 1 7 7 , 81 f and A 274, 3 7 n. j 1. Cf. A 1 8 2 . 1 8

O

"

A 35 1, §802; cf.

1 (A 7 6 3 , 43 1); A 35 r, § § 7 7 5 , 7 8 5 , 8 1 3 , 814. Cf. A 82, 1 8 7 - 9 0 and 2o8f. 2

01Hiii .i, i5. 4

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Urartu gained advances on both the northern and western fronts and paved the way for Sargon's invasion. 3. Southern

Syria,

Palestine,

Egypt,

and the

Arabs

The war with Urartu having been brought to a successful conclusion, Tiglath-pileser was free to pursue another ambition, the conquest of territory right up to the Egyptian border. After the defeat of Azriyau in 738, the major southern kingdoms, Hamath, Damascus, Byblos, Tyre, and Samaria, had voluntarily paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser. In 734 Tiglath-pileser, believing he had firm control over key areas in Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, marched right through these lands and captured Gaza in the south. The city was plundered, and an Assyrian divine image, together with a golden statue of Tiglath-pileser, was erected. The ruler of Gaza, Khanunu (Hanno in Greek), abandoned his city in the face of the Assyrian onslaught to take refuge in Egypt, but eventually he came back, presumably after some negotiation, and was allowed to resume his seat as an Assyrian vassal. Tiglath-pileser says that he created an Assyrian trading-centre (bit kari), apparently at Gaza, and he also states that he erected his statue on the Egyptian border at Nakhal Musri ('Brook of Egypt'). Further attempts to establish an Assyrian presence on the border with Egypt were delayed, however, by a rebellion in Syria and Palestine. For the next two years (733—732) Assyria was embroiled in conflict with the insurgents; only towards the end of that interval could the original plan be resumed. The chief rebel was Rakhianu (Rezin of the Bible) of Damascus, and he was supported by Tyre, Samaria, some Arabs, and probably others whose names are not preserved in the fragmentary sources; all of these had paid tribute in 738. In 733 Tiglath-pileser defeated the army of Rakhianu, who fled from the battlefield and slipped inside the gate of Damascus. The Assyrians laid siege to the city for forty-five days, but Damascus did not fall and the frustrated besiegers, as in the time of Shalmaneser III, vented their wrath by cutting down the surrounding orchards. The ancestral home of Rakhianu, Bit-Khadara, was taken and people were transported from various parts of the kingdom. In 732 the Assyrian army was back in Damascus and, although the annals are 20

21

22

23

2 0

In addition to the sources quoted throughout this section note the letters published in A 80 and A 84, 70, 79f, no. LXX. Also cf. A 165 and A 1 9 3 . 2 1

O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 431); A 33 1, §§801, 8 1 5 . Cf. A 1 3 5 , 2 4 - 7 . On Tiglath-pileser I l l ' s relations with Judah see A 2 1 4 . 2 2

On Tiglath-pileser I l l ' s relations with Egypt see A 1 7 1 and A 188. Nakhal Mu$ri has generally been identified as modern Wadi el-Arish but A 188, 7 4 - 8 0 proposes Nakhal Besor farther north. O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 431); A 33 1, § 7 7 7 ; II Ki. 1 5 : 3 7 - 1 6 : 10; Isaiah 7. 2 3

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missing for this year, it was doubtless on this campaign that the city fell. The kingdom of Damascus (Bit-Hazael) was made an Assyrian province, the territory of which stretched from the Lebanon in the north to Gilead in the south. Other events recorded in display texts must have occurred in 7 3 3 - 7 3 2 in connexion with the Assyrian suppression of Damascus, and among these the attack on Hiram of Tyre should be included. Tiglath-pileser did not take Tyre itself, but he did capture one of its fortified cities, forcing Hiram to submit and pay tribute. The Assyrians also attacked Pekah, king of Israel, for he had been in league with Rakhianu against Assyria, and Pekah was defeated. Subsequently he was killed, possibly by a conspiracy led by Hoshea, who replaced him but now became an Assyrian vassal. No account of other military action in Palestine and Syria during this time is preserved, but there is a list (of uncertain date) of rulers who paid tribute: Matan-bi il of Arvad, Sanipu of Ammon, Salamanu of Moab, Metinti of Ashkelon, Jehoahaz of Judah, Qaushmalaku of Edom, and Khanunu of Gaza are the names preserved. At some later date a rather large payment, according to a display text, was received from Metenna of Tyre. As a result of the suppression of the revolt and the added vassalship of several other states, Tiglath-pileser was able some time in 732 to return to his original purpose, which was to gain control over the Sinai, the road to Egypt. He appointed an Arab sheikh called Idi-bi'il as his representative in the area and installed him in a newly formed office with the appropriate title 'Gatekeeper on the border of Egypt'. It was probably about this time that tribute was received from the Meunites, a people whose land is said to have been 'below Egypt', which possibly means south of Nakhal Musri. A clash with Arab tribes is recorded for this time, and it is appropriate to complete this aspect of Tiglath-pileser's campaigns with an account of his relations with the Arabs. In a recent study of the ancient Arabs, Eph al has pointed out that the Assyrians and Babylonians in the first millennium relied upon the Arab nomads to maintain important trade routes across the northern Arabian peninsula and to provide auxiliary forces on the borders of the empire. This arrangement lies behind the reference in Assyrian records to the Arabs paying 'tribute' to Assyria. In 738 after the defeat of Azriyau, Tiglath-pileser counted among the many 24

25

26

3

27

28

29

c

30

2 4

2 5

2 4

2 7

See A 1 1 6 , xxiv and pi. LXIX; A I 5 5, 119—24; A 2 1 1 . See A 1 6 3 . Cf. A 84, 70 and 76—8, no. LXIX; A 1 1 6 , xxivf and pi. LVII. II K i .

1 j : 2 9 - 3 1 , 37; 16: j . 8 e I

A 3 5 § • Regarding A 80,1341 and 152f, no. x v i , see A 1 1 , 1 1 8 , which dates the letter to the reign of Sargon II (see below, n. 77). For Metenna see A 3 ; 1, §803. Cf. A 163, 98. 2 8

A 35 i, § § 7 7 8 - 9 , 800,

2 9

Information courtesy of Tadmor, and see now the reference in A 19, 9 1 .

818-19.

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3 0

A 19.

TIGLATH-PILESER

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states which paid tribute that of Zabibe, queen of the Arabs. In 73 3 the Assyrian fought with Samsi, another queen of the Arabs, who, he said, had broken her oath. Thus it seems that Samsi had joined Rakhianu of Damascus against Assyria. Her Arabs were defeated and she fled the scene of battle. However, at a later date she travelled to Assyria bearing tribute, and Tiglath-pileser allowed her to resume her leadership, although with Assyrian officials at her side. It was doubtless during the same general period, 7 3 4 - 7 3 2 , that Tiglath-pileser received 'tribute' from a variety of Arab tribes, such as Tema and Saba, from north Arabia and the Sinai. 32

33

4. Namri

and

Media

The eastern frontier was not a top priority in the foreign policy of Tiglath-pileser III, but he did conduct two major military expeditions in the area, one early in his reign (744) and the other in 737, the year after he had driven the Urartians out of Syria and Anatolia. On these campaigns he concentrated upon the Zagros in the region along and between the upper Diyala and Ulaya (modern Karun) rivers, and this brought him into direct contact with the Medes. The Mannaeans, who occupied the mountains a little to the north near Lake Urmia, are mentioned only briefly in the campaign narratives, and Urartu, which would play the leading role on this frontier in Sargon IPs reign, is not referred to at all. The inhabitantsfiercelyresisted Tiglath-pileser Ill's invasion, for they had been free of Assyrian intervention since the days of Shalmaneser III and Shamshi-Adad V. Virtually the same tale is told of each people conquered: they either stood their ground and were overwhelmed and plundered, or they fled and were pursued and caught with the same terrible results. Rarely did anyone submit to the Assyrians without a fight. As a sufficiently large and cohesive area was captured it was organized into a province with a governor. On the first campaign (744) Tiglath-pileser marched to Namri and adjacent regions of the Diyala valley. Among the many states con­ quered were Bit-Zatti and Bit-Abdadani; the city of Nikur was desig­ nated provincial capital and captives from other areas resettled there. Bit-Kapsi and neighbouring regions were overrun and put under the authority of the king of Bit-Kapsi, Batanu, as an Assyrian vassal. BitKhamban and Parsua were taken and formed into Assyrian provinces. The terror spread by the Assyrian assault stretched as far as Ellipi, along 34

35

3 1

3 2

A

35 1. § 7 7 2 ; A 1 8 5 , 18 ii 1 9 - 2 3 . Cf. A 19, 83.

A 3j i, § § 7 7 8 , 8 1 7 ; A 1 1 6 , xviif and pis. x m - x x x . Cf. A 19, 8 3 - 7 .

3 3

A 35 1, § § 7 9 9 , 818. Cf. A 1 9 , 8 7 - 9 2 .

3 4

On the historical geography of the region in this reign see A 33.

3 5

D

1 (A 7 6 3 , 430); A 35 1, § § 7 6 6 - 8 , 7 9 5 , 807; A 183, 1 8 - 2 1 ii 2 4 - 3 6 .

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TO

SARGON

II

the Ulaya river, and its ruler, Dalta, sent his tribute to Tiglath-pileser in token of his submission. On the return march to Assyria a Mannaean ruler, Iranzu, came in person to Tiglath-pileser bearing tribute and submitting to vassalship. The Assyrians came back to this frontier in 737 and penetrated Median territory. Suzerainty was reasserted over states previously taken, such as Bit-Kapsi, and the army proceeded into Media as far as Zakruti, Mount Bikni (modern Alwand?), and a salt desert called Ushqaqqana. The Assyrians also pushed south east to conquer territory up to the Elamite border and in the east Tigris area. Among the cities captured were Tupliash and Bit-Ishtar, and at the latter place Tiglath-pileser erected an inscribed iron 'arrow' by a spring to commemorate his victory. Other cities seized included Sibur, Til-Ashur, Bit-Sagbat, and Silkhazi. The last three were fortresses of the Babylonians, according to Tiglath-pileser, and it is known from Sargon's inscriptions that BitSagbat was on the Elamite border. A fragmentary stela of Tiglath-pileser III, said to have been found in western Iran, was almost certainly erected on the occasion of this campaign. Given the fragmentary state of the sources for these two campaigns and the lack of knowledge about the precise location of the geographic names listed, it is impossible to give more than a general assessment of the extent of Tiglath-pileser Ill's conquests. It is clear that he gained direct control over Namri, Bit-Khamban and Parsua, for these states were still in Assyrian hands in the reign of Sargon II. In addition, Dalta of Ellipi and Iranzu of Mannaea had become Assyrian vassals and they later played an important role in Sargon's campaigns. Thus Tiglathpileser had established a major bridgehead in Media and Mannaea, which would provide an excellent base for Sargon II's offensive against the eastern frontier of Urartu. Furthermore, he had secured his border with Elam and captured from Babylonia territory in the east Tigris region. 36

37

5.

Babylonia

The fortunes of Assyria depended upon her relations with Babylonia, and Assyrian monarchs, fully conscious of this axiom, tried various policies in an effort to achieve a secure southern border. Tiglath-pileser III was no exception to this rule, and a great deal of his time and energy was absorbed by Babylonian affairs. It will be recalled that Adad-nirari III claimed to have the upper hand over Babylonia through a treaty 38

3 6

O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 1 ) ; A 35 1, §§784, 7 8 7 , 7 9 5 , 8 1 1 - 1 2 . Also note A 1 1 6 , xixf and pis. x x x v - X L i v a n d cf. A 1 7 3 . A 183, l 6 - 2 I . On Tiglath-pileser Ill's relations with Babylonia see A 535, 228—43. 3 7

3 8

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8l

I I I

arrangement; but in 'the Interval' Babylonia had turned the tables and through a series of attacks had gradually encroached upon Assyrian territory. This state of affairs was totally unacceptable to Tiglath-pileser, and a bare five months after he ascended the throne ( 1 1 / 7 4 5 ) he launched a campaign against Babylonia (vn/745). The territory invaded was that traditionally disputed between the two powers, the extreme north of Babylonia and the east Tigris area. In the latter region a number of places were taken as the Assyrian invasion pushed east and south as far as the Ulaya river and the Persian Gulf. This advance brought under Assyrian control numerous cities over which the Babylonians had hegemony, and Aramaean tribes, which were transported to various areas. The con­ quered domains were divided up and apportioned to neighbouring provinces in the Zagros, such as (Ma)zamua. A new city called KarAshur was built, a canal dredged to provide irrigation, and people settled there. Concerning the activities of the Assyrians between the Tigris and Euphrates on this campaign, there is a problem: it is uncertain which Babylonian cities were conquered by Tiglath-pileser on his first campaign and which on his later campaigns. In the display texts the place names are all listed together and the annals, which could solve the problem, are badly broken in the relevant sections. There is no doubt that he captured important centres in the extreme north, such as DurKurigalzu and a suburb of Sippar called Sippar of Shamash, but how far beyond this did Tiglath-pileser go? The generally accepted view is that he achieved little between the two rivers beyond the conquests in the extreme north just named. In the annals for 745 he boasts of capturing a suburb of Nippur, Qin-Nippur, but none of the major cities south of Dur-Kurigalzu is mentioned in the preserved narrative, and it seems as though he merely made a quick raid into the heart of Babylonia. The purpose of this raid is of special interest. There is reason to believe that it was intended to make secure the position of the Babylonian king, Nabonassar, in fulfilment of a treaty obligation. There is no explicit reference to such a treaty, but it is a reasonable assumption given the circ*mstantial evidence. Such treaties existed between Babylonia and Assyria during the previous century, and on one occasion Shalmaneser III was called upon to invade Babylonia and restore the kingdom to its legitimate monarch, Marduk-zakir-shumi I (CAH H I . 1 , 270). The situation in 745 may have been quite similar. This would explain the total lack of reference to any confrontation between Tiglath-pileser and the Babylonian king, Nabonassar, and the fact that Nabonassar remained on 39

40

2

y> O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 430); A 25, no. i i 1 - 5 ; A 33 1, § § 7 6 2 - 5 , 782, 788, 805; A 1 1 6 , xvif and pis. I-XII. For an opinion different from that accepted here see A 5 35, 23of and n. 1450. Brinkman quotes the older opinions. See also above, p. 24. 4 0

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the throne after the Assyrians withdrew. Thus one might assume that Tiglath-pileser invaded Babylonia to support Nabonassar against Chaldaean and Aramaean tribes, the latter possibly allied to Aramaeans in Syria, in accordance with a pact concluded between the two leaders either just after Tiglath-pileser seized the throne or possibly even earlier when he was plotting his coup d'etat. Many years later, in 731, Tiglath-pileser once again intervened in Babylonia for this very reason. When Nabonassar died (734) the reign of his son was cut short by a revolution which led ultimately to a successful attempt by a Chaldaean, Mukin-zeri, to capture the throne in 732. Tiglath-pileser would not allow a hostile group to control Babylonia and in 731 he marched south. The suppression of the rebellion required two campaigns, the first in 731 and the second in 729, and during the intervening year Tiglath-pileser did not conduct a military expedition anywhere. The sources for these events fortunately include a number of letters found at Calah, which provide numerous and occasionally dramatic details. Tiglath-pileser adopted the strategy of attempting to alienate the native Babylonians from the Chaldaean rebels by rhetoric and offers of favours. An intriguing letter reports to the king how two Assyrian officials stood under the walls of Babylon haranguing the citizens, exhorting them to expel the Chaldaeans and open the gates to the Assyrians. It is unknown how effective the strategy was, but eventually the Assyrians had to use force. They captured one Babylonian city after another and laid siege to Shapiya, Mukin-zeri's capital. In the course of the war a number of Aramaean tribes were subdued. The crowning achievement came in 729 when Tiglath-pileser III triumphantly entered Babylon, where he was crowned king of Babylon. By assuming the sovereignty of Babylonia himself the Assyrian king began a new phase of Assyria's Babylonian policy and, in the short term, it was successful, for Tiglath-pileser was recognized by the Babylonians as their legitimate king and his successor, Shalmaneser V, won the same recognition. But, with the accession of Sargon II, Assyria's right to rule Babylonia was challenged by another Chaldaean, Merodach-baladan. Merodach-baladan became a serious threat to Assyria's control over Babylonia in the reigns of Sargon II and Sennacherib, and it is interesting to note, by way of conclusion to this treatment of Tiglath-pileser's relations with Babylonia, that Merodach-baladan had submitted to the Assyrian monarch on his campaign of 7 2 9 . 41

42

4 3

4 1

O 1 (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 1 ) ; O 3 (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 2 ) ; A 25, no. 1 i 1 9 - 2 3 ; A 35 i , § § 7 9 2 - 4 , 806. Also note A I J, no.

*334 2

A

79;

A

84, 7 O - 3 ,

no. LXV.

4 3

Cf. A

532,

7-12.

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TIGLATH-PILESER

III

83

Tiglath-pileser III ranks as one of the most industrious Assyrian kings for, with the exception of one year (730), he campaigned every year that he was on the throne, including both his accession year and the year of his death. Unfortunately it is not known where he campaigned in his last two regnal years, 728 and 727, since the Eponym Chronicles are broken and there are no royal inscriptions for these last days. Much of Tiglathpileser's success is to be ascribed to this assiduity, but there were other factors as well. The organization and manoeuvring of the army were considerably improved in his reign, and weapons and military equip­ ment also underwent substantial changes for the better. The provincial system of administration which was born in the ninth century now became more rigorous, with the inevitable result that the empire was not only more efficiently and profitably managed but also was more secure from foreign invasion. Of particular note is the policy of massive transportation of peoples which began in Tiglath-pileser's reign. Before his time groups of people had been transported, but mainly to Assyria to work on the land and on building projects. Tiglath-pileser, on the other hand, systematically exchanged population groups, in order to forestall future attempts at rebellion in the regions involved. Another innovation which may be ascribed to him is the practice of putting the crown prince in charge of the administration of the empire while the reigning monarch was on campaign. It seems that Shalmaneser, while crown prince, was assigned this task, and the custom was commonly followed in subse­ quent reigns. 44

6.

Building

Given the fact that Tiglath-pileser's main concern was the resurrection of the Assyrian empire, and that this entailed his being on campaign for almost the entire length of his reign, it is little wonder that he can be credited with very few building projects. The main monument which he left was a new palace at Calah; its first excavator, Layard, called this the Central Palace. The structure was raised on a platform of limestone blocks, which rested in the water at the edge of the Tigris. A variety of imported woods was employed in the palace, and it was decorated with various objects of precious metals. There was a pillared portico, called a bit-hilani, in the Syrian fashion, and the entrances were flanked by lion and bull colossi. Huge stone slabs, upon which Tiglath-pileser's victor45

«

CM (A 7 6 3 , 4 3 ' ) ; O 3 (A 7 6 3 , 432).

4 5

A 35 1, §804; A 1 1 6 ; A 1 5 0 , 3141; § § 2 0 - 1 ; A 1 5 5 , 3 0 2 - 8 ; A 200, 307?; A 2 0 1 .

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ies were depicted in sculptured relief and incised cuneiform, lined the palace walls and many of these were recovered by modern archaeologists (Pis. Vol., pi. 57). In these reliefs one sees the first attempt to portray a sequence of events in pictorial and written narrative, although the sad state of preservation of the stones makes it difficult to reconstruct many of the sequences. The reason for the poor condition of the objects is that Tiglath-pileser's palace was looted in antiquity by Esarhaddon in order to build his own residence, the South-West Palace at Calah. Esarhaddon neverfinishedhis work, with the result that modern excavators found reliefs of Tiglath-pileser III at both sites, many of them lying flat and stacked in piles. There is evidence also of Tiglath-pileser's interest in the Nabu temple in Calah. At Ashur there is a record of work on the Ashur temple and on the Adad temple. Otherwise it is only known that Tiglath-pileser built a palace at Ashur-iqisha (above p. 75) and did some construction at Khadatu (Arslan Tash) near Carchemish. 46

47

48

«

Cf. A 1 3 7 1 , 2 3 7 - 9 .

4 7

A 3 ; 1, § 8 2 2 . 1 . Tadmor kindly drew my attention to a brick from the Adad temple which he is editing. A 2 1 7 , 6 1 - 3 , 8 5 - 7 ; A 2 1 9 . Cf. A 2 1 8 and A 4 3 5 , 88f. 4 8

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SHALMANESER

7.

V

85

Conclusion

The reign was a brilliant beginning to a new and final era in the history of the Neo-Assyrian empire. Tiglath-pileser concentrated upon territorial aggrandizement and administrative reforms and did so with such success that his heirs, besides adding to these achievements, had opportunity to encourage their subjects in cultural pursuits, a matter for which there was little time to spare in the reign of Tiglath-pileser III. II. S H A L M A N E S E R

V (726—722 B . C . )

Shalmaneser V, also known by the nickname Ululaya, was on the throne for five years, but almost nothing is known of him and his time. There are no royal commemorative inscriptions, only a few royal labels on some weights and possibly a brick; there is a brief statement in the Babylonian Chronicle; and the relevant portion of the Eponym Chronicle is almost totally missing. The absence of major royal inscriptions can be explained by the brevity of the reign; there was scarcely time to complete a major building project and prepare the accompanying commemorative inscriptions. But the scant reference to this king in the Babylonian Chronicle indicates that, apart from the siege of Samaria which it records, nothing of importance happened in this period. Crown prince Shalmaneser may have been entrusted with the admi­ nistration of Assyria and the empire, in order to free Tiglath-pileser III for campaigning. This was the role later assigned to Sennacherib by his father, Sargon II, as we know from Sennacherib's letters of the period addressed to his father. Letters with similar greeting formulae written to the king by a certain Ululayu may, as Brinkman has observed, be letters from Shalmaneser while crown prince to Tiglath-pileser. In the correspondence he reports on various administrative matters and assures the monarch that all is well in the state. When Tiglath-pileser III died, the crown passed to Shalmaneser ( 2 5 / X / 7 2 6 ) without any opposition. The most significant achievement of Shalmaneser was the conquest of Samaria. It is a sorely debated point among modern historians which king, Shalmaneser V or Sargon II, captured Samaria, but the evidence certainly is in favour of Shalmaneser V. The exact date of the siege, 49

50

51

52

53

4 9

Weights: A 2 2 1 , 1 - 1 2 , nos. 2 - 7 , 1 1 - 1 2 . Brick: unpublished, cf. Laessoe a/>W A 192, 73. A 35 1, §§828—30 is almost certainly an Esarhaddon text; see A 234, 32. A 25, no. 1 i 2 7 - 3 0 . For further references in chronographic texts see A 25, 242b. 5 0

03^763,43*). 5 2

5 3

A 8 l , 47, n o . XXXI; A 83, 1 1 9 - 6 3 , nOS. L, LI, LIU. Cf. A J 3 5 , 243 n. I 564. Sec A 209, 3 3 - 9 .

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which lasted from two to three years according to the Bible, is more difficult to determine. The entry, 'He ravaged Samaria', appears in the Babylonian Chronicle under Shalmaneser V's accession year, but this cannot be the date of the fall; the chronicle was no doubt merely recording the most important event of the reign without intending a specific date. Tadmor dates the fall of Samaria to 7 2 2 . After the capture of the city the inhabitants were transported, and this operation actually took place mainly during the reign of Sargon II. In addition to a siege of Samaria, Josephus (Antiquities ix.xiv) credits Shalmaneser with a siege of Tyre, but no other source mentions this. One suspects that there has been confusion with a later king, possibly Esarhaddon or Ashurbanipal. It is sometimes assumed that the Anatolian states Que and Sam al became Assyrian provinces during the reign of Shalmaneser V, since they are under Assyrian control early in the reign of Sargon II; but our scant sources for the period are silent on how this came about (cf. CAH 415-16). Shalmaneser continued the Babylonian policy adopted by Tiglathpileser III by ascending the Babylonian throne himself, and he was universally recognized by the Babylonians as their rightful monarch. It is commonly assumed that the other name by which Shalmaneser was known, Ululayu, was his official name as king of Babylonia, but the evidence is definitely against such an assumption and Brinkman has suggested that Ululayu was a nickname derived from the date of Shalmaneser's birth (presumably in the month of Ululu). Chaldaean opposition to Assyrian rule in Babylonia continued in this reign and there is reference in an Aramaic document of a later date to Shalma­ neser's transportation of people from Bit-Adini in southern Babylonia (not to be confused with the Syrian province of the same name). There is a fragmentary Akkadian letter in which Shalmaneser may be men­ tioned in connexion with the special status (kidinnutu) of Babylon. If one can believe the testimony of Sargon, Shalmaneser incurred dis­ pleasure by imposing tax and corvée on the traditionally free cities, Ashur and Harran, and thus precipitated a revolution in which his throne was seized by Sargon. 54

55

56

57

D

I I I

2

. I ,

S8

59

60

in.

S A R G O N

11 (721—705 B . C . )

Whether or not Sargon had a legitimate claim to the Assyrian throne, he was certainly a worthy successor to Tiglath-pileser III and emulated that sovereign through intensive campaigning, by which he not only 5 4

II Ki. 18: 9—IO.

5

7

Cf.

5

9

A 15,

A 535, no.

2 4 4 f a n d n. 2 3 3 : 1 5 . Cf.

5 5

5 6

A 2J, no. I i 27f.

1569; A 535,

5

A 203. 244

n.

1567.

8

A 535, 6

A 209, 37. 62

n.

A 570,

320. 68.

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87 61

regained lost territory but also added new holdings to the empire. Not content to be remembered only as a staunch soldier, Sargon created a new Assyrian city and named it Dur-Sharrukin ('Fort Sargon') after himself (Pis. Vol., pis. 4 8 , 6 9 ) . The reign is well documented, there being an abundance of royal inscriptions, chronographic texts, letters, legal and administrative documents, astrological reports, and sculp­ tured reliefs unearthed by modern excavators at Dur-Sharrukin (Pis. Vol., pi. 49, and see below pp. The internal chronology of the period and in particular of the military campaigns is a difficult problem which has been treated in an excellent study by Tadmor. 62

63

65

64

66

1 0 0 — 1 ) .

67

1 . The

accession

The accession of Sargon II to the throne is shrouded in mystery and there is good reason to wonder whether he was a usurper. He never mentions his father in all the preserved royal inscriptions, with the exception of a glazed plaque bearing a label in which he records that he is the son of Tiglath-pileser III. A similar situation raised the same suspicion concerning Tiglath-pileser. If Sargon was Tiglath-pileser's son, why was he so reluctant to acknowledge such an illustrious parent? His name raises doubts too, for Sarru-kenu means 'legitimate king'. Of further relevance is this king's creation of a new royal city, Dur-Sharrukin, where there had never been a city before. Why did he do this in preference to living in the old centre, Calah? One could provide plausible answers to each of these questions, and even analogies from other reigns of Assyrian monarchs, but there is room for reasonable doubt and this doubt is heightened by the circ*mstances surrounding his accession. The evidence regarding Sargon's enthronement and its immediate aftermath is very meagre. The main source is a document commonly called the Ashur Charter, in which Sargon related that Shalmaneser V (the name is actually missing in a lacuna but clearly this is the king involved) wrongfully imposed corvée on the city of Ashur, with the result that the gods deposed him and appointed Sargon as legitimate king. There are two important facts implicit in this view: Shalmaneser was deposed by a revolution, and Sargon was not the heir designate. Another important statement in the Ashur Charter is: 'Because they [the 68

69

6 1

For a valuable, although dated, history of the reign see A 39. Unfortunately there is no up-to-date corpus of editions of Sargon's royal inscriptions. For a brief bibliography see A 23, 236f. In the discussion of the military campaigns the sources quoted do not include general geographic descriptions such as those found in the great Display Inscription. Babylonian King List A iv 11 (A 607, §3 King List 3); A 2 j no. 1 i 31 - ii 6'; O 4 and O 6 (see A 6 2

6 3

209, 8 4 - 7 ) . 6 5

6 7

6 4

See A 7 2 - 8 8 .

See A 8 9 - 1 0 9 . Also note A 6 7 6 , no. 70. A 209. Also cf. A 169 and A 1 8 3 , 28.

6 6

6 8

See A 1032 and A 1040. A 220. A 206. 6 9

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citizens of Ashur] . . . came to my help.' Although not explicitly stated, the help the city of Ashur provided was obviously support to Sargon in his bid for the throne. As a reward for this assistance Sargon abolished the illegal obligations imposed upon Ashur by his predecessor, thus restoring the city's privileged status. In his royal inscriptions Sargon boasts that he restored this special exempt status (kidinnutu) to both Ashur and Harran, which indicates that the latter city also sided with Sargon in the revolution. On the other hand those who opposed Sargon were punished after his accession, '6,300 Assyrian criminals' being transported to Hamath. To this data one can add the observation that no foreign campaigns were conducted until Sargon's second regnal year, and it is apparent that he was embroiled in domestic strife securing his right to rule during the accession and first regnal years. Before drawing any conclusions it is relevant to note the obvious link of Sargon's name with that of Sargon of Akkad, one of the greatest of all ancient Mesopotamian kings. During the Sargonid period in Assyria there is evidence of a revival of interest in this older monarch, in that several literary texts (chronicles, omen collections, legends, epics, and a treatise on the geography of the empire) are attested, some for the first time. Thus one is justified in believing that Sargon was not in the direct royal line, and that he gained the throne through violence, as did his predecessor, Tiglath-pileser III. Unlike Tiglath-pileser, however, he felt very insecure, perhaps because he was not of royal birth, and therefore adopted the unusual name by which he is known, and encouraged research into the mighty deeds of his namesake. Afraid of the old nobility in Calah, he founded a new city named after himself. 70

71

72

73

2. The west: Syria,

Palestine,

Egypt,

Arabia

The confusion which attended the accession of Sargon II was the occasion for a major rebellion in Syria and Palestine. Damascus, Simirra, Arpad, Samaria and perhaps Khatarikka were incited to rebellion by Yau-bPdi of Hamath. As soon as Sargon had secured his domestic position, and after an initial clash with Babylonia and Elam, he launched a campaign into Syria, where he met the allied rebel forces at Qarqar (720), scene of the famous battle fought by Shalmaneser III more than a century earlier. Sargon won the day, and then proceeded south to 74

7 0

7 1

2

л 35 "> § § 5 4 , 7 8 , 9 2 , 99, 102, 104, 107, 182; л 1 6 2 , 8 6 - 9 : 2. See САН i n . i , 4 1 7 . Cf. A 209, 25 b, 5of, and 37f. For the chronicles and omen collections see A 2 5 , 4 3 - 9 ; for the King of Battle Epic see ibid. 5 7 n. 60; for the Birth Legend see A 26, 8 n. 11; for the geographical text see A 175. Cf. A 39, 2 7 - 9 . 7 2

7 3

7 4

O 4 ( A 2 0 9 , 9 4 ) ; A 35 11,§§) 5 , 1 2 j ; A 8 0 , 1 3 7 f and 1 5 3 , no. x v i n ; A 1 1 3 ; A 1 6 6 , 9 , 3 5 - 4 7 and io, 26f;

A 1 8 3 , 3 4 f r. 4—13 (cf. p. 46); л 185, 2 3 - 5 7 ;

A

2

°

2

io

. 99~~ 4> Room 5; A 206 lines 1 6 - 2 8 ; A 2 1 6 ; a new

stela (see O. Muscarella, Ladders to Heaven (Toronto, 1 9 8 1 ) 125 no. 83). See A 209, 3 7 - 9 .

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9

reconquer Gaza and to defeat an Egyptian army at Raphia on the border of Egypt. These major victories were followed by massive operations in which the rebel states were reoccupied and the offenders punished; large numbers of people were transported to Assyria and captured peoples from other regions settled in their place. Although the resettle­ ment of people is specifically mentioned for only two cities, Samaria and Hamath, the operation was probably more widespread and no doubt required several years to complete. Sargon's initial contact with Egypt at Raphia in 720 was followed a few years later (716) by the posting of an Assyrian garrison on the Egyptian border at Nakhal Musri, a point reached previously by Tiglath-pileser III. The fortress was settled with transported peoples, who were put under the authority of a local Arab sheikh loyal to Assyria. The Egyptians, in face of Assyria's strong position, opted to seek friendly relations; the pharaoh Osorkon IV sent gifts to Sargon, and Assyrians and Egyptians mixed freely in exchanging trade goods. It was probably in this same year that Sargon received tribute from various Arabs, including Shamshi (Samsi), queen of the Arabs, who had also paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser III; and transported some Arabs to Samaria. One other part of Palestine received special attention from Sargon and this was Philistia. Ashdod had remained outside the Assyrian orbit until its king, Aziru, conspired, according to Sargon, with surrounding kings against Assyria. Sargon therefore deposed him and replaced him by his brother, Akhimetu (c. 713). But the Assyrian appointee was disliked by the people of Ashdod, who replaced him with Yamani. The moment news of this second rebellion at Ashdod reached Sargon, the Assyrian ordered his troops to Philistia ( 7 1 2 ) . Yamani fled to Egypt, where he was eventually put in irons by the pharaoh and sent to Assyria as a gesture of goodwill. Ashdod, Gath and Asdudimmu were besieged and conquered, their populations transported and peoples from the east settled in their place. There is no further reference to troubles in Palestine during the reign, and it may be assumed that the vigorous campaigns and extensive pacification measures were successful. The major gains on this front were, then, the extension of Assyrian power in Philistia to embrace three more city states, Ashdod, Gath and Asdu­ dimmu, and the intimidation of Egypt, by establishing a bridgehead at Nakhal Musri, resulting in friendly and profitable exchanges. 75

76

77

7 5

See A

1 6

A 35 H,§JJ; A 1 8 5 , 1 2 5 - 5 ; Nineveh Prism (see A 209,95a). See A 19, IOI-I I; A 1 7 1 , 4 2 - 8 ; A 188; A

160;

A

174.

209, 7 7 f and see below, p. 692. 7 7

A 35 n , § § 6 2 f , 79F; A 80, 134f, 1 j 2 f , no. x v i andcf. A 1 1 , 1 1 8 ; A 1 8 5 , 2 4 9 - 6 2 ; A 224,491"; Nineveh

Prism (see A 209, 95b). See A IJ), 2 7 - 4 1 ; A 180; A 1 8 1 ; A 209, 2 5 , 79*", 83f, 9 2 - 4 ; A 2 1 3 .

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A word at this point on Sargon's relations with Cyprus is appropri­ ate. In the royal inscriptions it is recorded that seven kings of Ya , a district of Yadnana (Cyprus), sent precious gifts to Sargon. He in return sent them an inscribed stela to be erected in their land, and this very object was discovered in Cyprus in the middle of the nineteenth century. It may be that people as well as gifts came to Sargon from Cyprus, for men called Papu were present in Sargon's court, and one is inclined to identify them with the name of the Cypriot city, Paphus. The Papu in Sargon's palace eventually caused some disturbance in league with peoples to the north of Assyria. 78

3

79

80

3. The west: the upper Euphrates

and

Anatolia

Sargon's activity on the Anatolian frontier was essentially that of consolidation and fortification against two major powers, the Mushki (Phrygians) led by Mita (Midas) and the Urartians under Rusa I and later Argishti II. The campaigns of Tiglath-pileser III had established the Assyrian frontier in the Taurus range in dangerous proximity to the domain of Midas, who felt threatened. The war between Midas and Sargon resulted in some territorial gains for Assyria, but the most significant achievement was peace with Midas after bitter and prolonged animosity. Midas always avoided open conflict with Assyria, preferring like Urartu to form alliances with the various small states in the buffer zone of eastern Anatolia and to encourage them to rebel against Sargon. It is these states that bore the brunt of Assyria's hostility, for they became the battlefield. Before describing these events a word about the historical geography is needed; for both the political and the geographical scene in this region are extremely confusing, not only because of the intrigues and changing alliances, but also because of uncertainty about the territory covered by a given place name. By the beginning of Sargon's reign the frontier of Assyria in Anatolia stretched westwards to include a number of eastern Anatolian kingdoms: Que was ruled both by the local prince and by an Assyrian governor; Melid, Atuna (Tuna), and Tabal (a name which included several kingdoms) were still governed by indigenous kings who held allegiance to Assyria. On the map these states form a diagonal line running south west through the Taurus mountains from Melid on the upper Euphrates to Que on the Cilician coast. This frontier was fairly flexible when Sargon began to rule, but he would gradually strengthen it as Midas endeavoured to break it. 81

7 8

A 35 ii, § § 7 0 , 1 7 9 - 8 9 ; A 1 7 0 , 1 9 1 - 4 vii 2 5 - 4 4 ; A 185, 457—67. See A 126,

7 9

See A 4 1 , 369; A 344 i n , 802; A 234, 60 v 66.

8 1

See CAH

2

m .i,

8 0

A 185,

76-8.

chapter 9. See also A 15 5, 1 9 0 - 5 ; A 198, 2 9 - 3 4 .

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9

1

The Phrygian first tried to weaken the centre by plotting with one of the kings of Tabal, Kiakki of Shinukhtu. Sargon launched a campaign against Kiakki in 718, defeated him, looted his city, and added it to the holdings of Kurd of Atuna. Undeterred by this failure, Midas initiated intrigue even farther within Assyria, inciting Pisiri of Carchemish to rebel. This was an excellent excuse for Sargon to annex Carchemish, whose loyalty had always wavered, as a province: the Assyrians recaptured the city ( 7 1 7 ) , carried off Pisiri with his family and other people to Assyria, and replaced him with an Assyrian governor. So ended indigenous rule in Carchemish; eventually Assyrians were settled in the area. Thisfirstphase of Midas' anti-Assyrian strategy ended in 715, when Assyria took the offensive and recaptured some border towns of Que which the Phrygians had seized earlier. In subsequent years Urartu allied with the Phrygians against Assyria, and another king of Tabal, Ambaris of Bit-Burutash, was persuaded to join them. This defection particularly vexed Sargon, for when Khulli, father of Ambaris, had died the Assyrian had sanctioned Ambaris' accession to the throne and had even given him his own daughter in marriage, and suzerainty over Khilakku. In 713 Sargon despatched an army to seek vengeance and Ambaris, with his family and leading men, was taken prisoner. It is at this point, Urartu having been effectively silenced on the north-eastern frontier by the campaign of 714, that the Assyrian king recognized the need to defend his Anatolian front more effectively. He constructed ramparts and fortifications in Bit-Burutash and Khilakku, settled there peoples transported from other regions, and installed his own governor, thus making the area a province. It would appear that the loyalty of Kurti of Atuna, which was once a vassal state of Tiglath-pileser III, was in doubt during this period, but Kurti promptly ended suspicion by paying homage to Sargon when he heard of the fate of Ambaris. The scene now shifts to the northern extreme of the boundary, Melid on the upper Euphrates. At some earlier date the Assyrian had set a new king on the throne of Melid, Tarkhunazi by name, but this ruler together with Tarkhulara of Gurgum, a state which had paid tribute to Tiglathpileser III, had been lured into the Phrygian camp. Sargon's punishment of the defectors seems to have stretched over two years, Melid in 712 and Gurgum in 7 1 1 . Melid was captured and when Tarkhunazi took refuge 82

83

84

85

86

87

8 8

8 2

О 4 (see л 2 0 9 , 9 4 b ) ; a 35 и , § s 5; a 1 7 0 , 1 7 9 - 8 2 iv 5 0 - 5 ; a 1 8 3 , $6{r.

1 7 - 1 9 ; A 1 8 5 , 6 8 - 7 1 . For

2

the reading 'Kurti' (rather than 'Matti') see САН ui .i, 4 1 8 . 8 3

О 4 (see a 209, 94b); л 1 7 0 , 1 7 9 - 8 1 iv 1 3 - 2 4 ; a 1 8 3 , 36f r. 2 0 - 2 ; л 185, 7 2 - 6 ; A 209, 22f. See a

1 7 7 , 7 2 f and

2

САН

iii .i, v

418.

8 4

л 170, 182-4

8 5

A 35 11, §5 5; A 1 7 0 , 1 8 2 - 4

8 6

Cf. J . D. Hawkins, 'Hilakku', in A 1 6 , 4, 402?.

8 7

Nineveh Prism (see a 209, 93).

3 4 4 ° ; A ' 8 5 , 118—20, v

\l)f.

13—53; a 1 8 5 , 1 9 4 - 2 0 4 ; Nineveh Prism (see a 209, 95). 8 8

Cf. л 1 7 7 , 7 9 ; a 209, 92—4.

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in another city, Til-Garimmu, its citizens opened their gates to the Assyrians; the luckless fugitive was transported with his family and followers to Assyria. Gurgum was also taken, but there is some confusion in the sources as to whether Tarkhulara, its ruler, was murdered by his son, Mutallu, or transported by the Assyrians. Following the practice recently adopted in Tabal, Sargon organized the area as a province with a governor and fortified it; defences were strengthened in old cities, new garrison towns constructed, and Sutian bowmen stationed inside. Melid was handed over to Mutallu of Kummukhu. A dramatic turn of events occurred about 709, when Assyria once again went on the offensive against the Phrygians. By this time the Cimmerian invasion of Anatolia may have begun, thus forcing Midas to seek an end to hostilities with Assyria. In any event, the Assyrian governor of Que carried out border raids on provinces under Midas and was so successful that the Phrygian king sued for peace. He sent a message to Sargon by way of the Assyrian governor at Que, and the message was relayed to the king, who was in Babylonia at the time. Sargon was delighted and, in a letter recently discovered, instructed his governor to agree to peace. He further directed him to return Phrygian captives to Midas as a gesture of goodwill, and to keep an Assyrian envoy at his court. Subsequently a formal Phrygian delegation travelled to Sargon in Babylonia, and peace was established between the two powers. This marks the close of hostilities between Assyria and the Phrygians but not of rebellions in eastern Anatolia. Some of the kingdoms of Tabal were restless in this period, as is evident from statements in Sargon's letter to the governor of Que just mentioned, and Mutallu of Kummukhu, once a trusted vassal, now changed his allegiance to Argishti II, king of Urartu. Mutallufledin the face of an Assyrian punitive campaign, but his city was captured in 708 and his family and people carried off. They were eventually settled in southern Babylonia, in the area occupied by the tribe of Bit-Yakin, and people of Yakin, who had recently been subdued, were resettled in Kummukhu. Kummukhu was now organized into an Assyrian pro­ vince with a governor and militia. The last regnal year of Sargon, 705, saw onefinalexpedition against troublesome Tabal. On this campaign Sargon was killed in action, but unfortunately no details of the event are 89

90

91

92

93

94

95

8 9

O 4 (see A 209, 96a); A 35 n,§§6of;A 1 7 0 , 1 8 2 - 5 V4I~76;A 185, 204-49; Nineveh Prism (see A 209,96a). A 1 7 0 , 185; A 177, 7 5 ; CZAH i n . 1 , 420. 9 0

2

9 1

A 35 11, § 7 1 ; A 1 8 5 , 4 4 4 - 5 4 . Regarding the date cf. A 198, 33. See CAHmi.i, 2of. " A 198, 2 2 - 5 ; cf. A 1 7 2 . O 4 and O 6 (see A 209, 96b); A 3 5 11, §64; A 170, 179—81 iv 1 - 1 2 ; A 1 7 7 , 80; A 178; A 185, 70: 4 6 7 - 7 1 : 12. In addition to the sources in n. 94 see: A 35 11, §69; A 1 8 5 , 65: 1 3 - 1 6 . 9 2

4

9 4

9 5

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96

preserved. His death was the signal for the rebellion of Tabal to be joined by Que, Khilakku and Melid (CAH in , i, 426). 2

9 7

4. The north and north east

The kingdom of Urartu still sat atop Assyria with limbs stretched out west and east into Anatolia and Mannaea. Assyro-Urartian contacts occurred at these two extremities and were inevitably interrelated, the scene of major action shifting back and forth from west to east, while Sargon, with a network of informants on the Urartian border, was kept aware of events in the enemy capital, Tushpa. Sargon's dealings with Urartu in Asia Minor have already been discussed, and it is now time to describe events on the eastern frontier. When the reign began, Assyria claimed control over the western Mannaeans from the headwaters of the lower Zab (Uishdish and Zikirtu) across Namri, Lullumu (formerly Zamua), Karalla, and Allabria to the Diyala river. From there it was the Median sphere of influence, although Assyria held sway over Ellipi, Parsua, and Kharkhar in the upper reaches of the Ulaya river. But only three of these provinces, Lullumu, Parsua, and Namri, remained loyal during Sargon's early and difficult years, the Mannaeans being wooed to the Urartian side and the Median states denying allegiance and tribute to any outside power. In addition the Cimmerians were now on the scene; and while their primary impact was felt by the Urartians and Mannaeans, the Assyrians were justifiably concerned. By means of campaigns concentrated in the years 719 to 713, Sargon retrieved the territory temporarily lost, added new domains to the empire, and dealt a crippling blow to Urartu. The disaffection of the Mannaean states was high on Sargon's list of priorities, for as soon as he had looked to the more pressing problems on the western and southern fronts, he began in 719 to campaign to the north east. His first objective was to relieve a faithful Mannaean vassal from the days of Tiglath-pileser III, Iranzu, who was being hard pressed by two neighbouring rulers. These rebels were being supplied with troops and cavalry by another Mannaean, Mitatti of Zikirtu, who had renounced allegiance to Assyria in favour of Urartu. The rebels were defeated, their cities captured, the fortifications torn down, and people and property carried off. Sargon continued the campaign to subdue the Sukkaeans, Balaeans, and Abidknaeans, who had joined with Urartu against Assyria. These people were uprooted and transported to Syria. 98

99

100

9 6

O 6 (see

A 209, 97 and n. 5 1 1 ) ; A 2 ) , no.

1 ii 6' (cf.

p. 238a).

9 1

On the geography of this region during Sargon's campaigns see A 33; A I 58; A I 59. Regarding the reliefs relevant to these campaigns see A 15 5, 266—82. Cf. A 164; A 168. Cf. A 7 2 , no. 1 1 2 . «» A 183, 3 f r . 1 3 - 1 6 ; A 185, 5 8 - 6 8 . 9 8

9 9

4

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The north-eastern offensive had barely begun, however, before Sargon was forced to return to the west to cope with the intrigues of Midas in Anatolia, and he could not resume the offensive until three years later, in 7 1 6 . By this time the Urartian conspiracy had grown and blossomed. The traitor Mitatti of Zikirtu had been joined by Bagdatti of Uishdish in rejecting Assyrian vassaldom, and the allied forces had fought and won a pitched battle with Mannaeans loyal to Assyria on Mount Uaush, slaying the defeated leader Aza. An Assyrian raid, concerning which there are no details, had managed to capture one of the insurgents, Bagdatti, and his flayed skin had been displayed on Mount Uaush, scene of his former victory. Aza had been succeeded by his brother, Ullusunu, who joined the alliance with Urartu and managed to persuade two other rulers, Ashur-le'u of Karalla and Itti of Allabria, to join him. This was the dangerous state of affairs in 716 when Sargon returned to this front. In 716 Ullusunu was Sargon's first target. Izirtu, his capital, was captured and burnt and Ullusunu, according to Assyrian sources, begged for mercy. Sargon spared his life and re-established him on the throne as an Assyrian vassal. Ashur-le^u and Itti did not fare so well: both were taken in irons to Assyria and Karalla was added to the province of Lullumu, while Allabria was put under the authority of Bel-apla-iddina of Pattira. But the campaign had only started. Sargon now turned his face to the south east and conquered some cities which he added to the loyal province of Parsua. Another city, Kishesim, was captured, its ruler abducted and replaced by an Assyrian governor, the city renamed KarNergal, and several captured regions added to it to form a province. At this stage Sargon approached Kharkhar. Four years previously the people of Kharkhar had expelled their ruler, a faithful Assyrian vassal, and pledged allegiance to Dalta of Ellipi, who had, apparently, tempor­ arily strayed from the Assyrian fold since the days of Tiglath-pileser III. Sargon took Kharkhar, renamed it Kar-Sharrukin, appointed his own governor, added territory to the province, and eventually resettled people there from another area. The campaign concluded with a deep thrust into Median territory, and on his return Sargon formally received in Kharkhar tribute from twenty-eight rulers of the land of the Medes. In the face of Assyrian aggression Rusa I now stepped up his involvement in the east, seized several fortresses belonging to Ullusunu and persuaded another Mannaean governor, Daiukku, to side with him. In 715 Sargon returned to the area, recaptured the fortresses, and 1 0 1

102

103

1 0 1

( > 4 ( s e e A 209, 94b); A 166,Sumer 9 , 4 7 - 5 9 and Sumer 10, 2 7 - 3 5 ; A 1 7 0 , 1 7 6 f ii; A 183, 36-45 r. 23—71; A 1 8 5 , 7 8 - 1 0 0 ; A 2 2 4 , 4 1 ; cf. A 202,102—4, Room 2. Cf. A 8 2 , 1 9 1 - 3 and 209^ no. 42. See A 194. 102 The geography of this part of the campaign has been discussed by A 183, 2 9 - 3 3 . 103 The name Daiukku has been regarded as the Assyrian form of the name Deioces, the first Median king. See Hdt. 1 , 9 6 - 1 0 2 andcf. A 4 1 , 243—9; ° 7 ! CAHui ,51 n. 1. But Daiukku is called a Mannaean, not a Mede, and the theory is very doubtful. A 2

1

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104

carried off Daiukku with his family. Now he invaded Urartian territory and captured several fortresses including those in Andia. Yanzu, king of Nairi in Khubushkia, sent him tribute. In the south east the Assyrian army pacified the areas which had been joined the previous year to the province of Kharkhar and went on to conquer more Median territory. Once again Sargon concluded his penetration of Media with a ceremonial receipt of tribute in Kharkhar (Kar-Sharrukin). The campaign was a great success; for, in addition to re-establishing his control over Uishdish and Kharkhar, Sargon had expanded his holdings in Media, seized Andia on the Urartian border, and even captured some Urartian border points. The year 714 witnessed the greatest campaign on this frontier and one of the most significant achievements of Sargon's career. A unique narrative of this expedition is preserved in the form of a letter to the god Ashur and, while the chronological and geographical sequence of the text is not totally trustworthy, the abundant detail is most welcome. The Assyrian army marched to the province Lullumu, where Sargon inspected the troops and then led them on the way to Zikirtu and Andia. At some point in the march tribute was received from several rulers: Ullusunu of Uishdish, Bel-apla-iddina of Allabria, Dalta of Ellipi, and the rulers of Parsua, Namri and Median areas. Ullusunu came out to meet Sargon, crawling on all fours like a dog, and pleaded with the Assyrian for vengeance against Rusa I who had taken Uishdish, forcing Ullusunu to flee. After a splendid banquet to celebrate the meeting the Assyrian army advanced. Gizilbundi, an area which had been lost to Assyria since the reign of Adad-nirari III, quietly submitted to Sargon. Upon arrival at the borders of Zikirtu and Andia the Assyrians reinforced a fortress and then invaded Zikirtu. It will be recalled that Mitatti of Zikirtu, an Urartian ally, had for years been instigating anti-Assyrian hostilities in Mannaea, and in face of the invasion he fled. The Assyrians left Zikirtu and proceeded to Uishdish, where one of the most dramatic incidents in Assyrian history occurred. The Urartian army led by Rusa and joined by the troops of Zikirtu had assembled in Uishdish to avenge Mitatti. Reports reached Sargon that the enemy was lying in wait for him in the mountains and, rather than pause to allow his troops time to rest after their arduous march, Sargon pushed forward to catch the enemy by surprise. The scene is dramatically depicted in the letter to the god. The Assyrians, tired, hungry, and thirsty from a long route march were momentarily dismayed tofindthe full force of Urartu 105

1 0 4

0 > 4 ( s e e A 2 0 9 , 9 j a ) ; A \dd,Sumer%214-24;A

1 8 5 , 1 0 1 - 1 7 ; A 2 0 2 , 9 8 f a n d 104Room 1 4 ^ 2 2 4 ,

46f; Nineveh Prism (see A 209, 95a). 1 0 5

0>4(see A 2 0 9 , 9 5 a ) ; A 166,Sumtrtj, 2 2 5 - 8 ; A 1 7 0 , 1 7 7 f iii 1 - 4 1 ; A 1 8 5 , 1 2 7 - 6 5 ; A 1 9 1 ; A 2 0 2 , 9 8 ,

Room 13; A 2 1 3 ; A 222; A 223; A 2 2 4 , 4 7 f ; Nineveh Prism (see A 2 0 9 , 9 5 ) . See A 33; A 184; A 195; A 196; A 197.

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before them, but Sargon acted with lightning speed. Without waiting for his whole army to file out of the mountains, he led an immediate attack in person with his household cavalry. The Urartians were caught off guard and the charge broke their ranks. Sargon spotted Rusa in his chariot in the midst of the melee and rode straight for him. Rusa's horses were slain and the terrified king, leaping upon a mare, fled the battlefield. His ally, Mitatti, was caught and killed. The Urartian host panicked and ran after their fleeing king. The Assyrians pursued them into the mountains where, Sargon boasts, those they did not kill perished in the snow. It was a total rout of the Urartian army, if one can believe the Assyrian sources, and the invaders ravaged the border areas of Urartu up to the shores of the 'rolling sea' (Lake Urmia). The letter to the god, the major source for this campaign, provides unusual detail about the areas conquered. It describes the method of training horses in Ushqaia and the elaborate waterworks in Ulkhu. The Assyrians also penetrated the region of Yanzu, king of Nairi, who came with tribute to meet Sargon. The final achievement of the campaign was the sack of Musasir, the sacred city of Urartu which was located near the source of the upper Zab. Urzana, king of Musasir, had for years been torn between loyalty to Urartu and to Assyria. This is apparent not only from letters of the period but also from an Urartian royal inscription in which the Urartian king boasts of the conquest of Musasir. Sargon's decision to attack Musasir was taken, according to the letter to the god, after the Assyrians had begun the homeward march. Ominous signs appeared and the diviners, who regularly accompanied the Assyrian army on campaign, interpreted them to mean that Sargon would attack, capture and destroy Musasir. One of the portents is of particular interest, for it was a lunar eclipse which can be dated to the evening of 24 October 714 B.C., thus happily providing a precise date for the campaign. It is also significant to note that a lunar eclipse was usually regarded as an unfavourable omen, but on this occasion it was twisted around to be unfavourable for Musasir. Here is an excellent illustration of both the intricacies of Assyrian divination and the cunning of Sargon. When the eclipse occurred on that evening, a sudden dread must have befallen the camp. Sargon, faced with troops ready to panic, probably personally influenced the diviners to allay everyone's fears by declaring that the portent meant disaster for Musasir, not Assyria, thus swiftly turning the cause for fright into incitement to further conquest and plunder. A little more than two centuries later a similar deft interpretation of a solar eclipse was said to have inspired Xerxes' army to cross the Hellespont to conquer Greece. 106

107

108

1 0 6

1 0 7

A 7 2 , nos. 409, 768, 891, 1079; A 186, no. 264; cf. A 168, Cf. A 1 9 5 , 137f. Hdt. VII, 39. 1 0 8

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The Assyrian army stormed down upon Musasir, the terrified people opened the gates without attempt at resistance, and Sargon marched in to thoroughly plunder the city. The list of spoil is long and lavish and includes the image of the god Khaldi. Musasir became an Assyrian possession with the obligation to pay taxes and perform corvée. Rusa was so overcome by the sack of Musasir that, according to an Assyrian account, he killed himself with his sword. Thus this campaign not only added considerably to the territorial extent of the Assyrian empire, it also precipitated a change of monarch in Urartu. The new king, Argishti II, refrained from hostile acts on the north and north-eastern frontier, and so Sargon could turn his attention to the damage done by Urartian intrigues in Anatolia (see above pp. 9 1 — 2 ) . The absence of Urartian activity on the north-eastern front did not mean the immediate end of trouble after 714. In 713 Assyria had to deal with insurrections in two states, Karalla and Ellipi. Karalla, as noted above, had been forcibly annexed to the province of Lullumu in 716. Now the people had rebelled, expelled the Assyrian officials and put over them Amitashi, brother of the unfortunate Ashur-le u. In 713 the Assyrians defeated the rebel forces and organized Karalla as a province in its own right. As for Ellipi, its ruler Dalta had remained loyal but some of his districts rebelled and drove him out. The Assyrian army stormed into the insurgent areas, slaughtering and plundering, and restored Dalta as their ruler. Sargon boasts that he received tribute from fortyfive Median rulers on this campaign, in addition to the tribute of his loyal vassals, Ullusunu and Bel-apla-iddina. Both Ellipi and Karalla continued recalcitrant, however. When Dalta of Ellipi died, two of his sons (by different wives) fought over the throne and this resulted in a division of the kingdom. One claimant, Nibe, allied himself to Elam, while the other, Ispabara, turned to Assyria for help. Sargon despatched an army in 708 which defeated Nibe, supported by an Elamite army, and confirmed Ispabara's right to rule. Disturbances in Karalla are known to have taken place, since the Eponym Chronicle, in a badly broken section, has this laconic entry for the year 706: 'The officers in Karalla'. Obviously an Assyrian army had been sent to pacify the province once again, but further details are wanting. 109

D

110

111

5. Babylonia

and

Elam

The question of control over Babylonia was a more serious problem in the reign of Sargon II than it had been in that of Tiglath-pileser III, for Assyria lost Babylonia at Sargon's accession and it was not recaptured 1 0 9

O 4 (see A 209, 95 b); A 1 7 0 , i 7 7 f iii 4 2 - 5 6 ; A 1 8 ) , 1 6 5 - 9 4 ; Nineveh Prism (see A 209, 95).

1 1 0

A 35 11, § 6 5 ; A 1 8 ) , 7 3 : 1 3 - 7 5 : 8.

1 1 1

O 4 and O 6 (see A 209, 9 7 a ) .

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until near the end of the reign. Probably Sargon had intended to continue direct rule over his southern neighbour, but he was forestalled in his intention by the wily leader of the Chaldaean tribe Bit-Yakin, Merodach-baladan II, whofirstappeared in the time of Tiglath-pileser III. Merodach-baladan seized Babylon during the confusion sur­ rounding the accession to the throne of Sargon II, and he maintained his control, using bribes to purchase Elamite assistance, for twelve years (721—710). In 720, the same year in which the Syrian rebellion occurred (see above, pp. 88—9), the Assyrian garrison at Der was attacked. The outcome of this conflict is described in three different ways in the three main sources: Sargon claimed a victory in his royal inscriptions, Merodach-baladan did the same for Babylonia in his cylinder inscription, and the Babylonian Chronicle recorded that the Elamite army, led by king Khumban-nikash, defeated the Assyrians before Merodach-bala­ dan even arrived on the battlefield. The last version is, no doubt, closest to the truth and Sargon, occupied with other military matters, was forced to leave Merodach-baladan to rule unchallenged until 710. It was in 710 that the Assyrian launched his major offensive against Merodach-baladan and his ally, Shutur-nahhunte of Elam. Although Assyria had lost the battle of Der in 720, she had retained control over the city itself, so Sargon directed his attack into the east Tigris region first where he secured a hold over Gambulu. The role of Gambulu as a buffer zone between Assyria, Babylonia and Elam thus begins and continues for much of the Sargonid period. In 710 the city of DurAtkhara was the focus of attention, since Merodach-baladan had stationed here large numbers of Gambulaean troops and strengthened its defences by heightening the walls and cutting a canal from the River Surappu, so that the waterfloodedthe plain, turning the city on its tell into an artificial island. Despite these precautions Dur-Atkhara fell to the Assyrians. Sargon organized the city as the administrative centre of the province of Gambulu, renamed it Dur-Nabu, appointed a governor, and imposed upon the inhabitants the obligation to pay taxes and perform corvee. The surrounding region was conquered and brought under the authority of the governor at Kar-Nabu. Stubborn resistance was encountered in the marshes of the River Uqnu, where Gambulaean and Aramaean refugees had hidden. The Assyrians dammed one of the tributaries of the Uqnu with the result that the area wasfloodedand the fugitives forced out of hiding. They were 112

113

114

1 1 2

See A 532.

1 . 3

A 2 5 , no. 1 i 33—7; A 1 8 5 , 1 9 - 2 3 , 2 6 2 - 9 ;

A

2

o

6

\ lines i6f; A 595, 123: 1 6 - 1 8 . Cf. A 7 2 , no. 1 1 2 7 .

See A 2 5 , 237a and 292a; A 5 3 2 , i2f; A 6 0 6 , 340—2. 1 . 4

О 4 (see A 2 0 9 , 9 6 ) ; A 2 5 , no. 1 ii 1—5 and 1'; A 1 8 5 , 4 3 : 269—59:14; A 1 9 1 ; A 209,991". See A 209,

96 regarding letters and also note A 72, no. 899; A 5 7 0 , 6 9 , 7 7 - 8 2 , 84. See A 2 5 , 237a and A 5 3 2 , 1 8 - 2 0 .

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II

99

taken prisoner, while those who lingered in the marshes were attacked and defeated and the region added to the province of Gambulu. At this point the Assyrians were on the edge of Elamite territory, and to secure this border they captured a number of Elamite fortresses. Sargon proceeded to surround Merodach-baladan by crossing the Tigris and Euphrates and working his way up the Euphrates through territory occupied by the Chaldaean tribe, Bit-Dakkuri. When news of the trap reached Merodach-baladan, he fled Babylon by night and escaped to Elam. There, according to the Assyrian account, the fugitive offered all his precious possessions in a vain attempt to persuade Shutur-nahhunte to attack Assyria. Back in Babylonia, Sargon was invited by the priests and people of Babylon to enter their city, which he did, and there took up residence for the next few years (until 707). Sargon's policy towards Babylonia was conciliatory, since he did not hold the Babylonians responsible for the hostile activity of the Bit-Yakin under Merodach-baladan. He sacrificed to the gods of Babylonia, he ordered an army to eliminate some Aramaean brigands who had been plundering Babylonian caravans, and he had a new canal dug for the annual procession of Nabu from Borsippa to Babylon. At the beginning of the New Year (709) he grasped the hand of the statue of Marduk as a Babylonian king in the Akitu (New Year) ritual. But the war with Merodach-baladan was not finished. The month following the festivities in Babylon ( 1 1 / 7 0 9 ) , Sargon was back in the south attacking Merodach-baladan, who had appeared in Dur-Yakin (modern Tell al-Lahm) in the marshes. In preparation for the Assyrian assault the walls of Dur-Yakin had been strengthened and a canal dredged from the Euphrates tofloodthe surrounding plain, a tactic used the previous year at Dur-Atkhara. Undaunted, the Assyrians laid earthen banks across the streams of water and rushed upon the enemy host, which included Aramaean and Sudan auxiliaries, drawn up on high ground outside the city walls. While the Assyrians victoriously fought and plundered, Merodach-baladan was wounded in the hand by an arrow and slipped back inside the city. Dur-Yakin was put under siege, but by some means Merodach-baladan once again eluded capture and was not heard of again until the reign of Sennacherib. The Assyrians eventually captured Dur-Yakin, plundered it, and tore down its fortifi­ cations. The people of Yakin were led away, and a year or so later, after a rebellion in Kummukhu had been suppressed in 708 (see above p. 92), they were settled in Kummukhu and the people of Kummukhu settled in the region of Yakin. The area was divided in two with one portion under Babylonian jurisdiction and the other under the governor of Gambulu. 115

1 , 5

A 25, no. 1 ii 2'; A 3 ; 1 1 , § § 5 4 , 66—70, 7 8 , 9 2 , 1 1 7 , 184; A 1 6 2 , 8 6 - 9 : 1 ; A 1 7 0 , 185—93 vi and vii; A

185, 59: 1 5 - 6 7 : 444 (cf. A 209, 9 6 b ) ; A 224, 50. See A 2 5 , 2 3 7 b and A 5 3 2 , 2 0 - 2 .

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22.

A S S Y R I A : T I G L A T H - P I L ES E R I I I TO S A R G O N

II 116

Until 707, the year in which Sargon left his residence in Babylon, the king personally supervised conciliatory endeavours. Political prisoners who had been incarcerated by Merodach-baladan were freed and their fields in Sippar, Nippur, Babylon, and Borsippa restored to them. The Sutians who had seized these lands were massacred, as were Aramaean and Sutian robbers who lurked in the abandoned wilderness around Babylon. Statues of gods, which had been carried off from Ur, Uruk, Eridu, Larsa, Kullab, Kissik, and Nemed-Laguda were returned. For the remainder of his life Sargon ruled Babylonia directly and he was almost universally recognized by the Babylonians as their rightful sovereign. His fame spread thence as far as Dilmun in the Persian Gulf and two of its kings, Uperi and Akhundra (presumably his successor) sent gifts. 117

The net gains of the campaigns were impressive. On all fronts Sargon had consolidated and expanded his empire; he had established good relations with two major powers, Egypt and Phrygia; he had seriously intimidated two other powerful opponents, Urartu and Merodachbaladan; and he had taken afirmhold of Babylonia. Sargon preferred to lead campaigns in person and while away from home left the administ­ ration of the empire in the hands of the crown prince, Sennacherib. Indeed Sargon was slain on the battlefield, and this led to interesting results as will be seen in the next chapter. A curious fact is that, although Sargon indulged in the hunt as a good Assyrian king should, the only game he is known to have sought, according to present evidence, was small creatures, birds and rabbits. Finally, a feature of the royal inscriptions of Sargon is that they contain more detail concerning battles and military tactics than the royal inscriptions of any other Assyrian. Some of the more dramatic scenes are found, of course, in the letter to the god about the eighth campaign ( 7 1 4 ) , but even in the other royal inscriptions it is not unusual to find descriptions of incidents in other than stereotyped phraseology. 118

119

6.

Building

As a builder Sargon II is virtually unparalleled, for he created a totally new Assyrian city, Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad) (Pis. Vol., pi. 69). While Ashurnasirpal II and Sennacherib are justly famous for their extensive development of Calah and Nineveh respectively, these had been major Assyrian cities before their time, and the only achievement comparable 1 . 6

For Sargon's residence in Babylon see the Eponym Chronicle and the Babylonian Chronicle as quoted by A 209, 96. 1 . 7

A 35 11, § § 7 0 , 8 1 , 185; A 170, 191—4 vii 20-4

"8

Cf. л 1 7 6 .

(cf.

p. 194); A 185, 67: 1 - 4 4 4

a n

»» See A 481.

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d

69:

454.

SARGON

II

IOI

to Sargon's is the building of Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta by Tukulti-Ninurta I. It has already been suggested that Sargon's creation of a new city was the act of a usurper wishing both to enhance his image and to escape hostile elements in the old cities. But, apart from this possibility, the revival of the Assyrian empire which was well under way provided the necessary impetus to create a new centre, and it is even possible that Tiglath-pileser III had already entertained such an idea, it being postponed because of more urgent affairs. Work began on the site very early in the reign, the foundations being laid in 7 1 7 . The location was approximately 25 km north of Nineveh in the foothills of the Jebel Maqlub (Musri). Sargon discovered that the inhabitants of a local village, Magganuba, held claim to the ground under a royal grant issued by Adad-nirari III, and he compensated the villagers by providing them with other fields, in the same general area, and issued a revised proclamation to certify the exchange ( 5 / V 1 1 1 / 7 1 3 ) . The central structure in the new metropolis was the palace (Pis. Vol., pi. 48) in which were employed various exotic materials, all kinds of wood, metals, precious stones and ivory. A pillared portico in the Syrian fashion (bit hjlani) formed the grand entrance with numerous columns of cedar and animal colossi in bronze and limestone. The walls of the palace were lined with huge stone slabs, on which Sargon's conquests were depicted both in sculptured relief and in cuneiform inscriptions (rediscovered in modern excavations). A splendid ceremony celebrated completion of the palace: the Assyrian gods were brought inside to receive their sacrifices in an appropriate ritual, and when they had departed the king, his nobles, and 'the princes of all lands' sat down to a magnificent feast. A park was laid out with imported trees; shrines for several deities including Ea, Sin, Ningal, Shamash, Nabu, Adad, Ninurta and the Sibitti were erected; a residence for Sin-akha-usur, chief vizier and brother of Sargon, was built; and a wall with eight gates surrounded the city. People transported from all areas conquered by Sargon were settled inside and taught 'to revere god and king'. Despite the special attention paid to the building of Dur-Sharrukin Sargon did not neglect other Assyrian centres. At Ashur he refurbished the temple of the god Ashur, Ekhursaggalkurkurra, restored the processional way of the forecourt, and did some repairs to the palace and the Sin-Shamash temple. His main work at Nineveh was reconstruction of the temple of Nabu (Sargon calls it the 'temple of Nabu and 1 2 0

1 2 1

122

123

1 2 0

O 4 (see A 209, 94b).

'2i A 102, no. 32.

•22 O 4 and O 6 (see A 2 0 9 , 9 6 ) ; A 3 5 1 1 , § § 7 2 - 3 , 8 5 - 9 0 , 9 3 - 4 , 9 7 - 1 1 4 , 1 1 9 - 2 3 , 1 2 7 a , 1 2 8 - 3 1 , 228; A 7 2 , nos. 1 3 8 , 4 5 2 , 4 8 0 - 4 , 75 7, 8 1 3 - 1 4 , 1 4 3 2 , 1442; A 8 1 , 4 7 f and 5 5f, nos. xxxi and x x x n ; A 84, 70, and 7 3 - 5 . n o . LXVIH; A 8 6 , 1 7 8 and i 9 o f no. x c i v ; A 162, 8 6 - 9 : 8 - 1 1 ; A 1 7 0 , 1 9 6 - 8 viii; A 185, 7 5 : 8 - 8 1 :

1; A

189, 8 5 - 8 ; A 226, pi. 4 9 , nos. 7, 9. See A 1 1 8 ; A 134; A 148; A 166; A 202, 9 5 - 1 0 4 ; A 205. 1 2 3

A 35 II, § § 2 2 4 - 5 ; A 7 2 , no. 9 1 ; A I 28, 8 9 - 9 2 ; A 1 6 2 , 8 6 - 9 ; A 1 7 0 , 175 ¡ 2 4 - 3 2 ; A 222. See A 507, 2 1 .

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22.

ASSYRIA:

TI G L A T H - P I L E S E R I I I

TO

SARGON

II

124

Marduk'), which Adad-nirari III had earlier renewed. He also restored the Akitu (New Year) House, according to Ashurbanipal. The foundation of the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Calah was in bad condition. Sargon cleared the site, laid a new terrace of limestone, and restored the building. Upon completion he invited the gods inside to receive their offerings and then he staged a banquet. The spoil taken from Pisiri of Carchemish (717) was stored inside. Sargon made some repairs to the palace at Ekallatu and also did some work on a temple at Der. Given the short period of time during which Sargon controlled Babylonia, one would not expect much building to be done there under his rule. In fact there is record of restoration of the Eanna temple at Uruk, and work on the walls of Babylon, and of an endowment for Ishtar of Uruk and Nanaya. In the provinces there is evidence of Sargon's building activities at Harran, Til-Barsib, Carchemish, Malatya, and Arslan Tash. 125

126

127

128

129

130

7.

Conclusion

Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II are the pioneers of the greatest phase of Neo-Assyrian history; they blazed the trail on all fronts, opening new paths for the Assyrian armies and for the trade and culture which followed in their steps, and they added new domains to what was already the most extensive kingdom the world had ever known. After this burst of glory the course of events becomes a little more involved, albeit no less dramatic, as Sargon's heirs are drawn into situations and problems not of their own making. 1 2 4

A 3 5 1 1 , §226; A 102, no. 54; A 1 2 2 , nos. 2 9 , 4 1 , 6 9 - 7 1 ; A 1 2 3 , 1 0 3 f ; A 1 9 0 , 1 8 , no. v m . See A 124,

66-9. 1 2 5

1 2 6

1 2 7

A 1 6 1 , 35F v 3 3 - 4 2 . A 35 11, § 1 3 8 . See A 137 1, 9 3 - 1 8 3 . A 7 2 , no. 99. A 7 2 , no. 1 5 7 . A ;6o, no. 38; A 596; A 689, no. I 32. Harran: A 7 2 , no. 489; A 162, 8 6 - 9 : 6f. Til-Barsib: A 1 6 7 . Carchemish: A 228, 2 1 1 and 265. Malatya: cf. A 1 6 7 , 1 6 4 n. 3. Arslan Tash: cf. A 218. 1 2 8

1 2 9

1 3 0

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CHAPTER 23 ASSYRIA: SENNACHERIB A N D E S A R H A D D O N (704—669 B . C . ) A.

K.

GRAYSON

The history of Assyria during the reigns of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon is slightly different in character from that of the reigns of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II in that military achievements, although still of major significance, do not totally dominate the scene. Indeed, apart from the invasion of Egypt under Esarhaddon, there are no further extensive conquests to be recorded. Rather the emphasis gradually shifts to cultural enterprises, especially great building projects, and this develop­ ment is illustrated by the fact that for Esarhaddon there are virtually no annalistic records preserved, although there is a vast number of display texts in which construction and religion have the centre stage. One must not make too much of this transformation, however, for it is gradual and subtle; both kings, but particularly Sennacherib, still sent out their vast armies to maintain and occasionally expand the frontiers of the empire. I. S E N N A C H E R I B

(704-681

B.C.)

Of the two monarchs, Sennacherib was certainly the more warlike and therefore a son of whom Sargon could be proud. Among the deeds of Sennacherib, the most creditable is his work at Nineveh, which he transformed into the great metropolis to be known by posterity as the Assyrian capital. Paradoxically, the other event of his time which would long be remembered in Mesopotamia was the destruction of the sister capital, Babylon. 1

1. Sources and chronology

Sources for the reign of Sennacherib are both abundant and informative. Of the large number of royal inscriptions a substantial proportion are annalistic and the information they provide is further elucidated by chronographic texts, particularly the Babylonian Chronicle and the 1

For a detailed, albeit dated, history of the reign see A 40.

103 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

Map 3. The Assyrian and Babylonian empires with neighbouring kingdoms.

