FROM SHALMANESER II TO ASSHUR NIRARI II
SHALMANESER II (859-825 BC), who succeeded his father, Asshur Nazir Pal, continued his policy without a break, and even extended it. We are even better instructed concerning his reign, for more historical material has come down to us from it. The most important of his inscriptions is a beautiful obelisk of black basalt. The upper parts of the four faces contain beautifully carved figures of various animals which the king had received in tribute and as gifts, each illustration being accompanied by an epigraph explaining its meaning. The lower parts bear inscriptions recounting in chronological order the campaigns of the king. There are no less than one hundred and nine lines of compact writing upon this one monument. This story of his wars is supplemented by the fine monolith of the king, containing his portrait in low relief, covered with one hundred and fifty-six lines of text. And this again, in its turn, is supplemented by fragmentary inscriptions upon bronze plates which once covered massive wooden doors or gates. From these three main sources of information we are able to follow in order all the chief events of the king's reign. The accounts, however, are less picturesque and full of life than those of his predecessor. Campaigns are often dismissed in a few colorless words, and the record takes on the nature of a catalogue rather than of a history. We shall therefore present the story of his reign, not in its chronological but rather in its logical order, following the circle of his achievements from country to country. The annalistic style of Asshur Nazir Pal may stand as the representative of this reign, with the difference, already mentioned, that it possesses greater breadth and richer color.
For twenty-six years Shalmaneser led every campaign in person—an amazing record. His armies were then sent out under the leadership of the Tartan Asshur Dayan. Like his father, Shalmaneser was oppressed by the weight of his own army. It must fight or die, and when there was no excuse for operations of defense there must be a campaign to collect tribute, and when that was not needed fresh conquests must be attempted.
From his father he also inherited the old Aramaean question, which was to consume much of his energy through a considerable part of his reign. We have seen that Asshurnazirpal broke the spirit of the Aramaeans in the Mesopotamian valley and compelled them to pay tribute regularly. But, though this was true, it was to be expected that they would try his successor's mettle at the first opportunity. Of these states Bit Adini was still the most powerful as well as the most daring. We are not told what act of Akhuni, ruler of Bit Adini, led to an outbreak of hostilities, but we shall probably not be far wrong if we ascribe it to the ever-vexing tribute. Whatever the difficulty, Shalmaneser invaded the country in 859, the first year of his reign, and captured some of its cities, but apparently did not directly attack the capital. The invasion had to be repeated in 858 and again in 857, and in both years there were displays of savagely after the fashion of Asshurnazirpal. Pyramids of heads were piled up by city gates and the torch applied to ruined cities. But in the latter year the opposition to Assyrian domination was hopelessly broken down. The brave little land was annexed to Assyria, placed under Assyrian government, and colonists from Assyria were settled in it.
Such success was likely to lead soon to an attack upon the larger and richer Aramaean settlements farther west. The states with which he would have to deal at first were Hamath, Damascus, and Patin, the small but fertile and powerful state between the Afrin and the Orontes, which had given much trouble to his father. Patin was not so powerful as the other two, but could not be left out of account in a western invasion. Hamath was the center of Aramaean influence in northern Syria, and under the leadership of Irkhulina was no mean antagonist. But by far the most powerful and important of the three states was Damascus, whose king at this time was Ben-Hadad II. If an enduring union could be formed between these two states and allies secured in Phoenicia and in Israel, the peoples of the west might defy even the disciplined and victorious armies of Assyria. But the ambition of Damascus to be actual head over all the western territory and mutual jealousies among the other states prevented any real union against the common oppressor. However, the threatened advance of Assyria was sufficient to bury for a time at least their differences and a confederation for mutual defense was formed for a year, during which time it was a powerful factor in the history of western Asia.
