Original Historical Documents
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The Assyrian Connections
EA's Mesos
Ugarit/ Ras Shamra
King Baasha
King Ahab
The 22nd Dynasty
Part I
Assuruballit & Amenophis
Part II - Pekah and Rezin
Assyrian King List
Shalmaneser V and the Fall of Samaria
The Siege and Hezekiah
The Events as Described by Isaiah
The Scythians
Sennacherib in 701 BC
Sennacherib and Sethos
Sennacherib's Last Campaign
Events Chart
The Change from Assyrian to Babylonian Rule
Assyrian Treasures
What is in the name Assur - Field Altar
An Assyrian Cuneiform Letter
Probable Assyrian Duplications
The Dating of Tiglat-Pileser I
Odds & Ends on Assyrian History/Archaeology
Additional Information
Notes & References
Judith - in English
Judith - auf Deutsch
Sargon - in English
Sargon - auf Deutsch
Turtan Esarhaddon - in English
Tharthan Asarhaddon - auf Deutsch

Part I

Persistent inquiries about the Assyrian limmu king lists and how they compare to the dynastic order of the Egyptian pharaohs shall be addressed in this section. First we shall note a list of potential chronologically helpful discoveries which bear on this subject.
The Limmu King Lists

For an image of a tablet containing the eponymate of Bur-sagale see Baruch Halpern, `Eyewitness Testimony' in BAR, Vol. 29, Sep/Oct 2003, p. 50-(52)-57.

With the aid of the limmu lists and solar eclipses today's historians assure us that absolute dates can be calculated for Assyrian kings. Such ascertations require a closer look and several dissenting views can be read in various publications. We also shall address some details of the Assyrian king list.
According to the limmu list Assuruballit was the son of Eriba-Adad, but Assuruballit of the EA letters (#15,16) was the son of Assur-nadin-ahe. This is what historians have said:
According to A. Poebel Assur-nadin-ahe II was a cousin of Assuruballit's father, Eriba-Adad.. I.J.Gelb made the following list:
69 Assur-bel-nisesu
70 Assur-rim-nisesu

71 Assur-nadin-ahe

72 Eriba-Adad

73 Assur-uballit
son of Assur-nirari
son of Assur-bel-nisesu
son of Assur-rim-nisesu
son of Assur-bel-nisesu
son of Eriba-Adad
On a common Assyrian amulet shaped clay tablet Assurubalit recounts the rebuilding of the palace in the new city [text, KAH, II, No. 27; D. Luckenbill, ARAB, (1926), pp. 21-22] Below:
Luckenbill put it this way:
"In the second of the two letters Assur-uballi ... refers to `the time when Assur-nadin-ahe, his father, wrote to Egypt.' The word `father' may here have the meaning of `ancestor', as is often the case in Assyrian texts, but even so our difficulties are not cleared up. In the texts below, Assurubalit does not include Assur-nadin-ahe among his ancestors, although he carries his line back 6 generations..."
Assur-uballit, priest of Assur [0100]
Eriba-Adad, priests of Assur
son of Eriba-Adad
son of Assur-bel-nisheshu
son of Assur-nirari
son of Assur-rabi
son of Enlil-nasir
son of Puzur-Assur
In Section 60, Luckenbill presents another list by Assuruballit of his ancestors where again there is no mention of Assur-nadin-ahe.
Assur-ubalit, viceroy of Assur
Iriba-Adad, viceroy of Assur
Assur-nirari ...
son of Iriba-Adad
son of Assur-bel-nisheshu
son of Assur-nirari

Another useful quotation on Assyrian multiple kingships is this one: "[To] Ashur-nirari and Ili-Hard[da...], kings of Assyria, speak! [The words of] Adad-shumua-usur, great king, strong king, [king of the universe], king of Karduniash, ... etc." [0300]

As to the Assurubalit problem:

This is how Velikovsky stated the problem:

"There are two letters in the el-Amarna collection signed by Assuruballit. These letters, Assyrian (Tiglath-pileser) lion hunt from Niniveh (15 & 16) though rather unimportant, are given much attention by the chronologists, not for their content, but for the name of their author. Assuruballit is not an unusual name, but the existence of an Assuruballit in the fourteenth century would link the Assyrian king lists with the Egyptian dynasties of the New Kingdom. Thus, the letters play an important role in conventional chronology, being the sole link in the space of many centuries between the Egyptian and Assyrian histories."

[Ashur Uballit I (reigned about 1379-1341 according to conventional dates) King of Assyria, successor and son of EribaAdad, married his daughter to the king of Babylon who was later murdered, then put his grandson on the throne of Babylon, gains Assyrian independence from Mittanni.]

Ashur Uballit II (reigned 611-605), last King of Assyrian Empire, fled to Haran with the support of the Egyptians under Ramses II when Nebuchadnezzar II comes to level Nineveh. This was probably the reason why Ramses II marched upon Carchemish.

Were Assuruballit and Amenophis IV Contemporary Kings? - For the latest info on this click Here!

