A history of ancient Assyria (Assyrians) from its rise to fall including Nineveh, its kings, cities, laws and contributions to civilization

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Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

Part Thirteen

Part Fourteen

Part Fifteen

Part Sixteen

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Ashurbanipal

Tiglathpileser

Nineveh

Fall of Assyria

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History Of The Babylonians And Assyrians

Book:        Part II: The Rise Of Assyria And Its Struggles With Kassite Babylonia

Author:      Godspeed, George

 

 

 

Times Of Tiglathpileser I.  1100 B.C.

 

     133. The splendid extension of Assyrian authority to the northwest,

achieved by Shalmaneser I. and his successors (sect. 120), had not been

lasting.  The incursion and settlement of the Khatti in Syria proved to be

merely the beginning of a series of similar migrations from the north and

northwest into the regions of Western Asia.  Half a century before his own

time, according to the testimony of Tiglathpileser I. of Assyria, the Mushki

had advanced over the boundaries of Assyria's conquests along the headwaters

of the Euphrates, had conquered the Alzi and the Purukuzzi, her tributary

peoples, and were sifting into the nearer region of Qummukh.  The bulk of

the invading peoples, indeed, poured down into Syria, and broke in pieces

the loose confederation of the Khatti, but the latter in turn were thereby

pushed eastward to hamper Assyrian progress.  The effect of this reverse may

be observed in the revival of Babylonia under the later Kassite kings (sect.

122).  It was, probably, late in his long reign that Ashurdan I. of Assyria

was able to make headway against his southern rivals, and inflict on the

next to the last Kassite ruler a defeat which three years after seems to

have cost this foreign dynasty its supremacy over Babylonia.  Ashurdan died

soon after, and was followed by his son Mutakkil-nusku, of whom little is

known; presumably he reigned but a few years (about 1135 B.C.).

 

     134. The dynasty which wrested the Babylonian throne from the Kassites

was, as the names of its kings indicate, of native origin, and is called in

the kings' list "the dynasty of Pashe." Unfortunately, that important

document is imperfectly preserved at this point, and seven names out of the

whole number of eleven are quite illegible.  By a strange chance the names

of those kings who from other documents are known to belong to this dynasty,

are among those missing from the kings' list, and it is therefore impossible

to determine accurately their chronological order and the length of their

reigns.  Of these the greatest was Nebuchadrezzar I.  A highly probable

argument has been made by Hilprecht (OBT, I. i, pp. 41 ff.) to prove that he

was the founder of the dynasty and its first king (about 1140-1123 B.C.),

but paleographic grounds render it inconclusive, though not impossible.  He

was followed in turn by Belnadin-aplu (about 1122-1117 B.C.), and

Marduknadin-akhi (about 1116-1105).  The dynasty held the throne over one

hundred and thirty-two years to about 1010 B.C.

 

     135. The name Nebuchadrezzar, meaning "May the god Nabu protect the

boundary," is significant of the work of this energetic Babylonian ruler.

Babylonia had been the tramping-ground of the nations.  For centuries

foreigners had ruled in the land and had warred with the Assyrians for its

possession.  In the last Kassite years the Elamites had renewed their

inroads from the east, penetrating to the very heart of the land.  The

province of Namar, famous for its horses, was already occupied by them.

This deep humiliation, coupled with the Assyrian success, drove the Kassite

from his ascendency and opened the way for more successful defenders of the

ancient state.  Nebuchadrezzar undertook the task.  He found the Elamites

already at Der.  In spite of the scorching heat of midsummer he pushed on,

driving them before him.  Across the Tigris, on the banks of the Ula, the

final stand was made by the Elamite army, but, in the fierce battle that

ensued, the king, in the words of his own inscription (ABL, p. 8), "remained

the victor" and "overthrew the country of the king of Elam . . . carrying

away its possessions." Other expeditions to the northeast into the old

Kassite land and beyond it to the highlands of the Lullumi, were intended to

give warning to future marauders from that region.  A governor of the

district was stationed at the fortress of Holwan.

 

     136. Among the first tasks confronting such a ruler was the rewarding

of his followers, - a work which at the same time meant the restoration of

the Semitic-Babylonian element to its former social and political supremacy.