Shalmaneser II was ready for the attempt on the west in 854. The campaign of that year is of such great importance that it will be well to set it down in the words of the Monolith inscription, with such further comment as may be necessary to make its meaning clear:
"In the eponymy of Dayan Asshur, in the month of Airu, on the fourteenth day, from Nineveh I departed; I crossed the Tigris; to the cities of Giammu on the Balikh I approached. The fearfulness of my lordship (and) the splendor of my powerful arms they feared, and with their own arms they slew Giammu, their lord. Kitlala and Til-sha-apliakhi I entered. My gods, I brought into his temples, I made a feast in his palaces. The treasury I opened, I saw his wealth; his goods and his possessions I carried away; to my city Asshur I brought (them). From Kitlala I departed; to Kar Shulman Asharid I approached. In boats of sheepskin I crossed the Euphrates for the second time in its flood. The tribute of the kings of that side of the Euphrates, of Sangar of Carchemish, of Kundashpi of Kummukh, of Aramé the son of Gusi; of Lalli, the Melidaean; of Khayani, son of Gabbar; of Kalparuda, the Patinian; of Kalparuda, the Gurgumaean; silver, gold, lead, copper (and) copper vessels, in the city of Asshur-utir-asbat, on that side of the Euphrates, which (is) on the river Sagur, which (city) the Hittites call Pitru, I received. From the Euphrates I departed, to Khalman I approached. They feared my battle (and) embraced my feet. Silver and gold I received as their tribute. Sacrifices I offered before Adad, the god of Khalman (modern Aleppo). From Khalman I departed; two cities of Irkhulina, the Hamathite, I approached. Adennu, Mashga, Argana, his royal city, I captured; his booty, goods, the possessions of his palaces I brought out (and) set fire to his palaces. From Argana I departed, to Qarqar I approached; Qarqar, his royal city, I wasted, destroyed; burned with fire. One thousand two hundred chariots, 1,200 saddle horses, 20,000 men of Dadda Idri (that is, Ben Hadad II) of Damascus; 700 chariots, 700 saddle horses, 10,000 men of Irkhulina, the Hamathite; 2,000 chariots, 10,000 men of Ahab, the Israelite; 500 men of the Quans; 1,000 men of Musri; 10 chariots, 10,000 men of the Irkanatians; 200 men of Matinu-Baal, the Arvadite; 200 men of the Usanatians; 30 chariots, 10,000 of Adunu-Baal, the Shianian; 1,000 camels of Gindibu, the Arabian; ... 1,000 men of Baasha, son of Rukhubi, the Ammonite—these twelve kings he took to his assistance; to make battle and war against me they came. With the exalted power which Asshur, the lord, gave me, with the powerful arms which Nergal, who goes before me, had granted me, I fought with them, from Qarqar to Gilzan I accomplished their defeat. Fourteen thousand of their warriors I slew with arms; like Adad, I rained a deluge upon them, I strewed hither and you their bodies, I filled the face of the ruins with their widespread soldiers, with arms I made their blood flow. The destruction of the district ... ; to kill themselves a great mass fled to their graves ... without turning back I reached the Orontes. In the midst of this battle their chariots, saddle horses, (and) their yoke horses I took from them."
By means of this detailed and explicit account it is easy to follow the king's movements and understand the campaign. Shalmaneser leaves Nineveh and makes straight across the valley for the Balikh. He is here received with open arms, and secures great gifts. His next important stop is at Pethor, beyond the Euphrates, where more tribute, brought long distances, even from the land of Kummukh, is received. From Pethor to Aleppo the distance was short and the issue was the same—Aleppo surrendered without a blow. It is interesting to mark that Shalmaneser localizes in Aleppo the worship of the god Adad, to whom he paid worship. If this statement is correct, we may find in it a proof of early intercourse between Aleppo and Assyria, for we have long since found Adad worshiped in Assyria. This was the end of the unopposed royal progress. As soon as he crossed into the territory of the little kingdom of Hamath he was opposed. Three cities were, however, taken and left behind in ruins. Shalmaneser II then advanced to Qarqar, a city located near the Orontes.
Here he was met by the allied army collected to defend the west against Assyria. Its composition throws light on the relative power of the states in Syria and Palestine and deserves attention. The main body of the army of defense was contributed by Hamath, Damascus, and Israel. These three states contributed much more than half of the entire army and nearly all of the most powerful part of it, the chariots and horsemen. From the north there came men from Que (eastern Cilicia) and Musri. From the west came detachments contributed by the northern Phoenician cities which were unwilling or unable to send enormous gifts to buy off the conqueror, as Tyre and Sidon had done, but were willing to strike a blow for independence. The last section was made up of Ammonites and Arabs. This was a formidable array, and the issue of the battle fought at Qarqar might well be doubted. The Assyrians had, of course, a well-seasoned army to oppose a crowd of raw levies; but the latter had the great advantage of a knowledge of the country as well as the enthusiasm of the fight for home and native land. Of course the records of Shalmaneser claim a great victory. In the Monolith inscription the allies killed are set down at 14,000, in another inscription the number given is 20,500, while in a third it rises to 25,000. The evident uncertainty in the figures makes us doubt somewhat the clearness of the entire result. There is, as usual, no mention of Assyrian losses, but they must have been severe. The claim of a great victory is almost certainly false. A victory for the Assyrians it probably was, for the allies were plainly defeated and their union for defense broken up; but, on the other hand, the Assyrians did not attempt to follow up the victory they claimed, and no word is spoken of tribute or plunder or of any extension of Assyrian territory. The alliance had saved the fair land of Hamath for a time and had postponed the day when Israel should be conquered and carried into captivity. It is a sore pity that despite the dread of the Assyrians, voiced so frequently by the Hebrews, and evidently felt by the other allies, mutual jealousy should have prevented the continuance of an alliance which promised to save the shores of the Mediterranean for Hebrew and Aramaean civilization.
