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					                                                                                                    I. Mladjov, Page 1/4



ASSYRIA (AŠŠUR) AND BABYLONIA (BĀB-ILI, KARDUNIAŠ, AKKAD)

I. ASSYRIA
       The city state of Aššur developed as an independent polity after the fall of the 3rd dynasty of Ur in the 20th
century BC. In spite of flourishing trade with cities in western Mesopotamia and in Anatolia (where Assyrian
merchants set up trading colonies), the kingdom of Assyria remained a relatively minor power. In the 18th
century BC Assyria was annexed to the larger kingdom of Šamšī-Adad I, who dominated all of northern
Mesopotamia. Soon after his death, however, the country fell prey to foreign aggression and internal strife.
Although kings like Puzur-Aššur III and Aššur-bēl-nišēšu were able to match their Babylonian contemporaries,
Assyria became a vassal of the kingdom of Mittani in the 15th and 14th centuries BC. This dependence ended in
the reign of Aššur-uballiụ I. His successors Adad-nērārī I and Šulmānu-ašarēd I liquidated Mittani and expanded
Assyrian rule throughout northern Mesopotamia, while Tukultī-Ninurta I temporarily annexed Babylonia to the
south. His death was followed by dynastic struggles and Assyrian supremacy in Mesopotamia was only restored
during the long reign of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra I. Following this king’s death, Assyria was once again weakened by
internal strife and the gradual infiltration of Aramean tribes from the west. Assyrian control of northern
Mesopotamia was only completed by Šulmānu-ašarēd III, who went on to intervene in the affairs of Syria. By the
reign of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra III (Tiglath-pileser), Assyrian intervention came to be replaced by outright
annexation of local states (including Babylonia), continued by his sons Šulmānu-ašarēd V (Shalmaneser) and
Šarru-kīn II (Sargon), who conquered the kingdom of Israel and its capital Samaria. Sîn-aẳẳē-erība
(Sennacherib) crushed the revolts of his reluctant Babylonian subjects, while his son Aššur-aẳa-iddina
(Esarhaddon) restored Babylon and established Assyrian supremacy over Egypt. Aššur-bāni-apli lost Egypt but
conquered or at least incapacitated Elam, Assyria’s longstanding rival to the southeast, and crushed another
Babylonian revolt. Aššur-bāni-apli’s reign ended with a decline of Assyrian power (and an unusual dearth of
source evidence), perhaps caused by overextension and Cimmerian invasions from the north. A civil war between
the king’s sons allowed various dependencies to recover independence and to turn on Assyria itself. Assyria’s
religious and political centers Aššur, Kalẳu, and Nīnuwa (Nineveh) fell to the combined attacks of Babylonians
and Medes between 616 and 612, and the last vestiges of the Assyrian state were destroyed with the fall of
Ẳarranu in 609 and the Babylonian victory over Egypt in 605.
       The basics of Assyrian political history, chronology, and royal genealogy are much better known than those
for other ancient Near Eastern states. This is due to the survival of numerous lists of kings, eponymous officials
(līmu), chronicles, and royal inscriptions confirming and supplementing the information from other sources.
The preserved fragments of such lists and the identification of a solar eclipse in Year 10 of Aššur-dān III with
that occurring in 763 allow the establishment of Assyrian chronology as far back as the late 15th century
(although the history of the final two decades of the Assyrian state is not fully resolved). The following list is
based on the chronology supplied in Kinglists B and C, and excludes the apparently erroneous testimony of
Kinglist A (which has influenced the standard chronologies established by Rowton and Brinkman, and which
adds an additional year to the reign of Aššur-nādin-apli and an additional decade to that of Ninurta-apil-Ekur).
Due to an unfortunate break spanning the figures for two reigns in the surviving fragments, the continuous
chronology cannot be traced with certainty past 1420. The list below assumes these reigns to have amounted to
a total of 23 years on the basis of stated time-spans (Distanzangaben) between royal renovations of temples at
Aššur. Dendrochronology and astronomical retrocalculations for a solar eclipse and sightings of the planet
Venus from Babylon allow various options for the reign of Šamšī-Adad I, but the kinglist is corrupt for the
period that immediately follows it. Therefore, the list starts with Bēl-bāni, son of Adasi, after whom the
sequence of kings does not seem to pose any obvious chronological problems.
       Reigns are counted from accession (Year 0), as opposed to Assyriological convention, which represents
them from Year 1, e.g., Aššur-rēša-iši I from 1132 (Year 1) instead of 1133 (accession). Names are provided in
standard Akkadian orthography (e.g., Ninurta) rather than in the actual Assyrian pronunciation (e.g., Inurta) or
Biblical forms and their Anglicized equivalents (so Tukultī-apil-Ešarra, not Tiglath-pileser). From the reign of
Aššur-uballiụ I, the basic royal title was šarru or šar Aššur (“king of Aššur”) often enhanced as šarru rabû (“great
king”), and šar kiššati (“king of the universe”). Earlier Assyrian rulers had contented themselves with the title
iššiỵakku (“vice-regent”) of the god Aššur. Kings who reigned before 1671 are treated elsewhere.