An interesting example of his procedure in this respect is found in a

document of the king, the most considerable inscription which has been

preserved from his reign, containing a deed of gift.  Ritti Marduk, of the

house of Karziyabkhu, in the province of Namar, which had fallen into the

hands of the Elamites, had valiantly supported his lord in the trying

Elamite campaign.  Indeed, he seems to have performed a signal personal

service to Nebuchadrezzar when hard pressed by the enemy.  On the return of

the army the king issued a proclamation, giving back to the prince and

sealing for all time former privileges by which Karziyabkhu was made a free

domain, over which the royal officials were not to exercise authority, upon

which they were not to levy taxes, from which no requisitions for state

purposes of any sort were to be made.  Of the wisdom of establishing such

feudal domains in the kingdom there may be some question.  It was a return

to the older system of land tenure which, by weakening the force of royal

authority, had made defence against invaders difficult.  But, for the

present at least, restoration was the order of the day, and Nebuchadrezzar

proudly styles himself "the sun of his country, who makes his people to

prosper, who preserves boundaries and establishes landmarks (?), the just

king, who pronounces righteous judgment." According to another similar

document, he rescued in his campaign a statue of the god Bel, which the

Elamites may have taken from Babylon.  He seized the opportunity on this

occasion to re-establish, by "taking the hands of Bel," his own right to the

Babylonian throne, and proceeded to renew in a yet more striking and

magnificent way the ancient glories of his kingdom.

 

     137. Centuries had passed since any Babylonian ruler either had set up

the ancestral claim to possession of the "West-land," or had done anything

to make that claim good.  The Kassite kings had found Egypt in possession of

the field, and Assyria was, from time to time, pushing forward to cut off

the road by occupying the upper waters of the Euphrates.  But

Nebuchadrezzar, in the spirit of a glorious past which he felt that he

represented, not only called himself "conqueror of the West-land," but seems

actually to have reached the Mediterranean and left his name upon the cliffs

of the Nahr-el-Kelb.

 

     138. Such an expedition was certain to bring him into contact with

Assyria, and, indeed, was possible only by reason of Assyrian weakness.  His

activities in the northeast were equally offensive to the rival state.  It

is no wonder, therefore, that the Synchronistic History records a clash

between the two kingdoms.  Neither the time nor the details of the campaigns

can be satisfactorily determined.  It may be presumed that they took place

toward the close of the king's reign (about 1125 B.C.).  A new ruler, Ashur-

rish-ishi, was king in Assyria and eager to try conclusions with the

Babylonian veteran.  He invaded the south, but was driven back and followed

by Nebuchadrezzar, who laid siege to a border fortress.  The Assyrian king

succeeded in beating him off and destroying his siege-train.  In a later

expedition which the Babylonian sent against Assyria, another and more

serious repulse was suffered; the Babylonian general Karastu was taken

prisoner and forty chariots captured.  Nebuchadrezzar, near the end of his

career, made no further attempt to avenge this disgrace, but left the

renewal of the contest to his successors (Syn. Hist., col. II.).

Belnadinaplu (sect. 134), indeed, seems to have taken no steps in this

direction, nor did the Assyrian king pursue his advantage, unless his

campaigns in the east and southeast against the highland tribes, Ahlami,

Guti, and Lullumi, are to be regarded as an intrusion into territory already

claimed as the conquest of Nebuchadrezzar (sect. 135).  Evidently neither

party was anxious to come to blows.  Babylonia needed yet a longer period of

recuperation from the exhausting struggles for deliverance from Kassite and

Elamite, while the Assyrian had his task awaiting him in the restoration of

Assyrian power in the north and northwest.

 

     139. The king who was to achieve this task for Assyria and to add a

brilliant page to her annals of victory was already in the field.  For at

least three generations the Assyrian crown had passed from father to son,

when Tiglathpileser I., the fourth of the line, in the flower of his youth,

mounted the throne (about 1110 B.C.).

 

     140. To understand the significance of the career of this great king,

so fully detailed in his own inscription, a glance must be given at what had

come to be the traditional political policy of Assyria.  Linked to Babylonia

by ties of blood and culture, the state was constantly drawn into

complications with the mother-land.  The vicissitudes of these relations

have been traced in preceding chapters.  But, apart from this fundamental

influence, was the problem, presented to each state, of the relation to the

larger environment. For Babylonia, this problem had already been solved.

Her central position on the Euphrates - the connecting link between east and

west - indicated that her sphere of influence reached out through western

Mesopotamia to Syria and the Mediterranean coast-lands.  This predominance,

realized long before Assyria was born, had been maintained, with frequent

lapses, indeed, and long intervals of inactivity, down to the days of

Nebuchadrezzar I.  From Babylon to Haran and from Haran to the sea stretched

the recognized highroad as well of Babylonia's merchants as of her armies.

