Assyria
Part Nine
Author: Godspeed, George

 

Assyrian Revival. Tiglathpileser III. And Shalmaneser IV. 745-722 B.C.

185. The gloomy outlook for the future of the Assyrian state,
consequent upon the encroachments of hostile peoples from without and the
inner convulsions that shook the government and overthrew the ruling
dynasty, was speedily transformed upon the accession of the new king. With
him opens an inspiring chapter of splendid Assyrian success. This sudden
change makes it likely that the causes of disaster were due, not so much to
decline in the energies of the body politic, as to the weakness or unwisdom
of the later members of the ruling dynasty. It has been plausibly
conjectured that these rulers identified their interests with the priestly
class, the centre of whose power was the city of Assur and who dominated the
commercial activities of the realm. As in Babylonia, the temple was the
bank and the trading centre of every community as well as the seat of the
divine powers. Over against these heads of the spiritual and mercantile
world stood the army, recruited chiefly from the free peasantry, and led by
their local lords, as royal officers. The disasters on the frontiers
brought commercial stringency, which, as in every ancient state, bore most
heavily, not upon the men of wealth, but upon the poorer classes. The king
unwisely threw himself into the hands of the priests. Sooner or later this
attitude was bound to antagonize the army. King, priestly lords, and
merchant princes went down before a rebellion, starting from Kalkhi, the
seat of the army. The new king represented, therefore, the re-assertion of
the strongest forces in the state, the native farmers and soldiers, led by
the ablest general among them (Peiser in MVAG, I. 161f. KAT3, 50f.).

186. It is significant that in his inscriptions no stress is laid by
the new king upon his ancestral claims to the throne. In a popular leader
this would be natural. Among his building activities no temples figure, and
the long lists of gods who presided over the careers of his predecessors do
not appear on his monuments. Ashur, the representative of the state as a
conquering power, is his hero and lord, whose cult he established in the
cities subjugated by him. His throne name was Tiglathpileser, chosen,
presumably, for its historical suggestions of the first great king of that
name, rather than for its theological significance. In military vigor he
was a worthy follower of his brilliant predecessor, and surpassed him in
statesmanlike foresight and achievement. Under his direction the tendencies
and measures hitherto observed, looking to the incorporation of the subject
peoples, were intensified and consummated. The Assyrian state was revived;
the Assyrian empire was founded.

187. The memorials of the king consist of annals, which were written on
the slabs adorning the walls of his palace at Kalkhi, and of laudatory
inscriptions, containing summary records of his campaigns arranged
geographically. All were found in the royal mound at Kalkhi, with the
exception of a few bricks from Nineveh which testify to the erection of a
palace there. The palace at Kalkhi and its contents suffered a strange
fate. To build it the king seems to have removed a smaller structure of
Shalmaneser II., which stood in the centre of the terrace, and to have
greatly increased the size of the mound toward the south and west by
extending it out into the Tigris. On the river side the mound was faced
with alabaster blocks. The palace looked toward the north, where it had a
portico in the Syrian style with pylons flanking the entrance. In
construction it was distinguished from former structures by a predominance
of woodwork of cedar and cypress. Double doors with bands of bronze, like
those of Shalmaneser II. at Imgur Bel (sect. 175), hung in carved gateways.
"'Palaces of joy, yielding abundance, bestowing blessing upon the king,
causing their builder to live long,' I called their names. 'Gates of
righteousness, guiding the judgment of the prince of the four quarters of
the world, making the tribute of the mountains and the seas to continue,
causing the abundance of the lands to enter before the king their lord,' I
named their gates" (ABL, p. 58). Whether on account of its rapid decay or
to do despite to the usurper, a later king of another line, used the
materials of this structure for his own palace on the southwestern corner of
the mound (sect. 236). The latter, however, was never finished, and to this
fact is due the preservation of the fragments of the annals of
Tiglathpileser III. on the slabs which had been removed and redressed,
preparatory to their use in the walls of the later building. This
fragmentary and confused condition of his inscriptions makes the task of
reconstructing the historical order and the details of his activities
difficult. No certain conclusions can in some instances be attained.
Happily, the limu list for the king's reign is complete, and its brief notes
form a basis for arranging the rest of the material. The contributions of
the Old Testament, also, become now of special value.