Shalmaneser was busied elsewhere, as we shall shortly see, during the years immediately following, and it was not until 849 that he was able to make another assault on the west. The point of attack was again the land of Hamath, and again Ben Hadad II of Damascus and Irkhulina of Hamath had the leadership over the twelve allies. This time Shalmaneser claims to have slain ten thousand of his enemies, but he mentions no tribute and no new territory. We may therefore be almost certain that the victory was rather a defeat, and that he was really compelled to withdraw. In 846 Shalmaneser once more determined to attack the foe which had done such wonderful work in opposing the hitherto invincible Assyrian arms. In this campaign he did not trust merely to his usual standing army, but levied contingents from the land of Assyria and with an enormous force, said by him to number 120,000 men, he set out for Hamath. Again he was opposed by Ben Hadad II and his allies, and again he "accomplished their defeat." But, as in the previous campaigns and for the same reasons, we are compelled to assert that the Aramaeans had given full proof of their prowess by resisting the immense Assyrian army. The next attempt upon the west was made in 842. In this year Shalmaneser found a very different situation. Ben Hadad II, who had ruled with a rod of iron and held the neighboring peoples in terror, was now dead, and the cruel but weak Hazael reigned in Damascus. Ahab, who was a man of real courage and of great resources, was dead, as was Joram (852-842), his successor; and Jehu, the usurper, was now king in Samaria. He seems to have been a natural coward and did not dare to fight the terrible Assyrians. The other states which had united in defense under Ben Hadad II were hopelessly discordant, each hoping to throw of the quasi-suzerainty of Damascus. The people of Tyre and Sidon had again returned to their commerce and were ready to send gifts to Shalmaneser that they might not be disturbed at the gates of the seas. Jehu sent costly tribute, apparently in the mad hope of gaining Assyrian aid against the people of Damascus, whom he hated and feared, not reckoning that the Assyrians would seek this tribute year after year until the land should be wasted. This act of Jehu gave the Assyrians their first hold on Israel, and the consequences were far reaching and disastrous. Hazael, noble in comparison with all the former allies of Damascus, determined to resist Shalmaneser alone. In Saniru, or Hermon, he fortified himself and awaited the Assyrian onslaught. Six thousand of his soldiers were killed in battle, while one thousand one hundred and twenty-one of his chariots and four hundred and seventy horses with his camp equipage were taken. Hazael fled to Damascus and was pursued and besieged by the Assyrians. But, powerful though he was, Shalmaneser was not able to take Damascus, and had to content himself with a thoroughly characteristic conclusion of the campaign. He cut down the trees about the city, and then marching southward, entered the Hauran, where he wasted and burned the cities. So ended another assault on the much-coveted west, and it was still not conquered. No such series of rebuffs had ever been received by Tiglath Pileser or by Asshurnazirpal, but Shalmaneser was not deterred from another and last attempt. In 839 he crossed the Euphrates for the twenty-first time and marched against the cities of Hazael. He claims to have captured four of them, but there is no mention of booty, and no word of any impression upon Damascus.'
Shalmaneser had led six campaigns against the west with no result beyond a certain amount of plunder. There was absolutely no recognition of the supremacy of Assyria. There was no glory for the Assyrian arms. There was no greater freedom achieved for Assyrian commerce. And yet some progress had been made toward the great Assyrian ambition. The western states had felt in some measure the strength of Assyria, those certainly who sent gifts rather than fight had shown their dread; while the smoking ruins in the Hauran were a silent object lesson of what might soon happen to the other western powers which had hitherto resisted so gallantly. The Assyrian was beating against the bars set up against his progress, and the outcome was hardly, if at all, doubtful.