In 1917 Weidner admitted `The dates we have established for the Assyrian (favorite color is blue, Ez. 23:6) and Babylonian kings (favorite color is red, Ez. 23:14) do not fit those established by Egyptian historians for the dates of the Egyptian kings.' [0400]

As a consequence both chronologies, the Egyptian and Assyrian periods needed to be shifted. The EA period was moved back into the 15th century BC. Professor Mahler required placing Amenhotep III at the end of the 15th century and Akhnaton from 1403-1391 BC. This was far too high by the standards of the next generation of chronologists. What first led to raising the age of Amenhotep III into the 15th century, now required lowering it due to Poebel's Khorsabad List (issued 1942/43), which `proved' that all previous chronologies were too high and the age of the Assyrian kings had to be lowered by some 64 years. However, to lower the reign of Akhnaton enough, in order to make him a contemporary of Assurubalit, was impossible because conventional Egyptian chronology is built on the assumption that Ramses I started to reign in 1322 a few decades ago and now in 1293 BC. Before Ramses I, Smenkhare, Tutankhamen, Aye and Horemheb must have reigned according to their chronology. Even today, Assurubalit and Akhnaton cannot be shown to have been contemporaries. Assyrian chronology is dependent on Egyptian chronology and therefore cannot be used as proof of its validity.

But who was Assurubalit, the correspondent of Akhnaton?

In coming to a conclusion on this matter it is instructive to compare the EA letters of Burraburiash with those of Assurubalit:

Burraburias to Amenophis IV - Typical wording:
EA#6: Thus says Burraburias, king .., your brother..
Whatever you desire in my land ... may it be brought to you..
Whatever I desire in your land ... may it be brought to me..
EA#8: In your (vassal land Kinahhi) land I have been violently dealt with ... kill them and avenge my servants..
Asuruballit to Amenophis IV - typical wording:
EA#15,16: To the king of Egypt, say. Thus says Asurubalit, your brother ... with you, your house, your wives ... may it be well ...
Why should messengers remain in foreign lands, and the king profits from that, then they remain ... and die..

Until recently, it appears to us that Assuruballit was most likely a provincial prince, or a pretender to the crown of Assyria. In a later age we find a prince Assuruballit installed by his brother Assurbanipal as the governor of the Harran province. Now we lean toward identifying this Assurubalit as Aziru/ Hazael/ Kurtiwaza, Syrian rulers in the day of Shalmaneser III/ Burraburiash.

"Now as to the Assyrians, my subjects, have I not written thee? So is the situation! Why have they come into the land? If thou lovest me, they should not carry on any business. Let them accomplish nothing."[EA#9, lines 31-35]

In other words, business was carried on without his approval, behind his back. Such business had a leader who was in a position to procure goods and in those days that must have been a person of some distinction. By implication a member of `the' or `a' royal family must have been behind it, perhaps the Syrian Hazael. Therefore, limmu lists may not be entirely taking account of all personalities which had some impact on events not known to the limmu list compilers and we ought to refrain from calling this Asuruballit the first since we really don't know that; similarly we probably also ought to refrain from referring to Assyrian limmu lists as providing absolute dates.

Archaeological Evidence

Not to repeat ourselves click here for the account of this. And so it is that Burraburiash/Shalmaneser III emerges as a contemporary of Akhnaton and the El Amarna Age. To this we could add the list of Amarna correspondents already posted here or here.

Part II

Within the context of this website we would like to present the history of Assyria as it interacts with Palestine and Egypt during the period from about 735-688 BC in order to pin down chronological relationships with other countries it came in contact with. There can be no relevant discussion of topics on the religion, legal documents, writing, etc. of Assyria in a meaningful way until the chronological synchronisms are established. The same is true with all other countries. Mismatching ancient, influential people and events will lead to distortions and inaccuracies in representing the ancient past. In the case of Assyria the shift is not as dramatic as with Egyptian history. We must realize that the whole region from Assyria to Egypt was governed not by a multitude of royal houses, but only one or two between Assyria and Egypt and a lesser king or two in between. That is why there was no war between the contemporary kings Ashurnasirpal and Benhadad, because they were the same, multinamed ruler. The main changes have to do with a divergent Egyptian background which Assyrian history and written sources help support.
Assyrian texts make references to kings and places in Palestine, Judah, Israel and Egypt which we need to explore for they may represent important historical links.

Rezin, the last king of Damscus, is called in these annals, Rasunnu of Aram; Menahem is called Menihimmu of Samerina (Samaria); Both of these pay tribute in about 742 BC, to Tiglath-Pileser III, as do also the rulers of Tyre, Gebal (Byblos), Carchemish (Qarqar), Hamath etc. His annals also mention Aziriyau of Yaudu (or Yaudi) who has been interpreted to be Azariah (783-742 BC) of Judah.
Late Period Assyrian Kings (conventional list)
Kings of Mesopotamia/Mitanni/Damascus

Adad-Nirari II
Tukulti-Ninurta II
Ashurnasirpal II
Shalmaneser III
Shamshi-Adad V
Shalmaneser IV
Ashur-Dan III
Ashur-Nirari V
Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul)
Shalmaneser V
Sargon II/Sennacherib
Ashur-uballit II
911 - 891 (20 yrs)
890 - 884 (6 yrs)
883 - 859 (24 yrs) Here Here
858 - 824 (34 yrs)
823 - 811 (12 yrs)
811 - 806 (05 yrs)
806 - 783 (23 yrs)
782 - 773 (09 yrs)
772 - 755 (17 yrs)
754 - 745 (09 yrs)
744 - 727 (17 yrs)
726 - 722 (04 yrs)
721 - 705 / 704 - 681 (39 yrs)
680 - 669 (11 yrs)
668 - 627 (41 yrs)
627 - 624 (03 yrs)
623 - 612 (11 yrs)
612 - ?
Abu-eshuh (reading uncertain)

King Tut
The uncertainties of linear royal king lists
To visualize the uncertainties of linear king lists let us look at the king list of the English House of Lancaster and York:
Edward III
Edward, prince
Richard II
John (of Lancaster)
Henry IV
Henry V
Henry VI
John Bedford
Edmond Tudor
Henry VII
Edmond (of York)
Edward IV
Edward V
Richard III
If we would use an average generation of 20 years of the linear line of kings we would get about 280 years when in fact the line lasted only some 142 years using the death of Edward III and Henry VII.