188. Nearly all of the eighteen years of the king's reign (745 - 727
B.C.) were marked by campaigns on the various borders of the realm. These
expeditions were characterized, even more clearly than those of his
predecessors, by imperial purposes. The world of Western Asia, in expanding
its horizon, had become at the same time more simple in its political
problems, owing to the disappearance of the multitudinous petty communities
before the three or four greater racial or political unities that had come
face to face with one another. In the south the Kaldi were becoming more
eager to lay hold on Babylon. In the north Urartu was spreading out on
every side to absorb the tribes that occupied the mountain valleys, and even
to reach over into northern Syria. In the west the tendency to unification
brought this or that state to the front, as the suzerain of the lesser
cities of a wider territory, and the representative of organized opposition
to invasion. Egypt was preparing again to appear on the scene and to
recover its place as a world-power west of the Euphrates. Thus, everywhere,
with the exception of the eastern mountain valleys where the Medes had not
yet realized that nationality the advent of which was to mark the new order,
the movement toward a larger unity, based on political rather than on racial
grounds, was growing stronger. The politics of the day were international
in a new and deeper sense, and the ideal of world-empire was appearing more
and more distinctly, as the controlling powers assumed more concrete and
imposing forms. Thus, while the details of Assyrian activities are more
complex, the main issues in them are more easily grasped and followed.

189. Tiglathpileser III. ascended the throne toward the last of April
745 B.C. Six months were occupied in establishing himself in his seat, and
late in the year (September-October) he took an army to the south. Aramean
tribes, forever moving restlessly across the southern Mesopotamian plain
from the Euphrates to the Tigris, had grown bolder during these years, and,
in spite of the endeavors of the Assyrian kings (sect. 177), had entered
Babylonia, occupied the Tigris basin from the lower Zab to the Uknu, and
were in possession of some of the ancient cities of Akkad. Aramean states
were forming, similar to those of western Mesopotamia which had been
overcome with so much difficulty by Ashurnacirpal III. and Shalmaneser II.
The king fell upon the tribes furiously, blockaded and stormed the cities,
drove the intruders from Dur Kurigalzu, Sippar, and Nippur, and deported
multitudes to the northeastern mountains; he also built two fortresses, dug
out the canals, and organized the country under direct Assyrian rule. From
Babylon, Borsippa, and Kutha came the priests of the supreme divinities,
offering their rikhat ("gifts of homage"?) to the deliverer, who returned to
Assyria, claiming the ancient and proud title of "King of Shumer and Akkad."

190. A natural corollary of this campaign was the expedition of the
second year (744 B.C.) to the southeast, which, with the expedition of 737
B.C. to Media, completed the operations in the east. In this direction the
Assyrian armies reached Mount Demavend, which overlooks the southern coast
of the Caspian sea. Fortresses were built, Assyrian rule established among
the Namri, the restless Medes chastised, and made temporarily at least to
respect the Assyrian power.

191. The four years (743-740 B.C.) following the first eastern campaign
were occupied in the west, where a striking illustration was given of the
new international situation. All the region west of the Euphrates had
practically been lost to Assyria in the last years of the house of
Ashurnacirpal. The centre of reorganization in northern Syria was the city-
state of Arpad, lying a few miles north of Khalman (Aleppo), the capital of
King Mati'ilu of Agusi. That state had apparently succeeded in breaking up
the formerly strong kingdom of Patin (sect. 165), the western part of which
formed a separate principality called Unqi (Amq), and was, with the other
contiguous districts, under the suzerainty of Arpad. The work of his
predecessors must apparently be done over again by Tiglathpileser. But that
was not all. Hardly had he reached the scene of operations, when he learned
that he must confront a more formidable antagonist in the king of Urartu.
Not contented with robbing Assyria of her tributaries on the northern
frontier from Lake Urmia to Cilicia, the armies of Urartu had descended
through the valleys along the upper Euphrates, overran Qummukh, and were
supporting the north Syrian states in opposition to Assyria. The Urartian
throne was occupied at this time by Sarduris III. successor of the brilliant
conqueror, Argistis I. (sect. 182). He had advanced over the mountains into
the upper Euphrates valley as the Assyrian king moved westward into Syria.