Besides his difficulties in the west Shalmaneser had no lack of trouble with the far north. As Damascus had a certain preponderance among the western states, so had Urartu (or Chaldea) among the northern states. There is some reason for believing that at this time, as was true later on, Urartu may have tried to exercise some sort of sovereignty over the land of Nairi. This much, at least, is certain, that the people of Urartu were the mainspring of much of the rebellion among the smaller states in the north and west.
The long series of Assyrian assaults on Urartu had begun in the reign of Tiglath Pileser I, who had crossed over the Arsanias and entered the country. Asshurnazirpal, also, had marched through the southern portion of the district, but had made no attempt to annex it to Assyria. In the very beginning of his reign, 860 BC, Shalmaneser made the first move which led to this series of campaigns. He entered the land of Nairi and took the capital city of Khubushkia, on Lake Urumiyeh, together with one hundred other towns which belonged to the same country. These were all destroyed by fire. The king of Nairi was then pursued into the mountains and the land of Urartu (Chaldea) invaded. At this time Urartu was ruled by Arame, who seems to have been a man of courage and adroitness. His stronghold of Sugunia was taken and plundered. Shalmaneser did not push on into the country, but withdrew southward by way of Lake Van, contented with his booty or too prudent to risk more. He made no more attempts on Urartu until 857, when his campaigning carried him westward and northward to Pethor and thence through Anzitene, which was completely laid waste, and over the Arsanias into Urartu. On this expedition the country of Dayaeni, along the river Arsanias, was first conquered and apparently without much opposition. The way was now open to the capital city, Arzashku. Arame, the king of Urartu, fled further inland and abandoned his capital to the Assyrians, who wasted it as of old, and left it a heap of ruins while they pursued the fleeing king. He was overtaken, and thirty-four hundred of his troops killed, though Arame himself made good his escape. Laden with heavy spoil, Shalmaneser returned southward, and, in his own picturesque phrase, trampled on the country like a wild bull. Pyramids of heads were piled up at the ruined city gates and men were impaled on stakes. On the mountains an inscription, with a great image of the conqueror, was set up. The defeat of Arame seems to have brought his dynasty to an end, for immediately afterward we find Sarduris I, son of Lutipris, building a citadel at Van and founding a new kingdom. Shalmaneser returned to Assyria by way of Arbela. He had therefore completed a half circle in the north, passing from west to east, but had accomplished little more than the collection of tribute.'
In the tenth year of his reign (850 BC) Shalmaneser II again invaded Urartu, this time entering the country from the city of Carchemish. The only achievement of the expedition was the taking of the fortified city of Arne and the ravaging of the surrounding country; no enduring results were effected. More might, perhaps, have been attempted, but the king was forced to go into the west to meet the people of Damascus, as narrated above. Shalmaneser never again invaded Urartu in person. In the year 833 he sent an army against it under the leadership of his Tartan Dayan Asshur. In the seventeen years which had elapsed since the last expedition the people of Urartu had been busy. The kingdom of Siduri (Sarduris I) had waxed strong enough to conquer the territories of Sukhme and Dayaeni, which for a time had seemed to belong to Assyria after having been so thoroughly conquered by Shalmaneser II. The account of the campaign ends in the vain boast of having filled the plain with the bodies of his warriors. The sequel, however, shows that this campaign and another similar one in 829, under the same leadership, had not really conquered the land of Urartu. Instead of growing weaker it continued to grow stronger, and we shall often meet with displays of its power in the later Assyrian history. When the series of campaigns against the north was finally ended for this reign it could only be said that in the north and in the west the Assyrian arms had made little real progress.