Pekah (~735-732) and Rezin invaded Judah and besieged Jerusalem - 2.Kings 16:5; Isaiah 7:1-9 while Tiglath-Pileser was on a campaign in Urartu in Armenia (737-735). In desperation Ahaz dispatched for help to Tiglath-Pileser (2.Kings 16:7-8). In an inscription recording payment of tribute by various vassal states of Syria-Palestine, including the kings of Hamath, Arvad, Moab, Gaza, Ashkelon, Edom, and others, also "Iauhazi [Jehoahaz, i.e., Ahaz] of Judah" is mentioned. This tribute consisted of"gold, silver, lead, iron, tin, brightly colored woolen garments, linen, the purple garments of their lands... all kinds of costly things, the products of the sea and the dry land ... the royal treasure, horses [450], mules, broken to the yoke..." The name `Jehoahaz' means `The One Who Possesses Yahweh', and was the more formal name used by the Assyrians. The people of Judah considered this name to be inappropriate for someone worshipping idols and called him simply `Ahaz', `One Who Possesses'. Ahaz bent toward paganism is illustrated by his importation of the type of altar he saw when he went to pay homage to Tiglath-Pileser at Damascus - 2.Kings 16:10-16. [0500]

Map of 736-688 BC "And Ahaz went to Damscus to meet Tig-lath-pi-leser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof. And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus. ... And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and ... approached to the altar, and offered thereon."

Tiglath-Pileser (744-727 BC) and what he meant to Palestine

The plea of Ahaz for aid against Israel and Damascus must have come at the right time for T.P 's own plans and ambitions were already directed against them. Pharaoh Shoshenk III/So responded by conducting a campaign against Philistia in ~734 BC. It was a move aimed at splitting the allies, isolating Damascus and opening a way through northern Israel to the coastal plain, and effecting contact with Ahaz. During this campaign he most likely overran Israel, taking "Ijon, Abel-beth-maacha, Janoah, Kadesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee -- all the land of Naphthali." 2.Kings 15:29. He also deported the inhabitants to Assyria. During the next two years (733-732) he aimed against Rezenu of Damascus. Even though the Assyrian records of Tiglath-Pileser are fragmented we can learn enough from them showing that Damascus did fall and that a loyal supporter of the Assyrian king, King Panammu of Samal, fell in this intense and probably quite violent struggle, `16 districts of Aram I destroyed like mounds left by a flood. Hadaru, the father's house of Rezin of Aram [Phoenicia & Syria] he was born, I besieged, I captured. 800 people together with their possessions... I carried off..." The concise but comprehensive biblical notice closely links the fall of Damascus with Ahaz' appeal and payment of tribute to Tiglath-Pileser. "And the king of Assyria listened to him...and went up against Damascus and took it, and carried its people captive to Kir, and killed Rezin." 2.Kings 16:9. T.P. also controlled Israel. For the next years between ca. 733 to 630 BC, Tel Dor became the Assyrian provincial capital for the regions of Carmel and the Sharon coasts as is attested by an imported Assyrian brown agate seal found on the floor of an Assyrian building near the gate [Excavation area B1; See BAR, May/June 1993, p. 40]. Similarly an unusual seal impression was found in a for sale hoard of bullae depicting two figures in pseudo-Assyrian style, one with his hand raised indicating his submission, the other holding a bow and a bundle of arrows. The inscription reads (right to left), `Governor of the City .' [0600]

When Pekah was assassinated, the Assyrian emperor placed Hoshea on the throne, 2.Kings 15:30, obligating him to pay heavy tribute to Assyria. This also was duly recorded in the Assyrian inscriptions, "Paqaha [Pekah] their king, they deposed and I placed Ausi' [Hoshea] over them as king. 10 talents of gold....talents of silver, as their tribute I received from them and to Assyria I carried them." T.P. died in -727.

Shalmaneser V (726-722) and the Fall of Samaria

When Samaria chose to give her allegiance to Egypt in the days of Shalmaneser and Sargon II, the prophet Isaiah regarded it as a political mistake. "Woe to the rebellious children ... that walk to go down into Egypt ... to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt ... For his princes were at Zoan [Tanis] and his ambassadors came to Hanes." Isaiah 30:1,2,4, Hanes, a city located about 50 miles south of Memphis. Because of the tribute Shoshenk received from Hoshea, king of Samaria, the Ten Tribes of Israel were doomed to lose their homeland. Shalmaneser V besieged Samaria, but even though Israel send out a plea for help to Egypt, Shoshenk did not send any military expedition to relieve the siege of Samaria by the Assyrians as they had done in the days of Jehoahaz.

"And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison." [2.Kings 17:4]

Despite Isaiah's warning, Samaria chose to give her allegiance to Egypt in the days of Shalmaneser and Sargon II.

"Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose...their strength is to sit still." [Isaiah 30:3,7]

But this time it was more than confusion, it was the end of national existence for the northern kingdom begun by the Egyptian educated Jeroboam just 200 years before. "Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years." [2.Kings 17:5]

This siege is connected to the 4th year of Hezekiah, 2.Kings 18:9-11. Before this siege was over Shalmaneser was succeeded by Sharrukin II, an usurper and general in the army, who assumed the venerable name Sargon II, 723-705 BC. Before the beginning of modern archaeology his name was known only from Isaiah 20:1 where we learn that Sargon attacked Ashdod and from the Assyrian records we know that he replaced its ruler with his brother Ahimetu. The fall of Samaria was the most prominent event in this kings first regnal year. Here is how Sargon II described the conquest of Samaria: "At the beginning of my royal rule, I... the town of the Samaritans I besieged, conquered. ... for the god ... who let me achieve this my triumph ... I led away as prisoners 27,290 inhabitants of it and equipped from among them soldiers to man 50 chariots of my royal corps ..." [0700] Earlier Assyrian conquests by Tiglath-Pileser III and Shalmaneser V, had already carried the inhabitants of the land districts into exile; those removed by Sargon where the last of Israel. King Hoshea was among them no doubt. Sargon, referring to his Babylon campaign wrote: "I bespatted his people with the venom of death." Of his campaign against Elam he wrote: "Into all their cities I cast gloom and turned all their provinces into deserted mounds." He did the same to Israel. Next he brought in settlers from Babylon, Cuthah, Hamath, Ava, and Sepharvaim and let them live in Samaria. "The town I rebuilt better than it was before and settled people therein, peoples from countries which I myself had conquered." [0800]

At the time of the fall of Samaria, not only did Egypt lose all of its remaining influence in Asia - its last Libyan rulers were themselves compelled to submit to Assyrian overlordship. In the 7th year of Sargon "Pir'u, the king of Musru" (Pharaoh of Egypt) is listed among those sending tribute to Assyria. The conquest of Egypt had been carried out with iron weapons and Assyrian tools made of iron were found in Egypt. [Petrie, `Ancient Egypt', Vol. II (1915), p. 22; also Petrie, `Six Temples at Thebes', 1896, p. 18f] Later in that same year a certain `Iamani' seized power in Ashdod, an independent principality next to Judah on the coast; trying to organize an anti-Assyrian league and to enroll the help of Egypt, Sargon recounts in his annals, "... sent bribes to Pir'u king of Musru, a potentate incapable to save him...and asked him to be an ally." The rebellious prince tried also to involve Judah (Ia-u- di) in the conspiracy: but Hezekiah, probably at Isaiah's urging (Isaiah 7), refused to risk the nations future on so doubtful a venture. Informed of Iamani's revolt, Sargon gathered chosen troops and sent them against the rebel: "In a sudden rage I marched quickly...against Ashdod, his royal residence." Without Egyptian help, along with other towns on the Philistine coast, Iamani "fled into the territory of Musru [Egypt] which belongs [now] to Ethiopia."

722 BC was also the year when Ramses Siptah came to prominence for 1 year. He was followed by the child king Merneptah Siptah whose foster mother, Queen Twosert1), directed affairs for him for some 6 years. At the apparent death of the child king, Sethos became king. His allegiance was toward Ethiopia and he went on several campaigns against the Assyrians. Eventually he found it necessary to have his brother Armais [Harmhab/Horemheb] take charge of affairs in the palace during his extended absences. But during his reign the Assyrian influence in Egypt quickly faded for a time. Horemheb used these occasions to take charge of the palace and the government and made known to the Assyrians that he supported their cause. In about 709 BC Sargon became king of Egypt and when he changed his name sometime around -705 to Sennacherib, Horemheb married his daughter Mutnodjme and was made vassal king over Egypt.

1) In our reconstruction Twosre was the queen of Ramses Siptah on account of a pedigree through which she must have had an 18th Dynasty family background reaching back about 100 years. Ramses Siptah owed his royal status through this marriage against the background of the last Libyan ruler in Egypt.

Picking up again were Sargon pursued Iamani; as far as Iamani was concerned, however, he did not find safety in Egypt. The Ethiopian king and now king of Egypt (probably Shabataka/Shabako) extradited the rebel Yamani: "He threw him in fetters, shackles, and iron bands, and they brought him to Assyria, a long journey." No mention is made of "Pir'u king of Musru" whose aid Yamani had sought only a few months earlier, and A. Spalinger assumed that he had been deposed by the king of Ethiopia, but we believe Sethos had come to the end of his ability to keep things under control and his brother Horemheb gained influence. [A. Spalinger, "The Year 712 BC and its Implications for Egyptian History", Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 10(1973), pp. 95-101] In revised view this `Pir'u' king of Musru' must have been Sethos (716-693? BC) before his demise and before the installation of Horemheb, who served first as scribe and palace official, married the daughter of the Assyrian king and became vassal king of Egypt. This episode marks also the first appearance of Ethiopians in Assyrian annals. Eventually Tirhaka gained strength and took charge of affairs in Egypt and Horemheb was forced to flee in about 688 BC.

The same events are also described by the prophet Isaiah:

"In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and fought against Ashdod, and took it." Isaiah continued and warned: "So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian prisoners and the Ethiopian captives, young and old, ... And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory." Isaiah 20:1,4. It is not explained whom the prophet had in mind by saying "they". Israel had already been exiled in Sargon's first year; Isaiah apparently had in mind a party in Judah which saw rays of hope in the recent replacement of the Libyan masters of Egypt by first some native rulers in -722 and later the Ethiopians in the later years of Shabako (716-702) and Shabatka/Shebitku (702-690 BC). Isaiah understood the importance of his message so urgently that he walked like a dervish, unclothed and barefoot (v.2) to emphasize the significance and possible consequences of an erroneous political orientation of the leaders of Judah. This chapter in Isaiah contains the only mention of Sargon in the Bible. Tartan, sent by Sargon to fight against Ashdod, is not a private name; it is a high military and administrative title. [0900] "The Assyrian word "turtan" refers to a high military and administrative official second in rank only to the king. ... Besides `tartannu' also `tartanu' is attested." But we identified this `Tartan' or `Turtan' with `Holofernes' or `Ashur-isqa-danin' still preserving the possibility that `turtan' was a title.