Whether Tiglathpileser III. had already reached Arpad is not clear,
but, if so, he retraced his steps, and crossing again the Euphrates, marched
northward into Qummukh, where his unexpected arrival and sudden attack threw
the army of Sarduris III. into confusion. The king himself barely escaped
and, with the relics of his force, ignominiously fled northward over the
mountains, pursued by the Assyrians as far as the "bridge of the Euphrates."
This defeat effectually cured Sarduris of meddling in Syrian politics, but
by no means crippled the resistance of the Syrian states under Mati'ilu.
Three years longer the struggle went on before Arpad. It must have fallen
in 740 B.C. The fragments of the annals give only scattered names of kings
and states that hastened to pay their homage after its overthrow. Qummukh,
Gurgum, Karkhemish, Qui, Damascus, Tyre, are mentioned in the list, to which
in all probability should be added Milid, Tabal, Samal, and Hamath. Tutammu
of Unqi held out and was severely punished. His kingdom was made an
Assyrian province, as was doubtless the former state of Agusi. Thus all of
northern Syria again became Assyrian territory, and the chief states of the
central region paid tribute.

192. In 738 B.C. the king made another step forward in the west.
Middle Syria, about Hamath, became involved in trouble with Assyria. Just
how this arose it is very difficult to understand, owing to the confused and
fragmentary condition of the inscriptions. They mention a certain Azriyau
of Jaudi, as inciting these districts to rebellion against the king. At
first thought, this personage would seem identical with Azariah (Uzziah) of
Judah; but chronological and historical obstacles outweigh the probability
of this view, and serve, with other more positive considerations, to lead to
the conclusion that the state of Jaudi was situated in northern Syria,
adjoining and at times a part of Samal. A prince of this state, Panammu,
the son of Karal, had already headed an uprising against the reigning king,
Bar-cur, and cut him off with seventy of his house, though, unfortunately,
as it proved for the new ruler, a son of Bar-cur, also called Panammu,
succeeded in making his escape. It is not unlikely that Azriyau was a
successor of the ambitious usurper and, as lord of Jaudi and Samal, was
seeking, like so many other princes, to make his principality the centre of
a larger Syrian state. This would inevitably bring him into hostility to
Assyria. But, with considerable shrewdness, he sought to avoid conflict as
long as possible by intriguing with cities of middle Syria as yet unvisited
by Tiglathpileser III., among which the most prominent was the city of
Kullani. The Assyrian king overthrew the rebel leader, devastated the
districts about Hamath, and placed them under an Assyrian governor. Subject
states hastened to pay tribute. Among them, besides the rulers of northern
and central Syrian states already mentioned (sect. 191), appeared Menahem,
king of Israel, and Zabibi, queen of Arabia. Panammu of Jaudi and Samal,
the second of that name, had, it seems, fled to Tiglathpileser, and now
reaped his reward in being placed upon his father's throne as a vassal of
Assyria. His name appears on the tribute list. This was also in all
probability, the occasion referred to in 2 Kings xv. 19, 20, where
Tiglathpileser is called by his Babylonian throne name, Pul (sect. 198).
The acceptance of Menahem's gift by the Assyrian, as recorded in that
passage, may well have been regarded in Israel as "confirming" him in the
kingdom, and as a deliverance of the land from the presence of the Assyrian
army.