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105

SENNACHERIB 2

Eponym Chronicle. At least some letters, in the archives of the royal chancellery which have been recovered, should date to this period, and there are astrological reports which bear on political and administrative affairs. There are also a number of legal and administrative documents. The bulk of the inscribed material comes from Nineveh, and this is also the source of a rich quantity of sculptures in the round and in relief, these being among the spectacular finds of the early days of Assyrian archaeology. Foreign sources, especially the Bible, are of some signifi­ cance for the history of this reign. The chronology of Sennacherib's reign is unfortunately not as certain as one would like. In the chronology followed by our ancient sources there are three different dates used as the first regnal year, 705, 704, or 703, and it is manifest from this curious state of affairs that there was considerable confusion during the period from Sargon's death on the battlefield to his son's general acceptance as the new monarch. In passing, it should be noted that despite this confusion Sennacherib was able to carry out substantial construction at Nineveh during these early years. To return to the chronology, there is also difficulty about the precise years of the royal campaigns and even about how many there were. The problem of the dates arises out of the fact that in the royal annals, as in the immediately preceding reigns, the campaigns are not dated by eponyms but merely numbered as first, second, third, etc. In the standard editions of the campaigns the accepted number is eight, but it is known that there were at least four additional expeditions, and there could have been more, since there are many years for which no record of military activity is preserved. It is a pity that the Eponym Chronicle, which could have shed light on this problem, is missing for all but the beginning of this reign. 3

4

5

6

7

8

2 . The Babylonian question

One theme is predominant in the military and administrative policies of Sennacherib and that is the Babylonian question. It is an axiom of Assyrian foreign policy that special privilege must be accorded to Babylonian affairs, and no better illustration of this could be found than in the time of Sennacherib. Throughout his reign Sennacherib wrestled 9

2

Most of the royal inscriptions were edited by Luckenbill in A 270 and translated by him in A 3 5 11, § § 2 3 1 - 4 9 6 . To this add A 250. Bibliography of additional texts will be found in л 230, 84 n. j and in A 25, 238-40 and 292; A 285. The annalistic texts have been edited in л 4, 5 9 - 8 0 , which also provides an extensive bibliography of published and unpublished texts. The relevant references in chronographic texts have been listed in л 25, 238b, and note especially Chronicle 1 ii 19 - iii 36. For the Eponym Chronicles, О 6 and О 7, see A 7 6 3 , 435. 3

See A 72—88. Cf. A 7 6 , 1 igf and n. 1.

4

See A 1032 and A 1040.

7

Regarding Berossus see A 7, 34f.

5

See A 89—109. 8

6

A 147.

See A 269 and A 532, 2 2 - 4 .

' See л 540.

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Io6

23.

ASSYRIA: SENNACHERIB AND

ESARHADDON

with the problem, attempting various solutions, but ultimately resorting to the most drastic action of all, the capture and destruction of Babylon. The resistance to Assyria centred around the figure of the Chaldaean Merodach-baladan II, who was eventually succeeded in this role by his son, but much of the actualfightingwas conducted by Elamite troops under the direction of their king, who was persuaded by bribes to assist. The first formal campaign of the reign was directed against Babylonia, and fortunately we have a detailed annalistic account written shortly after the event, as well as later more concise versions. The campaign began late in the year 703 and was instigated by Merodachbaladan, who had seized the Babylonian throne and gathered a large force of Chaldaeans, Aramaeans, and Elamites to support his claim. The revolt against Assyria was far-flung; it included Judah, if we may date to this period the visit of ambassadors of Merodach-baladan to Hezekiah as described in the Bible and Josephus. Presumably the allies were hoping to reap great advantage from the fact that there had been so much confusion about Sennacherib's accession. When the army departed from Ashur, Sennacherib sent ahead to Kish a contingent which immediately engaged the enemy stationed there. The king in the interval proceeded to attack another enemy force at Cutha; he captured the city and then rushed to the aid of his embattled troops in the plain of Kish. Merodach-baladan fled the scene of battle and the allied army was defeated. Sennacherib went on to Babylon, where he plun­ dered the palace but otherwise did not harm the inhabitants. He continued farther south to hunt for Merodach-baladan in the marshes and left behind him a smoking trail of burnt towns. Nonetheless, the search was in vain; Merodach-baladan was not found. Sennacherib turned his attention to exterminating rebel factions in large cities: Uruk, Nippur, Kish, Khursagkalama, Cutha, and Sippar. On the Babylonian throne he put Bel-ibni, a man of Babylonian descent but raised at the Assyrian court, in other words a puppet king. On Sennacherib's return march (by this time the year 702 had begun) he captured and plundered numerous Aramaeans; he forcibly extracted tribute from Khirimmu; and he received voluntary tribute from Nabu-bel-shumati of Khararate. For two years Assyria, busy elsewhere, left Babylonia undisturbed and Merodach-baladan took the opportunity, as we know from a number of reports to the Assyrian court which presumably date to this period, to make his presence felt in Babylonia. In 700 Sennacherib led a campaign, 10

11

12

13

1 0

See A 533.

n

0 6

r. 12—15 (A 7 6 3 , 435). A 25 no. 1 ii 12—25.

A

2

7°» 24 i 20 — 26 i 64; 48—5 5; 56f: 5—19; 66f: 2

A

3—9;

85f: 6f, 1 2 . A 162, 94f; A 2 5 1 , 1 1 8 — 2 5 ' 3 79> 2 4 1 , 5 9 . Possibly A 2 7 0 , 1 5 7 no. xxx and A 7 2 , no. 1 4 5 2 date to this or the fourth campaign; A 1 5 , no. 233: 16. See A 296 and A 5 32, 22—6. 76f: 7 — 1 1 , 1 3 - 1 5 ; 1 2

II Ki. 20: 1 2 — 1 9 ; - 39

1 3

A 570, 98; A 5 7 1 , 1 9 4 - 2 0 2 .

l s

:

II Chron. 32: 31; Jos. Ant.

Jud. x.ii 2. See A 532, 3 1 - 3 .

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SENNACHERIB

his fourth in the official reckoning, into the Babylonian marshes to crush the Bit-Yakin tribe of Merodach-baladan. First he hunted down a new leader of the rebellious Chaldaeans, who is merely called Shuzubu (a hypocorism) but must be identical with the later king of the name Mushezib-Marduk. Shuzubu was defeated and fled. The victorious army then marched against the Bit-Yakin. Merodach-baladan fled by ship across the Persian Gulf, abandoning his brothers and people to the Assyrians, who devastated their settlements. Merodach-baladan even­ tually died in exile in Elam. The Assyrians now punished Bel-ibni, who had been false to the Assyrian cause, taking him captive to Assyria. Ashur-nadin-shumi, Sennacherib's son, was installed on the Babylonian throne. But the Babylonian question was far from resolved. The major confrontation with the rebels and their Elamite allies began six years later, in 694, and continued almost unremittingly until the sack of Babylon in 689. In 694 Sennacherib launched a campaign, the sixth in the official numbering, to destroy the Elamite base of the fugitive BitYakin on the shore of the Persian Gulf. To accomplish this task he had Syrian craftsmen build boats of Phoenician design, to be manned by sailors from Tyre, Sidon, and Cyprus. The ships were brought down the Tigris to Opis and dragged overland to the Arakhtu canal. Assyrian troops, horses, and impedimenta were loaded onto the ships, and they sailed down the Euphrates, while Sennacherib marched with another body of men along the bank. Making camp near the sea-shore, they were suddenly overwhelmed by waves and forced to huddle in the boats for five days and nights. It seems that the Phoenician sailors, accustomed to the virtually tideless Mediterranean, were caught unawares by the gulf tide. Eventually they were able to sail across the water where, after a difficult landing, they engaged the Chaldaeans in a pitched battle on the river Ulaya. The Assyrians won the day, plundered the area, and sailed their spoil-laden craft back to the king who awaited them on the shore. But Sennacherib had been outwitted. While the Assyrians had been busy on the Persian Gulf, the Elamites had invaded Babylonia in the north, through the Diyala valley, and occupied Sippar. It was a brilliant stroke and caught the Assyrians completely off guard. The Babylonians handed over Ashur-nadinshumi, the Assyrian prince whom Sennacherib had imposed upon them as king, to the Elamites and he was carried off to Elam. His place on the 14

15

16

17

1 4

C>7(A 7 6 3 , 4 3 5 ) 2-9P). A 2 j , no. 1 ii 2 6 - 3 1 . Synchronistic King List (A 6 0 7 , §3 King List 12) iv

3 - 6 . A 270, 34f iii 5 0 - 7 4 ; 7 1 : 33—7; 7 6 - 8 : 1 if, 25—7; 85f: 7 - 1 2 ; 87: 27; 89: 4 - 6 . A 2 9 5 , 306-8 i v 4 0 - v 1 6 ; A 2 5 1 , 1 4 0 - 5 iv 1 0 - 4 8 ; A 5 7 0 , 1 0 0 , K . 1 3 0 7 1 ; Berossus, see A 7 , 2 4 ; A 1 2 2 , pi. LVIII, fig. 6(cf. A I 1 5 , 2 6 ) . S e e A 532, 26f. 1 6

1 5

See A 524, 1 1 6 - 2 3 ; A 534, 2 4 4 - 6 ; A 5 7 4 , 9—18.

A 25, no. 1 ii 36 - iii 6. A 270, j 8 f iv 3 2 - 5 3 ; 7 3 - 6 : 4 8 - 1 0 6 ; 7 8 : 2 8 - 3 2 ; 8 6 - 8 : 19—36 (cf. A 162, 95 _

no. 7 col. B); 89f: 1 - 1 j (cf. A 234, § 9 1 ) ; 156: I4 7(?)- * * 5 ° , 8 8 - 9 1 : 1 6 - 1 9 . "

A

2

a

"5. 5 -

See A 7 0 3 , lines 26f.

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Ю8

23. A S S Y R I A : S E N N A C H E R I B A N D E S A R H A D D O N

Babylonian throne was taken by Nergal-ushezib. Few details of the subsequent events are preserved but it is apparent that afiercestruggle began as Sennacherib worked his way north, desperately attempting to recoup his losses. The conflict continued into the next calendar year, 693. On the sixteenth of Du'uzu (iv) Nergal-ushezib captured Nippur and on thefirstof Tashritu (vn) the Assyrians took Uruk. Six days later a major battle was fought near Nippur, and Nergal-ushezib was taken prisoner and transported to Nineveh. But Sennacherib was far from done. In the same year, 693, he launched an offensive (officially the seventh campaign) against Elam, where his son had been taken into exile. He recaptured Bit-Khairi and Rasa on the border and made them garrison towns under the control of the governor of Der. He then sacked and destroyed numerous cities, and when news reached the new king of Elam, Kudur-nahhunte, he abandoned his capital, Madaktu, and hid in the mountains. Sennacherib ordered a march to Madaktu, but winter suddenly set in and the Assyrians returned to Nineveh. Thus thefinalconflict with Elam was postponed. The last great battle between Sennacherib and the Elamite—Babylo­ nian coalition was fought at Khalule on the Tigris, probably in 691, during the course of the eighth campaign (according to the official numbering). Mushezib-Marduk, whom Sennacherib had forced to flee to Elam in 700, returned to claim the Babylonian throne and won Elamite support through, according to Assyrian claims, payment of bribes from the treasure of Esagil. The Assyrians marched south and met a large force of Elamites and Babylonians at Khalule. There are two conflicting accounts about the outcome. The Babylonian Chronicle records, in its laconic fashion, that the Assyrians retreated, but Senna­ cherib claims, in one of the longest descriptions of a battle scene in Assyrian annals, that he won. It is a fact that Mushezib-Marduk remained on the Babylonian throne for two regnal years after the battle, and this, taken together with the greater reliability of the Babylonian source, would indicate that Sennacherib, far from winning a major victory at Khalule, probably suffered a setback or at least a check to his advance. But he would not stop here. The allies had won, at best, a brief respite; within a very short time the Assyrians were able to apply considerable pressure on Babylonia, and this eventually led to the fall of Babylon itself in 689. Unfortunately we do not have a coherent narrative of the events. By the middle of the year after the battle of Khalule, which is to say the fifth month of 690, it is 18

19

20

1 8

2

A 25.no.

34, §90; 1 9

A

2

i III 9—15. or

5°.9 "

:

l

A

2 7 0 , 3 9 I V 5 4 - 4 1 V 16; 88:

36-44(cf. A

162,95

no. 7col. B);9of: 16-24(cf. *

l

9~4 -

A 2 5 , n o . 1 III 1 6 - 1 8 . A 2 7 0 , 4 1 V 1 7 - 4 7 V I 35; 8if: 3 4 - 4 3 ; 88f: 4 4 - 5 5; 91ft 25 - r . 2 1 . A 2 5 0 , 8 8 - 9 5 :

1 1 — 1 6 , 4 7 - 1 1 4 . See A 606, 342 and A 540, 92f. 2

A 2 5 , no. 1 III 1 9 - 2 4 . A 2 7 0 , 83Г": 4 3 - 5 4 ; i37f: 3 6 - 4 7 . See A 540, 9 3 - 5 .

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SENNACHERIB

apparent from a contemporary description that life in Babylonia and especially in Babylon was grim; the Assyrian siege had begun and famine, starvation, and death were everywhere. Tenaciously the Babylonians refused to submit for another fifteen months after the date of this scene; but on the first day of Kislimu (ix) of 689 Babylon was captured. Sennacherib boasts, in a description reeking with hatred for Babylon and Babylonians, that he utterly destroyed the city; he diverted water from the canals in order toflattennot only the buildings but the very mound upon which Babylon stood. As usual allowance must be made for the extravagance of Assyrian prose and the actual destruction was probably not nearly as bad as the description. The serious catastrophe was the traumatic effect this outrage had on the Babylonians themselves, for it marks a turning point in Babylonian history and in Assyro-Babylonian relations. Far from solving the Babylonian question by this decisive deed, Sennacherib had kindled a spark in the south that would eventually burst into theflamesof a war of independence. For the remainder of this reign the Babylonians suffered in silence although they did not recognize Sennacherib or anyone else as king after Mushezib-Marduk was taken to exile in Assyria; in their official chronicles they spoke of these eight years as a period 'of there not being a king in Babylon'. 21

22

3. Palestine

Next to Babylon the most important area in Sennacherib's foreign policy was in the west, especially Palestine and Egypt. The centre of interest was the kingdom of Judah under Hezekiah. Hezekiah had been drawn into intrigue with Merodach-baladan, as noted earlier, and with Egyp­ tian and Nubian encouragement he had renounced Assyrian allegiance. But Sennacherib, once he had driven Merodach-baladan out of Babylon, was prepared to assert his authority in Palestine, which he did beginning with a campaign in 701. The history of Sennacherib's military actions in Palestine is a problem for modern scholars. The two main accounts of the relevant events are found in the Assyrian royal inscriptions and in the Bible. In both the Assyrian texts and in the Old Testament the narrative concerns an invasion by Sennacherib of Palestine during the reign of Hezekiah of Judah and an Assyrian siege of the city of Jerusalem. Beyond these basic similarities, however, the descriptions are not identical, and, while some of this can be attributed to the different 23

2 1

YBC 1 1 3 7 7 . See A 540, 93. A 25, no. 1 iii 28. Cf. the Ptolemaic Canon (A 607, §3 King List 8): dfSaoiAtvra. A 270, 2 9 - 3 4 ii 3 7 - i i i 49; 6of; 6 8 - 7 0 : 1 8 - 3 2 ; 7 7 : 1 7 - 2 2 ; 86: 1 3 - 1 5 (cf. A 162, 94f no. 7). A 2 5 1 , 1 3 0 - 4 1 i i 6 o - i v 9 ; I I Ki. 18: 1 3 - 1 9 : 37;IIChron. 32: 1 - 2 3 ; Is. 36: 1 - 3 7 : 38; Jos. Ant.jud.XA 1 - 5 . Cf. also below, pp. 1 1 0 - 1 1 . 2 2

2 3

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outlook and purpose of the authors, not all the difficulties can be resolved in this way. Let us briefly outline the events in each narrative and then consider the problems. Sennacherib's annals state that the third campaign (701) was directed against Syria. Sidon and Ashkelon were taken by force but other states, including Arvad, Byblos, Samsimurun, Ashdod, Ammon, Moab, and Edom paid tribute without resistance. The citizens of Ekron (Amqarruna) became frightened, for they had handed over their king, Padi, as a prisoner to Hezekiah, and they called on Egypt and Nubia for aid. The Assyrians met this allied force at Eltekeh and claimed a victory. Eltekeh and Timna were plundered, the rebellious nobles of Ekron were slain, and Padi was returned from Jerusalem to sit once again on his throne. Now Sennacherib laid siege to Jerusalem. During the siege the sur­ rounding towns were sacked and put under the authority of Ashdod, Ekron, and Gaza. At this point one expects a statement in the Assyrian annals regarding the manner in which the siege of Jerusalem was ended, but instead there is a long list of booty which we are told was sent from Jerusalem to Nineveh. These are the events as narrated in Sennacherib's annals, and there is no doubt that all of this had happened by 700 since the fullest account, the Rassam Cylinder, is dated in that year. There can, however, be no certainty about the two other pieces of Assyrian evidence: the reliefs upon which is portrayed the looting of Lachish; and a fragmentary text, which may be of Sennacherib, in which is described the conquest of two Palestinian towns, one of them being Azekah (the name of the other is broken). Neither Lachish nor Azekah is mentioned in any annalistic narrative of the third campaign. Turning to the Biblical account, in the Book of Kings it is stated that Sennacherib took all the fortified cities of Judah and then, while at Lachish, he received from Hezekiah a vast amount of tribute (II Ki 18: 13—19: 3 7 ) . In the Book of Chronicles, where this passage does not appear, there is a detailed narration of the measures taken by Hezekiah to fortify Jerusalem against a siege (II Chron. 32: 1 - 2 1 ) . The Assyrian sent an army to Jerusalem where the rab-saqeh harangued the people, trying to persuade them of their foolishness in relying upon Egyptian aid. Hezekiah, on the advice of the prophet Isaiah, stood his ground. When the rab-saqeh reported back to Sennacherib, whom he found at Libnah, a message came that Taharqa of Nubia had set out for battle. The Assyrian now sent an ultimatum to Hezekiah, but Isaiah assured his king that Sennacherib would never approach Jerusalem. The Biblical narrative proceeds: 'That night the angel of the Lord went forth and slew a 24

25

2 6

2 4

A 1 4 7 , pis.

68—76. Cf. A 155, 4 4 - 6 7 , and

below, fig. 14.

2 5

A 274, 25—39. Na'aman believes that the fragment is a description of the campaign in 701 and that the missing name is Gath (also not mentioned in the annals of the third campaign). Cf. Jos. Ant.Jud.xi 1. 2 6

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hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians.' Sennacherib returned to Nineveh where he was slain by his sons. Unless we dismiss one or both of these sources as unreliable, we are faced with an interesting, albeit intricate, task of historical research. There is no scope in these pages to discuss the problem in detail, nor to do justice to the voluminous pages written by numerous scholars on this matter; rather I shall present very briefly my own view. It seems obvious that the two sources are describing essentially different events, and that we must reckon with at least one further Palestinian campaign after 701. This second campaign probably took place late in the reign ( 6 8 8 - 6 8 1 ) , a period for which no Assyrian annalistic narratives are preserved. Assuming this much, let us outline a hypothetical reconstruction. Sennacherib's first invasion of Palestine took place more or less as he describes it in his annals. He probably won the day at Eltekeh, for he went on to plunder this and other towns. It is extremely unlikely that he suffered any severe defeat or slaughter on this campaign, since he was able to carry out a major attack on Babylonia the following year. The siege of Jerusalem ended in Hezekiah paying a huge bribe to Senna­ cherib (perhaps this same incident is referred to in II Kings 18: 14—16), but otherwise the city was not harmed. During subsequent years, while Assyria was busy with other problems, Hezekiah resolved to resist any future Assyrian invasion by allying himself to Egypt and by fortifying Jerusalem to face a siege. Until 689 Sennacherib was busy with the Babylonian problem, but after this date he was free to launch a new campaign to the west. To this late Palestinian campaign one might assign the conquest of Azekah and the siege of Lachish. Presumably it was on this occasion that the rab-Iaqeh made his abortive trips to Jerusalem and that the report of Taharqa's advance was brought to Sennacherib. Before fighting commenced, however, a catastrophe befell the Assyrian camp; the Biblical narrative speaks of a slaughter by the angel of the Lord, and Josephus recalls in this connexion a story of Herodotus about mice gnawing through the bowstrings of Sennacherib's army. Whatever happened, Sennacherib withdrew in confusion and disgrace. How close this interpretation of our sources is to reality must await the test of future discoveries. 27

28

29

4. Other military matters

The remaining campaigns of Sennacherib are over-shadowed by his Elamite-Babylonian and Syro-Egyptian offensives and are not dis2 7

See A 302; A 2 j 4; A 240; A 249; A 245; A 299; A 276; and the bibliography of older works in these references. The years 699—7, allowing one of these for the fifth campaign, cannot be entirely ruled out. Hdt. n . i 4 i f and Jos. Ant. jud. x.i 4. See A 232, 89-92. 2 8

2 9

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tinguished by any significant territorial gains. Two campaigns, the second ( 7 0 2 ) and fifth (somewhere in the period 6 9 9 - 6 9 7 ) according to the official numbering, were directed to the mountains east of Assyria. On the first of these Sennacherib attacked troublesome Kassites and Yasubigallians in the Zagros. He captured Bit-Kilamzakh, garrisoned it, and transported conquered peoples to settle in it. Kassites and Yasubigallians were settled in Khardishpi and Bit-Kubatti, which were put under the authority of the governor of Arrapkha. Sennacherib moved on to Ellipi. Its king, Ispabara, once a vassal of Sargon II, had obviously changed heart, for hefled.The Assyrians swept over the area, adding Sisirtu, Kummakhlum, and the province of Bit-Barru to their holdings. Elenzash was made the capital, the name changed to KarSennacherib, and it was put under the authority of the governor of Kharkhar. On his return Sennacherib received tribute from the Medes. On the fifth campaign the army attacked the people on Mount Nipur (Herakul Dag), and devastated their cities. Sennacherib then attacked Maniyae, king of the city of Ukku of the land of Daiye. The kingfledand his city was captured and plundered. Turning to Anatolia, as we noted earlier, several states had rebelled at Sargon IPs death and Sennacherib was too occupied with other frontiers to do much about this. None the less he did send two expeditions into Anatolia in successive years, 696 and 695. The first was against Cilicia and its allies, who are said to have blocked the road to Que. Hawkins has suggested that in fact Que was once again friendly to and possibly a vassal state of Assyria and the purpose of this campaign was to assist Que 1, 4 2 6 - 7 ) . Be that as it may, the rebel cities of Ingira, (cf. CAH Tarsus, and Illubru were captured and the leader, Kirua, taken with much spoil to Nineveh. The campaign of 69 5 was directed against Tabal but was far from successful, the plunder of only one border city, TilGarimmu, being recorded. One further campaign is known from a fragmentary text of Senna­ cherib, as well as from allusions in inscriptions of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. This was against Arabs in the north Arabian desert and involved the conquest of the oasis settlement of Adummatu (Biblical Dumah, modern Dumat al-Jandal), where the queen of the Arabs had taken refuge. There can be no certainty about the date of this event, 30

31

32

H I

2

.

33

34

3 0

A 2 7 0 , 26—9 i 65 - ii 35; 58-60: 2 0 - 3 3 ; 6 7 k 9 - 1 7 ; 77: 15f; 86: I 2 f (cf. A 162, 94f no. 7); 1 5 7 , no.

XXVII. A 2 5 1 , 1 2 4 - 9 i 8 0 - i i 59. See A 3 3 , 1 1 , 26; D.—O. Edzard, 'Jasubu', in A 1 6 , 5 , 2 7 1 ; A 286, 97—9. 3 1

A 2 7 0 , 35—8 iii 75 — iv 31; 63-6; 7 1 f: 37—47; 77: 22f; 86: i 6 f (cf. A 162, 94f no. 7). A 2 5 1 , 1 4 4 - 7 '

v

4 9 - 9 1 . See A 2 8 7 , 60. 3 2

A 2 7 0 , 6 i f iv 6 1 - 9 1 ; 7 7 : 24; 86: 1 7 f (cf. A 1 6 2 , 9 4 f no. 7 ) . A 2 5 1 , 1 4 6 - 5 1 iv 92 —v 28; Berossus, see

A 7, 24. Cf. A 1 7 8 , 15 5ft A 1 7 2 . 3 3

A 2 7 0 , 6 2 f v 1—22; 7 7 : 24f; 86: 1 9 . A 2 5 1 , 1 5 0 - 3 v 2 9 - 5 2 .

3 4

A 2 7 0 , 9 2 f r. 22—7; A 234, 53: 1—5; A 3 4 4 , 1 1 , 216—19

a n c

^ 2 2 2 - 5 . See A 236, 8 - 1 1 ; A 1 9 , 1 1 7 - 2 3 .

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"3

although some have suggested 690 since the narrative in Sennacherib's text follows immediately upon a description of the eighth campaign. 35

In the realm of military strategy and tactics there are some features in the reign of Sennacherib which should be noted. On his first campaign he employed two separate contingents, one initially to engage the enemy at Kish while the main body of the Assyrian army attacked Cutha in force. The manoeuvre was successful; thefirstcontingent was just able to hold its own until Sennacherib had been victorious at Cutha and could rush to its aid. An ingenious strategy was the use of Phoenician boats on the sixth campaign to transport troops across the Persian Gulf, although Sennacherib was outwitted on this occasion by the Elamites who cut off the Assyrians by an invasion of northern Babylonia. Sennacherib clearly understood the power of propaganda as illustrated by the rab-saqeh's attempt, so vividly described in the Bible, to persuade the king and inhabitants of Jerusalem to submit without a struggle. As mentioned earlier, a similar method was employed by Tiglath-pileser III at Babylon. Finally, the texts of Sennacherib contain more details about siege techniques than are usually found in Assyrian royal inscriptions, but whether this indicates a great advance in siege methods in his reign or is to be attributed to some other cause must remain an open question. 5. Building

The most outstanding achievement of this reign was a great urban development, the transformation of Nineveh into the leading metropolis of the empire. Sennacherib began this project almost as soon as he ascended the throne, and as early as 703 he had already expanded the size of the city and constructed a palace complete with park and artificial irrigation. During the remainder of his reign he not only embellished and enlarged these works but constructed new city defences and a fortress. The labour for these endeavours was provided by Chaldaeans, Aramaeans, Mannaeans, and people of Que, Cilicia, Philistia, and Tyre, who were pressed into service. Remains of Sennacherib's great palace, which he called 'Palace Without a Rival' and which modern excavators have labelled the 'South-West Palace', were found on the larger of the two mounds of Nineveh, Kouyunjik. Sennacherib tore down the ruins of an old palace, diverted the course of a stream which had flooded the area, and erected a huge terrace. On this foundation rose the palace, decorated with all manner of exotic woods, stones, metals, and ivory, 36

3 5

3 6

Cf. A 285, 194. On Nineveh's topography, its environs, and Sennacherib's construction there see A 1 2 4 ,

106—41 and A 287.

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Fig. 4. Plan of the South-West Palace, Kouyunjik, Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh. (After S. H. F. Lloyd, Archaeology of Mesopotamia (London, 1978), 1 9 9 , fig. 142.)

and a tremendous number of sculptures in the round (including the bull colossi) and in relief, many of which were recovered in modern excavations. These were described by Layard as 'two miles of bas-reliefs' (Pis. Vol., pis. 47, 67, 7 3 ) . The palace included a pillared portico in the style of a Syrian structure called a blt-hjlani. Beside the palace Senna­ cherib created a large park, planted with a variety of imported herbs and fruit trees, and elsewhere he provided a number of small garden plots for the citizens of Nineveh. These gardens required water and Sennacherib devoted a great deal of time and expense to artificial irrigation. Early in his reign he had a canal 37

38

3 7

A full publication of the reliefs has never appeared (cf. A 1 1 5 , xif),but see A 147 and A 1 1 5 , 1 - 2 7 .

3 8

A 270, 9 4 - 1 2 7 : 15 2f; A 2 9 5 , 3 0 8 ; A 162, 89; A 2 j 1, 1 5 2 - 6 7 v 53 — vii 63 and

121,

i 7 o f viii 20-8.

103.

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dug to bring water from the River Khosr through Nineveh, but as his park and gardens were expanded, some time between 700 and 694, greater irrigation works were necessary (Pis. Vol., pi. 73). The requisite water was found in mountain springs to the north east of Nineveh, and sixteen new canals were excavated to conduct this supply to the city and its suburbs. To carry off the excess water during the flood season Sennacherib formed a large marsh, which was stocked with the flora and fauna of the Babylonian marshes. These extensive water works are known both from descriptions in Sennacherib's royal inscriptions and from a study of the remains still visible in and near Nineveh. At the accession of Sennacherib Nineveh was an ancient settlement with dark, narrow alleys winding through a maze of buildings; Senna­ cherib widened the squares, cleared the streets, and constructed a royal road, an avenue which crossed a bridge on its approach to the park gate and which was lined on both sides with stelae to prevent further urban sprawl from encroaching upon its width. The construction of the city's external defences was completed by about 694; there was a moat surrounding a wall with no less than eighteen gates. The modern visitor to Nineveh can still see the outline of the walls and moat, and some of the ancient gates have been excavated and restored in recent years. After completion of the palace Sennacherib built an arsenal (ekal ma/arti) called 'Hinder Palace' (ekal kutalli), completed about 689, where all the military equipment and animals were kept. The site, which is on the smaller mound now called Nebi Yunus, has a great Muslim shrine on top and has not been excavated. But from the details in the royal inscriptions it appears that the fortress was similar in design to Fort Shalmaneser (see CAH H I . 1 , 268). It was built on a terrace, on land reclaimed from the river, and had a wing in the Syrian style and a wing in the Assyrian style. There was a large paved courtyard where the horses and other animals could be exercised and, in addition to the military quarters, there were state apartments and a throne room. Sennacherib was responsible for other building enterprises at Nine­ veh, but there is as yet scant evidence of these works. A fragmentary text which might be ascribed to Sennacherib tells us of activity at shrines of deities of which only two names are preserved, Sin and Ishtar of Nineveh. A number of bricks bear inscriptions indicating that they came from a house which Sennacherib built for his son; these bricks were 39

40

41

2

42

43

3 9

The early waterworks are described in texts cited in n. 38. For the later works see: A 270,79—82:

6 - 3 4 ; 1 1 4 - 1 6 viii 3 1 - 6 4 ; 1241: 4 3 - 8 ; A 162, 89f and 931; A I30; A 2 4 1 ; A 2 5 1 , 1 7 0 - 5 viii 2 9 - 7 0 ; A 287.

*° The squares and streets are described in texts cited in n. 38. For the royal road see: A 270, 102: 90; 153: 1 5 - 2 7 ; 134: 4 1

9

f.

A 2 7 0 , 7 9 : jf, 111—13 vii 5 8 - v i i i 1 2 , 1 5 3f. A 1 2 2 , nos. 7 9 , 9 9 ; A 2 5 1 , 1 6 6 - 7 1 v i i 6 4 - v i i i 19- See A

162, 9 0 - 3 ; A 287, 4 7 - 5 4 . 4 3

4 2

A 270, 1 2 8 - 3 4 . See A 154.

A 239, 95—8 and pi. 18 no. 16. Cf. A 5, 1, 526.

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Fig. 5. Reconstruction of the Akitu temple of the New Year's festival, built by Sennacherib at Ashur. (After A I 12, 66,fig.44.)

44

found on the flats just below Kouyunjik. Remnants of two other buildings of this period have been uncovered in modern times, one (bttnakkapti) on the east side of Kouyunjik overlooking the Khosr, and the other on the east side of the city roughly equidistant from the two mounds and south of the Khosr. The chief work of Sennacherib at Ashur concerned two buildings, the Temple of the New Year {akitu) and the Ashur temple. Extensive reconstruction was carried out on the Ashur temple, including the opening of a new doorway facing east. The ancient practice of celebrating the Akitu in the temple outside the city walls had long since been abandoned, Sennacherib tells us, and the building fallen into ruin. He built a new temple on the site (Fig. 5), decorated it with images and inscriptions depicting the myth of Ashur (not Marduk) conquering Tiamat, and symbolically deposited inside it a pile of rubble from the destruction of Babylon. Other structures erected or improved by Sennacherib at Ashur were the temple of Zababa, a house for his first­ born son Ashur-nadin-shumi, a house for his younger son Ashur-ili45

46

47

48

49

50

4 4

A 292; A 293, 22, 37d; A 1 2 2 , 1 2 5 and pis. 4 ; f nos. 8 5 , 9 7 , 98, 1 0 1 . See A 1 2 1 , 1 0 3 ; A 1 2 4 , 8 3 - 8 ; A

1 1 5 , 2 , sf, 26. 4 5

4 7

A 1 2 2 , 135 and pi. 52 no. A 270, 1 4 4 - 5 1 ;

A

I 2 8

122N.

See A 1 2 1 , 103 and A 1 2 4 , 6 4 - 6 .

4 6

A 284, 60.

> 5 z—73; and cf. A 507, 2 1 - 9 . Also note A 90, 2 3 - 8 and cf. A 507, 65f. See

now A 248. 4 8

A 2 7 0 , 1 3 5 - 4 3 ; A 1 2 8 , 74-80. Also note A 90, 3 - 9 and cf. A 102, i 2 i f . See A 507, 5 7 - 9 .

4 5

A 229, 29; A 102 no. 40 and 122f, 4b. See A 242, 4 6 7 .

5 0

A 270, 15 if, xv.

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51

117

52

muballitsu, the royal sepulchre, the muslalu^ the Sin-Shamash temple, and the palace. The only other important Assyrian city at which Sennacherib did some construction is Arba'il, for which he provided water by a system of new canals, but it is possible that he did work at Calah. Other building projects of this reign include the Nergal temple at Tarbisu, the wall of Kalizi, a palace at Tell Billa, and the wall at Sur-marriti (modern Samarra?). 54

55

56

57

58

59

60

61

6. Character

Although it is singularly difficult tofindclues to individual characteris­ tics of most kings of Assyria, there are some indications of the personality and character of Sennacherib. Of course he was bellicose and boastful as any true Assyrian monarch should be, but it is in his building projects, in his attitude towards his father, and in his treatment of Babylonia that there is a glimpse of some individuality on his part. All kings of Assyria liked to build, but only a few built on a scale anywhere near that of Sennacherib's work at Nineveh. However, it is not even the enormity of the work which interests us here, it is the monarch's personal interest in it. He is portrayed supervising gangs of labourers moving a bull colossus; he was interested in engineering techniques, such as the system of drawing water from his well; and he proudly boasted that he had devised a new method of casting bronze monuments. Sennacherib's attitude towards his father provides another glimpse of his character. While crown prince, Sennacherib had held a very respon­ sible position within the empire, for he seems to have been left in charge of the state while Sargon conducted campaigns in person. The son reported to his father by means of letters, and it is to be presumed that these reports were frequent and related to all important affairs of state. Certainly the few that survive are relatively detailed and cover a wide range of subjects. After a standard introduction in which Sennacherib 62

63

64

65

51

A 270, i )of, x and XI;A 52. See F. H. VC'eissbach, '/\s5urilmbullitsu', in A 16, 1, 21 ib; л 347, 2 i ) n. 70. A 270, 1 ) 1, xiii and xiv. A 270, i ) i , xii. See AIIO, 8 6 - 9 1 ; A )07, 2 9 - 3 1 . A 128, 89-92. A 1) 1, 27. A 290. Cf. A 262, 29f. Two fragmentary inscriptions of Sennacherib (ND 5414 and ¡ 4 1 6 ) were found at Calah: see л 308, 122 and A 258, 67 and pi. xxn. Further note A 1 3 7 1, 239. A 270, 1)); A 301, 4 i f and 93. A 270, 1 3 ) , х х ш ; A 246; A 247. A 300, 12. A 2 ) o , 9 4 - 6 : 11 ) - 2 ) . Further note the inscribed tile from Babylon published in A 634, ioandpl. 4, and cf. A762, 279. Also note the fragmentary clay tablet from Kouyunjik on which is described work on the temple of the god Khani; see A 2 7 0 , 1 4 7 F It is unknown if the endowment of a temple at Shabbu (A 102, nos. 34-6) by Sennacherib involved construction. A 147, pi. 32^ A 270, 1 1 0 vii 4 3 - 9 and 124: 3 7 - 9 . A 270, 1 0 8 - 1 0 vi 80 - vii 30 and 122f: 1 4 - 5 3 . A 7 2 , nos. 1 9 6 - 9 , 7 3 0 - 1 , and possibly 368, 1079, < 1 8 з - See A 257 and л 340,90. Regarding the Nimrud letter mentioned by л J40, 90 n. ), see now л 198, 2 1 - 3 4 . 5 2

5 3

5 5

5 4

5 6

5 7

5 8

5 9

6 0

6 1

6 2

6 3

6 4

6 5

а п

1 0

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reports that all is well in Assyria, he proceeds to relate reports that have come to him from various sources regarding events in Urartu, Anatolia, activities on Assyria's borders,floodconditions in the area of Kurba'il, and the receipt of tribute from Kummukhu and Phoenicia. Obviously Sennacherib was highly trusted by his father and performed his adminis­ trative duties capably. Suddenly the report came that Sargon had been killed in battle. Sennacherib's reaction to this news is what concerns us here. The circ*mstances of Sargon's death haunted the son. It was most unusual for an Assyrian king to die in battle and it was inevitably interpreted by the Assyrians as a bad omen, particularly because the royal corpse could not be buried at home. A fragmentary text, which is usually attributed to Sennacherib, concerns an inquiry to the gods to discover what terrible sin Sargon had committed to deserve such a fate. Unfortunately, neither the circ*mstances of the inquiry nor its results are known. The ominous dread surrounding the fallen king manifested itself in other forms. Sennacherib, in contrast to usual practice, never mentioned his parent's name in his royal inscriptions, nor did he waste any time in abandoning Sargon's city of Dur-Sarrukin, which was left uncompleted. The character of Sennacherib is further illuminated by his treatment of Babylonia, since this problem eventually became a very personal affair for the king. The constant unrest in Babylonia was undoubtedly a source of vexation, indeed exasperation, to the monarch but the crudest blow was the kidnapping of his son, Ashur-nadin-shumi, in 694. The prince, who is never mentioned again, presumably was killed in exile, and so the war with the Babylonians and their Elamite allies became a blood feud. The Babylonians were the chief culprits; for, as we know from a letter of a later period, they had actually handed over Ashur-nadin-shumi to the Elamites. The vengeful father was, therefore, not satisfied until he had destroyed Babylon. This act ended the vendetta as far as Sennacherib was concerned, but it confronted him with a new problem. When the Assyrians were pillaging and ravaging Babylon, they went so far as to destroy not only the temples of the gods, but the divine statues as well, although the statue of Marduk apparently escaped and was removed to Assyria. These actions were the height of sacrilege, not only to Babylonians but also to many Assyrians who had great reverence for the Babylonian deities. Thus Sennacherib had to ponder how to justify these acts to many of his countrymen. He began by dissociating himself personally from the deed; in the passage where the event is described, first-person narration by the king is abandoned and the crucial sentence reads: 'The hands of my people seized and smashed them [the 66

67

68

6 6

6 7

K. 4 7 3 0 published in A 306, 1, ) 2 f and edited in A 7 5 6 . Cf. A 422, 1 9 3 - 6 . A 7 0 3 . Cf. A 540, 92 n. 18. Cf. A 422, 195f. Also note л 7 1 7 ; A 324. 6 8

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divine statues]'. But this word play was not enough; there is some evidence that Sennacherib resorted to religious propaganda. The back­ ground for this was provided by a theological change developing in Sargonid Assyria, whereby Marduk was regarded as the son of Ashur and therefore subordinate to him. Sennacherib, in his dilemma, pushed this movement dramatically forward. When he rebuilt the Akitu House at Ashur (cf. above, p. 116) he replaced Marduk with Ashur in images portraying victory over the dragon, and he made it manifest that this was directly related to the desecration of the Babylonian shrines by heaping up rubble from the city's destruction inside the temple. To an ancient Mesopotamian this was a clear statement that Marduk had been conquered by Ashur. Even more explicit is a curious composition that seems to be specifically related to this occasion. The badly preserved text is written in the style of a learned commentary but in the Assyrian rather than the Babylonian dialect. From it one gleans a bizarre tale: Bel (Marduk) has been imprisoned and subjected to trial by ordeal with numerous gods, the chief of which seems to be Ashur, presiding. Because of Bel's imprisonment the Akitu festival cannot be celebrated in the normal way, and there is allusion to two battles, one among men in Babylonia and one among the gods. There are many uncertainties about this composition but, as two commentators have suggested, it appears to be an Assyrian parody or piece of propaganda regarding the Marduk cult, the purport of which is to show that Bel (Marduk) had committed some terrible offence. It seems that the period under discussion would be the obvious occasion for such a text. The celebration of the Akitu festival in Babylonia was actually cancelled for twenty years after 689, and the two battles mentioned in the composition could refer to the Assyrian capture of Babylon and the mythological conflict which this would imply. Thus what had begun as a personal vendetta of the king came to have serious implications for a major theological movement in Assyria. 70

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7. Assassination

On the twentieth of Tebet (x) 681, Sennacherib was murdered and his son Esarhaddon ascended the throne. The identity of the murderer or murderers is not certain, and the circ*mstances of the assassination remain one of the great mysteries of ancient history. The most detailed account of the relevant events is found in a royal inscription of Esarhaddon, written almost ten years later; some vital facts are also 72

6 9

7 1

7 2

7 0

A 270, 83: 48. See A 540, 94f. See A 526, 36. 739; 74'J A 283; A 104 no. 268. Cf. A 644, 1 j f and n. 9. For bibliography see A 44, 288 n. 1, to which add: A 263, 6 5 - 7 3 ;

A

A

A

56, 7 0 - 3 ; A 303; A 282.

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found in the Babylonian Chronicle, a text of Nabonidus, Berossus, the Bible, and Josephus. Esarhaddon tells us that he was chosen by his father as heir to the throne, although he had elder brothers, and the choice was announced to a great assembly of all Assyrians, including Esarhaddon's brothers, who swore to respect the appointed successor's right to the throne. Afterwards the brothers plotted against Esarhaddon, slandering him to their father, who was thus turned against the crown prince, and Esarhaddon withdrew to an unnamed abode for safety's sake; in Nineveh the brothers took to arms. But the rebellion was not supported by the people of Assyria and Esarhaddon returned to Nineveh, meeting on the way rebel forces which had gathered in Khanigalbat. The insurgents were overwhelmed by fear and the troops, far from resisting, joined forces with Esarhaddon, while their leaders fled the scene to seek refuge in an 'unknown land'. Esarhaddon entered Nineveh and ascended his father's throne. Such is Esarhaddon's version of this momentous period. Turning to the other sources, under the year 681 it is recorded in the Babylonian Chronicle that Sennacherib was killed by his son in a rebellion, and that the rebellion continued in Assyria from the day of the murder, the twentieth of Tebetu (x), until the second of Addaru ( X I I ) , some forty-two days later; shortly thereafter Esarhaddon ascended the throne in Assyria. In the three relevant passages of the Bible the narrative follows immediately upon the description of the great catastrophe which befell the Assyrian army while on campaign in the west (see above, p. m ) . According to the Biblical narrative (II Ki. 19: 37), and a similar account in Josephus, Sennacherib was worshipping in the house of his god 'Nisroch' when his sons, 'Adrammelech and Sharezer', slew him with the sword. The assassins escaped to the land of Ararat and Esarhaddon reigned in his father's stead. Berossus says the culprit was Sennacherib's son, 'Ardumuzan', and Nabonidus simply says it was 'his natural son'. The information in the Babylonian Chronicle, Berossus, Nabonidus, and the Bible is complementary to the narrative of Esarhaddon and, in fact, solves one mystery, the fate of Sennacherib, for nowhere does Esarhaddon state that his father was assassinated. But beyond this there is considerable controversy among modern scholars about these events and particularly about the identity of the assassin or assassins. All the evidence points to one or more of Sennacherib's sons and two different theories have developed: that the chief assassin was an elder brother of Esarhaddon called Arda-Mulissi, or that the chief assassin was Esarhad73

7 3

(a) Esarhaddon's texts: A 234,40—5 i 8 - i i 10 (cf. A 4 8 7 , 4 6 6 - 8 8 ) ; A 234, 16, Episode 1 1 ; cf. A 234,

i o 9 f § 7 t . (b) A 25, no. 1 iii 3 4 - 8 . (c)Nabonidus: A 8 5 6 , 2 7 2 i 3 5 - 4 0 . (d) Berossus: A 7,241". (e)II Ki. 19:

37; II Chron. 32: 21; Is. 37: 37f. (0 Jos. Ant. Jud. x.i ). The Sa arkidate discussed in A 266, 22 is not directly relevant. The method of murder seems to be described by Ashurbanipal in A 34411, 3 8 iv 7of (cf. A 44, 288). For another interpretation see A 265, 2 1 5 - 2 1 and A 2 3 1 , i8of.

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don himself. Before deciding which theory seems the more credible, let us consider some other facts. As a general background it must be remembered that regicide, which is endemic in a military autocracy, was not unknown in Assyria. TukultiNinurta I fell victim to a plot and Shalmaneser III may have met a similar fate. As to the immediate cause, it is a fact that Esarhaddon was not the first-born son (his name means 'Ashur has given a brother') and yet somehow he won his father's throne. Esarhaddon claims that Senna­ cherib designated him as his successor, and this is certainly true. It is corroborated, for example, by the fact that during the father's reign Esarhaddon's name was officially changed, obviously at the time he was appointed successor, to Ashur-etel-ilani-ka'in-apla which means 'Ashur, noblest of the gods, confirm the heir'. Herein lies sufficient reason for a revolt by the disappointed and jealous siblings. The cause of the rebellion then points to the elder brothers of Esarhaddon as the most likely leaders of the insurrection and murderers of Sennacherib. Parpola has argued on the basis of a fragmentary letter that in fact the chief assassin's name was Arda-Mulissi, the eldest surviving son before Esarhaddon's appointment as heir, and that this is the name preserved in the garbled forms 'Adrammelech' and 'Ardumuzan' in other sources. There is much to be said for this theory, but, given the broken state of the letter, it cannot be definitively proven. As to the possible complicity of Esarhaddon in the murder, if his brothers had turned Sennacherib against Esarhaddon by their slander, as Esarhaddon tells us they did, here again is sufficient motive. Other elements possibly related to the causes of the rebellion are strong resentment towards Sennacherib because of his sack of Babylon eight years before, and the role of the harem in political affairs under the leadership of Esarhaddon's mother, Naqia, who will be discussed presently. But most of this is conjecture and it must be confessed that the murder of Sennacherib, the circ*mstances surrounding it, and the causes leading up to it, are unsolved puzzles. 74

75

8. Conclusion

Looking back over the events of Sennacherib's reign there are two or three features which stand out against the busy background. In both Babylonia and Palestine the Assyrian military machine was extremely vigorous and, on the home front, the building of Nineveh is equally impressive in its own way. While the latter phenomenon was the result of a policy decided upon and personally directed by Sennacherib, in the military sphere the motivation is not so clear. How much of Sennacher­ ib's activity in Palestine and Babylonia can be attributed to long-range 7 4

A 7 2 , no. 14J2; cf. A 234, § 7 and 70.

" A 282.

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policy? In the case of Palestine it is fairly obvious from the circ*mstances that Sennacherib envisaged the conquest of Egypt, and that all his efforts in the west came to be dictated by this overriding goal, a goal that his son would pursue almost as soon as he took the crown. In the case of Babylonia, however, one setback after another was heaped upon the king's head and, in a sense, he became the victim of fate; where he started out to find a suitable administrative scheme for Babylonia, he was trapped in a vendetta which compelled him to destroy the sacred city itself. It was a black deed that ruined his own reputation for posterity and was the starting-point for the ruin of the empire. I I . E S A R H A D D O N (680-669

B.C.)

The reign of Esarhaddon (Pis. Vol., pi. 51), as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, is unusual in that more emphasis in the official records is placed on cultural than on military endeavours. Nonetheless one of the greatest achievements of the Assyrian military machine, the invasion of Egypt, was enacted during this time. 76

1. Sources and chronology

The sources for the reign of Esarhaddon, although as abundant as the sources for the reign of Sennacherib, are rather different in character. This is particularly so with the royal inscriptions which are largely of the 'Display' type rather than of the annalistic type and thus very uninformative with regard both to the details of the campaigns and to their chronology. Fortunately the Babylonian Chronicle is of considerable help with the date of the campaigns and, because of its greater objectivity, it also provides important information omitted by the royal inscriptions. This is in contrast to another document, the Esarhaddon Chronicle, which is a version of the reign written to shed a more favourable light on Esarhaddon and therefore as unreliable a source as the royal inscriptions. The portion of the royal archives found at Nineveh, which has been mentioned earlier, includes a large number of letters and astrological reports from this reign, and from the same site come a significant quantity of legal and administrative documents. Our knowledge is further enriched by a group of texts, oracle inquiries and answers, which date to the reigns of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal; these inscriptions shed considerable light on political, 77

78

79

80

7 6

For a brief but useful history of the reign see F. H. Weissbach, 'ASSurahiddin', in A 16 I,

198—203. 7 7

The royal inscriptions have been edited in A 234 and see A 5 it, i 8 f for additions to this work. The relevant references in chronographic texts have been listed in A 25, 2 1 7 - 1 9 . Note especially A 2 ; , no. 1 iii 38 - iv 55 and no. 14 (the Esarhaddon Chronicle). For letters, see A 72—88. For astrological reports, see A 1032 and A 1040. See A 89—109. 7 8

7 9

8 0

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123 81

administrative, and military events of the period. They are involved with the practice of extispicy, prediction of the future by observation of animal entrails. Each of the oracle inquiries contains a request for an answer, either yes or no, to a specific question. The inquiries are presented in a fixed, formal style and, when the animal entrails are examined, the omina are recorded at the end of the document. Unfortu­ nately it is not clear from these whether the answer was favourable or unfavourable. From Ashurbanipal's time we actually have replies to the inquiries and these give explicit answers. Both the inquiries and the replies are a mine of historical information and many of them describe the details of projected military campaigns. Unfortunately none of the inquiries is dated, although occasionally the day and month are given, and thus they are of no help in the vexed problem of the chronology of Esarhaddon's reign. From the point of view of reliefs and architecture the most productive site has been Calah, although some information is available from other excavated cities, notably Nineveh and Ashur. A large number of campaigns were conducted during the twelve years that Esarhaddon occupied the throne, but there are problems with both the relative and absolute chronology of these expeditions. Indeed, it is not even certain how many campaigns there were although later texts speak of 'ten', the second invasion of Egypt (671) being the tenth campaign. As with Sennacherib, this official numbering ignored some campaigns; there were certainly more than ten military expeditions before this date and there were others after it. There is no record of campaigns for two regnal years: the ninth year (672) is omitted by the chronicles, which means that either there was no campaign, or else there was one but it was of no interest to the Babylonian chronicler; in the eleventh year (670) there was a domestic crisis during which the king executed a number of his officers, and this would account for the failure to launch a foreign expedition. Briefly stated, while some campaigns can be given absolute dates, for others one can only provide a terminus ante quern, the date of the earliest text in which it is included. 2. Egypt, Phoenicia, and the Arabs

The political concerns of Esarhaddon were really a continuation of those of the previous reign, the western offensive and Babylonia. To this was added, however, the threat of various belligerent peoples on the north and north-eastern frontiers and military activity in Anatolia. We shall first concern ourselves with the invasion of Egypt. The friendly relations which were established between Egypt and Assyria when Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II reached her borders had been dispelled by Egypt's anti-Assyrian activities in Palestine during Sennacherib's 82

8 1

A 498; A 497; A 230.

8 2

See A 298; A 299. Cf. A 310. See also below, pp. 378, 6 9 9 - 7 0 0 .

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reign, and it is a reasonable surmise that Sennacherib had hoped to invade Egypt himself, to punish the people, Kush*tes, responsible. After his assassination, his son wasted little time in launching the Egyptian offensive. In his second regnal year, 679, an Assyrian army pushed right to the borders of Egypt, where they captured the city of Arza and carried off its king, Asukhili, to Nineveh. Five years passed before Esarhaddon could follow up this initial bid, years in which Phoenician cities became troublesome thanks to Egyptian agents, and the follow-up was a major disaster. The Assyrian army, according to the Babylonian Chronicle, was defeated in Egypt on the fifth of Addaru ( X H ) 6 7 4 . Nothing else is known of this event, which is ignored in the royal inscriptions; in the Esarhaddon Chronicle a minor campaign to Babylonia has been substi­ tuted for it. Only two years elapsed before the next attack on Egypt. No military campaigns are recorded for the immediately preceding year, 672, the year in which Esarhaddon gathered his subjects together to swear allegiance to his heirs, but this important event did not occupy the entire year and it may be assumed that much of the year was devoted to preparation for the next invasion of Egypt. We have an oracle request in which Esarhaddon asks whether this campaign is advisable and whether he will return from it in safety. At the beginning of 671 the Assyrians marched to Egypt and en route they laid siege to Tyre, an incident to be discussed presently. The Assyrian army was assisted in its progress across the Sinai Desert by camels commandeered from the Arabs to carry skins of water. Upon arrival in Egypt they successfully fought three pitched battles with Egyptian forces, all in the month of Du uzu (iv). Four days after the third battle, on the twenty-second of the same month, Memphis was captured; Taharqa, the pharaoh,fledbut his family, including the crown prince, was caught. Esarhaddon appointed kings, governors, and other officials to rule Egypt and to collect the tribute for Assyria and the god Ashur. The penetration of Egypt marks the high point in Assyria's imperialist expansion. Yet it was an ephemeral accomplishment; for Egypt, although temporarily forced out of Palestinian affairs, was far from subdued, as Esarhaddon himself must have realized. Certainly he wasted little time in returning. After a year fraught with domestic difficulties, the Assyrians launched a new Egyptian expedition in 6 6 9 . This 83

3 4

85

86

87

88

3

89

8 3

A 25, no. I iii 4 8 - 5 0 a n d no. 1 4 : 6 - 8 . A 234, 33: i6f; 50, Ep. 7; 8 6 § 5 7 : }{; 1 i o f § 7 2 : 14ft*. 12. A 252,

14 i 5 7 - 6 3 . See A 2 ; , 2 1 9 b . Cf. A 275, 72—4 and 7 7 identifying Arza as modern Tel Gamma. 8 4

A 25, no.

8 6

A 498, no.

8 7

A 25, no. 1 iv 2 3 - 8 . n o . 14: 25f; A 234, 6 j f §i8, 70§§36f, 8 6 § 5 7 : 8f, 9 6 - 1 0 0 § 6 5 , i o i f § 6 7 , 1 1 1 - 1 4

1 iv 1 6 .

8 5

A 25, no.

14: 20, and see 2 1 9 and

§ § 7 5 - 8 1 . See A 25, 2 1 9 b . Cf. A 2 7 5 , 73f. 8 9

A 25, no.

291a.

68.

1 iv 3of, no.

14: 28f; A 4 9 7 , no.

8 8

Cf. A 19, 1 3 7 - 4 2 .

36.

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campaign was, however, abortive, for Esarhaddon died on the way to Egypt and his son and heir, Ashurbanipal, was left to deal with the unresolved issue of the conquest of Egypt. A successful invasion of Egypt depended upon control of SyriaPalestine; Sennacherib had prepared the way by his activities in Palestine and he had done this so effectively that, apart from Phoenicia, no state in this region is known to have given Esarhaddon any trouble. Thus as early as 676 Esarhaddon could list all the coastal states of Syria—Palestine as having supplied him with exotic building materials for work at Nineveh; this list included Tyre, Judah (king Manasseh is named), Edom, Moab, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Byblos, Arvad, Samsimurun, Ammon, and Ashdod. Tyre and Ashkelon were to cause trouble after this time, as we shall see, but the omission of Sidon from the list is significant. The first source of trouble in Phoenicia was Sidon. Sidon had been captured by Sennacherib in 701 but early in Esarhaddon's reign its king, Abdi-milkutti, renounced Assyrian vassalship. In 677 Esarhaddon captured the coastal city and, according to his account, tore down both the wall and the town, but Abdi-milkutti escaped by boat. The sequel to this action took place in the following year, 676, according to the Babylonian Chronicle. Esarhaddon caught Abdi-milkutti in the sea 'like a fish' and had him beheaded in the month Tashritu ( V I I ) . His family and people were transported to Assyria and a new city, called Kar-Esarhaddon, was erected and settled with people transported from the east. An ally of Abdi-milkutti, Sanduarri, who was king of Kundu and Sissu (presumably in Cilicia), was also captured and decapitated (xn/676), and the heads of the two kings were hung around the necks of their nobles who were paraded through the streets of Nineveh. Two cities of Sidon were handed over to Baal, king of Tyre. The relations between Tyre and Assyria during this period deserve further attention. Baal, king of Tyre, had signed a vassal treaty with Esarhaddon, a copy of which is extant. The provisions preserved in the broken text concern the trading rights of the Tyrians and salvage rights in the event of shipwreck. The events leading up to the conclusion of this treaty are unknown; no specific reference to a conquest of Tyre appears in the sources for Sennacherib's reign and it is extremely unlikely that such a victory had been achieved. Nevertheless Sennacherib boasted that he had forced Tyrians, among others, to man his boats on the expedition 90

91

92

93

9 0

A 2 3 4 , 6 0 § 2 7 v 3 4 - 6 3 . These exemplars are dated 673 but the duplicate A 2J2, 28 iv 54f (actually it only has 'the twenty-two kings of Hatti-land' instead of the list of names) is dated 676. "

A 25, no. 1 iv 3-8, no. 14: 1 2 - 1 4 ; A 234, 8 § ; , 4 8 f E p . 5, 8 6 § 5 7 : 2f; A 252, 1 0 - 1 3 i ' 4 - 3 7 - See A 2 j ,

218f; A 2 3 ; , 115 n. 2. See also below, pp. 469—70. 9 2

2

See O I H H I . 1 , 4 2 7 - 8 and n. 454. A 25, no. 1 iv 5 - 8 , no. 14: 13f; A 2 3 4 , 4 9 f Ep. 6; A 2 5 2 , 1 2 - 1 3 i

38—56. See A 25, 219a.

9 3

A 234, 1 0 7 - 9 §69; A 44, j 3 3 f .

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across the Persian Gulf, and Tyrians appear in the list of peoples transported to Nineveh for his great building projects. But both these acts must have been by mutual agreement rather than unilateral coercion. Be that as it may, Baal later chose to revoke the treaty with Esarhaddon and ally himself to Taharqa. Thus, when Esarhaddon launched his Egyptian campaign in 671, he laid siege to Tyre before proceeding to Egypt. The result of the siege is not recorded, apart from Esarhaddon's grandiose claim that he conquered Tyre and deprived Baal of all his cities and possessions. Tyre probably did not actually fall but the siege may have been continued by an Assyrian contingent, while the bulk of the troops proceeded to Egypt. There were also problems with Ashkelon which involved Egyptians, as we know from two oracle requests, and these probably occurred about the same time. The attack on Egypt depended, as we have seen, upon co-operation with the Arabs in the Sinai peninsula. This was not the only contact with the Arabs during Esarhaddon's reign, for he was concerned to maintain control over the oasis of Adummatu which Sennacherib had captured. Hazael, its king, paid homage to Esarhaddon and brought rich presents to Nineveh. The Assyrian restored to him the statues of his gods, but not before inscribing his own name thereon. A certain Tabua, who had been raised in the Assyrian court, was appointed queen of the Arabs and permitted to return to her people. When Hazael died, Yauta his son succeeded to the throne and his position was recognized by Esarhaddon. The oath of subservience of the Arabs to Assyria, which is implied by these events, suddenly became important when a rebellion broke out against Yauta . Esarhaddon despatched an expedition which suppressed the rebels. Subsequently Yauta rebelled against Esarhaddon and escaped, after a defeat at the hands of the Assyrians, to remain free of the Assyrian yoke until the reign of Ashurbanipal, from whose account this event is known. A campaign against Bazza in 676 should also be mentioned in this context, since it is now generally assumed, although it is still very uncertain, that Bazza was in the east or north east of the Arabian peninsula. Esarhaddon describes Bazza as a salty area and a place of thirst. On this campaign he claims to have killed eight kings and carried off their booty and people. Subsequently he installed a certain Layale, king of Yadi , as king of Bazza after this man had come to Nineveh for help. 95

96

97

3

3

98

3

99

100

c

101

9 4

A 270, 73: 59.

9 7

A 4 9 8 , no. 7 0 ; A 4 9 7 , no. 4 1 . See A 4 9 7 , LXI. Also note A 234, 102 §67: 3 1 .

9 8

A 234, ; )f Ep. 1 4 , 1 oof § 6 6 , 1 1 of § 7 2 ; A 2 5 2 , 1 8 - 2 1 ii 46 — iii 8; A 344, 216—19, 222—5. See A 2 3 6 ,

8—11; A 1 9 , 1 2 5 - 3 0 . 1 0 0

1 0 1

235,

'5x270,104:53.

9

9

9

6

A 234, 86 §57: 7f, 1 1 2 §76:

12-14.

A 7 7 7 , 7 3 - 8 5 Episode 2.

See A 5 35, 1 6 0 n. 9 7 0 ; A 19, 130—7. A 25, no. i iv jf, no. 1 4 : 13; A 2 3 4 , 3 3 § 2 1 : 2 4 - 7 , j 6 f Ep. 1 7 , 86 §57: 4f; A 2 5 2 , 2 0 - 3 iii 9-36; A 116a.

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3. Anatolia

There is much uncertainty about Esarhaddon's activities in Anatolia, due largely to the nature of our sources, and it may be that more occurred on this frontier than our bits of information would indicate. Esarhad­ don's expansive boast that all kings in the sea from Yadnana (Cyprus) and Yaman (Ionia) to Tarsisi (Tarsus) were submissive and paid tribute would support this suggestion, although such claims can never be accepted uncritically. Another boast of Esarhaddon is also of interest in this regard; the Assyrian lists the names of ten kingdoms in Cyprus which provided him with exotic building materials, and this list of largely Greek names is significant: Idalium (Edi il), Chytri (Kitrusi), Salamis? (Sillua), Paphus (Pappa), Soli? (Silli), Curium (Kuri), Tamassus (Tamesi), Citium (Qartikhadasti), Ledra (Lidir), and Nuria (Nuriya). Perhaps the most serious threat to Assyrian influence in Anatolia was now the Cimmerians led by Teushpa, and Esarhaddon was able to defeat him at Khubushna (in the vicinity of. modern Kara Hiiyuk?). This event is probably to be dated to 679, since the Esarhaddon Chronicle records a slaughter of the Cimmerians for this year. Between 679 and 676 there was at least one and possibly two further Anatolian campaigns against states which had once been Assyrian dependencies. Khilakku and Tabal were attacked but the expedition was unsuccessful, and it remained for Ashurbanipal to win them back. Another event of significance had to do with Sanduarri, king of Kundu and Sissu. The identity of this king has long been a mystery, but since Kundu and Sissu seem to have been in the region of Cilicia, Winter and Hawkins have suggested that Sanduarri is identical with Azatiwatas, known from hieroglyphic Hittite inscriptions, and that his area of control included Que. In any event, Sanduarri joined with Sidon in a naval alliance against Assyria, a fact mentioned earlier. In 676 the Assyrians defeated the allies and Sanduarri was captured and decapitated. An ominous enemy was one Mugallu who, although he had at one point sought friendship with Esarhaddon, made alarming inroads into Assyrian holdings, sometimes in collusion with Ishkallu of Tabal, and besieged and captured Melid. In 675 the Assyrians launched an expedi­ tion against Mugallu at Melid, but the result of the attack is not recorded 102

103

3

104

105

106

107

108

1 0 2

See A 279, 29of, and A 233; see also CAH

L

A 234, 60 §27 v 6 3 - 7 2 ; A 252, 28 iv )4f; cf. CAH

M

1 0 6

A 25, no.

1 iii 4 8 - 5 0 , no.

2

m .1,

427-8.

14: 6 - 9 ; A 2 3 4 , 3 3 § 2 1 : i8f,

2

in , j , 5 7 - 9 .

1 0 3

A 234, 86 § 5 7 : 1 of. 1 0 5

51 Ep. 8, 86 §57: if,

A 256,

66f.

i o o § 6 6 : 23f,

no§71:

18; A 2 5 2 , 1 4 ii 1 - 4 . Cf. A 244, 1 i2f. A 72 no. 1026, a letter from Ashurbanipal while crown prince to Esarhaddon regarding Cimmerians is of later date. See also below, p. 559. A 234, 33 § 2 1 : 20, 51 Ep. 9; A 252, 1 4 - 1 7 ii 5 - 1 5 . 1 0 7

1 0 8

A 306A, 145—7;

A

'78.

155-7-

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and the entire incident is missing from the royal inscriptions, a strong indication that the offensive failed. 109

4. The north and north east

Assyria under Sennacherib had a short respite from any serious threat on the north and north-eastern frontier, but by the reign of Esarhaddon new dangers had appeared which directed Assyrian attention once again to these regions. The scene is confused because, as usual with this reign, there is no coherent account of the events. A variety of peoples, most of whom spoke Indo-Aryan languages, are named in our sources; some (the Sapardaeans, Medes, Mannaeans, and Cimmerians) had been encountered by the Assyrians of earlier periods, while the Scythians were newcomers. In general these peoples had a common cause in their ambition to wrest territory and wealth from the empire of Assyria, but in practice they were rarely united in order to achieve this end, and on occasion a group, or sub-group, might even align itself with an Assyrian monarch. The Assyrians, for their part, were concerned both for the security of their borders and for a continuous supply of horses from this area, a supply route which was constantly harassed by these people. In many ways the most informative documents are the oracle requests. As observed earlier, these texts concern various matters, but the bulk of them deal with questions about the hostile groups under discussion. Whether or not this imbalance is a coincidence must remain an open question. The Mannaeans and Scythians sometimes operated as allies, and Esarhaddon boasts of a victory over the Mannaeans and the army of Ishpaka, their Scythian ally, which possibly occurred in 6 7 6 . An oracle request, which probably dates after this event, speaks of Scythians who dwell in Mannaea; the query is whether they will emerge from the pass of Khubushkia, south of Lake Urmia, and plunder cities on the Assyrian border. One of the most interesting oracle requests records that Bartatua (usually identified with the Protothyes of Herodotus), king of the Scythians, has sent messengers to Esarhaddon requesting an Assyrian princess in marriage; it asks whether, if Esarhaddon agrees, the Scythian will honour the bond forged. This incident should probably 110

111

112

113

114

115

1 0 9

A 497, no. 29; A 498, nos. 54, j 5, 56a, 57; A 4 9 7 , no. 30 joined to A 498, no. 21 (see A 230, 116); BM 99108 (A 230, 116). A 2 ; , no. 1 iv 9f, no. 14: 1 j . Also note A 7 3 , no. 279. See A 243; A 244; A 307. A 498, no. 31; A 497, nos. 1 j , 2 1 , 22. See A 464, 1 1 7 . Also note A 72, no. 1 2 3 7 . See A 497, LVI—LXII. 1 1 0

1 1 1

1 1 2

1 1 3

A 234, 34 § 2 1 : 30, 5 2 Ep.

11; A 2 5 2 , 16 ii 20—3; A 7 2 , nos. 434, 1 1 0 9 , 1 2 3 7 ^ 5 7 1 , 2 3 3 — 7 (which

presents the evidence for the date 676). A 498, no. 35. Also note A 498; nos. 25, 30, 36 and A 497, no. 20. 1 1 4

1 1 5

A 497, no.

16; Hdt.

1.103.

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9

be dated after 676 as well but possibly before the other oracle requests about the Scythians. It is unknown if Esarhaddon agreed to the proposal. Mannaean aggression achieved the capture of Assyrian for­ tresses, some of which were regained by Ashurbanipal. The Medes were rather a special people during the reign of Esarhad­ don, for many of them became sworn vassals of Assyria. An Assyrian expedition against the land of Patusharri (location uncertain), described as on the border of the salt desert in the midst of Media by Mount Bikni, brought back the rulers Shidirparna and Eparna together with their people and booty. Because of this various rulers of the Medes came to Nineveh with gifts of horses and lapis lazuli, in order to win an alliance with Assyria (before 676), and Esarhaddon sent his eunuchs as gover­ nors of their districts. A few years later, in 672, Esarhaddon gathered representatives of all his subject peoples to swear allegiance to his appointed successors, and the few copies of the record of this oath which were recovered in modern times concern Median princes. But rela­ tions were not always peaceful. The Medes were ever regarded as a potential threat and in many oracle requests they are regularly listed as a possible enemy. The chief foe in these oracle requests was a man called Kashtaritu who is described as the 'city ruler' of Kar-Kashshi. It is generally assumed by modern historians that this ruler was identical with Phraortes, king of the Medes, whose history is briefly described by Herodotus; but, as Labat has observed, this identification is by no means certain. In any case, Kashtaritu was a dangerous enemy and the oracle requests, which probably date to the period 6 7 6 - 6 7 2 , indicate that he was attacking one Assyrian border fortress after another. In these texts Kashtaritu usually appears in a list of various potential attackers, a list which also regularly includes the Sapardaeans, Cimmerians, Mannaeans, and Medes. It should be observed that these enemies are regarded as alternative possibilities, and there is no indication that Kashtaritu was at the head of an alliance which embraced them all. By chance we have a detailed narrative of one military action in the region of ancient Urartu, the conquest of Shubria in 6 7 3 . Shubria and its capital Ubumu were on the shore of Lake Van. Our main source for this campaign is a letter to a god, a genre of text already noted in the 116

117

118

119

120

121

122

1 2 3

1 1 6

1 , 8

1 1 7

See A 230, 1 1 4 .

A 498, nos. 19, 20; A 497, no. 10; A 337, 5 2 - ; :

71-7.

* 2 5 4 , 3 4 § 2 1 : 3 1 - 6 , 5 5 Ep. 1 6 , i o o § 6 6 : 22f, i n § 7 5 : 1 - 1 I;A 2 5 2 , 24iii 5 3 - 6 1 ; A 4 9 7 . n o . 2 1 . See

A 33, 1 i8f. 1 1 9

A 234, 54f Ep. 1 5 ; A 2 5 2 , 24—7 iv 1 20; A 7 2 , no. 434.

1 2 1

A 4 9 7 , nos. 1 - 8 , 1 2 - 1 4 ; A 498, nos. 1, 2, 5 - 7 , 10 and possibly 7 2 . See A 230, 1 1 3 - 1 5 . 2

1 2 0

A 307.

1 2 2

A 261. SeeCAH iv

1 2 3

A 2 5 , no. 1 iv 1 9 - 2 1 . n o . 14: 2 3 - 5 ; A 2 3 4 , 8 6 § 5 7 : 6 f , 1 0 2 - 9 § 6 8 . See A 23 j , 1 i4f. Also note A 4 9 8 ,

i8f.

no. 48. See A 2 9 1 .

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chapter on Sargon. Esarhaddon's letter is very similar to Sargon's, even to the point of listing the same casualties at the end. The beginning of the text is missing, and the first preserved portion concerns Assyrians who have fled to Shubria for refuge. We are not told of what crime these people were guilty, but it has been suggested that they included the conspirators who killed Sennacherib. According to the text, Esarhaddon wrote to the ruler of Shubria asking him to send heralds through the land exhorting people to produce the political refugees. The document is badly broken at this point but obviously the reply from Shubria was unsatisfactory. A series of messages were now exchanged between the two rulers but to no avail; although the Shubrian finally pleads with Esarhaddon to accept his submission, he had delayed too long, accord­ ing to the Assyrian account. Having established a casus belli, Esarhaddon invaded Shubria to lay siege to Ubumu. The Assyrians built a siege wall which the besieged tried to burn down, but the wind shifted and the flames destroyed the city's defences. Ubumu was plundered and the political refugees were caught and mutilated. Urartian fugitives, which the king of Shubria had refused to surrender to Urartu, were also discovered and sent back to their land. Obviously Esarhaddon was willing to renew friendship with Urartu, a state which, however weakened, might be of some support against the multitude of peoples moving into this region. Esarhaddon rebuilt the city, renamed it, settled transported peoples in it, and appointed two of his eunuchs as governors. 5. Elam

Relations between Assyria and Elam fluctuated during Esarhaddon's sovereignty. There is no record of any Elamite interference during the later years of Sennacherib, nor during the turmoil surrounding the accession of Esarhaddon, despite the attempt of a group of dissident Babylonians to persuade Elam to wage war with Esarhaddon upon the death of Sennacherib. Nevertheless, the Elamites were not favourably disposed towards Assyria after Sennacherib's treatment of them. Early in Esarhaddon's reign a certain Bel-iqisha, a Gambulaean, brought gifts including cattle and mules to the Assyrian court; his gifts were accepted, the man and his people became Assyrian vassals, and they were used to garrison a fortress, Sha-pi-Bel, on the Elamite border. An Assyrian expedition against the Barnakkeans (perhaps identical with Bit-Burnakki in northern Elam) may have occurred about this time, the 124

125

1 2 4

See A 304.

1 2 5

A 234, 52f Ep.

1 3 , 1 1 of Fit. B: 6 - 1 3 ; A 2 5 2 , 22-5 iii 3 7 - 5 2 ; A 7 2 , nos.

336, 541; A 5 7 1 , 222f and

242-4.

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ESARHADDON 126

intention being to enforce Assyria's hold on the Elamite frontier. It was probably after, and possibly as a result of these actions, that the Elamites and 'Gutians' (i.e. barbarians of the mountains) sent ambassa­ dors to conclude a peace treaty in Nineveh. This agreement was concluded in or before 676, and it may have been no more than a ruse to lull Assyrian vigilance on the Elamite border. In any case in 675, according to the Babylonian Chronicle, the Elamites suddenly invaded Babylonia, probably swooping down the Diyala valley, and captured Sippar. Since this is the same year for which the chronicles record the Assyrian campaign against Melid, the result of which is not noted, it is possible that there was a connexion between the two events. The Elamites may have been prompted to attack by the absence of the main Assyrian army in Anatolia, and the expedition against Melid may have been suddenly abandoned, so that the army might rush back to deal with the alarming situation. The Elamites had used such a strategy with devastating effect in 694, when they fell upon Sippar while Sennacherib was busy on the Persian Gulf. But it cannot be certain that this is how events evolved in 675, since no precise dates are given in our sources and, indeed, in the Babylonian Chronicle the Elamite raid is narrated first. Incidentally, the capture of Sippar, being a disgrace to Esarhaddon, is not mentioned in the Esarhaddon Chronicle or the royal inscriptions. No further direct information is available for the raid of 675, but other items recorded in the chronicles are almost certainly relevant: in this same year the Elamite king, Khumban-khaltash II, died and was succeeded by his brother, Urtak; two prominent figures in Babylonia were taken as prisoners to Assyria, and at the end of the following year, 674, the divine images of Agade were returned to Babylonia from Elam. One can reconstruct the events of 675 from these circ*mstantial details and show that the Elamite coup had missed its mark. The unexpected death of the king of Elam was probably the occasion for the Elamite withdrawal from Sippar, for if Esarhaddon had driven them out he would have boasted of the fact in his inscriptions, and the two prisoners taken to Assyria from Babylonia must have been implicated in the Elamite attack on Sippar. The Elamites suddenly found themselves in a bad position; they had deliberately provoked hostilities with Assyria but with no tangible gain. Thus they made a conciliatory gesture to Esarhaddon, who was actively restoring Babylon, by returning some divine statues to Babylonia which they had carried off on some previous 127

128

129

1 2 6

A 234, 34: 28f, 51 Ep. 10; A 252, 16 ii 1 6 - 1 9 . See A 307, n(, and regarding Bit-Burnakki see F. W. Konig, 'Bit-Bunak(k)u/i', in A 1 6 , 2, 38; A 309, 13 and n. 2 1 . A 234, j 8 f Ep. 19. 1 2 1

1 2 8

A 25, no.