In the decades that followed the Scythians [Umman-Manda] descended from the steppes of Russia [possibly because of inhospital changes in weather] and headed toward Palestine driving out the Cimmerians before them. The defenses of the Assyrians withstood the onslought of the Cimmerians and here the ill fated history of Esarhaddon and Judith begins.

The reign of Sargon II we take as from ca. 723-705 BC as Sargon and from then on probably as Sennacherib.

Sargon IIFrom -704 on Sargon/Sennacherib came to prominence and here the ill fated history of Judith and Essarhadon begins.

Sennacherib and the Year 701 BC

In our paper on Sargon and Esarhaddon we show the more updated history of these late Assyrian kings. Sargon II/Sennacherib inherited a potentially enormous empire. Right away he began to expand it even more. After two campaigns against enemies in the north he turned his attention to Syria/Palestine. His army attacked Sidon and its king Luli fled into the sea and perished. Sennacherib appointed a new king and received tribute from him. Arvad and Ashdod, Ammon and Edom, brought him gifts and "kissed [his] feet." Sennacherib encircled Beth-Dagon, Jaffa, and Bne-Brak and conquered them. "The people of Ekron became afraid and called upon the king of Egypt, the bowmen, chariots and horses of the king of Melukha [Ethiopia], a boundless host, and these came to their aid." The Assyrian army met them at the walls of Eltekeh; neighboring Ekron was stormed and its people killed, their corpses hung on poles around the town. "As to Hezekiah, the Judean [Ha-za-qi-(i)a-u Ia-u-da-ai], he did not submit to my yoke." Sennacherib besieged the "strong cities" of Judah and the "walled forts" and "countless small villages in their vicinity," and took them by assault carrying their people into exile. Then he turned against the capital. "I made (Hezekiah) like a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage." Nevertheless, Jerusalem held out and Sennacherib withdrew, even though not before exacting a heavy ransom. "Hezekiah himself, whom the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship had overwhelmed ... did send me, later, to Niniveh [0950], my lordly city, together with 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones ... couches (inlaid) with ivory ... elephant hides ... and all kinds of valuable treasures, his own daughters, concubines, male and female musicians. In order to deliver the tribute and to do obeisance as a slave he sent his (personal) messenger." Having agreed to the ransom Jerusalem was not entered by the Assyrian army. The corresponding biblical record in 2.Kings 18:14 differs only in the quantity of silver in the ransom. It too mentions 30 talents of gold, but only 300 talents of silver. Besides this record on a clay prism, the Assyrian bas-reliefs [1000] show the siege of Lachish in southern Palestine, on the way from Jerusalem to Egypt. From the biblical account we know that Sennacherib was at Lachish, pressing the siege, when he received Hezekiah's submission. Sennacherib's Cuneiform PrismLachish must have fallen not long after that. Did Sennacherib press his conquest into Egypt and subdue it? Since long ago historians argued about this question. Herodotus wrote that Sennacherib came against Egypt "with a great host" and encamped at Pelusium. [1100] Berosus, who wrote a history of Chaldea, said that Sennacherib conducted an expedition against "all Asia and Egypt." 1200] Jewish tradition tells of the conquest of Egypt by Sennacherib and of his march towards Ethiopia:"Sennacherib was forced to stop his campaign against Hezekiah for a short time, as he had to move hurriedly to Ethiopia. Having conquered this `pearl of all countries' he returned to Judea." [1300]

Sennacherib and Sethos

Herodotus placed Sennacherib's invasion in the reign of "the priest of Hephaestos, whose name was Sethos." At that time, he wrote, "king Sennacherib (came) against Egypt with a great host of Arabians and Assyrians." [1400] "In the popular tradition preserved by Herodotus the name of the Egyptian king is given as `Sethos' ... the true appelation of the monarch has disappeared in favor of the great Seti ... It is impossible to reject the whole story to the actual period of Seti in face of the direct mention of Sanacharaibos [Sennacherib]." [1500] The more complete name of the grandfather (of Seti by the name of) Sethos, was Userkheprure-setpenre-Seti-merenptah, and his famous grandson was Seti-merenptah-menmaat-re, or Seti-Ptah-maat. Merenptah means "beloved of Ptah." The Greeks identified Ptah with Hephaestos. In describing Sethos as a priest of Hephaestos, Herodotus was evidently referring to Seti's second name. [1600]

In conventional chronology Seti the Great lived in the latter part of the 14th century BC. The events which we now describe took place in the final years of the 8th century. Conventional history puts the grandson of Sethos 600 years before his grandfather, if we can prove our contention this confusion of history is not to be blamed on Herodotus.

Sennacherib invaded Egypt twice. His 1st campaign resulted in the victory for the Assyrians and Egypt's submission; his 2nd, 15 years later, as it will be told, ended in disaster. His own records speak only of his first campaign and are silent about the second; the Scriptures do not distinguish between the two campaigns; and in the Egyptian record, transmitted by Herodotus, only the 2nd campaign is remembered. [1700] Each of these sources provides only part of the picture and we must draw on all of them to complete it.