Assyria, newly arrived upon the scene, and once secure of her position as an

independent power by the side of her more ancient rival, found the outlook

for progress leading to the more rugged pathways of the highlands to the

north and northwest.  To this field her position in the upper corner of the

Mesopotamian plain invited her.  The Tigris had broken through the mountains

and opened up the road thither.  And when the Assyrian merchant, moving

westward in the shadow of the mountain wall which formed the northern

boundary of the plain, was halted at the Euphrates by Babylonian authority,

he turned northward into the highlands through which the upper Euphrates

poured, and thus brought to light wider regions for the extension of

Assyrian commerce.  In all this mountain-land the soldier had followed hard

upon the heels of the trader, so that for more than three centuries the

campaigns of kings like Ashuruballit, Adadnirari, and Shalmaneser had built

up the tradition that Assyria's sphere of influence was this northern

highland.  Though in after years, when Babylonia had yielded her supremacy

of the west-land, the Assyrian kings devoted themselves to conquest in the

richer lands of Syria, they never forgot the field of their earlier

campaigns; they kept open the trade routes, and held in check the restless

peoples of this rugged region.

 

     141. This region, in classical times known as Armenia, containing in

its fullest extent sixty thousand square miles, is an irregular rectangle,

its greatest length five hundred miles, its width two hundred and fifty

miles.  A vast plateau, lifted some seven thousand feet above sea-level, it

is girt about and traversed by mountain ranges.  On its northern boundary

lies the Caucasus; along the southern border, overlooking the Mesopotamian

valley, runs Mt. Masius, called by the Assyrians Kashiari.  Between these

mountain boundaries two chains (the Armenian Taurus and the Anti-Taurus)

cross this lofty region from west to east at about equal distances from one

another.  At its eastern border the mountains turn sharply to the southeast,

and the country becomes a trackless tangle of peaks and ravines.  Toward the

northwest the plain runs out onto the plateau of Asia Minor, or drops to the

Black Sea.  To the southwest the Taurus throws out the ranges that pierce

Armenia, and then itself turns off to the south in the Amanus range which

forms the backbone of Syria.  In this disintegration of the Taurus the

entire surface of the land, like its eastern counterpart, is tossed about in

a shapeless confusion of high and well-nigh impassable summits.  Within

Armenia, between the long ranges, lie fair and smiling plains.  Between

Kashiari and the Armenian Taurus the springs of the Tigris gather to form

that mighty stream which breaks through the former range on the east and

pours down to the sea.  Behind the Armenian Taurus are the sources of the

Euphrates which flows at first parallel to the Tigris, but in the opposite

direction, until, turning to the southward, it tears its way through the

knot of mountains in southwestern Armenia by innumerable windings, and

debouches on the plain, at first to fall swiftly, then to spread out more

widely on its way to the Persian gulf.  The land, threaded by the head-

waters of these rivers, is wild and romantic, with deep glens, lofty peaks,

and barren passes.  In the midst of it lies the broad, blue salt lake of

Van, eighty miles long.  The mountains are thickly wooded, the valleys are

genial.  Mineral wealth in silver, copper, and iron abounds.  Inexhaustible

pasturage is found for flocks and herds.  All the fruits of the temperate

zone grow in the valleys, and harvests of grain are reaped in the plains.

The winters are cold and invigorating.  It is a country of rare

picturesqueness, capable of supporting a large population.  The people,

vigorous and hardy, till the soil of the plains, or lead flocks and herds

over the hillsides. The tribal organization prevails.  Villages nestle at

the base of hills surmounted by rude fortresses.  The larger towns, situated

on the main roads which lead from Asia Minor to Mesopotamia, are centres of

trade in raw materials, wool, goat's hair, and grain, or in the rude vessels

of copper and silver, the spoil of the mines, or in the coarse cloths of the

native weaver.  The larger plains afford to the tribes opportunities for

closer organization, under chiefs mustering no inconsiderable number of

warriors.  Border forays and the hunting of wild beasts vary the monotony of

agricultural and pastoral existence.  At times, under pressure of invasion,

the tribes unite to defend their valleys, but fall apart again when the

danger is past.  A free, healthy, and abundant, if rude, life is lived under

the open sky.

 

     142. To secure control over the borders of this upland, then, Assyrian

kings had girded themselves in preceding centuries.  But the foothold

attained by them on the upper waters of the Euphrates had been, as has been

indicated (sect. 133), all but lost before Tiglathpileser became king.