193. With the western states thus pacified, Tiglathpileser turned his
attention to his northern enemy whom he had so vigorously ejected from
Qummukh in 743 B.C. The campaigns of 739 B.C. and 736 B.C. in the Nairi
country may have been intended as preparatory essays in this direction, re-
establishing, as they did, Assyrian authority as far as the southern shores
of Lake Van. The expedition of 735 B.C. made straight for the heart of
Urartu. There is no definite indication as to the route taken, whether the
Assyrian came in from the west or from the southeast. The capital of
Urartu, by this time pushed forward to the eastern shore of the lake in the
vicinity of the present city of Van, was called Turuspa. It consisted of a
double city, the lower town spread out along the rich valley, and the
citadel perched upon a lofty rock that jutted out into the lake. The
Assyrians destroyed the lower town, but besieged the citadel in vain. At
last, having ravaged and ruined the country far and wide, from the lakes to
the Euphrates as far as Qummukh, they retired, leaving to Sarduris III. a
desolate land and an impoverished people. The years of Assyrian humiliation
were thus amply avenged.

194. After three years of peace in the west, Tiglathpileser III. was
again called thither in 734 B.C. The occasion was one of which the
Assyrians had elsewhere often taken advantage. In Israel a new king, Pekah,
had joined with Rezon, king of Damascus (2 Kings xvi. 5; Isa. vii. 1 f.),
and the princes of the Philistine cities (2 Chron. xxviii. 18), chief of
whom was Hanno of Gaza, in a vigorous attack upon the little kingdom of
Judah. Edom, also, took up arms against her (2 Chron. xxviii. 17). It has
been conjectured that these states had organized a league to resist Assyrian
aggression, and were seeking to force Judah to join it. But of this there
is no evidence. The real purpose seems to have been to take advantage of
the weakness of Judah, and of the youth and incapacity of Ahaz its king, to
plunder and divide the country among the assailants. In his extremity,
Ahaz, in opposition to the urgent advice of Isaiah the prophet (Isa. vii. 3
ff.), determined to appeal to Tiglathpileser III., preferring vassalage to
Assyria to the almost certain loss of kingdom and life at the hands of the
league. The Assyrian king seems promptly to have responded to so attractive
an invitation to interfere in the affairs of Palestine, hitherto
undistributed by his armies. For three years (734-732 B.C.) he campaigned
from Damascus to the border of Egypt. The order of events cannot be
determined with certainty. The limu list gives for 734 B.C. an expedition
against Philistia. This suggests that he made in that year a rapid march to
the far south in order to relieve Judah from the immediate and pressing
danger of overthrow at the hands of her enemies, and then proceeded at his
leisure to punish them, beginning with the nearest, the Philistines. Gaza
suffered the most severely; Hanno fled southward to Mucri; the city was
plundered, but a vassal king was set up, perhaps Hanno himself, on making
his submission. The other cities yielded without much resistance.

195. Israel next received attention. The Book of Kings (2 Kings xv.
29) tells how all Israel, north of the plain of Esdraelon, and east of the
Jordan, was overrun. Pekah had thrown himself into his citadel of Samaria,
where the Assyrian king would have soon beleaguered him and taken possession
of the rest of the country, had not a conspiracy broken out in which Pekah
was killed, and Hoshea, its leader, made king. His immediate submission to
Tiglathpileser III. was accepted, and his position as vassal king confirmed.
The northern half of his kingdom remained, however, in Assyrian possession.

196. In dealing with Damascus, Tiglathpileser III. first defeated Rezon
in the field, and then shut him up in the city. How long the siege lasted
is uncertain. The entire district was mercilessly devastated. During the
siege Panammu II. of Samal, who brought his troops to the aid of his
Assyrian suzerain, died, and his son and successor, Bar Rekub, thus records
the event upon the funeral stele:

Moreover my father Panammu died while following his lord,
Tiglathpileser, king of Assyria, in the camp . . . And the heir of the
kingdom bewailed him. And all the camp of his lord, the king of Assyria,
bewailed him. And his lord, the king of Assyria, (afflicted) his soul, and
held a weeping for him on the way; and he brought my father from Damascus to
this place. In my days (he was buried), and all his house (bewailed) him.
And me, Bar Rekub, son of Panammu, because of the righteousness of my
father, and because of my righteousness, my lord (the king of Assyria)
seated upon (the throne) of my father, Panammu, son of Bar-cur; and I have
erected this monument for my father, Panammu, son of Bar-cur.