The 3 Brothers

Sennacherib's Last Campaign

The last campaign of Sennacherib was directed not only against Jerusalem, but also against Egypt and Ethiopia (Sudan)—an enterprising warrior, Tirhaka, who invaded Egypt from the Sudan, reinstated Sethos, and put the occupant of the throne of Egypt, underling of Sennacherib, to flight. When Sennacherib came to Palestine for the second time, Hezekiah refused to submit or to pay tribute. The Ethiopian king Tirhakah (Taharka) stood together with his Egyptian confederate, Sethos, at the border of Egypt, prepared to meet the threat. Sennacherib sent his messengers to Hezekiah from Lachish and once more from Libnah to demand submission; he also wrote him an ultimatum, and blasphemed the Hebrew God. Then in a single night the Assyrian host, about 185,000 warriors, perished, destroyed by some providential cause. Herodotus [1800] relates this event and gives a version he heard from the Egyptians when he visited their land two and a half centuries after it happened. When Sennacherib invaded Pelusium, the priest-king Sethos went with a weak army to defend the frontier. According to Herodotus in a single night hordes of field mice overran the Assyrian camp, devoured quivers, bowstrings and shield handles, and put the Assyrian army to flight. Another version was given by Berosus, the Chaldean priest of the third century before the present era. [1900] Sennacherib's army was annihilated on the night of March 23, -687. The account of this event is found in the apogryphical Book of Judith. It appears that Herodotus believed the Assyrian face-saving story of the demise of their general and his army.
Events Chart
Assyria Israel - Land of 10 Tribes Egypt
1. Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC)
The Black Obelisk
Jehu of Israel (841-814 BC) He was probably of the house of Omri through a different lineage then Ahab. Time of Akhnaton - El Amarna Period
2. Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) (744-727 BC) Menahem (752-742 BC)
Pekahiah (742-740 BC)
Pekah (752-732 BC) Rival to Menahem
Pharaoh So - 2. Kings 17:4.
22nd Dynasty background
Shoshenk III (?52 yrs)
Shoshenk IV (?733-?721 BC)
3. Shalmaneser V (726-722 BC) Hoshea (732-723 BC) Shoshenk IV
Ca. 722 BC the 10 tribes of Israel were led into exile never to return. Of the Jewish states we now have only Judah left.
Assyrian Judah Egypt
4. Sargon II/Sennacherib (723-705 BC) Jehoahaz [Ahaz] (735-715 BC) The end of the 22nd Dynasty and the time of the 3 Brothers.
5. Sennacherib (705-681? BC)
probably the same ruler under a different name
Hezekiah (715-686 BC)
Manasseh (696-642 BC) First as coruler.
The Time of the Three Brothers
The 25th Dynasty
Shabataka (about 12 years 703-689 BC)
Tirhaka (689-663 BC)
6. Esarhaddon/Holofernes (? - ? BC) Manasseh (696-642 BC) 25th Ethiopian Dynasty
7. Assurbanipal (?-656 BC) Manasseh (696-642 BC)
Amon (642-640 BC)
Josiah (640-609 BC)
19th/26th Saitic Dynasty
Ramses I(663 BC) Seti the Great (665-609 BC)
We come to another crossroads. The more important connection is now between Assyria,
the Chaldean-Babylonians, and Egypt.
Assyria Babylon Egypt
8. Assurubalit (627-about 613/612 BC)
Nabopolassar (?-607 BC)
Also known as:
Mursilis II who reigned for 22 years, 629-607 BC.
Also known as Nabonidus, father of Nebuchadnezzar.
Time of Seti the Great
The Change From Assyrian to Babylonian Rule
We feel because of the erroneous Egyptian Chronology Herodotus has been blamed for writing inaccurate history when he writes about this period and in particular about Sethos. Modern historians claimed that `Egyptian sources about these events are totally lacking.' [1960] We feel that modern historians continue in their erroneous assumptions on the chronology of Egypt and that we have presented enough valid evidence to reconsider the stance taken by conventionally bound scholars.

Assyrian Treasures
Recently 4 or 5 tombs of an Assyrian king's royal consorts were found in Iraq at Nimrud stocked with presumably 9th-8th centuries BC treasures containing hundreds of pieces of enameled and engraved gold jewelry, gold bowls and flasks, and a rare electrum mirror. One tomb alone contained over 66 pounds of gold objects. Two of these tombs were found in the 1980's. Conventionally it is thought these treasures belonged to the consorts of a king like Ashur-Nasirpal II, but this king's connection to these tombs is not proven, they could also date to the time of a later king like Tiglath-Pileser or Shalmaneser IV or V. [2000]

What is in the name `Assur'? From Assyria and many names of its kings the word `Assur' emerges as a constant reminder of the god of ancient Assyria. He is also shown in various objects of art among them the relief carvings from the fountain of the `Assur Temple' where he is shown wearing a fish scale overcoat representing probably the origin of a bishops miter. [2100]

Some time ago a carved bone handle was found at `Abu al-Kharaz' in the Jordan River Valley. The handle features two sphinxes judged to be Assyrian because they face frontally rather than in profile. [2200]

What is in the name `Assur'? Assyrian Field Altar
Field AltarThe image shows the drawing of a relief featuring a `Field Altar' of the Assyrian army. [2300]

An Assyrian Cuneiform Letter

Assyrians wrote using a cuneiform script and alphabet. A letter written by an Assyrian to a countryman living in Kultepe, just to the west of Carchemish, in style sounds quite like an Amarna letter. He wrote:

"The day the import of your tablet was made known to me, I provided your agents with three minas of silver for the purchase of lead. Now, if you are still my brother, let me have my money by courier." [2400]