Scarcely had he taken his seat, when a new disaster was announced from the

land of the Qummukhi.  This people occupied the extensive valley between the

Armenian Taurus and the Kashiari range at the sources of the Tigris, to the

east of the gorge by which the Euphrates breaks through the former range to

seek the Mesopotamian plain.  Tribes from the northwest, known collectively

as the Mushki, not content with overpowering the Alzi and Purukuzzi (sect.

133), suddenly hurled themselves under their five kings with twenty thousand

warriors upon the Qummukhi.  Tiglathpileser hurried, with an army, from

Assur to the scene, more than three hundred miles away.  His route led him

up the Tigris, half-way across the upper Mesopotamian plain, then northward

over the range of Kashiari, to a point where he could overlook the valley at

its centre, not far from the ancient town of Amid, the modern Diyarbekr.

From here he descended with chariots and infantry upon the invaders below

and crushed them in one tremendous onslaught.  Surprised and overwhelmed,

fourteen thousand were cut down, and the remainder captured and transported

to Assur.  The Qummukhi, restless and rebellious, were subdued with fire and

sword; one of their clans that fled into the eastern mountains the king

followed across the Tigris, and, though they were aided by the Kirkhi

(Kurti), a neighboring people in the eastern plateau, he defeated them and

captured their stronghold.  Returning, he marched against the capital of

another of their clans farther to the north.  They fled at his approach;

their chief submitted without fighting and was spared.  The king closed the

campaign by taking a detachment of infantry and thirty chariots for a dash

over the northern mountains into the "haughty and unsubmissive country of

Mildish," which was likewise reduced to subjection.  Upon all the peoples he

laid the obligation of regular tribute and, laden with booty, returned to

Assyria.  By one vigorous advance he had not only removed the danger from

the invading peoples, but had re-established Assyrian authority over one of

the largest and most important of these mountain valleys, - that one which

formed the entrance into the Mesopotamian plain.

 

     143. The second campaign, undertaken in the first full year of his

reign, - the year of his accession counting as only "the beginning," - was

directed chiefly against the still rebellious Qummukhi, who were made again

to feel the weight of Assyrian displeasure.  On their western border were

settled the Shumashti (Shubarti), whose cities had been invaded by a body of

tribes of the Khatti, four thousand strong in infantry and chariots.  These

invaders submitted on the king's advance and were transported to Assyria.

Two minor events of the year were the re-establishment of authority over the

Alzi and Purukuzzi, and the subjugation of the Shubari, an eastern hill-

tribe.

 

     144. In the narrative of the first year's exploits occurs a phrase

which suggests that the plan subsequently followed by the king was already

conceived.  Not only had Ashur, the nation's god, bidden him subdue

rebellious vassals, but, to use the king's own words, "now he commanded me

to extend the boundaries of my country." It had become clear that, to hold

the peoples of these northern valleys to their allegiance, a systematic

extension of Assyrian territory there must be undertaken.  The task was

formidable, leading Tiglathpileser I. into far districts hitherto unheard of

by Assyrian kings, and requiring a display of energy and resource that his

predecessors had not approached.  Three well-conceived campaigns are

recorded.  In the first - that of his second regnal year - the tribes to the

east of Qummukhi and the sources of the Tigris, between Kashiari and the

Armenian Taurus, were subdued.  In the second - that of his third regnal

year - the king climbed the Taurus and descended upon the sources of the

Euphrates.  Here were the tribes known to the Assyrians as the Nairi, living

to the west of Lake Van.  The army pushed steadily westward through the

mountains, fighting as it advanced, crossed the Euphrates, marched along its

right bank, and reached the city of Milid, the western end of the main road

from Asia Minor, later called the "Royal Road," and the chief city of a

district separated from the Qummukhi only by the lofty Taurus mountains.

There remained only the peoples to the far west, and against these, after

the interval of a year, the king proceeded in his fifth regnal year.  In

this region, between Qummukhi and the gulf of Issus, lived the Mucri, whom

Shalmaneser I.  had already encountered (sect. 120).  In these mountain

valleys had flourished, centuries before, one of the main branches of the

wide kingdom of the Khatti, and from thence this warlike people had

descended upon the Syrian plain.  Here Tiglathpileser found great

fortresses, with walls and towers, blocking his advance.  His reduction of

the Mucri stirred up their neighbors and allies to the northwest, the

Qumani, and sent him still farther away into the endless confusion of rugged

mountain ranges to accomplish their overthrow.  One fierce battle with an

army of twenty thousand warriors drove the defenders back upon Khunusa,

their triple-walled fortress, which was stormed by the king with great

slaughter and demolished.  The way now lay open to their capital, which

surrendered on his approach.  Thereupon he accepted the submission of the

tribes and laid the usual tribute upon them.  The first stage of his

stupendous task was now practically completed.  The Assyrian border in this

vast mountain region stretched in a huge arc from the upper Tigris and Lake

Van around the head-waters of the Euphrates to the northeastern corner of

the Mediterranean.  Indeed it extended even farther, for, to use his own

proud words:

 

     I conquered in all, from the beginning of my reign to my fifth regnal

year, forty-two countries and their princes, from the left bank of the lower

Zab and the border of distant forest-clad mountains as far as the right bank

of the Euphrates, the land of the Khatti, and the Upper Sea of the setting

sun (Prism Inscription, col. vi. 39-45).

 

     145. During the strenuous years of these campaigns the king had found

occasion to make at least two expeditions in other directions.  The

overthrow of the Shubari in the eastern hills took place in his first regnal

year.  In the fourth, he made a raid upon the Bedouin, who were crossing the

Euphrates into western Mesopotamia, apparently for the purpose of settling

in the upper plain.  They were the advance guard of the Arameans.  Crossing

the plain due west from Assur, Tiglathpileser drove them before him along

the river from the Khabur to the city of Karkhemish, followed them across

into the desert, burned their villages, and carried off their goods and

cattle to his capital.  Necessary as such a campaign was for Assyria's

protection, it had entered territory under Babylonian influence, and could

hardly have failed to stir up the Babylonian ruler to action against

Assyria.  Marduknadinakhi (sect. 134) was a vigorous ruler, and he seems to

have responded by an invasion of Assyrian territory in the tenth year of his

reign, in which may have occurred the capture of the city of Ekallati, and

the removal of its gods to Babylon, an event to which a later Assyrian king,

Sennacherib, refers.  In the hostilities which inevitably ensued and

continued for two years, possibly the seventh and eighth regnal years of

Tiglathpileser, the Babylonian was severely beaten.  In the first campaign

Marduknadinakhi had advanced beyond the lower Zab into Assyrian territory,

when he was driven back.  In the second, the Assyrian king took the

offensive and swept all before him.  The decisive defeat was administered in

northern Babylonia.  Tiglathpileser captured, one after another, the chief

northern cities, Upi, Dur Kurigalzu, Sippar, and Babylon, and then marched

up the Euphrates to the Khabur, thereby bringing the river from Babylon to

Karkhemish under Assyrian control.  Satisfied with this assertion of his

superiority, and the control of the chief trade routes, he did not attempt

to usurp the Babylonian throne, but left Marduknadinakhi to resume his

discredited authority.

 

     146. A few more campaigns of the great Assyrian are recorded.  An

expedition against Elam may belong to his ninth year.  Other visits to the

lands of the Nairi are mentioned, in the last of which he set up, at the

mouth of a grotto whence flows one of the sources of the Tigris, a stone

slab upon which a full-length effigy of the conqueror is sculptured, with a

proclamation of his victories over these northern peoples.  It would not be

surprising if he reigned little more than ten years.  The numerous and

fatiguing campaigns in which he led his troops, sometimes in his chariot,

oftener on foot, over rugged mountains, amidst incessant fighting, must

early have exhausted even his iron endurance.  In the intervals of warfare

he hunted with indefatigable zeal.  Lists of lions slain by the king when on

foot or from the chariot, of wild oxen and elephants, the trophies of his

lance and bow, appear in his annals, and reveal another side of his

activity.  Not by himself, but by later kings, is another expedition

referred to, which if, as it seems, properly assigned to him, rounds out his

career.  On the broken obelisk of Ashurnacirpal III.  are some lines which

describe achievements parallel to his, though the ruler's name has not been

preserved.  Of this unknown it is further said that he sailed in ships of

Arvad, a city of Phoenicia, killed a nakhiru (sea monster of some sort) in

the great sea, captured wild cattle at the foot of Lebanon, and was

presented by the king of Egypt with a pagutu (hippopotamus?) and a

crocodile.  Shalmaneser II.  speaks of the cities of Ashurutiracbat and

Mutkinu, lying over against one another on either side of the Euphrates, as

once captured by Tiglathpileser.  These statements imply that, in the years

after his Babylonian victory, he completed his western conquests by a

campaign in Syria that carried him to the Mediterranean and to the Lebanons.

The fame of this exploit extorted a tribute of respect from an Egyptian

ruler.