In the east also Shalmaneser failed to extend the boundaries of his kingdom. His efforts in this quarter began in 859, when he made a short expedition into the land of Namri, which lay on the southwestern border of Media below the Lower Zab River. Not until 844 was the land again disturbed by invasion. At this time it was under the rule of a prince, Marduk Shum Udammiq, whose name points to Babylonian origin. He was driven from the country, and a prince from the country district of Bit Khamban, by name Yanzu, was put in his place. This move was not very successful, for the new prince rebelled eight years later and refused the annual tribute. In 836 Shalmaneser crossed the Lower Zab and again invaded Namri. Yanzu fled for his life to the mountains, and his country was laid waste. Shalmaneser, emboldened by this small success, then marched farther north into the territory of Parsua, where he received tribute, and then, turning eastward, entered the land of Media, where several cities were plundered and laid waste. There seems to have been no attempt made to set up anything like Assyrian rule over any portion of Media, but only to secure tribute. On the return by way of the south, near the modern Holwan, Yanzu was taken prisoner and carried to Assyria. But the efforts of Shalmaneser to control in the east, and especially the northeast, did not end here. The mountains to the northeast of Assyria had been a thorn in the side of many an Assyrian king. We have already seen how Shalmaneser at the very beginning of his reign ravaged and plundered in Khubushkia, on Lake Urumiyeh, farther north than the land of Namri. In 830 the king himself remained in Calah, sending an expedition to receive the tribute from the land of Khubushkia. It was promptly paid, and Dayan-Asshur, who was in command, led his troops northward into the land of Man, which was wasted and burned in the usual fashion. Returning then by the southern shore of Lake Urumiyeh, several smaller states were plundered, and finally tribute was collected again in Parsua. In the next year (829) another campaign was directed against Khubushkia to enforce the collection of tribute, and thence the army marched northward through Musasir and Urartu, passing around the northern end of Lake Urumiyeh. Returning southward, Parsua was again harried and the unfortunate land of Namri invaded. The inhabitants fled to the mountains, leaving all behind them. In a manner entirely worthy of his royal master the Tartan laid waste and burned two hundred and fifty villages before he came back by way of Holwan into Assyrian territory. It is not too much to say that all these operations in the northeast, east, and southeast were unsuccessful. Shalmaneser had not carried the boundaries of his country beyond those left by Asshurnazirpal in these directions.
In the south alone did Shalmaneser achieve real success. The conditions which prevailed there were exactly fitted to give the Assyrians an opportunity to interfere, and Shalmaneser was quick to seize it. In the earlier part of his reign the Babylonian king was Nabu Aplu Iddin, who after his quarrel with Asshurnazirpal had devoted himself chiefly to the internal affairs of his kingdom. He made a treaty of peace with Shalmaneser, and all went well between the two kingdoms until Nabu Aplu Iddin died. His successor was his son, Marduk Nadin Shum, against whom his brother, Marduk Bel Usate, revolted. This rebellion was localized in the southern part of the kingdom, comprising the powerful land of Kaldi. The Babylonians had engaged in no war for a long time, and were entirely unable to cope with the hardy warriors of Kaldi, whom Marduk Bel Usati had at his command. The lawful king, Marduk Nadin Shum, fearing that Babylon would he overwhelmed by the army which his brother was bringing against it, resolved upon the suicidal course of inviting Assyrian intervention. This was in 852, and no appeal could have been more welcome. Ever since the last period of Assyrian decay the kingdom of Babylonia had been entirely free of all subjection to Assyria. Here was an opportunity for reasserting the old protectorate. Shalmaneser marched into Babylonia in 852, and again in 851, and halted first at Kutha, where he offered sacrifice, and then entered Babylon to sacrifice to the great god Marduk, also visiting Borsippa, where he offered sacrifices to Nabu. It is not to be doubted that by these presentations of sacrifices Shalmaneser intended not only to show his piety and devotion to the gods, but also to display himself as the legitimate overlord of the country. Having paid these honors to the gods, he then marched down into Chaldea and attacked the rebels. He took several cities, and completely overcame Marduk Bel Usate and compelled him to pay tribute. From this time forward until the end of his reign Marduk Nadin Shum ruled peacefully in Babylon under the protectorate of Assyria. By this campaign the king of Assyria had once more become the real ruler of Babylonia, the Chaldeans by their inaction acknowledging the hopelessness of any present rebellion.