The Assyrian account of the capture of the city has not been preserved,
but the summary statement of 2 Kings xvi. 9 tells what must have been the
final result: "The king of Assyria . . . took it and carried (the people of)
it captive to Kir and slew Rezin." The kingdom of Damascus was destroyed,
and the district became an Assyrian province.

197. In the course of the three years other states of middle Syria and
Palestine came under Assyrian authority. Samsi, Queen of Arabia, who had
withheld her tribute, was followed into the deserts, and, after the defeat
of her warriors, paid for her rebellion with the loss of many camels, and
the assignment of an Assyrian qipu, or resident, to her court. Other
Arabian tribes to the southwest, among whom the Sabeans appear, sent gifts,
and, as qipu over the region of Mucri, a certain Idibi'il was appointed. In
the tribute list of the years 734-732 B.C. appear the kings of Ammon, Moab,
Edom, and various cities of Phoenicia, hitherto independent. Even the king
of Tyre, Mitinna, was compelled to recognize Assyrian suzerainty with a
payment of one hundred and fifty talents of gold. The authority of
Tiglathpileser III. was supreme from the Taurus to the Gulf of Aqaba and
beyond. To slight it meant instant punishment. The king of Tabal, in the
far north, ventured to absent himself from the king's presence, and was
promptly deposed by the royal official. The king of Askalon, encouraged by
the resistance of Rezon, suffered his zeal for Assyria to cool, and merely
the news of the fall of Damascus threw him into a fit of sickness which
forced him to resign his throne to his son whom the Assyrian king graciously
permitted to ascend it. Ahaz of Judah, according to 2 Kings xvi. 10 ff.,
paid his homage in person to his lord Tiglathpileser III. in Damascus after
the fall of that city, and caused to be built in Jerusalem a model of the
Assyrian altar, set up in the Syrian capital for the worship of Assyrian
gods. It has been thought, not without reason, that the biblical narrative
intimates that this Jerusalem altar was prepared for the use of the Assyrian
king himself, who honored his Judean vassal with a personal visit to his
capital (Klostermann, Komm. Sam. u. Kon., in loc.). Such a visit was
certainly due to that king whose personal appeal to Tiglathpileser III. had
opened the way for this unprecedented extension of Assyrian power.