Probable Assyrian Duplications

Kanesh, in north-eastern Asia Minor, present-day Kultepe, is famous among 'Hittitologists' and Assyriologists alike for its ca. 1900 BC Assyrian 'merchant colony', identified as being contemporaneous with `Sargon of Akkad' (conv. ca. 2300 BC) through its numerous well-written documents in perfect Assyrian identical to that used in the mid-late 8th century BC Assyrian way of writing. But Sargon was then dated to the mid-late 8th century BC. Are we smelling a stratigraphical or historical duplication? Just by sheer coincidence, there was a Sargon (II) in the late 8th century BC .... and the interesting fact is, the captain of his bodyguard was one by the name of `Mannu-ki-Ashur'. Now this is a rare name - and as it so happens, the name `Mannu-ki-Ashur' appears also in the Kanesh texts of the time of `Sargon of Akkad'! [2500]

We now continue the story with the time toward the end of the Assyrian might and what led to it. Here again we present material never found in conventional history books. We leave it up to the reader to judge its merits.

The Dating of Tiglat-Pileser I
by D. M.

I think that, with the fold of the Middle Assyrian king, Assuruballit (c. 1400 BC), to c. 850 BC, the middle kings following him, like Tiglat-Pileser I would need to come later than EA (probably there is archaeologoical evidence for a sequence as well). Thus I think our ID of Tiglat-Pileser I - approximately contemporary of Nebuchednezzar I (Sargon/Sennacherib) and Merodach-Baladin I (equals Merodach Baladin II) with Tiglat-Pileser III is pretty likely.

And Emmet Sweeney has come to this same conclusion:

"It has already been shown how Hittite art and architecture of Tiglath-Pileser III's reign is indistinguishable from that of the Hittite Empire. In particular, the Hittite prince Sulumeli, ruler of Malatya, who erected a classically Imperial Hittite palace, is named in the inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III. Now the same Hittite prince, named Allumari, occurs in the inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser I, who is generally dated to the 12th/13th century - near the end of the Hittite Empire. Scholars recorded the name Allumari of Malatya without comment, though they well understood that it could, or perhaps should, be read as Ulumeli, a name strangely reminiscent of Tiglath-Pileser III's Sulumeli. [2600]

Tiglath-Pileser I is generally dated a few decades after the fall of the Hittite Empire, yet one very important clue points to his direct involvement in its end. In one inscription the Assyrian king records the reception of tribute from Ini-Teshub, "king of Hatti". Now a Hittite prince of that name, a nephew of the last Hittite Great King Tudhkhaliash IV, is recorded at Boghazkoi; and scholars were surprised, indeed shocked, to find the same name recurring supposedly a century after the collapse of Hittite power.

But if we accept that Tiglath Pileser I and III were two different people, then we are involved in not one but numerous character duplications, or even triplications. Thus a Babylonian king named Marduk-apal-iddin (Merodach Baladan I) was active in opposing the Assyrians shortly after the collapse of Hittite power; but in all his activities he merely anticipated by six centuries the life of another Merodach Baladan (III), who opposed the Assyrians during and after the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III". [Emphasize ours]

I have not yet verified Sweeney's view that there were Ini-Teshub's contemporary with both Tiglat-Pileser I & III.

Odds and Ends on Assyrian History/Archaeology

"At Ayelet Ha-Shahar, at the foot of the mound of Hazor, the fragmentary remains of an Assyrian residency have been revealed. Its details correspond remarkably to those of the Assyrian palaces in capital cities of the empire ... The Assyrian presence and influence are reflected in the pottery assemblage as well. ... a wealth of small finds may be related to Assyrian military or administrative presence, but they could also be prestige items that arrived by way of trade. They include a series of Assyrian cylinder seals and bullae. At Kafr Kana in the lower Galilee a magnificent Assyrian bronze vessel, resembling a goblet with a basket handle, was found. It has the shape of a ram's head, and an ornamental band near the rim contains a cultic scene in the royal Assyrian style. The vessel bears the name of its owner, Lizirishu." [2700]

Additional Information

In a room (EA) adjacent to the throne room of the NW Palace of Nineveh archaeologists discovered a cuneiform inscribed 1.3 meter tall stele with 154 lines of text in 1951. The floor pavements of the palace were made of burnt-brick and more than one layer was excavated. The earlier layer of Ashurnasirpal's [2800] palace was built upon by Shalmaneser III, whose workmen used a different size burnt-brick making it easier to distinguish his constructions. In the debris at the base of the stele were found finely carved ivories depicting Ashurnasirpal richly clothed and holding in his left hand the vulture bird-headed sickle of the god Ninurta and in his right he balances a cup on his fingertips. The occasion for the stele was the completion of the palace high up on the western ramparts of the akropolis, south of the Ziggurat and as near to the sacred precincts as it could be located, the completion of the entire town, temples, official buildings, houses, orchards, farms and gardens. The textual emphasis is said to be more directed toward the kings character as a high priest rather than on his kingship and successes as a military commander but not without a touch of arrogance. [2900]