We have traced in logical rather than in chronological order the campaigns of Shalmaneser from the beginning to the close of the thirty-first year of his reign. At this point all record of his reign breaks off, and for the closing years we are confined to the information derived from the records of his son, Shamshi Adad IV. There are no more records of Shalmaneser's doings in the last years of his reign, because they were too troubled to give any leisure for the erection of such splendid monuments as those from which our knowledge of his earlier years has been derived. In the year 827 B.C. there was a rebellion led by Shalmaneser's own son, Asshur Danin Apli. We know but little of it, and that little, as already said, derived from the brief notices of it preserved in the inscriptions of Shamshi Adad IV. We have no direct means of learning even the cause of the outbreak. Neither can we find an explanation of the great strength of the rebels, nor understand its sudden collapse when apparently it was in the ascendant. Wars of succession have always been so common in the Orient that, failing any other explanation, we are probably safe in the suggestion that Shalmaneser had probably provided by will, or decree, that Shamshi Adad should succeed him. Asshur Danin Apli attempted by rebellion to gain the throne for himself, and the strange thing was that he was followed in his rebellion by the better part of the kingdom. The capital city, Calah, remained faithful to the king, but Nineveh, Asshur, Arbela, among the older cities, and the chief colonies, a total of twenty-seven cities, joined the forces of Assbur Danin Apli. It is difficult to account for the strength of this rebellion, unless, perhaps, the leader of it was really the elder son, and a sense of fairness and justice in the people overcame their allegiance to their sovereign. The struggle began in 827, and before the death of Shalmaneser, in 825 BC, the kingdom for which he had warred so valiantly had been split into two discordant parts, of which Shalmaneser was able to hold only the newly won provinces in the north and west, together with the land of Babylonia. The old Assyrian homeland was in the hand of the rebels, and all the signs seemed to indicate that Babylonia would soon regain complete independence, and that the Aramaean peoples would be able to throw off their onerous yoke. After the death of Shalmaneser, Shamshi Adad spent two more years in civil war before he was acknowledged as the legitimate king of Assyria. We do not know what it was that gave him the victory, but a complete victory it was, and we hear no more of the rebels or their leader.
The civil war had brought dire consequences upon the kingdom which Asshurnazirpal had made great, and Shalmaneser had held to its allegiance for thirty-one long years. It was therefore necessary, as soon as his title to the throne was everywhere recognized, for Shamshi Adad to undertake such campaigns as would secure to him the loyalty of the wavering and doubtful, and would overcome the openly rebellious or disaffected. His first campaign was directed against the troublesome lands of Nairi, which may have been planning an uprising to free themselves from the tribute. Shamshi Adad entered the land and received their tribute without being required to strike a blow. He must have forestalled any organized resistance. The promptness with which the campaign was undertaken and the completeness of its success make it seem probable that Shamshi Adad had had from the beginning the support of the standing army of Assyria. If this were the case, we can the better understand how the rebellion against him was put down even when the greater part of the country had embraced the fortunes of Asshur Danin Apli, for the commercial classes of Assyria could not stand against the disciplined, hardened veterans of Shalmaneser. As soon as the danger in the Nairi lands had been overcome Shamshi Adad marched up and down over the entire land of Assyria, "from the city of Paddira in the Nairi to Kar Shulmanasharid of the territory of Carchemish; from Zaddi of the land of Accad to the land of Enzi; from Aridi to the land of Sukhi", and over the whole territory the people bowed in submission to him. This is the first instance in Assyrian history of a king's marching from point to point in his own dominions to receive protestations of allegiance. It shows clearly to what unrest the land had come during the civil war. The second campaign was undertaken chiefly, if not wholly, for the collection of tribute. Its course was directed first into the land of Nairi and thence westward to the Mediterranean. Cities in great numbers were devastated and burned, and the territory against which Shalmaneser had so long made war was brought again to feel the Assyrian power. The leader in this campaign was Mutarris Asshur.
The third campaign, likewise in search of booty, was directed against the east and north. The lands of Khubushkia and Parsua were crossed, and the journey led thence to the coasts of Lake Urumiyeh, and then into Media. In Media, as in the other lands, tribute and gifts were abundantly given. Again the Nairi lands were overrun, and the king returned to Assyria, assured only that the tribute would be paid as long as he was able to enforce it.
In the next year of his reign Shamshi-Adad was compelled to invade Babylonia. The years of the Assyrian civil war had given that land the coveted opportunity to claim independence. Marduk Nadin Shun had been succeeded in Babylon by Marduk Balatsu Iqbi (about 812 BC), though the exact year of the change is unknown to us. He paid no Assyrian tribute, and in all things acted as an independent ruler. Against him Shamshi Adad marched. His course into Babylonia was not down the Mesopotamian valley, as one might have expected. He went east of the Tigris along the edge of the mountains. He seems not to have made a hasty march, for he boasts of having killed three lions and of having destroyed cities and villages on the way. The river Turnat was crossed at flood. At Dur Papsukal, in northern Babylonia, he was met by Marduk Balatsu Iqbi and his allies. The Babylonian army consisted of Babylonians, Chaldeans, Elamites, Aramaeans, and men of Namri, and was therefore composed of the peoples who feared the development of Assyria and were willing to unite against it, even though they were usually common enemies. Shamshi Adad claims to have won a great victory, in which five thousand of his enemies were slain and two thousand taken captive. One hundred chariots and even the Babylonian royal tent fell into the hands of the victor. We may, however, well doubt whether the victory was so decisive. The only inscription which we possess of Shamshi Adad breaks off abruptly at this point. But the Eponym List shows that in 813 he again invaded Chaldea, while in 812 he invaded Babylon. These two supplementary campaigns would seem to indicate that he had not achieved his entire purpose in the battle of Dur Papsukal. It is indeed unlikely that he succeeded in restoring the conditions which prevailed in the reign of Shalmaneser, though his short reign was, on the whole, successful. If he had not had the civil war to quell and its consequences to undo, he might well have made important additions to the territory of Assyria.