198. It was reserved for the last years of this vigorous king to see
the crowning achievement of his vast ambitions. Thirteen years had passed
since he had entered Babylonia and re-established Assyrian suzerainty over
that ancient kingdom. Meanwhile Nabunacir (sect. 177) had been succeeded
(in 734 B.C.) by his son, Nabunadinziri (Nadinu), and he after two years was
killed by one of his officials, who became king under the name of
Nabushumukin. This usurpation was sufficient pretext for the interference
of the Kaldi. Ukinzir, chief of the Kaldean principality of Bit Amukani,
swept the pretender out of the way two months after his usurpation, and
seated himself on the Babylonian throne (732 B.C.). On Tiglathpileser's
return from the west he must needs intervene to restore Assyrian influence.
In 731 B.C. he advanced against Ukinzir, moving down the Tigris to the gulf,
and attacking Bit Amukani. He shut the Kaldean up in his capital, Sapia,
cut down the palm-trees and ravaged his land and that of other neighboring
princes. Evidently he found the enterprise a serious one, for he remained
in Assyria the next year, preparing, it seems, for a decisive stroke. The
campaign of 729 B.C. resulted in the capture of Sapia and the complete
overthrow of Ukinzir, who disappeared from the scene. Among the Kaldean
princes who offered gifts to the victor was a certain Mardukbaliddin, chief
of Bit Jakin, far down on the gulf, who is to be heard of again in the years
to come. With the passing of the usurper, the Babylonian throne was vacant,
and in 728 B.C. the Assyrian king "took the hands of Bel" as rightful
heritor of the prize. Not as Tiglathpileser, but as Pulu, either his own
personal name or a Babylonian throne-name, did he reign as Babylonian king.
The cause of this change of name is thought by some to be a rescript of
Babylonian law, which forbade a foreign king to rule Babylon except as a
Babylonian. It may be that the complicated mass of legal and ritual
requirements which in the course of the centuries had gathered about the
position of the king of Babylon made it necessary, particularly in the case
of the Assyrian ruler, to distinguish thus formally between his authority in
the two countries. In his native land he was political and military head;
in Babylon his authority consisted chiefly in his relation to the gods and
their priesthoods. As such, the new position may be considered as much a
burden as an honor, and Maspero thinks that this act of Tiglathpileser III.
saddled Assyria with a heavy load. On the other hand, it marks the
culmination of the centuries of struggle between the motherland of
immemorial culture and the younger and more aggressive military state of the
north. It was the attainment of the goal toward which, with deep sentiment
and inextinguishable expectation, king after king of Assyria had been
striving, and which Tukulti Ninib five centuries before had achieved (sect.
121). To rule and guard the ancient home at the mouth of the rivers, as
suzerain of its kings, was not enough; it was far worthier to assume in
person the holy crown, to administer the sacred laws, to come face to face
with the ancestral gods, and to mediate between them and mankind. Something
of this feeling may have come to Tiglathpileser III. at this supreme moment.
He enjoyed the honor only a little over a year, however, for in 727 B.C. he
died, and in his stead Shalmaneser IV. became king in the two lands.

199. Tiglathpileser III., in his eighteen years of ruling, had
succeeded in raising Assyria from a condition of degenerate impotence to be
the first power of the ancient world, with an extent of territory and an
efficiency of administration never before attained. He combined admirable
military skill and energy with a genius for organization, to which former
kings had not, indeed, been by any means strangers, but which they had not
exercised with such ability, or with results so solid. The custom of
establishing fortified posts in conquered countries and of appointing
military officials to represent Assyrian authority in them was continued by
Tiglathpileser III., but it is his merit to have undertaken to attach these
subjugated lands much more closely to Assyria, and to give these officials
much more significant administrative duties. Taking as a basis the local
unit of the city and the land dependent upon it, he united a not too large
number of these districts under a single government official, called,
ordinarily, the shupar-shaku, whose duty it was to administer the affairs of
these districts in immediate dependence on the court. As such, he was
called bel pikhati, "lord of the districts." In other words, the king
introduced a system of provincial government corresponding to the social and
political organization of the Semitic world. Of these provinces, two were
established in eastern Babylonia, two in the eastern highlands, one in
northern Syria out of the kingdom of Unqi (sect. 191), two in central Syria,
that of Damascus, and that of the nineteen districts about Hamath, two in
Phoenicia, and one in northern Israel. The collection of a regular tribute
and the preservation of order were, as before, the chief duties of these
provincial officers. They served also as protectors of the districts from
attack, and as guardians of Assyrian interests in surrounding tributary
states. Such tributary states with their vassal kings were permitted to
continue on the same terms as of old. Tiglathpileser III. also followed his
predecessors in the custom of carrying away the peoples of conquered lands,
but his genius is seen in the system and method introduced. In the first
place, the deportations were made on an immensely larger scale, and, second,
the majority of those deported were sent, not to Assyria as before, but to
other regions already subjugated. In other words, immense exchanges of
conquered populations were made by him. Thus, more than one hundred and
thirty-five thousand persons were removed from Babylonia, sixty-five
thousand from the eastern highlands, seventy thousand from the northern
highlands, and thirty thousand from the districts about Hamath, and these
are not all that the inscriptions mention. The Syrians were taken to the
north and east; the Babylonians to Syria. The result of this policy was to
remove the dangers of insurrection arising out of local or national spirit,
and to strengthen the Assyrian administration in the provinces. It has been
admirably stated by Maspero as follows:

The colonists, exposed to the same hatreds as the original Assyrian
conquerors, soon forgot to look upon the latter as the oppressors of all,
and, allowing their present grudge to efface the memory of past injuries,
did not hesitate to make common cause with them. In time of peace the
governor did his best to protect them against molestation on the part of the
natives, and in return for this they rallied round him whenever the latter
threatened to get out of hand, and helped him to stifle the revolt, or hold
it in check until the arrival of reinforcements. Thanks to their help, the
empire was consolidated and maintained without too many violent outbreaks in
regions far removed from the capital, and beyond the immediate reach of the
sovereign (Passing of the Empires, pp. 200, 201).

200. Receiving from the hands of so able an administrator an empire
thus organized, Shalmaneser IV. might look forward to a long and successful
reign. Certain badly mutilated inscriptions, if they have been read
correctly by modern scholars, indicate that he was the son of Tiglathpileser
III. and had already been entrusted by him with the governorship of a Syrian
province. No inscriptions of his own throwing light upon his reign have
been discovered. This is not strange, as the limu list indicates that his
reign lasted but five years (727-722 B.C.) The Babylonian Chronicle states
that he succeeded to the Babylonian throne, and the Babylonian kings' list
gives his throne name as Ulula'a. The limu list, containing the brief
references to campaigns, is here badly mutilated and affords little help.
All the more important, therefore, are the biblical statements concerning
his relations to Israel, and a difficult passage of Menander of Tyre (in
Josephus, Ant., IX. 14, 2) in regard to his dealings with that city.

201. The west had been quiet since the decisive settlement of its
affairs made by Tiglathpileser III. in 732 B.C. (sect. 197). The accession
of Shalmaneser IV. was generally acquiesced in, and tribute was promptly
paid. The Babylonian Chronicle mentions the destruction of the city of
Sabarahin (in Syria?, Ezek. xlvii. 16), which may have taken place in his
first year (727 B.C.), at which time the payment of tribute by Hoshea of
Israel (2 Kings xvii. 3) may have been made. The year 726 B.C. was spent by
the king at home. The policy of Tiglathpileser III. seemed to insure the
fidelity and peace of the empire. Trouble, however, soon appeared among the
tributary kings of Palestine, owing to the intrigues of a certain "Sewe
(So), king of Egypt (Micraim)," (2 Kings xvii. 4), the Assyrian equivalent
for whose name is probably Shabi. According to some scholars, the trouble
was made by the north Arabian kingdom of Mucri over which Tiglathpileser
III. had appointed a qipu (sect. 197). Whatever may be the solution of that
question, the results of the intrigue were successful. Hoshea of Israel
refused to pay tribute, and it is probable that the king of Tyre followed
suit. Shalmaneser IV. came upon the ground in 725 B.C. Menander states
that he "overran the whole of Phoenicia, and then marched away after he had
made treaties and peace with all;" and a broken inscription, containing a
treaty of the king of Tyre with a later Assyrian king appears to
substantiate this account (Winckler, AOF, II., i, 15) so far as the
submission of Tyre is concerned.

202. Israel was not as easily mastered. Hoshea and his nobles saw
clearly that no mercy could be hoped for, in the face of their repeated
contumacy, and prepared for the worst. They threw themselves into Samaria,
hoping to be able to hold out until their allies brought them relief. By
724 B.C. the blockade began. No help came, yet still they defied the
Assyrian army. The country must have been utterly laid waste. The siege
continued through the year 723 B.C. The next year Shalmaneser IV. died.
The circumstances are not known. The rebellious and beleaguered capital was
left to be dealt with by his successor, Sargon, who ascended the throne in
January of 722 B.C.

 

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