1 iv 9 - 1 5 , no.

1 2 9

A 25, no.

I iv I I —18, no.

14: 1 5 - 1 9 ; A 5 7 1 , 14: l 6 - 2 2 ; A 5 7 I ,

237^ 249.

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occasion, perhaps in 694. Esarhaddon accepted the gesture and a treaty was formed, as we know from letters which refer not only to the treaty but to the fact that the two monarchs exchanged children to be raised in each other's courts. 130

6. Other military matters and prominent men

Apart from Babylonian affairs there is not much more to be said about military events during Esarhaddon's reign. Esarhaddon claims, in an undated text, to have imposed tribute upon Dilmun and its king Qana, but we have no other information on this. There is a tantalizing scrap of information for the year 670 in the chronicles: 'In Assyria the king put his numerous officers to the sword.' Unfortunately no further details are known of this affair, but the cause of the massacre must have been the discovery of a treasonable plot. Very little is known about Assyrian army officers as individuals, since they are rarely mentioned in the royal inscriptions, and the texts of this reign are no exception; but fortunately more information in this regard is available in the oracle requests. Some of these documents concern expeditions to be led by Sha-Nabu-shu, chief eunuch, and the expedi­ tions cover a wide geographic spectrum which included Ellipi, Melid, and Tabal, as well as the third expedition to Egypt. This general may be identical with the eponym of the same name in the reign of Ashurbanipal (658). In speaking of notable men it is as well to remember Aba-Enlil-dari, the ummanu or vizier of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, who was called Ahiqar in Aramaic and to whom a wisdom text in Aramaic (cf. CAHiu .\, 2 4 3 - 4 ) was attributed, which enjoyed popular­ ity long after this era. 131

132

133

z

7. Babylonia

Esarhaddon's policy towards Babylonia was diametrically opposed to the hostile and vengeful treatment meted out by Sennacherib in his later years; where the father had raided and ravaged, the son attempted appeasem*nt through a re-building programme and good government. In these pages only the Assyrian side of Babylonian affairs concerns us, for domestic events in Babylonia belong in Chapter 21, although Esarhaddon was king of Babylonia for his entire reign. In view of the dramatic difference between the Babylonian policies of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, historians have suggested that there were two groups or 1 3 0

A 7 2 , no. 918 and cf. A 703, 34 n. 66; A 5 7 ' .

1 3 1

A 234, 86 §J 7: 5. > A 2J, no. I IV 29, no. I4: 27. A 498, nos. 5 7 , 7 5 ; A 497, nos. 9, 34, 36; A 7 2 , no. 1 1 1 9 .

1 3 3

2

4jf-

32

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ESARH ADDON

!33

parties in Assyria, one pro-Babylonian and the other anti-Babylonian, and, although this is probably an over-simplification, there is much to be said for the idea. The opposing views were undoubtedly prompted by various motives: political, economic, sociological, religious, and cul­ tural; and it would be a mistake on the basis of our present evidence to single out any one of these as the prime aim. As to the personal attitude of Esarhaddon we are completely ignorant. Of course Esarhaddon's policy of appeasem*nt could be explained, without resort to a two-party theory, as a natural reaction to the harsh and disastrous course which Sennacherib had followed. Such a reaction might have been behind Sennacherib's assassination, as we suggested earlier, and this could have occurred with or without a pro-Babylonian party of Assyrians. In passing it should be noted that the theory that Esarhaddon was governor of Babylonia during Sennacherib's reign lacks any supporting evidence. Esarhaddon, it appears, was more concerned than any of his pre­ decessors who ruled Babylonia with the actual administration of that land, and letters of the period to the Assyrian court are full of reports and complaints regarding disputes among his officials in Babylonia. These documents leave a firm impression that Esarhaddon kept a close personal eye on the details of Babylonian administration. In later years he was assisted in this by his son, Shamash-shuma-ukin, who was appointed crown prince of Babylonia. The king reaped his reward in that, while some anti-Assyrian resentment is always evident, there were few serious political disturbances in this part of his realm during his sovereignty, and even those few were in no way comparable to the problems which had beset his father. The first instance of a real challenge to Esarhaddon's authority in Babylonia occurred during the confusion surrounding the accession. Nabu-zer-kitti-lishir, son of the notorious Merodach-baladan II and governor of the Sealand, revoked his oath of fealty to Assyria, and marching up the Euphrates laid siege to Ur and its governor Ningaliddin. As soon as Esarhaddon had won the throne, he despatched a force to relieve Ur; the siege was lifted and Nabu-zer-kitti-lishir fled to Elam, where he was murdered. Esarhaddon eventually appointed the fugitive's brother, Na id-Marduk, in his stead as governor of the Sealand. Two years later, in 678, a Chaldaean called Shamash-ibni, of the BitDakkuri tribe, seized agricultural land belonging to Babylon and 134

135

136

137

3

1 3 4

See A 265, 6 5 - 7 3 ;

1 3 5

See A 260; A 5 2 6 , 3 3 .

A

6

1 3 7

A 25, no. 1 iii 3 9 - 4 7 , no. 14: 1 - 5 ; A 2 3 4 , 3 3 : 2 1 , 4 6 - 8 Ep. 4; A 2 5 2 , 1 6 ii 2 4 - 5 3 ; A S 7 ' . M 7 ~ 9 -

44.

1 3 - 1 6 ; A 7 5 6 , 1 5 0 - 4 ; A 526, 1 3 6

A 644 (cf.

34-6.

A 526); A 574, 1 9 - 6 8 (cf.

A 534, 2 4 6 - 8 ; A 574, 1 9 - 2 8 ; A 544; A 25, 218a and

A 544).

291a.

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See

134

2

3-

A S S Y R I A : S E N N A C H E R I B

A N D

E S A R H A D D O N

138

Borsippa. An Assyrian expedition caught Shamash-ibni and he, together with the fandabakku-official of Nippur, who must have been involved in this crime, was transported to Assyria and executed. Nothing further of major military significance happened until the Elamite raid on Sippar in 675, an event discussed earlier. The depor­ tation and execution of two officials, a Dakkurian and the sandabakkuofficial of Nippur, which followed this event suggests that some important people in Babylonia were not guiltless with regard to the Elamite attack. For the following year it is recorded in the Esarhaddon Chronicle, in lieu of the Assyrian defeat in Egypt noted in the Babylonian Chronicle, that the Assyrians marched against Sha-amile, a town in southern Babylonia; the circ*mstances surrounding this raid are not recorded. These are the most important military engagements which are known to have taken place in Babylonia during the reign of Esarhaddon. There is one sour note in Esarhaddon's conciliatory policy towards Babylonia: on two occasions the Babylonian Chronicle records that an Assyrian officer conscripted troops in Babylonia. No doubt Esarhad­ don felt that this was only a fair exchange for the protection afforded by his army, but the Babylonians would not have viewed it in that light, and the practice is not mentioned again after 677. Esarhaddon's policy of appeasem*nt called for the reconstruction of Babylon, which Sennacherib claimed to have completely destroyed. While there is reason to be sceptical of Sennacherib's boast, Esarhad­ don's building programme at Babylon was extensive. In a group of inscriptions recording this work there is a long prologue in which Esarhaddon presents his view of the circ*mstances surrounding the sack of Babylon in 689. According to this narrative, because the evil people of Babylonia used temple property to bribe the Elamites, Marduk became angry with them and the result was chaos in the city: the Arakhtu canal overflowed its banks, so that the temples werefloodedand the gods fled, followed by the people who fell into slavery. But then Marduk's anger abated, and he changed the period of time fixed for this 'bad' period from seventy to eleven years (a simple transposition of two cuneiform signs). Good omens appeared and Esarhaddon in obe­ dience to these set about the reconstruction of the city. It is, of course, not surprising that the Assyrians put all the blame for the catastrophe on the Babylonians; but what is unusual is the lengthy elaboration of this theme. 139

140

141

142

1 3 8

A 2 J, n o . I i v i f . n O . 14: IO—11; A 234, 33: 22f, 52 E p . 12; A 25 2, 16—19 ii 3 4 — 4 5 ^ 5 7 1 , 2 I J f, 2 I 8f.

S e e A 25, 2 1 8 b .

1 3 9

A 25, no. 1 iii 4 8 - j o = n o . 14: 6; A 25, n o . 1 iv 3 f = n o . 14: 12.

1 4 0

A 234, 10—30, 78—95; A 2 7 7 ; A 237; A 5 7 1 , 215f. See A 526.

141

A 234, 12—19 Ep. 3—17. See A 288, 9f.

1 4 2

A n o r a c l e states that the period w a s r e d u c e d f r o m sixty t o ten years. See A 278, 15 8f.

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The building projects involved the Esagila temple with its ziggurat Etemenanki, the processional way leading up to it, and the walls of the city. Esarhaddon's programme also included restoring to Babylonians who had been carried off into slavery their freedom, property, and right to return to Babylon, where they were encouraged to rebuild their houses, plant trees, and dig canals. The city's special status (kidinnutu) and freedom (%akutu) from levies of various kinds were reaffirmed. Further illustration of Esarhaddon's desire for reconciliation with the Babylonians is provided by a distinctive group of royal inscriptions which narrate the building of Marduk's temple at Babylon and Ashur's temple at Ashur in a comparative manner (see below, p. 136). The comparison was obviously intended to prove to gods and men that Esarhaddon was concerned for both projects equally. The focal point of the restoration programme was the return of the statues of the gods from their captivity in Assyria and Elam, a symbol of divine appeasem*nt, and in particular the restoration of the statue of Marduk. Marduk's statue was not returned from Ashur until the end of Esarhaddon's reign, and the reason for the delay, which some modern scholars have regarded as a curious mystery, is simply that the shrine was not ready until then. In fact the reconstruction of Babylon and the redecoration of its temples, launched at the very beginning of Esarhad­ don's sovereignty, continued for the entire length of his reign, and even in the time of Shamash-shuma-ukin cult objects were being brought to Babylon from Ashur. The Babylonians were acutely aware that the statue was missing and carefully recorded this fact in their chronicles, noting also that this meant the Akitu festival could not be celebrated for twenty years. 143

8. Building

The building projects of Esarhaddon were rather diverse, covering a number of sites in both Assyria and Babylonia. At Nineveh his main work was an extension of the arsenal (ekal mafarti) built by his father on the mound now called Nebi Yunus (Fig. 9). Esarhaddon had one wing torn down, the terrace extended, and a number of large wings built with materials imported from a great variety of western lands. In conjunction with this he created a splendid garden full of exotic vegetation. Completion of this work was celebrated by a great banquet with the statues of the gods present. Fragmentary texts from Nineveh indicate that other building was carried out in this city, but it is uncertain just which structures were involved and no details of the work are preserved. 144

1 4 3

A 25, no. i iv 3 4 - 6 , no. 14: 3 1 - 7 , no. 16: 1 - 8 .

1 4 4

A 234, 5 9 - 6 4 Ep. 2 1 - 5 ; A 2 j 2 , 2 6 - 3 7 iv 32 - vi 4 3 . See A 1 2 4 , 132f; A 280; A 1 5 4 ; A 1 1 5 , 2.

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Fig. 6. Plan of Fort Shalmaneser, Nimrud. (After A 1 3 7 11, 370, fig. 301.)

The Emashmash temple, the temple of Sin, Ningal, Shamash, and Aya, and the temple of Nabu, are the names which are legible. A major work was the reconstruction of the temple of Ashur at Ashur, which is described in great detail in various inscriptions including the distinctive group, already mentioned, in which is narrated the building of this temple and Marduk's temple in Babylon in a comparative manner. Other construction at Ashur included a palace, the muUalu, and the Akitu house. Calah received considerable attention from Esarhaddon, beginning as early as 676, and he had work done on Fort Shalmaneser, the Nabu temple, and the canal which carried water from the upper Zab. He also began the construction of a palace (the SouthWest Palace) and transported a number of reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II and Tiglath-pileser III to be reused for this purpose, but the building was never completed. At Arba'il Esarhaddon devoted some attention to 145

146

147

148

149

1 4 5

A 234,66—70,94f r. 5 - 9 . The work on the Akitu temple described ibid. r. 2 0 - 4 6 may have been at Nineveh. A 234, 1-6 iii 16 - viii 19, 6f §3, 7 8 - 9 1 ; A 235, 1 1 3 f §ioa. See A 507, 29. Palace: A 2 3 4 , 8 §6. muHalir. A 2 3 4 , 9 § 8 ; A 1 1 0 , 8 6 - 9 1 . Uncertain: A 2 3 4 , 7 f § 4 ( c f . A 5 n, 18), 9 § 9 . Fort Shalmaneser: A 234, 32-5 §2I;A 273;A 2 ) ) ; A 308, 122 no. 3 i; A 1 3 7 11, 369-470. Nabu temple: A 137 r, 239—56. Canal: A 234, 35f §23. Cf. A 150. See A 1 1 6 , 2 0 - 4 ; A 2 7 1 , 5 f . The new cylinder published by Wiseman (see now A 2 3 4 , 3 2 - 3 § 2 1 ) , mentioned in A 1 1 6 and A 271 concerns Fort Shalmaneser, not the South-West Palace (see n. 148). Inscriptions of Esarhaddon from the South-West Palace are: A 2 6 7 , 1 9 no. 1 (A 2 3 4 , 3 6 §24) and A 267, 1 4 6

1 4 7

1 4 8

1 4 9

83 c (A 234, 69 § 3 3 ) . See A 1 5 0 , 315 § § 2 2 - 3 .

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150

the decoration of the temple of Ishtar. The palace at Tarbisu (Sharif Khan) was enlarged as a residence for Ashurbanipal when he was designated crown prince. In Babylonia, the centre of attention was Babylon itself, which has already been described, but building projects in other cities were sponsored by Esarhaddon and materials supplied from the spoils of the campaigns. Restoration of Eanna, the temple of Anu and Ishtar, at Uruk was undertaken; at Nippur the temple of Enlil and the temple of Inanna were restored; and the temples of Nabu and Gula at Borsippa were refurbished. 151

152

153

154

9. Substitute king

A curious phenomenon in the reign of Esarhaddon is the use of a substitute king. A number of letters of the period inform us of this practice but our knowledge is still very sparse. A substitute king was put on Esarhaddon's throne during the later years of his reign for short periods of time (a period of one hundred days is mentioned) on at least three different occasions. One of these occasions revolved around the lunar eclipse of the fifteenth of Tebetu (x) 671; indeed it was the prediction of this eclipse, which meant the king's death according to the astrologers, that occasioned the installation of the substitute king to divert the fatal blow from the real monarch. A ritual for the substitute king is fragmentarily preserved from this period and describes eclipses of various planets and stars, which would necessitate its use. From the ritual it is clear that at the end of the period of danger the substitute king must die. Nothing is known from our sources about the duties and privileges of the substitute, nor is there any information about the abode of the genuine king during this period. He was in touch with his officials, however, for a number of letters addressed to 'the peasant' are clearly to the king, and these epistles must come from a time when a substitute king was on the throne. Affairs of state are never mentioned in this correspondence, which suggests that these were beyond the king's prerogative during such a period. There is allusion in the letters to the institution of the substitute king as having existed in former times, and in this regard a chronicle entry about two ancient kings of Isin, Erra-imitti (1868—1861) and Enlil-bani (i860—1837), is relevant: 155

156

157

158

1 5 0

A 234, 33 § 2 1 : 8—11, 95 § 6 4 r. 16—18.

1 5 1

A 234, 7 1 - 3 § § 4 3 - 6 ; A 7 2 , nos. 628, 885. Sec A 280.

1 5 2

A 2 5 , no. I iv 19—21; A 234, 7 3 - 8 § § 4 7 - 5 I; A 6 8 9 , no. 1 3 2 (cf. A 2 5 5 , I 16f; A ) I, 2 l 6 ) .

1 5 3

A 234, 7 o f § § 3 9 - 4 2 ; A 6 0 ) .

1 5 5

See A 6 4 4 , 4 5 - 5 1 ; A 2 5 9 , 1 6 9 - 8 7 , and the literature cited there, to which add A 238.

1 5 6

See A 2 9 7 .

1 5 7

A 263.

1

5

8

1

5

4

A 234, 32 § 2 0 , 95 § 6 4 r. 1 0 - 1 5 .

A 7 3 , nos. 2 5 , 30, 3 1 , 7 7 , 1 3 7 - 9 ,

l 6 2

>

l

6

6

-

7;

A

2

7 , no. 7 3 5 .

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i o

23.

3

ASSYRIA:

SENNACHERIB

AND

ESARHADDON

Erra-imitti, the king, installed Enlil-bani, the gardener, as substitute king on his throne. He placed the royal tiara on his head. Erra-imitti died in his palace when he sipped a hot broth. Enlil-bani, who occupied the throne, did not give it up (and) so was sovereign. Leaving aside the question of the historicity of this passage, the explicit reference to the 'substitute king' has been accepted by many modern historians as confirmation that the institution was ancient. It must be stressed, however, that this chronicle is known only from late Babylo­ nian copies, and that the date of composition of the original work and the sources for this section are unknown. On the other hand, it would be unwarranted to suggest that the story was fabricated in the seventh century in order to persuade Esarhaddon of the authenticity of the device; the fate of the real king, Erra-imitti, would hardly be reassuring! But it does raise the question whether an obscure custom was not revived and transformed to suit some sinister purpose of Esarhaddon's officers, particularly if it is true that they had absolute control of state affairs during such a period. An attempt was made in Ashurbanipal's reign to continue the practice but perhaps with little success. The idea of a substitute king survived the Assyrians, for there are tales told in classical sources which seem to be garbled versions of the oriental custom, and the institution existed in Safavid (seventeenth-century) Persia. 159

160

161

162

i o. Naqia and the harem

The mother of Esarhaddon, Naqia, was mentioned in the discussion of Sennacherib's assassination, but it is now time to say more about her. This woman bore both an Aramaic name, Naqia, and an Assyrian name, Zakutu, and she was obviously of Aramaean lineage. She was married to Sennacherib while he was crown prince and rose during his subsequent reign to become chief lady in the royal harem, when her son, Esarhad­ don, was appointed crown prince. The fortuitous rise in status, occasioned by the tragic fate of Sennacherib's first-born son Ashurnadin-shumi, was an opportunity which Naqia used to gain unprece­ dented authority. Her new position brought wealth, for the lands of the queen mother, now either deposed as chief lady or dead, were transferred to her. She celebrated her success by building a palace for the new king at Nineveh, and had a text exactly like a royal inscription inscribed to 163

164

1 5 9

A 25, no. 20 A 3 i - 6 = B 1 - 7 . Also CAH i n . 1 , 2 7 4 n. 208, to which add A 96, pi. 4 1 : 1 and pi. 45: 1 2 , 14, 16; and cf. A 25 3, 21 jf; A 2 8 1 , 1 7 3 . See A 2 5 , 48a. Cf. A 7 3 , nos. 2 9 8 - 9 , 334. References courtesy of Parpola. A 293 (20), 200 no. 8, (26), 28 no. 1; A 272; A 268, 272 n. 4 1 . Cf. A 1 1 1 , no. 4 (see A 5 1, 8). A 102, nos. 3 4 - 6 . 1 6 0

2

1 6 1

1 6 2

1 6 3

1 6 4

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49

ESARHADDON 165

commemorate this deed. She behaved like a king in other ways: she dedicated cult objects; reports and oracles on cultic and military matters were addressed to her; a sculptor was commissioned to create her statue; and she was portrayed in a relief standing behind the king. When she became ill, Esarhaddon resorted to extispicy to discover if she would recover, and copies of his anxious inquiries have survived. These scattered bits of evidence fail to provide a full picture of Naqia's character and actions, but there is sufficient to indicate that her position was at least as influential as that of Semiramis, if not more so, and it may be that the late legends of Semiramis incorporated tales of Naqia. There are references to other women in Esarhaddon's harem. One of his more important wives, Esharra-khamat, had a mausoleum erected in Ashur, in which she was buried in 6 7 3 . She was a Babylonian and no doubt the mother of Shamash-shuma-ukin, which explains her high status. Ashurbanipal's mother, on the other hand, lived to see her son reign. 166

167

168

169

170

171

172

173

1 1 . The succession

Esarhaddon was very concerned over the succession, which is not surprising when we consider the circ*mstances of his own accession to the throne, and he laid careful plans. In the month Ayyaru ( 1 1 ) of 672 the king assembled representatives from all parts of the empire and had them swear by the gods to carry out his wishes with respect to the succession. The numerous oaths taken on this occasion were recorded on large clay tablets, one tablet for each group of people. Some of these texts have survived, all concerning the Medes as we mentioned earlier. The manner of succession was totally new: Ashurbanipal was appointed heir to the throne in Assyria and Shamash-shuma-ukin heir to the throne in Babylonia. Thus the Babylonian question had become so important that it was a major factor in the succession to the throne. Whether or not this decision to split the crown was wise is questionable. At the time Esarhaddon was congratulated by at least one eminent Assyrian on his wisdom, but the roots of the civil war to be waged between Ashurbanipal and Shamash-shuma-ukin lie here. 174

175

1 6 5

A 234, 11 j f §86.

1 6 7

A 7 2 , nos. 324, 368, 9 1 7 , 1 2 1 6 (see A 260); A 44, 605.

1 6 6

1 7 0

A 498, nos. 1 0 1 - 2 .

1 7 2

A 2J, no. I IV 22, no. 14: 23; A 234, IO§IO; A 90, 18—20; A 264; A 526, 34.

A 93, no. 645 = A 9 7 , no. 1 4 . 1 7 1

1 6 8

A 7 2 . n o . 114.

1 6 9

A 278.

See A 268; A 278; A 289, 1 2 8 .

1 7 3

* 344> 3 9 ~ 5 -

1 7 4

A 307 (bibliography in A 5 1 , 640 and 11, 323, to which add A 303), translated in A 4 4 , 5 3 4 — 4 1 ; A

2

3 4 7 , 2 1 J; A 2 3 4 , 8 § 6 , 4 o f Ep. 2 i 1 5 — 2 2 , 7 2 : 4 0 ; A 25 5 , 1 1 6 ; A 344, 2 - 4 i 1 1 - 2 3 , a n d 258—63 i 29 —ii 25; A 7 2 , no. 2 1 3 ; A 7 3 , nos. 1 and 3.

1 7 5

A 7 3 , no. 129.

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140

Both successors were sons of Esarhaddon, although by different mothers, and Shamash-shuma-ukin seems to have been the older of the two. The mother of Shamash-shuma-ukin was a Babylonian, which accounts for his designation to the Babylonian crown. Ashurbanipal, as heir to Assyria, entered the 'House of Succession' (bit-reduti) at Tarbisu. The palace at Tarbisu was the traditional residence of the Assyrian heir apparent: Sennacherib had lived there before his succession and it was during this period that Esarhaddon was born there. As previously noted, Esarhaddon enlarged the palace for Ashurbanipal. Both princes were assigned major administrative duties, directly under the king, a custom of the Sargonid age. One of the stipulations of the loyalty oaths to the crown princes was that all seditious matters must be reported to them, a provision to which there is frequent reference in the correspon­ dence. It appears that Shamash-shuma-ukin's responsibility was Babylonia, while Ashurbanipal had authority over the rest of the empire. Esarhaddon had other sons and at least one daughter. Sin-nadinapli was the eldest son, but the total silence of our sources, apart from an oracle request, with regard to this prince suggests that he died young. It was fortunate that Esarhaddon had made such elaborate preparation and given his heirs training in the administration of the empire, for otherwise his sudden death might have resulted in chaos. The succession followed smoothly although the precaution was taken, after his death, of having the oaths of loyalty reaffirmed both by the other brothers and by the people in general. It was Naqia who had a record of these renewed vows drawn up, evidence that her influence increased even farther with the accession of her grandson. 176

177

178

179

180

181

12. Character

A salient characteristic of Esarhaddon is his almost fanatical devotion to divination. Of course all ancient Mesopotamians firmly believed in the arts of the diviner, but Esarhaddon, like his son Ashurbanipal, had more than his share of this faith. The king was persuaded of the efficacy of the substitute king ritual to avoid ominous harm, despite the fact that this 1 7 6

See A 344, CCXLII-CCXLVI; A 347, 213f; A 268, 28of; A 307, 6f.

1 7 7

A 234, 8 § 6 , 4 o f Ep. 2 i 1 5 - 2 2 ; A 344, 2—4 i 11—23, 258—63 i 29 - ii 25.

1 7 8

See A 7 0 3 , 3 1 . See the following letters: (a) Ashurbanipal: ( 1 ) from him: A 7 2 , nos. 430, 1026, 1257; A 5 7 1 ,

1 7 9

245. (2) to him: A 7 2 , nos. 6 5 , 1 8 7 , 1 8 9 , 4 4 5 , 5 0 0 , 8 8 5 , 9 4 8 , 9 5 0 ; A 7 3 , no. 130. (3) about him: A 7 2 , nos.

3 0 8 , 1 2 1 6 ; A 7 3 , no. 70. (b) Shamash-shuma-ukin: A 72, nos. j 3 4 - 6 ; A 7 3 , nos. 140, 258; A 703. (c) also note: A 7 2 , nos. 1 1 3 , 434; A 73 no. 249; A 254, 87 § 5 7 r. 4, 90 §59. A 344, CLXXXV, CCXLI-CCXLIX. A 7 2 , no. 1239, and note no. 1 1 0 5 . See A 268, 2 8 2 - 5 . 1 8 0

1 8 1

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ESARHADDON

involved some loosening of his control over the kingdom. He was constantly seeking prognostic reports of every kind and would complain to his diviners if they did not keep him informed about any ominous occurrence. There are numbers of astrological reports from his reign, and oracle requests have been frequently referred to in this narrative. These latter texts first appear in Assyria in the reign of Esarhaddon, and it is possible, although by no means certain, that this was an innovation inspired by Esarhaddon's penchant for prognostication. Another practice which was apparently introduced to Neo-Assyrian culture at this time was the oracle pronounced by an ecstatic. Devotees of the cult of Ishtar of Arba il collected oracular utterances from people, mainly women, in various areas and copies of these oracles have been preserved. The utterances were addressed to Esarhaddon by Ishtar of Arba'il and were words of comfort and reassurance that he would have a long and happy life, and that his kingdom and offspring would prosper. No doubt the cult profited from these oracles by receiving royal reward in such concrete forms as temple offerings. Yet another indication that Esarhaddon was unusually concerned about supernatural phenomena is the important place granted to such topics in the royal inscriptions. Given the nature of our sources, it is impossible to be positive about the reason for this extreme emphasis on divination in state affairs, but in the general context of the Assyrian state the most obvious explanation is that it reflects a personal characteristic of the monarch. 182

183

3

184

13. Conclusion

Despite his short rule and untimely death Esarhaddon was the king who added the most decorative jewel to the Assyrian tiara, Egypt. Of course the way had been prepared by his father but this does not detract from the son's achievement. At the other end of the empire, in Babylonia, Esarhaddon inherited quite a different state of affairs, and he had the good sense to do his utmost to mend the horrible wound inflicted by Sennacherib. In Anatolia he lost ground to new invaders, Cimmerians, and the Medes and Scythians on the north and north-eastern frontiers had become a serious problem, a foretaste of the final blow to come. 1 8 2

A 72, no.

1 8 3

See A 230,

1409; A 7 5 , nos. 1 1 2 ; A 1040,

¡ 0 , 2 7 8 - 9 . See A 294.

i24f; A 1082,

188 n. 2 1 7 .

1 8 4

A 44, 605. See A 26, \)f

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and n. 4.

CHAPTER 24 A S S Y R I A 668-635 B.C.: T H E

REIGN

OF

ASHURBANIPAL

A.

K.

GRAYSON

The reign of Ashurbanipal begins in what appears to be the hey-day of Assyrian imperialism and ends in a dark period of confusion, followed shortly by the fall of Assyria itself. It is the task of the present chapter both to describe the gteat days of Ashurbanipal's reign and briefly to reflect upon the reasons for the catastrophe which brought to an end one of the great empires of the ancient world. The end of the reign of Ashurbanipal is part and parcel of the history of the foundation of the Neo-Babylonian empire which will be treated in the next chapter. 1

i . Sources and chronology

The reign of Ashurbanipal is the best attested of all periods in the history of Assyria in terms of quantity of material, but it is extremely difficult to use much of this documentation to write history because of its unusual nature and because of the lack of a chronology. Chief among the sources are Ashurbanipal's royal inscriptions; these are more numerous and lengthier than those preserved for any earlier monarch, and include a group of texts which are commonly called 'annals' but which are really a curious combination of the annalistic form and the 'display' form. They are rather like small historical novels and have behind them a complex textual history. Considerable care must be exercised in studying these to unravel the true course of events. Turning to the other sources, as with Ashurbanipal's immediate predecessors, there are a large number of state letters, astrological reports, and legal and administrative documents. In addition there are the oracle texts which have already been described under Esarhaddon. The bulk of the inscribed material comes from Nineveh, which is also a source of a rich quantity of sculptured reliefs. 2

3

1

Specialized histories of the reign are A 344, CCXXX-CDLXXII; F. H. Weissbach, 'A55urbanapli', in

A 1 6 , 1, 2 0 3 - 7 . 2

There is no comprehensive edition or bibliography of the royal inscriptions of Ashurbanipal. Many sources in English translation will be found in A 3 5 11, §§ 7 6 2 - 1 1 2 9 . The more important text editions are: A 344; A 3 I 3 ; A 3 3 7 ; A 162; A 3 i 2 ; A 2 j 8 ; A 3 3 j . Further see the bibliography in A J under the relevant entries, to which add A 563. For the references in chronographic texts see A 23, 208. 3

See A 7 2 - 1 0 9 .

142

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M3

ASHURBANIPAL

Chronologically oriented sources for the period are unusually sparse, and the internal chronology of the reign is one of the more uncertain areas in Neo-Assyrian history. There is no Eponym Chronicle for the entire reign; the eponym list breaks off at 649; no Babylonian Chronicles are preserved beyond 667; and the so-called 'annals' of Ashurbanipal confuse rather than contribute to a solution of the chronological problems. No eponyms are quoted in the text of the annals, but rather the compaigns are numbered in order of their appearance in the narrative, and this order is not necessarily according to chronological sequence. Moreover, the order varies from one edition of the annals to another, so that the same campaign can have two or more different numbers in the various editions. The recently proposed reconstruction of the chrono­ logy of the reign will be followed in these pages. 4

2 . Egypt and the west

Ashurbanipal's relations with Egypt are highlighted by two military campaigns; the first, against Taharqa, culminated in the recapture of Memphis (667) (Pis. Vol., pi. 56); the second, against Tantamani, was crowned by the capture of Thebes (c. 663). The death of Esarhaddon while en route to Egypt in 669 meant that Assyrian ambition in Egypt was suspended while the new king, Ashurbanipal, consolidated his domestic position. Taharqa took advantage of the situation by occupying Mem­ phis and launching an attack against the Assyrian garrison stationed there by Esarhaddon. When news of this action reached Nineveh, Ashurbanipal promptly despatched an Assyrian force to Egypt, which met and defeated at Kar-baniti an army sent out by Taharqa. As soon as word of the disaster reached Memphis, Taharqa abandoned the city and fled up the Nile to take refuge in Thebes. The Assyrians, whose numbers were augmented by auxiliaries contributed by a number of kingdoms in the Mediterranean region and by Egyptian vassals, commandeered ships to pursue the enemy up the Nile. Taharqa abandoned Thebes and prepared to defend himself on the opposite bank of the river. The narrative of the proposed pursuit, preserved only in early editions of the annals, stops abruptly at this point and is followed by a description of treachery on the part of Assyrian vassals in Egypt. Thus, as Spalinger 5

* See A 326. Sources for the Egyptian campaigns - A 23, no. 14: 40—4. Edition A: A 344, 6—17 i 52 - ii 48. Edition B: A 357, 3 0 - 4 1 i 50 - ii 40. Edition C: A 344, 1 3 8 - 4 3 ; A 3 1 5 , 141; A 258, 5zf; A 3 3 ; , 105. Edition D: A 337, 9 7 . Edition E: A 337, 1 0 - 1 5 ; A 333, 9 9 - 1 0 1 . Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 3 0 - 3 . Edition H: A 688, io2f. Annals tablet: A 344, 1 5 8 - 6 7 , and cf. A 3 1 3 , 5 6 ( 8 2 - 5 - 2 2 , 10). Other royal inscriptions: A 313, 54; A 1 6 2 , io6f; A 120, 84: 80. Reliefs: A I I 5 , 4 7 b and pi. xxxvi. Letter: A 7 2 , no. 923 (A 7 3 , 1 1 7 and see A 341). See also A 25, 208b. For a thorough exposition of the sources, including the Egyptian material, see A 340 and A 324. Also cf. A 30. See below, pp. 7 0 0 - 2 . 5

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has suggested, one suspects that the Assyrian march to Thebes was prevented or interrupted by the discovery of the treachery. Necho, Sharru-lu-dari, and Pakrur, Egyptian princes whom Esarhaddon had earlier recognized, communicated secretly with Taharqa, seeking an alliance. The messengers were caught and the plot revealed to the Assyrians. Presumably it was in this emergency that the army abandoned its expedition to Thebes, although this is not stated in our sources, and promptly crushed the rebellion. The Assyrians punished in their inimitable fashion all those implicated in the plot with the exception of Necho, who was reinstated with much honour as a vassal prince at Karbel-matati (Sai's), and his son, who would eventually become known as Psammetichus I. Memphis was reoccupied by the Assyrians, who restored order to their holdings in Egypt, strengthened their defences, and brought back prisoners and booty to Assyria. Eventually Taharqa was replaced by his nephew Tantamani, who carried on his uncle's attempt to win Egypt. Tantamani secured Thebes and then marched down the Nile to Memphis, where he met in battle the Egyptian princes of the Delta, including Necho. Tantamani won the day but a subsequent invasion of the Delta itself foundered. By this time the news had reached Nineveh and an Assyrian army once again invaded Egypt. In face of this attack Tantamani abandoned Memphis but his army was overtaken by the Assyrians and defeated. Tantamani escaped to Thebes, from whence he had to flee when the Assyrians captured the city and looted it. The fall of Thebes (c. 663) marks the pinnacle of Assyrian achievement in Egypt and, in more practical terms, it ended Kush*te interference with Assyrian holdings in Syria—Palestine. Under Psammetichus I, who was installed as king at Sai's and Memphis, Egypt caused Assyria no further trouble and Ashurbanipal was free to concentrate his efforts elsewhere. Since the days of Sennacherib Assyria had enjoyed a strong position in Syria—Palestine and, with the exception of Tyre, Ashurbanipal had no difficulties with this region. Indeed the state of Arvad was more effectively embraced within Assyria's sphere of influence during his reign. Ashurbanipal'sfirmhold is illustrated by a long list of his western vassals, although the reliability of the list is suspect, since it is copied verbatim from a list in the royal inscriptions of Esarhaddon. But Tyre remained the centre of resistance which it had been in the previous reign, and Ashurbanipal laid siege to the island stronghold (c. 662) after 6

7

8

9

6

7

See A 340. See A 342. Sources for relations with Arvad - Edition A: A 3 4 4 , 1 8 - 2 1 ii 6 3 - 7 and 8 1 - 9 4 . Edition B: A 337, 4 4 - 7 ii 7 1 - 9 2 . Edition D: A 337, 97. Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 34f i 70 - ii 9. Annals tablet: A 344, i68f r. 2 7 - 3 1 . Other royal inscriptions: A 1 2 0 , 84: 83?. On the date of these events see A 326. See A 4, 85. 8

9

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!45

ASHURBANIPAL 10

Egyptian affairs had been settled. Ashurbanipal's siege was more successful than that of Esarhaddon, for, although Tyre did not actually fall, it is claimed that its ruler, Baal, submitted and Ashurbanipal accepted his daughter and nieces along with much treasure in token of his vassalship. But Tyre did not remain subservient, and later in the reign (c. 644), on his return from a campaign against the Arabs, Ashurbanipal attacked the mainland suburb of Tyre, called Ushu, and plundered it. It seems that it was on this same occasion that he took Akku (Acco, Acre) by force and a number of men whom he carried off he added to his army. 11

12

3. Anatolia

The suppression of Tyre brought in its wake offers of friendship from major Anatolian states, Tabal, Khilakku, and Lydia, for Asia Minor was by this time sorely pressed by the Cimmerians. Although Esarhaddon had claimed a victory over a Cimmerian band, by the reign of Ashurbani­ pal the Cimmerians had effectively ended Assyrian control in this area and were threatening states as far west as Lydia. Ashurbanipal's victories in Egypt and against Tyre caused the beleaguered ruler of Khilakku to seek Assyrian support by sending his daughter with a dowry to Nineveh. As for Tabal, Mugallu, the old enemy of Esarhaddon, was now its ruler and presumably the ruler of Melid as well, although Melid is not mentioned by Ashurbanipal. Mugallu is said to have brought his daughter with a dowry to Nineveh, but, true to his wily nature, he then began to intrigue with Dugdamme (the Lygdamis of classical authors) of the Ummanmanda (an Akkadian literary term applied to various enemies including the Cimmerians and Scythians) against Assyria. Dugdamme attempted two invasions of Assyria (c. 6 4 0 ) but calamity befell him both times before he could actually attack; on thefirstoccasionfirebroke out in his camp and on the second he was struck by illness and died. 13

14

15

16

1 0

Sources for Tyre-Edition A: A 3 4 4 , 1 6 - 1 9 1 1 4 9 - 6 2 . Edition B: A 3 3 7 , 4 0 - 5 ii 4 1 - 7 0 . Edition D: 5 3 7 , 9 7 - Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 32-5 i 5 6 - 6 9 . Edition H: A 688, i o 2 f ii 1 4 - 2 4 . Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 84: 81 f. Regarding the date see A 3 26.

A

1 1

Edition A: A 344, 8 o f i x 1 1 5 - 2 1 .

1 2

Edition A: A 344, 82f ix 1 2 2 - 8 . Sources for Khilakku - Edition A: A 344, i 8 f ii 7 5 - 8 0 . Edition B: A J57,44^11 7 1 - 9 . Edition D: 337» 97- Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 34f. Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 84: 83f. " Sources for Tabal - Edition A: A 344, i 8 f ii 6 8 - 7 4 . Edition B: A 3 3 7 , 4 4 f ii 7 1 - 9 . Edition D: A 337, 97. Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 34f i 7 1 - 7 . Annals tablet: A 344, i68f r. 2 2 - 6 . Other royal inscriptions A 1 3

A

120, 88: 1 3 8 - 4 5 . 1 5

Sources for Dugdamme - Edition H: A 7 7 5 , 4: 1 - 6 ; A 162, 109; A 355, io9f. Other royal

inscriptions: A 1 2 0 , 8 8 f 1 3 8 - 6 2 ; A 3 4 4 , 2 7 6 - 8 7 : 2 0 - 6 ; A 162, io6f. For discussion and bibliography see

A 342, 136 and n. 19; A 3 1 7 , 80 n. 26.

1 6

See A 326; and see below, p. 559.

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Dugdamme was succeeded by his son Sandakshatru, concerning whom no further narrative is preserved. The third ruler who is recorded as having sought friendly relations with Assyria in the face of the Cimmerian threat was Gyges (Gugu) of Lydia. Prompted by a dream, says Ashurbanipal, Gyges sent a messenger with gifts to Nineveh and from that day he began to be successful in his war with the Cimmerians. The Cimmerians were not so easily repelled, however, and in 657 an astrologer predicted, in a report to Ashurbanipal, that the Cimmerians would overrun the west, although Assyria would be spared. Several years after this report Lydia was overrun by the Cimmerians and Gyges was killed (c. 645). He was succeeded by his son who, Ashurbanipal says, resumed good relations with Assyria. From these incidents it is clear that Assyria was still on the defensive on the Anatolian frontier, worried by the Cimmerian hordes and anxious to ally itself with any Anatolian state that would resist and hamper Cimmerian progress. 17

18

19

4. The north and north east

The scene on this frontier is much the same as during the reign of Esarhaddon, with the Mannaeans, Medes, and Urartians being the leading antagonists, and there is no need to repeat the description of the intricate relationships and primary goals of the participants. The highlight of the action, from the Assyrian point of view, was a brilliantly successful campaign against the Mannaeans. Before Ashurbanipal's time the Mannaeans had made inroads into territory claimed by the Assyrians, capturing one city after another. Early in his reign (c. 660), Ashurbanipal launched an attack against the Mannaeans, crashed through their domain as far as Izirtu, and by means of vigorous excursions regained numerous districts for Assyria. This operation precipitated a revolution; Akhsheri, king of the Mannaeans, was assassinated and his son Ualli took the throne. Ualli sent his son and daughter to Ashurbanipal's court and agreed to supply the Assyrians with horses. The Medes, many of whom had been vassals of Esarhaddon, had by now become aggressive, but Ashurbanipal boasts of only one expedition 20

1 7

Edition A: A 344, 2of ii 95—110. Edition B: A 3 3 7 , 4 6 - 9 ii 93 — iii 4. Edition D: A 3 3 7 , 9 7 . Edition E: A 3 3 7 , i6f; A 335, 102. Edition F: A 312,34—7 ii 1 0 - 2 0 . Annals tablet: A 344, 1 6 6 - 9 r. 1 3 - 2 1 . See A 339; A 3 1 7 ; A 244, 113—18; A 325. See below, p. 5 59. A 7 2 , no. 1391; and see A 327. " Edition A: A 344, 20-3 ii 1 1 1 - 2 5 . See A 3 4 2 , 1 3 3—7 and n. 6. The date of Gyges' death is usually given as 632 B.C. but this must be lowered. See A 3 1 7 , 78f n. 25; A 343; A 326. Edition A: A 344, 22—7 ii 1 2 6 - i i i 26. Edition B: A 3 3 7 , 5 0 - 7 iii 1 6 - i v 2. Edition C: A 3 1 3 , 1 5 iv 31—62. Edition D: A 337, 97. Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 3 6 - 9 ii 21—52. Edition H: A 688, io2f. Other royal inscriptions: A 1 2 0 , 85: 8 7 - 9 0 ; A 313, 83 r. 10. 1 8

2 0

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ASHURBANIPAL

!47

against them, during which he captured alive some Median rulers who had previously been subject to Assyria. The king of Urartu, Rusa, sent a peaceful envoy to Ashurbanipal early in the latter's reign, which was in keeping with Urartu's long avoidance of confrontation with Assyria. Nonetheless, in about 657 an Urartian governor attacked Ubumu, the capital of Shubria, which Esarhaddon had added to his empire. Ashurbanipal's troops managed to capture the Urartian leader of this expedition, Andaria, and his head was brought back to Nineveh. Many years later (c. 645), when the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion had been crushed and Ashurbanipal had won a major victory over Elam, Sarduri, king of Urartu, sought friendly relations with Assyria. The paucity of praise­ worthy deeds in the Assyrian records is indicative of the vulnerability of Ashurbanipal's northern and north-eastern frontier, for during this time the enemies of Assyria were creeping closer and closer to the centre of the empire. 21

22

23

24

5. Elam and Babylonia

Babylonia and Elam were natural allies during the long period of Assyrian ascendancy, and this fact had interesting results during Ashur­ banipal's reign. Babylonian affairs are treated in detail in Chapter 2 1 , and here the main emphasis will be upon Elam with only a synopsis of the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion. The good relations between Elam and Assyria established by the treaty during Esarhaddon's reign conti­ nued into the early part of Ashurbanipal's sovereignty; when there was famine in Elam, Ashurbanipal not only allowed some starving Elamites to take refuge in Assyria but also sent grain to Elam. Given the long bitter struggle with Elam that preceded Ashurbanipal's time, however, it is not surprising that in due course hostilities broke out. According to Ashurbanipal, three leading figures instigated Urtak, king of Elam, to invade Babylonia; these men were Bel-iqisha, the Gambulaean and former vassal of Esarhaddon, Nabu-shuma-eresh, the guenna of Nippur, and Marduk-shuma-ibni, a Babylonian general in the service of Urtak. The occasion for the invasion was Assyria's involvement with Egypt in 667; the Elamites very quickly overran Babylonia and laid siege to Babylon. Despite his preoccupation, Ashurbanipal eventually des­ patched troops to the south and the invadersfledback across the border. 25

26

2 1

Edition B: A 337, ; 6 f iv 3 - 8 . Edition D: A 337, 97.

2 2

A 346,

188, and

cf.

A 1 1 5 , 6f; A 1 5 5 , 2 5 1 - 8 . Cf.

A 337,

102 iii 2 1 - 4 .

See

A

326.

2 3

Edition B: A 337, ) 6 f iv 9 - 1 7 . Edition C: A 3 1 3 , 1 j f V 9 - 2 3 . Edition D: A 3 3 7 , 9 7 . Cf. A 569, 344 n. 9. Edition A: A 344, 84f x 4 0 - 5 0 . Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 87: 1 2 1 - 3 . Edition B: A 337, 5 6 - 9 iv 1 8 - 2 6 . Edition H: A 688, io2f. Also see A 7 2 , no. 295. Edition B: A 337, 5 6 - 9 iv 1 8 - 5 3 . Edition D: A 337, 97. Edition H: A 688, io2f. Other royal inscriptions: A 3 1 5 , 8 7 - 9 : 28f. 2 4

2 5

2 6

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A few years later, in 664, there was a dynastic upset in Elam and Teumman seized the throne. Urtak's sons, together with many of the royal family and retainers,fledElam to seek asylum with Ashurbanipal. The presence in Nineveh of a rival claimant to the Elamite throne meant that good relations between Ashurbanipal and Teumman were out of the question, particularly when the Assyrian rejected Teumman's demand for the extradition of the fugitives. The hostile atmosphere became absolutely stormy when Shamash-shuma-ukin began, perhaps as early as 653, to form an anti-Assyrian alliance into which Elam was drawn. Teumman invaded the east Tigris region in this year and the move may well have been intended to support Shamash-shuma-ukin's bid for power, a bid which was not actually made until the following year. Be that as it may, the attack was unsuccessful, for Ashurbanipal's army promptly occupied Der and the Elamitesfledback to Susa without a confrontation. The Assyrians pursued their enemies and a pitched battle was fought at Tell Tuba on the banks of the River Ulaya. The conflict is vividly portrayed in a series of reliefs with cuneiform captions from Nineveh, in which the Assyrian troops are shown cutting down the Elamites. Thus Assyria defeated the Elamite army on home ground. Teumman was beheaded, and Ashurbanipal appointed one of the Elamite princes who had been living at his court, Khumban-nikash II, as king at Susa and another such prince, Tammaritu I, as king at Khaidalu. The success of this Elamite campaign provided an excellent oppor­ tunity to regain dominance over the buffer state of Gambulu. Ashurba­ nipal had not forgotten that Bel-iqisha had been implicated in Urtak's invasion of Babylonia and, although Bel-iqisha had now been replaced by his son Dunanu as leader of the Gambulaeans, the Assyrian wanted vengeance. He stormed through Dunanu's lands and captured, sacked, and destroyed the capital Sha-pi-Bel. Dunanu was taken captive to Nineveh, where he was displayed to the people with the head of Teumman hanging from his neck. The bones of Nabu-shuma-eresh, the guenna of Nippur, who like Bel-iqisha had urged Urtak to invade Babylonia, were brought back from Gambulu and crushed in a gate of Nineveh. 27

28

29

30

2 7

A 2 ; , no. 15: 2f. Edition B: A 537, 6of iv 5 8-86. Other royal inscriptions: A 3 1 3 , 8 7 - 9 : 2 9 - r. 1. See A 6 7 7 , 1 9 ; A 326. Edition A: A 344, 26f iii 2 7 - 3 1 . Edition B: A 337, 6 0 - 7 7 ' 87 ~ i i 2. Edition C: A 3 1 3 , 16 vi 37 — vii 9. Edition D: A 337, 97. Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 3 8 - 4 1 ii 5 3 - 7 1 . Other royal inscriptions: A 344, 2 8

v

v

1 8 8 - 9 5 : 7 - r . 1 3 ; A 3 1 3 , 45f, 5 1 : 5 - 8 , 6 7 , 8jf. 2 9

A 1 1 5 , 141", 42f, and pis. x x r v - x x v i ; A 1 4 7 , pis. 6 8 - 7 0 (and cf. A 1 1 5 , 20 and 42a). Also note A

344, 322—33; A 346, 1 7 6 - 9 1 ; A 313, 91—105; and cf. A 314; A 1 5 5 , 2 8 7 - 9 7 . 3 0

Edition A: A 344, 26—9 iii 52-69. Edition B: A 337, 7 0 - 7 vi 17 — vii 2. Edition C: A 3 1 3 , 16 vii 10—120. Edition D: A 3 3 7 , 9 7 . Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 4 0 - 3 ii 72 - iii 5. Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 85: 105—7;

A

T

3 3> 83: 10—1.3 ;A 3 4 6 , 176—91 and A 3 1 3 , 9 1 — 1 0 5 . Also note A 3 1 3 , 85 r. 1—4; A 7 2 , no. 269.

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These early clashes with Elam are a mere prologue to the serious situation which developed with the outbreak of the Shamash-shumaukin rebellion, and it is necessary to go back for a moment and outline the beginnings of the war with Babylonia. Although Esarhaddon had stipulated that at his death Shamash-shuma-ukin was to become king of Babylonia, this did not happen automatically, as it did with Ashurbanipal in Assyria, and Ashurbanipal claims that he actually appointed his brother to the southern monarchy. He further claims that during the period of the dual monarchy he was friendly and generous towards Babylonia and Shamash-shuma-ukin. But the very fact that two brothers wore the crowns of two lands which were ancient rivals was sufficient reason for jealousy and hostility to erupt and, despite Ashurbanipal's boasts of friendly acts, the record speaks against him. At the beginning of Ashurbanipal's reign the statues of Marduk and other Babylonian deities were taken back to Babylon from Ashur (668), thus continuing Esarhaddon's policy of restoring Babylon after Senna­ cherib's destruction, but the practice stopped abruptly with this event and was not resumed for thirteen years, until 65 5-65 3, when further cult objects were returned. This may possibly indicate a lapse in the restoration programme as a whole. Whether the lapse of the restoration policy was by design or mere casual neglect, it could not but have caused dissatisfaction in Babylonia; and the resumption of the policy in 655, three years before the revolt broke out, was an eleventh-hour attempt by Assyria to quell disaffection. It is to this period that one should probably date an incident related by Ashurbanipal: Babylonian envoys came to the court at Nineveh. The purpose of the mission is not stated, and this is not surprising, since they had probably been sent to complain of neglect by the Assyrian court. Ashurbanipal records that he treated the delega­ tion handsomely, and it was his policy throughout the subsequent tumult to regard the Babylonians as innocent dupes of Shamash-shumaukin's cunning. Shamash-shuma-ukin gradually built up support for his ambitious aims in a wide circle which embraced a number of foreign nations, including the Elamites and Arabs, and, as we suggested earlier, one may regard Teumman's attack in 653 as the first move on the part of this alliance, although this is not stated in any of the sources. As the clouds of war gathered on the horizon, Ashurbanipal attempted to undermine Shamash-shuma-ukin's position by seeking to win the Babylonians to his side. This was a favourite Assyrian strategy, attempting to alienate an 31

32

33

34

35

3 1

3 2

3 3

Cf. A 5 7 4 , 7 4 - 8 . A 344, 28 iii 7 2 , 230: i if, 234: I4f, etc. Cf. A A 25, no. I iv 3 4 - 6 = no. 14: 3}f = no. 16:

3 4

A 25, no.

3 5

Edition A: A 344, 2 8 - 3 1 iii 8 2 - 9 5 .

1 5 : 4f; K . 2 4 1 1 in A 6 7 7 , 2 i f (and

cf.

574, 72f 5-7; pp.

A

and A no.

498,

544,

319

149.

19—23).

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enemy ruler from his people; Sennacherib's rab-saqeh had tried this under the walls of Jerusalem and Tiglath-pileser Ill's officers did the same at the gates of Babylon during the Mukin-zeri rebellion. In the present instance there is actually a letter preserved from Ashurbanipal to the citizens of Babylon, dated Ayyaru (11) of 652, in which the king emphasizes the privileges which the Babylonians enjoyed and would continue to enjoy under the pax Assyriaca so long as they were loyal to Ashurbanipal. One may presume that the Babylonian response to this ploy was silence, for in the same month that the letter was despatched the major-domo began to conscript troops in Babylo­ nia. Events moved rapidly. Two months later ( 1 7 / 1 V / 6 5 2 ) Ashurbani­ pal considered but then rejected a plan to force an entrance into Babylon in the hope that Shamash-shuma-ukin would be captured and the revolt nipped in the bud. The conscription of troops continued in Babylonia until open warfare erupted towards the end of the year ( 1 9 / X / 6 5 2 ) , the immediate cause probably being the conscription. The war raged for four years (652—648) and, while the issue hung in the balance for the first half of this period, after the middle of 651 it became just a matter of time before Shamash-shuma-ukin succumbed. At the end of 65 2 there were two battles, one on 12/xn and the second on 27/xn, when the Assyrians defeated a Babylonian force at Khirit. Elam, of course, was another of Shamash-shuma-ukin's allies and in the early days of the war Khumban-nikash II of Elam sent a contingent to assist Shamash-shuma-ukin, but the Elamite troops were defeated by the Assyrians. The abortive attack probably precipitated the revolution in Elam, in which Khumban-nikash was replaced by Tammaritu II. The usurper continued the Elamite policy of support for Shamash-shumaukin and advanced once again to participate in the war. Suddenly mutiny broke out in the ranks; Indabibi seized the sovereignty and Tammaritu II fled with his family for asylum, but not as one would expect to Shamash-shuma-ukin; rather he fled to Ashurbanipal! This is indicative of a change in the relative fortunes of Ashurbanipal and 36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

3 6

3 7

3 8

3 9

A 7 2 , no. 3 0 1 . A 2 j , no. 16: 9f. A 4 9 7 , no. 102. A 2J, no. l 6 : II. Edition A: A 344, 2 8 - 4 1 iii 70 - iv 109. Edition C: A 3 1 3 , i6f; A 258, 5 3 - 7 . Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 86: 110—13. Also note A 3 1 3 , 7 9 - 8 1 , 86 r. 14—17. Further see A 497, LXII—LXVI; A 4 0

677,

2 4 - 9 ; A 5 7 2 ; A 5 7 4 , 78—125.

4

1

A 2 5 , no. 16: I 3 - 1 6 .

4 2

Edition B: A 337, 7 6 f vii 3—35. Edition C: A 3 1 3 , 1 7 viii 3—16. Edition D: A 3 3 7 , 9 7 . Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 42f iii 6 - 9 . Other royal inscriptions: A 3 1 3 , 5 i f 9—12; A 344, i8of: 30-4; A 346, 198—201. Also note A 72 no. 1380. That this Tammaritu and the Tammaritu (II) mentioned earlier are two different men has been shown by A 3 1 3 , 52 n. 5. Edition B: A 3 3 7 , 7 6 - 8 1 vii 36-92. Edition C: A 3 1 3 , 1 7 viii 1 7 - 5 2 . Edition D: A 3 3 7 , 9 7 . Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 42—5 iii 1 0 - 3 2 . Edition G: A 3 3 7 , i o 2 f iv 1—22; A 563, 229—37. Other royal inscriptions: A 4 3

4 4

344,

1 8 0 - 3 : 3 5 - 9 ; A 3 1 3 , 46f: 13 - r. 8, 5 if: 13 — r. 7, 54 ( K . 6 3 5 8 ) , 67f, 86: r. 9 - 2 1 , 9 1 - 1 0 5 ; A 346,

1 9 1 - 2 0 3 ; A 3 5 11, § 1087; A 7 2 , no. 1 1 9 5 .

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Shamash-shuma-ukin, for this narrative has dashed ahead of other events which must now be considered. During the first half of 651 there was considerable chaos both in Babylonia and Assyria, chaos compounded by the fact that Nabu-belshumati, son of the notorious Merodach-baladan II and ruler of the Sealand, had come in on the side of Shamash-shuma-ukin. Doubts about Nabu-bel-shumati's loyalty were voiced at the Assyrian court at the beginning of 651 (4/1), when a report came to Nineveh that he was gathering troops in Elam. But Ashurbanipal, believing Nabu-belshumati still to be loyal, sent troops to assist him on the southern front, and Nabu-bel-shumati, in a cunning move worthy of his father, trapped these Assyrian auxiliaries by night and made them prisoners. A few months later (9/via) Assyria lost Cutha to Shamash-shuma-ukin. This was the last victory of Shamash-shuma-ukin, however, for immediately afterwards the balance swung in favour of Ashurbanipal. Although there is no record of what brought about this alteration, it may have been the mutiny in the attack force of Tammaritu II. With the Elamite army out of action the Assyrians would have had a free hand to concentrate on Shamash-shuma-ukin and, if this is so, one wonders whether Ashurbani­ pal had a clandestine hand in the mutiny. In any event, a month after the Babylonian victory at Cutha, Shamashshuma-ukin's luck had so altered that there was a real possibility, as known from an oracle request, that the Babylonian king might flee the country to seek refuge in Elam ( 1 5 / V I 1 / 6 5 1 ) . Ashurbanipal, on the other hand, was growing in confidence and success, as is manifest from further oracle requests, including one about a proposed attack on Shamash-shuma-ukin's army at Bab-same (near Babylon). Early in 650 (5 /11) the Sealand was back in the Assyrian camp and Ashurbanipal sent Bel-ibni with an army to take charge of Nabu-bel-shumati's old domain. The Assyrians could now apply pressure on Babylonia from all sides, and on the eleventh of Du'uzu (iv) they pressed up to the gates of Babylon and laid siege to the city. The Babylonians endured the siege for two years, suffering terrible hardships and famine, until the city fell in 648. The maintenance of the siege would have occupied only a portion of Ashurbanipal's fighting forces, and thus most of the army was free to carry out campaigns against the Arabs and Elamites as retribution for their support of Shamash-shuma-ukin. The Arabian campaigns will be 45

46

47

48

4 9

50

51

52

4 5

A 25, no. I j : I I , no. l 6 : I7-I9.

4 7

A z j . n o . i ) : 1 2 - 1 8 . Edition B: A 3 5 7 , 8of vii 8 1 - 8 . Edition D: A 3 3 7 , 9 7 . Cf. A 6 7 7 , 26-8 and A

574, 4 8

5 0

51

4 6

A 497, no. I O J .

77f4 9

A 25, no. I j : 7 - I O . A 497, no. 109. A 497, no. 118 and cf. nos. 107, 1 1 3 , 1 1 ; ; further cf. nos. 126, 129, 1 3 5 , 139. A 7 2 , no. 289. A 2J, no. 1 5 : 19. 5 2

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treated later. It is now time to return to Assyria's relations with Elam. Elam's position had altered considerably with the change in the fortunes of war, and when Tammaritu IIfledto Ashurbanipal's court, rather than using this as a pretext for further hostilities, Indabibi sought and gained good relations with the Assyrian king. Ashurbanipal, in a letter to Indabibi, addresses him as 'my brother', which is an indication of a treaty between the two. Although the treaty has not been recovered, one of its provisions or preliminary stages involved Indabibi's voluntary release to Ashurbanipal of the Assyrian troops which Nabu-bel-shumati had treacherously seized. The Elamite—Assyrian accord continued until 649, the year in which the aforementioned letter is dated, and it was probably in this same year that Indabibi was overthrown by Khumbankhaltash III. In passing one should note a late and garbled version of these events in Ashurbanipal's annals, in which it is related that Ashurbanipal demanded of Indabibi the surrender of the Assyrian troops captured by Nabu-bel-shumati and of Nabu-bel-shumati himself; but before Ashur­ banipal's messengers could reach Indabibi, he was deposed by Khumban-khaltash. This story is obviously Assyrian rationalization of the overthrow of Indabibi and conflates two separate incidents, the return of the Assyrians by Indabibi and Ashurbanipal's demand to Khumbankhaltash for the extradition of Nabu-bel-shumati (646). The sequel to the second incident was dramatic: when the demand was delivered at the Elamite court, Nabu-bel-shumati committed suicide (he and his shieldbearer fell on one another's swords) and Khumban-khaltash could only send back with Ashurbanipal's messenger his corpse. Friendship towards Elam was a temporary expedient during the latter days of the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion, but with the rebellion crushed Assyria could dispense with the expedient and launch a campaign against Elam. The purpose of the campaign (648) was to win back the buffer states between Elam and Assyria, to seek revenge for Elam's earlier role as an ally of Shamash-shuma-ukin, and to replace Khumban-khaltash with Tammaritu II, who had been living in exile at Ashurbanipal's court. The people of the border states of Khilimmu and Pillatufledto Assyria in face of the conflict, but Bit-Imbi resisted and was taken by force. When news of the invasion reached Khumban-khaltash, he abandoned Madaktu and fled to the mountains. Ashurbanipal once again put his 53

54

55

56

57

58

5 3

A 7 2 , no. 11 s 1. Cf. A 5 7 4 , io6f.

5 5

Edition C: A 344, 142—j 'viii'. A 7 2 , no. 879. Edition A: A 344, 60-3 vii 23-50. Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 85f: 1 0 7 - 1 0 ; A 3 1 3 , 68f; A 7 2 ,

5 7

H

Edition B: A 337, 8of vii

77-92.

5 6

no. 879. 5 8

Edition A: A 344, 40-5 iv 110 — v 22. Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 4 4 - 7 iii 3 3 - 7 1 . Cf. A 326.

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own choice, this time Tammaritu II, on the throne at Susa. Tammaritu's tenure of office was short-lived, however, for he was forced a second time tofleeto Ashurbanipal for asylum when Khumban-khaltash made a successful bid to reclaim the crown. Ashurbanipal attempted another attack in the same year to re-establish Tammaritu, but his army succeeded only in capturing and plundering a number of towns, including Khamanu (depicted in reliefs), and Khumban-khaltash remained in control of the Elamite throne. Elam had consumed a considerable quantity of Assyrian time and effort with no benefit to Assyria, and even the attempts to control Elam through a puppet king had been frustrated; it is not surprising that Ashurbanipal now felt compelled to take drastic steps. The Assyrian monarch called for a massive effort, an effort that would virtually crush Elam once and for all. In 647 the Assyrian forces thundered through the border regions recapturing Bit-Imbi, Rashi, and Khamanu, and Khumban-khaltash once again fled, this time to take up a defensive position at the Idid river. Ashurbanipal pursued him there, and as the invading army crossed the river the Elamite abandoned his position and fled to the mountains. The Assyrians swarmed through Elam taking one city after another (one of these cities, Din-sharri, is pictured in the reliefs), killing, looting, and even smashing cult images. But the capital, Susa, took the brunt of this rampage. While Ashurbanipal sat in state in the Elamite palace his soldiers destroyed temples and the ziggurat, desecrated the sacred groves and royal tombs, seized cult statues and royal statues, emptied the royal treasury, and carried off numbers of people and valuable booty and animals to Assyria. The devastation even included the spreading of salt over the fields, and Ashurbanipal boasted that henceforth no human cry would be heard throughout Elam for the land had reverted to wilder­ ness. Back in Assyria the best of the plunder was dedicated to the gods, the skilled soldiers were added to the royal guard, and the remaining people and goods were distributed among the nobles and cities. The statue of the goddess Nanaya, which had been stolen by the Elamites in antiquity, was restored with great celebration to its proper abode in Uruk. The might of Elam was destroyed, for however sceptical one 59

60

61

5 5

Edition A: A 344, 44—7 v 2 3 - 6 2 . Edition F: A 337, 46—9 iii 72 - iv 16. Reliefs: A 1 1 3 , 14, 20, 3 9 - 4 1 , 46, 58f and pis. xvi—xxi, LXVI. Edition A: A 3 4 4 , 4 6 - 6 1 v 63 - vii 8. Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 4 8 - 6 1 iv 17 - vi 21. Edition T: A 1 6 1 , 3 4 f iv 37 — v 32. Other royal inscriptions: A 344, i 8 6 f r. 1 5 - 2 0 ; A 313, 43f, 5 i f r. 7—14; A 120, 8 j : 9 6 - 1 0 5 . Reliefs: A 1 1 5 , 2 0 , 5 9 - 6 1 , and pis. LXVII (Din-sharri), LXX, and Fragment g (Bit-Burnakki). Cf. A 326. Opinions on the date of the statue's abduction by the Elamites vary. Cf. A 3 28,97ft A 8,5 9 , 1 1 1 , 206; A 4 1 , 486. On the return of Nanaya note A 3 1 8 , 9f, which may be a hymn to celebrate this occasion. Also cf. A 5 1 3 , 74f, 82: 9—13. 6 0

6 1

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M4

ASHURBANIPAL

might be of the details of the Assyrian rampage, in subsequent history Elam appears rarely and modestly until the Khuzistan plain is finally occupied by the Persians. 62

6. The Arabs

It has already been observed that the presentation of military and political events found in the various editions of Ashurbanipal's annals is very confused, and this is perhaps best illustrated in the diverse narratives regarding relations with the Arabs. Fortunately two recent studies, by Epha l and Weippert respectively, have dealt with this problem in detail, although there is some discrepancy between them, and the following synopsis relies heavily upon the results of their investi­ gations. The oath of subservience which had been imposed upon Uaite' of Qedar by Esarhaddon was renewed under Ashurbanipal, but some time before 652 this ruler, together with Ammuladdin, carried out border raids in Palestine and Syria, areas subject to Assyria. Ashurbani­ pal despatched troops which skirmished with the Arabs and burnt and looted their tents. However, Uaite escaped and took refuge with Natnu of the Nabayatu. Ashurbanipal installed Abiyate in place of Uaite as king of Qedar and imposed upon him an oath of subservience. Eventually Natnu submitted to a similar oath. Ammuladdin, on the other hand, was captured by the Moabites and sent as a prisoner to Nineveh. Difficulties with the sources for relations with the Arabs become even more pronounced in treating their role in the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion, and the following synthesis is rather uncertain. When Sha­ mash-shuma-ukin formed his alliance, his Arab allies included Qedarites, led by Abiyate and Ayamu, and a people called the Shumu'ilu (not to be confused with Ishmael). These groups invaded Babylonia, and when the tide of war turned against Shamash-shuma-ukin in the middle of 6 5 1 , Ashurbanipal despatched an army against the Arab contingent, probably either late in 651 or in 650. The Arabs suffered two defeats. A few years after the suppression of the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion, beginning c. 644, the Assyrian army again campaigned against the Arabs, namely Abiyate of Qedar, Uaite of Shumu'ilu, and Natnu of the 63

c

64

3

3

3

65

3

3

6 2

3

Edition A: A 344, 60—3 vii 9 - 8 1 , 82—5 x6—59. Reliefs: A 11 j , 1 6 , 1 9 ^ 4 5 — 7 , 5 4 — 8 , and pis. xxxiv—

XXXV, LX-LXV. Edition A: A 344, 64—83 vii 82 - x 5. Edition B: A 337, 8 0 - 7 vii 93 — viii 63. Edition C: A 344, i44f; A 3 1 3 , 1 8 ; A 258, 54. Edition D: A 3 3 7 , 9 7 . Other royal inscriptions: A 344, 216—19, no. 1 A 313, 6 3

3 3 , 4 5 ; A 1 2 0 , 8 6 f : 1 1 3 - 2 9 ; A 7 7 7 , 7 4 - 8 5 . Reliefs: A 346, 2oof nos. 79—82; A 1 1 5 , 1 5 f , 4 3 , a n d pis. xxxn—

XXXIII; A 1 5 5 , 1 5 2 - 7 . Letters: A 72, nos. 260, 262, 30;, 1 1 1 7 . Cf. A 326. M

A 19, 142-69; A 777.

6 5

In addition to the sources given above in n. 63 see A 321; A 316; A 7 7 7 , 51 n. 57; A 3 1 5 .

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55

Nabayatu, in retaliation for raids which they had conducted against Palestine and Syria. The Assyrians used Damascus as their base and had a number of encounters with the nomads, destroying and looting their camps. Abiyate was captured, but Natnu seems to have escaped and it was probably on a subsequent campaign that he was caught. Nukhkhuru, his son, escaped on this occasion but subsequently came with tribute to Ashurbanipal, who crowned him king in his father's stead. 3

7. Other political events

The people of the city of Kirbitu had made border raids in the east Tigris region, plundering and harassing the inhabitants of Der, who appealed to Ashurbanipal for help. In 668 the king ordered his local governors to send a force to punish the trouble makers; Kirbitu, along with other cities, was besieged and captured. It was probably in the following year, after the first campaign in Egypt, that the people carried off from Kirbitu were transported to Egypt and other people were settled in Kirbitu. Apart from the events thus far narrated no other campaigns are recorded, although Ashurbanipal boasts of some exotic peoples and places which sent messengers and gifts to him on hearing of his great deeds. Khundaru, king of Dilmun, is said to have sent annual tribute; Shikhum, king of an island near Dilmun, came in person with tribute; the kings of both Kuppi and Qade sent messengers who travelled six months to Ashurbanipal; and two kings in Iran, one of them none other than Cyrus I, sent 'tribute' after Ashurbanipal's great victory over Elam. 66

67

68

69

8. Building

The untimely death of Esarhaddon left a number of building projects and related enterprises unfinished and Ashurbanipal assumed the res­ ponsibility for their completion as well as initiating a number of enterprises himself. Nineveh continued to be the chief royal residence, and among the various works of Ashurbanipal here the most spectacular was the North Palace on the mound now called Kouyunjik. This was erected on the site of'The House of Succession' (bit-redutt) of Nineveh, 70

6 6

A 25, no. 1 iv 37 = no. 14:38. Edition B: A 3 3 7 , 4 8 f iii 3 - 1 5 . Edition C: A 3 1 3 , 1 5 . Edition D: A 337, 97. Edition E: A 337, 14ft A 333, ioif. Annals tablet: A 344, i 6 6 f r. 6 - 1 2 . Other royal inscriptions: A 344, 206-9. 6 7

A 120, 87f: 1 2 9 - 3 ! , 1 3 5 - 8 ; A 7 2 , no. 458. Cf. A 1 2 0 , 9 9 - 1 0 5 ; A 345,

6 8

A 120, 87: 131—5; A 162, io6f. Cf. A 345,

6 9

A 7 7 5 , 4f: 7 - 2 5 ; A 120, 86: 1 1 5 - 1 8 . Cf. A 7 7 5 , 1 - 7 ; A 120, 98f; A 338.

7 0

Edition A: A 344, 8 4 - 9 1 x 5 1 - 1 2 0 . Edition F: A 3 1 2 , 60-5 vi 2 2 - 7 3 . See A 534; A 1 1 5 .

22.

24f.

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ASSYRIA: THE REIGN OF A S H U R B A N I P A L

the palace in which Ashurbanipal had grown up and to which he had, therefore, a special attachment. The ruined portions were torn down, the terrace rebuilt, the processional approach widened, a pillared portico in the Syrian style (btt-hjlani) was added, and a garden planted with exotic trees. Inside, the walls of the numerous rooms were lined with miles of sculptured reliefs depicting the exploits of the king. Many of these magnificent carvings were recovered by nineteenth-century excavators and have recently been studied and re-published by Barnett (Pis. Vol., pis. 5 3 - 4 , 56, 5 9 - 6 0 ) .

Ashurbanipal also did some work on Sennacherib's South-West Palace, to which he added some sculptured reliefs portraying his own achievements. The palace built by Sennacherib on the east side of Nineveh roughly equidistant between Kouyunjik and Nebi Yunus and south of the River Khosr received attention from Ashurbanipal, as is indicated by inscribed remains recently found there. As noted in the preceding chapter, Esarhaddon had made additions to the arsenal (ekal masarti) of Sennacherib in Nebi Yunus and Ashurbanipal continued restoration work there, but no details are preserved of the extent of his work. Similarly Ashurbanipal carried on the restoration of the temple of Ishtar, Emashmash; he enlarged the forecourt, dedicated and depo­ sited a number of precious objects in Ishtar's shrine, and installed the statue of Sharrat-Kidmuri in an appropriate cella. Further, he restored the ziggurat and the Temple of the New Year (blt-akitf). Work on two other temples which had been initiated by Esarhaddon was brought to completion: the forecourt of Nabu's shrine, Ezida, was enlarged and the restoration of the temple of Sin, Ningal, Shamash, and Aya finished. As if these activities at Nineveh were not sufficient, Ashurba­ nipal repaired the dilapidated portions of the city wall. Arba^il is the only chief city of Assyria which has never been excavated, since the modern city sits atop the tell, and its history and the building activities of Assyrian kings there remain almost a complete 71

72

73

74

75

76

77

78

7 1

See A 1 4 7 and cf. A 1 1 5 , 2 .