Shamshi Adad was succeeded by his son, Adad Nirari III (811-783 BC), whose long reign was filled with important deeds. Unfortunately, however, we are not able to follow his campaigns in detail because his very few fragmentary inscriptions give merely the names of the countries which he plundered, without giving the order of his marches or any details of his campaigns. In 806, in 805, and in 797 he made expeditions to the west in which he claims to have received tribute and gifts from the land of the Hittites, from Tyre, Sidon, the land of Omri, Edom, and Philistia to the Mediterranean. On this same expedition he besieged Damascus and received from it great booty. The king of Damascus was Mari; and Adad Nirari could scarcely have had a greater triumph than the humbling of the proud state which had marshaled so many allied armies against the advance of the Assyrians and had then held out single-handed so long against them. These expeditions to the west accomplished little more of importance. It was no new thing to receive tribute from the unwarlike merchants of Tyre and Sidon, and the Israelites had long since become a subject people. Only Edom and Philistia are named as fresh conquests.
In the north-east also he was brilliantly successful. The Eponym Lists mention no less than eight campaigns against the Medes, and the conquests in this direction carried the king even to the Caspian Sea, to which no former Assyrian king had penetrated.
In the north he did not get beyond the limits of his ancestors. Urartu, which had so strenuously asserted and maintained its rights, was not disturbed at all, and remained an entirely independent kingdom.
In the south Adad Nirari III was entirely successful, as he had been in the west. We have already seen that there was an expedition against Babylonia in 812, and this was followed in 803 by one against the Sea Lands about the Persian Gulf. In 796 and 795 Babylonia was again invaded. One of these campaigns, but which one is uncertain, was directed against a certain Bau Akhi Iddin, of whose personality or relation to Babylon we know nothing. He may have been king in Babylon at this time, or perhaps more probably a rebellious native prince. Assyrian influence was completely reestablished by these campaigns, and Babylonia again became practically an Assyrian province. The Assyrian Synchronistic History, from which we have largely and repeatedly drawn in the narrative of several previous kings, was edited and compiled at this time as one of the signs of the emphatic union of the two peoples. It was the purpose of Adad Nirari III to blot out completely the distinctions and differences between them. He even began an intermixture of their religions. Though the Assyrians had begun their career as a separate people with the Babylonian religion as then taught and practiced, the two peoples had diverged through historical development, and were now in many points quite different in their religious usages. The Assyrians had introduced other gods, as, for instance, Asshur, into their pantheon, while the Babylonians, who had had less contact with the outer world, had made less change. Adad Nirari III now built in Assyria temples modeled carefully on Babylonian exemplars and introduced into them the forms of Babylonian worship with all its ritual. One of the most striking instances of this policy was the construction in Calah, his capital city, of a great temple, the counterpart of the temple of Ezida in Borsippa. Into this was brought from Borsippa the worship of Nabu. The policy, strange as it was, met with a certain success, for Babylonia disappears almost wholly for a long time as a separate state and Assyria alone finds mention.
In connection with this introduction of the worship of Nabu we get a single gleam of light upon some of the mythical history of Babylonia. There has been preserved a statue of Nabu, set up in the temple in Calah by Adad Nirari III, on the back of which is an inscription containing these words: "For the life of Adad Nirari, king of Assyria, its Lord [that is, of Calah], and for the life of Sammuramat, the lady of the Palace and its Mistress". The name Sammuramat is plainly the Babylonian form of the Greek Semiramis. It may be that this Sammuramat is the original of the Semiramis of the story of Ktesias, though there is no further proof than the identity of the names—rather a slender basis for so much conjecture. It has been supposed by some that Sammuramat was the mother of the king, who ruled as regent during the earlier portion of the king's reign, for he must have been but little more than a lad when he became king. Others believe that Semiramis was the wife of the king, and perhaps a Babylonian princess. Either of these roles would have given her an opportunity for great deeds out of which the legend reported by Ktesias might easily grow, but it is impossible, in the present state of knowledge, to decide between them.