 

     147. Enough has been said to show that the king's military activity was

no purposeless series of plundering raids.  His campaigns are linked

together in a well-ordered system.  The first item of his policy is stated

in his plain but significant assertion.  "The feet of the enemy I kept from

my country." Even more important is his second boast, "One word united I

caused them to speak." Once conquered, the peoples were organized under

Assyrian rule.  Of the details in the realization of this plan he himself

has recorded little beyond the establishment of a regular tax and the

requirement of hostages.  The deportation of captured tribes is not

uncommon.  The conquered peoples swear solemn oaths of allegiance by the

Assyrian gods.  Rebels are treated with ruthless cruelty, for they have

sinned against gods and men.  Peoples who resist attack are exposed to

slaughter and the plundering of their goods.  Tribes that submit are spared,

their property respected, their chiefs restored to power under Assyrian

supremacy.  These principles, acted upon by Tiglathpileser, formed a body of

precedents for future rulers.

 

     148. At first thought, it seems unlikely that so eager a warrior would

be solicitous for the economic welfare of his country.  He was statesman,

however, as well as conqueror.  From the conquered lands he brought back

flocks and herds; he sought out useful and valuable trees for transplanting

into Assyrian forests, oaks, cedars, and fruit trees of a kind unknown to

Assyrian orchards.  He rebuilt the crumbling walls of cities; repaired the

storehouses and granaries and heaped them high with grain.  Royal palaces in

his various provincial cities were restored, forming citadels for defence.

Most splendid of all were the temples which he built and adorned with

inimitable splendor.  Of the restored temple of Anu and Adad he says:

 

     I built it from foundation to roof larger and grander than before, and

erected also two great temple towers, fitting ornaments of their great

divinities.  The splendid temple, a brilliant and magnificent dwelling, the

habitation of their joys, the house for their delight, shining as bright as

the stars on heaven's firmament and richly decorated with ornaments through

the skill of my artists, I planned, devised, and thought out, built, and

completed.  I made its interior brilliant like the dome of the heavens;

decorated its walls like the splendor of the rising stars, and made it grand

with resplendent brilliancy.  I reared its temple towers to heaven, and

completed its roof with burned brick; located therein the upper terrace

containing the chamber of their great divinities; and led into the interior

Anu and Adad, the great gods, and made them to dwell in their lofty house,

thus gladdening the heart of their great divinities (Prism Ins., col. vii.

85-114, trans. in ABL, pp. 25 f.).

 

     149. The height of Assyria's attainment in the arts of life may be

inferred from a passage like the foregoing, which is characteristic of the

inscription as a whole, written as it is in a vigorous, flowing, and

somewhat rhetorical style, significant of no little literary culture.  The

ruler who could achieve such things and find expression for them in so lofty

a fashion was far from being a mere ruthless general, and his state much

more than a mere military establishment.  Justly could he declare that he

had "enhanced the welfare of his nation," and made his people "live and

dwell in peaceful homes." Well might he pray, to use his own words, that the

gods may turn to me truly and faithfully, accept graciously the lifting up

of my hands, hearken unto my devout prayers, grant unto me and my kingdom

abundance of rain, years of prosperity and fruitfulness in plenty (Prism.

Ins., col. viii. 24-29, trans. in ABL, p. 26).

 

     150. Tiglathpileser was followed on the throne by his son Ashur-bel-

kala, and he by his brother Shamshi Adad.  The two reigns seem to have been

peaceful and prosperous.  The former king appears to have continued to rule

over the wide domains of his father and, in addition, to have come to terms

with Babylonia.  There Marduk-sapik-zerim followed Marduknadinakhi, and

entered into an alliance with his Assyrian neighbor.  When a rebellion drove

the Babylonian from his throne, the successful usurper, "son of nobody,"

Adad-aplu-iddlin, was recognized by the son of Tiglathpileser, who took his

daughter into the harem on payment of a princely dowry by her father.  It

has been inferred, from the finding of a statue in Nineveh hailing from the

king's palace, that Ashurbelkala removed the capital from Assur to Nineveh.

Such a change is quite possible, since it would place him nearer the centre

of his realm.  His brother, who was perhaps his successor, is known to have

built on the temple of Ishtar in the latter city.  The name of the son of

Shamshi Adad, Ashurnacirpal II., has been preserved, but though his striking

prayer to Ishtar is in our hands (BMG, p. 68), a record of his deeds has not

come down to posterity.  The Assyrian kingdom goes out in darkness.  The

first chapter of her imperial history is finished (about 1050 B.C.).


 

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