7 2

A 284, 60. The following fragmentary texts cannot presently be identified with any particular palace: Edition C (A 3 1 3 , 18); A 313, 35—7. Edition B: A 337, 8 6 - 9 viii 64-96. See A 154. Edition B: 337, 28f i 1 9 - 2 6 . Edition C: (A 344, 1 4 6 - 5 1 ; A 3 i 3 , i 3 f ; A258,51 f) i 6 3 - 8 9 . Edition D 337. 97- Edition T: A 1 6 1 , 29-33 ii 7 - 2 4 . Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 8if: 30-6, 89k 1 6 6 - 8 5 ; 7 3

7 4

:

A

A 344, 274—7; A 3 I 3, 44—7, 54. Also note A 7 2 , no. IO92; A 33 I, 6 8 - 7 0 ; A 332, no. I 5. Cf. A I 2 3 , 71—3

and A 1 1 5 , 26. Ziggurat: A 120, 82: 36. Bit-aklti: Edition T (A 1 6 1 , 35f; A 337, 4 - 6 n. 17; A 335, 105f) v 33 — vi 22. Cf. A 503, 7 2 n. 1 9 . Edition T: A 1 6 1 , 32 iii 15—17. Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 82: 39f; A 344, 2 7 2 - 5 ; A 3 1 3 , 51—3. Also note A 344, 3 4 2 - 5 1 no. 2; A 3 2 2 , no. 122. See A I 24, 6 7 - 7 9 , '7^. and cf. A 1 1 5 , 26a. Edition T: A 1 6 1 , 32 iii 18—35. Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 82: 4of. Edition D: A 337, 98f viii 64-83 and the improved edition in A 335, 1 0 2 - 5 " ' 6 4 - 1 0 2 . Edition E: A 3 3 7 , 1 6 and A 3 3 5 , 102 vi 1 - 1 4 . 7 5

7 6

1

7 7

7 8

v

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ASHURBANIPAL

M7

blank. This great gap in our knowledge is particularly unfortunate in relation to Ashurbanipal, for he had a special interest in this city, and the frequent references in sources of the period to the cult of its tutelary deity, Ishtar of Arba'il, suggest that much building activity must have gone on there. Indeed, although almost no inscribed remains have come from this mound, there are a significant number of texts from other sites which concern Ashurbanipal's construction at Arba^il and the dedi­ cation of precious objects to Ishtar of Arba'il. Little other work in Assyria is known to have been done by Ashurbanipal. The great rebuilding of the temple of Ashur at Ashur, which had been begun and largely completed by Esarhaddon, was finished by Ashurbanipal, who also made some repairs to the city wall of Ashur. At Calah he restored the temple of Nabu which Adad-nirari III had built, and he may have done some work on the North-West Palace. Although Ashurbanipal as crown prince had resided in the palace at Tarbisu after Esarhaddon had enlarged it for him, there is no record that Ashurbanipal himself did any work on the structure. He did dedicate an object to Nergal of Tarbisu. It fell to Ashurbanipal's lot to finish the great restoration programme at Babylon which had been one of the chief concerns of his father, Esarhaddon. As indicated earlier in this chapter in connexion with the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion, there were two phases to this resto­ ration, one at the very beginning of the reign (668) and the other (655) shortly before the outbreak of the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion; it may be that nothing was done during the intervening gap of thirteen years, and this would have been a serious source of Babylonian discontent. In 668 the statutes of Marduk and other Babylonian deities were returned to Babylon from Ashur, and in 65 5 and following years further cult objects were returned; the restoration of Esagila was completed. Other activities by Ashurbanipal at Babylon included the rebuilding of Eturkalamma, temple of Ishtar of Babylon; the rebuilding of Emakh, temple of Ninmakh; the rebuilding of Esabad, temple of Gula; and repair of the city walls. As to construction in Babylonia in general, 79

80

81

82

83

84

85

86

87

88

89

7 9

A 5 1 3 , 46f; A 344, 1 8 8 - 9 5 , 2 4 8 - 5 3. See A 1 1 5 , 1 5 . Also note A 3 3 1 , 6 8 - 7 0 .

8 0

Edition B: A 3 3 7 , 28f i 1 9 - 2 6 . Edition C: (A 344, 1 4 6 - 5 1 ; A 3 1 3 , 131) i 2 6 - 3 2 . Edition D: A 337,

97. Edition T: A 1 6 1 , 29?i 14—20. Other royal inscriptions: A 120, 81: 2 7 - 3 0 ; A 3 3 5, 1 1 1 . Also note A 8

3 1 3 , 83?; A 332, no. 1 6 .

1

A 3 4 7 , 206 r. 3 - 2 3 and see pp. 2 0 4 - 1 8 .

8 2

Edition C: A 2 5 8 , 6 0 - 3 iii 1 - 1 9 . A 1 3 7 1, 2 3 1 - 8 8 .

8 4

Edition T: A 1 6 1 , 31 f ii 2 5 - 3 0 . Other royal inscriptions: A 344, 2 4 8 - 5 1 : iof.

8 3

8 5

A 2 5 , no. 1 iv 3 4 - 6 = no. 14: 3 5 f = no. 16: 5 - 7 ; A 25, no. 1 5 : 4f; A 344, 2 3 2 - 5 , 2 4 4 - 9 ,

Cf. A 137 1, 1 1 9 .

1

2

2 7 6 - 8 7 (cf. A 3 3 » 4^f on K.3412),292—303; A 3 1 3 , 4 9 f ; A 3 3 1 , 7 0 - 2 ; A 3 4 7 , 2 0 4 - 7 , 'if-

2 6 2

~7'>

1 3 - 1 8 ; A 35 n,

§ 1 1 1 8 - 2 0 . Also note A 498, nos. 104, 1 0 5 , 1 0 6 , 1 4 9 (cf. A 497, LXII and n. 4); A 7 2 , nos. 1 1 9 , 1 2 0 , 9 5 1 . 8

See A 6 7 7 , 1 9 - 2 3 . 8 8

6

A 344, 2 2 6 - 9 .

8

7

A

344, 2:38—4:.

Edition H: A 688, i 0 2 f viii 1 - 1 3 (the name of the structure is missing but the curses are all

related to Gula).

8

9

A 344, 2 3 4 - 9 .

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I J 8

F i g . 7.

A S S Y R I A :

T H E

R E I G N

O F

A S H U R B A N I P A L

R o y a l s t a m p seal ( o n e of m a n y w i t h similar d e v i c e ) f r o m a bale sent t o Shalmaneser III at

N i m r u d . W i d t h 4.5 c m . ( A f t e r A 6 8 1 , 4 1 , pi.

27.)

Ashurbanipal had work done on Ebabbar, temple of Shamash at Sippar; Emeslam, temple of Nergal at Cutha; Ezida, temple of Nabu at Borsippa, and the city wall of Borsippa; Ekur, temple of Enlil at Nippur, and the ziggurat; and Eanna, temple of Ishtar at Uruk. Restoration was even carried out on Edimgalkalama, temple of Anu rabu at Der on the Elamite-Babylonian border. The city of Harran and the cult of its tutelary god Sin had a privileged position in Sargonid Assyria, and this fact is well illustrated by Ashurbanipal's undertakings here. He rebuilt, enlarged, and refurbished Ekhulkhul, the temple of Sin; he restored the New Year's temple (bitaktti), and Emelamana, temple of Nusku. 90

91

92

93

94

95

96

9. Specialfeatures

Next to military campaigns hunting was the favourite sport of Assyrian kings, and Ashurbanipal seems to have particularly enjoyed it. The greater portion of the reliefs recovered from the North Palace present hunting scenes, and while the figures of the king and his subjects are stereotyped, the artists have sculpted the animals in a strikingly life-like style. The victims of the hunt were deer, gazelles, onagers, and most especially lions. At least one lion hunt was artfully contrived with 97

9 0

" 9 2

A 344, 228—33. C f . A 322, nos. J ) , 105 and 361; A 323, n o . 31. E d i t i o n H : A 688, 98f i 1 3 - 2 5 . O t h e r royal inscriptions: A 344, E d i t i o n C : (A 3 4 4 , 1 4 6 - 3 1 ; A 3 1 3 , 1 3 1 ) 1 5 9 - 6 2 .

176-89.

E d i t i o n H : A 6 8 8 , 9 8 f i 4 - 6 . E d i t i o n T : A 161,29—

33 ii 1 - 6 . O t h e r r o y a l inscriptions: A 344, 2 4 0 - 5 ; A 120, 83: 4 9 - 5 5 ; A 347, 2 i 7 f ; A 3 1 1 ; A 330. 9 3

A 344, 35 if.

9 6

E d i t i o n B : A 3 3 7 , 28f i 19—26. E d i t i o n C : (A 3 4 4 , 1 4 6 - 5 1 ; A 3 1 3 , 1 jf) i 90—107. E d i t i o n D : A 337,

9 4

A ;6o, n o . 42; A 7 2 , n o . 4 7 6 .

9 5

A 120, 84: 6 9 - 7 2 .

97. E d i t i o n T : A 1 6 1 , 31 f ii 31 —Hi 14. O t h e r royal inscriptions: A 120, 83f: 6 0 - 9 ; 2 8 6 - 9 3 ; A 336, n o . 6; A 3 1 3 , 35—44, 90 (cf. A 464, 9 7

A 344,

168-75,

2).

A 1 1 5 , 1 1 - 1 4 , 1 9 , 36—9, 4 8 - 5 4 and pis. 11—xv, xxxix—LIX, A and E; A 344, 304—11; A 3 1 3 ,

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ASHURBANIPAL

49

spectators on a hill ringed by a protecting band of warriors with shields and dogs (Pis. Vol., pi. 54); the king in his chariot fired arrows at lions which were released from cages, while mounted soldiers kept a wary eye on the proceedings. At the end of the slaughter the dead animals were brought to Ashurbanipal who, in the course of a religious ritual, poured a libation over the corpses (Pis. Vol., pi. 5 3). On another occasion the lions were hunted down in their native environment, in this case the marshes of southern Iraq. According to Ashurbanipal, lions had become so numerous there that they were a menace, killing not only livestock but also people. On this exotic expedition, which included hunting the beasts from boats, Ashurbanipal took in his entourage the Elamite princes who had sought asylum in his court. From this brief reference to the exiles it would appear that they enjoyed the privileges of royalty while in Assyria, and Ashurbanipal describes, both in a relief and in a text, how he saved the life of one of them when attacked by a lion. Because of the abundant everyday documents preserved for this reign there is substantial information on the names and careers of many important men, including Adad-shuma-usur, scholar and political adviser; Bel-ibni, general; Mar-Ishtar, astrologer; and Baltaya, a wealthy bureaucrat. The appointment of someone to high office, which involved intensive lobbying and intrigue, depended upon the monarch's decision, which was conditional upon approval of the gods through extispicy. But even a successful candidate could never be secure, for he was subject to sedition and slander and could be deposed and even executed if he failed to satisfy his king. More is also known about the education and activities of Ashurbani­ pal as crown prince than about any other monarch. In the 'House of Succession' {bit-reduti) he was taught how to ride horses, drive chariots, throw the spear, shoot the arrow, and how to bear the various kinds of shields. He also learned how to behave and to rule as a king, and as crown prince he gained practical experience of this, as we noted in the preceding chapter. An exceptional part of his education was reading, for most of his royal ancestors were probably illiterate. There is no doubt that he could read, since there is reference to this ability of the king both in letters and in the colophons of tablets. This atypical interest led Ashurbanipal to be actively involved in the acquisition of great numbers of tablets for the libraries at Nineveh, a subject to be treated in Chapter 2 6 . 98

99

100

101

1 0 2

9 8

1 0 0

9 9

A 313, 87-9. See n. 98 above and cf. A 1 1 5 , 53 and A 7 2 , nos. 943 and 1400. Adad-shuma-u§ur: see A 320 and A 7 3 , nos. 1 1 9 - 7 0 . Bel-ibni: see J . Schawe, 'Belibni', A 16, 1,

4 7 7 - 9 and A 5 7 4 , 9 9 - 1 1 0 . Mar-Ishtar: see A 7 3 , nos. 2 7 5 - 9 7 and A 6 4 4 , 3 7 - 5 7 . Balfaya: see A 102, nos. 1 0 1

9—12. Also note A 3 1 9 . See A 497 nos. 1 2 2 , 1 2 4 , 1 3 9 and cf. p. LXV. Edition A: A 344, 2 - 7 i 1-40; 8 4 - 7 x 5 7 - 7 4 . Edition B: A 337, 28f. i 8. Edition D: A 337, 97. Edition E: A 335,99?. Edition F: A 312, 2 8 - 3 1 i 1 - 3 4 . Other royal inscriptions: A 3 4 4 , 2 5 2 - 6 1 i 1 - ii 8. 1 0 2

Also see A 7 2 , nos. 255 and 334; A 6 2 1 , nos. 3 1 8 , 3 1 9 , 3 2 3 - 3 1 , 3 3 6 - 8 , 345. Cf. A 329.

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ASHURBANIPAL

The almost fanatical devotion of Esarhaddon to divination is also a characteristic of Ashurbanipal. Like his father, Ashurbanipal constantly sought prognostic reports and submitted requests for oracular decisions on state matters. The oracular utterances of ecstatics, particularly those associated with the cult of Ishtar of Arba il, were carefully reported to the king and commonly mentioned in the royal inscriptions in connexion with major political and military events. Another vehicle of divine utterance, the oracular dream, was favoured by Ashurbanipal. Ominous dreams were a well-known phenomenon in ancient Mesopotamia, and Tiglath-pileser III, among others, was concerned with them, but with Ashurbanipal there are several reports of such phenomena, including the famous dream of Gyges. The influence of the soothsayers on state affairs during the latter days of the Assyrian empire obviously must not be underestimated. Another illustration of continuity between the successive rulers is in the important role allowed the chief women of the harem. Naqia not only survived her son Esarhaddon, but also seems to have enjoyed greater influence, as noted in the preceding chapter. It was probably at her death that Ashurbanipal's wife, Ashur-sharrat, came to the fore; there is a stela inscribed with her name and she is probably the woman portrayed in the banquet scene with Ashurbanipal (Pis. Vol., pi. 5 0 ) . As for the rest of the king's family, it is known that Ashurbanipal dedicated two of his brothers to the priesthood. 3

103

104

105

106

10. Conclusion and reflection

The early part of the reign of Ashurbanipal was brilliant, with military victories in the field, economic prosperity, great building projects, cultural achievements, and a general feeling of security and well-being. This state of affairs is a common theme in contemporary sources, in which the king is credited with bringing all this about. But as time wore on conflict and confusion evolved, and it is probably safe to say that Assyria never recovered from the effects of the Shamash-shuma-ukin rebellion, which, although it was a victory, in the long run turned out to be a pyrrhic victory. Other dangers which beset the land came nearer to the fore in this reign, as the Cimmerians occupied more of Anatolia and more losses were suffered at the hands of such peoples as the Mannaeans and Medes on the north-eastern frontier. In this chapter the history of Ashurbanipal has been carried as far as 635, since subsequent events and in particular the fall of Assyria are best 1 0 3

In addition to the relevant passages in royal inscriptions see: A 313, 7 9 - 8 2 ; A 318 1, 26f; A 348. For Tiglath-pileser III see A 3 2 3 . n o . 36 and cf. A 1145, 354AII 1, no. 1. Cf. A 333; A 344, ccxvi—ccxxir and 39of; A 1 1 5 , 20a, 56—8, and pis. LXIII-LXV; also note A 7 2 , no. 308. A 344, CCXLVII—CCXLIX, 2jof: 1 6 - 1 8 ; cf. A 7 3 , no. 130. 1 0 4

1 0 5

1 0 6

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ASHURBANIPAL

dealt with separately (Chapter 25) because of their close relationship to events in Babylonia. Before leaving the political history of the Assyrian empire, however, it is fitting to consider briefly the reasons for the fall of this great power. If the term 'fall' suggests total collapse followed by chaos, then this is a totally false impression; Assyria's demise was not like that of the Third Dynasty of Ur or of the Roman empire. The event was more a transfer of power from Nineveh to Babylon. The geography of the empire and its administration remained basically the same and there was no prolonged period without a central authority — Nineveh fell in 612, Harran in 609, and Nebuchadrezzar won the day at Carchemish in 605. The term 'Assyrian empire' might also be misleading, for until the reign of Tiglath-pileser III (744—726) any hold which Assyria had over surrounding areas and peoples was insecure and any serious attempt to throw off Assyrian bondage commonly succeeded. Only with Tiglathpileser III did the Assyrians enforce their control and arrange their administration effectively. Thus, in speaking of the 'Fall of the Assyrian empire', one is actually referring to a power whichflourishedfor little more than a century, before its centre was moved to an adjacent and ethnically related kingdom. The reasons for the event itself should by now be apparent from the narrative of the preceding chapters and it is merely necessary to highlight the chief factors, always keeping in mind that the evolution of events is a complex affair with various elements intermixed at any given point in time. One of the basic problems in Assyrian foreign policy was that while a system of provincial administration slowly evolved over the centuries it was still a rather makeshift affair even in the latter days. If chance had allowed the Assyrians more time, perhaps they would have developed a more effective system; the Achaemenids did and their organization was based upon that of the Assyrians. The most problematic sphere in Assyria's foreign policy was its relations with Babylonia. Because of thefirmcultural links between the two nations Assyria could never treat its southern neighbour as it treated any other territory. Over the centuries various strategies were tried but they all foundered, and the irony was that in the end non-militaristic Babylonia conquered the great warrior nation. Assyria was governed by an absolute monarch, and the advantages and dangers of such a political structure are well known from numerous historical examples. In the Assyrian case the character and personality of the monarch was a crucial factor. While a capable man was on the throne, the empire enjoyed stability and prosperity. But the reign of an incompetent king meant disaster, for immediately the Assyrian nobility made inroads upon royal prerogative and possessions. This is what happened in the mid-eighth century and again at the end of the reign of Ashurbanipal. Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

CHAPTER 25 THE

F A L L OF

A S S Y R I A (635-609 B . C . )

J.

OATES

This period includes thefinalyears of the reign of Ashurbanipal, and those of his three successors in Assyria, his sons Ashur-etel-ilani and Sinsharra-ishkun, and Ashur-uballit II for whose affiliation we have no evidence. Ashurbanipal is perhaps the best known of Late Assyrian kings, and his reign is in some respects the best documented. Yet of his final years we know little beyond the fact that he continued to be recognized at Nippur until his thirty-eighth year (631). Even the length of his reign remains in dispute, although one later inscription attributes to him a total of forty-two years, i.e. until 627. His sons are even more shadowy figures, of whose reigns in Assyria we are certain of neither their length nor their date, while the last king of the once great empire is attested solely in the Babylonian Chronicle recording his defeat (609). Indeed the extant evidence for the chronology of thefinalyears of the Assyrian empire is so sparse and problematic that attempts to resolve the difficulties have included the suggestion of Ashurbanipal's (perhaps forced) abdication or retirement to Harran sometime before 627, for which there is no direct evidence, and the hypothesis, now clearly unacceptable, that Sin-sharra-ishkun and Ashur-etel-ilani were one and the same person. These chronological problems are discussed in more detail below (pp. i66ff). The other major historicalfigurewithin this time span is Nabopolassar, a Chaldaean whofirstcomes to our notice as an Assyrian-appointed official in the Sealand. It is clear that he revolted against his erstwhile sponsors, since he was recognized as king of the Sealand before his accession to the throne of Babylon in 626. Although in his early years — and probably as late as 616 — the Assyrians continued to contest the control of Babylonia, Nabopolassar was successful in estabhshing himself as thefirstof the distinguished line which ruled in Babylon, and indeed as far as Egypt, from 626 until 5 39, when this short-lived empire fell to Cyrus. This Neo-Babylonian dynasty is the proper subject of Chapter 27, but the affairs of Nabopolassar are so involved with those of the last Assyrian kings that he cannot be ignored here. One other major 162

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SOURCES

personality concerns us, the Assyrian Sin-shumu-lishir, the 'chief eunuch' (GAL.SAG, rab la rest), whose protege Ashur-etel-ilani was king of Assyria after the death (or abdication) of Ashurbanipal, and who himself claimed the Assyrian throne and was recognized briefly in Babylon in the same year as Sin-sharra-ishkun, brother of Ashur-etelilani and the penultimate Assyrian king. I.

SOURCES

i. King lists

1

The king lists, which together with the so-called chronicles provide the backbone of Mesopotamian chronology, unfortunately fail adequately to document the span of time which concerns us here. Indeed, had the breaks in the few surviving tablets been deliberately designed to obscure this period they could hardly have been better placed. The Assyrian king list, preserved in four versions, unfortunately survives only in copies of which the latest date to the eighth century. However, since the Assyrian list was designed to perpetuate the concept of a hereditary and uncon­ tested monarchy, even the fortunate discovery of a later copy might fail to resolve the complications of post-Ashurbanipal chronology, at which time we know from other sources that there were rival claimants to the kingship of both Babylonia and Assyria. The most extensive Babylonian document, Babylonian King List A, is of course concerned solely with the kingship of Babylon, but together with a new text found at Warka in 1959/60 it provides important if regrettably incomplete information for this period. King List A is broken just after the name of Kandalanu, king of Babylon 647—627, contemporary with the latter half of the reign of Ashurbanipal, the period in which Assyrian chronology becomes obscure. The Warka King List, a fragment of a Seleucid copy, is preserved from the name Kandalanu onwards, and attests the contem­ poraneity of the accession years in Babylon of Sin-shumu-lishir and Sinsharra-ishkun. A second form of king list, the so-called Synchronistic List, provides the names of Assyrian and Babylonian kings, side by side in parallel columns, presumably indicating their contemporaneity. Yet again, the best-preserved version ends with Ashurbanipal and Kandalanu. A further tantalizing fragment includes the name of Ashurbanipal's succes­ sor Ashur-etel-ilani, but his Babylonian contemporary, whose identity is of great importance for chronology, is again regrettably missing. 1

A

607;

A

7 6 7 , 5 3.

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T

H

E F A L L

O F

A S S Y R I A

2. Eponym lists

2

The Assyrians dated by limmu, eponymous officials of whom lists are preserved only as late as 648 B . C . We know the names of a large number of limmu who do not appear on the extant lists and must therefore almost certainly date from the years after 648. Unfortunately the order of these 'post-canonical' eponyms is not known. Indeed there now exist more names than there are possible years, and it has been proposed that at least in some periods of the final decades of the empire disputing factions (perhaps in Nineveh and Ashur) appointed their own officials, who were not everywhere recognized. 3. Chronicles*

These texts, closely related to the king lists, are our other major source of chronographic information. Most important is the Babylonian Chron­ icle, at present thirteen known texts, which spans the period from the middle of the eighth to the third century B . C . Of these, seven tablets have so far been discovered, which constitute a sequential if selective history from the reign of Nabonassar ( 7 4 7 - 7 3 4 ) to the fall of Babylon in 5 39. The first of the extant texts ends in 668; there follows a gap, presumably of several tablets, before the next surviving document which begins in 627, after the death of Ashurbanipal. The latter text is our most important source for this confused and confusing period; it covers the first four years of the reign of Nabopolassar (from his accession to 623), while Chronicle 3 begins in 616 and provides an invaluable if sparse historical framework for the last years of Assyria. Yet again there is an unfortunate gap (622—617). The Berossus and Ptolemaic traditions should also be mentioned, although they are of little direct value. Berossus was a priest of the temple of Marduk in Babylon, who dedicated to Antiochus I ( 2 8 1 - 2 6 1 ) a 'history' of Babylonia from before the Flood to Alexander the Great, a work which unfortunately survives only at third or fourth hand. The Canon of Kings of the second century A . D . by the scholar Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria is a list of Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman kings. This has proved a reliable source, but it omits kings whose reigns lasted less than a full year. Thus for the period discussed here we find only Kandalanu and Nabopolassar, with no mention of those brief claimants to the Babylonian throne whose dating remains a problem. 2

A 361; A 763; additional post-canonical names can be found in the Nimrud economic texts (cf. n. 8 below) and A 3 5 6. A 2 i. 3

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SOURCES

5

Biblical sources o f course provide background to the fall of Assyria, especially with regard to the role of the Egyptians and Josiah in the west.

4. Royal inscriptions* Comment on the extensive nature o f Ashurbanipal's annals and other historical documents can be found in the preceding chapter. A number of these are dated by post-canonical limmu, i.e. after 648, but for the most part probably before 639, the year of Ashurbanipal's latest precisely datable inscription, a commemorative text recording the restoration o f the Gula temple in Babylon and attributed, following the Babylonian dating system, to his thirtieth regnal y e a r . Some religious texts referring to the king's ill-health and old age have been assumed to date from his later years, but this is far from certain. The formal inscriptions o f A s h u r etel-ilani and Sin-sharra-ishkun are few in number and rarely historically informative, as are those of Nabopolassar. The royal records of the Neo-Babylonian kings reveal a pious preoccupation with prestigious building programmes and lack the campaign records of their Assyrian rivals. In fact there exist n o 'historical' annals in the Assyrian sense, a lack which is to some extent compensated f o r by the less biased chronicles. 5

6

5. Letters; economic, legal and administrative texts Only a v e r y few o f the letters preserved from the royal capitals date from this period; t w o royal letters, from Ashur-etel-ilani to his father and one to an unidentified son o f Ashurbanipal, are k n o w n . Economic texts are potentially a major source, not only f o r chronology, since many are dated, but for more general information. O u r most important evidence for the troubled accession of Ashur-etel-ilani, for example, derives from a land charter. The Assyrian documents, which are dated by postcanonical limmu, have yet to be systematically studied, though many are available in transliteration and translation. Since the Babylonians dated by regnal years, the economic texts from major southern centres such as Babylon, Nippur, Uruk, and Sippar not only attest the oscillating control o f these cities in the final conflict between Assyria and Babylon, 7

8

* A new edition of the Assyrian royal inscriptions is being prepared by Grayson, but the volume containing the texts of Ashurbanipal and his successors has yet to appear. For references see A 2 5, appendix B. An English edition of the texts known before 1927 can be found in A 35 II. A 688. A 25, appendix B; A 3 ) 3 ; A 360. A 72, nos. 469 and 1444; no. 1444 can be dated to Sin-sharra-ishkun on astronomical grounds (A 7 3 , 7 0 - 1 no. 105 and A 7 7 , 90-3). Private letters are preserved also from Ashur, Calah and Dur-Sharrukin. Inter alia, A 93; A 97; A 98; A 99; A 100; A 102; A 103; A t o ) ; A 108; A 198; A 7 2 9 . 5

6

7

8

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THE

F A L L OF A S S Y R I A

but also provide such chronology as survives for the reigns of Ashuretel-ilani and his brother, of whose regnal years the extant Assyrian and chronographic sources fail to inform us. 9

II. A S H U R B A N I P A L

AND

KANDALANU

(63 5 - 6 2 7

B.C.)

These years constitute a minor dark age in the history of Assyria. Official sources are silent, while our inadequate understanding of the system(s) of post-canonical limmu makes difficult any coherent assessment of the rich mine of information contained in the surviving economic texts. We have more than a dozen too many limmu officials for the number of years available after 648, but the reasons for this remain a matter for speculation. Precise chronology is not the only problem. The other defect in our knowledge unfortunately applies not only to the last years, but to the Late Assyrian empire as a whole, for we have no prosopographic knowledge of its high officials, even though we sometimes know a great deal about their private and public affairs. The custom of identifying a man by his patronymic disappeared in the Middle Assyrian period and may perhaps be associated with the insistence on the role of the king as the sole source of power and the author of all achievement, which is particularly marked from the mid-eighth century onwards, notably following a period when certain provincial governors had trespassed on royal prerogatives. Yet we know that the king depended on the nobility for both military and civil service. What we cannot reconstruct are the factions that must have existed within a society that was, in all but the most technical sense, feudal. It seems possible that the transfer of the seat of government from Ashur to Nimrud, to DurSharrukin, and finally to Nineveh may reflect the king's desire to be with his friends, or at least to escape from his enemies. It is also worth recalling, in this connexion, that the consulate in Rome, an annual office whose holders gave their name to the year, was commonly under the empire held in the same year by more than two persons whose tenure of high office was essential to the administration, and whose loyalty the emperor wished to ensure. It may be that the last Assyrian kings employed the same political device. This is pure speculation, but affords a plausible explanation for the number of Assyrian eponyms whose names have survived, especially at Calah (Nimrud). Certainly the 9

A s 5 3 . 1 am indebted to D. Kennedy for providing me with the new lists of Nabopolassar yeardates from his forthcoming publication of this material (see now A 367). Note that although Babylonian years should be written, for example, 626/625 conform with the Julian calendar, the convention of writing the single year, 626, is followed here. Moreover, in order to avoid confusion, the convention of using Babylonian months is retained even when citing Julian years. For example, the accession date of Nabopolassar (26/vni/acc.) is written here 26/VI11/626, despite the fact that the appropriate Julian date is 23/X1/626 (see A 8 7 7 , 27). t o

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l6

7

geographical distribution of the known limmu according to the prove­ nance of the texts does not immediately reveal the existence of any consistent or clear-cut factions. It is widely assumed that at least in Assyria the final years of Ashurbanipal were ones of unrest and dissension. The superfluity of limmu and the absence of official documentation contribute to this view, as does our hindsight knowledge of the imminent collapse of the empire. Moreover, the difficulties inherent in the chronology of his immediate successors, of whose reigns neither the lengths nor the dates are directly attested, have led to a variety of historical reconstructions, none of which has met with immediate acceptance. A widely held view is that Ashurbanipal abdicated in or sometime after 631, his last attested Babylonian year date, and retired to Harran, where he had consecrated his youngest brother as urigallu priest of the famous temple of the moongod, and where an inscription of the next century attests his forty-twoyear reign. This is seen as an old man's response to an escalation of trouble at home and a crumbling empire abroad. This hypothetical abdication, for which there is no direct evidence, has a superficial appeal as the simplest solution to the apparent contradictions in chronology (discussed below). However, another interpretation of the evidence is possible, indeed probable. The chronology proposed here assumes that Ashurbanipal ruled in Assyria until his death in 627. Because both general and specialist literature disagree in their conclusions and differ from the view presented here, it will be necessary briefly to review the following basic sources. Source 1. During the reign of Kandalanu in Babylon the city of Nippur, alone among the cities of Babylonia, maintained direct allegiance to the monarch in Assyria and continued to date by the regnal years of Ashurbanipal. Whether this custom was a reflection of Nippur's stra­ tegic importance or a special privilege of the pre-eminent religious centre in Babylonia is not clear, but in the absence of chronicle and king list evidence these dates are our most important single source for the chronology of the Assyrian kings during this period. The latest of the Ashurbanipal tablets is dated 20/111/631. Year dates from Nippur also inform us that Ashurbanipal's successor Ashur-etel-ilani reigned in Assyria for at least four years and eight months, not including the year of his accession which is so recorded. Source 2. No official source provides us with the length of Ashurbani­ pal's reign, but an inscription on a stela from Harran commemorating the mother of Nabonidus, the lady Adda-GuppP, who herself lived to the impressive age of 102 (or perhaps 104), attributes to Ashurbanipal a 10

Inter alia, A 353; A 390; A 393; A 4 0 1 .

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i68

25.

THE

F A L L OF A S S Y R I A 3

reign of forty-two years, i.e. until 627. Adda-Guppi was born in the 20th year of Ashurbanipal (649) and lived until the 42nd year of Ashurbanipal, the 3rd year of Ashur-etel-ilani, his son, the 21st year of Nabopolassar, the 43rd year of Nebuchadrezzar, the 2nd year of Amel-Marduk, the 4th year of Neriglissar, and died in the 9th year of Nabonidus [547].

The arithmetic of the inscription requires Ashur-etil-ilani to have ruled in Assyria for at least one year after 627; thus he is the Assyrian king in 626."

Source 3. Two texts recording grants of land by Ashur-etel-ilani provide information about his accession: After my father and begetter had 'departed' [died], no father brought me up or taught me to spread my wings, no mother cared for me or saw to my education. Sin-shumu-lishir, the chief eunuch [GAL. SAG], who had led me constantly like a father, installed me safely on the throne of my father and begetter, and made the people of Assyria, great and small, keep watch over my kingship during my minority . . . Afterwards, Nabu-rehtu-usur . . . who had made a revolt and rebellion . . . assembled the people of the city and the land of Assur . . . 12

Uncertainty over the meaning of the word here translated 'departed', but according to the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary a euphemism for 'died', has 13

encouraged the abdication theory. Source 4. Ashurbanipal ascended the Assyrian throne in 669 and whatever his age on accession he must have been far from young in the 620s. Another argument for his retirement or banishment to Harran lies not only in his undoubted age but more specifically in the royal disillusion and ill-health assumed from another oft-quoted text: Why have sickness, ill-health, misery and misfortune befallen me? Enmity in the land and dissensions in my family remain with me. Disturbing scandals continually oppress me. Misery of mind and offleshbow me down. I spend my days in lamentation [///., in oh's and ah's] . . . H

This passage is from a religious text, an introduction to an incantation in which the wording may have followed some prescribed convention. Moreover, the appointment of Shamash-shuma-ukin in Babylonia is referred to in this same text without comment, which strongly suggests that this particular document - and the troubles it purports to describe — pre-dates the latter's insurrection (652). 11

A 562. The inscription gives the age at death of Adda-Guppi' as 104. Unless there is an error of two years in our overall chronology, which at this time is unlikely, she died at 102. A simple scribal error is responsible for the discrepancy, cf. A 390, 142, and A 370, 218 n. 4. A 102, 44; also A 9 7 , nos. 20, 2 1 . Even if read fimat mili-iu, the implication is the same, 'he died'. 1 2

1 3

»

A 35 I I , § § 9 8 1 - 4 (K

891).

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ASHURBANIPAL AND

KANDALANU

169

Source /. The evidence of the Warka King List is crucial to the chronology of this period, but its interpretation is also far from straightforward: . . . years [ 'alias' (or, 'for a second time') 21 years 1 year and 21 years 43 years

Kandalanu Sin-shumu-lishir Sin-sharra-ishkun Nabopolassar Nebuchadrezzar, etc.

This text provides the important information that Sin-shumu-lishir and Sin-sharra-ishkun were recognized in Babylon only briefly, and in the same year. Taken literally it would place the accession of Sin-sharraishkun, Ashur-etel-ilani's successor on the Assyrian throne, between the death of Kandalanu, which we know occurred in 627, and the accession of Nabopolassar, according to the chronicle 2 6 / V H 1 / 6 2 6 . However, it cannot be assumed that this single year lies necessarily in 6 2 7 / 6 2 6 . The inscription of Adda-Guppf implies that in 626 the Assyrian king was Ashur-etel-ilani, and other evidence suggests that he was still in control of Nineveh as late as 623 (below, p. 174). Moreover, Chronicle 2 states explicitly that before the accession of Nabopolassar 'for one year there was no king in the land', while posthumous Kandalanu dates (arki, lit. 'after' Kandalanu) are found as late as the month of Nabopolassar's accession. Source 6. One last text should be mentioned, a tablet probably from Nippur and now in the Hilprecht collection in Jena, which lists a number of contracts dated to Babylonian years of Sin-sharra-ishkun or Ashuretel-ilani, one of which provides an important synchronism between the third year of a king whose name is unfortunately broken and the accession year of Sin-sharra-ishkun: ], that is to say the accession year of Sin-sharra-ishkun year 3 of [ The unknown king can only be Ashur-etel-ilani or Nabopolassar. 16

17

There is no immediately obvious resolution of the contradictions inherent in a literal reading of these texts. It is certain that both Ashurbanipal and Kandalanu died in 627, and that their deaths precipi­ tated struggles for the succession in both countries, though on this evidence alone it remains uncertain whether in 627 Ashurbanipal was 1 5

A 767,53.

1 6

Or perhaps this is a year formula, 'the first year there was no king in the land', but the implication is the same. A 7 2 9 , no. 63 = A 638, no. 35. 1 7

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2J.

THE

F A L L OF A S S Y R I A

e v e r y w h e r e still recognized as king. The assumption, based on the W a r k a K i n g List, that the recognition in Babylon of both Sin-shumulishir and Sin-sharra-ishkun should be dated to 627 requires the restoration o f the name Ashur-etel-ilani in Text 6 above, and his accession in 630. In itself such a recognition on the same document of rival Assyrian claimants is inherently unlikely on the part o f any Assyrian scribe, and the little that survives of the name virtually rules out such a r e a d i n g . A further and almost insuperable difficulty in such a recon­ struction is that it not only presupposes three claimants to the throne of Assyria in 6 2 7 / 6 2 6 , all of w h o m were recognized in Nippur and t w o of w h o m are attested in Babylon in addition to Nabopolassar, but that in the same year(s) w e have in Babylon the posthumous 'arki Kandalanu' dates and the chronicle reference to the year in which no king was recognized. That Ashur-etel-ilani contested the throne (or that Sinshumu-lishir did so for him) with his brothers is certain, but in any case the evidence o f Text 3 makes it highly improbable that Sin-shumu-lishir revolted against his young protege and claimed the Assyrian throne in the middle of Ashur-etel-ilani's reign. This is perhaps an argument for placing the death of Ashur-etel-ilani in 627 (accession 6 3 1 ) , but such a reconstruction is not compatible with the evidence o f either AddaG u p p i o r Text 6. Thus there is no unequivocal nor indeed persuasive argument f o r the abdication or retirement of Ashurbanipal before his death in 627. Indeed the land charters support the v i e w that Ashur-etelilani acceded to the throne (in his minority) following the death of his father in 627 and amidst the insurrections in both Babylonia and Assyria attested by the chronicle. That Babylonia was both peaceful and prosperous under Kandalanu, that is, during the final years of Ashurbanipal, seems beyond doubt. The evidence is discussed in Chapter 2 1 , but it is necessary to return here to the subject of Kandalanu, since the interpretation of these years in Babylonia has implications for the history of Assyria. Kandalanu is described in the previous chapters as the Babylonian 'monarch', but he is k n o w n solely f r o m the Babylonian year dates, king lists and a single chronicle reference. There is no Assyrian inscription that mentions his name, nor does he appear as a personality in any letter o r in any economic or legal d o c u m e n t . Nor are there dates from an 'accession year'. G i v e n the large n u m b e r o f economic texts from Babylonia at this time, this is indeed strange. M o r e o v e r , w e k n o w that during Kandalanu's 'reign' it 18

3

19

1 8

All that remains of the name is a single vertical wedge at the end; A 4 0 1 , 246. I am indebted to G. Frame for calling my attention to CT j 3 no. 966, in which the name Kandalanu appears (line 10). However, there is no reason to suppose that this is the king of Babylon, despite a mention of'the king' in the text. I am also indebted to Dr I. Finkel for collating the text for me. 1 9

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ASHURBANIPAL AND

KANDALANU

was Ashurbanipal who appointed officials in Babylonia, even in Babylon itself, and who reconstructed, refurbished and made dedications in the temples of Babylon and other southern cities. Tradition identifies Kandalanu as a brother of Ashurbanipal (and conceivably Ashurbanipal himself). That Ashurbanipal appointed his brothers to a number of major posts in both Babylonia and Assyria is well attested, but nowhere is Kandalanu mentioned; nor does Kanda­ lanufigureamong the nine known sons of Esarhaddon. The name itself is puzzling — it derives from some form of kitchen utensil - perhaps more appropriate to a child than a ruling monarch! The view, long held, that Kandalanu was but a throne name for Ashurbanipal is now rejected by many scholars (pp. 60—1 above). However, if he was a real individual, and on present evidence this cannot be demonstrated, he is curiously elusive, appearing as, at most, an eponymous official after whom the Babylonian years were designated. Neither case can be proved, but on present evidence the throne-name theory cannot be rejected out of hand and there is much among the circ*mstantial evidence to lend it credence. Historical experience would suggest that after his difficulties with Shamash-shuma-ukin, Ashurbanipal might have appointed in Babylon a loyal Chaldaean sheikh to appease the tribal opposition, but also that no such personality - nor indeed an ambitious brother — would have resisted the temptation to revolt in thefinalyears of a weak and ageing king. The one fact that seems certain is that during the Kandalanu years Babylonia remained not only prosperous but peaceful. The corollary, that Assyria under Ashurbanipal was also peaceful, suggests itself, and there is no unequivocal evidence to the contrary. Biblical references tell of Josiah's revival of the anti-Assyrian policies of Hezekiah sometime after 630, but it was the death of Ashurbanipal that ensured their success. Ashurbanipal is often described as a vain and cruel tyrant, perhaps best epitomized in the idyllic garden scene on the Nineveh reliefs, with the head of Teumman hanging in a tree near the banquet table. But this is also the monarch to whom we owe the preservation of much of the literary heritage of Mesopotamia. His reign was one of the longest in Assyrian history and in his later years his savage policies achieved peace, if perhaps an uneasy one, in the cities of Assyria and Babylonia. From an Assyrian point of view, his crime was not his ruthless success but his seemingly arrogant disregard for the future, both in failing to secure the succession and in expending the empire's not unlimited resources. The price was paid by his successors. 20

21

22

23

2 0

A 55 I , I O 5 n. j Z ) .

21

A

7

?

j

117-19.

2 2

The possible parallel with Ululaju/Shalmaneser V cannot entirely be dismissed (see A 5 3 5,62 n. 320). II Chron. 34: 3; also II Ki. 23. 2 3

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1).

III.

THE

THE

F A L L OF

YEARS OF

ASSYRIA

C O N F L I C T (627—623

B.C.)

W e have no knowledge o f Ashurbanipal's designated heir, although economic texts dated to his reign imply the existence of a c r o w n prince. O n e such document is witnessed by a turtan sa marlarri, the 'commanderin-chief o f the c r o w n p r i n c e ' . W e k n o w from earlier periods that the c r o w n prince had military responsibilities, and Chronicle 2 places Sinsharra-ishkun, presumably himself a general, with the Assyrian army in Babylonia in 627. Sin-sharra-ishkun was ultimately to succeed A s h u r etel-ilani, but on the evidence f o r chronology presented above and the chronicle account, discussed below, not until 623. The mention of his name early in the chronicle (627) is certainly not evidence that he was then king, as some authorities have assumed, since the chronicle practice, m o r e often than not, was to refer to the king, whether of A k k a d o r Assyria, by his title and not his name. From the evidence of Text 3 w e learn that insurrection, at least in A s h u r , followed the death of the monarch and that the throne was secured for Ashur-etel-ilani by Sinshumu-lishir, his chief eunuch and presumably the head of the young prince's household. Assyrian sources reveal little o f the events of Ashur-etel-ilani's reign. Brick inscriptions attest his reconstruction of Ezida, the great temple of Nabu in Calah (Fig. 8), w o r k which w e k n o w to have been continued by Sin-sharra-ishkun. Large numbers of economic texts s u r v i v e , but their precise dating to Ashur-etel-ilani o r Sin-sharra-ishkun is in most cases uncertain. They contain much invaluable social and economic infor­ mation, but they have yet to be systematically studied. O f particular interest are the texts involving Sin-shumu-lishir, w h o secured the young king's accession with his private army ('the battle troops of his o w n estate'), in itself suggestive of the breakdown of royal authority at this time. Sin-shumu-lishir's reward was not merely a position of influence as the royal mentor, but the gift of property, and its exemption from tax, for members of his o w n household and presumably others w h o had sided w i t h him in support of the n e w king. It is unfortunate that w e k n o w nothing of the background o r family of Sin-shumu-lishir, the one eunuch to h a v e claimed the throne of Assyria, albeit briefly. The role o f the eunuchs — loyal servants w h o themselves could have no dynastic ambitions and w h o s e major responsibility was the welfare of the king and his family — seems to have become increasingly important in the later years of Assyria. But Sin-shumu-lishir's extraordinary status as the orchestrator o f Ashur-etel-ilani's succession must reflect the extent to w h i c h the old o r d e r had died with Ashurbanipal and, in the ensuing 24

2 4

A 9 7 , no. 6 ) 9 ( = A 9 5 , no. 321). Although a marfarrih any son of the king, such a reference to the turtanu of the mar Sarri almost certainly implies the designated heir.

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THE

Y E A R S OF

CONFLICT

173

Fig. 8. Plan of the Nabu temple at Nimrud. (After A 1 3 7 , folder vi.)

period of weakness and dissension attested in the chronicle, the royal prerogative was assumed by ambitious officials. The position o f Sinshumu-lishir is particularly emphasized in a text once thought to have been an edict of Sin-sharra-ishkun but n o w to be interpreted as a treaty guaranteeing the sovereignty of Ashur-etel-ilani, imposed by Sinshumu-lishir on three individuals, otherwise u n k n o w n . A 'treaty oath' is also mentioned in Text 3, in this instance apparently administered by another of Ashur-etel-ilani's official eunuchs. The historical framework for the remaining years of the Assyrian empire is derived almost entirely from the Babylonian Chronicle. W e learn that in 627/626 there w e r e battles in both Assyria and Babylonia, o f which the Ashur rebellion was certainly a part, and that from the time o f Kandalanu's death until the accession of Nabopolassar 'no king was recognized' in Babylon. Indeed t w o battles are attested there, the first fought 'all day within the city' (627). Nabopolassar must thereafter have enjoyed a measure of success against the Assyrian armies. This can be seen in his recognition already in 2 2 / V 1 / 6 2 6 , probably in Sippar. The year 626 finds him also in Nippur, throughout this period Assyria's most 25

2 5

A 398; see also A 353, 76. I am indebted to A. K. Grayson for permission to refer to his new interpretation of this important text.

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25.

174

THE

F A L L OF

ASSYRIA

important stronghold in the south, but the approach of the Assyrian army forced the Babylonian king's retreat to Uruk, where it is reported that he gained a victory. Nippur was to remain in Assyrian hands until 616, and it is from Uruk, a city in which there had long been a strong proAssyrian faction, that we have the earliest substantial evidence for the recognition of the new Chaldaean king. Although, so far as we know, Ashur-etel-ilani never claimed any Babylonian title, he retained some influence in Babylonia during the early years of Nabopolassar. This is attested not only by brick inscrip­ tions from Dilbat and Nippur, but also by a text referring to an offering to the temple of Marduk in Sippar-Aruru, of which only a copy, probably from Ashur, survives. His concession to the Bit-Dakkuri, one of the principal Chaldaean tribes, in returning the body of one of its sheikhs for proper burial in his homeland, reflects the competition at this time, and indeed throughout the seventh century, for the allegiance of these powerful southern tribes. A recently published text adds to this minimal record the dedication of an offering table in the temple of Marduk in Babylon itself, possibly to be dated to 624 when the chronicle informs us that the Assyrian army was encamped nearby. The Assyrian kings took seriously their obligations to the gods of Babylonia, especially Marduk and Nabu, and it must be remembered that their 'wars', though often devastating in their immediate and local effects, involved normally only seasonal campaigns and as such were not a permanent impediment to the proper demands of ritual and commerce, in Babylonia far more likely to have been interrupted by tribal depreda­ tions and their legacy of insecurity in the countryside. The control of Babylonia was contested between Nabopolassar and Ashur-etel-ilani until 623, with the former recognized in Babylon and Uruk for much of this time. In 623, however, events take a new turn. In that year the chronicle records the revolt of Der, a strategically important outpost on the eastern foothills route from Assyria to Babylonia and Elam. This provoked a response from Ashur-etel-ilani himself, who marched with his army to Babylonia. Whether the instigator of the Der rebellion was Sin-sharra-ishkun or Sin-shumu-lishir cannot be estab­ lished with certainty, though the latter is the more likely candidate. That he must finally have rebelled against his king and erstwhile protege, possibly provoked by the threat of Sin-sharra-ishkun's activities in the south, is certain both from his own claim to the kingship of Assyria and his recognition in Assyrian Nippur in the early months of 623. After 15/v in that year (and possibly as late as 14/vi), at which time he was 26

27

2

6

A

370.

2 7

BM 54153 (A 5 5 3 , 5 4 : N.5) is probably to be dated 14/vi/acc; I am indebted to Dr I. Finkel for this information.

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THE

Y E A R S OF

CONFLICT

!75

recognized briefly in Babylon, w e know no more of this distinguished eunuch, though he is very possibly the 'rebel king' of this same chronicle, w h o is referred to in the context of '100 days'. Unfortunately the end of the chronicle is badly damaged. There is mention of an otherwise u n k n o w n Itti-ili, w h o ravaged some city of which the name is broken and stationed a garrison in Nippur, presumably removing Sinshumu-lishir, since we k n o w that Ashur-etel-ilani was recognized there again in i / v i n / 6 2 3 , his last preserved date. It is conceivably Ashur-etelilani w h o 'marched against Syria' at this time, but it is perhaps more likely to have been the ultimately successful Sin-sharra-ishkun. The broken final lines of the chronicle are especially frustrating, as mention is made of someone w h o set out for Nineveh, where 'those w h o had come to do battle against him [i.e. supporters of Ashur-etel-ilani?] . . . when they saw him b o w e d d o w n before him'. That this is the newly acclaimed Sin-sharra-ishkun is probable, again suggesting Sin-shumu-lishir as the most plausible identification for the final reference to a 'rebel king'. Certainly his is the only other name to appear on any king list. Sin-sharraishkun claimed the kingship of both Assyria and Babylonia in this, his accession year, but he was recognized in Babylon — and then briefly — only at the end of the year, following Sin-shumu-lishir's short-lived success. The accession of Sin-sharra-ishkun in 623, argued here, is not widely accepted. But it is the only interpretation that accords with all the sources, including the year dates and chronicles. M o r e o v e r , in Text 6, cited above, the synchronism plausibly becomes 'Year 3 of Nabopolassar, that is to say the accession year of Sin-sharra-ishkun'. This reading, in fact, is the only logical interpretation of such a scribal translation, that is, from a Babylonian to an Assyrian year date. Only the W a r k a K i n g List appears to support a 627 accession date for Sin-sharra-ishkun, but scribal tradition could not accommodate the insertion of one reign within the years attributed to another. Thus the brief recognition of the t w o kings in 623 would inevitably have been recorded as found in the text, between Kandalanu and Nabopolassar, and w e have here a late example of a tradition long apparent in the Sumerian king list. That the 623 accession year makes sense of the evidence from both the chronicle and the synchronism must be more than coincidence.

IV. S I N - S H A R R A - I S H K U N

(623-612

B.C.)

The reign of Assyria's penultimate king is better attested than that of his brother. Several commemorative inscriptions s u r v i v e , recording the restoration of 'the building of alabaster' at Nineveh, probably the west wing of Sennacherib's South-West Palace, the Nabu temple at A s h u r and

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25.

I 6 7

THE

F A L L OF A S S Y R I A 28

the Tashmetum shrine in Ezida at Calah; we know also that he had a palace in Calah, possibly the North-West Palace where a number of economic texts dated to his reign were found. The commemorative inscriptions refer to 'the enemies of Assyria who would not accept my sovereignty' - presumably a reference to the contested succession in 627 as well as 623 — and inform us that the new king was chosen by thè gods for sovereignty 'instead of his twin brother', or perhaps 'from amongst his (real) brothers', a phrase often used by those whose right to the throne was dubious. That Sin-sharra-ishkun was the rightful crown prince must remain a possibility, however, and we cannot be certain of the identity of the 'twin' or 'real brother' referred to. Indeed if the two kings were twins, it is difficult to understand Ashur-etel-ilani's reference to his 'minority' in 627, when Sin-sharra-ishkun was a general in Babylonia. We know that Ashurbanipal was married while he himself was crown prince, that is, before 669, making it unlikely, though of course not impossible, that his wife Ashur-sharrat was the mother of Ashur-etel-ilani, still 'in his minority' in 627, perhaps itself a reason for the contested succession and the intervention of the ambitious Sinshumu-lishir. This is entirely speculative, but in the Late Assyrian period we are denied information about the relatives of the wife (or wives) of the king, or indeed other members of the royal family, and there can be little doubt that such information would help to explain many a troubled path to the throne. Another indication of Sin-sharra-ishkun's relative age can be found in the economic texts dated by limmu which can be attributed to his reign because they date his commemorative inscriptions. These texts, some of which must be dated before 620, contain numerous references to officers of a son of the king, in this case undoubtedly a son of Sin-sharra-ishkun. The chronicle tablet for the years 6 2 2 - 6 1 7 has yet to be found, and we are forced for the history of the early years of Sin-sharra-ishkun to rely once again on the Babylonian year dates. Admittedly, the date assumed for his accession, in this case 623, affects their interpretation, but whatever system is followed this Babylonian evidence reveals a pro29

30

31

2 8

A 308,123—4; A 35 5,76—8; A 354; л 3 57,nos. 2 3 6 - 4 8 ; A 360; A 363; A 3 9 9 , 4 5 f. I am indebted to A.

K. Grayson for information about recent references. The cylinder Ass. 1315 8 mentioned in A 360, 305 remains unpublished. A 3 5 3, 67: 5, ina birit ma!-ii-su . . . ippalsuitr. 'whom the gods have chosen instead of his twin brother'; A 363, Cylinder C, line 5, ina birit mai-H-ia: 'instead of my twin brother'; cf. CAD main {mailS), 'twin'. Perhaps, however, to be translated, 'from among my brothers' in the sense of 'full brother' rather than 'twin'. A 7 2 , no. 308 provides an amusing sidelight on this veiled subject (see also л 6 9 8 , 1 5 8). A 7 2 , no. 2 ( = A 698, 149—50) reveals another way in which families gained influence at court. A 360, 309; A 361; and especially the contracts in which Kakkulanu, the rab kisir Sa mar farri, appears as witness or as an involved party (A 3 6 1 , 107). A 'treaty oath' of the time of Sin-sharraishkun refers only in general to 'his sons' and 'his sons' sons' (A 347, 215 n. 69). 2 5

3 0

3 1

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!77

SIN-SHARRA-ISHKUN 32

tracted struggle for Uruk and Nippur. At times both cities were under siege, their inhabitants in desperate straits. For the first few years Sinsharra-ishkun continued to hold Sippar, an important religious centre and the northern gateway to Babylonia, strategically important for its control both of the Euphrates upstream from Babylon and of land routes from Assyria. After 11/1/620 there is evidence for his recognition in Uruk and Nippur only, both cities with a long pro-Assyrian history. After 623 Nabopolassar's hold on north-central Babylonia seems more secure and is attested by year dates from Babylon, Borsippa, Dilbat, and Cutha. However, there is no evidence that he controlled the south. Indeed the prolonged struggle for Uruk in 621—616 undoubtedly reflects a major preoccupation of Assyrian policy in the seventh century, the control — to which Uruk was the key — of the Sealand with its access to the rich Gulf trade. The only tablets of this date recovered from Ur, loan transactions for the years 6 2 4 - 6 1 7 , comprise a family archive written in northern Babylonia, for the most part in Babylon itself. These documents were presumably moved to Ur only after the cessation of hostilities in Babylonia, that is, sometime after 616. The variety of dated contracts which have survived from this period reveal that in 621 Uruk, at that time under the control of a proBabylonian faction, was under siege. By 620 the tide was turning in favour of the Babylonians, and early in the year Assyrian Nippur was itself besieged. Severe famine, the legacy of the seven-year conflict, is vividly attested in a group of contracts from Nippur dated to this time. These record not only exorbitant market prices but the sale of young children by their starving parents, in order to obtain food. The Assyrians held Nippur until late 617 (the earliest Nabopolassar docu­ ment is dated 9 / X / 6 1 7 ) , but the struggle for Uruk was more complex. In 618 the Assyrians again held the city, but from then until the final siege in 616 Uruk oscillated between Babylonian and Assyrian control. Throughout the seventh century the cities of Babylonia had preferred the prosperity of Assyrian subjugation — and the privileged status they were accorded — to the unreliability of tribal control. But by 616 the devastation of the ten-year struggle must have made the prospect of 33

34

35

36

3 2

The scheme proposed in A 390 remains essentially unaltered by the newly available year dates (see n. 9 above), though it should be noted that of the six dated tablets now extant for Nabopolassar Year 3 ( A 367, 181), one is certainly from Uruk (pace A 390, 1 4 7 , 151 no. 2), while the last attested document of Sin-sharra-ishkun from Sippar is dated 1 1 . 1 . 3 . The scheme proposed in A 393 is further complicated by the new dates, especially in the years 621 and 620. 3 3

A 383.

3 5

A 3 9 1 . The chronology followed here resolves the 'problem'of the severity of the famine; cf. A

3 4

A 829; A 534, 2 5 5 - 7 ;

A

3 9 ° , 1 s 5 —6.

391,86. 3 6

Kidimutu or tax-exempt status was granted to the citizens of the major religious centres such as Babylon, Borsippa, Sippar, and Nippur in northern Babylonia, while similar privileges had been extended by Sargon to many southern cities, including Ur and Uruk.

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2j.

7

THE

F A L L OF

ASSYRIA

Chaldaean rule seem a positive blessing. A number of letters from an earlier period reveal the insecure situation of those Babylonians profess­ ing loyalty to Assyria, for instance the following letter from an official in Nippur to Esarhaddon: The king well knows that people hate us everywhere on account of our allegiance to Assyria. We are not safe anywhere; wherever we might go we would be killed. People say, 'Why did you submit to Assyria?' We have now locked our gates tight [a phrase used to indicate sieges] and do not go out of town . . . 37

Certainly Uruk paid heavily for its divided loyalties, suffering sieges on a number of occasions between 620 and the last attested pro-Assyrian coup in 616. In 616 we return to the evidence of the Babylonian Chronicle series with Chronicle 3, the so-called Fall of Nineveh text. It was now, coin­ ciding with the final collapse of Assyrian pretensions in Babylonia, that Nabopolassar took the offensive against the Assyrians on their home ground, although his initial strategy may have been little more than an attempt to adjust the boundaries, a recurring subject of dispute between the two nations. Certainly the idea of a territorially weakened Assyria is not supported by the evidence of the economic texts; limmu which can be unequivocally attributed to the reign of Sin-sharra-ishkun are found on texts as far west as Harran and Tell Halaf, and on the upper Tigris to the north of the Tur-Abdin, while one of these officials is a 'commander-inchief of the left' and almost certainly the governor of Kummukhu (Commagene). This identification has been questioned, but it is difficult to envisage the successful retreat to Harran in 612 had the Assyrians not retained control of this north-western province. According to the Babylonian Chronicle, in 616 Nabopolassar cam­ paigned up the Euphrates, defeating an Assyrian army with its Mannaean allies (from north-west Iran) at Gablini, and continuing upstream as far as the river Balikh. Such was the new Babylonian threat that, although less than fifty years had passed since Ashurbanipal's sack of 38

3 7

A 7 2 , no. 327 (see A 698, 173). See also a letter from Nimrud, A 7 9 , 2 3 - 4 . Cf. A 9 7 . n o . J 7 ( = A 93, no. 308), dated by the limmu Salmu-sarru-iqbi, the 'turtanuot the left', and A 9 7 , no. 376 ( = A 93, no. 446), dated by a man of the same name who is turtanu of Kummukhu. That the turtanu of the left is the turtanu of Kummukhu is known from earlier texts {inter alia, A 420, 7 8 , 84). An examination of the witnesses on A 9 7 , nos. 5 6 - 7 , both dealing with the affairs of Kakkulanu, demonstrates that these tablets cannot be far apart in time from documents dated by limmu known to have been appointed by Sin-sharra-ishkun {inter alia, A 97, no. 1 1 8 , limmu Ashurmatu-taqqin). A 9 7 , no. 56 is dated Salmu-sarru-iqbi'turtanu of the land . . .' (for the reading of the name see A 3 6 1 , 106 n. 2 1 ) , while A 9 7 , no. 57 is dated Salmu-sarru-iqbi 'turtanu of the left'. It is inconceivable that the post-canonical turtanu of Kummukhu, who bears the same name, is not the same man; the latter text too deals with the affairs of Kakkulanu. See also A 3; 6, no. 3 1 . Certainly under Sin-sharra-ishkun there are governors of Upummu, Tushhan, and possibly also Simirra; cf. also A 99, 1 3 5 - 6 (ND 5 5 50) and A 105, no. 1 5 . 3 8

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SIN-SHARRA-ISHKUN

!79

Thebes, the Egyptians now joined their former enemy in an alliance of which the immediate effect was the withdrawal of Nabopolassar. While the fate of Uruk — and Assyrian power in the south — remained in the balance, the Assyrians and Egyptians gathered their armies in pursuit of Nabopolassar, failing at Gablini to catch the Babylonian forces on their way home. Later in the year another battle was fought near Arrapkha (Kirkuk) - perhaps instigated by the Medes who had succeeded to Elamite power in Iran, with the Babylonians again victorious. In 615, with Babylonia at last secure, Nabopolassar mustered an army and marched to Ashur, failed to capture the city and was forced by an Assyrian army again to retreat, this time down the Tigris to Tikrit. In a ten-day battle Sin-sharra-ishkun failed to wrest the fortress city from Nabopolassar, and the chronicle records another Babylonian victory. Yet in the following year (614) it was the Medes and not the Babylonians who attacked Nineveh and Calah, captured Tarbisu (modern Sherif Khan, just north of Nineveh where Ashurbanipal had resided as crown prince), and destroyed Ashur. Nabopolassar was quick to take advan­ tage of the Median victory — perhaps conveniently his troops had arrived just too late to take part — and on the battlefield made a formal alliance with the Median king Cyaxares. Both armies returned home, and in 613 Sin-sharra-ishkun again took the offensive, with his Scythian allies, if Greek accounts are to be believed, protecting his eastern flank by engaging the Medes. He marched south, forcing Nabopolassar to abandon Anat, which the latter had besieged after a revolt, almost certainly encouraged by the Assyrians, of the Suhu on the middle Euphrates. There is no indication at this time that the Assyrian king saw any serious threat to his position. Not only did he lead his army far from Assyria to attack Nabopolassar, but the authorities at home were so complacent, despite the destruction of Ashur the previous year, that they dismantled the defences of one of their strongest fortresses in order to carry out extensive repairs. 39

It is often remarked that in retrospect the Assyrian campaign of 613 is puzzling. Although Ashur had already fallen, and in the next year the empire itself was to disappear, the Assyrians in 613 were sufficiently confident to take offensive action against the Babylonians. The chrono­ logy advocated here, however, makes this operation more comprehen­ sible in view of Nabopolassar's lack of success against the Assyrians in Babylonia during the first ten years of his reign, that is, as late as 616. There must certainly have been an Assyrian garrison at Nippur during these years, which could hardly have survived without the support of regular Assyrian campaigns, although these must eventually have had to by-pass the northern cities in which Nabopolassar's control was

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effectively established. The campaign of 613 thus falls into perspective as one of what were probably annual Assyrian forays southwards. The end came in 612, and without doubt unexpectedly. The combined armies of Nabopolassar and Cyaxares, together with the Ummanmanda (a term simply denoting 'tribal hordes', of which the Scythians were now almost certainly a part), attacked Nineveh. After a siege of three months the walls were breached and the city looted: in the words of the chronicle, 'turned into a ruin heap'. The fate of Sin-sharra-ishkun is less certain. The chronicle is broken at this point, and it is not clear whether he died (in the flames of his palace in the tradition concerning Sardanapalus, Diodorus 11.27), whether it is the Assyrian king who 'escaped from the enemy and grasped the feet of the king of Akkad to plead for his life'. Certainly he was never heard of again. The Assyrian was perhaps unlucky in his fate. He was a conven­ tionally pious king and no doubt a more able general than many of his predecessors. The roots of Assyria's collapse lay not in his own policies but in the limited resources of the Assyrian homeland and the strain on these resources imposed by his more illustrious and ambitious pre­ decessors. Nineveh must have seemed impregnable, and we know that Sin-sharra-ishkun himself had repaired the massive walls. Later tradition suggests that the walls were breached by flooding, presumably by the destruction of Sennacherib's dams on the Khosr, which river must in the seventh century have been diverted around the walls. Although no evidence for such a breaching now remains, it is difficult to imagine in what other manner this great fortress city could have been destroyed. This was not the end of Assyria. The chronicle informs us that an otherwise unknown Ashur-uballit II (conceivably Sin-sharra-ishkun's crown prince)fledignominiously westwards to Harran, where an exiled Assyrian government was established. This ancient religious and com­ mercial centre, whose inhabitants enjoyed the royal favours and taxexempt status that ensured their loyalty, was the site of one of the most famous temples of the moon-god, where Ashurbanipal had appointed his younger brother and where the long-lived mother of Nabonidus, perhaps herself a member of the Assyrian royal family, was a votaress. Whether Ashurbanipal's attention was a reflection solely of his concern for the ancient gods or a political move to strengthen his support in the west cannot be ascertained, but the latter is likely. Certainly the city remained loyal to the Assyrian cause in 612. Although what survived of the government had moved to Harran and o r

40

41

4 0

A 2 5, no. 3: 44—6, and p. 281. See also S. Zawadski, The Fall of Assyria and Median-Babylonian Relations. Poznan, 1988. Nahum 2: 5 - 7 ; A 287, 68. The breach in the main wall mentioned in A 4 1 , 637 is no longer visible. 4 1

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SIN-SHARRA-ISHKUN

Fig. 9. Plan of Nineveh. (After S. H. F. Lloyd, Archaeology of Mesopotamia (London, 1978), 198, %

M»-)

the great metropolitan cities were never to recover, the local population of the Assyrian homeland did not simply disappear. The excavations at Calah show that at least some of the inhabitants returned after the 612 sack, to seek shelter in the ruins. The character of this temporary settlement is, however, significant. It was confined to the fortified areas, and in the case of the ekal masarti (the great arsenal in the outer town, Fig. 9) an attempt was made to put the building in a posture of defence by rebuilding the north gate, which had been dismantled for repair in 614 and had not been re-erected at the time of the final onslaught in 6 1 2 . We have no means of knowing what authority was responsible for this work, but it was not the Assyrian government, which lingered on in Harran until 608 but never again exercised control over the homeland. How4 2

4

2

A 66,

58-9;

A 3 8 I ; A 382,

IO-II;A

383,

II-I3;A

389.

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ever, the insecurity of the countryside is clearly demonstrated by the fate of these refugees. Three levels of post-Assyrian occupation were identified, all not far removed in time from the latest Assyrian occupa­ tion. All in turn came to a violent end. It seems likely that the hill tribes who had suffered so much at Assyrian hands were now taking their revenge, and the suggestion is borne out by the fact that the Babylonians found it necessary to campaign in the hills to the north east of Assyria in 608 and 607. V. A S H U R - U B A L L I T A N D

C A R C H E M I S H ! THE

(612-605

FINAL

YEARS

B.C.)

The confrontation was now between Babylon and Egypt. Nabopolassar was at lastfirmlyin control in Babylonia and in metropolitan Assyria as far west as Nisibis, which he had plundered in 612. Ashur-uballit was in Harran, pursued by Nabopolassar as far as Nisibis and Rasappa. In 611— 610 Nabopolassar 'marched about victoriously in Assyria' and cam­ paigned still further to the west. In 610 he was joined by the Ummanmanda and the two armies marched against Harran, which was ignominiously abandoned by Ashur-uballit and his Egyptian allies and plundered by the Babylonians. In 609 the main Egyptian army arrived in support of the Assyrians, having been delayed en route by troubles in Palestine and the fatal efforts of Josiah at Megiddo. The Babylonian garrison in Harran was defeated, but the Egyptians and Assyrians appear not to have reoccupied the city. The new pharaoh, Necho II, now established his headquarters at Carchemish, no doubt more to protect his own long-standing interests in Syria than to provide support for the beleaguered Assyrians. Ashur-uballit is not heard of again, at least the chronicle does not deem him worthy of further mention, and we are ignorant of his fate. Trouble for the Babylonians now erupted on the north-eastern front, an area Assyria had expended much effort to contain, and in 609—607 Nabopolassar was forced to turn his attention towards Urartu. In 607 one of the most justly celebrated figures in ancient history appears on the scene, Nabopolassar's son, the crown prince Nebuchad­ rezzar. In that year both king and crown prince mustered their armies for the Urartian campaign, the king alone marching thereafter to the Euphrates where he sacked Kimuhu, near Carchemish, and stationed there a Babylonian garrison. In 606 the Egyptians retaliated and battles were fought at Kimuhu and several other Syrian cities, with the Egyptians eventually forcing Nabopolassar's retreat. In 605 Nabopolas­ sar remained in Babylon, perhaps then already ill, and the crown prince assembled his army and marched to Carchemish. Here was fought one of 43

4 3

II K i . 23: 29—30. For the date of the battle see л 861. See also below, pp. 7 1 5 - 2 0 .

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ASHUR-UBALLIT AND

CARCHEMISH

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3

the great battles of antiquity, of which we read in Jeremiah (42: 12), 'for the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty, they are fallen both of them together'. Both sides obviously suffered heavy losses, but it was Nebuchadrezzar who emerged victorious, pursuing the retreating Egyptians to Hamath, where a second engagement took place from which, according to the not entirely unbiased Babylonian account, 'not a single Egyptian returned home'. Fortunately for Egypt news of the death of Nabopolassar then reached Nebuchadrezzar, who hastened back to Babylon to claim the throne which he was to occupy with such distinction for the next fortytwo years. Babylon was now the uncontested successor of Nineveh and the new capital of the world. The reasons for the sudden collapse of Assyria have been much debated. Ashurbanipal controlled the greatest empire the world had known, yet within two decades of his death the country was overrun, its cities destroyed, and Assyria as a significant political entity had disap­ peared forever. The reasons for this collapse are certainly complex, but the fundamental seeds of failure lay simply in the very small size of metropolitan Assyria. A study of the population and resources of the homeland suggests that their inadequacy dictated the policies which created the empire and compelled its maintenance, while their exhaus­ tion contributed to its collapse. The royal grandeur, of which the great cities were an expression, indeed the prosperity of the country, could only be supported by the tribute of territories far beyond the natural borders of Assyria, and tribute could only be exacted by the threat, and at least intermittently the presence, of overwhelming military force. Subject populations proved loyal as long as the military success of Assyria assured their prosperity, but they had no reason to risk their lives in its defence in times of trouble. Assyrian policies demanded huge resources in manpower, and the practice of deportation provided not only a method of controlling potentially rebellious populations but of ensuring labour for the vast building programmes and military enter­ prises of the Neo-Assyrian kings. But it also left a growing legacy of subject peoples, both in metropolitan Assyria and in its garrisons abroad, whose loyalty in times of weakness the state could not ensure. This relentless imperialism proved in the end too costly. In the seventh century the invasions of Egypt, though prestigious, had not been born of common sense, while the destruction of Elam and the repetition of campaigns against Urartu and tribal coalitions to the north east had been a severe drain on manpower and resources. Most damaging of all, however, was the time and energy spent in attempting to maintain control in Babylonia, where the countryside was an ideal setting for guerrilla warfare and where the privileges accorded to its 44

45

4 4

A 66, 4 2 - 6 6 .

4 5

A 540; A j 4 j ; A 658.

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ancient cities encouraged the growth of the urban prosperity that was in the end to prove more of an asset to Babylon than to Assyria. Until the 620s the Assyrians had been victorious, but it was a pyrrhic victory. Assyria was destroyed not so much by the powerful military coalition that sacked Nineveh — it had met such opposition before — but by the vast wealth of the southern tribes allied with the successful commercialism of the Babylonian cities, which Assyrian policies had fostered. In the seventh century the imperial ambitions of the Sargonids had imposed an intolerable strain on Assyrian resources, and the failure of the ageing Ashurbanipal to secure the succession was a mortal blow to the royal authority, on which the Assyrian system depended. Inroads on this authority at the time of Ashur-etel-ilani are clear signs of severe internal weakness. It has been suggested that the fall of Assyria was not so much the collapse of an empire but a shift of power southwards, but it would certainly not have appeared so to the inhabitants of the great Assyrian capitals, devastated in 612 and now largely abandoned. Sin-sharraishkun was not an incompetent monarch, but Assyria was soon to be taken over by the Achaemenids, whose imperial administration was a more effective development of his own, and whose success ensured that the centre of power never again returned to the north. VI. THE

ARAMAEANS

4 6

The Aramaeans were a tribal people who are first attested in Mesopota­ mia at the end of the second millennium B.C. By this time they had already occupied a substantial portion of Syria and had encroached on Assyria itself. By the eighth century the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III list the names of thirty-six Aramaean tribes settled in Babylonia along the Tigris and Euphrates and as far as the shores of the Gulf. The West Semitic language of these tribes had a considerable influence on Assyrian, and its much simpler alphabetic script began to be used alongside Assyrian cuneiform from about the middle of the eighth century, at which time the Egyptian and the Aramaean scribes appear on wine-ration tablets found in the arsenal at Calah, perhaps in this early period as court officials in charge respectively of Egyptian and Aramaean affairs. Stone reliefs of Tiglath-pileser III (Pis. Vol., pi. 57) show two scribes, the first writing on a clay tablet, presumably in cuneiform, and the second on a scroll of some perishable material like parchment or papyrus, probably in Aramaic. Indeed a letter of the time of Sargon II tells of the receipt by a palace scribe of rolls of papyrus. The Aramaean scribe is often identified as such in economic and legal 47

48

49

2

See also CAHin .i, 2391". « A 742. A 96, 2 and no. 9; for the date see now A 336, 22. A 7 2 , no. 568; see also the Til-Barsib fresco, which clearly differentiates in colour the clay and the papyrus documents (A 146, fig. 348); for a different interpretation see A 136, 122. 4 4

4 8

4 9

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ARAMAEANS

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texts of the seventh century, by this time almost certainly serving a growing Aramaean element in the population. At the same time it has been suggested that the dearth of letters from provincial governors after the time of Sargon II reflects a shift to the use of Aramaic in their correspondence. But this may equally be an accident of archaeological discovery, as unfortunately all archives are. Certainly there are large numbers of economic and administrative documents in cuneiform preserved from the last years of Assyria, at Calah, Ashur, and Nineveh, though letters are rare. At Calah, moreover, the few cuneiform letters of palace officials in the post-canonical period show plainly that the Assyrian dialect of Akkadian was still spoken and written by these officials. At Nineveh cuneiform documents have been found with brief annotations scratched in Aramaic on the edges of the tablet, almost certainly 'filing instructions'. The existence of such notes implies that some clerks or officials involved in the administration could read only Aramaic. A small number of contracts written wholly in Aramaic are known from several sites, while it has been proposed that some cuneiform dockets served to seal Aramaic scrolls. There are occasional Aramaic ostraca and at Calah Layard discovered weights inscribed in Aramaic characters (Pis. Vol., pi. 7j). The precise date of most of these documents cannot be ascertained, but some are certainly from the time of Sin-sharra-ishkun. A letter of Sargon II to the governor of Ur is revealing: 50

51

52

53

54

55

As to what you wrote, 'if it is acceptable to the king, let me write down and send [my message] to the king in Aramaic letter-scrolls', why wouldn't you write and send [your messages] in Akkadian on clay-despatches? Really, the despatches which you write . . . should be drawn up for safety(?) in this very manner. 56

It has been suggested that this letter may imply that already at the end of the eighth century Akkadian was less widely read than Aramaic, but the fact that such records are more secure in the sense of less destructible may well be the true sense. Certainly by the seventh century the language which was to replace Akkadian as the lingua franca of the Near East was already widely spoken in both Assyria and Babylonia, and its easier script was in use at least for mercantile purposes. However, cuneiform was to remain the preferred script for literary and religious works for some 5 0

A 76, 1 2 2 - 3 .

51

A 356, 2. Over 30 cuneiform letters of this period are known also from Ashur. For references to texts in Aramaic see A 373; A 403; A 659. A 105, 3 - 6 , 1 1 .