Notes & References

[0100] According to dated information: "The German excavations at Assur appear to show that underneath the Sumerian stratum lies a Mitannian stratum (H). Above the Sumerian stratum comes a stratum (F) belonging to the period of the foundation of the great temple, and of the Kings Auspia (Auswa) and Kikia, whose names, however, are more probably Gutian than Mitannian." See A.H. Sayce, `Who were the Ammorites', Sep 1924, p. 74.
[0200] Example of seal impressions on tablets dated by limmu between 716-622 BC can be seen in M.E.L. Mallowan, `Nimrud and Its Remains', Vol. I, London, 1966, p. 198-199.
[0300] For a translation and discussion see A.K.Grayson, Vol. I, 1972, pp. 137-138; quoted in D. Rohl, `Pharaohs and Kings', p. 394.
[0400] Weidner, 1917, quoted in E.Mahler, `Scripta Universitatis at que Bibliothecae Hierosolymitanarum', 1924; Some regard Benno Landsberger as one of the greatest, conventional Assyriologists. Described as arrogant (he thought he deserved the Nobel price for his subject, but no such price existed. Today we realize their conclusions were way off the mark on the late Neo-Assyrian kings.
On the subject of favorite colors of nations in the prophetic books (Nahum, active ca. 720-698 BC) and Ezekiel (active ca. 597 an onward, CIAS 615-570 BC) and Daniel (623-ca. 538 BC). Ezekiel and Daniel were contemporaries. So when Nahum writes of "The chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation. . . . The chariots shall rage in the streets, . . . they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightenings." (Nah. 2:3,4), it seems to illustrate the war machines of the Assyrians?
[0450] Horses, Assyrian Kusâa. See on a 1876 BM tablet said to have been from `Capadocia' in PSBA, Nov. 1, 1881, p. 11-21.
[0500] For text and images see also I. Beit-Arieh, `New Light on the Edomites', BAR, Mar/Apr 1988, p. 32-41.
[0600] See BAR, Vol. XIII, Sep/Oct 1987, p. 62.
[0700] Luckenbill, `The Records of Assyria', Vol. II, par. 4.
[0800] Ibid.
[0900] J.Pritchard, `Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament', (Princeton, 1950), p.285, n. 4.
[0950] Mentioning the city of Niniveh reminds us of the story of the prophet Jonah and the whale, can we really believe that story? After having read all sorts of explanations over the years, the most recent one makes the most sense to me. This explanation holds that the type of fish which swallowed Jonah was a species not alive today. This fish is the Leedsichthys problematicus, a rather large fish described this way: The fossil bones of a giant fish named `L.p.' provide support for the story of Jonah. The fish was named after en English farmer, Alfred Leeds, who first discovered such bones in the late 1880s. Leeds sold the skeleton to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow University in 1915. The work of its reconstruction only began five years ago and found to be 15 meters (c. 45 feet) long. A whale shark or blue whale is 14 meters long. Unlike a whale shark (Dunkleosteus), a `Leedsichthys' would not have torn its prey apart with its teeth for it has none on its jaw. This fish, instead, has thousands of gill rakers with needle-like teeth to filter for plankton and small fish and had a mouth large enough to swallow a man. We do not know for sure what kind of fish swallowed Jonah, but such a specie could have done it. [See TJ, Summer, 2005, p. 7. Image of fish provided.]
[1000] Many bas reliefs from Assyria are known today, among them also those of Arslan Tash, the ancient Hadatu. See Pauline Albenda, The Gateway and Portal Stone Relief from Arslan Tash in BASOR, Aug 1988, p. 5-30. - Artslan Tash is located near Aleppo and Carablus at 36.825447 N latitude and 38>018112 E longitude.
[1100] Herodotus, Bk. II, 141.
[1200] Josephus, Antiquities, X, i.4.
[1300] L.Ginzberg, `The Legends of the Jews', (Philadelphia, 19xx), Vol. VI, p.365; cf. Seder `Olam 23; Talmudic sources also relate that after conquering Egypt Sennacherib carried away from there the throne of Solomon. (Ginzberg, Legends, IV, p.160.
[1400] Herodotus, `The Histories', Bk. II, p.141.
[1500] H.R.Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East', p. 492.
[1600] F.Griffith, `Stories of the High Priest of Memphis', (Oxford, 1900), p. 8, note 1.
[1700] Herodotus (484-ca.424) is likewise silent about the conquest of Egypt by Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanipal; nor does Manetho (around 250 BC) record Egypt's humiliation by Assyria.
[1800] 2.Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36. - Herodotus, Chap. II. Sec. 141.
[1900] Josephus quoting Berosus in Jewish Antiquities, X, i.4-5.
[1960] See Friedrich Karl Kienitz, `Die politische Geschichte Ägyptens vom 7. bis zum 4. Jh. v. Zeitwende.,' Berlin, 1953, p. 12. - The statement would be true for any chronology which does not match real history.
[2000] Archaeology, `Assyrian Gold Treasure', March/April 1990 and May/June 2002, p.9.
[2100] See BAR, Vol. XI, May/Jun 1985, p. 15.
[2200] For the image see BAR, Vol. 25, Jan/Feb 1999, p. 56.
[2300] W.Culican, `Problems of Phoenicio-Punic Iconography - A Contribution' in AJBA, Vol. 1, 1970, p. 28-(55)-57.
[2400] See `The Lost Worlds', N.Y., 1962, p. 301. This book also shows the image of the tablet which has figures as well as text.
[2500] Wiseman, unfortunately, does not give further details of the tablet(s) on which it is found.
[2600] For an image of Tiglath-Pileser III see BAR, Vol. 24, May/June 1998, p. 50. The region of Malatya:
[2700] Gabrial Barkay, `The Iron Age II-III' in The Archaeology of Ancient Israel, 1992, p. 352.
[2800] Highlights on the City of Nineveh: Having proposed that Ashirnasirpal may be the same person also known as Ben-Hadad I, Abdi-Asirta, Tushratta, Kurigalzu, Kadashman-enlil, Yuya in Damien Mackey's papers posted on this website we set out to collect as much pertinent information on this king and his proposed name sakes as time and space allow.
[2900] M.E.L. Mallowan, `Nimrud and its Remains', Vol. I & II, London, 1966, p. 57ff.

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