The reign of Adad Nirari III must be included in any list of the greatest reigns of Assyrian history. No Assyrian king before him had actually ruled over so wide an extent of territory, and none had ever possessed, in addition to this, so extensive a circle of tribute-paying states. Though he had done little in the northeast and nothing in the north, he had immensely increased Assyrian prestige in the west, and in the south Babylonia, with all its traditions of glory and honor, had become an integral part of his dominions.
After his reign there comes slowly but surely a period of strange, almost inexplicable, decline. Of the next three reigns we have no single royal inscription, and are confined to the brief notes of the Eponym Lists. From these we learn too little to enable us to follow the decline of Assyrian fortunes, but we gain here and there a glimpse of it, and see also not less vividly the growth of a strong northern power which should vex Assyrian kings for centuries.
The successor of Adad Nirari III was Shalmaneser III (782-773), to whom the Eponym Lists ascribe ten campaigns. Some of these were of little consequence. One was against the land of Namri, an eastern tributary country of which we have heard much in previous reigns. It had probably not paid the regular tribute, which had therefore to be collected in the presence of an army. No less than six of the campaigns were directed against the land of Urartu. We know nothing directly of these campaigns and their results. But the history of a time not very distant shows that these campaigns were more than the usual tributecollecting and plundering expeditions. They were rather the ineffectual protests of Assyria against the growth of a kingdom which was now strong enough to prevent any further Assyrian tribute collecting within its borders, and would soon be able to wrench from Assyrian control the fair lands of Namri. A loss so great as that might well give the Assyrian kings cause for anxiety and for desperate efforts to hinder the development of the enemy. This loss of tributary territory in the north had apparently already begun in this reign, but there were no other losses of territory elsewhere, and the reign ended with the substantial external integrity of the empire which Asshurnazirpal had won.
The next king was Asshur Dan III (772-755), in whose reign the decay of Assyrian power was rapid, in spite of strenuous efforts to maintain it, and in spite of success in its maintenance in certain places. In the year 773, when his reign actually began, though, according to Assyrian reckoning, 772 was the first official year, he led a campaign against Damascus. In 772 and again in 755 he marched against Khatarikka in Syria. These three western campaigns show that, however much Assyria had lost in the north, it had not yet given up any claim on the prosperous lands beyond the Euphrates. And the two invasions of Babylonia —771 and 767—are evidence of the same facts as regards that land. Asshur Dan III was plainly endeavoring to hold all that his fathers had won, but he had as yet undertaken no campaigns against any new territory. Whatever he may have planned or intended to do in that way was made impossible by a series of rebellions in Assyrian territory. The first of these began in 763 in the city of Asshur, the ancient political and religious center of the kingdom. We do not know its origin, but the general character of ancient oriental rebellions and the succession of events which immediately follow in this story make it seem probable that some pretender had attempted to seize the throne. The attempt failed for the present and the rebellion was put down in the same year.
This was shortly followed by another rebellion, also of unknown cause, in the province of Arpakha, known to the Greeks as Arrapachitis, a territory on the waters of the Upper Zab. While a third at Guzanu, in the land of the Khabur, took place in 759 and 758. These rebellions were signs of the changes that were impending, and could not long be delayed.
To the superstition of the Assyrians there were other omens than defeats and losses in war, which must have seemed to indicate the approach of troublous days. In 763 the Eponym List records an eclipse of the sun in the month of Sivan. To the Assyrians this was probably an event of doubt and concern. To modern students it has been of great importance, because the astronomical determination has given us a sure point of departure for Assyrian chronology. In 759 there was a pestilence, another omen of gloom.
The reign of Asshur Nirari II (754-745) was a period of peaceful decadence. In 754 he conducted a campaign against Arpad, and in 749 and 748 there were two expeditions against the land of Namri. With these expeditions the king made no effort to collect his tribute or to retain the vast territory which his fathers had won. Year after year the Eponym List has nothing to record but the phrase "in the country," meaning thereby that the king was in Assyria and not absent at the head of his armies.
In 746 there was an uprising in the city of Calah. We know nothing of its origin or progress. But in it Asshur Nirari II disappears and the next year begins with a new dynasty. In the person of Asshur Nirari II ended the career of the great royal family which had ruled the fortunes of Assyria for centuries.