5 2

5 3

M

A 400; J . C. L. Gibson, Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions, 11: Aramaic Inscriptions, nos. 20, 98—110 (Oxford, 1975). There are also a number of mace-heads inscribed in Aramaic; see A 35 5; A 3755 5

A

374, no- 7 is dated by one of the known Sin-sharra-ishkun limmi. The Nimrud ostracon probably dates from the earliest known post-612 occupation of the ekal maiarti. CT 54 no. io; A 7 6 , 125 n. 9. 5 6

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centuries to come, at least in Babylonia, and it is of interest that the fewp r e s e r v e d catalogue texts from the Nineveh library fail to mention copies o f texts on papyrus (niaru) o r parchment (masku), though large n u m b e r s o f writing boards are mentioned, presumably inscribed on wax in cuneiform, together with the conventional clay tablets. That in 6 1 2 A r a m a i c had not entirely replaced the Assyrian dialect of Akkadian as the spoken language can be seen in the post-canonical letters from N i m r u d , but it was clearly soon to do so, and both the Greeks and the Egyptians w e r e to come to view the Aramaic script as the 'writing of the Assyrians'. 57

58

VII. THE

ARCHAEOLOGY

A l t h o u g h it is clear from the dated tablets found within them that the m a j o r buildings of Nineveh, Calah and A s h u r continued in use through the time o f Sin-sharra-ishkun, there is relatively little direct archaeolo­ gical evidence for the activities of the latest Neo-Assyrian kings. W e k n o w that Ashur-etel-ilani honoured the ancient shrines of northern Babylonia, and pavement bricks bearing his name attest at least minor repairs in the temple of Nabu at Calah. Sin-sharra-ishkun worked on the shrine o f Tashmetum in the same complex, and restored the twin temples o f Nabu and Tashmetum and of Ishtar at A s h u r . But lack of m a n p o w e r o r money, or both, prevented major building projects, and n o n e w monumental buildings of this date are k n o w n . Indeed, it w o u l d appear that Sin-sharra-ishkun, in repairing Sennacherib's palace at N i n e v e h , actually recut some of the earlier stone reliefs, a miserly enterprise that w o u l d have been unthinkable earlier in the seventh century. 59

60

Particularly informative for this latest phase of Assyrian history are the cuneiform texts from a building at Calah k n o w n as the ekal mafarti (the 'palace o f the muster'), which reveal the operation of this royal arsenal at the time of Sin-sharra-ishkun. The ekal mafartiwas a standard feature o f the imperial capitals, and its purpose is described in a prism of Esarhaddon f r o m Nineveh - 'for the ordinance of the camp, the maintenance o f the stallions, chariots, weapons, equipment of war, and the spoil o f the foe of every kind' - and it was here every year that the annual 'stock-taking' was carried out, of the army, its animals and equipment, and of the booty taken from the e n e m y . This description is 61

62

5

7

A

508.

5

8

A

}75,

107.

5 9

Including the famous North-West Palace at Calah; see A I O O , 15; also A 98, 35 ( N O 2076).

6 0

A 394, 1 0 9 - 1 0 .

6 1

A 356.

6 2

Hence Parpola's term 'Inventory Palace'. There is no evidence that it was specifically a 'Review Palace' (A 3 5 6, 2), except in the sense of an annual muster, since it is unlikely that the throne dais in the south-east corner is in situ. 'Arsenal' remains the best translation of ekal mBSarti, encompassing as it does the two-fold purpose described by Esarhaddon. Both functions of the building (the palace of

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ARCHAEOLOGY

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7

most amply borne out by the archaeological discoveries at Calah, in the building referred to by its excavators as 'Fort Shalmaneser' because of its foundation by Shalmaneser III. Fort Shalmaneser comprised a large open area within the south-east corner of the city wall, marked off from the city on the west and north by a rampart (Fig. 6). Troops of the annual levy were probably housed and exercised here, together with chariots and horses — indeed the arsenal at Nineveh was enlarged by Esarhaddon because 'it had become too small for the training of horses and chariot manoeuvres', and there would have been room for the bulk storage of supplies. A second smaller fortress stood in its south-east corner, broadly divided into northern and southern sectors. On the north were two outer courtyards, surrounded by workshops and store rooms, and two inner courts with no direct access from outside, one surrounded by barrack rooms, which may have housed the royal bodyguard, the other subdivided into ranges of magazines, one a wine store, others packed with thousands of pieces of carved ivory that had originally decorated furniture or horse-harness — the tribute and booty of Esarhaddon's inscription, and one of the major archaeological discoveries at Calah. The whole northern sector centred on the residence of the rab ekalli, the palace superintendent. In the southern sector there were two basic units. In the extreme south-east corner, and approached through the barracks court, was a vast throne room with other reception suites, obviously designed for ceremonial occasions. Finally, and most inaccessible of all, in the south-west corner of the building were private residential suites with their service areas. In a storeroom here were found the archives of the Xakintu, the 'lady housekeeper', and this whole area may have been the harem. The military functions of Fort Shalmaneser were predominant when Calah was the capital, that is, down to the reign of Sargon, but by the time of Sin-sharra-ishkun the cuneiform tablets largely reflect the city administration. However, Calah remained an important provincial capital and garrison city, and although its arsenal was no longer the site of the annual levy and the major repair depot, it continued in use as a large storehouse for the imperial revenues in kind, such as grain, wine, and oil, evidence for which was found both in the excavations and in the surviving cuneiform texts. The presence in one of the workshops of the broken statue of Shalmaneser from Kurba'il, brought in for repair, shows also that its practical functions were still more than local, and a single text attests its continued military use. Odd weapons, armour, and other military equipment were found in many of the workshops and 63

64

65

the muster and the place where booty was stored) are well illustrated by Fort Shalmaneser. See also A 154. For the Esarhaddon inscription see A 365, 2 6 - 7 iv 3 2 - 5 ; also A 234, 59 v 4 0 - 1 . 6

3

A

137;

A

6

5

A

356,

no. 1 2 ;

381;

A A

382; 369;

A A

383.

M

A

138;

A I39;

A

I4I.

383.

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magazines, p r o b a b l y salvaged and stored indiscriminately during the rehabilitation o f the building after the 6 1 4 sack. Indeed, the sequence of destruction levels at Fort Shalmaneser provides important archaeologi­ cal confirmation o f the historically attested Median and Babylonian campaigns of 6 1 4 and 6 1 2 , together with the only substantial evidence for the nature of post-612 occupation in the Assyrian heartland (above, pp. 181—2), although Calah itself is not mentioned in the chronicle account. Perhaps also relevant to the final years of Assyria are a group of undated inventories, found in the same w o r k s h o p as the K u r b a i l statue, o f objects destined t o embellish the Nabu temple, which w e k n o w to h a v e been restored by Sin-sharra-ishkun. 3

66

O f archaeological interest are the numerous seal impressions found on tablets of the late seventh century (Fig. 10). These show clearly that the stamp seal, which w a s virtually to replace the cylinder seal in succeeding centuries, was already in common use. This prehistoric seal form reappears in Late Assyrian times, at first as a royal seal, but increasingly after the time o f S a r g o n in more general use. By the time of Sin-sharraishkun some t w o - t h i r d s of the total number of seals attested w e r e stamp seals, and indeed at this time even the cylinder seals are used as though they w e r e s t a m p s . Some of these stamp seals are Babylonian in style while many display Egyptian o r Syrian motifs, a clear reflection not only o f late seventh-century political i n v o l v e m e n t with the west, but o f the transportation o f Syrian populations and craftsmen. 67

68

69

6 6

A 3; 6, nos. 93—7. There is no direct evidence for the date of these texts, but on archaeological grounds the fish-men at the gate of Ezida, mentioned in no. 95, are no earlier than the time of Sargon, who, like Sin-sharra-ishkun, restored the temple. A 15 2, pi. xix. A 1 4 3 , 2 7 , and inter alia, pi. xx.4 N D 7070 and pi. xxi N D 7080. For Egyptian motifs see A 142; inter alia, p. 1 1 9 and pi. xxvi ( N D 3424, 3 4 2 ; ) , and p. 106 ( N D 3301); for Neo-Babylonian see A 143, 38 and pi. xx ( N D 7086). Note also the possible papyrus impression on the back of N D 7039 (A 1 4 3 , 37). 6

1

6 8

6 9

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T H E

F A L L

The history of northern Mesopotamia after the destruction of Assyria must be reconstructed almost entirely from archaeological evidence, in itself sparse, occasionally supplemented by mostly uninformative liter­ ary references. This evidence reveals a significant change in settlement pattern following upon the breakdown of authority in 612. No longer did ambitious Assyrian kings maintain the great cities; this artificial stimulus removed, the local population seems to have reverted to a condition dictated to a greater extent by its immediate environment. This fact in itself has served to limit our archaeological knowledge, and only in recent years have archaeologists begun to take an interest in the less spectacular remains of the post-empire settlements. The evidence for the squatter reoccupation of Calah has been discussed above (pp. 181—2), but there was no serious attempt at reconstruction and when Xenophon passed by in 401 this city at least was wholly abandoned. We remain uncertain of the degree to which the Chaldaean kings of Babylon maintained control in metropolitan Assyria, but we know that the capitals were not rebuilt and that the Medes held Harran when Nabonidus was instructed in his famous dream to rebuild Ehulhul, the great temple of the moon-god which had lain in ruins since its destruction at the time of Assur-uballit. Marduk said to me, 'Nabonidus, king of Babylon, bring bricks on your own chariot, rebuild the temple of Ehulhul and let Sin take up his dwelling there.' I [Nabonidus] said to Marduk, 'The Ummanmanda are laying siege to the very temple which you have ordered me to rebuild and their armed might is very great!' But Marduk said to me, 'The Ummanmanda, of whom you spoke, they, their country and all the kings, their allies, shall cease to exist.' And indeed . . . Marduk made rise against them Cyrus, king of Anshan, his young servant, and Cyrus scattered the numerous Ummanmanda and captured Astyages, king of the Ummanmanda, and brought him in fetters into his land. The young servant was of course the Achaemenid Cyrus, who in 5 39 was to put an end to the Neo-Babylonian dynasty of Nabopolassar. Harran, however, survived as an important centre of the moon-god, whose crescent symbol still appeared there on Roman coins minted in the third century A . D . , and whose 'pagan ceremonial' is attested even as late as the Abbasid caliphate. From northern Mesopotamia we have up to now very little post-612 archaeological evidence until Hellenistic times. To some extent this must reflect the security and stability re-established under Achaemenid rule, for the huge mounds of ruins which now represented the citadels of 70

71

7 0

A 856, 2 1 8 - 2 1 no.

7 1

For a general discussion of this later history see A 694, 1 3 4 ?

I i 18-33;

A

1

'4S,

250.

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Assyrian cities were unattractive to later settlers except in time of danger. Since it is these sites that have been excavated, we lack knowledge of the distinguishing features of Achaemenid pottery, the tool most useful to archaeologists in settlement-pattern studies. At Calah somewhat ephem­ eral traces of possible Achaemenid date were identified in the area of the Nabu temple, but these are not informative. Indeed the political position of Assyria under the Achaemenids is not entirely clear, but it seems under Cyrus to have been included in the satrapy of Babylon, despite the inclusion of the name Athura in the Old Persian dahyava (lands or districts) lists. Later sources suggest that Erbil, Assyrian Arba il, was the one major centre to have escaped destruction in 612 and a document found in Egypt identifies it as an Achaemenid centre of administration. This refers to one Nehtihur, who was travelling to Egypt on business from Babylon and was provided with a letter authorizing the issue of rations along his route. It not only informs us that a Persian nobleman owned estates in northern Mesopotamia at this time, but also identifies a number of administrative centres of the fifth century, together with Arba il. The existence of estates belonging to members of the Achaeme­ nid royal house is also recorded by Xenophon. Xenophon's account of his march through Assyria provides an interesting description of the state of the country at this time, for its resources were of immediate concern to him and are frequently men­ tioned. Passing the site of Calah, he refers to the local villagers who took refuge on the top of the ziggurat at the approach of the Greek army, although the city itself was deserted and Xenophon knew neither its name nor its former inhabitants, whom he describes as Medes. Nineveh too was identified as a ruined Median city, but here he reports the existence of a town, Mespila, nearby, possibly on the Mosul side of the Tigris. The countryside at this time seems to have been prosperous, since he comments on the plentiful supplies, and in one case a 'kind of palace' where flour, wine, and barley for horses had been stored for the satrap. The recent archaeological salvage project in the region of Eski Mosul has resulted in the identification of several sites which may possibly be Achaemenid, and it is hoped that their publication will assist in the further identification of material of this date from metropolitan Assyria. Alexander also passed through Assyria, and the battle named after the city of Arba^il, at which hefinallydefeated the last Achaemenid king, Darius III, was fought on the plain of Keramlais, 23 km east of Nineveh. For the Hellenistic period we have isolated fragments of archaeological evidence, and it is perhaps a reflection of contemporary insecurity that at Calah and Nineveh, and indeed on many sites to the west, we find 3

72

3

73

74

7 2

7 4

7 3

A 358, 28; also A 66, 5of. Anabasis n.iv - m.v. For a list of sites and summary information see A 368, 2i6f, especially on Khirbet Qasrij.

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settlement again on the citadel mounds. At Nineveh the settlement must have been quite large and had acquired at least the superficial forms of Hellenistic city organization. An inscription found there during the excavation of the Nabu temple in 1904 records a dedication by one Apollophanes who is described as strategos and epistates of the city, to the theoi epekooi. An Assyrian altar inscribed with a later Greek dedication, probably by this same Apollophanes, was discovered during more recent excavations at the city. Whether the citadel was continuously occupied in Hellenistic times is difficult to say, for the strata and architectural remains associated with the pottery of this date are too confused to permit analysis, but it seems probable that by now the greater part of the town lay in the plain below, where a small shrine of Hermes, the travellers' patron peculiarly appropriate to a bridge-head site, was identified in 195 4. It is interesting that the Greek shrine was of a plan very reminiscent of Assyrian prototypes, a raised cella approached by steps from the ante-cella and with a door leading into a small lateral chamber. Two other sites afford isolated but significant additions to the general pattern, although in thefirstcase the evidence is negative. At Ashur no traces of Seleucid occupation were identified, and very little that can be confidently assigned to the Achaemenid period. Indeed Andrae remarks that the period from the fall of Ashur in 614 to the appearance of Parthian buildings, which he dates to thefirstcentury в.с, has no history. The apparent decline of Ashur, economically vulnerable at the edge of the zone of viable rain-fed agriculture, was complemented by another significant foundation, that of Hatra on the Wadi Tharthar about 5 5 km to the north west. Recent excavations there have shown that the great Parthian shrines were preceded by temples of purely Hellenistic aspect, themselves founded on the trodden surfaces of the campsites of nomads from the Jezirah, attracted by the brackish springs in the Tharthar nearby. The post-war excavations at Calah provide perhaps the most informa­ tive archaeological data for the period of Alexander and his Seleucid successors. Here a small village, of which six building levels were identified, was founded sometime around 250 B . C . After the relative peace of Achaemenid domination, it would appear that the rise of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia provided a new threat from the east, and the resulting insecurity seems likely to account for the foundation of this new village on the relative safety of the citadel mound. By 130 B.C. the 15

76

77

78

79

8 0

7 5

7 6

A 122, 1 4 0 - 2 .

A 392.

7 7

A 376, 280-3 (Arabic). More recent excavations have identified five levels of'Hellenistic' and Islamic occupation; A 372. 7

8

A

1 1 2 , 169.

7

9

A

395;

A

396.

8

A

386.

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T H E

F A L L

O F

A S S Y R I A

Parthians were in control of all Mesopotamia to the banks of the Euphrates. At what stage they conquered the northern plain we do not yet know, but it seems reasonable to assume that their advent in the area is reflected at Calah by the destruction of level 2 of this village, some time after 146 B.C., and the appearance of their distinctive pottery in the short­ lived upper level. Thefinalestablishment of their authority, which was to last more than three centuries, presumably brought with it the conditions of peace and order in which villages could once more exist in safety on the plain. It was at this time that Ashur was rebuilt, and the German excavations have revealed a large Parthian city with a palace, agora and temple precinct. Here and at Hatra the influence of Assyrian tradition and symbolism can sometimes still be seen in architecture and art. With the advent of the Romans as successors to Hellenistic power in Asia Minor, control of Assyria was now contested between Rome and Parthia, though until c. A . D . 200 Rome's influence east of the Khabur was never more than brief. Recognizing that control of Assyria was crucial to control of the Euphrates route, in A . D . 114 the emperor Trajan, following the subjugation of Armenia, attacked and captured Nisibis (modern Nusaybin). Singara was occupied and Hatra appears to have submitted to the Romans; indeed a bust of Trajan has recently been found at the site. In A . D . 116 Trajan, following an ancient custom, led his army to the Gulf, sacking Ctesiphon en route. A revolt in the north, now joined by the Hatrenes, forced the emperor to withdraw, and the attempt to extend the frontier to the Tigris was abandoned by the more prudent Hadrian. Trajan's presence is archaeologically attested not only by the Hatra bust, but by a milestone and the traces of a remarkable road terraced down the precipitous north slope of Jebel Sinjar. A fragment of a stone inscription, now lost, from the bank of the Tigris at Nineveh, the preserved portion of which read 'occuli [sic] legionum', attests the deliberate choice of the Tigris frontier. Although Singara may have been a colonia under the Antonines, it was Septimius Severus who next conquered the northern plain, and pottery of this period has been found at a number of sites. Hatra was attacked, but held out against the Romans, according to Dio Cassius ( L X X V . 1 0 11), with the aid of a number of highly advanced defensive devices, including the use of bituminous naphtha and elaborate torsion-artillery of which an example was recently found at the site. Coins from an excavated Roman barracks and castellum at Ain Sinu, ancient Zagurae, 81

82

83

84

85

86

A 349. A 396; A 397. A 402, 2 3 1 - 5 . A 66, 6 7 - 7 1 and pi. v. The inscription was found in 1940, by the river just south of Kouyunjik; I am indebted to D. Oates for this information. A 350. 8

1

8 3

8

2

8 4

8 5

8 6

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east of Singara, span the period from Septimius Severus to Severus Alexander, who we know was welcomed by the Arab king of Hatra. Again the Roman presence in this desert city is commemorated by a portrait bust. The castellum at Ain Sinu appears to have been destroyed by the Sasanian Ardashir I ( A . D . 237), who also besieged Hatra. A number of coins purporting to come from a new mint at Singara attest the presence of Gordian III, whose Moorish cohort was based in Hatra, where the Arab rulers appear to have accepted Roman help in the final struggle against the Sasanians. Indeed a consular date of A . D . 235 survives on the earliest of three Latin inscriptions recovered at the site. The little evidence available suggests that the area east of Singara was surrendered once more by Philip the Arab, while Diocletian's acceptance of the Singara—Nisibis line in his frontier settlement implies that the Tigris frontier had long been abandoned. After the death of Julian (363), Rome was forced to give up Nisibis and Singara, but the Roman walls of the latter, presumably built earlier in the fourth century, still remain an impressive sight today. While some occupation of Nineveh and Calah is attested under the Seleucids and Parthians, it is under the latter dynasty that Ashur once again became a city of note, almost certainly, like Hatra, reflecting its importance as a tribal rather than a metropolitan centre. Arba il and Kirkuk, which alone remained major centres of administration under the Achaemenids, retained their importance under the Sasanians and were indeed seats of Nestorian metropolitans. By now Nineveh was again abandoned, as we know from the great battle fought over its ruins between Heraclius and Chosroes. 87

88

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3

90

66, 8of;

8

7

A

8

9

A 66,

9 0

pis.

A

387.

VII-XII;

8

A

8

A

66, 75 and n. i;

A

373.

378.

E. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

11, 800.

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CHAPTER 26 A S S Y R I A N

A.

K.

CIVILIZATION

GRAYSON

Many topics have been lightly touched upon in the preceding chapters which merit special attention, and it is the purpose of this chapter to fulfil that need. A synthesis of our knowledge of a given aspect of Assyrian civilization is full of lacunae and surmise, and I advise the reader of this now, for I have spared him endless repetitions of such phrases as 'It would seem that' or 'Possibly so'. These topics are usually treated for Assyria and Babylonia together in secondary works, and I have therefore stressed some of the major contrasts with Babylonian civilization. I.

T H E

M O N A R C H Y

The idea of monarchy was born with the emergence of the Assyrian state and the two grew to maturity together like twins. The seed for these developments may be found in the ancient city state of Ashur and its ruler who was called a vice-regent (illfakku) of the city god Ashur. When Shamshi-Adad I captured this city state, he sought acceptance by the indigenous population of himself as the legitimate ruler and at the same time, by conquering other city states in the region and assuming the imperialistic title larru ('king'), dramatically altered the previous course of Ashur's history and set for its people and their heirs highly ambitious goals. The idea of an Assyrian state under an absolute monarch was conceived at that moment but lay dormant until the time of Ashurwho not only won Assyrian independence but uballit I (i 363—1328 laid the foundations of an Assyrian nation and an Assyrian monarchy. In subsequent centuries, as the political and military power of Assyria grew, so too did the authority and accoutrements of majesty until its full fruition with the great kings of the Middle Assyrian period, TukultiThis Ninurta I (1243—1207 B . C . ) and Tiglath-pileser I ( 1 1 1 4 — 1 0 7 6 then set the pattern and, although changes and developments can be noted from time to time, the idea of monarchy and its practical expression stayed substantially the same for the remainder of Assyrian history. It was clearly an indigenous development but with many B . C . ) ,

B . C . ) .

194

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individual customs and practices b o r r o w e d f r o m the culture in the Babylonian plain. The political theory o f monarchy is not described for us in any ancient Assyrian text, but there is much incidental evidence that allows us t o formulate a statement o n the Assyrians' view of kingship. O f fundamen­ tal importance was the intimate link between the supernatural p o w e r s , the gods, and the Assyrian king, w h o was the earthly representative o f the supreme god Ashur. In Sumerian political ideology kingship w a s believed to have descended from heaven to earth and the Assyrians certainly subscribed to this view. In contrast to Sumerian and Babylo­ nian belief, where rule o f the land passed from one city state to another as the fortunes of the respective patron deities waxed o r waned in heaven, in Assyria the supreme god was always the same ( A s h u r ) , and the family tree to w h i c h the supreme earthly ruler belonged was also, in theory, always the same. Both o f these tenets, like all absolute doctrines, seemed to be contradicted by facts from time t o time. The popularity in Assyria of Marduk, king of the gods in the Babylonian pantheon, caused some embarrassment, and in Chapter 2 3 w e saw h o w Sennacherib attempted to suppress the cult. A s to the theory of an unbroken royal line, the frequent coups d'etat resulted in the gaining of t h e throne by usurpers whose royal lineage is highly suspect, and the compilers of the Assyrian king list attempted to resolve these situations by ingenious genealogical complexities. The monarch was the supreme human being in Assyrian thought, since he w a s god's anointed, but he was a mere mortal all the same, and this is in contrast again to Sumer and Babylonia w h e r e deification o f the ruler was k n o w n . The Assyrians w e r e , of course, aware of this southern phenomenon, and they flirted with the idea of t h e apotheosis o f their o w n king, but it never achieved full official recognition in Assyria. It surfaces, nonetheless, in various forms. In the royal epithets there is sometimes ambiguity as to whether the king or the deity is described, and there were titles and adjectives (such as dandannu, 'almighty') which were applied only to god o r monarch. The royal images (salmu), statues and reliefs of the king, are another case in point; in texts where these images a r e mentioned the w o r d salmu is preceded by the divine determinative, and the personal name 'The-Divine-Image-of-the-KingHas-Commanded' (^Salam-Iarri-iqbi) is well attested. This last fact brings to mind the custom practised at Guzanu (Tell Halaf) o f conclud­ ing contracts before the images o f gods including the 'divine image o f the king'. None of this evidence justifies a conclusion that official 1

2

3

1

See A 4 9 5 , 1 1 2 .

2

See A 443A, 20J.

3

See A 9 2 , ;8f n. 2 1 .

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26. A S S Y R I A N

CIVILIZATION 4

sanction was given to the worship of the Assyrian king or his images, but it does underline the fact that he was generally regarded as being on a plane closer to the gods than other mortals. In popular thought no doubt people went one step further and regarded the king as at least partially divine, and uneducated Assyrians probably believed that the offerings placed on a table before a royal image in a temple were offerings to the image itself rather than offerings to be presented by the king portrayed to the god. The supreme, god-like position of the Assyrian monarch was pro­ moted and enhanced in a variety of practical ways. Access to the king by individuals was, at best, extremely difficult, and the long walk through the gates and corridors flanked by bull and lion colossi and stone reliefs depicting the king slaying and mutilating his enemies would overwhelm the visitor, as it was intended to do, with 'awesome splendour' (puluhji melemmi). The only mortal who could be regarded as an equal of the Assyrian king was a foreign king, whom the Assyrian monarch addressed as 'my brother', but even he was a potential subject of the 'king of kings' (far sarram). The Assyrian king enjoyed absolute power over the state, there being only three checks to his autocratic rule, religion, legal precedent, and the temper of his nobles and officials. The monarch was subject to religious belief and practice, and examples of royal attempts to depart therefrom are extremely rare. As to legal precedent, the king had to respect the traditional rights of individuals, such as property ownership, and of groups or institutions, such as tax exemptions granted to privileged cities. Finally he had to respect the mood of the upper classes or run the risk, as a few kings did, of revolution and regicide. Apart from these considerations, however, the king's will was supreme in all affairs of state. Indeed, in the legislative sphere he was not only the supreme but the sole legislator, his 'law-making' consisting of royal decrees. There was not even an assembly, as in Sumer, with which he might discuss a proposal, although he did seek advice from his various officials and sanction from the gods by means of omens. The king was presumably supreme judge, and he was definitely commander-in-chief of the army. In religion, although he was subject to commonly accepted beliefs and practices, as already mentioned, he was the high priest (Sangii) of the god Ashur. This is in contrast to Babylonia where the high priest was not the same person as the king. Finally, even the economy was subject to his will, for in theory he owned all the land, and trade, both domestic and foreign, depended upon his sanction. Given the sweeping authority of the Assyrian king it is pertinent to 5

6

7

8

4

See A 1 1 , j 6 - 6 1 .

6

See A 9 , 6 5 - 8 2 .

5

7

See A 4 1 , 6oof, and A 4 1 2 , 3 1 9 n. 5 1 .

E.g. A 7 2 , no. 9 1 8 .

8

See A 5 1 , 3i8f.

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inquire how extensive, in practice, his knowledge of these various spheres of activity was and to what extent he was personally involved in their direction. This would vary with the individual character and personality of the reigning monarch at a given time, but there was one activity which was traditionally the central concern of the monarch, the military. The king did not always lead his army in person, so much is clear, but it was assumed that he did, and in the official presentations, the commemorative inscriptions and sculptured reliefs, events are usually portrayed as though the king were present and fighting personally. The fact that the king was principally involved with the direction of the armed forces is a reflection of the militaristic manner in which the Assyrian state was organized, for there were not many state affairs which were not either directly involved with the war department or at least affected by it. As to legislation, there was no need for formal laws similar to the Justinian Code followed in Western civilization; Assyrian society was so traditionally conservative that most legal matters were regulated by custom and the judicial system operated without the king's personal intervention. In religion the priests carried out their duties without royal involvement, except on occasions when the king's presence was pres­ cribed by a particular rite; but they kept the king regularly informed of their activities. As to land-ownership, the highly complex system of land-tenure (Section V below) required no direct involvement on the part of the monarch, and trade, about which we know virtually nothing, would always go forward so long as no one made a determined effort to control or stop it. In addition to the income which the king enjoyed by right of being the supreme land-owner, he had income from land held by personal right, as did individual members of the royal family, such as the crown prince, the queen, and the queen-mother. The world in which the monarch spent his days and nights was the palace and the harem. Since our knowledge of the Assyrian court is derived, to a certain extent, from incidental evidence we naturally look to other, better known, Oriental courts (such as the seraglio at Constan­ tinople in the Ottoman period) for analogies, a procedure which has much to recommend it since the later courts have their historical foundation in the Assyrian. To Western eyes the most striking character­ istic is the harem. The Assyrian royal harem was undoubtedly large, although we have no information about the numbers of wives, concu­ bines, serving maids, and eunuch guards. Within the harem there was a hierarchy of which the queen-mother was the head, and she had her own court. The next in line, and also with a court of her own, was the chief wife of the reigning monarch, her status being determined by the fact 9

5

See A 102, no. 36 and A. K. Grayson, JNHS 31 ( 1 9 7 2 ) 4 7 * .

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that she was the first wife to give the king a male offspring. There is one example of a departure from this normal ranking and that is the case of Naqia, wife of Sennacherib, who continued supreme in the harem during both the reign of her son, Esarhaddon, and the early years of her grandson, Ashurbanipal. Princes normally spent their early years in the harem, but while still fairly young were removed to be educated and trained for their future role in life. In the Sargonid period (and possibly earlier), the crown prince, once he had been officially so designated, entered the 'House of Succession' (bit-redüti), where he was surrounded by his own court and personal bodyguard. In this milieu he was prepared for his eventual elevation to the supreme position in the Assyrian state. Ashurbanipal tells us that it was in the House of Succession that he was trained both in military arts and intellectual pursuits, learning not only to ride and shoot but also to read and write. When the prince 'graduated' he was assigned to responsible duties in the empire, and in the Sargonid period, at least, the crown prince became the king's representative at home with regal authority while the father was campaigning. As to the rule of succession, we lack sufficient information both about the principle and about the practice, but it would appear that primogeniture was the guiding rule and in the odd case where it is known that the actual successor was not the eldest son, one may assume that his elder brother or brothers had died young, or been killed in a revolution led by the successful usurper. Returning for a moment to the court itself, something must be said about palace protocol and the daily conduct of affairs. From the Middle Assyrian period there is a group of royal edicts which lays down rules with regard to court and harem etiquette, and, given the conservative character of Assyrian society, the general picture provided is probably applicable to the Neo-Assyrian court. It was similar to the seraglio of the sultan in the Ottoman period, as already mentioned; the women of the harem were jealously guarded and every effort made to contain and control the disputes which frequently erupted. In order to prevent seditious plots, of which harems were a notorious source, there was a strict ban on any woman giving a present to a servant. All persons admitted to the court were carefully examined by senior officials, and if someone unsuitable was mistakenly admitted, the officials responsible for the error were mutilated as punishment. The court and harem travelled with the king when he moved about the country and even on the road there were strict rules of procedure. Officially only one courtier had the right of direct and continuous access to the king, and all news 10

1 0

See E. F. Weidner, 'Hof- und Harems-Erlasse assyrischer Könige aus dem 2. Jahrtausend v. Chr.', AJO 17 ( 1 9 5 4 - 6 ) , 2 5 7 - 9 3 ; A. K . Grayson, Assyrian Royal Inscriptions (Records of the Ancient Near East) 1, § § 3 0 4 - 6 , 3 3 5 - 4 1 , 5 1 7 , 6 8 1 - 3 , 8 5 0 - 9 , 9 2 8 , 989 and 11, § § 1 8 4 - 9 3 (Wiesbaden, 1 9 7 2 - 6 ) .

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9

and petitions had to be transmitted through him or at least by his sanction. Patronage was the rule in Assyria, both in the palace and the country at large, and no one could succeed who did not have an influential friend who would accept bribes in order to plead a cause. The king was formally addressed in letters in the third person as 'the king my lord' and replied in thefirstperson singular, rather than in the plural (the 'royal we' of other traditions), and it may be assumed that this reflects oral practice in the court. The public image presented for the king is coldly impersonal, and a superficial look at his portrayal in art or writing would lead to the conclusion that one Assyrian king was much like another; each was a strong, fearless warrior with unswerving faith in god and himself. Such was not always the case and in preceding chapters glimpses have been gained of individual personality traits of certain kings, such as Esarhaddon. But for many kings we have no personal details at all; we do not even know the age of any of them since Mesopotamians never recorded this fact. Among the symbols of majesty were the crown (agu), the 11

sceptre (hattu), the throne (kussu), and the royal standard (urigallu). The

king rode in a magnificent ceremonial chariot on state occasions and was surrounded by his personal bodyguard (qurbiitu). There were various state and religious ceremonies in which the king participated and chief among these was the New Year's (Akitu) festival. This rite may have included a great ritual banquet (called the takultu), the text for which is also known, and one of the principal purposes of the ceremony was to confirm the rule of the king for another year. Since no separate coronation ritual is known, it is reasonable to assume that this same rite served officially to proclaim the rule of a new king who had succeeded to the throne after the preceding New Year's festival. This assumption is supported by the fact that Assyrian chroniclers dated the first year of a king as beginning at the first New Year after his actual accession. 12

II.

THE

BUREAUCRACY

Assyrian bureaucracy can be viewed as a pyramid with the king at the pinnacle and the working population at the base with graduated layers of officials in between, the number of officials at each level increasing as one descends. It is convenient to keep this image in mind, although there are problems with such a neat schema, since the system was not theoretically thought out in advance but simply developed to meet demands as they arose. Particularly relevant to this point is the fact that the Assyrian state, including the administration, was essentially militaristic in organization and there was usually little distinction between military service and civil 1 1

E.g. A 7 2 , no. 2.

1 2

See A 495; A 496; A 507; A 4 1 2 , 3 i 8 f and n. 50.

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service. Another consideration is that the chain of command was not always from one level to that immediately adjacent; the crown gave direct orders to some officials far down the pyramid and the king had the right to intervene at any level in any matter. But for clarity it is useful to have the image of a pyramid in mind as one goes through the various levels of officials and describes their position, function, and responsibilities. Only the upper echelons will be discussed, since they are of most importance and our sources provide more information about them than about the lower orders. At the top of the pyramid sat the king and immediately under him was a trio of officials, the major-domo {akil\rab\Sa muhhi ekalli), the vice-

chancellor (ummánu), and the field-marshal (turtanu). The major-domo was the only person who officially had direct access to the monarch, his position being comparable to the Black Eunuch of the sultan's court in Ottoman Turkey. The power and influence of this individual was immense. Roughly on an equal footing with this officer was the vicechancellor, whom the king consulted frequently on the various affairs of state and whose importance is illustrated by a legend (see above, p. 132) that surrounds one of them, Ahiqar, and the fact that their names are enshrined beside the names of their monarchs in ancient lists. The fieldmarshal completes the trio of officers directly under the king, his high status being confirmed by the lists of Assyrian eponyms {limmu), wherein he appears immediately after the king. A second group of three which, if not equal in rank to the aforemen­ tioned trio, was a close second, consisted of the palace herald {riagir ekalli), the chief cup-bearer (rab iaqe), and the steward (abarakku).

Although these officers bore titles related originally to domestic service in the court and they may have performed these services on ceremonial occasions, in practice they were entrusted with duties of state of a very high order. The palace herald was the chief administrative officer of the realm. The chief cup-bearer acted as the king's plenipotentiary on great occasions such as, it will be remembered, at the siege of Jerusalem in the time of Sennacherib. The steward of the king (there was also a steward for each of the crown prince, the queen-mother and the chief wife) carried out special royal commissions, such as the direction of the transportation of precious items. The offices of most of the officials mentioned so far included governorships over certain provinces, and the remaining provincial governors come immediately after them in rank. The governors (iaknu or belpihati), including the governors of the chief Assyrian cities, were arranged in a hierarchy, as is evident from the eponym lists, with the governor of Assyria (i.e. the Assyrian heartland) first. Each governor

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had his own palace and court, located at the provincial capital, and there was a standing army at his disposal. Next in seniority was a series of officials with diverse functions. There were the viziers (sukallu), of which one was called the grand vizier (sukallu rabu), and whose position was so prestigious that occasionally one of their number served as an eponym, and they commonly occur high in lists of witnesses in legal documents. In view of the name of the office, one suspects that they were advisers to the king. There was a chief eunuch (rab sa reft) attached to the king's court and also one to the court of the crown prince; the title implies that they had control over the eunuchs who permeated the Assyrian court and bureaucracy. The chief justice (sartennu) (an official whose duties included acting as a judge on occasion), who might serve as an eponym, belongs at this level as well as, probably, the high priests (fangû) of the many temples and the mayors (ha^annu) of Assyrian cities. The mayor of a city was lower than the governor of the same city and the latter's jurisdiction included the immediate environs of the city. Descending further, within the court itself there were a number of officers, such as the chief baker (rab nuhatimme), responsible for the daily needs of the numerous courtiers (mamçà^pàné), and such offices existed at the courts of the crown prince and the governors as well as at that of the king. At about this rank in the bureaucratic pyramid we encounter a large group of people who fulfilled one of the most important functions in the empire, the collection of taxes. Land and its taxation were divided into two jurisdictions, those lands under the authority of the crown and those under the authority of the provincial government. Each collected its own taxes from those lands and the king's tax collectors (la qurbuti or qepu) took orders directly from him. There was another type of official (mularkisu) who, working in pairs or small groups assigned to a specific province, collected horses for the central government and communicated directly with the crown. It was noted earlier that most Assyrian officials had military functions, and this was certainly true of the tax gatherers. At about this point in the pyramid we should probably place the army captains (rab kisri) and charioteers (la mugerre?), the latter group including the driver (mukll appâte) and the 'third man' or shield-bearer (talliiu). Indeed the status of the charioteers was rather special since each of the highest officials, including the king, had his own chariot and crew who were commonly entrusted with important missions by their superiors. There is one person, a woman called the iakintu, whose position and function is unclear but who was obviously an eminent individual with substantial wealth. Below these high-ranking officers

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there were still several levels in the state bureaucracy which included everything from the palace kitchen to the flocks of shepherds, but a catalogue of these would become tedious. The mass of unskilled labourers was called sabii, a term which can be translated both as 'soldiers' and as 'labourers', since there was no distinction between them and the work they performed, whether military or public works, was called dullu.

There seems to have been no training programme for potential bureaucrats nor were the officials literate, since an army of scribes bolstered up the entire system. The son of an official learned his father's job by watching him at work, occasionally helping, and not infrequently the son succeeded the father in the post. This meant that families and social groups tended to regard certain offices as theirs, or at least as primarily within their sphere of influence. Patronage was the rule of the day, and no one could get a good position without an influential relative or friend. The scribes were a special segment of the bureaucracy and were the products of a lengthy and rigorous educational system. Scribes were attached to every level in the official hierarchy, beginning at the very top with the vice-chancellor {ummanu), who was the king's chief scribe. Another special group which permeated the system consisted of eunuchs (fa refe), for eunuchs were regarded, as in Byzantine and Ottoman times, as the most trustworthy of servants. The proportion of eunuchs in the bureaucracy was substantial, and a collective term for the king's officers was 'eunuchs and bearded ones' (fa refe u fa %iqne). An official kept his position indefinitely, that is until he fell from favour, was promoted, or died. It is unlikely that rapid 'progress through the ranks' was possible, but gradual elevation of a social group over several generations was known, a good example being the rise of the Aramaeans to the highest levels during the ninth and eighth centuries. A second-in-command (fanu) was attached to most offices and he, together with offspring of the principal office-holder, would proba­ bly be one of the first to be considered as a replacement. Appointments had to be approved by the gods through omens and thus the diviners were in an influential position with regard to promotion. Each office and particularly the more eminent had distinctive symbols such as uniforms, badges, standards, bodyguards, and chariots. The ceremonies of instal­ lation included the swearing of an oath of loyalty to the king. Officers were paid from the resources of the jurisdiction, central or provincial, in which they were employed and the remuneration took various forms such as food and clothing allowances (especially for those n

1 3

fa refe does not always literally mean 'eunuch' however. See A 431 A .

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3

at court), or income from specified land-holdings. On occasion the king would add a special reward such as clothing, jewelry, tax exemption, or residence for life at the palace. Officials constantly complained that they were underpaid, and it was accepted practice that they would augment their pay by surreptitious means, bribes, 'special' taxes, and the like. Inefficiency and corruption if detected were punished, however, and the punishments ranged over a wide number of possibilities including imprisonment, mutilation, and execution. The vast and complex nature of the empire meant that there was a great deal of work to do and, on the whole, the Assyrian officers seem to have been a hard-working lot who travelled where and when it was necessary and relayed regular reports to their superiors. The king, in some instances at least, set a good example by accompanying the army on campaign and by personally supervising building projects. As to the territory administered by this large bureaucracy, there were two major units, the land of Assyria proper and Greater Assyria. In contemporary records the term 'Land of Ashur' (mat Assur) can refer to the two together or to Assyria proper, and the latter can also simply be called 'The Land' (matu). Assyria proper, or the 'Assyrian heartland', was roughly a triangle with its apex at the city Ashur on the Tigris, and its base stretching from Arba il in the east to Nineveh in the west. This area consisted of four major cities (Ashur, Arba'il, Nineveh and Calah) which were surrounded by fertile agricultural land. The entire area was under a governor (lakin mat Assur) and each city had its own governor (laknu) and mayor (ha^annu) with a hierarchy of administrators beneath them. The cities had special privileges (exemption from various taxes and impositions), which each jealously guarded; the most privileged of all was the city of Ashur whose governor reported directly to the king. Beyond Assyria proper was 'Greater Assyria' (there is no ancient equivalent for this term), a name which denotes territory outside of the Assyrian heartland and directly ruled or indirectly manipulated by the Assyrian king. The size of this area and its administrative divisions changed considerably during the three centuries of the Neo-Assyrian empire, and two distinct methods of administration, treaty arrange­ ments and provincial administration, are evident. The treaty arrange­ ment was thefirstto evolve, as Assyrian foreign policy slowly graduated in the late second millennium from staging razzias on neighbouring states to arranging more permanent and still profitable relations with these states. Two basic kinds of treaty relations emerged, treaties with equal partners and treaties with vassals. While vassal treaties, which involved keeping foreign princes and nobles hostage at the Assyrian court, continued to be arranged throughout Neo-Assyrian history, treaties with equal partners were gradually replaced in the ninth century 3

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by quite another device, conquest and imposition of provincial administ­ ration. A major reform of the entire administrative system for Greater Assyria was instituted by Tiglath-pileser III, who reduced the size of the provinces and thus reduced the power of the individual provincial governors. He thereby thwarted the ambitious expansion of authority by some of these men, a phenomenon which had plagued Assyria immedi­ ately preceding his accession. One part of Greater Assyria, Babylonia, could not be treated like any other part and Assyria tried various methods of control without success. In the ninth century there were treaty arrangements between Assyria and Babylonia, arrangements which included Assyria's guarantee of the Babylonian king's position, and a similar agreement seems to have existed between Tiglath-pileser III and Nabonassar in the eighth century. In the face of repeated troubles with maintaining an acceptable monarch on the Babylonian throne, however, Tiglath-pileser finally abandoned the policy and ascended the Babylonian throne himself. This new method of treating Babylonia was adopted by subsequent Assyrian kings, with the exception of Sennacherib who tried to rule through puppet kings, but it still did not provide the ideal means of controlling Babylonia, which remained the most fractious part of the empire. The centre of the Assyrian administrative system was, in theory, the royal court, but since kings tended to travel the administrative structure found a more permanent headquarters in the palace of one of the major cities; this we call the 'capital', although there is no Assyrian equivalent for this word. Calah served as the administrative headquarters during the ninth and eighth centuries B.C., while Nineveh filled this role in the seventh century. At these sites have been found the state archives, consisting of voluminous correspondence with the king, and adminis­ trative records, from the respective periods just mentioned. The absence of such archives at Dur-Sharrukin should probably not be attributed to the chance of discovery but to the fact that there had not been time to move the administrative headquarters before Sargon IPs sudden death. There was a standing order to all officials to report to the king 'whatever you see and hear', and to ensure rapid communication there was a corps of messengers which enjoyed the use of a network of roads and posting statidns. Messages could be relayed even more quickly in emergencies by a system of observation towers and fire signals. Borders were carefully guarded by a series of fortresses and garrison-troops, who permitted the passage of individuals and small groups on business, after due payment of tariffs, but stood in the way of attempted border raids or foreign invasions. 14

1 4

See A. L. Oppenheim, "The eyes of the Lord', JAOS

88 (1968) 1 7 3 - 8 0 ; A 703, 30?

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Before leaving the subject of the administrative headquarters of the empire, a word should be said about the move from Calah to Nineveh. This change was part of a much larger operation which involved massive building programmes, major theological developments, and social and economic upheavals. The factors lying behind this major shift in royal policy were varied and included the changing political, economic, and social scene. That the Assyrian monarch should wish to move his capital away from the city of Ashur near the vulnerable southern border with Babylonia is not surprising. Nor was the economic position of Ashur ideal, since it was located at the extreme south of the fertile Assyrian heartland. Calah and Nineveh were more ideally situated from both points of view. Other factors which probably played a part were the ancient rights of the nobility of Ashur and the ancient accumulation of buildings, both of which an Assyrian monarch would have found inhibiting and oppressive. Finally, a leading desire of an Assyrian monarch was to do something gigantic and unique which would be remembered for all time, and what better fits that aim than building a totally new city or at least completely rebuilding an old one? In Chapter 25, weaknesses in the Assyrian monarchy and administra­ tive system were cited as causes contributing to the fall of Assyria, and here one must delineate these together with some general remarks on this subject by way of conclusion. The chief advantage of an autocracy is that decisions can be made quickly since they come from only one individual, and if the autocrat makes decisions rapidly and wisely there is great benefit to the state, which is saved the waste and divisiveness of protracted debate. This was certainly true in Assyria, where such decisivefiguresas Ashurnasirpal II and Sargon II brought great glory to the country. But not all kings were so effective and, while outside elements played against some of them, for others, such as Shamshi-Adad V and Adad-nirari III, the fault must surely be found with weakness in the character and capabilities of the monarch himself. The removal of such a weak king was possible only by revolution for there was no constitutional means. At the monarch's death he was succeeded by his own offspring, which meant that hereditary weaknesses, as well as strengths, would continue. New blood flowed into the royal line from the female side through marriage but the only chance of a totally new infusion was a usurper, such as Sargon II possibly was. Even an aged monarch could not retire, at least there is no clear evidence of abdication, although there is one instance, in the reign of Shalmaneser III, where the affairs of state were gradually managed by others as the king grew older. Thus the burden of running the state sometimes fell heavily on the bureaucracy, and the system, which depended upon afirmhand at the helm, was found wanting. The entire structure was permeated by Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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patronage and bribery, and even one who succeeded in gaining a post was open to slander and disgrace, for the standing order to all officials to report to the king whatever they saw and heard drove them zealously to inform on their colleagues. The higher the official, the larger the bribe, so that the most powerful were also the most wealthy, and in two periods, 784—745 and after 635, a small number of exceptionally strong and rich individuals made serious encroachments upon the royal prerogative. III.

SOCIAL

STRUCTURE

Assyrian society was conservative in nature but flexible enough to manage the stresses and strains to which it was subjected by the emergence of the state as a great empire. In fact it was the stability of the social structure which gave the Assyrian state such strength. The focus of social relations was tribal and family affiliation, and a fundamental motivation in every Assyrian's life was the protection and propagation of his family and tribe. This phenomenon is amply illustrated by the various types of personal names expressing a prayer to a god to preserve the family (e.g. AHur-fumu-tffir 'Oh-Ashur-May-the-Name-be-Well!') or to protect the heir (e.g. AHur-apla-usur, 'Oh-Ashur-Protect-theHeir!') and expressing thanks to a god for granting an heir so that the family name will endure (e.g. Allur-^era-ibni, 'Ashur-Has-CreatedSeed'). It is also apparent from the frequent occurrence of adoption, a practice which not only provided a childless couple with care for their old age but ensured the future of the family. Even the dead were kept within the home for they were buried under the floor. Beyond the family and tribal groupings there were social classes. Since the criteria for class division were power and wealth, the social strata corresponded more or less to the bureaucratic hierarchy outlined in the preceding section, and no distinction can be made between social standing and rank in state service. At the top of the scale was the king and at the bottom were the slaves, with various levels of society in between. The royal court represented the height of society and it was immediately followed by the courts of the crown prince and the governors. Follow­ ing these in the social scale were the nobles or officers (rabutu) with their families and relations and the 'heads' (qaqqadu) of the major cities. Members of the upper classes were distinguished by the external marks of office, already mentioned, their entourage of dependents, guards, and servants, and by their grand houses if they were not palace residents. The mode of address found in letters, which was probably also used in 15

1 5

See

A

72,

no. 2;

A

319.

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speech, was formal and included the use of 'my lord' (belt) for one of superior rank while the speaker referred to himself as 'your servant' (uradka). Social equals addressed one another as 'my brother' (ahj). Obsequiousness characterizes letters from an inferior to a superior, again no doubt reflecting oral practice. Letters to the king contain fawning phrases, and occasionally the writer goes so far as to call himself a 'dog' [kalbu) in the king's service. Ignoring the various lower orders of free men, about which little is known, one comes to the non-free or slaves. Slavery was not so extensive in Assyria as one might expect; certainly it was not as common as in the Roman empire, nor did the economy of Assyria, if one excludes the monumental building works, rely heavily upon this institution. A possible source of misunderstanding is the term urdu, which in Assyrian is used both for a person who is the property of another and for anyone, free or not, in describing his relation to his superior; for example even the field-marshal {turtánu) could be referred to as the urdu of the king. Another consideration is the fact that, while people were attached to land and households and were sold with them, it is unknown whether all such people were technically slaves or if some were half-free. As for slavery proper, there were both debt slaves and foreign captives. The debt slave was better off, for he enjoyed a number of privileges. He could marry a free person, appear as a witness in a court case, conduct business transactions with other slaves and their masters, and he could even own property to which people were attached. There was also the prospect that some day his debts would be paid and freedom restored, although in practice manumission was rare, since it would not be encouraged by the master and the debt slave's incentive to seek it would be attenuated by the aforementioned privileges. The lot of the foreign captive was entirely different; he was given the meanest of manual labour to perform with little hope for the future apart from escape or death. The position of women in Assyrian society was quite inferior, being even lower than that in Babylonia. One rarely encounters a woman acting in a legal or business transaction on her own behalf, for she had virtually no status or rights as an individual. She was entirely dependent upon her male relations, father, husband, sons, and brothers, and their position in society. She was confined to separate quarters, the harem, and apart from male relatives she could have social intercourse only with other females. Marriage, the rearing of children, and the care of the home were her established roles in life. An individual Assyrian belonged to a particular class because of his kinship and not because of personal merits or achievements. If he were a particularly capable and successful man, any promotion and distinction Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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he might gain would involve all his relations, and thus a family and tribe blessed with a series of successful members would gradually rise in the class structure. An outstanding example of this phenomenon is the Aramaeans, who were forcibly brought to Assyria in the ninth century B . C . to do corvée, but by the late eighth century B . C . there were people bearing Aramaean names at very high levels in the class structure. While the general pattern of this phenomenon is apparent, it is impossible to document the rise of a particular family or group in detail because of our lack of continuous sources over a sufficient length of time. One can, however, single out names of individuals who were advancing rapidly at certain times and places. Such, for example, is the case with Kakkulanu (or Akkulanu), the 'captain of the crown prince' (rab kisir fa mar farri), who bought up a great deal of land and was very much involved in business transactions of various kinds at Nineveh during the Sargonid period. A caveat to this and similar examples, however, is that sometimes these individuals might have been acting on behalf of their office rather than their personal interests. Most of what has been said so far applies only to native Assyrians, but there were foreigners living in the state as well. There were the foreign captives, already mentioned, who generally did forced labour on building projects or were otherwise employed in menial capacities in temples and palaces. There were also free foreigners within Assyria proper, some of whom had very high positions. The fact that many of these people were known by their gentilics alone ('The Babylonian', 'The Arab', 'The Tabalaean') rather than by real personal names shows that, despite their accepted position in the state, their foreign extraction had not been forgotten, and suggests that they were subjected to social sanctions. Possible support for this proposal is found in a unique marriage contract, wherein a mother purchases a woman to become the bride of her son. This was not normal Assyrian practice, for a wife was not considered a slave, and the irregular procedure may have been the only means whereby a wife could be found for the son, who belonged to an Egyptian family living in Assyria. Another group of foreigners comprised the princes and nobles of other lands who were kept at the Assyrian court, hostages in effect, to assure the observance of treaties by their countries of origin. These foreign dignitaries could cause problems as, for example, the people of Papu, living in Sargon's court, who conspired with some other for­ eigners (see Chapter 22). Even a foreign king, such as a king of Elam in 16

17

1 6

See the references in A 443A, nof. For other individuals see A 444, 16gf; A 104, 12—15; A 23,

263-7. 1 7

A 93, no. 307. See A 105, no. 13; V.A. Jakobsen, 'Studies in Neo-Assyrian law', AOF

115—21.

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AshurbanipaFs reign (see Chapter 24), might seek asylum at the Assyrian court. Thus there were many foreigners of every social class in Assyria, a fact which made the Assyrians aware of different lands and manners. As to the Assyrian attitude towards countries and peoples beyond their homeland, they were reasonably interested and knowledgeable. Not only could they learn from the foreigners in their midst but also they heard the accounts of returned soldiers, officials, and business men. Other languages would not intimidate a people who were already familiar with both Akkadian and Aramaic, the latter being the lingua franca in any case, and great surprise was expressed on one occasion when a foreign emissary (from Gyges of Lydia) reached the Assyrian court and no one could understand his tongue. Another illustration of the fact that foreign manners piqued the curiosity of the Assyrians is the portrayal of Urartian institutions in a text of Sargon II (Letter to the God) which was read out to the people of the city of Ashur. In it were described, with a keen eye to detail, the ingenious water works, the methods of horse-training, and the coronation practices. Thus an Assyrian was reluctant to have a foreigner as a son-in-law, but he was willing to learn from him and tolerate him. Indeed, Assyrians could afford to tolerate foreigners, since they ruled most of those they knew. Family and class were mainstays of Assyrian society, but another significant social unit was the community, be it city or village. There were four major cities, Ashur, Calah, Arba'il and Nineveh, and a number of lesser centres such as Kurba^il, Tarbisu, and Kalizi. Calculation of populationfiguresfor the major urban centres is difficult, but one study has suggested that Calah contained about 63,000 people while Nineveh, which covered an area twice the size of that of Calah, contained about 120,000. The city streets were narrow and dark, being flanked by the blank walls of houses which had all their openings (apart from the street entrance) facing into an enclosed courtyard. The inhabitants were conscious of themselves both as citizens of Assyria proper and as citizens of a particular city. The term 'city' is used to translate the Assyrian alu and a much smaller social unit, a 'village' (kapru), existed as well. The villages were scattered throughout Assyria and contained the dwellings of the local farmers and officials. Often one or more villages with their agricultural lands belonged to a large land-owner, whose holdings might be scattered over a wide area. Virtually nothing is known of the way of life of the population of ancient Assyria outside the city walls, and thus it is impossible to say whether the upper classes lived entirely in cities or whether some of them were landed gentry who spent at least part of their time on their estates. Whatever social problems existed in Assyria, they were not suffi18

19

20

1 8

A 357, i 6 f v .

1 9

A 35 11, § § 1 3 9 - 7 8 . See A 1 9 3 .

2 0

A 66, 4 3 - 9 .

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ciently serious to cause social unrest. There was never a Peasants' Rising, for example, and the revolutions which shook the throne from time to time were palace affairs with no direct bearing on the majority of the population. The poor - widows, orphans, and cripples — were regarded as a corporate responsibility, and everyone from the king down was expected to protect and support those who lacked families to do this for them. Prostitution seems to have been an accepted but limited phenome­ non in society, and drunkenness was known but frowned upon. Crimes of violence, including murder and the vendettas they sparked, are rarely mentioned in our documentation and theft was not a serious problem. In general the picture we have is of a stable, secure, rather spartan society in which men, other than the priests and scribes, engaged in the vigorous exercise of manual labour, arms, and hunting, while the women minded the children and the home. The steadying force was the community, the tribe, and especially the family. IV.

LAW

The ultimate legal authority in Assyria was the king, but in practice judicial powers were exercised by the bureaucracy. The legal system was an integral part of the administrative structure and not, as developed in Western civilization, a separate institution with its own officers and a code of laws to enforce. In passing one may note that the 'Middle Assyrian Laws' (cf. CAH n .2, 47 5 f) were more literary than legal documents and, in any case, bear little relation to legal theory or practice in the first millennium. The law of the land was custom and precedent, and the occasional legal disputes which could not be settled by the people directly involved were adjudicated by administrative officials. Since most of our knowledge of Neo-Assyrian law is derived from the everyday legal documents which have survived, it is as well to describe these first. Neo-Assyrian legal documents have been recently analysed by J. N. Postgate, and the following description relies heavily upon his excellent treatment. A 'legal document' is the record of a transaction between two or more parties, including the names of witnesses, the scribe, and the date. A common feature of such texts is the inclusion of seal impressions as proof that those who impressed their seals upon the tablet subscribed to the statements therein. If an individual was too poor to own a seal, be it cylinder seal or stamp seal, he pressed his fingernail into the moist clay, and it was duly recorded on the tablet that this was the mark of the relevant person. Not infrequently tablets were enclosed in a case or 2

21

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envelope of clay and a version of the transaction was written on this cover and duly sealed. There were also legal documents written in Aramaic on parchment or papyrus, and, although these have all perished, the bullae (lumps of clay with brief notes in Assyrian) which were squeezed over the cord binding them are known. There are four general types of legal documents: conveyances, contracts, receipts, and court documents. The term 'conveyance' covers all texts which record the transfer of property, and most of these are, therefore, sale documents, although rentals, marriages, adoptions, and inheritance also come under this general heading. Sale documents concerned only the transfer of people and real estate; and sales of any other property, such as crops or animals, did not require a legal record or 'deed'. Provision was made in the conveyances against future litigation, and while the normal penalty for instigating a false claim was a heavy fine, occasionally some bizarre penalties were prescribed. Thus the guilty party might be required to present a number of white horses to a god, to burn his eldest son, or even to swallow an enormous amount of wool! The inclusion of such curious penalties was a mere formality, for there is no evidence that they were ever enforced. In the case of sales of people the seller is customarily required to guarantee the slaves against illness for one hundred days and against any litigation involving the slave at any time in the future. Contracts involve an obligation on one party in favour of another ('bond' is the technical term) and thus cover all kinds of loans and promissory notes. The amount of the debt might be stated in kind or in terms of silver or copper as the standard of exchange, although frequently the sum did not actually change hands at that point. Indeed, 'true loans' were not all that common and most debts were incurred in a variety of ways, such as inability to pay rent, or crop failure. Interest, when stipulated, was very high (interest rates of more than 1 0 0 per cent per annum are attested), but frequently the creditor took a pledge, fields or people, from the debtor and made use of the pledge for the period of the debt in lieu of interest (an 'antichretic' loan). When the debt was paid, the tablet upon which the contract was inscribed was smashed, thus effectively destroying all evidence that such an obligation existed. On occasion, however, it was necessary to have concrete proof that the obligation had been met, and so a receipt, another type of legal document, was drawn up. This did not happen very often and few receipts are known. Similarly there are few of the last type of legal texts, the court documents, since disputes were normally handled privately. Despite their small number, however, these court documents are of special interest, since they provide an insight into the manner in which legal arguments were settled on a formal basis. Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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There were no law courts and certainly no court houses in ancient Assyria, but parties who were involved in a dispute which they were unable to resolve by themselves could go before a high administrative official to seek a settlement. Appeal was made normally only to certain officials, the 'mayor' (ha%annu), the 'chief justice' (sartennu), and the 'vizier' (sukallu), although in some instances another high official (for example, the 'steward', abarakku) might be asked. They could act singly or in a group of two or more. If the official or officials could not come to a decision, the disputants were sent to the ordeal. The little which is known about the ordeal in Neo-Assyrian times can be stated briefly: under the supervision of appointed officers the litigants would declare their respective claims orally before the god and the ultimate verdict would be pronounced by the god. How the deity came to a decision and announced it is unknown. The ordeal was the final court of appeal and the decision binding. It is interesting that there is no record of an appeal being made to the king in such cases, for in other administrative realms an Assyrian subject could apply directly to the monarch. The entire proceedings of the judicial settlement, whether an ordeal was involved or not, were recorded, together with the names of the participants and witnesses and the ultimate decision. The settlement usually called for the imposition of a payment or fine on one party, since most such disputes concerned the ownership of property. Among the settlements known to us there are no examples of litigation stretching over long periods of time, in contrast to Babylonia, and this may be a reflection of the greater political stability in Assyria. Cases involving bodily injury and murder were normally settled by private agreement or vendetta. Prisons existed and there are recorded instances of people claiming to have been kept in jail for many years but these, on the whole, seem to have been political prisoners. It is not clear whether people were ever incarcerated by the state for legal infractions, although it was possible for an individual forcibly to detain a person who had wronged him, until he had been redressed either privately or in a judicial case. The Assyrian legal system changed little over the centuries, being impervious to foreign influence and the stresses brought to bear by imperialistic expansion. It was, then, another steadying influence in Assyrian civilization. V.

THE

ECONOMY

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highlight features of it which are relevant to the fall of the empire. Given that the economic system was gradually altered, it is necessary to consider separately the economy in the two areas, the Assyrian heartland and the empire. In Assyria proper the economic base was agriculture, animal husbandry, and trade. All three of these activities were practised from ancient times, since they were natural pursuits in an area with the geographic features of the Assyrian heartland. The southern border of this area, where the city state of Ashur was located, coincided with the southern limit of dependable annual rainfall, so that Assyria's meadows could be cultivated with considerably more ease and profit than those farther south in Babylonia, where artificial irrigation was vital. The position of the city of Ashur, at the point where the Jebel Hamrin fades into the Jezirah, was also significant for trade, since it was a strategic point for crossing the Tigris on the east—west trade route as well as being on the north-south route along the Tigris. The inhabitants of the Assyrian heartland were compelled to trade from earliest times because, apart from the produce of their fertile land and some stone for building in the north, the area had no natural resources. This statement seems ludicrous today, since one of the world's great oilfields is located on the very edge of the ancient Assyrian heartland. The main cereal grown was barley although other grains, such as wheat and emmer, were known. Barley was used for bread, sesame was grown for oil, and flax for linen. While the beer brewed from barley was the staple drink, vineyards produced wine, the supply of which was augmented from immediately adjacent areas in the mountains. Orchards and gardens yielded fruit, nuts, leeks, onions, and cress. The most common animals bred were cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, mules, and various kinds of fowl such as ducks. The fowls produced eggs, the goats provided milk, with its by-products of butter and cheese, and the sheep were raised for wool. Cattle, donkeys, and mules were used as draught animals and beasts of burden. On special occasions an animal was slaughtered for its meat and hide. The shepherd worked on a contract basis, whereby he paid the owner afixedportion of the flock's yield and kept the remainder. In the Neo-Assyrian period all animals were subject to a state tax. In theory all land belonged to the god, represented by the crown, while in practice the state owned only a certain portion, the remainder being held by the temples, wealthy families, and private individuals. In addition to outright private possession, land could be held under an arrangement called ilku. By this method, the client had the use of the land in return for performing state service, both civil (road building, canal repairs, and so on) and military. It should be noted that a few scholars believe the ilku was not associated with land tenure but simply with the Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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fact of being an Assyrian; however, most believe that originally the ilku was applicable only to land-holding and by Neo-Assyrian times the proportion of the population not working on the land had increased to such a point that it was necessary to impose ilku on citizens throughout the state. The more important and wealthy were allowed to make payments in lieu of service, and in the case of large estates where ilku was involved the owner was expected to produce a certain number of men for ilku and would not himself perform the service. The absence of an ilku obligation on a piece of land was an asset and was duly noted in sale documents. It is unknown what proportion of the entire land area of the state was held under ilku, but all cultivated areas, whether subject to ilku or not, were assessed a grain and straw tax (fibfu u nusahe). As for trade, because of lack of natural resources the list of imports was extensive and included metals, timber, precious stones, ivory, horses, camels, wine, aromatics, and possibly silk from China. The principal export was manufactured goods, particularly textiles, but of equal importance with the export of goods was the fact that Assyria was a crossroads for major trade routes, including those to and from Babylonia and the Persian Gulf. In practice trade was conducted not by the Assyrians themselves but by Aramaeans, Phoenicians, and Arabs, to name some, and this fact accounts for the lack of cuneiform documen­ tation on trade. The state reaped profits from the trade through the imposition of customs duties (quay tax, gate tax, and so on) and through the indirect benefits of a thriving economy. Crafts in Assyria were conducted in the palace and possibly also in the temples and large estates. Before Neo-Assyrian times the crown issued raw materials to the craftsmen and they returned all finished products to the crown, their subsistence being provided extra. But in Neo-Assyrian times the craftsmen worked on a contract basis, whereby they repaid the crown for the raw materials in other forms, not necessarily in manufac­ tured goods, and kept a certain portion of the raw materials as commission. Going beyond the confines of Assyria proper, the economy of the areas ruled varied according to local conditions, but the empire profited from each and every one of them by the receipt of tax and tribute. Taxes were imposed upon the provinces proper, while tribute was collected from the regimes which were under obligation to Assyria by treaty. Both taxes and tribute were rendered in kind and included exotic imports as well as the animals which were used to support local administration and armies. Tribute was paid annually at an appointed time, when the representatives of each government paraded before the Assyrian king 22

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with their contributions borne in state. On this occasion the Assyrians required the ambassadors to renew their treaty oaths (adti) on behalf of their rulers. Bulky items, such as grain and animals, were delivered to an Assyrian centre close by rather than being brought to the capital. Tribute came under the direct jurisdiction of the crown, regardless of where it was deposited, while taxes in the provinces were collected by the local governor and his bureaucracy. The ilku and the grain and straw taxes mentioned earlier also applied to the provinces but, of course, not to the vassal states. In addition, in the provinces there were agents (musarkisu) directly responsible to the king who gathered horses and raised levies of troops for the royal armies. The booty taken on foreign campaigns consisted of luxury items and became the property of the palace to dispose of at will. Some was kept but some was distributed to the temples, to provincial governors, and to the nobility. The leading economic institution in the state was the palace, but it did not have a monopoly, for industry and commerce were conducted by the large estates and by smaller units and individuals. The temples still had independent revenues from their land, but the increase in their size in the Neo-Assyrian period had made them dependent upon royal favour in the form of transferred taxes, ilku, and a portion of the booty, in order to survive economically. It was possible, as noted in Section II above, for a man and his family slowly to build a fortune by acquiring land and its revenue through skilful management and clever transactions. The standard of exchange in business deals was silver or copper, both being used contemporaneously, but copper being more common in the eighth century and silver in the seventh century. The metal was only a standard and did not actually change hands except in the few instances where it was the substance involved. This is in contrast to Babylonia in a later period, where regular statements about the form and quality of the metal indicate that it did change hands. There is no clear evidence that coinage was used in Assyria. Of equal importance with a standard of exchange was a standard of weights and measures, and it is commonly stated in the documentation which standard was being followed, both the 'mina of Carchemish' and the 'royal mina' being in common use. Official weights, of stone or metal in the shape of ducks or lions and with a cuneiform label indicating weight and royal name (where applicable), were available for checking and some of these have been recovered in modern times. A careful account was kept of business transactions and hundreds of administrative tablets, mainly from palaces, have been recovered. The main types of documents represented are debenture lists, credit lists, inventories, accounts, tax assessments, census lists, and notes and memoranda of all kinds. Pricesfluctuatedaccording to supply and demand, and there is no Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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suggestion that the state ever fixed or controlled prices. A fitting illustration of this is Ashurbanipal's boast that he brought back so many camels from his Arabian campaigns that the price of camels in Assyria plummeted to a ridiculously small sum. Given the nature of our sources, we cannot assess the standard of living in the Assyrian empire, although it is clear that it would have fluctuated with the fortunes of the state as a whole, and there is every indication that the upper classes enjoyed many exotic luxuries during the great days of Assyrian power. It is equally apparent that in such a highly centralized system the outlying regions of the empire were relatively economically depressed areas. This last observation leads to some concluding remarks on the problems and weaknesses in the Assyrian economy. The concentration of supplies and wealth in the large cities gave great strength and authority to the crown, a necessary adjunct to a political structure based on royal absolutism, but, as Postgate has pointed out, it meant that Assyria was vulnerable to disruptions of supplies from its outlying regions and these regions were, in addition, deprived of their internal viability and strength. Garelli has suggested that there is evidence of increasing inflation with the devaluation of silver brought about by the large quantities of that precious substance flowing into Assyria. Another problem was the continual increase in the number of people not directly engaged in food production, members of the state bureaucracy and most of the urban dwellers. As early as the reign of Tiglath-pileser I ( 1 1 1 4 - 1 0 7 6 B . C . ) Assyrian kings were expanding the area of land under cultivation and forcibly transporting peoples to work on it, in order to supply food for this growing segment of the population. Such a process could not go on indefinitely. While the expansion of the Assyrian empire in its initial phases stimulated the economy by bringing a great deal of wealth and manpower under the sway of the Assyrian state, the stimulus could not have permanent effects without some major readjustments to the economic structure. Conquered regions could produce only so much, even with the best will in the world, and the inhabitants of these areas were naturally reluctant to work hard only to see the greater portion of the fruits of their labours carted off to a foreign country. They were hesitant to engage vigorously in foreign trade under Assyrian eyes since the more wealthy they became the more attractive their assets were to Assyria's covetous eyes. The Assyrian state's only answer to apathy and resistance was to use the ironfist,and it never occurred to the crown to replace this heavy-handed technique with attempts to encourage local initiative and industry. Assyria's view of the economy of the empire was 23

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simplistic: the ruled territories were there to supply the central state with as much wealth and labour as could be squeezed out of them, and no thought was given to long-range schemes and profits. Here lies one of the basicflawsin the Assyrian imperial structure, a flaw which would reappear in subsequent empires formed after the Assyrian model. VI.

WARFARE

The chief occupation of the Assyrian king and state was warfare. All other interests were subordinate to this central concern and over the centuries Assyria developed military expertise far surpassing that of any other contemporary nation. A supplement to knowledge gleaned from contemporary sources is provided by the fact that the armies of the succeeding Oriental powers, the Babylonian and Persian, were in many respects modelled after the Assyrian, so that information generally applicable to Assyrian warfare can be gained from Greek accounts of the Persians during their wars with the Greeks in the fifth century B . C . Developments and changes were taking place in Assyrian armed might throughout her history, but the reign of Tiglath-pileser III must be highlighted, since this king was responsible for a number of alterations and improvements including, it would seem, the organization of a proper standing army. The Assyrian army in the Sargonid period had a potential magnitude of several hundreds of thousands of troops, although a call-up of the entire force for a campaign was extremely rare. Supreme command of the army rested with the king and, immediately under him, the 'field marshal' (turtanu). The army was divided into units of various sizes and types; but the basic division was the 'company' (kisru) of fifty men under a 'captain' (rab kisri or rab hanle) and this unit was in turn broken down into files of ten men. An officer carried a mace as a symbol of his authority. The majority of the troops were infantry and these were supported by chariotry, cavalry, and engineers. The common weapons of the footmen were the spear, bow, sling, dagger, sword, mace, and battle-axe, and they carried shields of various types. Among the infantry units were special groups of archers, each archer with a bow as tall as himself and carrying his own quiver. The archer was accompanied by a spearman and protected by an enormous shield carried by a third man. Chariot types varied over the centuries, but they were essentially two-wheeled with an open back and drawn by one or more horses. In the ninth century B . C . each vehicle had a driver and an archer, and later one or two shieldbearers were added. The bow used was smaller than that employed by the foot archer, as was the bow of the cavalry. Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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The cavalryman had, besides the bow, a short sword, and in the ninth century he was usually accompanied by a second mounted man with a shield who protected the archer and held his horse's reins when he shot. In the later period this companion disappeared. The engineering units consisted of men who operated and maintained the siege engines, a subject to which we shall return in a moment. Whether or not these units also included men who performed the other special tasks of siege operations (such as scaling and sapping) is not clear, nor do we know who was specifically responsible for the mechanics of crossing rivers and making roads. If possible rivers were forded but, when necessary, timbers were stretched across or pontoon bridges of rafts constructed. Sometimes troops and horses swam across, the men with the assistance of inflated goatskins, while equipment and supplies were ferried over on rafts floated on goatskins. In mountainous terrain new paths were hacked out as required by pick men, and old paths widened and improved. The clothing of troops in battle was protective, the lower orders wearing leather and the higher ranks scale armour. Professional Assyrian soldiers wore pointed helmets in battle, while in peace they replaced them with braided headbands. Provincial troops wore native dress. In the reliefs soldiers are portrayed as smartly and uniformly dressed; and the stalwart figures give the impression that they were highly discip­ lined, the orderly ranks suggesting that parade ground drill was not unknown. These representations may, however, be idealistic. Originally troops were raised under ilku and were required only for limited periods of time during the year. Veterans were settled in military colonies in newly acquired territory. As Assyria's foreign expansion was stepped up, more troops were required and even an extension of ilku beyond land-holding arrangements could no longer satisfy this demand, particularly with the creation of a standing army. Eventually there came to be three kinds of soldier, the permanent professional, the man fulfilling his ilku obligation, and the extraordinary soldier called up for a specific campaign. The levying of troops was the primary responsibility of the captains, each of whom had a certain number of villages under his command, and the captains were in turn responsible to the provincial governor. By the Sargonid age there was also a standing army which was under the direct authority of the king, no doubt created as a counter-balance to the potential misuse of military power by the provincial governors. The king also had his own bodyguard of infantry and cavalry. The troops recruited within Assyria proper were spread around the empire as much as possible, since they were the most loyal, and they constituted the chariotry and cavalry divisions. The infantry consisted largely of foreigners, mainly Aramaeans. Some foreign groups became specialized Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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units. For example, the Ituaeans, an Aramaic people, were entrusted with special tasks such as escort duty throughout the empire. Garrisons and barracks were scattered over the empire, but the military headquarters was a massive armoury in the Assyrian capital. Here was stationed a large portion of the troops, animals, and equipment of the standing army, and there were, in addition, royal apartments for the king to occupy when he wished. At each New Year there was a grand inspection at the armoury when the king reviewed his troops and their equipment. The architecture of the armoury is known since that at Calah in the ninth century, Fort Shalmaneser, was excavated in recent years; that at Nineveh, the ekal malarti or ekal kutalli, is still known only from descriptions in royal inscriptions. In Assyria's early days warfare was conducted sporadically, in the form of quick raids, but by the Neo-Assyrian period the institution of annual campaigns of longer duration was well established. The king, in theory, personally led the yearly campaign but in practice he did not always do so, nor, in fact, did a campaign actually take place every year, but royal annals and eponym chronicles usually assumed that they did. The motives and aims of the campaigns were multiple and complex involving, as they did, economic greed, the imperialistic idea, national pride, the egotism of the Assyrian monarch, and religious fervour, and it is reasonably apparent that there was a long-range policy behind them, a policy which altered from reign to reign. A campaign normally started in the spring, as soon as the rains of winter were past, and the beginning was a great occasion. The core of the army was gathered at the starting point, which was not necessarily the capital, where the monarch inspected the troops and the priests and diviners performed the customary rites. As the army marched off it was preceded by the standards, accompanied by the priests and diviners, and the king with his bodyguard. These were followed in order by the chariotry, cavalry, infantry, and the impedimenta. Further levies would be picked up at gathering points in the regions of the empire through which the army marched on its way to the frontier. When the army set out it carried some food supplies, mainly barley, which were issued in daily rations, but it lived mainly off the land and this determined the routes followed. In each territory it traversed the local governor or ruler was required to provide sustenance as long as the army was within his territory. If, as happened occasionally, the duration of a campaign stretched over a year, the army would normally wait out the winter in a suitable camping spot. At the successful conclusion of a campaign the hostages and booty were paraded through the streets of the Assyrian capital. The king was driven in state in his ceremonial chariot with the conquered princes and nobles plodding in chains behind him. Assyrian military strategy involved pitched battles, siege warfare, and Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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psychological warfare. The Assyrians did not use guerrilla methods, apart from the occasional ambush, although their enemies sometimes did with success. Being a land-locked nation it depended upon foreign sailors, usually Phoenicians, when a navy was required. In open battles most of thefightingwas hand-to-hand combat by the infantry, under fire cover from the archers, chariotry, and cavalry. Special tactics known were midnight attacks, damming rivers to flood the enemy camp, and taking a position which cut the enemy off from his water supply. A central aim in all battles was the enemy's leader and the signal of victory was his death, flight, or surrender. This being so, a lightning attack led by the king and his bodyguard on the enemy commander in the midst of the foray was a proven tactic. Siege warfare became a highly specialized technique in the NeoAssyrian period and many of the skills developed by the Assyrians were subsequently adopted, improved upon, and expanded by later imperial powers including the Romans. Against the moats and ramparts of the well-fortified garrisons the Assyrian engineers brought a variety of engines and skills. There were the enclosed battering rams on wheels, in effect primitive tanks, with archers ensconced in turrets on top to pick off defenders on the wall who would attempt to burn the machine with torches or dislodge the battering rams with 'wolves', looped chains lowered from the walls. As for scalingtechniques, in addition to using ladders, earthen ramps were sometimes heaped up against the wall for battering rams to roll up and demolish the upper defences and allow the infantry to rush up and over. The Assyrians also used sappers to burrow under or through the walls and fires were set with torches at wooden gates. Engineers engaged in these various activities were under constant threat from the defenders who shot arrows and spears at them, dropped rocks and scalding liquid. Cover was provided by the archers who took up strategic positions with their shield-bearers. If the initial attempts at taking a city by siege failed, the Assyrians usually withdrew, but not before ravaging the surrounding countryside, burning and destroying crops, trees and houses. Only on occasion would they settle down for a long siege. When they did this, they stationed small groups of men in redoubts and siege towers near the wall, particularly near the gates, in order to prevent any traffic in or out of the city and to warn of any planned sortie from the gates. Once ensconced, the Assyrians were willing to wait many months or even a year or more, until the starved inhabitants capitulated. But siege warfare was a prolonged and costly business and even pitched battles could not be indulged in too frequently, so that the Assyrians preferred psychological warfare. They used a variety of tactics to persuade the people of target areas to surrender without resistance, these tactics involving initial overtures of peace. One such method was Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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to surround a city and then have one or more high-ranking Assyrian officers stand near the walls to address the population, presenting arguments why they should disobey their leaders and open the gates. This tactic was employed at the siege of Babylon during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III and at the siege of Jerusalem in the time of Senna­ cherib. If the enemy resisted peaceful overtures, then Assyria's tactics changed dramatically. One or more groups of cities were singled out for a major onslaught, be it pitched battle or siege, and once they were defeated the population was horribly mutilated and slaughtered, while their houses and towns were torn down and burnt. The skins of flayed people were prominently displayed and corpses erected on stakes on the spot as gruesome testimony to what the Assyrians could do. Surround­ ing people, once they heard of these acts, commonly surrendered to the Assyrian army without further resistance; indeed there were campaigns which met no hostilities, so widely had Assyrian terror spread. This 'calculated frightfulness' or psychological warfare is what has won the Assyrians such a notorious reputation in world history. The practice was extremely effective, and it is important to remember that the terror was selective. While an Assyrian king boasts of wholesale slaughter and devastation, in practice only certain pockets of resistance were subjected to this treatment. Another tactic which was employed selectively and for which Assyria also became notorious was the transportation of people. Populations of a given region were uprooted and moved to areas completely foreign to them, where they were forced to settle and work. The reasons for this were to provide labour on major building projects, such as a new palace, or to develop uncultivated land and increase the food supply. But an equally important administrative and military reason was to remove particularly rebellious groups from their home territory, thereby depriv­ ing them of their effectiveness, and also presenting an admonitory example to other potential rebels. Assyrian warfare was supremely successful, witness the great empire it won and maintained, and the collapse of that empire cannot be attributed to any major advance in military techniques on the part of Assyria's conquerors, the Medes and Babylonians. If there was any weakness at all in the Assyrian fighting arm it was the increasing dependence upon foreign troops rather than native militias, but this was a relatively unimportant factor in light of the more substantial political and economic forces which caused the collapse. VII.

THE

HUNT

A common recreation of a warlike people is hunting and the Assyrians were no exception to this rule. Already in the Middle Assyrian period the Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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pursuit and killing of animals as sport was a popular royal pastime, and this continued into the Neo-Assyrian era, when the royal hunt developed into a national institution similar in many respects to the annual campaign. Indeed in the reign of Ashurbanipal the lion hunt was performed, as we know from the reliefs and their captions, with great attention to organization and ceremony and was staged in such a way that the general populace could watch as the king despatched one lion after another. The end of the hunt was celebrated by a religious ceremony, for the gods Ninurta and Palil were patron deities of the hunt. Any wild creature, bird, beast, orfish,was fair game for an Assyrian royal hunt but those which presented the greatest challenge were preferred. Most commonly chased were the elephant, lion, and wild bull which at that time roved the Syrian steppes, a favourite hunting ground for Assyrian kings. Beasts were also captured alive and brought back to Assyria to be released at will for the purposes of a hunt. Assyrian interest in wild beasts was not confined to killing, however, for kings collected animals and kept them in zoological gardens and exotic creatures such as apes were prized as pets. Wild animals were hunted in a variety of ways, pursued from a chariot, stalked on foot, surprised in ambush, and stampeded towards the hunting party by battue. Most of our information about the hunt concerns the king's exploits, but presumably Assyrian males in general pursued this pastime both for enjoyment and for the maintenance of their military skills. The uncontrolled slaughter of animals in Syria by the Assyrians led to the elephant becoming extinct in that area in antiquity. VIII.

RELIGION

Any account of Assyrian religion is necessarily a discussion of the great state cults, since we have much information about them, whereas very little is known about the religious beliefs and practices of the individual Assyrian. Polytheism and cult are salient features of the religion of Assyria although, on the highest level at least, there were not nearly so many gods as there were in Babylonia. The reason for this is that deities in both civilizations were associated with cities, and the Babylonian plain had many more large urban centres than Assyria, where onefindsonly Ashur, with the god of the same name, Nineveh and Arba'il, each with Ishtar, and Calah with Ninurta. In addition, there was Shamash, the sungod, Adad the storm-god, and Sin, the moon-god, who was also the tutelary deity of the provincial city of Harran, which played an interesting role in the latter days of the Assyrian empire. Ashur was the king of gods, a reflection of the ancient beginnings of Assyria in the city state of Ashur. He was the official god of the Assyrian Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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nation, all of which belonged to him, and he appointed the Assyrian monarch as his vice-regent to rule on his behalf. The king attributed all his accomplishments, and especially his military victories, to the god Ashur, for not only his authority but his intelligence and resources were granted to him by divine favour. Ashur ruled the gods, mankind, and the universe as sovereign, lord, father, creator, sage, and warrior, these being the general categories into which his epithets fall. He was not a deity of the people at large and his presence was manifest only on state occasions and in official documents. Ninurta was the first-born son of Ashur and was the god of warfare and hunting. There was a shrine dedicated to him at Ashur but Calah was his chief centre, at least from the time of Ashurnasirpal II. The goddess Ishtar combined two main spheres of activity, battle and love, and she was the tutelary deity of two cities, Nineveh and Arba^il, as well as being highly revered in Ashur; our sources regularly speak of Tshtar of Nineveh', Tshtar of Arba'il', and 'Assyrian Ishtar'. Ninurta, Ishtar, Shamash, Adad, and Sin all had counterparts of the same name in Babylonian religion where, thanks to extensive Babylonian literature, their activities are much more widely attested than are those of Ashur. While the figure of Ashur appears static and austere, like that of an Assyrian king, the personalities of the other chief Assyrian deities are quite colourful. All of these deities, with the exception of Ishtar, are males, and while each of them had a spouse, her role was so subordinate that she was rarely mentioned, a reflection of the male-oriented nature of Assyrian society. Ishtar is the only exception, and her importance goes back to prehistoric times at Nineveh before Assyrian domination. Babylonian influence on Assyrian religion was immense, and this may be aptly illustrated at the outset by noting the penetration of three Babylonian deities, Ellil, Marduk, and Nabu into Assyria. Ellil appeared first, as early as the reign of Shamshi-Adad I ( i 8 1 3 — 1 7 8 1 B . C . ) , and eventually came to be virtually identical with Ashur, who assumed his epithets including the name Ellil itself. Evidence for the cult of Marduk in the city of Ashur appears in the fourteenth century B.C. and Marduk's popularity among Assyrians grew apace thereafter. Nabu's presence in Assyria came to the fore in the ninth century B.C., when great temples were built in his honour in Assyrian cities. Babylonian influence was not confined to the gods worshipped but stretched out to the religious rites as well. Most ceremonies and in particular the Akitu seem to have been affected by Babylonian ideas and practices. This was all part and parcel of the continuous cultural penetration of Babylonian civilization into Assyria. There were attempts, however, to reject this influence. In the reign of Sennacherib Marduk's supreme position in the pantheon was challenged, as noted in a Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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previous chapter (see above, p. 119), and his name was replaced by Ashur's name in some Assyrian copies of the Babylonian 'Poem of Creation' (enuma elif). Cult was a characteristic of Assyrian religion, as mentioned earlier, and the centre of the cult was the temple and the divine statue. The temple was a monumental building with a central shrine, where the cult image stood, several lesser chapels, and a multitude of rooms and corridors. Cities normally had a number of temples, the chief being the temple of the tutelary deity, and a given temple could include, besides the central shrine, any number of ancillary chapels dedicated to deities who nevertheless might have their own temple elsewhere. Thus, for example, the temple of Ashur at Ashur, Ekhursaggalkurkurra, embraced shrines dedicated to, among others, Ninurta and Dagan. The same deity might have a temple in more than one city, such as Nabu, who had temples in both Calah and Nineveh. While a god normally shared his temple with his spouse, occasionally two male deities were equally honoured by a temple; at Ashur there was the temple of An and Adad and the temple of Sin and Shamash. A temple was a self-contained community with its own hierarchy of personnel and its own economic resources, although in the NeoAssyrian period it began to lose control over its own affairs as it became more dependent upon royal benefits. The head of the temple was the '(chief) priest' (Jangu), who was responsible to the king as the represent­ ative on earth of Ashur, king of the gods. In theory the king's presence was in heavy demand, for his participation was required in large numbers of religious celebrations; in practice, however, substitution was possible and necessary since the monarch had so many other demands on his time. Under the (chief) priest was a variety of priests who were responsible for the various rites and activities of the temple. The temple personnel also included artisans, scribes, kitchen staff, and domestic servants. Traditionally the temple derived its income from land which it owned, but in the Neo-Assyrian period this income was supplemented by royal benefits in the form of offerings in perpetuity, of which there were different types, and extraordinary gifts granted on special occasions, such as a portion of the booty after a successful campaign. Renovation or expansion of the temple building was done under the authority of and at the expense of the crown. Thus the Assyrian cult by the Neo-Assyrian period depended very much on royal favour and loss of that favour meant serious depletion of revenue and gradual deterioration of the temple building itself. Relations between palace and temple were not all one-sided, however, for the king depended upon the priests for advice and assistance in religious matters. Given the pervasive presence of Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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225

religion in Assyrian society, this was a highly influential position for the priests. They told the king when he must fast, when he must be present to participate in a religious ceremony, when he might travel, and so on. That this is not just theory is illustrated by letters of the Sargonid period wherein matters of this kind are commonly discussed with the monarch. Of all the religious ceremonies in the Assyrian calendar by far the most important was the Akitu, which could be celebrated at any time of the year, although one thinks of it as a New Year's festival. Much of the ceremony was performed in the Akitu temple, there being one in each major Assyrian city. According to ancient custom this structure was outside the city walls, but by the reign of Sennacherib it had been moved inside the walls and Sennacherib decreed a return to the old ways. The ritual involved an elaborate procession and a great banquet (takultu) of considerable ceremony, wherein the king's right to rule for another year was granted by the god and his princes and nobles renewed their loyalty oaths to him. Little is known about the other Assyrian rituals apart from some of their names and fragments of their ceremonies. The care of the gods, their feeding and washing, involved frequent rites but none of these has survived in written form. The official Assyrian attitude towards foreign gods and cults was one of tolerance, and Assyria did not attempt to impose upon conquered peoples the worship of Ashur or of any other Assyrian deity. They did, however, carry off divine statues and emblems of conquered peoples; but these were regarded as hostages, similar to the young nobles taken into exile, and were returned when Assyria was assured that the people would remain loyal to them. Thus, for example, Esarhaddon returned to the Arab sheikh Hazael the statues of his gods captured by Sennacherib. Far from suppressing local cults of conquered people, the Assyrian king sometimes presented them with offerings and sponsored building work for them. The extent to which the individual Assyrian, apart from temple and court personnel, would have been involved in the religious life of the cults was probably minimal. Presumably crowds gathered to watch the great processions which took place in connexion with such a ceremony as the Akitu, but unauthorized people were not allowed into the temple. There is no direct information about how an individual Assyrian satisfied his religious needs, for what textual information we have regarding personal gods, magic, and incantations is Babylonian in origin. These texts were kept, however, in the Assyrian libraries, and so the picture we have of popular religion in Babylonia may be generally valid for Assyria. Related to religion is the matter of divination. Every Assyrian believed that the gods communicated their plans through various signs Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

226

26.

ASSYRIAN

CIVILIZATION

and it was up to mankind to learn to read such signs. These omens were presented through different media, such as smoke patterns or deformed animal or human births. In the Neo-Assyrian period the two most common types of divination were astrology and extispicy. A massive literature developed explaining the multitude of signs which might appear, and this documentation represents the beginning of science, for the whole foundation of ancient Mesopotamian divination depended upon accurate observation of natural phenomena. Thus, if one ignores the interpretations, one has a mine of accurate scientific information on the movements of heavenly bodies in the case of astrology, or on the physiology of animals in the case of extispicy. But of course this was not the intent of the diviners, whose profession was dedicated to predicting the future. While all Assyrians believed in their art and would avail themselves of it if possible, it was practised in its most elaborate form only by the court, which could maintain a whole school of diviners. The mechanics of prognostication can best be illustrated by extispicy, for which we have relevant records from the reigns of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, as mentioned in a preceding chapter (see above, p. 122). When the king wished to undertake a major enterprise such as a royal campaign, his scribes and diviners would outline the details of the proposal in an 'oracle request', of which many on clay tablets have survived. This request was then presented to the gods of extispicy, Shamash and Adad, accompanied by the appropriate ritual, and one or more lambs were sacrificially slaughtered. The entrails of the carcase were minutely examined according to the dictates of the diviner's profession and ominous features duly noted. These features were multitudinous but centred upon the liver and lungs, of which the ancient Assyrians had intimate knowledge, and for every deformity and discolouration a special meaning was recorded in their reference works. As the diviners performed their post mortem all the significant signs were noted on a clay tablet and the interpretation added. Interpretations took a variety of forms but essentially had three meanings, 'good', 'bad', or 'confused'. At the end of the examination a total was made of the number of each kind of interpretations and an opinion expressed as to whether or not the proposal was auspicious. A record of the entire examination and the result was sent back to the king as an 'oracle response'. Astrological procedures were quite different from those of extispicy, for, rather than being induced, the astrological signs could only be observed as they happened to occur and interpreted accordingly. Astrological observers were stationed throughout Assyria and Babylo­ nia and every night they watched the heavens, carefully writing down what they saw. Over the centuries the diviners developed such expertise that they had plotted the paths of many heavenly bodies with minute Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

227

LIBRARIES

accuracy and could predict various phenomena, including the possibility of lunar eclipses. Events such as an eclipse were ominous and thus when a lunar eclipse was forecast during the reign of Esarhaddon, as we have seen (see above p. 137) it caused a great deal of consternation, for it was interpreted to mean that the king would die. Esarhaddon's extreme reaction is perhaps not typical of the extent to which the Assyrian monarch was subject to the dictates of divination, but there is no question that every Assyrian, king or commoner, had great regard for prognostication. IX.

LIBRARIES

Literature and learning were highly prized in Assyria, where libraries existed as early as Middle Assyrian times. These libraries contained largely Babylonian texts, for the Assyrians, while they admired literary talent in others, were not themselves commonly inspired by the muse. There were, of course, Assyrian scribes and these occasionally put forth literary efforts, such as the Epic of Tukulti-Ninurta I, but such works are notable for their scarcity. The idea of a library was imported from Babylonia and serious acquisition of Babylonian written lore in Assyria probably began with the sack of Babylon by Tukulti-Ninurta I ( 1 2 4 3 1207), and libraries were developed over the centuries at the different Assyrian cities. The assiduity with which Assyrian kings sought Babylo­ nian writings for their libraries is illustrated by a royal letter, probably from Ashurbanipal, in which the monarch instructs his agents in Babylonia: 'Collect every last tablet in their establishments and all the tablets which are in Ezida! Gather together the entirety of... [a long list of text types] and send them to me.... If you see any tablet which I have not mentioned and it is fitting for my palace . . . send it to me!' Nabu, as god of the scribal craft, was the patron deity of the libraries, which were commonly called, at least in the temples, 'Ezida' after the name of Nabu's shrine in his city of Borsippa. Indeed the term 'library' may be misleading, since so little is known about these collections and nothing about the physical arrangements, staffing, and purpose of the depositories in which they were stored. They are collections of large numbers of compositions of literary, learned and religious content and the tablets in such collections are distinguishable from everyday docu­ ments by the extra care with which they are written, the inclusion of colophons, the better quality of clay, and often the size and shape of the tablet. There were probably many libraries in ancient Assyria, in palaces, 26

2 6

CT 22 no. i. See A 88 iv, 2 1 2 - i j . See also A 508.

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CIVILIZATION

temples, and houses of the wealthy, but to date there is firm evidence about only a few of them. A library, commonly called the Library of Tiglath-pileser I because so many texts in it can be dated to his reign, was found in the Ashur temple at Ashur. This collection probably had ancient antecedents, almost certainly as early as the reign of Ashuruballit I (i 3 6 3 - 1 3 2 8 ) , and there was no doubt a continuation of it in later centuries. Another, smaller collection of library tablets was found in Ashur dating from the reign of Sargon II ( 7 2 1 - 7 0 5 ) . The library of the Nabu temple at Calah, uncovered recently, was presumably created in the ninth century B . C . when Ashurnasirpal II made Calah a great city. Another fairly recent discovery has been the library at Khuzirina (Sultantepe), which dates to the Sargonid period. Since Khuzirina was only a minor provincial town, this find indicates that libraries were much more widely scattered through the Assyrian empire than one would have imagined. But the greatest of all libraries were those developed at Nineveh by the Sargonid kings, among which that of Ashurbanipal has principally and justly become famous. The libraries at Nineveh are both the best known and the largest, and they serve as an example of what a library should contain and in what proportion. It is impossible to give an accurate statement of the numbers of tablets because of the broken and incomplete state of the recovered material. A. Leo Oppenheim estimated that originally there were about fifteen hundred tablets, and, although the discovery in recent years of many more uncatalogued fragments in the British Museum will push that figure higher, Oppenheim's calculations with regard to the propor­ tions are probably still valid. He concluded that the greatest portion of library tablets were prognostic texts and the next largest group were lexical works. In decreasing size there followed religious texts, scientific texts, and literary compositions. Modern man's knowledge of both Babylonian and Assyrian culture is still largely based upon the tablets in these collections, and full credit must be given to the Assyrians for valuing, seeking out, and preserving such a treasury of literature and learning. 2 7

28

2 7

Cf.

A

223,

147

and n. 2 ; .

2

8

A

43,

i6f.

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CHAPTER 27 B A B Y L O N I A 605-539 B . C .

D.

I.

THE

J.

WISEMAN

D E F E A T OF

EGYPT

The so-called 'Chaldaean' dynasty of Babylon inaugurated by Nabopolassar has also been designated the dynasty of Bit-Yakin or the Third Dynasty of the Sealand. It was not, however, the first occasion the southern tribes had dominated the whole of southern Iraq, for Nebu­ chadrezzar I, Eriba-Marduk, and Marduk-apla-iddina II had each, for a time, united the leading families against their more powerful northern neighbours. Nabopolassar, aware of the dangers of any lack of central control, followed up the unity shown against their former enemy Assyria with a new alliance with the Medes before taking his army further afield. The treaty arrangements were perhaps intended also to guard the eastern frontier of Babylonia, and were sealed by the marriage of Nabopolassar's eldest son to Amytis of Media. At an early stage Nabopolassar began renovation work on the palace, ziggurat, and walls of Babylon to make the city of Babylon the capital of the newly independent state. His son Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadrezzar, Biblical Nebuchadnezzar, classi­ cal Nabuchodonosor, 'O Nabu, protect my lineage') was present at the foundation ceremonies and soon thereafter was proclaimed 'the chief son, the crown prince'. Since there was no principle of dynastic succession in Babylonia, the king by this means indicated his wish and brought the crown prince into public affairs. They were together in operations near Harran before the king departed from the field, more from the need to have a responsible member of the ruling family in Babylon than necessarily because of the king's ill-health or old age, as Berossus later surmised. Meanwhile the prince led his own army into the mountains of Za[mua], seizing forts, setting them on fire and gaining much loot from a three-month campaign, the aim of which might have been to thwart incursions from Elamite territory. Then, while his father marched to Kimuhu (Samsat) on the upper Euphrates, 1

2

3

4

5

1

A 7, 2 5 - 6 . A 856, 6 0 - ; no. 1. 3 8 6_ 6 2 - 3 ii 71 - iii 5. Quoted in Jos. Contra Apionem 1.13 5 - 6 ( A 7, 26; A 626, 389 § 1 3 3 - 6 ) . A 789, 29 (reading Za[mani]); A 932, 6 4 - 5 . 2

A

4

5

5

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230

ij.

B A B Y L O N I A

605—539 r e ­

setting up garrisons against expected Egyptian attacks, Nebuchadrezzar remained at home. If he were the author of a letter reporting the king's earlier operations with the Medes in the Harran area, he was active in raising support from the temple authorities for these operations. The Babylonian Chronicle affords a precise and reliable source for the major events until 5 9 4 / 3 . The Egyptians soon retaliated, besieging the Babylonians who were garrisoning Kimuhu, thus preventing their use of Carchemish as a forward base, and pressing the Babylonians to withdraw from Quramati and posts further south on the Euphrates. In 605 B . C . Nebuchadrezzar took personal command of the whole army and marched direct to Carchemish, where the Egyptians had fallen back from Quramati. Near his objective he crossed to the west bank to cut the Egyptians off from their direct line of retreat and force them out to battle. The tactic worked and a contest ensued in which the retreating Egpytians were completely overwhelmed. Those who escaped were overtaken in the Hamath area and 'not a single man escaped to his own country'. If the primary aim was the annihilation of Necho's forces this was successfully brought about in the victory in August, enabling the Babylonian king to impose his hold swiftly over the former Assyrian provinces and vassal territories in the west. Sensitive opinion there, as in Judah, advocated submission (Jer. 25: 1 - 1 4 ; 36: 29; 46: 1—12). These operations were notable for the presence of Greek mercenaries on both sides, attested by finds from Carchemish, pottery evidence from a fort at Mesad Hashavyahu on the Mediterranean coast, and the statements about Antimenidas, brother of Alcaeus, fighting for Nebuchadrezzar. As far as the Egyptian border, hostages were taken as pledges to the new regime, among them Daniel and his companions from Judah. 6

7

8

9

10

11

12

11.

N E B U C H A D R E Z Z A R ' S

C A M P A I G N S

I N T H E

W E S T

Nebuchadrezzar, as crown prince, was still in the west when, according to the Babylonian Chronicle, Nabopolassar died in his twenty-first regnal year ( 8 / V / 6 0 5 ) . Berossus records that when Nebuchadrezzar shortly after heard the news, he arranged affairs in Egypt and the remaining territory. He ordered some of his friends to bring the Jewish, Phoenician, Syrian, and Egyptian prisoners together with the bulk of the army and the rest of the booty to Babylon. He himself set out with a few companions and reached Babylon by crossing the desert. 13

6

A 941,12-13.

9

A

7

A

2

8

s . 9 9 - 1 0 2 ; A 932, 6 4 - 7 5 .

942 1, 128 and pi. 24.

i"

A

1 2

A 938, 336 (pOSSibly in 603/2 B.C.).

1 3

Quoted in Jos. Contra

Apionem

7 9 1 , 149.

"

A

A 932, 802, 22;

68:7. A

I . I 36—7 ( A 7, 27; A 626, 389 § 1 3 7 ) .

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882.

N E B U C H A D R E Z Z A R ' S

C A M P A I G N S

I N T

H

EW E S T

231

This rings true,forhe reached Babylon in less than two weeks and 'sat on the royal throne' on i/vi/605. The phrase implies that he took it in his own right and was supported by the agreement of the leading tribes and palace officials. There is no basis for the view that the date of the succession was made retrospective, for documents were dated in Babylon by his accession within twelve days. Nor is there any indication of schism following the introduction of the new regime, for Nebuchadrezzar was sufficiently confident of his position to return to Syria (Khatti) almost immediately. If the procedures adopted for the coronation of Nabopolassar were used, the new appointment may have involved a double ceremony within the palace and before an assembly of the princes and palace officials who made their loyalty oaths outside for public acclamation. In Khatti the Chronicles record Nebuchadrezzar's intentions almost annually for the next ten years: 'he marched about victoriously', an expression implying the regular enforcement of law and order in the dominions he had inherited from his father rather than specific military mopping-up operations. In his first year this required a six months' absence during which 'all the rulers of Khatti came before him and he received their heavy tribute'. Among these was Jehoiakim of Judah who entered into a vassalage he was to keep for three years. Ashkelon presumably refused to pay tribute, for its king was captured and thereafter Babylon reinforced key places to the south such as Arad (level VII) to thwart any possible Egyptian response. Judah was allowed to reinforce its own southern border and thereafter 'the king of Egypt did not march out of his country again because the king of Babylon had taken all his territory, from the Wadi of Egypt (Nahal Musur) to the Euphrates River' (II Kings 24: 7). 14

15

16

17

18

Opposition in the west was, however, not fully overcome, for in the following year the Babylonians had to call up stronger military forces and siege equipment for use against an unknown city. A seventhcentury Aramaic letter found at Saqqara is an appeal from one Adon to his overlord in Egypt for help, since Babylonian forces had reached Afek. Their ultimate target is not specified and has been variously judged to be Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Lachish, or even Sidon or Tyre. Nebuchadrezzar sought to eliminate pro-Egyptian support in the coastal cities, and 'the hostile alien king' named in his Wadi Brissa and Nahr elKelb inscriptions could well have been a dependent of the pharaoh from whom he took timber in the Lebanon for his works in Babylon during these early expeditions there. 19

20

21

22

1

4

A 9 2 2 , I O J n. 28a.

1 7

A 941, 2 1 - 2 .

"

A 25, I O O : 2 1 - 2 ;

1

'5 A 877, 12. 1

8

6

A 26, 7 8 - 8 6 ; A 7 9 8 ; A 7 9 9 .

II K i . 23: 3 6 - 2 4 : I . A 2 5 , I O O : I 5 - 2 O ; A 9 3 2 , 68:

A 932, 7 0 - I 2 1 - 2 ;

A 94I,

24-5.

2

I5-20.

A 823.

2 1

Gaza: A 920, 8 7 - 8 ; A 863. Ekron: B 269, 4 3 - 5 . Ashdod: B 501, 229 n. 2 1 . Lachish: A 8 8 5 , 5 5 - 6 . Sidon or Tyre: A 859, 239; A 9 4 1 , 2 4 - 9 . 22 ait. A

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B

27.

B A B Y L O N I A

C

605-539 - -

During 601 B . C . the Babylonian garrisons in Khatti were reinforced, but towards the end of the year word reached them that Necho II had called out his army. In the month of Kislimu (December) Nebuchadrez­ zar took personal command of the Babylonian army, which clashed with the enemy south west of Pelusium on the road from Egypt to Gaza. In an open battle, favourable for the manoeuvring of chariots, cavalry, and archers, both sides 'inflicted a major defeat on each other'. Losses were so heavy that the Babylonians had to devote the whole of the next year to re-equipment and retraining at home. Though the Egyptians may have penetrated as far as Gaza, the battle effectively ended any Saite control by land in Asia. Jehoiakim of Judah interpreted the outcome as favourable to Egypt and abrogated the ties imposed by Babylon. The Babylonian response was to march yet again to Syria and from the garrison base at Hamath and Riblah to begin a series of raids against the Arabs to the south east in order to safeguard theirflankwhen they later moved south. Soon thereafter the Babylonians encouraged Ara­ maeans, Moabites and Ammonites to raid across Judah's borders (II Ki. 24:2). This was probably a holding operation until due punishment could be meted out, and it depended for its efficacy on the response to the recently invoked loyalty oaths imposed on these tribes. Retribution was not long delayed, for in his seventh year Nebuchadrezzar called out his army, marched to Khatti and besieged the city of Judah. 'On the second day of Adar he captured the city and seized its king. He appointed there a ruler of his own choice, took heavy tribute and sent it back to Babylon.' The Babylonian Chronicle makes it clear that Jerusalem was the planned target, though there seems hardly sufficient time for the action to have been initiated as a reaction to Jehoiakim's death a month before departure. The insertion of a precise date for the capture of Jerusalem ( 1 5 / 1 6 March 597 B . C . ) indicates the importance of this event in Babylonian eyes. Similarly the appointment of Mattaniah (Zedekiah) as regent to replace the captured Jehoiachin shows the desire to have a member of the ruling house subservient to Babylon on oath while the existing head of state was taken off hostage with his immediate family for the victory celebrations. Their presence in Babylon and dependence on the palace there is attested by ration lists dated to 5 9 2 - 5 6 9 found in the southern citadel, naming 'Ya'ukln king of Judah'. The heavy tribute taken included the temple vessels which were to be dedicated to Marduk in Babylon (II Chron. 36: 10; Daniel 1: 1—2; 5: 2). While Jehoiachin's 23

24

25

26

27

28

2 3

2 4

A 9 3 2 , 70: r. 7. See below, pp. 398 and 7 1 7 . Known to the Egyptians as kdt, to Herodotus (n. 159) as Kadytis; A 859, 2 3 7 - 8 .

2 5

J e r . 49: 2 8 - 3 3 .

2 6

A 9 4 1 , 31; rather than read Edomites (Jer. 35: 1 1 , Pesh*tta); cf. A 795.

A

2

2 7

A 2 5 , 102: 11 —13; A 932, 7 2 - 3 : 1 1 - 1 3 .

5>

I

,

:

9

- 1 0

;

A

94'>

2 8

A 9 2 3 , 9 2 5 - 6 ; cf. Ezekiel 1 7 : 1 2 .

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submission appears to have saved Judah from the severest destruction, its subordination to Babylon marked a watershed in the affairs of Judah, which was destined to be dominated by foreign powers, with but a few years' respite, for the next fourteen centuries. In his eighth year ( 5 9 7 - 5 9 6 ) Nebuchadrezzar made a sortie as far as Carchemish, from where he ordered affairs in Syria for a month before returning home. In the following year a new threat arose from the hill people to the east, perhaps Elam, later claimed as subjects by Cyrus. Alternatively the enemy may have lain further to the north west where the Babylonians included Marhashi in their dominions. The Babylo­ nian army encamped on the bank of the Tigris a day's march from the enemy, whose king panicked and turned home. This may have been part of a co-ordinated action in support of dissident groups, for in the next year (595—594) 'numerous leading officials' took part in a rebellion in Babylonia which lasted a month before it was suppressed, the leader being captured by Nebuchadrezzar personally. Some light on this is afforded by the account of the confiscation and disposal of the property of Babu-aha-iddina, son of Nabu-ahhe-bullit, following a summary trial in which he was found guilty of breaking his official loyalty oath and so was condemned to death. His father had been granted lands near Borsippa by Nabopolassar, so he could have been one of a group of landed gentry whose rise in opposition contributed to the Jews Ahab ben Kolayah and Zedekiah ben Ma'aseyah seeing a possible end to their exile at that time (Jer. 29: 21—2). If the disturbances were widespread they may have lain behind Nebuchadrezzar's later reference to the time when people 'devoured one another like dogs and the strong robbed the weak', which led to his inaugurating legal reforms and taking action against corruption. Nebuchadrezzar gained the upper hand, for within a few months he was again with his forces in Syria to receive the tribute brought him once more by vassals and officials there. The extant Babylonian Chronicle for this reign finishes after the note that in 594/3 the army was mustered once more for operations in Khatti. This could have been a reaction to the elevation of a new pharaoh Psammetichus II to the throne in Egypt. 29

30

31

32

33

III.

THE

F A L L OF

JERUSALEM

Zedekiah of Judah now became the focus of opposition to Babylon by the city states in the west. Despite warnings from the pro-Babylonian elements, for whom the prophet Jeremiah was spokesman, he sum2 9

A 26, 25, 3 2 - 3

3 2

A 924, 1 - 5 ; cf. I Ki. 2 1 : 1 - 1 6 for confiscation of a traitor's property.

ii 1 7 - 2 4 .

30

A

8 , 5 4

2.

3 1

A 25, 86:

29. 3 3

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A 834, 4 ii 2 - 3 .

234

27.

B A B Y L O N I A

605 — 5 39 B . C .

moned representatives from Tyre and Sidon, Edom, Moab, and Ammon to Jerusalem (Jer. 27: 1—11). Significantly none came from the coastal cities of Philistia, which was still influenced by Egypt. Lacking internal historical sources it can only be surmised that this action provoked Nebuchadrezzar. Once again subordinate states were encouraged to exert pressure on Judah, for there was an Edomite threat when a border post, Ramat-Negeb, and Arad fell about this time. The Babylonians began large-scale siege operations against Jerusalem on the tenth of Tebet in Zedekiah's ninth year (II Ki. 25: i;Jer. 39: 1). Judah's appeal to the new pharaoh Apries led only to a modest response by a small force, whose approach caused the besiegers but a temporary diversion a year after they had initiated the siege by building circumvallating walls (Jer. 37: 5). This appeal to the Egyptians may have been undertaken by one Koriah, possibly the Judaean army commander, named in the Lachish ostraca. Jerusalem itself was initially surrounded by a number of defensive watch-posts from which smoke or fire signals passing between Lachish and Azekah and as far north as Khirbet et-Twein could be observed. The Babylonians drew the net tighter with an inner siege wall and were able to breach the northern wall on the ninth of Tammuz; they sacked the city and the temple in the following month (2 5 August 5 87 by the Nisan-year dating); the interval is perhaps attributable to pro­ tracted negotiations, for there is no sure evidence that thefinaloutcome resulted from starvation (II Ki. 25: 2 - 1 0 ) . Zedekiah's attempted escape through the Royal Gardens to the east could have been made during the parleying. Archaeological evidence from the City of David (stratum I O A ) shows total destruction of buildings and a fierce conflagration which consumed the wooden parts of houses. The contents are marked by large quantities of weapons but no human remains. The collapse of structures on the east slope seems to have followed their abandonment during the following winter. Except to the north in the territory of Benjamin, cities and villages elsewhere in Judah were destroyed, among them Ramat Rahel (V), Lachish (II), Gezer (V), Tell el-Hesi (VII/VI), Arad (VI), and En-gedi (V). At the earlier capture of the city, in 597 B . C . , the Babylonians had removed numerous leaders, fighting personnel, crafts­ men, and artisans; fewer captives were taken at this time. The majority of the survivorsfledinto the hills, while the poorer peasants were left to maintain the royal estates north of the city and around Tell Beit Mirsim, which supplied wine to Babylon. The estates were under 'Eliakim, 34

35

36

37

38

39

40

3 4

B 1 7 , 4 6 - 9 , 149—J i , no. 24.

3 5

Cf. Ezekie) 1 7 : 15—17; J o s . Ant. Jud. x . 1 0 8 - 1 0 ; A 839. See below, pp. 7 1 8 and 7 2 5 .

3 6

A 832, 480; A 8 6 2 , 1 j 1.

3 7

A 9 4 1 , 3 6 - 7 ; Malamat (A 8 6 2 , 1 5 0 - 5 ) and others follow the Tishri New Year dating for the fall On 15 AugUSt 586 B . C . A 847. 596; A 899, 29. A 896; A 9 1 8 . 3 8

4 0

3 9

I I K i . 24: 1 4 ( 1 0 , 0 0 0 in 597 B . C . ) ; cf. J e r . 52: 28 (3,023 in 597 B . C . ) , 29 (832 in 587 B . C . ) .

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JERUSALEM

235

assistant of Jehoiachin', whose seal impression on jars may imply a reorganized tax system in this area. Mizpah (Tell en-Nasbeh) was chosen as the headquarters of Gedaliah, the Babylonian nominee for the governorship of Judah, either because of its proximity to the loyal provincial capital of Samaria or because it lay in the virtually untouched zone between Jerusalem and Bethel. Smaller settlements in the Negeb and Shephelah borderlands seem to have been left intact. Seal impressions of a number of dispersed Judaean bureaucrats, including those of the king's son, Jerahmeel, and Berahiah (Baruch) the scribe, show that influential persons were among the survivors left in the land. Any attempt to regain control by supporters of the old royal house was dashed after the assassination of Gedaliah and the Babylonian garrison. In 582 B . C . the Babylonian Imperial Guard under Nabuzaradàn carried off a further 745 Judaeans (Jer. 5 2 : 3 0 ) and even this last small measure of Judaean independence came to an end. This punitive expedition also ended the independence of Ammon, whose ruler Baalis harboured the murderers from Judah, and of Moab, allowing Edomites under Nabatean pressure to infiltrate into southern Judah. Meanwhile, further north, at his main base at Riblah where he punished Zedekiah by slaying his sons in front of him and then putting out his eyes, Nebuchadrezzar was pressing the siege of Tyre. Since this operation lasted, according to Menander of Ephesus, for thirteen years it could have been one of containment rather than of continuous determined attack. Josephus (Contra Apionem 1 . 1 5 6) dates the commencement of the siege to Nebuchadrezzar's seventh year (the Babylonian Chronicle makes no reference to it), and its duration as running for thirteen years during the reign of Ethba al. The dates of Ethba al III are disputed, and the majority opinion makes the siege fall in the reign of Ba al II, c. 5 87— 5 72 B . C . Certainly Tyre was under Babylonian jurisdiction in Nebuchadrezzar's fortieth year, when a contract dated there (assuming it to be the same Surru) implies that it came within the province of Kadesh governed by Milki-eteri. Further afield Nebuchadrezzar also claimed to control lands from Humè and Piriddu (Cilicia) and Luddu (Lydia) in the north west to Egypt in the south west. This claim appears to be justified, since the king, or his representative Nabonidus, called Labynetos by Herodotus ( 1 . 7 4 ) , was a mediator and witness, with Syennesis of Cilicia, in the pact between the Medes and Lydia made after their battle by the river Halys had ended following a solar eclipse on 28 May 585. The former Assyrian provinces in Cilicia thus appear to have been incorporated into the Neo-Babylonian empire, and subsequent operations there by Neriglissar confirm this. 41

42

43

c

c

c

44

45

4 1

B 20, 7 7 - 1 0 6 .

4 4

4 2

A 9 4 1 , 2 7 - 9 ; on the contract from Surru see A 8 I J A , 142.

B 16, 409—IO.

4 3

A

793.

« See p. 244 below.

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2 6

27.

3

B A B Y L O N I A 605 —5 39

B.C.

The claim that Nebuchadrezzar invaded Egypt itself rests mainly on Old Testament references, which imply an attack on Egyptian temples in Heliopolis (On) and Tahpanhes (Tell Defenna) (Jer. 43: 8—13). No inscriptions of this reign have yet been found in Egypt. A fragmentary Babylonian text with a hymnic preface refers to Nebuchadrezzar's thirtyseventh year and may indicate a campaign against Amasis in 568/7. Its precise genre is uncertain, and though it mentions marching to do battle with Egypt, the objectives, including Putu-Yaman and 'remote territor­ ies amid the sea', are uncertain. Megasthenes, in a text preserved by Abydenus and Eusebius, later refers to a Babylonian invasion of Libya and even Iberia, but this could be a confusion with the campaign by Cyrus. The Babylonian fragment may be part of a list of foreign mercenaries in Babylonian service. In his so-called 'Court List', Nebuchadrezzar claimed that the kings of Tyre, Gaza, Sidon, Arvad, Ashdod and Mir . . . (and probably others whose titles are now lost, including the Kings of Judah and Ashkelon who are known to have been in Babylon at the time), had participated in a ceremony marking some major restoration work there, possibly the opening of the new royal palace. Thus his claim to have ruled 'from the Upper to the Lower seas' (the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf) was no mere traditional formula. In less than thirty years he had taken over an 'empire' larger than that lost by the last major king of Assyria, Ashurbanipal, and had reordered his provincial system of government with supporting mea­ sures to enforce law and order. Largely because of the Biblical narratives, Nebuchadrezzar came to be remembered in the West, through later Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Arabic traditions, as the tyrant who destroyed Jerusalem. Nevertheless, at home, he was traditionally the king who rebuilt Babylon as the dynastic capital and enriched it by the taxes and tribute he brought in from every quarter and by the skill of the labourers he directed there. 46

47

48

49

IV.

THE

R E B U I L D I N G OF

BABYLON

Building inscriptions from this reign are abundant but can rarely be assigned chronologically. They give an overall view of intense activity in Babylon and in twelve other major cities. In Babylon they supplement the Topography of Babylon, a composition from the time of Nebuchadrez­ zar I later recopied to list the names of the city quarters, temples and cult places, 180 wayside shrines, streets, walls and gates — all part of the plan to make the city glorious. Nebuchadrezzar first repaired the Euphrates river wall and quay to receive building supplies and to protect the low50

4

6

4 9

A

9 4 1 , 39.

«7

A

903,

A 762, 282-94; A 9 4 1 , 7 5 .

238;

A 5 0

932, 9 4 - 5 .

4

8

A

889,

78-9.

A 8 3 ; ; A 836; A 840.

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THE

R E B U I L D I N G OF

2

BABYLON

37

Fig. 1 1 . Plan of Babylon in the time of Nebuchadrezzar II. (After A 694, 148, fig. 100.)

lying areas from the annual inundation. This enabled work to be resumed on the ziggurat and the southern citadel, where he resided in the east wing of the palace used by his father while his own residence to the west was built, for he had no royal residence elsewhere and designed this to become 'a building for the admiration of my people, a place of union for the land, and the seat of my royal authority'. This was elaborately roofed using cedars from Lebanon, adorned with enamelled brickwork and with doors and gates of cedar as well as furnishings decorated with gold, silver, bronze and ivory. His predecessors, he claimed, had had their palaces where they pleased and 'only for the New Year festival came to Babylon to please Marduk'. Since his aim was to use the capital to unite the tribes, he built law courts and central administrative buildings. To the west of his palace he built up a massive bund on the riverside; its stepped platform supported a pavilion and private quarters. On its steep 51

52

A 8)6,

I 3 6 - 7 no.

I ) VÜ 3 6 - 9 .

5 2

A 8)6,

I 14—I ) no.

14 i

44-9.

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2 8

27.

3

B A B Y L O N I A 605

—5 39

B.C.

terraces leading down to the river, rather than at the more easterly location of the so-called 'Vaulted Building' as commonly supposed, he constructed his royal ('hanging') gardens, said to be for his queen's pleasure to remind her of her mountainous homeland. Work on the sacred Processional Street - Ay-ibur-shabu, 'May the arrogant not flourish' — included paving with breccia from the A.kitu house through the Ishtar gateway, south to the Etemenanki and making a raised highway to cross the refurbished Libil-hegalla canal. Like Sennacherib, Nebuchadrezzar was interested in hydraulics; he paid particular atten­ tion to water supplies and drainage within the city and the use of canals as defences outside the double city walls, the outer Imgur-Enlil and the inner Nemet-Enlil. He was later conscious of the threat from the Medes and Elam to the north and east, and constructed a defensive wall (Xenophon's 'Median Wall') between the Euphrates and the Tigris north of Sippar and near Opis, now traced at Habl as-Sahr. East of the city an outer defence wall formed an enclosure with the city walls, into which the surrounding population could retreat in time of need. The new retaining wall on the banks of the Euphrates enabled the ziggurat reconstruction to be completed, together with the adjacent Ekua chapel in Marduk's Esagila temple, now strengthened. This and the shrines of Zarpanitu and Nabu (Ezida) were overlaid with gold. The painted Nabu-sa-hare temple west of the Processional Street appears to have functioned also as a training school for priests and scribes, to judge from texts found there. Similar public works were carried out in Borsippa which at this time was almost a suburb of Babylon. Its outer and city walls, great gate, Processional Street, Ezida temple (on two facades) and surrounding cloisters, and the ziggurat (Euriminanki) were renovated, as was the Etilla shrine of Gula in thankfulness for restoration after illness. Sippar was given a clean water supply and the temples of Shamash (Ebarra) and Ninkarrak (Eulla) repaired. In Ur, Sin's temple (Egishshirgal) was rebuilt, as was Eanna of Ishtar in Uruk, both always a concern of the ruling house, which had estates there. Due attention was paid also to the needs of Cutha, Dilbat, Marad, Kish, and Bas, and all their temples were supplied with regular offerings. At the major cult centres the temple administration was changed to include a royal representative as trustee alongside the traditional governing councils. Records show that the royal family paid their annual dues in gold, silver, livestock, and other commodities. Rich and elaborate garments for the statues of deities were in part paid for from the tithe or tax on temple income collected by a statefinancialagent allocated to the temple. 53

54

55

56

57

5 3

A 8 l 2 ; A 94O, I 3 9 - 4 I .

5 6

A 807,

124.

5 7

3 4

A 850; Cf. A 794.

S 3

A 856, 9 0 - I

n o . 9 i 29-4O.

A 8l 5 , 5 6 - 7 .

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N E B U C H A D R E Z Z A R ' S

2

C H A R A C T E R

39

Although the Babylonians could have seen the first coinage, if it was minted in Lydia c. 640 B . C . (see C A H iv 435), any imports on an extensive scale were, like internal transactions, currently paid for in silver as bars, rods or wire, weighed out. The extent and impact of this public construction work is seen from the estimate of 164 million bricks made for the outer northern defence wall alone and at least as many for work in the city itself. This involved not merely the full effort of prisoners of war but also local labour brought in from outside Babylon throughout the reign, and this would have added to growing dissent during a long reign. Tax and call-up corvée service in Babylon and Borsippa excluded notables and state officials, but this privilege {kidinnu) appears to have been limited to those associated with the palaces and temples. Thus the specialist foreign labour attested in texts at this time was especially valuable. Among them were shipwrights from Tyre, woodworkers from Byblos and Arvad, and Egyptians working at a boat-house; this may support the tradition that a new harbour was established by Nebuchadrezzar at Teredon on the Persian Gulf, perhaps to counter Necho IPs Red Sea navy. Ionian Greek and other workers employed in the decoration of the royal palaces have left little or no evidence that the designs they executed were other than local styles. When not at work on royal projects the foreign workers were settled in their own ethnic communities around Nippur and Uruk. 2

58

59

v.

N E B U C H A D R E Z Z A R ' S

C H A R A C T E R

The Babylonian texts present the king uniformly as an efficient military leader and firm administrator. The Daniel tradition stresses his interest in the Babylonian scribal and priestly arts, susceptible to religious influences yet dominant over his court officials. The antiquities in the 'museum' assembled in his northern palace can be attributed in the main to him. His royal inscriptions are, moreover, marked by an absence of military stance despite the use of traditional epithets, and they emphasize moral qualities. Nebuchadrezzar includes some unusual phrases to describe his devotion to the god Marduk. The portrayal of the king in a unique propaganda document as 'king of justice' shows him to have been also a reformer on the classical lines familiar from the days of Urukagina and the better Hebrew kings. He claims to have taken the side of the weak, poor, crippled, and widowed against oppressors, enabling them to win a just hearing of their cases. He suppressed bribery and 'ceaselessly worked to please the great lord god Marduk and for the 60

61

62

5

8

A 8 J , 2 l f ; A 923, 9 2 7 - 3 2 . 4

6 1

7

A 856, 122

5 no.

15 i 2 3 - 3 2 and

59

A

9

ss ii i .

4

I

>

7

&

_

8

6

. 2

A 946.

60

A

g

}

8

;

A 854.

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

A

94,,

6

j

.

240

B

C

27. B A B Y L O N I A 6 0 5 - 5 39 - -

betterment of all peoples and the settling of the land of Babylonia . . .' Improved city regulations were enforced in the new law courts. The citation of samples of the cases he judged was a traditional way, as in the laws of Hammurabi, of enhancing his position as 'wise' in response to his divine calling to office. The document gives a true glimpse of 'the spiritual revival which accompanied the final burst of Babylonian glory'. In contrast, a fragmentary epic-historical text shows an intros­ pective side to his nature in that he considered his life to be of no value, could be angry and even sick enough to leave Babylonia for a time. This too may have been reflected in the Daniel narratives of his illness. Yet, despite constant pressures, he heldfirmlyall the territories he had inherited and subsequently gained and was able to pass these on intact, leaving Babylonian prestige at its highest point after a forty-year reign. 63

64

65

VI.

INTERNAL

RIVALRIES

It has been assumed that, since the last contract dated by Nebuchadrez­ zar's forty-third regnal year was written at Uruk (8 October 562) and the first to be dated by his son and successor Amel-Marduk was written that same day, Nebuchadrezzar died early in October. However, two contracts dated to the previous August—September by Amel-Marduk could reflect a period of co-regency, while another dated 15/V/43 (29 August 562) but with an unusual formula, 'the goddess of Uruk, king of Babylon', if not a scribal error, might mean that Nebuchadrezzar died somewhat earlier, and that a cautious scribe in a time of disturbance following the king's death waited to see who his successor would be. Later tradition supposed that Amel-Marduk acted as regent during his father's illness and that there was confusion at the time of a handover to a successor. Any hiatus was of short duration, for the same contract datings show that Amel-Marduk was acknowledged as king in all the major Babylonian cities by mid-October. He may be identified with the unnamed royal prince conducting business affairs in 5 70 B.C. It seems likely that Nebuchadrezzar would have acted to continue the process of hereditary succession, and his son is listed in the Uruk king list as reigning for two years. Berossus considered Amel-Marduk to have 'managed affairs in a lawless and outrageous fashion', and for this he was assassinated. A fragmentary historical epic attributed to his reign mentions a Babylonian (king) who gave arbitrary orders and refused to listen to the words of a counsellor, whose attention was not devoted towards promoting the welfare of Esagila and Babylon, who showed no 66

67

68

69

70

71

6 3

A

937. 9 I O -

M

A 854, 4.

6 7

A 887, 3, 90, 106.

7 0

A 9 4 1 , I 13 n. 1 8 2 ; Cf. A 887, 3.

6

5

A 26, 8 7 - 9 2 ; A 9 4 I , I 0 2 .

A 926, Xix, n o . 9: l 6 - l 8 . 7 1

6

9

6

6

A 887, 26.

A 4 4 , 566; A 887, 3.

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

A 877, 12.

I N T E R N A L

R I V A L R I E S

241

love to son and daughter and in the end undertook an act of penance before Marduk. Though this appears to describe Amel-Marduk, of whom a daughter Indu, but no son, is named, it could apply to Nebuchadrezzar in a time of decline. Building inscriptions indicate limited repair work in Babylon during this short reign, with continuing dedications to the Marduk cult. There is no evidence yet of any incipient religious schisms which would spill over into civil strife. No military operations are recorded and the king's attention was upon internal affairs. In his first year Amel-Marduk celebrated the New Year festival in Babylon, and this was possibly the occasion when 72

73

74

in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honour higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon (Jer. 52: 31-2). Later tradition, in contrast to the anti-Nebuchadrezzar feelings engen­ dered by the sack of Jerusalem, viewed this act as a deliberate reversal by Amel-Marduk of his father's policy, though such deeds of clemency on accession are known. The royal house of Judah was not yet restored to its own land. The economic situation now begins to show signs of strain after the years of heavy state expenditure on building enterprises, yet throughout this reign some leading individuals consolidated their acquisition of land and other property. Neriglissar (Nergal-sharra-usur, Biblical Nergalsharezer), a leading official under Nebuchadrezzar and his rab mag during his western campaigns, was an increasingly active land-owner and business man from 598 onwards. He now bought up property of the bankrupt Nabu-apla-iddin of the Nur-Sin family through the agency of Nabu-ahhe-iddina of the Egibi business house and of one IddinaMarduk, a wealthy banker related to the same firm in Babylon. Neriglissar, the son of Bel-shum-ishkun, 'a wise noble' and governor of the Puqudu tribe, and grandson of Nabu-epir-la^a, is listed as governor of (Bit) Sin-magir in Nebuchadrezzar's time. As a trustee of Ebarra in Sippar his presence there, as at Opis in 5 6 5 - 5 6 4 , may show some responsibility for work on the neighbouring northern ('Median Wall') defences which lay in his area. His influence was enhanced by his marriage to Nebuchadrezzar's daughter Kashshaya, through whom he became known to Berossus as 'the husband of a sister of Amel-

75

76

7 2

7 4

A 7, 28; A 26, 8 7 - 9 2 ; cf. A 9 4 1 , I O 2 - 3 .

7

997 6

"

A

8

5 7 . 775 A 8 7 6 , 4 2 - 3 .

A 9 2 2 , 1 5 4 1 1 . 8; cf. A 4 4 , 509. A 1 1 9 , 3 1 ; for building inscriptions see A 8 5 1 , 7 8 - 9 fig. 50, 1 5 9 fig. 5

A 878, 4 1 - 2 ; A 887, 3 6 - 9 .

A 7 6 2 , 285 iv 2 2 , 24; A 8 5 6 , 2 I O - I I no. I i 1 4 , 2 I 4 — I 5 no. 2 i I I —14.

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27.

242

B A B Y L O N I A 605 — 539

B

C

' -

77

Marduk'. If Berossus can be trusted, Neriglissar led the conspiracy which ended Amel-Marduk's life and reign. This seems to have been a case of inter-tribal or inter-family discord rather than simply the opposition of northern to southern tribes. The latest contract dated to Amel-Marduk in Babylon was written on 7 August 5 60, and within four days other texts recognized Neriglissar as king there, at Uruk, and elsewhere. To judge by his increased economic activity, Neriglissar was in the capital at the time, and his hold on local affairs was soon strengthened by his giving his daughter Gigitum to Nabu-shuma-ukin, the influential administrator of the Ezida temple in Borsippa. Nothing is yet known of political activity during his first two years, when he repaired the royal palace and the east bank of the Euphrates after its annualflooding,and continued work in Esagila and the 'Chapel of Destiny' in the inner city shrine of the New Year festival. A small tablet bearing an extract from the Babylonian Chronicle details a military expedition in his third year. The details, reminiscent of the Assyrian annals, imply that it was composed close to the event. In 557, in response to a raid planned by Appuwashu of Piriddu into Syria (eber nari), Neriglissar called his army to march to Hume (east Cilicia), which the Babylonians had inherited after the fall of Assyria. Appuwashu's territory lay to the west, where he prepared ambushes of regular and local forces to hold the Babylonian advance. Despite this he was defeated and was pursued by the Babylonians over 2 5 km of mountainous terrain along the coast to his royal residence and capital at Ura , which was sacked. This is to be located in the Calycadnus delta near the place later called Seleucia. The port had been a noted centre for sea and caravan trade in the fourteenth-thirteenth centuries B . C . according to texts from Bogazkoy and Ugarit. Neriglissar then carried his pursuit a further 65 km up the valley to the north to burn Kirshu (Mut, later Claudiopolis). Later, in a rare amphibious assault two miles offshore, he captured 6,000 combat troops stationed on Pitusu island (Pityussa, Manavat). Finally, he laid waste by fire the passes leading to Sallune and the Lydian border. Although Appuwashu himself escaped, this firm action reasserted Babylonian control over Piriddu and enhanced its prestige as a buffer state between Lydia and the encroaching forces of the Medes. In February 5 56, Neriglissar turned for home, a journey of some fifty days to judge from Xenophon's later experience. Such action so far from home at this time might imply either co-ordination with the Medes or an attempt to forestall their advance. Activity on 'the borders' is referred to in the Dynastic Prophecy, which selects the highlights of this reign. 78

79

80

c

81

82

7 7

7 8

8 0

Quoted in Jos. Contra Apionem 1.146—7 ( A 7, 28; A 626, 392 § 1 4 6 - 7 ) ; cf. A 844. A 8 7 7 , 1 2 ; A 888, 132. For his building inscriptions see A 856, 2 0 8 - 1 9 . 7 9

A 2 j , IO3—4; A 932,

74-7.

8 1

A 922,

I j 8 n. 37.

8 2

A 26, 32—3 ii

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

7'.

NABONIDUS

The theory that Neriglissar died on the return journey and that news of his death reached Babylon as the New Year began can be questioned since the latest documents dated by him were written on April 12 (5 5 6) at Babylon and April 16 at Uruk. If he died later that month, that would accord with the Uruk King List ascription of a reign of three years and eight months. Xenophon's statement that a predecessor of Nabonidus died in action against the Medes cannot be corroborated (Cyropaedia 83

84

iv.i.8).

Neriglissar's chosen heir was Labashi-Marduk, his son. It is not certain that he was only a child, as Berossus says of Laborosoarchodos, for a commercial text suggests he was in control of his own affairs two years earlier. The Uruk King List assigns him a period of three months and this agrees with the dated texts of his reign (earliest 23/1 accession year at Uruk and latest 12/111 accession year probably at Sippar), rather than with the nine (possibly read two) months in Berossus' manuscript. The Dynastic Prophecy, perhaps reflecting the religious party view, may suggest that he failed to control the land, and his successor put it about that he lacked intelligence and had come to the throne against the divine will: both prejudiced views. The latter statement comes from Naboni­ dus, who headed the band of conspirators who slew Labashi-Marduk and unanimously chose Nabonidus to succeed. 85

86

87

VII.

NABONIDUS

The faction which had hoped to take power on the death of Nebuchad­ rezzar and was thwarted by the subsequent succession within his family of Amel-Marduk now supported another candidate. If Nabonidus (Nabu-na'id) was indeed the Labynetus of Babylon who mediated between Lydia and the Medes in 585, then he was a good choice to counter the rising power of Cyrus, who, following his defeat of Astyages, now ruled Media, Anshan, Parsua, and Elam, according to his royal titulary. Nabonidus himself claimed to have been the popular choice, and refers to Nebuchadrezzar and Neriglissar favourably as his royal predecessors with whom he had been closely associated, guarding them day and night. By the end of June 556 scribes throughout Babylonia dated their documents by the new monarch. Nabonidus refers repeatedly to his father as Nabu-balatsu-iqbi 'a learned counsellor', and it is assumed therefore that he was not a close member of the royal 88

89

8 3

A 922, I49,

8 5

л 7, 28; A 871 (Neriglissar no. 39). Quoted in Jos. Contra Apionem 1.148 ( A 7, 28; A 626, 393 §148); A 8 7 7 , 13; л 9 2 2 , 150.

8 6

8 4

235-7.

A 44, 566; A 7 6 7 ,

53.

8 7

A 26, 32 ii 9 - 1 0 (restored); A 836, 2 7 6 - 7 no. 8 iv 38-9; cf. CAD

8 8

A 362, 50—1 ii 43—7.

8 9

A 856, 218—19

n

o

-

1

2

' • 3 o - i no. 2 i 1 3 , 2 3 4 - 5 no.

16 (S), 182.

3 i 2 9 - 3 0 , 252—3 no. 6 i 9.

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

244

27. B A B Y L O N I A 605 — 5 39

B

-

C

-

'Chaldaean' family. His mother, Adad-guppi, in her biography, claims influence with Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar and Neriglissar but not Amel-Marduk or Labashi-Marduk. There is no support for the idea that she was a member of the royal harem or was the official palace housekeeper. It is not impossible that from such a position of intimacy in the palace and its affairs Nabonidus was himself married to a daughter of Nebuchadrezzar, as Neriglissar had been, and that this lies behind the tradition that his own son Bel-sarra-usur (Belshazzar) was Nebuchadrez­ zar's (grand) son (Daniel 5: 2). Berossus designates Nabonidus a 'priest of Bel' which may explain the absence of his name in earlier business transactions and, with few exceptions, during his reign, of which he spent only about six years in Babylon. One text refers to him as citygovernor ('in charge of the city'). Nabonidus could not have been a young man on accession, since his mother died aged 101 or more in his ninth regnal year. On gaining the throne he led the army back to Hume to complete the operations undertaken by Neriglissar earlier, implying perhaps that Syria was once again threatened. The army appears to have supported him throughout his reign and may therefore have played some part in his election. Booty, gifts and prisoners were taken to Babylon for the New Year festival, some 2,8 50 captives being dispersed as temple slaves on this or a similar occasion. The labour force was put to work on restoring the quay wall at Babylon, but apart from the traditional royal donations to all the temples in the capital itself the major effort was planning the restoration of Ekhulkhul, the temple of the moon-god Sin at Harran, of which his mother was a devoted supporter. Since Nabonidus is considered to have attempted a religious reform, demoting Marduk in favour of Sin, it is notable that his building inscriptions show that he both restored and contributed to the main temples of the principal cities, including the temples of Sin, Shamash, Bunene, and Anunit at Larsa, Sippar, and Nippur. Though they make frequent reference during this work to the recovery of building inscriptions by earlier kings outlining previous work, the 'antiquarian' interest of Nabonidus was not unusual. He did not seek to create any exclusive role for Sin in Babylon. His mother's close association with Harran would explain his special interest there, and the dedication of his daughter Ennigaldi-Nanna as *»/zv/»-priestess in her renovated cloister and temple at Ur follows a long Babylonian tradition. Of his other daughter, Ina-Esagila-remat, little is known. Like Nebuchadrezzar before him, Nabonidus made no structural changes in rebuilding Ur which might be interpreted as marking a modified ritual. 90

91

92

93

94

95

5

9

2

A

3 6 2 , S O - I ii 4 0 - 4 ; Cf.

A

922, 224.

A

8 1 9 , 3 1 ; but see now

A

8I

JA,

142.

9

1

A

819, 79; 9

3

A

A

941, II.

25, 105 6 - 7 .

9 4

A 800, 3 4 3 - 8 8 ; A 8 5 6 , 2 1 8 - 9 7 .

9 5

A 9 4 3 ; cf. A 900, 56—8. On the office of cntum see J . Renger, ZA

58 ( 1 9 6 7 ) , 134—44.

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NABONIDUS

245

Though he granted the temple and its officials kidinnu privileges (freedom from tax and corvée), this did not extend to the city as a whole. The visits by Nabonidus to other city temples were in the royal tradition of maintaining local and tribal unity. Such occasions included the presentation of special donations or the dedication of valuable votive offerings. At Uruk he was petitioned for, and granted, continued supplies for Eanna similar to those Nebuchadrezzar had made to the shrines of Marduk and Nabu in Babylon on an earlier occasion. The arrangements for rents for large tracts of land to be made payable to the Uruk temple must have hastened the centralization of much landownership under single management. Nabonidus' hold over temple administration was confirmed by the replacement of one local by two royal commissioners responsible for Eanna; one of them was an older official of Neriglissar's time and the other, Zeriya, a close associate of the king, took over as ista/w/»»-official. This has been taken to be part of a wide attempt by the Nabonidus circle to establish control over temple affairs here and elsewhere, but similar action had already been taken by Nebuchadrezzar. In his second year Nabonidus was again in Syria at Hamath, where it was said to be very cold. In this year his daughter was dedicated in Ur and the Ebabbar temple in Sippar was embellished. The next year Nabonidus led a campaign to Ammananu, during which some people were decapitated and their bodies hung up. It was during this march in the Amanus range that the king collected plants and fruits to be taken to Babylon for the royal gardens and table. Someone, either the king or his aged mother, was taken ill, a matter of sufficiently serious concern to be noted in the chronicle, but the person recovered. Action was next taken against the Arabs; the king's forces marched to the west (Amurru) to meet with Bel-dan and besiege a city in Edom (Udummu). Further operations involved large military groupings and ended in the death or defeat of an unnamed individual and an attack against the gate of the otherwise unknown town of Rukdini. The break in the chronicle for the fourth and fifth years has given rise to speculation whether it was during this time that Nabonidus set to work to fulfil the dreamrevelation of his accession that he was to restore Ekhulkhul in Harran, which had been destroyed when the god 'was angry with his city and temple and went up to heaven', leaving it in ruins following the 96

97

98

99

100

j 6 o , 74

(no. 45 ii 3 1 ) .

%

A

"

A 25, I O 5 - 6 I 1—22; A 85 5, 7 5 7 - 6 4 .

" A

892.

9

8

A

25, I O J

9.

1 0 0

See A 2 5 , 282 for the critical reading of the place name as [UJdummu, Edom. For the earlier incorrect reading [AJdummu, see A 6oo, H I , 115 i 1 1 - 2 2 ; S. Smith, Isaiah chapters XL-LV (London, 1944), 37f, 1 3 7 f nn. 7 9 - 8 0 ; A 787 (identifying Adummu with the area of modern el-Jawf); A 9 1 1 , 352 n. 6.

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27.

605-539

B A B Y L O N I A

R E -

combined attack by Medes and Babylonians in 6 0 9 B . C . The Harran stela is against such a chronology, since it says that this work was not substantially completed or the images of Sin restored there from their temporary resting-place in Egishnugal in Babylon until after Nabonidus' later return from Arabia. Such work must have taken some years to complete, for it involved the mobilization of labour from Gaza, Egypt, Syria, and Babylon; this would not have been feasible while the Medes were in the area in force, before Cyrus had seized Astyages and robbed Ecbatana during Nabonidus' sixth year. By that time Nabonidus had left for Tema in Arabia, perhaps going there directly after his Edomite operations. It has been suggested that the chronology of the chronicle at this point may have been edited for a specific purpose, or rearranged to justify Nabonidus' absence in Tema. While the king was absent in Tema a thousand kilometres from Babylon, affairs of state were delegated to the crown prince Belshazzar, according to the chronicle for Nabonidus' seventh to eleventh years (after which that source is lost until the sixteenth year). The annual New Year festival was not celebrated, yet the services of Esagila and Ezida and offerings to the deities of Babylon and Borsippa continued as in normal times. For ten years Nabonidus controlled a group of oasis towns from Tema, including Dadanu (Dedan, al- Ula), Padakku (Fadak), Hibra (Khaybar), and Yadihu (Yadi , al-Hawait) as far as Yatribu (Yathrib, Medina), an area extending about 400 km in length by 160 km wide. This was won over by force of arms and garrisoned by troops who had marched there with the king and by settlers who stayed among the local Arab population. The Harran stelae which record the event give as the reason for this odd semi-abdication of power in Babylon and the subsequent exile a rebellion by the citizens and priests of Babylon, Borsippa, Nippur, Ur, Erech, and Larsa. They refused to rebuild the Ekhulkhul temple of Sin in Harran. 'They devoured each other and caused fever and famine among them and so minished the people of the land. But I hied myself afar from my city of Babylon ... for ten years I did not go there.' It is not clear what caused the rebellion: whether despite adverse economic conditions Nabonidus tried to force through this particular Sin temple project or whether it was a symptom of general discontent, following years of harsh demands on the populace. It is generally assumed to be a priest-led protest at Nabonidus' emphasis on the cult of Sin. Various explanations have been sought for Nabonidus' withdrawal, other than personal pique. First, the king's health may have been affected 1 0 1

102

103

104

105

c

c

106

1 0 1

A 362, 4 6 - 7 i 6 - 9 ; A 856, 2 8 4 - J n o . 8 X 1 2 - 2 1 .

1 0 2

A 362, 7 s ; A 9 1 1 , 3 5 6 ; CF. A 1 3 2 , 7 6 - 7 , 1 0 6 - 7 .

1 0 4

A 869; A 9 I I .

1

5

A 25, I 0 6 - 8 .

1

1

6

3

A 856, 2 2 0 - 1 N O . I i 3 8 - 4 3 .

A 362, 5 6 - 9 i 1 4 - 2 7 .

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N A B O N I D U S

in some way. The Nabonidus prayer found at Qumran, dated to the first century A . D . , refers to a Jew among the Babylonian exiles who gave him advice when he was suffering from malignant boils. This has usually been taken as misapplied to Nebuchadrezzar's madness by the book of Daniel as part of the vilification of that monarch. There are, however, significant differences between the two stories. A medical, perhaps psychological, basis alone seems insufficient reason for a prolonged absence, which even precluded his return to take part in the lavish funeral of his cherished old mother in his ninth year (7 April 547), when she was buried at Dur-karashu near Sippar. Harran was not available, and Babylon seems to have been antagonistic to her, for official mourn­ ing there was delayed for two months, although this may have been due to fear of action by the Medes south of Erbil at the time. Secondly, Nabonidus may have gone to Tema to control the important trade routes running through it, north to Syria and from Babylon to Egypt. Along the latter track supplies of 'royal food' are known to have been sent by camel from Uruk to the king in Tema. If the aim was to benefit from the lucrative spice and incense trade, or even the movement of gold - a rare commodity in Babylon at this time — a good local force under strong Babylonian command would have been needed to enforce this. Others argue that it was part of a political move to extend the Babylonian empire westwards. Thirdly, any purely religious motivation for the selfimposed exile is not proven. Finds from Tema indicate structures of the period without affording specific evidence of 'the palace like that in Babylon' or any associated shrine for the moon-god Sin there. Nabonidus, like many Babylonian kings, was deeply religious, and supported the national god Marduk, though Cyrus in the so-called 'Persian Verse Account' of Nabonidus charged him with irreverence towards that deity. The hostility could have been the result of a combination of factors, including his continued administrative reforms whereby temple property was limited and a special royal cash box was introduced in the sanctuaries, to which a fixed portion of the temple income was allotted under the supervision of the king's own officials. Meanwhile increasing pressure on Babylonia's eastern borders ena­ bled Cyrus, without any apparent special agreement or opposition, to cross the Tigris south of Erbil and march for a successful campaign against Croesus of Lydia as far as Sardis (Hdt. 1 . 7 5 - 8 4 ) . In the following year Elamites entered Babylonia itself and action was taken by or against the district governor of Uruk; if by him, this may mark an attempt by the Elamites, not for the first time, to win over an opposition party to resist the ruling regime. When the Babylonian Chronicle resumes in his 107

108

109

110

111

112

1 1 0

A 831; A 865.

I * A 819,

A 885; A 810.

"'

U4-17.

A 9 1 1 , 359 n. 42.

"!» Cf.

A 856,

2 8 2 - 3 no.

"2A8I5,58.

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8 ix

II-13.

248

B

27. B A B Y L O N I A 6 0 5 - 5 3 9 - C .

seventeenth year, Nabonidus is already back in Babylon, having returned following the diviner's advice based on favourable astronomi­ cal omens, today variously interpreted as indicating September/October 543 or 542, indicating that 'the appointed time had come'. Nabonidus claims that there had been reconciliation with the people and that nearby vassal kings renewed their oaths of loyalty. Those returning included men from distant parts who came back prosperous, though since the statement is in general terms, Babylonians from Tema are not men­ tioned, but may be included. The return had been made possible also by an agreement between Nabonidus and the king of Egypt (Amasis II), the king 'of the city of the Medes' (Cyrus II), and the land of the Arabs who sent messengers to promote good relations. The Arabs may have moved under pressure from Cyrus who, according to Berossus and Xenophon, gained control over them and 'all Asia' before his ultimate advance on Babylon. The Harran inscription tells of abundant rainfall and fruitfulness in Babylonia and Syria; this brought famine to an end after great hardship and would have been taken as an additional favourable sign. The gap in the Babylonian Chronicle for Years 12—16 deprives us of a corroborative precise date from that source for the return. Changes among the top officials in Eanna at Uruk in his thirteenth year may mark the resumption of authority by Nabonidus, though Belshazzar as 'royal prince' had been active in all aspects of home rule during his absence. He was also aware of the threat from Persia, to judge by the special attention he paid as regent to Sippar and the nearby defences. In 5 39 the New Year festival was celebrated in Babylon as of old by the king, who had earlier been the major participant at other religious celebrations elsewhere. His undoubted triumph had been the resto­ ration of Sin to his temple in Harran following his own return to Babylonia. During the summer the war clouds increased to the extent that the gods of Marad, Kish, and Khursagkalamma were brought into Babylon for safety, always the first defensive step taken in anticipation of an attack from the north east. In Eanna yet another change in the hierarchy introduced a person bearing a Persian name, a token of the growing pro-Persian group there. The gods of Borsippa, Cutha, and Sippar close to Babylon itself were not withdrawn, since Cyrus, having marched down the Diyala, paused opposite Opis. He then mounted a 113

114

115

116

117

A 362, 5 8 - 9 i 4 2 - 5 . Berossus quoted in Jos. Contra Apionem 1 . 1 5 0 ( A 7, 28 and A 626, 393 § i ; o ) ; Xenophon, Cyropaedia v n . 4 . 1 6 ; cf. Hdt. 1.190). On Belshazzar's administration see A 8 1 9 , 1 0 5 - 3 7 . The events of this year are described in the Nabonidus Chronicle (A 25, 1 0 9 - 1 1 ) . A 8 1 7 , 17 (Bagiazu); A 893, 12—21. 1

,

3

1 1 4

1 1 5

1 1 6

1 1 7

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249

NABONIDUS

full-scale attack on the Babylonian defenders of Opis, first crossing the Tigris, forcing them to retreat with heavy casualties and loss of equipment behind the 'Median Wall'. On the fourteenth of Tashritu Sippar fell without a battle and Nabonidus fled. Two days later (13 October) the Persian army under Ugbaru, governor of Guti, entered Babylon without a battle. His shield-bearing troops without any weapons protected Esagila and the holy places for the first two weeks, while the services within continued without interruption. Belshazzar was slain at the initial capture of the city, and Nabonidus surrendered soon thereafter in Babylon. The swift and seemingly unexpected nature of the final fall of Babylon, reflected in the traditions of both Daniel and Herodotus, can best be explained by the presence of collaborators or dissident elements who assisted the invaders. According to Herodotus the deflection of the river near Opis reduced the effectiveness of the water defences and enabled a com­ mando-type group to enter through the dried-up river bed or canals flowing through the city beneath the walls, giving both the element of surprise and an unexpected route of approach and thus a rapid take-over of key points (Hdt. 1.190— 1). The later tradition that the city was so vast that it took three days for the news to spread to all its inhabitants may refer to the time taken for the news to reach the more distant cities of Babylonia. The Dynastic Prophecy that 'a king of Elam will arise . . . and remove him [Nabonidus] from his throne . . . and will settle him in another land' supports Berossus' statement that Cyrus spared Naboni­ dus, settling him in Carmania, where he died. On 30 October Cyrus himself entered Babylon, proclaiming peace to all the citizens and receiving all the rulers of the former 'Chaldaean' empire there. The people received him with acclamation, though whether only as befits a conqueror or as a deliverer from oppression, as Cyrus claimed, it is hard to tell. Cyrus attributed his success to the permissive will of Marduk in punishment of a regime which had opposed his will. In the decree recorded in the Cyrus Cylinder he reiterated his peaceful and friendly intentions in taking the land over, reaffirmed the special kidinnuprivileges for the city of Babylon, and ordered the return of deities exiled there to their temples in cities to the north and east of Babylon. This is noted also in the Babylonian Chronicle, and it may be assumed that by this, or a similar, decree the exiled Jews were allowed to return to 118

119

120

121

1 1 8

A 25, 1 1 0 iii 16; Daniel 5: 30; Xenophon, Cyropaedia v n . 5 . 2 6 - 3 0 . Aristotle, Politico m.i ( 1 2 ) . A 26, 2 5 , 3 2 - 3 ii 1 7 - 2 1 ; Berossus quoted in Jos. Contra Apiomm 1.153 ( A 7, 28; A 626, 394 §15 3); Eusebius, Praep. Evang. 9 . 4 1 . A 44, 3 1 5 - 1 6 ; A 929, 2 - 9 . 1 1 9

1 2 0

1 2 1

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250

27.

B A B Y L O N I A

605

—5 39

B

-C.

Jerusalem after a seventy-year exile, though their actual rehabilitation took some time to arrange and many stayed in the land. Cyrus contributed to the restoration and upkeep of the once-abandoned shrines. The defeat of Nabonidus was put down to Marduk by the Babylonians and to Yahweh by the Jews, while Cyrus stressed the weak and irreligious rule of Nabonidus who had introduced abominable deities alien to the Marduk cult. His version of events sought to justify to outsiders the fall of the city in terms reminiscent of the priestly accounts of the much earlier fall of Ur or Nippur. Cyrus set about repair work in Babylon immediately and in this he was joined by his son Cambyses. He had appointed Gubaru as senior administrator and left him to appoint district governors. The chronicle records the death of Ugbaru on 1 1 / V I I I . The Daniel version of these events has been interpreted as requiring another king of Babylon, there named as 'Darius the Mede', between Nabonidus and Cyrus, though this has been said to be a confusion between the fall of Babylon in 539 and that of 520 in the time of Darius Hystaspes..However, the tradition is detailed and ranks him as a son of Ahasuerus; he was aged sixty-two on taking over the kingdom, and an identification with Gubaru (to be distinguished from Gobryas of the Behistun inscription) has been proposed. That individual was the governor of the trans-Euphrates province (Eber nari) and is nowhere connected with the royal line or given a royal title, nor are any documents dated by him as king. If Gubaru were to be equated with Ugbaru, the identification with 'Darius' would be ruled out by the notice of his death in the chronicle, if it is recording events in chronological order. Cambyses, while working in Babylon on behalf of his father, was only styled prince ('son of the king'). The proposal that 'Darius the Mede' in Daniel was an alternative, if cryptic, description of Cyrus the Persian who also styled himself'King of the Medes' may be a reasonable solution. There is no convincing evidence that there was any gap in the dating of texts in his reign, for he was acknowledged in his accession year as king in a dated text, probably from Sippar, as early as 15 October. In the Babylonian King List Cyrus is made the direct successor to Nabonidus. The citizens of Babylon were allowed much freedom, which they used to proclaim official mourning for the dead 'wife of the king'. If it were the wife of Nabonidus who was possibly a daughter of Nebuchadrez­ zar, or even the long-lived widow of Nebuchadrezzar, it would reflect the high esteem in which the ruling Chaldaean family was still held. The 122

123

124

125

126

1 2 2

A 44, 3 I 2 - ! 5; A 900,

1 2 4

A 933; Cf. A

1 2 5

A 87, 14 (add BM 56154 (CT 57, 157), dated 19.vii.acc. Cyrus). Xenophon, Cyropaedia vn.5.30, suggests that Nabonidus had been killed.

1 2 6

8 3 - 9 1 . Cf. IS. 44:28; 45: 1 - 7 .

123 Cf. A 895, (10)

893.

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109.

NABONIDUS

change to Achaemenid rule seems to have had little effect on the traditional way of life which had dominated Babylonia throughout its long, often hard won, years of independence. The suddenness of the decline from the splendours of Nebuchadrezzar's day to the final denouement stands as a testimony to the debilitating effects of division among the political and economic leaders who followed him.

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CHAPTER 28<j NEO-BABYLONIAN

M.

A.

SOCIETY AND

ECONOMY

DANDAMAEV

With the establishment of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom there starts a rich flow of documentary sources. The period of less than ninety years between the reign of Nabopolassar and the occupation of Mesopotamia by the Persians is documented by tens of thousands of texts concerning household and administrative economy and private law, over ten thousand of which have been published so far. Their content is varied: promissory notes, contracts for the sale, lease or gift of land, houses or other property, for the hiring of slaves and freemen, documents connected with international and internal trade, records of lawsuits, correspondence concerning official business, letters with family news, and so on. All these texts come from temple and private archives. We have no state archives of Neo-Babylonian times at our disposal apart from a few stray texts. The rich material in the Neo-Babylonian sources has unfortunately still been insufficiently investigated. It is therefore impossible as yet to give a complete description of Neo-Babylonian society. 1

I.

THE

SOCIAL

S T R U C T U R E OF N EO-B A B YLON IA N

SOCIETY

At the time when the Neo-Babylonian state came into being the inhabitants of some large Babylonian cities enjoyed special privileges. Only the fear of losing their civic privileges can explain why citizens of some cities (such as Nippur) remained faithful, in spite of great suffering and privation, to the Assyrian rulers under whom they had won these privileges, and fought the armies of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom. As we have seen, the citizens of Babylonian cities were exempt from military conscription and corvée. A characteris­ tic feature of these cities was self-rule by free and legally equal members of society united in a popular assembly (puhru) around the principal temple of the city. The texts mention 'the assembly of the country' (probably consisting of the managers of temple estates in various cities), 1

See for a brief survey of these sources A 8 I ;, 6—I 2.

252 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

SOCIAL

STRUCTURE

'the assembly of the people' (or possibly of the army), assemblies of Babylon, Uruk, Nippur, Sippar and other cities. Despite this, after the establishment of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom, the centuries-long struggle between royal power and the people's assemblies had gradually resulted in the defeat of the latter; by that time their jurisdiction extended only to private disputes among their citizens and crimes of local importance. What is remarkable, however, is that the numerous inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian kings tell only of the erection of new temples and repairs to old ones, and of pious gifts to various sanctuaries, while the many successful military campaigns are hardly ever mentioned. This points to the fact that the rulers were obliged to take account above all of the clergy, who played an important part in the people's assemblies and represented their interests. As can be seen from the inscriptions of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, conflicts continued between the central power and the citizens of Babylon, Borsippa, Nippur, Uruk, and Larsa. Relations with them had been sufficiently strained from the very beginning of his reign, when Nabonidus started to give pride of place to the cult of Sin, the moon-god, naming him 'divine king over all gods'. In fact the moon-god whom Nabonidus worshipped was not the traditional god Sin of Ur, but according to his symbols and forms of worship, an Aramaean god. It is possible that by bringing about his religious reforms, Nabonidus strove to unite around himself the numerous Aramaean tribes of the Near East which worshipped Sin. However, the opponents of Nabonidus were not united among themselves and each city endeavoured to give pride of place to the cult of its own god. According to Nabonidus the people had wandered off the true path, had told lies, had sinned against the gods and had even begun to 'devour one another like dogs'. One Neo-Babylonian inscription says that judges took bribes and did not defend the poor, that the strong robbed the weak, usurers exacted high interest, the mighty victimized the disabled and widows, many broke into other people's homes and seized their fields. The text goes on to say that the new king had put an end to this lawlessness and had established a just order. The name of the king does not occur in the preserved part of the inscription, but in all probability he was Nabonidus. Even Nabonidus, however, was to a certain extent forced to take the traditional rights of the citizens into account. Thus he declares in one of his inscriptions that he had 'gathered the elders of the city, citizens of Babylon', in order to take counsel with them about temple-building. In 2

3

4

5

2

A 980, 4 5 - 9 ; A 9 8 1 ,

3

For sources and literature on the religious activity of Nabonidus see A 889. For the publication of the text see A 854; see also A 902. See A 856, 2 5 4 - 6 .

4

38-41. 5

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254

iSa.

N E O - B A B Y L O N I A N

S O C I E T Y

A

N

D

E C O N O M Y

connexion with the consecration of his daughter to the temple of Egishnugal in Ur, Nabonidus exempted this temple of the god Sin from state services and granted it special privileges; however, this decree, like all similar royal decrees, did not affect all the inhabitants of Ur, but only the narrow group of priests and temple staff. Some of the decisions of the 'people's assembly' concerned thefts of temple cattle and of other property, the collection of tithes and payments for the lease of templefields.Other decisions related to litigation and the family disputes of individual citizens. Let us dwell briefly on the functions of the 'people's assembly'. In the year 545 B . C . in Uruk, a woman declared in the assembly that her husband had died, famine reigned in the country, and she was unable to feed her two small sons, so she was handing them over to the temple of also in Uruk, a certain Eanna as slaves of the temple (sirku). In 540 Ibni-Ishtar, in the presence of several people near the temple of Eanna, threw himself dagger in hand at the royal commissioner (ressarri) of that temple. The assembly examined the case and 'tied up and sealed the iron dagger which he had pulled out of his belt'. The document does not give the assembly's decision, because in this case the passing of the sentence came under the jurisdiction of the king's tribunal, while the assembly's role was limited to preliminary investigations; but it does represent a record of the depositions of witnesses and of the attaching of material evidence. In the same town of Uruk the king's commissioner at the temple of Eanna informed the assembly of an important deficiency in the amount of barley due as rent repayment for 5 5 3 B . C . The assembly had to establish who was responsible. In 5 91 'the assembly of the elders' of Sippar examined a case of the theft of property of the temple of Ebabbar by a certain man and came to the decision that, if the accusation was proved against him, he would have to make good thirty-fold the loss occasioned to the temple. When in Babylon in 5 5 5 litigation arose between three brothers about the inheritance of afieldwhich was part of their mother's dowry, the verdict was given by the 'elders of the city'. Similarly in 5 90 the 'elders of Nippur' examined a suit between two persons over a slave girl. In 5 94 in Borsippa 'at the assembly of the people' (or possibly of the army, puhur ummani), Nebuchadrezzar denounced one of his generals for plotting against him. The criminal was executed and all his property confiscated. The document concerning the execution was composed in the presence of numerous people, including the civil governor of the city of Borsippa. 6

1

B . C . ,

8

9

10

11

12

13

6

1

1

3

7

SeeA8oiA. A 9 0 7 , no. A 924,

104.

A 1 0 1 0 , 33.

8

See A 5 6 5 , no.

11 See for reference A 9 8 1 , 38.

117. 12

'A817.no. A

981,

38-9.

1-5.

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SOCIAL

STRUCTURE

255

Thus the assembly functioned as an organ of local self-government and justice. Its sessions were often presided over by the royal governor of the city concerned and the temple administrator. Documents from Uruk contain frequent mentions of the 'assembly of the citizens of Babylon and Uruk'. Here the term 'Babylonians' desig­ nates state employees (scribes and other representatives of the central authority), who had been sent from Babylon by the royal administration for service in Uruk. The members of the popular assembly were citizens (mar bant) who were free and in the eyes of the law equal among themselves. But they differed noticeably among themselves in economic and social standing. Among them were governors of cities, judges, high-ranking state and temple officials, merchants, businessmen, scribes, lesser officials, shep­ herds, lessees of fields, and artisans (who included the poorest strata of the free population). The status of the citizens was inheritable and passed on from father to sons. Naturally an active role in the work of the assembly was taken only by the wealthy. Quite often when decisions were to be taken in a case, only the elders (sibutu) gathered together, as being the most influential citizens. In a number of cases their decisions were taken jointly with the senior temple officials and governors of cities. Sometimes documents containing orders from high state officials were drawn up in the presence of elders. The elders also represented the citizens of their cities before the king. The citizens took part in the cult at the local temple, as well as in the temple festivals and repasts, and were entitled to receive specific parts of the temple's revenue. All these people lived in the city and owned land in the city or in the rural district over which the power of the people's assembly extended. Not all freemen, however, were citizens. Manumitted slaves, for instance, although free, could not obtain the status of full citizenship, as they were not allowed to occupy posts linked to the reception of the temple prebends. Aliens too were deprived of the rights of full citizenship. At the time under study the population of Babylonia was ethnically mixed. The country was abundantly populated by Chaldaean and Aramaean tribes living side by side with the old local inhabitants, whom they gradually assimilated. Many aliens also lived in Babylonia. These were often settled in considerable groups in specified regions. Thus in the environs of Nippur and in the city itself each ethnic group was assigned a particular territory. Among aliens there were also the king's mercenaries, voluntary immigrants, and people who for various reasons 14

15

1 4

A 980, 4 5 - 8 .

1 5

A 981,

39-40.

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2j6

28«.

N E O - B A B Y L O N I AN

SOCIETY AND

ECONOMY

lived permanently or temporarily in Babylonia (merchants, political refugees, seasonal hired workers from Elam, and so on). Thus Babylo­ nian texts mention numerous aliens living at the court of Nebuchad­ rezzar. Among them were Elamites, Persians, Cilicians, Jews, various emigrants from Asia Minor (Tonians'), 'fugitives from Media', and others. It can be noted incidentally that a letter of the early sixth century B.C. mentions the arrest of several Babylonians whose father and brother had fled to Media. As can be seen from the same letter, several other Babylonians hadfledto Media, and the king's order for them to return remained unanswered. Particularly numerous were people of Egyptian extraction, whose ethnic origin is often mentioned in the texts. In other cases it is easily established from proper names, which are frequently theophoric and have reference to such gods as Amun, Isis, Horus and Hapi. The Babylonian scribes knew about the theophoric character of these names, and usually set before them the divine determinative. A considerable number of Egyptians are mentioned as contracting parties and witnesses to a variety of contracts made in Babylon, Ur, Uruk, Sippar, Borsippa, and other cities. Thus Egyptians were scattered all over the country. The majority of Egyptian settlers, as a result of mixed marriages and in an attempt to adjust themselves to the surrounding ethnic milieu, gradually began to give their children Babylonian names and to assimilate themselves with the local population. In such cases the ethnic term 'Egyptian' (misiraja) was retained by their descendants as a family name. It is a curious fact that among the considerable number of aliens living at that time in Babylonia, only persons of Egyptian origin are frequently mentioned as scribes of cuneiform tablets. Assyrian texts of the times immediately preceding the establishing of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom mention Egyptian healers, farriers, interpreters of dreams, singers, jewellers, smiths, brewers, bakers, and so on. It is obvious that after the Neo-Babylonian kingdom was established, the majority of these people did not return to their homeland but remained to live in Mesopotamia. Private law documents show that representatives of different nations lived side by side, formed business relationships, and concluded mixed marriages. It is essential to keep in mind that in ancient times there were no conflicts on ethnological grounds, no racial hostility or feeling of superiority of one nation over another, and no one country was interested in imposing its language and culture on other nations. For this reason there was no disparaging of the beliefs of aliens by the local population. The aliens for their part worshipped not only their own gods but also the gods of the people among whom they lived, believing as they 16

17

1 6

* 999.

'34-5-

1 7

A 997.

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did in the power of these gods. Aliens took part in the economic and social life of the country, and became owners of houses and estates, while some of them served in administrative positions. They gradually became assimilated with the local population and spoke Akkadian and Aramaic (since Aramaic spread swiftly as the colloquial language in Mesopota­ mia), and in their turn exercised a definite cultural influence on the Babylonians. Aliens enjoyed no civic rights since they did not possess land within the city's common fund and therefore could not become members of the people's assembly. But in cases where they were compactly settled in distinct regions such people could create their own organization of local self-government — a people's assembly under the guidance of their own elders. We know in early Achaemenid times of the 'assembly of Egyptian elders' which functioned in Babylon. But such self-governing organs of ethnic minorities had probably already existed during the period of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom. It is known from the Bible that the Jews driven into captivity in Babylonia under Nebuchadrezzar had their own elders, who took decisions on problems of the internal self-government of the Jewish colonies, which preserved their own ethnic consciousness and traditional culture. Finally, besides citizens and freemen without civic rights, there existed several groups of dependent populations in which slaves formed a particular intermediate category. All these people naturally had no civic rights. 18

19

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LAW

Justice was administered not only by the people's assembly, but also by the king's judges. The king's tribunal consisted usually of a council of five or six professional judges. Sometimes the composition of the tribunal was mixed and consisted of king's judges and elders selected from among the citizens. In Sippar the king's tribunal was presided over by the high priest of the temple of Ebabbar, who enjoyed full judicial power. In making decisions on important matters the people's assembly was subordinated to the king's judges, from whom they received various instructions, and to whom they were obliged to convey all necessary information. The king's tribunals took the decisions on the most important cases, in particular those of murder, plots, and revolts. The king appears to have been regarded as the highest judicial authority; but he did not possess absolute power and could not arbitrarily seize the property of his subjects or deprive them of life. In his 20

1 8

2 0

See for references A 999, 1 3 9 - 4 0 . See A 895, 37.

" See for references A 999, 1 4 3 - 5 .

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private life the individual was left to himself, and as in former times the central authority did not interfere in his family life. He could move freely within the limits of the kingdom, undertaking business and commercial trips, or travel in search of earnings. Marriage was generally monogamous, and a man who took a second wife was usually obliged to pay high compensation to the first wife, unless she was childless. A woman enjoyed a comparative independence; she could hold her own property and deal freely with it (give it away, sell, exchange or lease it), as long as it did not cause loss to her children and husband. On the husband's death the widow, even if she had no children, was allotted a part of the husband's property. Although women often acted as contracting parties, they are nevertheless very rarely mentioned as witnesses in contracts. Neo-Babylonian law apparently encouraged a written formulation of contracts except for the sale of perishable goods. Contracts were drawn up by professional scribes in the presence of witnesses (usually from three to ten or more) in two copies, each of the two parties receiving one. From the beginning of Neo-Babylonian times it is stressed in documents that the parties are concluding the deal of their own good will. The contracts enumerate the conditions of the business agreement, the place and date where and when the document was drawn up, and a penalty is denned (usually a fine) for a breach of conditions. Seals of witnesses and of the contracting parties are added (the latter usually leaving the impression of their thumbnails, especially if they are debtors). In the period under study objects given in pledge were fields, houses, slaves, children of freemen, cattle, money, and other movable property. There were two kinds of pledge. According to the first kind, property was declared to be a pledge as security for a loan either with the creditor having right of ownership of that property ('hand pledge') or else without that right, when the property remained at the debtor's disposal (hypotheke). But the second kind of pledge was most common, in which the property became subject to antichresis, that is, the creditor was given the right to exploit the pledge in his own interest. Slaves and houses were frequently (fields and other property less often) handed over in antichresis as pledges for debts. In such cases the revenue from the pledged property or from the labour of slaves or other pledged persons went to cover the interest on the loan. Documents note that the creditor shall not pay wages for the labour of slaves or members of the debtor's family (nor, for example, pay rent for houses), while the debtor remains exempt from paying interest during the time that the creditor makes use of the pledged person or of the immovable property. The debtor could take back his slave, the member of his family, or any 21

2 1

See A 9 7 7 .

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other property pledged in antichresis, only after the creditor had been repayed his loan in full. If a pledged individual ran away, fell ill, or for some other reason did not fulfil his task, the debtor was obliged to refund the creditor with the equivalent of the labour services of the person pledged in antichresis throughout the whole time for which the latter did not work - usually to the amount of six litres of barley a day, which in terms of money amounted to twelve shekels of silver a year. In addition the debtor fed and clothed the labourer given over in antichresis throughout the time that the latter remained with the creditor. Usually in the case of antichresis no date for the repayment of the debt was specified, and more often than not the pledged person worked for the creditor for several years until the debt was paid in full. When property was pledged without the creditor's right to make use of it, the date of redemption was always indicated. If the debtor did not redeem his debt on the agreed date and the creditor did not grant him more time, the pledge became the creditor's property. But if the value of the pledged property exceeded the sum of the loan, the creditor, on the tribunal's decision, received only a part of the pledge; and contrariwise, if the pledge was judged to be of lesser value than the loan the debtor was obliged to pay up in full. In Neo-Babylonian times loans were usually made at 2 0 per cent yearly interest (1 shekel of silver per mina per month), although now, by contrast with the Old Babylonian period, the law did not regulate the amount of interest. Loans were mostly made in money, less often in grain or dates. But during this period wide use began to be made of so-called abstract promissory notes, usually for a loan but in many cases for credit for opening trade workshops, sale of commodities on credit, and so on. Towards Neo-Babylonian times debt bondage underwent consider­ able changes. A creditor could arrest an insolvent debtor and hold him in a debtors' prison. However he could not sell his debtor into slavery, and the latter would redeem his debt by unpaid labour for the creditor. Contrary to the practice of earlier periods a husband could not pledge his wife as security. Freemen had the right to pledge their children but such pledges, after the debt and interest had been paid in full by their labour, recovered complete freedom from the creditor. In the case of a debtor's insolvency his children could be taken into slavery. Moreover by this date the time limit on slavery, established by Hammurabi's laws in the second millennium B.C., was no longer in force. The explanation may be that during that period, owing to a comparatively high standard of living and to the possibility of earning money as hired labour, there was no longer any threat of a mass enslaving of the free. The practice of self-pledging and self-selling had completely disap22

2

2

A

878, 5

iff and 11 iff.

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peared at the time under study. Freemen only very seldom had recourse to the sale of their children and that only in cases of catastrophic famine, devastating wars, or prolonged sieges. For instance in the year 626 B . C . , while the army of Nabopolassar was besieging Nippur, which remained faithful to the Assyrians, and while barley cost almost thirty times more than its usual price, some of the population sold their children to money­ lenders. It is stated in the contracts that the children had been sold to save them from starvation. In Neo-Babylonian times Hammurabi's laws were still copied and studied, as witnessed by the great number of copies made in the first millennium B . C . At least one of the articles of these laws, decreeing a thirty-fold repayment of stolen temple and palace property, was still in force. Three columns of laws have been preserved which, judging by the writing, grammatical forms, vocabulary, and matters discussed, belong to Neo-Babylonian times. In the text that survives, the beginning and end are destroyed. We can infer from its careless script and numerous clerical errors that this is a part of the text of the laws copied for teaching purposes. The laws are not set out in full but selected according to different subjects. The preserved articles concern mostly marriage and property laws. They contain various juridical conclusions with regard to disputable cases of day-to-day life. One law states that if a man builds a cistern to store water but does not sufficiently reinforce its walls and as a result his neighbour's field is flooded, the culprit must pay his neighbour compensation, calculated by reference to the harvest gathered from the adjacent fields. According to another law, if someone sells a girl-slave and she turns out to belong to someone else and her legal owner reclaims her, the seller is obliged to return to the buyer her price plus half a shekel of silver for the child she may have borne in the meantime, in order to compensate her owner for loss during her temporary inability to work. If a man takes a second wife and has sons by both wives, after his death the sons of the first wife should receive two-thirds and the sons of the second one-third of the deceased's property. If a father gives a dowry to his daughter and she dies childless, this property must be returned to her father's house. After the death of the husband his widow, if she has had no children, receives her dowry and her husband's wedding gift. If a widow who has children wishes to marry again she can take with her her dowry and the gift received from her husband at her first marriage. If she bears children from her new marriage, her dowry must be equally divided between the sons of both marriages, while the gifts received from each husband must be given to their respective children. 23

24

25

See

A 815,

157-80.

2

4

A 994-

2

5

A 822;

A 989;

A

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TEMPLES

In Neo-Babylonian times the royal economy weighed less in the general economy of the country; the leading role belonged to the temples and private households. There seems however to have been no clear-cut distinction between palace and state property; therefore all state revenue as well as that from royal estates, in the narrow sense, was regarded as belonging to the king. What was actually in his possession was only a comparatively negligible land fund, the management of which was based on the principles of a private household. Royal property is seldom mentioned in documents. For instance, according to a contract of the time of Nebuchadrezzar II a royal field was let on lease 'for ever' (for planting with date palms) to Shula, head of the business house of Egibi in Babylon. During the reign of Neriglissar a private citizen's house was sold to the palace. A text dated from the reign of Nabonidus mentions ducks as 'royal property'. Although we have no information on the workshops of the NeoBabylonian kings, texts frequently mention royal carpenters, stonema­ sons, fishermen and shepherds, all of whom were probably freemen permanently employed by the palace. The building and upkeep of canals, palaces and temples, and the making of roads were tasks carried out by freemen as community and state services. It is worthy of mention that their patronymics are regularly recorded in documents, by contrast with slaves, whose fathers' names are not recorded. The major part of the state revenues came from taxes, of the character and size of which we know nothing. Apparently all freemen were bound to give a tithe of their income in state tax. These taxes were usually paid in kind (cattle, grain, wool, and so on), but official experts established their value in silver. Besides this, certain groups of the population (such as merchants engaged in international trade) paid their taxes in silver. In addition to taxes the king received various tolls and dues (including port dues, city gate toll, canal dues from ships and boats, toll for the use of certain bridges) in silver or in kind. Out of the taxes the king maintained the official staff and the army. The country was divided into administra­ tive districts governed by governors (belpihati). Cities were administered by special governors (bel temí). There were also overseers of royal canals and moorings and other lesser functionaries. The palace management was headed by the 'palace administrator' and included a large number of court employees and messengers. Naturally the administrative service, branching out over the territory of an enormous realm, could not function without a large number of 26

See for references A 8 1 5 , 5 5 8 - 6 0 .

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scribes. Apparently already the state chancellery was carrying on its correspondence, at least in part, in Aramaic; this undoubtedly explains why the archives of the Neo-Babylonian kings have not come down to us, as documents written on leather and papyrus easily deteriorated in the climatic conditions of Mesopotamia. But an important role in the administrative services continued to be played by cuneiform scribes, some of whom bore the title of 'royal' or 'palace scribes'. Texts also mention 'scribes whom the king appointed to the city', 'port scribes' and so forth. A considerable number of scribes worked for governors in provincial administration. Of great importance among the administra­ tive staff were the scribe-interpreters (seplru), as in building works and in the army craftsmen and soldiers from foreign countries were employed. The entire staff of the state administration received their salaries from the king in kind, the higher ranks also partly in silver. The mainstay of the king's power was the army, about the recruiting of which we scarcely know anything. Besides Babylonians there were also mercenaries serving in it as evidenced by Antimenidas, the brother of the Aeolian poet Alcaeus, who served in the army of Nebuchadrezzar. The soldiers were armed with spears, iron daggers, shields, bows and arrows. As can be seen from documents of the times of Nebuchadrezzar and Nabonidus, Scythian archers' tactics exerted a considerable influence on the arming of Babylonian warriors, who preferred Scythian to Akkadian bows and arrows because of their high ballistic qualities. Close links existed between the palace and the temples: some high temple officials were related to the king. Thus the administrator (Jatammu) of the temple of Ezida in Borsippa was married to the daughter of Neriglissar. The temples of Esagila in Babylon, Eanna in Uruk, Ebabbar in Sippar, Ezida in Borsippa, E-imbi-Anu in Dilbat, Ekur in Nippur, Egishnugal in Ur, and Emeslam in Cutha were the most important temples of the time, and they also advanced loans and transacted commercial business. Thus Eanna owned some 5 to 7 thousand head of large horned cattle and 100 to 150 thousand sheep. According to one document this temple obtained during one year, 5,000 kg of wool from its sheep. An important source of temple revenue was the tithe. It was collected from all the representatives of the free population: agricultural labourers, shepherds, gardeners, artisans, priests and officials of all ranks, including governors. The king also paid the tithe to all important temples in the country at the same time. Everybody else paid the tithe to the temple near which they possessed land or other sources of income. It was paid on gardens and fields, on the increase of cattle, on the yield of 27

28

2 7

See for references A 998, 99—106.

See for references A 9 7 9 .

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wool, and so on. In most cases it was paid in the form of barley and dates, but quite often in silver, sesame, wool, clothing, cattle, fish, or artefacts. The king paid partly in gold. The tithe represented more or less a tenth part of the payer's income, though the king's tithe was relatively smaller. Special officials were engaged in collecting the tithe. Some people, unable to pay, had to borrow money from usurers pledging their houses and fields and sometimes even giving their children to the temple as slaves (sirku). The structure of temple management is best known from data contained in the archive of Eanna. The senior administration of this sanctuary consisted of the king's governor (be/ temi) in Uruk, the estate manager of the temple (qepu), the head of the temple's administrative council (satammu), and 'Eanna's scribe'. The last three managed the temple's estates, supervised the temple slaves, and organized the allocation of the temple revenues to various purposes. Thus their functions were of an administrative, not religious, character. All the higher temple functionaries, except the governor of the city who was appointed by the king, were elected from among the citizens, apparently at a session of the people's assembly at the Eanna temple. A more or less similar system prevailed in other important temples in the country. As the business correspondence of the temples was conducted for the greater part (if not entirely) on clay tablets, cuneiform scribes were indispensable. Thus in Eanna there worked simultaneously no less than twenty scribes, and a similar number would have been employed in other important temples. But not all of them were permanently occupied in writing; a temple scribe was primarily an employee of the administrative and economic system and his duties included establishing the amount of land rent, arranging the provision of cattle and other produce for sacrifices, issuing rations to the temple slaves, supervising all kinds of labour, and recovering debts from temple debtors. Many scribes fulfilled the functions of accountants. Besides this scribes were sent out to various regions subjected to the temples. Thus a letter from the archive of Eanna says that in case of an insufficiency of scribes in some particular place others would be sent there. Many scribes of Eanna made business trips to Babylon, Larsa, and other cities, including even the Phoenician city of Tyre. The majority of scribes worked in the temples for long periods (some for thirty to forty years or more) and this service was their main source of income. They received their pay in barley and dates (usually from 180 to 270 litres a month, sometimes up to 540 litres). Senior temple officials were often chosen from their number. Under Nabonidus the influence of the state over the temples gained in 19

30

See A 1007.

3 0

See A 982,

85-96.

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strength. In particular, in 5 5 8 Nabonidus created in the Eanna temple the post of royal commissioner, whose functions to some extent had previously been carried out by 'Eanna's scribe'. The latter title now lost its importance and was held by all scribes of the temple. The royal commissioner was independent of the temple, and one of his main duties was to hand over to the palace part of the temple's revenues. For this purpose a special 'king's chest' was created which received a specified part of the revenue in kind. In addition the temples had to contribute to state services by sending their slaves as farmers, shepherds, gardeners, or carpenters to work in the king's household. The king and his staff began to interfere actively in temple matters, establishing rations for the temple slaves, the size of the temple prebend for various groups of the population, and rates of rental for temple fields. 31

32

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All cultivated land was exactly surveyed, as witness a large number of cadastre texts. A considerable part of it belonged to the temples, to members of the royal family, to important business houses, or to officials of the royal and temple administration. Small land-holders (especially in large cities) owned holdings from half a hectare to several hectares. Land was highly priced, making it more profitable to use it for gardens (mainly for date-palm plantations) than for cereal cultivation. Barley was the most widely cultivated cereal but spelt, wheat, sesame, peas, andflaxwere also sown. The density of barley sowing averaged 133.3 litres per hectare; the yield varied from 935 to 4,050 litres per hectare, but averaged 1,890 litres. The crop was harvested from the end of April until the end of June. Dates equalled barley as a main food item and the average yield of dates from a hectare of garden was 8,820 litres. Young palm trees began to bear fruit in the sixth year after planting. Rainfall was scarce, and irrigation continued to play an important part in the country's economy; new canals were dug and old ones maintained in exemplary order. These canals belonged to the state, to temples and in some cases to private individuals, but all land-owners and leaseholders could make use of their water for a fee. Silt from the canals was used as a fertilizer together with manure. Smallholders cultivated their fields themselves with the help of members of the family, and sometimes also with the help of labourers usually hired for the harvesting period. Owners of large estates let out their land on lease. The rent was usually either established in advance 33

3 1

A 988,108-10.

3 2

A 979.

3 3

A lOOj.

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when the contract was made and depended on the presumed fertility of the land, the rent being paid in kind, or much less frequently in cash (siitu); or else it was assessed in arrears on the estimate of the standing crops (imittu). Usually the owner of the land received one-third of the crop and the lessee two-thirds. In most cases the contract was drawn up for one year, but if the land had been lying fallow it lasted for three years. For such land the lessee paid the owner nothing during the first year, in the second year only part of the usual rental, and in the third year the share of the crop normal for that province. Quite often extensive tracts of land were leased to head-lessees, who in their turn parcelled them out among sub-lessees. It also happened that two or more lessees rented land in common. If Babylonian texts composed after the occupation of Mesopotamia by the Persians are to be trusted, during the reign of Nabonidus famine decimated the population. But these texts, being composed to please the Persian king Cyrus, demand critical evaluation. Nabonidus in his own inscriptions asserts that during his reign Babylonia flourished. Some 3,000 economic and private legal documents in his time testify to the country's continuing economic prosperity, and the version of later Babylonian texts is obviously tendentious in representing him as having ruined his people. It is true that a document survives showing that in the year 544 famine reigned in the country. This information agrees with an official inscription of Nabonidus which says that after a drought and famine rains had come bringing plenty, and 234 qit (about 230 litres) of barley or 270 qti (about 270 litres) of dates cost one shekel, which is approximately one-third less than the normal price. Side by side with agriculture the most important branch of production was handicraft. Neo-Babylonian texts mention weavers, smiths, jewellers, house-builders, coppersmiths, carpenters, launderers, bakers, brewers, and other craftsmen. A craft was usually passed on within families from father to son. However no law required a man to inherit his father's profession. Rather it was a tradition which was often broken. There existed in Babylonia no independent craft organization because the economic premises necessitating its creation did not yet exist, namely a market economy and the possibility for craftsmen to dispose freely of raw materials in any considerable quantity. To judge by documents of the archive of the temple of Eanna, craftsmen in Uruk, although in most cases freemen, worked for that temple and received from it their raw materials. They worked for the temple by voluntary agreement, and were remunerated in cash and in kind. Besides this some craftsmen (such as bakers and brewers) worked for the temple for a stipulated period each 34

35

3 4

A 1022, 8ff.

3 5

A 886,

247-8.

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year in return f o r the revenue paid to persons entitled to a temple prebend. A c c o r d i n g t o documents from Babylon, Nippur, and some other cities, craftsmen often contracted with clients for the manufacture of furniture, household utensils, or clothing, using either their o w n or the client's materials. Some craftsmen may have w o r k e d for the open market, but o n this we d o not possess sufficient information. S o m e people sent their slaves to learn a craft because a qualified craftsman b r o u g h t his master a much larger revenue than would an unskilled slave. Contracts have survived for teaching slaves such crafts as leather-dressing, shoe-making, weaving, dyeing, carpentry, and house-building. A l l these contracts concern male slaves sent for training. Their age is n o t stated but it may be confidently assumed that they were youngsters. The craft masters too were often slaves. The training lasted f r o m 15 months to 6—8 years, according to the complexity of the craft, and during all that time the apprentice remained with the craft master. His o w n e r was responsible for his keep, providing him with about a litre o f barley a day and with clothing, so long as he remained with the craft master. The latter was remunerated by the slave's labour and, in addition, at the end of successful training, received a present from the slave's o w n e r . But if the craft master did not fulfil his undertaking and had n o t taught the slave the full measure of his craft, he was required to pay back to the slave's owner the value of the slave's labour for the entire period o f training, usually about 6 litres of barley a day, which for one year represented in cash terms i z shekels of silver. A f t e r the completion o f his training the slave either w o r k e d for his o w n e r o r remained with the craft master, w h o paid his hire. Sometimes such a slave opened his o w n w o r k s h o p paying his master quit-rent. In practice, h o w e v e r , only the wealthy could send their slaves for training, because during apprenticeship the o w n e r not only had n o profit f r o m the slave but also had to provide for his keep. Therefore those w h o o w n e d o n l y a few slaves could not afford to have them trained in a craft w i t h the prospect o f drawing advantage from it only in several years' time. 36

V.

COMPULSORY AND

FREE

LABOUR

The greater part o f the dependent population belonged to the estate of farm labourers (ikkaru). They owned n o land of their o w n and laboured f r o m one generation to the next on land belonging to the state, the temples, and private land-owners. Such labourers lived in rural districts

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which did not possess the characteristic structure of urban self-government. In the eyes of the law ikkaru were not considered as slaves; they lived with their families and could not be sold. Nevertheless, they were attached to the land and could not leave their place of residence without the permission of the owner. If they ran away, they were caught, shackled and brought back. These labourers worked all the year round under the supervision of their masters or the latters' agents. Lists have survived in temple archives with detailed enumerations of dozens, and sometimes several hundreds, of labourers in each separate document. In these enumeradons they are split into small groups of three or four, mostly representing separate families, each consisting of a father and his sons. The ikkaru received from the temple administration oxen, ploughs, shovels, seed for sowing, and quite frequently supplies of food for themselves and fodder for the cattle. When agricultural labour was over, the ikkaru returned the cattle to the temple. Temple officials made periodical inspections of the livestock and tools and of the seed-corn held by the ikkaru? The temples of Eanna and Ebabbar in Uruk and Sippar farmed out considerable tracts of land to rent collectors, the amount being established at the conclusion of the contract. The collector did not himself cultivate the land but passed it on to sub-lessees and was responsible to the temple administration for the yearly supply of a pre-determined quantity of farm produce. At the same time the temples quite often lent their ikkaru for hire to rent collectors together with the leased land, farming implements, and draught animals, passing on to them the ikkaru's radons. The rent collectors were held responsible for the good state of the livestock and tools, and for the ikkaru. The latter were in their turn responsible to the rent collectors for the crops of that part of the land which they themselves cultivated. Customarily the temple supplied a quantity of draught animals and ikkaru corresponding to the area of land leased. Thus, according to a contract drawn up in the year 5 5 5 B.C. in Larsa, the Eanna temple leased to two men 7,410 hectares of land. In the first year of the lease the rent collectors received from the temple 3,000 kur ( 5 4 0 , 0 0 0 litres) of barley for sowing and 10 talents (300 kg) of iron for ploughshares. Besides this they received 4 0 0 ikkaru, 4 0 0 oxen, and 100 'large' cows to replace oxen that were worn out. As rent they were required to supply the temple yearly with 2 5,000 kur (4.5 m litres) of best quality barley and 1 0 , 0 0 0 kur (1.8 m litres) of choice dates. Thus for each 18.5 hectares of land the rent collectors had at their disposal one ikkaru and one ox. But according to the conditions of the contract the 1

38

A 815, ¡90-625.

3 8

A IOO5, 9 O - I 0 4 .

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leased land was to be cultivated in alternate years, half of it remaining fallow in each year. As only half of the land was cultivated at one time, on average some 9 hectares was the ikkaru's share; but so much land could hardly be cultivated by one man. Obviously the rent collectors were obliged to hire sub-leaseholders (calculating approximately 4 hectares for each man) and also add the necessary number of oxen and quantity of seed-corn. In other words, in this particular case the rent-collectors probably had recourse to the labour of some 500 free leaseholders in addition to the 4 0 0 ikkaru. According to another contract drawn up in Uruk in 545 в.с, a rent collector received 812 hectares of ploughland belonging to the temple of Eanna. A thousand ikkaru were put at his disposal, 100 oxen, 50 'large' cows, and for the first year of the lease also 625 kur ( 1 1 2 , 5 0 0 litres) of barley for sowing and 5 talents 20 minas (160 kg) of iron for plough­ shares. The full amount of the lease rent was 5,000 kur ( 9 0 0 , 0 0 0 litres) of barley a year. Of particular interest is the statement that 30 out of the 100 ikkaru put at the disposal of the lessor by the temple would receive from the temple's stocks by way of provisions for the first year of the lease 120 kur ( 2 1 , 6 0 0 litres) of barley — 7 2 0 litres for each man or approximately 2 litres a day. According to a contract concluded by the temple of Ebabbar in Sippar, a man who rented 79 hectares of land also had put at his disposal 12 oxen, 8 ikkaru, keep for the latter and fodder for the cattle, grain for sowing and agricultural implements. The ikkaru put at the disposal of rent collectors were obliged to surrender a pre-determined part of the crop from the land allotted to them according to the size and fertility of the field. The rent collector having collected from all the ikkaru the crops due from them settled his accounts with the temple. One can cite as an example that one rent collector had during 5 5 3 в.с. collected from the ikkaru under his control and delivered to the temple of Eanna 1 0 , 1 3 6 kur ( 1 , 8 2 4 , 4 8 0 litres) of barley. In conquering new territories, or in suppressing rebellions in pre­ viously conquered provinces, the Babylonian kings seized the local inhabitants (particularly qualified craftsmen) and enslaved them. Already at the time of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Neo-Baby Ionian dynasty, intensive building was in progress in Babylonia; this reached impressive proportions under Nebuchadrezzar. The labour of prisoners of war was widely used on such works as canal-digging, road-building and the construction of palaces; the text of Nabonidus' stela found at Harran in upper Mesopotamia says that the gods Marduk and Nergal 39

40

41

A I O O j , 38—4О.

4 0

A 815,

606.

4 1

A I O O 5 , 74—6.

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granted to him 2,850 prisoners from Hume (Cilicia) to carry bricks during the building of the temple of Sin at Harran. Among the ruins of the royal quarters in Babylon texts were found enumerating the rations of prisoners of war. In these documents, dating from 5 95 to 5 70, after the wars with Egypt and the Phoenicians and the capture of Jerusalem, there are mentioned in particular 46 Egyptians and 90 ship-builders from the Phoenician city of Tyre, as well as other qualified craftsmen and Jewish prisoners. The kings handed over to temples some of the prisoners of war as slaves. Nabonidus made a simultaneous gift to several temples of 2,850 men deported from other countries. He also handed over many slaves to the temple of Sin in Ur, together withfields,gardens, large horned cattle, and sheep. In this connexion one may note that a significant source for the increasing contingents of temple slaves was the consecration to the temples of privately owned slaves by their pious masters. Nebuchadrezzar brought to the building of Babylonian temples craftsmen 'from the Upper to the Lower sea' - from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf - but apparently the majority of these people were able to return home after the completion of their service. As a rule only an insignificant part of the prisoners of war were turned into slaves, distributed among palace, temple, and private households. The majority were settled on state land which they farmed independently, paying state taxes and carrying out services, often including service in the army. At the same time some of these prisoners of war owned their own slaves. Thus in the year 597 B . C . almost ten thousand persons, not counting women and children, mainly belonging to the nobility, warriors, and craftsmen, were taken from Jerusalem to Babylonia. Biblical sources represent this captivity as the bondage of slavery. In reality, however, the captives were not enslaved but settled in specially designated regions, in particular near Nippur, on land that had become neglected. The question arises why the Babylonian kings did not turn the whole mass of prisoners of war into slaves. Slavery was after all the most effective form of dependence, and there was hardly ever a lack of prisoners of war, nor were there any legal or moral bars to such bondage. However the slave sector in Babylonia, as elsewhere in the ancient Orient, was unable to absorb all the prisoners of war. The reason is to be found in the comparatively low level of economic development and goods-money relations, and in the lack of intensive production methods in which slave labour could be utilized on a large scale. It was the labour of free agriculturists and leaseholders that formed the basis of the rural economy, and in crafts the labour of free craftsmen and relatively few 42

43

44

4

3

For

references see

A 815,

472.

4

4

See

A

8 1 4 7 2 - 8 2 .

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privileged slaves. Slave labour was less effective and needed constant supervision. An average slave sought in every way to avoid the task assigned to him, showed no initiative, and was not interested in the results of his labour or in its quality. It was difficult to establish effective control over slaves, as the basic type of economy was the smallholder's and peasant's household, and there were no large workshops employing slave labour. The labour of slaves was thus utilized mainly for work which did not demand high qualifications or expensive supervision, work in which slaves could be occupied throughout the year, not seasonally; therefore the more complex processes of production were carried out by freemen. The documents contain hardly any data on the utilization of the labour of privately owned slaves in agriculture, with the exception of cases in which the slaves appear as leaseholders. Major land-owners preferred to deal with free leaseholders, leasing to them small plots of land, because slave labour demanded constant supervising and correspondingly heavy expense. Therefore there were in Babylonia no true latifundia except those of the temples, and such large land-ownership as existed relied on small-scale exploitation. When large land-owners had recourse to the help of their own slaves, they either allotted land for independent exploitation on peculium rights or more often rented it out to them. On thefieldsbelonging to the temples there laboured a comparatively large number of slaves, but they cultivated only part of the temple lands, the rest being cultivated partly by ikkaru and partly by free leaseholders. Temple administrations also suffered from runaway slaves. It sometimes happened that when slaves took cattle to pasture they would run away and take the cattle with them. The temple management therefore sought mainly to hire free shepherds. The advantage of such economic manage­ ment was that in cases of theft, outbreak of disease, and other kinds of loss, the shepherds were obliged to make the loss good to the temple out of their own property. Although the temples and large business houses owned dozens and sometimes hundreds of slaves, and wealthy citizens had from two to five each, they were on the whole far fewer than the population of freemen. When owners were unable to use slave labour in their household economy or thought it disadvantageous, the slaves were often left to fend for themselves, with the payment of a pre-determined quit-rent from the property (peculium) occupied by them. The amount of the quitrent varied according to the slave's property, but on average it amounted in money terms to 12 shekels of silver a year. The slave himself cost at that time on average about one mina of silver, and a female slave about 5 o shekels. 45

46

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A 815, 252-78.

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LABOUR

There were at that time in Babylonia a comparatively large number of slaves living with their families and owning considerable property, which they were free to pledge, lease, or sell. Slaves could also have their own seals, and appear as witnesses at the conclusion of various business deals by freemen or by other slaves. They could go to law among themselves and sue freemen, with the natural exception of their masters. Such slaves could buy other slaves for work in their households as well as hire slaves and freemen. Nevertheless, such slaves could not buy their freedom, because the right to enfranchise belonged in all cases to their masters, and the wealthier the slave the less advantageous it was for his master to give him his freedom. Although from the legal point of view the freeing of slaves was admissible, documentary data on manumission are extremely rare. The freeing of slaves was limited to cases in which a slave owner in his old age, having no children or not wishing to become dependent on them, sought to interest a slave in the prospect of future freedom and ensure his loyal service to the end of his days. In such cases the freed slave was obliged to supply his late master with food and clothing, and acquired full freedom only after his death. But if a former slave neglected his duty to provide for his master, he could again be reduced to slavery by the destruction of the document of manumission. But for temple slaves, all ways to freedom were closed. As has been noted above, in Neo-Babylonian times debt bondage was of little importance: and the less debt bondage is developed the greater is the role played by free hired labour in the general structure of the economy. The amount of pay of hired freemenfluctuatedfrom 3 to 1 2 shekels of silver a year, and in some cases rose to 30 shekels and more, but on the average it was 1 2 shekels. Boatmen and men employed on earthworks were particularly highly paid, and a large number of texts tell us about the money paid to hired workers who dug or cleared irrigation canals belonging to temples. Several documents mention the issuing of money and provisions (including ale) to hired workers in the household of the Eanna temple occupied in making, baking, and colouring bricks and bringing them to building sites. Shipwrights and shipmasters also worked as hired hands in Eanna while others were occupied in hauling boats, guarding temple property, and other comparable tasks. By comparison the hiring of slaves was temporary and infrequent. The pay for a slave's labour was equal to that of a free hired hand, but it was received not by him but by his master. Besides, when at times a hired worker found himself in economic difficulties, the hirer was able to dictate his conditions to him. It was therefore more advantageous to hire freemen. 47

48

4 7

A 8l , 5

384-97.

48 A 8 1 5 , 4 3 8 - 5 5 .

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Although the temples had at their disposal a certain number of slaves trained as craftsmen, there were not enough to satisfy even to a minimal extent the needs of the temple economy. The temple administration was obliged throughout the year to turn to free jewellers, brewers, bakers, tanners, smiths, copper-smiths, carpenters, weavers, launderers and potters. Quite often the temples sought the help of craftsmen from other towns, evidently because their number in the local town was insufficient. Thus a number of documents from the archive of the temple of Ebabbar in Sippar certify the payment to 'craftsmen who have come from Babylon'. The temple administration was also obliged to have recourse to hired labour to cultivate the land and harvest the crops, attracting men even from the neighbouring country of Elam. Private land-owners were also forced to make wide use of the labour of free hired workers. Where such labour was in short supply, pay would be correspondingly high. Particularly characteristic in this respect are letters from temple officials to their supervisors in which they ask first for money to pay hired labourers who might otherwise abandon their jobs, and secondly for iron fetters to be sent for temple slaves who run away. Hired labourers were interested in the work when they were paid punctually, while the slaves (especially when it was a case of heavy labour such as the construction of irrigation works) did all they could to escape from work. Parties of hired labourers numbering up to several hundreds were not infrequent. They occasionally refused to work in protest against unpunctual payment of their wages, irregular issuing of victuals, or low pay. The correspondence of temple officials shows that the temple administration understood the necessity of satisfying the demands of hired labourers, for if they refused to work it would be impossible to replace them by temple slaves. 49

VI.

TRADE

Under the Chaldaean kings Babylonia enjoyed economic prosperity. Within the country there was a busy trade between the different cities, carried on mainly by boats along the rivers. In both internal and external trade a prominent role was played by a few powerful business houses. The oldest of these was the Egibi house, which had already begun its activity by the end of the eighth century and continued till the beginning of the fifth century, buying and sellingfields,houses, and slaves. The Egibi also carried on banking operations, accepting deposits, issuing and receiving promissory notes, paying the debts of their clients, 4 9

A982A.

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financing and founding commercial enterprises. The Egibi house, like the other Babylonian business houses, did not for the most part finance their operations from credit deposits entrusted to them but worked from their own assets. The depositors of the Egibi house were usually persons already connected with it by common business interests. Some members were also in the king's service (for example, as judges). Considerable specialization in trade is demonstrated by the fact that the texts mention not only plain tamkaru (merchants) but also tamkaru of the king and of governors, as well as tamkaru engaged in buying and selling cattle and dates. Temples also often had recourse to the services of the tamkaru. The king's tamkaru dealt in selling goods belonging to the king and carried on usury in the king's interest. Thus, according to a document of the time of Nebuchadrezzar, a king's merchant paid in Babylon a certain quantity of silver out of the 'king's property' for gold. It is noteworthy that the 'chief tamkaru' at the court of Nebuchadrezzar was Hanunu, who, judging by his name, was a Phoenician. However, in Neo-Babylonian times trade could be carried on not only by professional merchants and their agents but also by any private person. Texts frequently mention town merchants who dealt in salt, imported wine, beer, confectionery, crockery, and so on. These vendors carried on a retail trade in the streets and took their wares to the houses of the wealthy. Concerning regularly functioning urban markets we do not possess yet any definite information. Some of the professional traders specialized in international commerce. Babylonia continued to serve as a link in the trade between the Phoenician and Palestinian world to the west and the countries to the south and east of Mesopotamia. Especially lively was the trade with Egypt, Syria, Phoenicia, Elam, Cyprus, and Asia Minor. From Egypt there came to Babylonia large quantities of alum used for bleaching wool and clothing and for medical purposes, and of linen, which was much in demand because of its high quality. From Syria and Phoenicia there came honey, aromatic substances, blue-purple wool, and timber for building. These goods were taken overland to the Euphrates and carried down­ stream by boat to Babylon, the largest centre of international trade of the times, and from there distributed to the various towns in the country­ side. The importing of such wares was carried out by commercial companies specially created to finance trade on a large scale. Each shareholder received in proportion to the sum previously invested by him a share of the profits subsequently realized. From Syria came various substances for dyeing textiles, the production of which nourished at the time in Babylonian towns, which had become important centres for 50

51

5 0

A IO28, 3 9 - 4 7 -

5 1

A 1008,

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producing woollen clothing. The clothing was exported to neighbour­ ing countries, in particular to Elam. Grain and other agricultural products were also exported from Babylonia. Trade with Greece is attested by quantities of Greek pottery (almost all from Athens) found at Babylon. Iron from the western coast of Asia Minor and copper from Cyprus were imported in large quantities. Documents dating from the years 5 51—5 50 prove the delivery of several hundreds of kilos of iron and copper from Yaman ('Ionia', here the Greek sea-coast of Asia Minor, in other contexts Greece in general) for the temple of Eanna in Uruk. These texts tell of the import from Syria and Lebanon of various dyes, bluepurple wool, spices, honey, twenty jars of white wine, and some 130 kg of Egyptian alum. Iron was also brought from Cilicia; a document of the time of Nabonidus tells us of the acquisition there of over 900 kg of this metal. Another text from the year 601 B . C . records the delivery to weavers of over 2 kg of 'Ionian' blue-purple wool for producing garments for statues of the goddesses of the temple of Eanna. In maritime trade in the time of Nebuchadrezzar the leading role was taken by Ur, which was well placed on the route from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. Prices for basic commodities were as follows: one kur (approximately 180 litres) of barley or dates cost one shekel (8.42 gr) of silver, one kur of sesame seed ten shekels, four litres of honey one shekel, one talent (30 kg) of salt one shekel, one mina (505 gr) of wool half a shekel (but one mina of imported blue-purple wool cost about 15 shekels). Outer garments could be bought for 2 shekels. An ox cost about 20 shekels, a cow a few shekels less, a sheep 2 shekels. A jug of barley or date beer cost less than one shekel. A boat cost one mina or more, a house from 1 to 5 minas. Burnt bricks cost from 5o to 100 per shekel. For the same amount of silver one could buy 25 kg of asphalt, used as building cement. Donkeys, which served as a basic means of transport for supplying heavy material, had a high price — up to 30 shekels. Afieldof one hectare cost 2 to 3 minas or more, a date-palm grove or a garden of the same size was one and a half or two times as expensive. Metal, although it was exclusively imported, was comparatively low priced. Thus 303 kg of copper from Tonia' was sold in Uruk for 3 minas 20 shekels of silver, 18.5 kg of tin for 55.5 shekels, about 65.5 kg of iron from Lebanon for 42.6 shekels. One paid 1 mina 17.3 shekels for 217.5 kg of Egyptian alum, and 36.6 shekels of silver for 28 kg of lapis lazuli. In internal trade, payments were made by means of silver ingots in various forms, squared, circular, or star-shaped. Minted coin was not used at all in the country. There was a detailed technical terminology for 52

53

5 2

A 697.

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3

A IOI I.

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determining the purity of the silver in common use to safeguard traders and buyers from fraud. Silver ingots contained various p r o p o r t i o n s of alloy (most frequently an eighth part, more rarely a fifth, tenth, o r twelfth), and carried a stamp designating the standard. Apparently private persons as well as temples had the right to produce silver ingots, giving them a definite shape, weight, and purity similar t o those which were already current. Frequent selling and buying w o r e the ingots slightly away, but this was unimportant as they w e r e weighed in each transaction. Texts often mention 'refined silver' freed of alloy by melting down. So-called 'white silver', having a high percentage of alloy, had less value. The palace and the temples had devised a standard technique for the monetary realization of large sums of taxes, voluntary gifts, and other income. A s the taxes w e r e paid in silver of l o w e r v a l u e , to achieve uniformity this silver was sent to palace and temple w o r k s h o p s for purifying and remoulding into ingots of standard weight and quality, after which the ingots were stored in the treasuries. 54

G o l d was regarded as merchandise and was not used as money. The relation of gold t o silver was approximately 1 to 1 3 . 6 . F o r instance in 696 B.C. the temple Eanna bought various quantities of gold f r o m different individuals, among them 6 minas from one tamkaru on the basis of 1 talent 1 mina 3 shekels (30 kg 5 30 gr) of silver for 4 minas 2 5 shekels (2 kg 230 gr) of g o l d . 55

A IOI9.

5

5

A IOI I,

23.

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C H A P T E R 2Sb B A B Y L O N I A N MATHEMATICS, AND

ASTROLOGY,

ASTRONOMY

ASGER

AABOE

In no domain has the influence of ancient Mesopotamia on Western civilization been more profound and decisive than in theoretical astron­ omy and, principally through it, mathematics. Indeed, in the course of the last few decades it has become increasingly clear that all Western efforts in the exact sciences are descendants in direct line from the work of the Late Babylonian astronomers. The anonymous creators of Babylonian theoretical astronomy — probably of the fourth or fifth century в.с. — drew their essential ingredients from several branches of learning and literature, chief among them mathematics and, for observations, the astronomical diaries, closely linked to the celestial omen texts. I.

BABYLONIAN

MATHEMATICS 1

Babylonian mathematical texts are plentiful and well edited. In respect of time they fall in two distinct groups: one Old Babylonian from the centuries about 1600 в.с, the other mainly Seleucid from the last three or four centuries B.C. In respect of content there is scarcely arty difference between the two groups of texts. Thus Babylonian mathematics remained constant, in character and content, for nearly two millennia. Its nascent phase escapes us entirely. The backbone of Babylonian mathematics is the sexagesimal number system. It is a place-value system, like our decimal system, but of base 60 rather than 10. It was used to write both whole numbers and certain fractions (the equivalents of our decimal fractions) and was without doubt the most efficient way of writing numbers in antiquity. It alone reduced the standard four operations of arithmetic to matters of mere routine, particularly with the aid of the multiplication and reciprocal tables that we find in great numbers. (The sexagesimal system was adopted by the Hellenistic astronomers Hipparchus (c. 150 в.с.) and Ptolemy (c. A . D . 150) for writing the fractional parts of numbers, and so we still subdivide our hours and degrees in the Babylonian manner.) 1

See A 1 0 3 1 ; A 1 0 3 6 ; A 1 0 3 7 ; A

1048.

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The mathematical texts fall largely into two classes: table texts, in which are tabulated functions of various complexity, and problem texts, in which problems are posed and solved. A large problem text contains many examples, often ringing changes in pedagogical order on a central theme. From the multitude of texts Babylonian mathematics emerges as a creation with well-defined features. Since the sexagesimal number system made numerate Mesopotamians sovereign computers, it is hardly surprising that Babylonian mathematics shows a strong preference for what we today would call algebra and number theory. Though we encounter a considerable amount of geometrical knowledge, geometry often serves merely as a guise for essentially algebraic problems, as when in the statement of a quadratic equation you are asked to add an area and a length in violation of geometrical sense. Further, the geometrical problems all aim at computing some numerical quantity, be it length, area, or volume. More specifically, we find solutions of first and second degree equations (the latter according to the still current 'formula') and some of these require the reduction of expressions of great complexity. In the geometrical vein the Babylonians computed correctly areas and volumes of simple polygons and solids and, most surprisingly, they freely used the so-called Pythagorean theorem over a millennium before Pythagor­ as' birth. We even have a text (Plimpton 3 2 2 ) which implies fifteen solutions in whole numbers of some magnitude of the Pythagorean equation x +y =z However, nowhere do we find a theorem stated in general terms, nor anything like a proof, though sometimes a solution is so detailed that the underlying general procedure becomes quite obvious. 2

2

II.

2

BABYLONIAN

2

ASTRONOMY

The mathematical texts of known provenance come from a number of sites scattered over ancient Mesopotamia. In contrast, the bulk of the astronomical texts derives from only three locations. From Ashurbanipal's library in Nineveh (Kouyunjik) we have most of the texts centred on the series of celestial omens, Enltma Anu Enlil. Secondly, we have a group of some 1,600 astronomical texts obtained from dealers during the last decades of the last century; they were the product of unscientific excavations of what must have been an extensive astronomical archive somewhere in the city of Babylon. About 1,200 of 2

A IO37,

38.

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ASTROLOGY, AND

ASTRONOMY

these are non-mathematical astronomical texts, classified by A. Sachs as Diaries, Almanacs and Goal-Year texts. The rest are concerned with mathematical astronomy, and we shall refer to them as being of the A C T type after the standard abbreviation of O. Neugebauer's Astronomical Cuneiform Texts,* where most of them were published. Thirdly, there is a smaller group of texts, mostly of the A C T type, that come from Uruk, most likely from the domain of the Res sanctuary. In respect of content we have, then, three principal classes of astronomical texts. First there are those which in one way or another are concerned with astronomical omens. At the core of this class is the series of about 70 tablets now, as in antiquity, known by its opening phrase 'Eniima Anu Enlil' (When [the gods] Anu and Ellil). The contents of this collection of omens are presumably very old, but only a few Old Babylonian fragments of some of the tablets are known. The two-tablet series Mul Apin is more astronomical in character and very likely younger than Eniima Anu Enlil. Finally there are the Royal Reports written by specialists in astronomical omens from various cities of the kingdom to the Assyrian king. Such a report may contain an obser­ vation and an interpretation of its significance according to the canonical texts, mostly Eniima Anu Enlil. These reports date from about 700 The second class, that of the Astronomical Diaries and related texts, contains or is based on a high proportion of observations. They come from the astronomical archive in Babylon and span in time the interval from about 750 B . C . to A . D . 75, the text from this last year being the latest datable text written in cuneiform. Thirdly, the mathematical astronomical texts, those of the ACT type., come from the astronomical archive in Babylon and from Uruk. They are, in respect of date, from the last three or four centuries B . C . (the Uruk texts stop before c. 150 B . C ) , S O they represent one of the last, as well as one of thefinestcontributions of Mesopotamian culture. The three groups of texts are intimately connected. Indeed, all three categories were kept in the archive in Babylon; the scribes who wrote even the elaborate theoretically computed ephemerides of A C T called themselves by the title tup/ar Eniima Anu Enlil (scribe of [the series] Eniima Anu Enlil). The Diaries can be viewed as collections of raw material for omens, and they provided in the process the observational basis for constructing the theories behind the A C T texts; and, finally, the A C T texts predict precisely the core of the celestial phenomena recorded in the Diaries. Lastly, a few remarks about the astronomical archive in Babylon. 3

5

B . C .

6

7

3

A IO44.

7

An ephemeris lists dates and corresponding astronomical information, not necessarily day by

* A IO39.

5

A IO32.

6

A IO47.

day.

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O M E N

T E X T S ,

A S T R O L O G Y

2

79

Colophons, names of scribes, scribal families, runs of the British Museum's accession numbers, and many other features assure its existence, but we do not know its precise location within the vast ruins of Babylon, for all the texts from it were excavated without records being kept. The earliest Diary is dated by A. Sachs to —651 ( = 652 B . C . ) , and recently he published six texts from A . D . 31 to 75. These late texts throw a particularly interesting light on the activities around the archive. By 275 B . C . the government had moved from Babylon to Seleucia and Antiochus ended Babylon's civil existence. The once great and glamor­ ous metropolis fell rapidly into decay, and some three centuries later Strabo, who died c. A . D . 20, writes that the greater part of Babylon is deserted and quotes the comic poet who said 'The Great City is a great desert'. Yet these six texts show that even after Strabo's time there were still people living in the ruins of Babylon who not only knew, and taught others, the difficult art of reading and writing technical Akkadian in cuneiform, but who also had access to the astronomical archive and the desire and competence to use and increase it. Here one may well recall that Pliny (d. 79) in Natural History vi.30.121/2 remarks about Babylon, 'The temple of Jupiter Belus still remains - it was here the creator of the science of astronomy was - the rest has reverted to desert.' Indeed, many of the astronomical texts from Babylon carry the invo­ cation ina amat Bel u Beltia liflim (at the command of [the deities] Bel and Beltia, may it go well). 8

9

A . D .

I I I .

C E L E S T I A L

O M E N

T E X T S ,

A S T R O L O G Y

Of the seventy tablets of the series ULnuma Anu Enlil of celestial omens, the first twenty-three concern the Moon and the next twenty the Sun. Then follow a few tablets of meteorological omens, and the last twenty deal with planets and fixed stars. Most of the astronomical protases are vague and qualitative in the extreme ('If Jupiter remains in the sky in the morning...'). Thus we find much concern about the physical appearance of the Moon, for example, on the important evening of its first appearance or during eclipses, whether it is light or dark, which way its horns point, or whether it is surrounded by a halo. Tablet 63, the famous, if not notorious, Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa, offers a sharp contrast to this vagueness. The protases of its total of fifty-nine omens give month and dates of first and last visibility of Venus as a morning or evening star, and the length in days of its periods of invisibility, for twenty-one consecutive years. The link to Ammis8

There is a difference between the astronomical and historical reckoning of early dates thus: year 0 = 1 B.C., year — 1 = 2 B.C., etc. A 1047. 9

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D

A S T R O N O M Y

aduqa is provided by the tenth omen: instead of the expected apodosis it gives what Kugler brilliantly read as 'The Year of the Golden Throne', the name of the eighth of his twenty-one regnal years. It is very natural to assume that the protases constitute an observational record of the appearances and disappearances of Venus for the reign of Ammisaduqa, and this assumption has underlain the role this text has played in modern attempts at establishing an absolute Old Babylonian chronology. The text's information about Venus, Sun, and Moon (this last because the calendar is strictly lunar) was used by Langdon, Fotheringham and Schoch in their edition of the text, and they were able to restrict, on astronomical grounds, the beginning of Ammisaduqa's reign to a limited number of possibilities in the early second millennium. Most historians chose to use one of the middle chronologies, but for no strongly compelling reason. In a lunar calendar, where a new month begins with the first appearance of the new crescent Moon, a month is either hollow (it has twenty-nine days) or full (thirty days), at least for Mediterranean latitudes. On the average there are slightly more full than hollow months, but the sequence of full and hollow months is highly irregular, and so contains much information. Langdon, Fotheringham and Schoch had tried to check their various chronologies against what they knew of full and hollow months, but their data were bad, and their results inconclusive. In 1982 Peter Huber published the results of a long and deep investigation of these matters. He had at his disposal the new edition of the Venus Tablet by Reiner and Pingree, a fuller record of Old Babylonian full and hollow months provided by several Assyriologists, as well as some eclipse records and a few data from the Ur III period. He subjected this material to a highly sophisticated statistical analysis (made possible, not only by his great expertise, but also by the availability of modern computers) and reached the firm conclusion that the 'Long Chronology' made eminent sense, while the others made no sense at all. so Hammurabi Thus we have Ammisaduqa i = — 1 7 0 1 ( 1 7 0 2 began his reign in 1848 B . C . There seems, then, to remain but two reasonable choices: one must either reject the Venus Tablet as chronolo­ gical evidence, or accept the 'Long Chronology'. The imperfectly understood seventy tablets of Enuma Anu En/Hare at the centre of what at present seems a morass of related texts: extracts, commentaries, and reports. Once all of this material is brought under control we shall very likely have a firm grasp of the state of astrology in Mesopotamia, and the role of 'diviners', near the end of the Assyrian 10

11

12

B . C . ) ,

1

A IO35.

1

1

A IO33.

1

2

A IO42.

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ASTROLOGY

empire, and we may also be afforded some notion of the tradition of some of the texts. The first step must, however, be to edit the relevant texts. An edition of the planetary omens by Reiner and Pingree is in progress, but otherwise we have only excerpts and surveys at our disposal. The same situation obtains for Mul Apin, a series of two tablets. Though it contains some omens, it is principally a compendium of astronomical lore. One could call the presentation theoretical, but the treatment of various astronomical phenomena, like length of daylight, is always schematic in the extreme. The dates of the various parts of the series Mul Apin, its intended use, and the tradition of the texts cannot be determined at present. The type of astrology we find in Unuma Anu Enlil is called judicial: the apodoses are concerned with events and conditions that affect king or country, such as war and peace, quality of harvest, and weather ('springs will open, Adad will bring his rain, Ea his floods; king will send messages of reconciliation to king'). In contrast to judicial astrology we have personal astrology with its horoscopes for important events in the life of an individual, particularly birth. There is nothing astrological in the horoscope itself: it is simply a statement of the positions of Sun, Moon, and planets, perhaps also the rising point of the ecliptic (horoscopus), and other astronomical matters of interest, not observed, but somehow calculated for the horizon of a given locality at a certain moment. All this is purely astronomical, in the modern sense of the word. Astrology enters only in the interpretation of the horoscope's information. Virtually all the evidence for horoscopy is from Hellenistic and Roman times when personal astrology gained great popularity. Though there are many, but usually very vague, references to Chaldaeans and Babylonians in the Greek and Latin astrological literature, the cuneiform evidence for personal astrology was scant and published in scattered places with varying competence. Until 1952 it was, in fact, possible to build a persuasive case for a Hellenistic origin of personal astrology. However, in that year A. Sachs gathered all the published cuneiform horoscopes, added several unpublished ones as well as related texts, and subjected them to a uniform and highly competent treatment. He managed to date, on astronomical grounds, the horoscopes whose dates were broken off, and the earliest was from 410 B.C. In addition he had four horoscopes from the third century B.C., so there is no doubt about the Babylonian priority in horoscopic astrology. At the moment it seems likely, but not certain, that Hellenistic and Roman personal astrology was derived from its Babylonian predecessor. 13

14

15

1 3

A 1042; A 1043. See also A 1040.

1 4

A 1042, 29.

1 3 A

1044a.

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282

Z%b.

M A T H E M A T I C S ,

I V .

A S T R O N O M I C A L

A S T R O L O G Y ,

D I A R I E S

A N D

A N D

A S T R O N O M Y

R E L A T E D

T E X T S

When A. Sachs published his classification of non-mathematical astrono­ mical texts he had at his disposal a dozen of them. Half a decade later his survey of part of the holdings of the British Museum increased his material a hundred-fold, and he spent the rest of his life working on these texts. Miraculously his original classification of them as Diaries, Alma­ nacs, Goal-Year texts, and Excerpts survived this violent expansion. In time, the texts cover, though not uniformly, the interval from c. 750 B . C . to A . D . 7 5, and nearly all of them come from the astronomical archive in Babylon, as we have already said. At the centre of this group of texts are the Astronomical Diaries; all the others are derived from them in one way or another. The unit in a Diary is one month, beginning with a statement about the new crescent, whether it was high or low, and the time from Sunset to moonset in time degrees (one day is 360 time degrees, so one time degree is four of our minutes). We are told if this interval was measured or estimated, and whether the previous month turned out to be hollow or full (the first sighting of the new Moon marks the beginning of a new month). The Diary then follows the progress of the Moon throughout the month, noting when it passes one of the thirty-one Normal Stars as well as the visible planets, whether above or below, and often by how much. Finally we learn when the Moon last could be seen, and how long it then was, again in time degrees, from moonrise to sunrise, and so ends the main part of the Diary unit, unless there happens to be a solar eclipse at the subsequent conjunction of Sun and Moon. At mid-month we find four time intervals between the four combinations of horizon crossings of Sun and Moon near full Moon (the full Moon rises near sunset and sets near sunrise), as well as remarks about a lunar eclipse whenever one occurs. Interspersed in this account of the Moon's monthly behaviour, and in proper chronological order, is information about the planets, about unfavourable weather conditions and uncommon meteorological phe­ nomena such as rainbows and haloes. After this day-by-day account of astronomical and meteorological events we find several terse statements that concern the month as a whole,firstabout the state of the commodities market in the form of how much one shekel of silver would buy of certain staples, vi%. barley, dates, pepper(?), cress(?), sesame, and wool (always in this order). It is noted if the prices changed in the course of the month (in one extreme case we are given quotations for morning, midday, and afternoon of a single day). 16

17

1 6

A IO44.

1 7

A 1 0 2 9 , in which the only English translation (by A . Sachs) to date of a Diary is published.

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Next w e find mentioned the zodiacal signs in which the planets resided during the month, followed by a report on the monthly change in the level of the Euphrates. Concluding the monthly unit of a Diary w e often find a terse historical statement. It may concern an event of little interest to a modern scholar — an outbreak of fire in some quarter of Babylon or a theft from the temple. H o w e v e r , then again w e can read about the enthusiasm with which the cities of Babylonia greeted Alexander's troops as liberators after Arba^il, and later about Alexander's death in Babylon. 18

19

The importance of the Diaries, once they are published, lies not only in the kind of information they contain — astronomical, meteorological, economic, and historical - and in the long time interval they span, but also in the fact that because of the ever-presence of the swiftly m o v i n g M o o n w e can date them to the v e r y day, if w e can date them at all. A m o n g the related texts the G o a l - Y e a r texts ought to be mentioned. Such a text predicts the behaviour of M o o n and planets for a given year — the goal year - by presenting information extracted from Diaries that antedate the goal year by astronomically significant periods (71 or 83 years for Jupiter, 8 years for Venus, 4 6 years for Mercury, and so on). This happens to be a quite efficient w a y of predicting phenomena of the sort considered, and it is based on a recognition of the periodic character of planetary and lunar behaviour, a notion that is fundamental in Babylonian theoretical astronomy. Finally a remark about the kind and quality of planetary observations in the Diaries: t w o sorts of phenomena are recorded, planetary phases (for an outer planet they are first and last visibility, stationary points, and opposition) with a note of the zodiacal sign in which the planet is w h e n phase occurs, and a planet's passage past a Normal Star, whether above or below and by h o w much. The observations are probably made w i t h the naked eye unaided by any sort of instrument; indeed, as far as w e can see, the only instrument used to gather the information given in the Diaries was a water-clock for determining the fairly short time intervals between horizon crossings of Sun and M o o n .

Babylonian

arithmetical

astronomy

W e have 4 0 0 to 5 0 0 texts, many of them small fragments, that in one way or another deal with arithmetical astronomy. Some 300 of them w e r e published in ACT in 1 9 5 5 , the rest subsequently in various journals. They can be roughly divided into four classes: lunar o r planetary 1 8

A IO46.

1 9

A. Sachs worked on the Diaries for the last thirty years of his life. After his death in 1983, and according to his wish, the task of bringing them to publication has been taken over by H. Hunger.

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28£.

M A T H E M A T I C S ,

A S T R O L O G Y ,

A N D

A S T R O N O M Y

ephemerides or procedure texts. The procedure texts, or precepts, tell us how to calculate ephemerides (texts that present dates and corres­ ponding astronomical information, the ultimate aim of the theory), and ideally a set of procedure texts and a knowledge of the rules for finding initial values (these rules still escape us) should enable us to compute any ephemeris. In fact, the path to our present control of Babylonian mathematical astronomy has meandered between ephemerides and procedure texts, for it was often easier to uncover the rules underlying the ephemerides' computation than to penetrate the precepts' terse, technical terminology. We have as yet no texts setting forth the very consistent theories that underlie the instructions of the procedure texts — and it seems unlikely that we shall find any — so these theories have had to be reconstructed by modern scholars. There emerges a theory — or rather two families of theories, Systems A and B, as they are now commonly called — with welldefined, regular features. It is alas, not possible to do justice to the beauty and elegance of these constructs in a brief, descriptive account, for their qualities reside precisely in the subtle, cunningly designed interplay of mathematically simple technical details. We cannot decide whether there was an oral tradition of handing down the inner structures of the theories, and justifications of them, from generation to generation, but it is not completely excluded. Indeed, we find displayed in the procedure texts many basic parameters that normally lie buried well within the theories and are of no direct use to someone calculating an ephemeris. As to the dates of the texts, there are two that are of concern when we are dealing with an ephemeris: the date it was written, and the intended date or time span of its contents. The latter is always given in an ephemeris, but usually near the left edge and thus particularly vulner­ able; but even if the dates are broken off we can very often restore them securely on astronomical and structural grounds. As to the former, we can only be sure of the date of composition or writing if the scribe himself gives it in a colophon, and even completely preserved texts most often carry none. We have less than twenty texts for which we are sure of both dates, and in all instances it turns out that the date of writing is near the beginning of the time interval covered by the contents. The year numbers are given in the continuing count of the Seleucid Era (began 311 B . C . ) in all but a very few texts. The exceptions with preserved dates employ regnal years in the usual fashion. The earliest of these is a text dealing with solar eclipse possibilities (we have it in duplicate). The Xerxes to iv/8 Artaxerxes 1 (5 December 475 to 21 dates run from July 45 7 It is tempting to view this text as evidence for an early date 20

V I I I / I I

B . C . ) .

2 0

Texts B, C , and D in A 1030.

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R E L A T E D

T E X T S

285

for the invention of lunar System A, to which its methods belong. However, all we can be sure of is that it was written after the events it describes: first, the calculated eclipse possibilities are paired with observational remarks from Diaries and, secondly, it dates correctly in two reigns. (Incidentally, we do not know of a single text that employs a regnal year in excess of the king's natural reign until, of course, we reach the Seleucid era.) Thus the text clearly represents a calculation back­ wards in time for the purpose of testing theory against past observations. At the moment it seems likely that Babylonian theoretical astronomy was created sometime in the fourth century B . C . Two features of Babylonian theoretical astronomy seem particularly peculiar to a modern eye: first, the total absence of any underlying geometrical models or 'orbits' and, secondly, its choice of independent variable. Indeed, the planetary and lunar models, as we still call them, are entirely arithmetical in character; the mathematical skills required for the computation of an ephemeris are limited to the four basic operations of arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The approach resembles curiously that of modern electronic computers, and the procedure texts often want only direct translation into computer language to become effective programs. The other point is that since the time of Ptolemy the astronomer (c. A . D . 150) we have been accustomed to consider time the independent variable in astronomical theories; in other words, the principal question we have wanted our theories to answer has been: given any moment of time, past, present, or future, where among thefixedstars was, is, or will be, a certain planet, Sun, or Moon? It is far otherwise in Babylonian astronomy. To take an outer planet (Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn) as an example, all interest is focused, at least at first, on one of its five phases (first or last visibility,firstor last stationary point, or opposition), and a typical question the Babylonian theory is prepared to answer is: if Jupiter is at a first stationary point on a certain date and at a certain celestial longitude, when and where will it next be at afirststationary point? The other phases are treated analogously, and the question offindingdaily positions, that is, that of constructing an ephemeris in the literal sense of the word, is solved by interpolation between dates and positions of adjacent phases, if it is addressed at all. To be more specific, we have excerpted in Table 2, columns I-IV, the first 25 of in all 56 lines of the text A C T No. 600, an ephemeris for Jupiter atfirststationary point, for the years S.E.113 to 173 (— 198 to — 1 3 8 ) . According to its colophon the text was written in Uruk S.E. 1 1 8 , 12/vn (5 October 194 so it is mostly a forecast. 21

B . C . ) ,

2 1

S.E. = Seleucid Era. See p. 279 n. 8 and p. 284 above.

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z8b.

MATHEMATICS,

ASTROLOGY,

AND

ASTRONOMY

Table 2 I

11

III

IV

V

VI

'•

y. SE

AT

mo. & date

/

-IÄ

Jul. dale

1

113"

4 8 : S.IO

1

28:41,40 Jl

114

4 8 ; 5,10

II

16:46,50 i = I 4 ; 6 *

115'

4 8 ; 5.10

IV

116

4 8 ; 5,10

IV

i n

4 8 ; 5,10

VI

1 1 ; 2.20

D 2:6

36

118*

45:54,10

VII

26:56,30

it

5:55

33:49

119

42; 5,10

VII

9 : 1,40

ft

120

42: 5,10

IX

2 1 : 6.50

121*

42; 5.10

XI

122

42; 5.10

XI

123«

43:16,10

XII 28:33,20

I

3i:ll

-187

Mar2l

125

4 8 : 5,10

1

I6;38.30

Ml 3,6

36

-186

126*

48; 5,10

III

4:43,40

= I9;6

36

127

48; 5,10

III

22:48,50

M25;6

36

5

10

15

20

25

4;5: 22;57,10

3;I2 I5;I7,10

r\

8:6* 36

x20;6*

.16

T26:6

36

VIII

X

date

-198

Apr 22

it

3

II

4

-197

May29

=

8

II

21

196 J u l -195

Aug

3

M 14

IV

12

9

T 21

IV

29 15

194 Sep 15

o 26

VI

-193

Oct 19

a 29

VII 28

-192

Nov 18

SI

5;55

30

np 5:55

30

191 Dec 20

= 5:55

30

- 1 8 9 J a n 18

"1 5:55

30

7;6

VII

VIII 12

nr

0 |

IX

-

I

XI

7

2

XI

18

4

XII

Apr 28

n 1 r\

8

1

-185

Jun

3

= 13

III

10

-184

Jul

9

H 19

III

.10 17

-188

Feb 18

24

2

4 22

128

48; 5,10

V

I0;54

a 1:6

36

-183

A u g 15

T 26

V

129'

4 8 : 5,10

VI

28;59,IO

D 7;6

36

-182

S e p 21

D 0

VII

130

45: 4,10

VII

14; 3,20

n»10;5

32;59

- 181 Oct 24

SB 3

VII 15

131

42; 5,10

V I I I 2 6 ; 8,30

ftl0;5

30

-180

Nov 23

I32»»

42; 5,10

IX

8; 13,40

nil0;5

30

-179

Dec 23

ft m

IX

II

133

42: 5,10

X

20;18.50

~10;5

30

- 177 J a n 23

Ö 5

X

22

134*

4 2 ; 5,10

XII

110:5

30

-176

F e b 22

a\

6

XII

135

44; 6,10

XII 16;30,I0

112:6

32; 1

-175

M a r 26

:

9

XII 21

137*

4 8 ; 5.10

11

4;35,20

nl8:6

36

-174

May 3

rs

13 II

138

4 8 ; 5.10

II

22;40,30

=24:6

36

-173

Jun

8

« 18

11

28

139

4 8 ; 5,10

IV

I0;45,40

M30;6

36

-172

Jul

14

x 25

IV

18

2;24

5 5

3

VIII28

6 10

In columns I and III wefindyear, month, and date. The year number (S.E.) is written, for example, i-me 13 (1 hundred 13), but all other numbers are sexagesimals. The dates are in tithis (^ synodic month) and fractions thereof — the fractions are solely of computational interest (the tithi is so called because it was first encountered, in modern times, in Hindu astronomy; Babylonian terminology draws no distinction between tithi and day). The use of the tithi frees us from concern about which months in the future will be full or hollow; the date in tithis is, of course, always close to the date in days. The years with a single asterisk (the text has 'a') contain a month XII , those with a double asterisk ('kin a') a month VI . The fixed 19-year pattern of intercalations of the late period can readily be established from this short excerpt. Column II contains the difference in tithis (At) of the dates less 12 months. The convention of the text is that the difference between the date in line n and that in line n-i is 12 months plus the A t listed in line n. Column IV gives the longitude, A, of Jupiter at its first stationary 22

2

2

2 2

The sexagesimal numbers are transcribed so that, e.g., 4 8 ; ) , 1 0 = 48 + j / 6 o + 10/5600. There is

no equivalent of the semicolon in cuneiform writing.

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287

point in terms of degrees of a zodiacal sign. In column V, which is not in the text, we have presented the differences, AX, of these longitudes. We note that columns II and V run parallel so that in each line A t — AX

=

i 2;j,io

Thus we need bring but one of these columns under control to uncover the structure of the text and there are, as we shall see, good reasons to begin with AX. Column V, the total progress of Jupiter from one first stationary point to the next, falls conspicuously into constant stretches of either 36° or 30 separated by intermediate values. The key to the structure of this column is the realization that the scheme is tied to the ecliptic. As a procedure text would have it (e.g. A C T No. 821): From Gemini 25 to Scorpio 30 add 30°. Whatever exceeds Scorpio 30°, multiply it by i;i2 and add it to Scorpio 30°. From Scorpio 30 to Gemini 25° add 36°. Whatever exceeds Gemini 25 , multiply it by 0550 and add it to Gemini 25°. Thus the ecliptic is divided into two parts - the fast and the slow arc — inside which the phenomenon progresses in steps of 36° and 30° respectively. If such a step crosses a boundary of the arcs, the amount that reaches into the new zone is modified by one of the factors o; 5 o and i;i2. It is significant that these two factors — 5/6 and 6/5 in fractional form - are precisely the ratios 30:36 and 36:30. With these simple rules we may now continue the text as long as we please: first we compute the column of longitudes and form their differences AX. From these we obtain A t from 0

A t = A X + i2;5,io

and so the date columns. In column VI we have translated the dates in columns I and III into Julian dates; in column VII we have given the longitude of Jupiter corresponding to these dates according to modern tables; and in column VIII are the Babylonian dates of Jupiter's first stationary point, again from modern tables. From these last columns can be judged the text's quality, which is surprising for a scheme of such simplicity, particularly when we allow for the systematic difference between modern and Babylonian conven­ tions in counting longitudes (c. 5° at this time). One of the reasons for this excellence and for the quality not deteriorating even in the course of a long text is that built into these seemingly simple schemes are certain period relations. In the present instance, if we continue the longitude column of our text for 7 7 = 391 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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MATHEMATICS,

ASTROLOGY, AND

ASTRONOMY

Table 3 No. 6 2 0 1. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

I

11

III

IV

V

year

Ar

month & date

AX

X

2,7

49;42

2,8 2,9«

47;54

2.10

46:6 44; 18

2,11 2,12"

42;30 40:42

2,13

41:47,30 43;35,30 43:23,30 47;11,30

V VII IX

27;36

37;37

I5;30 i;36

35;49

15:54

IX X XI

28;24 9:6

XII

20:53,30 4;29 I9;52,30 7;4

1 II IV IV

26; 3,30

8 9 10

2,13 2,16 2,17* 2,18

II 12

2,19 2.20*

49;27

VI

I5;30.30

47;39

13 14 13 16

2,21 2,22« 2,23 2,24

45;31 44:3 42:15 40;27

VIII VIII X

3; 9,30 19; 0 , 3 0

17

2,23* 2,27 2.28«

42; 2 , 3 0

18 19 20 21 22

48:39,30

X XI Xll 1

2,29 2,30

43:50,30 45:38,30 47;26,30 49;14,30

III III

2,31

49; 12

VI

v 2

:

34; 1 32; 13 30:25 28;37

M r

24:31 30; 20

4;2I 6;34 6;59

at A

5;36

29;42 31:30 33; 18

t

5:18 6;48 10; 6

35;6 36;54

.n

37;22 35;34

K B

29;28

33;46 3I;58 30; 10 28;22

n gs a.

8;48 I0-.46 IO;56

*t

9;I8

7;48 21:38,30 7;17

29;57

¡2,

31;45 33:33

«»

24:43,30 13;58

35;21 37;9

KB

37;7

T

3; 3,30 15:18,30 25:45,30

3;I0

t A

15;12 22:6

5;2

9;I5 11 14;33 19;54 27;3 4;10

lines we shall reach precisely the longitude we began with and the longitudes will have skipped Z = 3 6 times around the ecliptic in the process. Jupiter does in fact travel 36 times around in the course of 391 synodic phenomena and it takes 391 + 36 = 427 years. The constant stretches of A X marks our text as belonging to System A, for AX is treated as a step function of longitude. An example of planetary System B follows. Table 3 gives the first 22 of at least 62 lines of A C T No. 620, an ephemeris for Jupiter at opposition for at least the years S.E. 127 to 194. It is arranged much like the previous text except that here both difference columns are included, and we shall first examine column IV, AX. The entries in column IV decrease regularly by the amount d = i;48° per line until a minimum is passed between lines 5 and 6. From line 6 the values increase, again by i;48°, until a maximum is passed between lines 10 and 11, whence they begin to decrease, and so on. If we plot AX as a function of line number we get a piece-wise linear graph like the one in Fig. 12. One gets from an ascending to a descending branch of such a zigzag function, as we call it, by following a simple reflexion rule (often Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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DIARIES AND

RELATED

TEXTS

289

Fig. 1 2 .

stated in procedure texts); if the application of the line by line difference d (here i;48°) leads to a value larger than a certain fixed maximum M(here 38;2°), then the excess over M is subtracted from M to yield the next value of the function, and symmetrically about the minimum m (here 28;i5,30°).

The zigzag function, sometimes refined in various ingenious ways, is one of the two basic modes of describing a simply periodic component of a more complex astronomical phenomenon — the other is the step function of System A. It is easy to compute, and it has a simply controlled period 1

z'M-m) d

With the parameters of the present text, M = 3 8 ; 2 ° and

m=

28;i 5,30°,

d = i;48°, we obtain d _ 3 9 ' P - i o ; 5 i , 4 o - ^ r

We recognize these numbers as precisely those that underlay the System A scheme for Jupiter. There they implied that / 7 = 3 9 1 appli­ cations of the synodic arc lead to precisely Z = 36 revolutions in the ecliptic. Here the period relation is that 77 lines will lead to precise return in A \ and will embrace Z 'waves' of the zigzag function. Here we can only mention the complexity of the lunar theories of Systems A and B — a lunar ephemeris may have 14 to 15 columns, each fairly simple, but all intricately interrelated. The principal anomalies of Sun and Moon were recognized and used in their proper places. As in the Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008

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2$b.

M A T H E M A T I C S ,

A S T R O L O G Y ,

A N D

A S T R O N O M Y

planetary texts, the main aim of lunar ephemerides is to predict the phenomena recorded in the Diaries: eclipses, the six interesting time intervals between horizon crossings of Sun and Moon, and the evening of first visibility. While the texts' lunar eclipse predictions were solid enough, their solar counterparts were, and could be, mere warnings, separating those conjunctions or new moons at which a solar eclipse might happen from those — nearly five times as many — at which solar eclipses were entirely out of the question. (Predictions of solar eclipses for given localities involve a knowledge of the shape of the Earth and the relative sizes and distance of Earth and Moon.) In sum, we see in Babylonian theoretical astronomy the first successful attempt at addressing the problem that ever since has remained central in the exact sciences: to give a mathematical description of a well-defined class of natural phenomena, a description capable of yielding numerical predictions that can be tested against observations. Transmission

of Babylonian

astronomy

The tradition of the reigns of the Late Babylonian and Achaemenid kings has been unbroken since Ptolemy composed his king list c. A . D . 150 as a useful appendix to his Almagest 01 his later Handy Tables. He gives the length of each reign in Egyptian years (of 365 days each) and keeps a running total from the beginning of the reign of Nabonassar (747 'for', as he says (Almagest 111.7), 'that is the era beginning from which the ancient observations are, on the whole, preserved down to our own time'. Ptolemy's chronology has, by and large, been confirmed by cuneiform evidence, and there is no doubt that he is referring to the Astronomical Diaries in the passage quoted above. There is, however, much more evidence for Ptolemy's knowledge of Babylonian astron­ omy: his use of the sexagesimal system for writing fractions, of degrees, and of several well-established Babylonian parameters like the value B . C . ) ,

23

month= 29531,50,8,20 days for the mean synodic month, taken directly from lunar System B. Further, Ptolemy's complaints about the ancient planetary observations (Almagest ix.2) clearly describe the kind of phenomena contained in the Diaries. It is not impossible that Ptolemy had direct access to cuneiform material - after all, the astronomical archive in Babylon was certainly still active 75 years before he wrote - but it is more likely that he used Hipparchus' compilation and convenient rearrangement of Babylonian observations (Almagest ix.2). 1

2

3

A

IO49,

166.

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D I A R I E S

A N D

R E L A T E D

T E X T S

201

Hipparchus (c. 150 B . C . ) seems the pivotal figure in the transmission of Babylonian astronomy to the West. All his works are lost save a commentary on Aratus' astrological poem, but Ptolemy is generous with references to his highly esteemed predecessor. It is clear that Hipparchus borrowed Babylonian parameters such as the length of the month cited above, and that he used Babylonian observations which would have been useless to him without control of Babylonian chronology. Thus Ptolemy in all likelihood also acquired the substance of his king list from Hipparchus. Where Hipparchus in turn obtained his chronolo­ gical knowledge is much less certain, but we can suggest two possibili­ ties among the types of texts we have in hand: chronicles and extracts from the Diaries of a particular sort of information, e.g. about eclipses, some of which cover considerable time intervals. Finally, we must not forget that the Babylonian astronomers themselves needed a command of chronology to make proper use of their archive. Several candidates have been mentioned in the literature as the transmitters of Babylonian astronomy, among them Aristotle. Though it is not excluded that some of these carried Babylonian lore to the West, there is no evidence at all that the sophisticated theoretical astronomy was accessible to them. Furthermore, Greek astronomy was not ready for the Babylonian lesson until after the work of Apollonius of Perge (c. 200 B . C . ) on epicyclic models. Greek astronomy had hitherto been concerned with building geometrical devices that in a qualitative manner could simulate planetary behaviour. We begin to see more clearly what Hipparchus achieved. Not only did he obtain observations, parameters, and number system from the Babylonians in addition, perhaps, to some methods, but more funda­ mentally the idea that it is possible and desirable to have astronomical theories produce numerical predictions. He set out to adapt and modify epicyclic models to that purpose and succeeded for Sun and new and full Moon, but passed the planetary problem on to his successors. We know few of them, and most of these only by name, until we reach Ptolemy. As he sets forth in the Almagest, it was he who completed Hipparchus' task by devising a lunar model that works also in quadrature, and by constructing satisfactory planetary models. The Almagest remained the model and foundation of treatises on theoretical astronomy to the time of Kepler, and theoretical astronomy in turn remained the exemplar of all other exact sciences until at least the eighteenth century, teaching that their aim should be to give a mathema­ tical description of a sensibly defined class of natural phenomena, a description capable of producing numerical predictions that can be 24

2 4

A 1034; A 1041; A 1049, 224 n. 14; for the entire subject of astronomy in antiquity see A 1038, which has very full references.

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ASTROLOGY,

AND

ASTRONOMY

tested against observations. It is in this sense that we claim Babylonian mathematical astronomy as the common ancestor of modern efforts in the exact sciences. In 1988, O. Neugebauer read and understood a Greek papyrus from Roman Egypt, now in private hands. It turned out to give 32 lines of Column G of Babylonian lunar System B, the very column whose mean value led F. X. Kugler to recognize it as Ptolemy's for the mean synodic month. This discovery completely changed our estimate of the level of understanding of Babylonian methods in Hellenism. 25

26

27

2

5

A IO39A.

2

6

A

IO34A.

2 7

To the basic bibliography for this section, A 1 0 2 9 - 4 9 , should now be added A. J . Sachs and H. Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia: 1, Diariesfrom 612 B.C. to 262 B.C.: 11, Diariesfrom 261 B . C . to ¡6; B . C . (Vienna, 1988-9); and H. Hunger and D. Pingree, MUL.APIN: an Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform (AfO Bh 24, 1989).

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CHAPTER 28c FIRST-MILLENNIUM

BABYLONIAN

LITERATURE

ERICA

I.

REINER

DEFINITION AND

TRADITION

We do not know what literature was composed in first-millennium Babylonia; we know only what literary works were kept in royal and private libraries of that period. Some works may merely have found a repository there; others were very much in use, on religious occasions, to be recited or to serve as guides for ritual and magic performances. Still others were copied again and again, and the scholarly literature was extensively commented upon. At the outset it has to be stated that the word 'literature' is here used in a broad sense, to include not only belles-lettres but also the standardized works of various experts — in divination, magic, ritual, and linguistic scholarship. That is to say, we will be considering that body of texts that has been termed by Oppenheim the 'stream of tradition'. The material to be considered is that kept at the royal library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, to which may be added such provincial libraries as Sultantepe, and, at the very end of the era of cuneiform writing altogether, the libraries of scholars in southern Babylonia, mostly from Uruk, dating to the Seleucid period, which to a large measure duplicate the texts from Nineveh and thus can serve to illustrate the literature of the period in question, 747—539 The classification of these works here will follow traditional lines, even though the categories under which we classify them are those of the West, inherited from the classical world. The customary categories used in the classification of Babylonian literature, that is, epics, hymns, wisdom texts, and so on, probably would have had little meaning for the ancients, who characterized some poetry as 'songs' — sometimes with an additional specification - or 'incantations', or who simply called a longer, usually epic, poem a 'series' or 'set' named after its hero or its author, or even referred to it by its incipit only. Yet it is not entirely incorrect to label some texts 'epics', or 'hymns', or 'fables', even though these terms are only approximations. There are enough similarities 1

B . C .

1

A 43,249.

2

93

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LITERATURE

between Babylonian works and comparable genres of classical litera­ tures, which determine our categories, to warrant a gross classification of Babylonian works into these categories familiar to the modern Western reader. By retaining this traditional classification we establish some kind of common ground with the reader familiar with similarly named genres in classical or later Western literature. Moreover, in view of the fact that Mesopotamian literature is part of the entire tradition of Western literature and can and should be integrated into it through the JudaeoChristian tradition on the one hand and the classical on the other, the genres defined for Western literature should be valid for Mesopotamian literature as well. This classification seems unavoidable at any rate, since the Babylonians themselves never developed — or at least did not write down — an Ars Poética; nor do the occasionally indicated titles of literary works give us a clue to a native classification. These titles sometimes identify their function, sometimes their mode of recitation, and some­ times simply reflect a librarian's interest in their proper shelving. Excluded from our presentation is, on the one hand, literature that is datable to and historically belongs to earlier periods, such as the royal inscriptions from the third and the second millennia, and certain polemic or propaganda literature that also precedes the period under consider­ ation, and on the other hand a certain number of poems that have not found their way into the libraries. The reason why these poems were not accepted into the literary 'canon' - probably established around 1 2 0 0 B . C . — is not clear, since the surviving material is often very similar to comparable texts that were included. Certain literary texts from the Old Babylonian period, surviving only in a single copy, may have been school exercises in composition and never entered the mainstream of literature. Others, such as second-millennium versions of various epics, were recast in a 'canonical form' and the early versions discarded, as witness the various episodes of Gilgamesh that did not find their way into the twelve-tablet recension known to us from Ashurbanipal's library. Whether any of the literature was excluded on ideological grounds, or because it reflected a religious sensibility no longer current, cannot yet be established. Although our purpose here is to give an overview of first-millennium literature, we cannot escape the problem of literary periodization that plagues interpreters of Babylonian literature. It is generally assumed that there is a single Standard Babylonian corpus, represented by late 2

3

4

2

A l l 60.

3

For example, the Old Babylonian humorous poem At the Cleaner's (A 1080) exists in a single copy only, while the Tale of the Poor Man of Nippur is known from copies from Sultantepe, Ashurbanipal's library (A 1088), and on a Neo-Babylonian school tablet from Nippur (A 1074). 4

A

1144.

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DEFINITION AND

TRADITION

295

copies, mainly those from royal or scribal libraries, but possibly, and in some cases almost certainly, going back to second-millennium originals. Excluded from this corpus are only those Old Babylonian or some later second-millennium texts that survive only in their original, early exemplar; these, for some reason, were not included in what is some­ times called the 'canon' but might perhaps better be called the 'scribal curriculum'. While in this process of transmission there must have been historical developments from an earlier to a later and eventually a final version, it is only in the rarest of instances that these can be traced, unlike similar cases in Western literatures, where scholars of literary history or comparative literature often have sufficient data to study textual development or to follow transformations of a theme or poetic form within one culture, or across more than one. A further consequence of this lack of historical perspective is our inability to date literary compositions on the grounds of style and language, and thereby to make any firm statement concerning the literary taste of a particular period. All the libraries contain a mass of technical or scientific material, collected by the Mesopotamian scholars for their own use or copied in the course of their scribal training. These survive in several copies — usually up to six — in almost identical wording and even spelling; they may be regarded as the Babylonians' scholarly literature. This material includes not only the more narrowly scientific material, such as math­ ematics, astronomy, and technical manuals on glass making or wool dyeing, and such scholarly texts as sign lists and vocabularies (none of which will be considered here), but also texts used by the experts in divination or exorcism, that is, omen and magic literature, among which latter prayers, charms, and poems are sometimes also included. Compared to the mass of such scholarly and technical literature, the number of compositions that are literary in a more narrow sense is very small (according to Oppenheim's estimate about one-third of an estimated 1,500 tablets), but their visibility is that much greater, as they have been studied and translated over and over since their decipherment in the nineteenth century. To this group belong epics, myths, religious poems (hymns and prayers), philosophical or didactic literature (known as 'wisdom literature'), and an occasional political or propaganda text, usually in verse or, rarely, in prose. To the last group should be assigned the inscriptions of Babylonian and Assyrian kings which are, on the one hand, written in an elevated and, in Neo-Babylonian times, stilted and archaizing language and, on the other, exist in several copies. Only the royal inscriptions can be dated to the period under consideration; the 5

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LITERATURE

library texts, w h e t h e r literary o r scholarly, may and often do g o back to second-millennium originals. Oppenheim's estimates were based on the size of Ashurbanipal's library in Nineveh, assuming that the royal library contained at least a representative selection of the 'stream of tradition' texts. Indeed, w e k n o w from a letter of Ashurbanipal addressed to Shadunu, the temple administrator o f Borsippa, that he asked for texts to be collected all o v e r the realm and sent to Nineveh. The texts requested ('writings that are p r o p e r for royalty' — maltaru la ana sarruti tabu) are, h o w e v e r , rituals and magical texts whose performance was required for the p r o p e r conduct of affairs, and thus illustrate only the scholarly and not the belletristic literature k n o w n o r available in this period. A list recently published, m o r e o v e r , suggests that various scholars and experts were forced to donate tablets in their collections t o the royal library. In this list, comprising a minimum o f 1,441 clay tablets and 69 wax-covered polyptychs, o r an estimated 2,000 tablets and 300 writing boards, only 10 tablets are inscribed with belles-lettres, the rest are professional w o r k s . 6

W e will f o l l o w here the customary classification of literary texts into epics, hymns, fables, etc., although other, perhaps more promising ways o f dividing the corpus could also be applied. One such division w o u l d separate literature centred around the king from literature centred a r o u n d the gods and their cult. A n o t h e r w o u l d be based on the difference between literary texts well established within the stream of tradition, as witnessed by many copies, and others that are extant in a single copy only and may have been composed for a specific occasion o r a particular person. M o r e difficult w o u l d be to separate the literature of the educated o r upper classes, presumably centred around the court, from that o f the c o m m o n people, since the latter is not likely to have been committed to w r i t i n g , and its existence can be inferred from scattered quotations only. N o r can the secular be sharply divorced from the religious, probably as much for the reason that it was matters concerning king, state, and cult that found their place in the stream of tradition as for the fact that the w o r l d v i e w of Mesopotamia was closely i n t e r w o v e n w i t h the ideas o f religion. 7

The relation o f literary texts to their cultural context is still little k n o w n . M a n y o f them w e r e n o d o u b t composed for the praise and entertainment o f the king, and used on cultic occasions in which the king participated. Cultic performance was probably the raison d'etre of various texts o f religious content t o o , since prayers for the use of individuals o t h e r than the king are few and presumably secondarily adapted. O f the n u m e r o u s narrative poems, several seem to imply that they were

6

A

508.

7

A I I

70.

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TRADITION

297

associated with apotropaic or prophylactic rituals, and thus to suggest that even such 'pure literature' was written down only when a practical occasion required it. These texts, which thus often represent a tradition of a thousand years or longer, remained in use even after Aramaic had replaced Akkadian as the spoken language and Aramaic writing on parchment had become the medium of everyday communication, for religious, scholarly, and display purposes; we need mention only the Akkadian versions of the trilingual Achaemenid inscriptions and certain rituals from the Seleucid period for which no earlier versions are known. The libraries at Nineveh, Sultantepe, Babylon, and Uruk also con­ tained a number of Sumerian—Akkadian bilingual texts. These are partly incantations against evil spirits and diseases or for some magic or apotropaic purpose, and partly lamentations and prayers. Rare are bilingual omens and hemerologies. These bilingual texts are only in part older Sumerian compositions provided with an Akkadian translation; a number of them seem to have been composed in the first millennium in both languages, with the Akkadian as primary language and the Sumerian version secondary and often reflecting Akkadian syntax and poetic conventions. The interpretation of the bilingual texts therefore depends on the Akkadian version. The reasons for the creation of these bilingual compositions elude us. It is possible that the exigencies of ritual and magic, in which certain prayers were traditionally recited in Sumerian (by the liturgist) while others were recited in Akkadian (by the patient), necessitated both composing unilingual Sumerian prayers and providing Akkadian ones with a Sumerian version; in the case of laments and the like, the reason may have been a revival of some genres from the period of the 'Sumerian renaissance' (c. 1800 B.C.) for a public to whom Sumerian was no longer easily intelligible. The form of literary texts is normally verse, even though in defining it metre plays an insignificant role compared to other features. The question of the metre of Akkadian poetry has not yet been satisfactorily solved, apart from the prosodic constraint of a trochaic verse-ending (long + short) which is sometimes achieved by apocopating a suffix or resorting to a grammatical form not common in prose. Yet a verse — a line of poetry - has its own characteristics which set it apart from prose. 8

9

10

11

12

8

A

1 1 6 1 , 2 J 6f.

9

See n. 124. Also known are bilingual addresses of praise to royal insignia (see A 1 1 3 5 , 57, and A 1 1 3 1 , 4°ff), which formed part of the ceremony of 'mouth-washing' of the king. For example, in the ritual bit rimki; see A 1 1 1 3 , 32. Bilingual texts found at Babylon are published in A I 162. See also A 1065. 1 0

11

1

2

A

1084;

A

1085;

A

1093;

A

1175.

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2.8c.

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LITERATURE

These characteristics are reflected both in the way the line is written on the tablet and in the line's content and relation to surrounding lines. While we are accustomed to recognizing a printed or written poem by the lines of uneven length aligned on the paper, often centred on the page, in the Mesopotamian scribal tradition all writing, whether prose or poetry, always extends to the right margin. Thus a blank space is often left in the middle or toward the end of a line to accommodate the varying numbers and sizes of the units of writing, the cuneiform signs. Conversely, no words are divided from one line to the next. In poetic texts and even in high-style prose (as opposed, for instance, to private letters), not even larger units, such as phrases or clauses, are broken up, so that each line of writing is to a large extent self-contained. This practice also has the consequence that enjambement — an unexpected lack of coincidence between a syntactic unit and the (metrically defined) line — does not occur as a poetic device in Babylonian poetry. Often several lines are united into groups set off by horizontal rulings. The smallest unit is a distich; there are other units, which may be considered stanzas, of four or more lines, a commonly used length being the ten-line stanza. While some stanzas indeed correspond to a division of the poem into sub-units, it is often the case that the rulings are for visual orientation only, and represent simple counters, such as often appear in the margin of every tenth line in longer and not exclusively literary compositions, and do not necessarily bear any relation to the articulation of the poem. A similar visual divider is a blank space in the middle of a line, which should not be regarded as equivalent to a caesura in the classical sense. There is often, however, though not necessarily at the place of the blank, a break in the line, dividing it into two halves - two cola — with a parallel or chiastic syntactic structure. It is in fact the building up of semantic units larger than one line or verse that is the most characteristic feature of Akkadian poetry, as it is also of other Semitic poetry such as Hebrew or Ugaritic. However, the characteristic is not necessarily of common Semitic origin; Sumerian poems too are characterized by parallelism between two lines that form a semantic unit, the extreme case being that the second line is the literal repetition of the first, with a proper name replacing, in the second line, the pronoun 'he' or 'she' of the first. 13

14

1 3

Exceptionally words straddling two lines occur in the late Uruk copy of a diagnostic omen text ( A 1 1 1 0 , Tablet xvi); see A I 184, no. 44. Such parallelism of course also characterizes non-Near Eastern poetry; see J . J . Fox, 'Roman Jakobson and the comparative study of parallelism', in D. Armstrong and C. H. van Schoonereld (eds.) Roman Jakobson: Echoes oj His Scholarship (Lisse, 1 9 7 7 ) 59—90. 1 4

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DEFINITION AND

TRADITION

299

Of the formal trappings that we associate with poetry, rhyme is unknown to Mesopotamian poetry. An infrequently but cleverly used feature is the acrostic, which applies to the first sign - the first syllable of the line. The acrostics are of two types: the initial sign is repeated at the beginning of each line of a stanza (cf. Psalm 1 1 9 ) (even when the sign does not have the same reading in each line, so that the acrostic is mainly for the eye, not the ear), or the initial sign occurs only once; in either case, the first sign of each successive line or stanza is to be read down from top to bottom to yield a phrase or sentence, usually containing the name of the writer, often accompanied by a pious phrase or blessing. Acrostics may apply not only to the first sign of the line but equally to the last (whence the name telestich); as the line on a tablet is laid out much like a line in a printed book, with a justified right margin, the signs constituting the telestich also stand in a vertical row. The seven known acrostic poems are listed by R. F. G. Sweet, who also established the fact that the seventh contains a telestich as well. Midway between poetry and prose is the diction of royal inscriptions. Most of the time these do not exhibit any division into line units, and therefore may be considered simply elevated prose. Other royal inscrip­ tions are written as if they were poems, for example Sargon's Eighth Campaign with each line a self-contained clause. It is especially in the first millennium that royal inscriptions take a literary form. (The annals of Tukulti-Ninurta II, Ashurnasirpal, etc., recount the events of the king's campaign in a pared-down, repetitive form.) Beginning with Sargon II of Assyria the narrative expands to include descriptions of landscapes, foreign customs, and often vivid scenes of confrontation and dialogues. (A forerunner of this type of narrative is the account of the Elamite campaign of Nebuchadrezzar I on a boundary-stone.) Even the syntax and vocabulary of these narratives indicate their recherche character. New words appear, usually borrowed from Sumerian, and are especially frequent in Sargon and Sennacherib (ktrimahu and other compounds with Sumerian mah, aladlammu, piriggallu, etc.). Rare words that otherwise only occur in learned hymns abound. The king recounts his inmost thoughts and feelings (couched in such terms as 'I said to myself). The scribes study previous royal inscriptions (from Old Babylonian times) and often quote verbatim from them, especially in the period of antiquarianism in the Neo-Babylonian era, when the royal scribes imitate the sign-forms, the orthographic conventions, and the language of 15

16

17

1 5

A I I77A.

I* A 6 3 3 , n o . 6.

1

7

A I

172.

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2%C. B A B Y L O N I A N

LITERATURE

illustrious royal predecessors from the Old Akkadian or Old Babylonian period, and they compile lists of archaic cuneiform signs, even pictograms. 18

19

II.

NARRATIVE

POETRY

i . Myths and epics 20

Among the narrative poems customarily classified as myths and epics, the library of Ashurbanipal has preserved substantial parts or fragments of the major compositions. One group of these poems has divine protagonists, and essentially relates their rivalries; the story often culminates in special honour or status attained by some god, and so these poems often serve as aetiologies of the rise of a particular city god — and thus of his city — or purport to give a rationale for some calamity that has befallen men. For example, the myth of Anzu, attested at Ashur, Nineveh, and Sultantepe, relates how Ninurta defeated the bat-like birdmonster Anzu and recaptured from him the 'Tablet of Destinies' that Anzu had stolen from Ellil, and thus reflects the added significance of the cult of Ninurta, whereas in the second-millennium version of the story the hero was Ningirsu. The Descent of Ishtar, known from Ashur and Nineveh, and the story of Nergal and Ereshkigal, known from Nineveh, Sultantepe, and Uruk (and in an early and much less elaborate version from El-Amarna), both deal with gods descending to the netherworld, the domain of one of their number, Queen Ereshkigal. Thefirstis a reworking of the Sumerian poem of Inanna's Descent, possibly to accompany the rites of Dumuzi's yearly death and return from the netherworld to restore fertility to earth; the second ends with Nergal becoming Ereshkigal's husband and king of the netherworld, thus explaining how Nergal became associated with the netherworld. As a counterpart to the descent of gods to the netherworld are the stories of mortals who ascend to heaven, whose heroes are Adapa, the first of the Seven Sages, and Etana, a legendary shepherd king of Kish. Both these poems, although usually classified as epics, have a humorous tinge, and may be the equivalent of the Middle French genre of fabliaux. Their interpretation as myths has baffled scholars who have 21

22

23

24

25

26

1 8

For bibliography see A I I6J. i' For example, CT 5, pis. 7 - 1 6 . For bibliography see A 1093, 26ff. For translations into English see A 44; in French substantial excerpts appear in A 1 1 1 1 . More recent editions with translations are cited under the individual works. See also A 1 1 2 2 for fragments of Atrahasis, Irra and Anzu. A 1092. 22 Edition with bibliography A 4 1, 9 5 - 1 1 1 ; philological commentary, ibid., i 4 j f . A 1089. A fragment from Uruk is published in A 1096, no. 1. See A 1183, 48ff. 2 0

2 1

2 3

2 4

Latest edition A 1 1 3 2 .

*

A ,

2 3

A 1126. Additional texts A 1071; A 1099; A m o .

143.

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NARRATIVE

3OI

POETRY

sought, possibly unnecessarily, to attribute mythological significance to a story that could find its place among Chaucer's tales. Adapa, through his behaviour before the king of heaven, Anu, or following Ea's mischievous advice, misses the opportunity of immortality, and with him so does mankind. Whether this explanation of why men are mortal was the main motif of the story is not certain, since its end is lost. Similarly undecided is the outcome of Etana's flight, on the back of an eagle, to heaven in quest of the plant of birth-giving. This story's parallel in the Alexander romances was noticed long ago. Apart from the main motif, the childless Etana's journey heavenward to obtain the herb of birth-giving, the Etana story contains an animal fable of the eagle and the serpent; the tale of Adapa begins with Adapa breaking the wings of the south wind, another fable-like motif. For both these fables there are earlier versions: for Etana from Susa, for Adapa from El-Amarna, but their relation to the first-millennium version is not clear. However, the beginning of the Etana story seems to deal with a rivalry between the supernal gods (Anunnaki) residing in heaven and the gods of lower rank (Igigi) who built the city of Kish, where, according to the Sumerian king list, kingship first descended from heaven. This is the rivalry that forms the background of the Atrahasis epic, an Old Babylonian composition that is also attested in several fragmentary tablets in the Nineveh library in a recension close to its Old Babylonian original. When the Igigi gods, having been made subservient, cast aside their tools and rebel, the god Ea, always ready with stratagems, finds the solution: let the gods create Man, so that Man can take over the burden of labour from the gods. Man is then created by the mother goddess from clay mixed with the flesh and blood of a slain god. However, as mankind multiplies and raises much clamour, the noise becomes irksome to the gods. The gods decide to decimate mankind, by sending first a plague, then a drought, and finally theflood,from which Atrahasis alone, warned by Ea, escapes. This is the earliest known version of the Flood story: it so closely resembles the one told in the Bible that, when it was discovered in 1872 as part of the Gilgamesh epic, it made Mesopotamian literature famous outside the small circle of Assyriologists. Gilgamesh is still the most appealing work of ancient Near Eastern literature, as it deals with the deepest human concerns: not only the longing for immortality which can only be achieved by enduring fame (as not even Gilgamesh, although two-thirds of divine lineage, can escape death), but also the friendship between Gilgamesh and the semi-savage Enkidu who becomes his 27

28

2 7

M. Lidzbarski, 'Zu den arabischen Alexandergeschichten', ZA 8 (1893) 266. See C. SettisFrugoni, Historic! Akxandri clevati per griphos ad aerem (Studi Storici 80-2) (Rome, 1973) 48 n. 1 1 9 . A 1124. For the first tablet see A 1 1 7 4 . See also A 1 1 2 2 . 2 8

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LITERATURE

companion in his exploits and whose death makes Gilgamesh face the fate that awaits him too. Thus this poem is a rare example of ancient literature that depicts the personal and emotional development — an education sentimentale — of a hero, with whom the reader can identify, because even this hero, like all humans, loses at the end to fate. The poem ends, as it began, not with the death of a hero but with the description of the ramparts of Uruk built by Gilgamesh; these will be his lasting achievements. In this respect, it singularly resembles the Iliad. The Gilgamesh epic is also replete with intriguing episodes, many of which are still in a fragmentary state. Unlike Atrahasis, the Epic of Gilgamesh has undergone standardiza­ tion and revision so that its library exemplars greatly differ in content and form from the Old Babylonian versions, where these are known. A promising area of research in literary history is the study of the changes through which these narrative poems have gone between their early versions (usually Old Babylonian) and their first-millennium versions. The only well-known narrative poem for which no second-millen­ nium antecedents exist is the Epic of Irra, which seems to have been composed to confront a particular historical situation and which seeks to give an aetiological explanation for the troubles and epidemics of plague that had befallen Babylon in 765 B . C . Its explanation, attributing the misfortune to the absence of Marduk, Babylon's tutelary god, from his city, is a common motif in royal inscriptions and omen texts, but in them Marduk leaves the city because he is angry with its inhabitants, while here he is provoked by a ruse of the god of the plague, Irra. After having ravaged the city Irra, assuaged by his vizier Ishum, repents and pronounces blessings on Babylonia. While other stories about the gods hardly ever deal with contempor­ ary concerns, and even when the outcomes of the gods' victories affect mankind they do so in existential terms only, the poem about the Rage of Irra is uniquely and squarely set in the aftermath of a calamity that befell Babylon. A real sense of immediacy thus fills the fourth tablet of the Epic of Irra, a tablet that could be subtitled 'The Destruction of Babylon'. Descriptions of a destroyed city and temple are a common theme of Sumerian lamentations, but they present a static picture of houses in ruin and families decimated. The Irra epic presents the same theme in a dramatic mode, so far without parallel in Babylonian literature. This composition shows the skill of a poet whose name, exceptionally, appears in the poem, in a unique epilogue describing how the poem was 29

30

31

2

9

A I

149.

3 0

Since the edition of R. Campbell Thompson (A 1060), a number of fragments, both Old Babylonian and later, have been identified. All the material known in 1982 has been incorporated in the German translation of A. Schott, revised by W. von Soden, A 1 1 6 5 . A 901. 3 1

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POETRY

revealed to him in a dream, and how he neither added to nor withheld one line from what was dictated to him. The fiction of divine dictation aside, the poet used, it seems, a cycle of texts concerned with the raging of the plague, i.e. Irra, in which the comradeship of Irra and Ishum was celebrated, and created an epic whose central theme was the contrast between the benevolence of Marduk and the wrath of Irra. The Poem of Creation (eniima e/is) is known equally only from firstmillennium copies, though internal criteria indicate that it is somewhat older. It too has the common mythological theme of a theomachy — a threat to the gods by a rebellious creature, neither god nor man (thus remaining outside the world order as conceived in the mythology). The poem describes the times before creation and several succeeding generations of gods before the moment of crisis arrives: Tiamat, a salt-water monster, with her husband Kingu and the eleven monsters she has created, threatens the supernal gods, and the gods must find a champion to defeat her. This champion, in the standard version of the poem, is Marduk, who accepts the task on condition that he be made supreme god. Presumably an earlier version had as protagonist the god Ellil, just as later Assyrian versions replace Marduk with the god Ashur. After Marduk kills Tiamat and creates the universe from parts of her body, he is exalted in the divine assembly and given fifty names that are descriptive of his functions and powers. Thus the poem is a mythological tale, a theological justification of Marduk's rise to precedence, and a somewhat cursory — account of the creation of the world (and mankind) at the same time. It is noteworthy that the creation of heaven and earth, of mountains and rivers, are dealt with in a few ( 2 2 ) lines only, while the creation of the heavenly bodies and their appointment to regulate the calendar is given in much greater detail (in about 44 lines), which attests the Babylonians' preoccupation with the calendar. The final quarter of the poem, that dealing with the fifty names of Marduk and their etymological explanation, is a famous and often-quoted example of Babylonian learning; it moreover received further learned commentaries. 32

33

Only in Tablet IV, at the centre of the seven-tablet poem, does the description of the battle between Marduk and Tiamat evoke other 3 2

A device common in later antiquity, for example in the book of Thessalus of Tralles, who relates how Asdepius appeared to him in his temple of Diospolis (Thebes) and instructed him in iatromathematics, i.e. when and where medicinal plants must be gathered to be efficacious; see H.-V. Friedrich, Tbessalos von Tralles (Meissenheim am Glan, 1968), and F. Cumont, 'Écrits hermétiques, 11: Le médecin Thessalus et les plantes astrales d'Hermès Trismégiste', Revue de Philologie 42 ( 1 9 1 8 ) 85-108. 3 3

While the forthcoming edition by W. G. Lambert is in preparation the only text edition with translation is A I 109. New translation in A I I I I , }6ff. English translation in A 44, 6off and 501 ff.

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L I T E R A T U R E

mythological epics, especially the battle between Ninurta and Anzu in the poem of Anzu. At some point in history, the longer narrative poems were divided into a number of'tablets' or 'books' consisting of around 150 lines. This may have happened about the turn of the first millennium, though this is merely a convenient chronological point to which no major historical or cultural events are attached; in fact, the possible dates are either of the two periods of Babylonian history which are characterized in the indigenous or in the Hellenistic tradition as major and eventful reigns, namely that of Nebuchadrezzar I ( 1 1 2 5 - 1 1 0 4 B . C . ) or that of Nabonassar (747—734). Later copyists mostly followed these divisions (although for special purposes other divisions may have existed, as with the use of the Erra epic on plague amulets). The longest narrative poem, the Gilgamesh epic, is divided into twelve 'books'; Anzu into three or four; Irra into five, though the last is barely fifty lines long. Atrahasis is known to have had three tablets in the Old Babylonian version; the first-millennium copies do not preserve colophons. Other, shorter compositions are not known to have been divided into 'books'; these are the Descent of Ishtar, Nergal and Ereshkigal, and most likely Adapa and Etana. There exist other shorter stories, both mythological (Labbu, the Theology of Dunnu, etc.) and secular, the most famous being the recently discovered Tale of the Poor Man of Nippur. It is the first Mesopotamian story whose afterlife can be followed through the Thousand and One Nights and European folk­ lore, that is, whose literary connexions have not been solely the Old Testament, as is the case with the Flood story in Gilgamesh (and now also in Atrahasis). To be sure, identity of motifs with other narrative poems has been pointed out, such as the above-mentioned ascent of both Alexander and Etana, each on the back of an eagle; most comparisons between Mesopotamian and classical mythological themes fit into categories so universal that direct influence cannot be adduced. 3 4

35

36

2. Other narratives

While most of the narrative texts discussed so far were composed with some theological purpose in mind — to exalt a particular god, to give an aetiological explanation for the rise of the city, a temple, or a cult — the theological propaganda that lies behind them seems to have meant little to their readers. Influencing the public politically could be more directly achieved through propagandistic literary works, clad in the form of narratives, the allusions of which must have been intelligible to their 3

4

3 6

A I I 18.

3

5

A

IO9O.

J . Fontenrose, Python:

A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1959).

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POETRY

audience. To this group of texts probably belong some of the historical epics, though it is not possible to tell whether the propaganda they contain originated in the corridors of power — as a legitimation of the ruler's policies — or was directed against them. Narrative poems with kings as protagonists also exist, though most of them are preserved in fragments only. They are of two types. One has recently been characterized as 'poetic autobiographies' or 'pseudoautobiographies'. What we have is less an 'autobiographical' account of an early king (Shulgi, Sargon) than a poem couched as a first-person narrative that could be styled res gestae. If we approach these poems as a genre defined by the fiction of a first-person narrator rather than as defined by that narrator's identity, such as a king or a god, they exhibit a particular structure that justifies uniting them as a genre. To this genre belong, in the first millennium, the so-called Birth Legend of Sargon and the Marduk Prophecy, both in poetic form, and the prose narrative of the mother of King Nabonidus, whose service as priestess of the god Sin in Harran bespeaks a West Semitic connexion and links her autobiography to that of Idrimi, king of Alalakh, almost a thousand years earlier. The common formal characteristic of these texts is that they begin with the statement 'I am so-and-so', as opposed to royal inscriptions which begin with a direct address to the god or with a long circ*mstan­ tial clause introduced by 'When . . .'. After some autobiographical material a central episode is developed; the end is a message to a future king. In the 'Birth Legend of Sargon' the central episode is fragmentary, but seems to deal with the king's accomplishments as favourite of Ishtar; in the autobiography of the mother of Nabonidus, the emphasis is on the reconciliation of the god Sin with Babylon and his choice of Nabonidus to be its ruler, and thus on the legitimation of Nabonidus. The second type of texts also dealing with an episode of history with a famous king of the past as protagonist, but not necessarily couched in the first person or beginning with T am . . .' has been named 'narii literature'. The texts also end with a lesson to a future ruler. Their heroes are the kings of the Akkad dynasty, Sargon and Naram-Sin, and their composition dates back to the second millennium, although some episodes are preserved in later versions. Some of these narratives, especially those with a lesson to be drawn for 37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

3 7

A 1083; the term 'poetic autobiographies' is proposed on p. 8. Grayson proposed the term 'pseudo-autobiography' in A 26 and A 1082, 187. Latest edition A I 128. 3 8

3

5

A

1056.

4 0

Translation, with bibliography, by A. L. Oppenheim in A 44, 56off. For bibliography concerning the historical implications see A 5 11, 72ff. A 1 1 6 6 . Recent reinterpretation: A 1067. A 1 0 9 1 , 19. A 1094, ijf. 4 1

4 4

4 2

A 1079; A 1087; A 1 0 9 1 , 65ff; A 1 1 1 6 ; A 1 1 3 8 ; A 1 1 8 0 ,

4 3

48.

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the ruler, no doubt had political propaganda purposes. While in many cases it is impossible to tell what the situation was that occasioned the composition of such pieces, since the tendentiousness is necessarily disguised, it could be suggested of a few works only that they contain veiled allusions against the misuse of power. Only one of these, the Babylonian Advice to a Prince, exists in two exemplars; its timeliness is illustrated by a letter written from Babylonia to the king to warn him of the consequences of abolishing the exemptions of the three free cities Sippar, Nippur, and Babylon. The other two, the Vision of the Netherworld and the Verse Account of Nabonidus, have each survived in one exemplar only; they spell out, just as does Advice to a Prince, a lesson for the king, and in that resemble the naru literature, but they are not composed according to the formal constraints prevailing in that genre. These works were composed for the king and the court, in order to influence them, as their 'library' copies and the allusions to them show, and were not, for example, subversive or clandestine literature. They also differ from the propaganda texts emanating from the king's entourage, since the royal inscriptions which could be so classified, and which moreover purport to be factual accounts, are written in prose. Similarly for the king were composed his own - and not some ancestor's - res gestae, which take different forms in Assyria and in Babylonia. No doubt for the king's entertainment were composed humorous poems, such as the Tale of the Poor Man of Nippur, as the inclusion of the episode of borrowing a chariot from the king shows. 45

46

47

48

III.

OTHER

POETRY

Poetic works without a narrative plot may be classified as hymns, prayers, and magic incantations. Only the last preserve some of the flavour of folk poetry; hymns and prayers are predominantly learned. Hymnic poetry of the first millennium differs greatly in its formal structure from Old Babylonian hymns. In essence religious, hymns are addressed to gods and goddesses. The genre of temple hymns and hymns to kings, much cultivated in the early second millennium, mostly written in Sumerian, is hardly represented, with the exception of a hymn to 49

4 5

The title formerly given to it, 'Fiirstenspiegel', makes the connexion between this work and the medieval and oriental genre of Speculum principh. Advice to a Prince: A I I 1 5 , 1 1 0 - 1 5 ; see also A 1 1 6 0 . 'A Vision of the Netherworld': translation by E. A. Speiser in A 44,109—10. A Verse Account of Nabonidus: translation by A. L. Oppenheim in A 44, 3 1 2 - 1 j . See A 4 2 2 , 198f; A 1057; A I 1 7 3 . *'' See pp. 209 and 305. 4 6

4 8

4 9

A 1088. See also A 1066 and A 1090. An Old Babylonian hymn to King Gungunum in Akkadian is published as A 1180, 4 1 .

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OTHER

POETRY

3°7 50

Arba^il and a hymn to the city and temple of Borsippa; hymns to kings of Assyria, with the exception of a hymn to Ashurbanipal, seem to cluster in the late second millennium. As opposed to the shorter and more terse Old Babylonian hymns, these later hymns (although their exact date of composition is not known) tend to be long; especially favoured is the hymn of two hundred lines. Their length immediately suggests that they were not intended for oral performance. The most famous of these is the hymn to Shamash; there is a hymn to Ishtar consisting of 237 lines, and to Nabu of 226 to 232 lines. The 200-verse hymn to Gula is a composition in which the goddess speaks her self-praise, and through this fiction it is related rather to the self-praise of Ishtar and the self-praise of Marduk (for which see below). The two hundred lines of the Shamash hymn can be broken down neither into twenty ten-line stanzas, nor into one hundred distichs; nor can similar divisions be made in the over two hundred lines of the hymns to Nabu, Ishtar, and the queen of Nippur in spite of the rulings in the Ishtar hymn after every tenth line or in the Shamash, Marduk, and Nabu hymns after every second line on the tablet, since these rulings, as mentioned above, are for visual orientation. Nevertheless, the formal device of repetition and parallelism is evident in them, and it is rather these groups of parallel verses that articulate the poems. The central topic of a hymn is the praise of the god to whom it is addressed; this praise is spoken in the first person by the worshipper, who was no doubt the king for whom the poet composed the work. While it is true that standard and often stereotyped phrases recur in the description of the god's power and mercy, the emphasis on the god's concern toward man as much as the description of his hierarchical position among the gods gives us an insight into the way man's relation to god was conceived. Nowhere does this appear with more poignancy than in the hymn to Shamash, the sun-god and god of justice par excellence. Its message is that justice and fairness are pleasing to Shamash, and dishonesty is abhorrent to him. This ethical message is expounded in a series of vignettes about persons from all walks of life who exemplify just and honest behaviour and are rewarded by Shamash or, conversely, act dishonestly and are punished. This central topic is elaborated in antithetical distichs (or occasionally, longer units); the frame of the poem, an address to Shamash describing his omniscience — as the luminary who sees all — also shows a sophisticated arrangement, as the preamble speaks of Shamash as the sun 51

52

5 0

A IO72; A 1104.

51 A I I 8 I .

5 2

A 1 1 1 4 ; also the Shamash hymn A 1 1 1 5 , 1 2 1 - 3 8 ; the Ishtar hymn, A 1 1 6 1 ; the Nabu hymn, A 1 1 7 2 ; the Gula hymn, A I 1 1 9 ; the hymn to the queen of Nippur, A 1 1 2 3 .

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which rises ever higher over the land in its daily course, and the end of the poem returns to this cosmic topic, but depicts the functions of the sun-god as regulating the calendar and the seasons. The poem thus deals both with the sun's course over the day and with its course over the year. The elaborations that such hymns underwent in the first millennium can be observed in the hymn to Ishtar, for which earlier versions are known. The late texts retain the articulation of the hymn by a series of refrains (such as 'look on me with favour!' and 'how long yet') and strophes composed of lines all beginning with 'mercy!', but expand both the praise of the goddess and the entreaties of the supplicant by inserting at such places further strophes or lines which conform to the pattern. Characteristic of these hymns is a certain artificial diction, a vocabulary of rare and recherche terms, a striving to avoid ordinary or everyday words and phrases. Similar in style but employing a different poetic fiction are those hymns in which the god or goddess speaks in self-praise. The theme of self-praise (or, as it is sometimes called, self-predication) is a common one in historical texts, in which the king boasts of his achievements and the favour bestowed on him by the gods. It is, however, only in the first millennium that self-praise by the deity enters Akkadian literature — possibly as a sort of revival of earlier Sumerian poetry in which such selfpraises are more frequent. The longest and most completely preserved is the self-praise of Gula. It is, as has been mentioned, one of the 2 0 0 verse hymns (divided by rulings which do not follow the internal structure of the poem) in which strophes of Gula's self-presentation as the goddess of a particular city alternate with ones in praise of the god who is her spouse in each of her many manifestations. An unusual feature of the self-praise of the goddess Nana is the fact that the first line of each strophe is in Sumerian. In the rest of the strophe she describes herself under the names by which she is known in various cities of Babylonia. That other hymns of such self-praise existed can be inferred from the incipit cited in the catalogue of songs from Ashur, 'I am the most venerable goddess of all.' In contrast, the self-praise of the king with which some royal inscriptions begin — as opposed to a hymn to the god to whom the king's pious work is dedicated — although couched in elevated language, is in prose. In prose also are the two self-presentations of Marduk and of Shulgi. Their depiction of the god Marduk's or the deified king Shulgi's impact on the events of the world is closely related 53

54

55

56

57

58

5 3

5 4

For bibliography and both an Akkadian and a Hittite version from Bogazkoy see A 1 1 6 1 . Edited in A 1 1 1 9 ; a duplicate to lines i o i f f i s S m . 1036. A self-praise of Ishtar, incompletely

preserved, is A 322, no.

306+331.

5 5

AIIJ6.

5 6

A bilingual 'self-predication' of Inanna-Ishtar begins, similarly, with the goddess enumerating the cities and temples in which she is queen; see A 1076, no. 46, and a duplicate to the first forty lines in A 184, no. 27. A 322, no. 158 vi 8 and 10. A IO;6. 5 7

5 8

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in content and form to the category of texts termed prophecies o r oracles, and these in turn have a close affinity to omen texts, as they depict, sometimes in alternation, evil times and blessed times that befall the land. Such texts may in fact have drawn their imagery from omen apodoses, for which see below.

IV.

PRAYERS

Prayers have many affinities with hymns, so that often it is a subjective matter in which category to classify a religious poem. Prayers are characterized by greater space and emphasis devoted to the petition, although such a petition for the welfare of the worshipper often appears at the ends of hymns too, and by a certain penitential tone that evokes the psalms of the Bible. They are usually preceded by the Sumerian w o r d en (Akkadian tiptu), conventionally translated 'incantation', as a sort of title; indeed, many of them functioned in a variety of magic and apotropaic rituals. The purpose o r setting of these prayers is usually stated in the subscript, which specifies that it is a 'recitation [ka.inim.ma] on the occasion o f . . . ' Certain motifs are typical of these prayers: the selfpresentation of the supplicant; the description o f the calamity that distresses him; the appeal to the deity for help; the promise of praise or sacrifice for all future t i m e . Many such prayers exist in a standard form, with the name of the supplicant left open, so that it can be supplied from case to case. O f those in which the name is filled in, it is often the king's name that appears (from Sargon to Sin-sharra-ishkun). So it is likely that they were composed for the king, perhaps for a particular occasion, but were also available to private persons seeking the god's mercy and help. While many such prayers consist of stereotyped phrases - partly because such phrases w e r e required by the accompanying ritual - and thus for the modern reader seem repetitious and hackneyed, the form could not have e v o l v e d without a basis in personal religiosity and deep emotion such as is reflected in the imagery and diction, as w e have learned to appreciate in the penitential psalms of the Old Testament. 59

60

It is n o w k n o w n that Sumerian parallels to these prayers exist, although there is n o evidence that the Sumerian versions were actually earlier than the A k k a d i a n ; they may have been secondarily composed as a counterpart to those Sumerian prayers that w e r e to be recited in the course o f various rituals. Prayers are addressed not only to deities but, in the course of magic operations, t o the substances that are used in the performance, such as salt or tamarisk, and to the fire that is used in burning these substances o r 61

A I I

29.

6 0

See

A

1129, j4f.

6

1

A

1120.

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in fumigation. Prayers are also addressed to stars and planets. While some address the astral manifestation of the deity, the main purpose of others is to d r a w d o w n the celestial p o w e r inherent in the celestial body to make the magic operation o r its ingredients m o r e efficacious, and similarly t o infuse with its p o w e r a medication prepared in a certain prescribed w a y . The stars — the gods o f the night - are also addressed before the performance o f an extispicy to ask that a reliable answer be shown t h r o u g h the exta o f the lamb that will be slaughtered at d a w n . Most such late prayers address the gods of divination, Shamash and A d a d ; there are, h o w e v e r , first-millennium versions of the earlier, O l d Babylonian, addresses t o the g o d s of the night. The diviner in solitary vigil while city and countryside around him are in deep sleep is a topos that, in spite of the prayer's standard phraseology, lends itself to a lyric tone rare in other p r a y e r s . C o m p a r i s o n of the earlier and later prayers shows that later poets had a predilection for greater elaboration and repetitions, while the O l d Babylonian versions show greater restraint. In some rituals, during the performance of which both the magical expert and the person on whose behalf the ritual is performed recited certain prayers, the professional expert - the exorcist, the lamentation priest, etc. — often has to recite a prayer in Sumerian (which may o r may n o t be p r o v i d e d w i t h an interlinear Akkadian translation), but the lay participant, even if he is the king, recites prayers only in A k k a d i a n . This practice does n o t tell us much about the survival of Sumerian language, culture, and religion, since most such Sumerian prayers seem to be secondary, that is, translated from the Akkadian, and thus the fact that they are recited in Sumerian may only indicate the preference for a traditional language in a liturgical setting, as is still the case for Latin or Syriac in many Churches today. 62

V.

WISDOM

LITERATURE

A special g r o u p o f learned poetry is k n o w n as 'wisdom literature', by analogy w i t h the 'wisdom' books o f the Bible. Under this name, h o w e v e r , a variety of types needs t o be distinguished. O n e g r o u p , labelled 'precepts and admonitions', continues an old Sumerian tra­ dition, w h e t h e r these admonitions are w o r d s of practical wisdom affecting e v e r y d a y man or warnings given to the king if he does not rule wisely and f a i r l y . A n o t h e r g r o u p , fables, includes disputations between inanimate things (trees or cereals) o r between animals; still another comprises collections of p r o v e r b s , usually v e r y difficult to understand 63

64

A 1146.

6 3

A 1 1 1 5 , g2ff.

6 4

See p.

306.

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WISDOM

LITERATURE 65

because o f their terse formulation and sometimes riddle-like n a t u r e . A l l these have Sumerian and Old Babylonian forerunners. W h i l e the 'fables' - o r rather, disputations between animals and inanimate objects — continue a Sumerian tradition, some rare shorter pieces are closer t o the fables k n o w n from classical and Oriental l i t e r a t u r e . Newly composed, o r at least w i t h o u t k n o w n earlier material, are the three compositions k n o w n as the Poem o f the Righteous Sufferer, the Theodicy, and the Dialogue o f Pessimism. T h e first o f these is a monologue and the other t w o are dialogues. Some of the themes of these poems are also found in second-millennium texts, both from Babylonia and from Ras Shamra ( U g a r i t ) , the Old Babylonian in a dialogue form, the Ras Shamra poem in the preserved part containing a monologue only, but possibly containing in the n o w lost ending an answer t o the speaker. 66

67

A l l three poems treat the question o f the sufferings that befall a man w h o believes he does not deserve such a divine punishment, and thus broach the question o f the moral problem o f the just suffering while the sinner p r o s p e r s . 68

The philosophical content — some aspects of which also infuse prayers, especially those which are comparable t o the penitential psalms - makes these poems the earliest examples o f reflective literature, which in Babylonia manifests itself only as poetry, never as prose, and m o r e o v e r takes the typical form o f 'dramatic monologue' (Nougayrol's t e r m ) o r dialogue, since thoughts and deliberations are normally expressed by speaking to oneself and conflicting arguments are usually couched in dialogue form. 69

Self-expression, then, could naturally take the pattern o f this accepted way of communication, direct speech; only instead o f addressing an interlocutor o r messenger, the speaker addresses himself, introducing his monologue with 'I said to my heart' o r the like, o r creates a fancied interlocutor, simply designated as 'friend', t o express his thoughts and feelings. This friend's role is hardly e v e r more than to utter a few comforting w o r d s . Only the 'Dialogue of Pessimism' contains a verbal exchange between the servant and his master; for this reason it has been characterized n o t only as a h u m o r o u s d i a l o g u e but also as the most ancient m i m e . 70

71

72

W h a t distinguishes these 'wisdom texts' from other inner m o n o ­ logues o r non-Active dialogues is the artful language and abstruse vocabulary, which makes them difficult o f access n o t only to us b u t obviously also to the reader they addressed. Both the Righteous Sufferer 6 5

A 1 1 1 5 , chapters. 7 - 9 , pp. 1 5 0 - 2 7 9 .

6 7

A 1139; A 1142.

7

A

1

1176.

7

6

2

A

8

A 1171.

6

6

9

6

A I I I 5, 2i6ff iii 5 0 - 4 ; see A 1054, and A I 1 7 7 .

A 1143.

7

A I I I 5 , chapter 6, pp. 1 3 9 - 4 9 .

1095.

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and the Theodicy were commented on by Babylonian scholars, thus putting them on a par with other such learned texts as scientific literature (especially omens) and the Poem of Creation. VI.

SECULAR

POETRY

Purely lyrical and secular poetry — love songs, awe or pleasure vis-a-vis nature, or work songs that according to some are at the origin of poetry — are not found in cuneiform sources. That does not mean that such poems did not exist: there is even a special term for the work song of the ploughman (a/a/a); songs like these, however, were not expected to be written down. Descriptions of nature, rare as they are, appear in relations of royal campaigns or in some conjurations. As for love poems, we would surmise their existence from catalogues which list the first lines of these poems, for example, 'Darling, I spend the night awake for you'; 'Young man, ever since I beheld you'; 'Away, sleep! I want to embrace my lover'. However, as a recently found complete poem which is listed in this catalogue shows, this love poetry — possibly all of the poems known to us only from their first lines cited in the catalogue — had its framework, at least as a fiction, in the domain of divine lovers, especially Ishtar and Dumuzi. Whether these songs were reserved for cultic occasions or were attributed to the religious sphere only secondarily (much like the 'Song of Songs') is not known. Similarly, elegiac poems about the death of a beloved place these emotions in relation to the death of Dumuzi, with the single exception of an Assyrian poem. This elegy, preserved in a single Neo-Assyrian copy, may go back to somewhat earlier, Middle Assyrian times, as some of its linguistic features suggest. It is a plaint of a dead woman, a woman who died in childbirth, who mourns how death has separated her from the husband she loved, in answer to a question by an unnamed speaker who asks why she drifts about like a boat cast loose. It is the principal metaphor of a ship cast adrift, a topos of Sumerian origin but also encountered in Akkadian incantations, which touches our Western sensibility conditioned by such images in poetry. While a close analysis of the structure of the poem can illuminate its poetic qualities, still there is no poem comparable in Assyrian or Babylonian literature that would help us place this elegy among poetry of its time. Other poetic genres are 73

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Personification of nature, expressed in the topos of vegetation and watercourses bewailing the death of a friend or family member, is found in the lament of Gilgamesh over Enkidu and in a funerary inscription of an Assyrian king (A 1 0 7 0 , no. 1 2 , and A 1 1 6 8 ; see A I I 34). 7 4

A 1053.

7 5

A 1121.

7

6

A 1158, 85-93.

7 7

E.g., 'The boat is held fast at the quay of death, the barge is held fast at the quay of suffering'; seeking to bring 'the rope of the boat to the safe mooring place, the rope of the barge to the quay of life'. Cuneiform text in A 1105 m, no. 248 ii 5 1 - 2 and ii 5 8ff.

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preserved only embedded in the narrative literature. A lament over the dead is exemplified by Gilgamesh's lament over the dead Enkidu. The only poetry that may represent a purely secular or folk poetry, that is, poetry in no way dependent on the official cult or the royal court for inspiration, model, or tone, is possibly found embedded in magical and medical texts, as incantations or charms addressing the evil to be exorcised, or tracing the emergence of a certain evil as the end product of the creation of earth and its plants. They are characterized by repetition or concatenation, devices that also characterize folk poetry of other cultures, though recorded much later. They have been preserved because they became a part of the technical or scientific literature which had its place in royal or scholarly libraries, and thus give us a glimpse of the style of songs that may have been current in the oral literature. 78

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VII.

RITUALS

It was also the first millennium that developed, if not the cultic import of long and elaborate rituals that often extend over several days, at least the scrupulous and detailed description of the happenings; the liturgical actions and the pertinent prayers or exorcisms to be recited are enumerated, although these latter may only be cited by their incipit. The majority of them, just like the earlier ones, involve the king, again suggesting that those that are not explicitly directed to the king may also have originated in court surroundings and eventually have been made available, or adapted, to private persons. The most famous is the New Year's ritual, a series of events that took ten days, during which Marduk re-entered his temple in Babylon in a procession, and his son Nabu journeyed there from Borsippa. The ritual reaffirmed the king's mandate to rule. During its celebration the Poem of Creation (enuma elif) was recited, and probably a re-enactment of Marduk's victory over Tiamat described in that poem was performed. Rituals also preceded the king's setting out on a campaign - an annual event in Assyria throughout most of its history — or other expedition; a ritual before setting out to cross the desert (edin.na.dib.bi.da) may have been available to any traveller. Rituals accompanied the digging of the foundations and building of a house, the digging of a well, and other secular activities. The borderline 80

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A I I

34.

R. Austerlitz, Ob-UgricMetrics:

The MetricalStructureoj'Ostyakand

VogulFolk-Poetry

(Helsinki,

1958). 8 0

From second-millennium Babylonia there is only one such ritual text, from Mari; from Assyria, a royal ritual; and from the Hittite empire a number of elaborate rituals, in Hittite. F. Thureau-Dangin, 'Le rituel des fetes du nouvel an a Babylone', in A 1 1 7 8 , 1 2 7 - 5 4 . A 1117. A 1073; A 1 1 3 2 ; A 1 1 7 9 , for which see also A 1 0 6 1 . 8 1

8 2

8 3

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zSc.

BABYLONIAN

LITERATURE

between rituals designed to make the undertaking successful and those performed to avert an evil portended by an ominous event, such as an uncommon happening in the household (listed in the omen series famma alu and summa i\bu), is often difficult to draw, since among the namburbi rituals (apotropaic rituals designed to ward off such portended evil) may be found some designed to accompany the digging of wells or to secure brisk trade for a tavern. There are also elaborate rituals specifically related to the cult. Only one ritual is known for building temples, apart from the narratives in royal inscriptions of the ceremonies accompanying the laying of the first brick (often carried by the king himself or the crown prince) or the preparation of the mortar, which is ceremonially made into an admixture of aromatic herbs and precious stones. A group of rituals deals with consecrating the divine statue. The image of the god has to undergo the 'opening of the mouth' ceremony (preceded by the washing of the statue's mouth), for, so the texts tell us, without it 'the god cannot smell incense, cannot eat bread, or drink water'. This variety of rituals designed to protect the king against ills portended by signs, or to make the outcome of his enterprise successful (whether campaigns against the enemy or conquests), or to propitiate the gods by dedicating to them sanctuaries, statues, and paraphernalia - this variety, combined with the rise in popularity of such omen categories (astrology, divination from the exta) as predominantly deal with portents of public significance, suggest that in the first millennium the royal courts were the locus of scholars whose activities centred around the king and his entourage. Their role at the court of Esarhaddon has been elucidated by Parpola, their internal rivalries by Oppenheim. The distribution of the evidence does not permit us to decide whether these activities began only under the Sargonids, or whether they can be projected back to Nabonassar and to Babylonia as well as Assyria, and it may of course also distort the picture emerging from the extant textual material, much of which obviously survived in royal or scholarly libraries. Other, non-court-centred activities may never have been recorded in writing, or if so are not so far recovered. Especially numerous from Seleucid Uruk are texts designed as instructions for rituals. The most important one - the New Year's ritual — was mentioned above; there are also rituals for a particular under­ taking: to prepare the lilissu drum, or to avert the consequences of a 84

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A

1062.

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For bibliography and edition of some of these texts, see A 105 5 and A 1184, no. 16. A 1070, 120:2 and parallels. An edition of the mouth-washing rituals is being prepared by C. B. F. Walker. A 7 7 passim, esp. pp. xiv-xxi and 448ff. A 1040. 8 6

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A

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1178.

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lunar eclipse and to purify the king after such an event. All these rituals are instructions for a particular behaviour, offerings to the gods or spirits; often they not only prescribe prayers to be recited, but also include these prayers among the instructions. They are, therefore, an additional source for our knowledge of prayers and incantations that are otherwise known from prayer collections outside rituals. The exorcist and the diviner also recite prayers before they set about the performance of their duties; most famous is the 'prayer to the gods of the night'. Besides prophylactic rituals, there exist apotropaic rituals against the evil power of demons and sorcerers. An array of evil demons — often referred to as the seven evil demons - and malevolent spirits of the dead, who must roam about because they lie unburied or have received no funerary offering, are exorcised with elaborate prayers and incantations. These texts are usually bilingual, Sumerian—Akkadian; they have been serialized in a composition known in Sumerian as udug.hul (Akkadian 92

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utukku lemniittu). *

Those against sorcerers and sorceresses are collected in a series called 'Burning', and involve a nocturnal ceremony in which effigies of the sorcerers are burned or melted in fire. Another collection with a similar name, lurpu, 'Burning', is not directed against any particular