                     Kings of Assyria from 1671 BC
     1671–1661       Bēl-bāni … son of Adasi
     1661–1644       Libāya … son of Bēl-bāni
     1644–1632       Šarma-Adad I … son of Libāya
                                                                                         I. Mladjov, Page 2/4



1632–1620   Iptar-Sîn … son of Šarma-Adad I
1620–1592   Bazāya … son of Bēl-bāni
1592–1586   Lullāya … interloper
1586–1572   Šū-Nīnuwa … son of Bazāya
1572–1569   Šarma-Adad II … son of Šū-Nīnuwa
1569–1556   Ērišum III … son of Šū-Nīnuwa
1556–1550   Šamšī-Adad II … son of Ērišum III
1550–1534   Išme-Dagan II … son of Šamšī-Adad II
1534–1518   Šamšī-Adad III … son of Išme-Dagan, son of Šū-Nīnuwa
1518–1492   Aššur-nērārī I … son of Išme-Dagan II
1492–1468   Puzur-Aššur III … son of Aššur-nērārī I
1468–1455   Enlil-nāởir I … son of Puzur-Aššur III
1455–1443   Nūr-ili … son of Enlil-nāởir I
     1443   Aššur-šadûni … son of Nūr-ili; deposed
   1443–?   Aššur-rabî I … son of Enlil-nāởir I
   ?–1420   Aššur-nādin-aẳẳē I … son of Aššur-rabî I; deposed
1420–1414   Enlil-nāởir II … son of Aššur-rabî I
1414–1407   Aššur-nērārī II … son of Aššur-rabî I
1407–1398   Aššur-bēl-nišēšu … son of Aššur-nērārī II
1398–1390   Aššur-rāỴīm-nišēšu … son of Aššur-nērārī II
1390–1380   Aššur-nādin-aẳẳē II … son of Aššur-rāỴīm-nišēšu
1380–1353   Erība-Adad I … son of Aššur-bēl-nišēšu
1353–1317   Aššur-uballiụ I … son of Erība-Adad I
1317–1307   Enlil-nērārī … son of Aššur-uballiụ I
1307–1295   Arik-din-ili … son of Enlil-nērārī
1295–1263   Adad-nērārī I … son of Arik-din-ili
1263–1233   Šulmānu-ašarēd I … son of Adad-nērārī I
1233–1196   Tukultī-Ninurta I … son of Šulmānu-ašarēd I
1196–1193   Aššur-nādin-apli … son of Tukultī-Ninurta I
1193–1187   Aššur-nērārī III … son of Aššur-nādin-apli
1187–1182   Enlil-kudurrī-uởur … son of Tukultī-Ninurta I
1182–1179   Ninurta-apil-Ekur … son of Ili-ipadda, son of Aššur-iddin, son of Qibi-Aššur, son of Ibašši-
              ili, son of Adad-nērārī I
1179–1133   Aššur-dān I … son of Ninurta-apil-Ekur
     1133   Ninurta-tukultī-Aššur … son of Aššur-dān I; deposed
     1133   Mutakkil-Nusku … son of Aššur-dān I
1133–1115   Aššur-rēša-iši I … son of Mutakkil-Nusku
1115–1076   Tukultī-apil-Ešarra I … son of Aššur-rēša-iši I
1076–1074   Ašarēd-apil-Ekur … son of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra I
1074–1056   Aššur-bēl-kala … son of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra I
1056–1054   Erība-Adad II … son of Aššur-bēl-kala
1054–1050   Šamšī-Adad IV … son of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra I
1050–1031   Aššur-nāởir-apli I … son of Šamšī-Adad IV
1031–1019   Šulmānu-ašarēd II … son of Aššur-nāởir-apli I
1019–1013   Aššur-nērārī IV … son of Šulmānu-ašarēd II
 1013–972   Aššur-rabî II … son of Aššur-nāởir-apli I
  972–967   Aššur-rēša-iši II … son of Aššur-rabî II
  967–935   Tukultī-apil-Ešarra II … son of Aššur-rēša-iši II
  935–912   Aššur-dān II … son of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra II
  912–891   Adad-nērārī II … son of Aššur-dān II
  891–884   Tukultī-Ninurta II … son of Adad-nērārī II
                                                                                                  I. Mladjov, Page 3/4



        884–859     Aššur-nāởir-apli II … son of Tukultī-Ninurta II
        859–824     Šulmānu-ašarēd III … son of Aššur-nāởir-apli II
                    • Aššur-daỵỵin-apli … son of Šulmānu-ašarēd III; rival king 827–820
        824–811     Šamšī-Adad V … son of Šulmānu-ašarēd III; Babylonia 812–811
        811–783     Adad-nērārī III … son of Šamšī-Adad V; Babylonia 811–?
        783–773     Šulmānu-ašarēd IV … son of Adad-nērārī III
        773–755     Aššur-dān III … son of Adad-nērārī III
        755–745     Aššur-nērārī V … son of Adad-nērārī III
        745–727     Tukultī-apil-Ešarra III (Pūlu) … son of Aššur-nērārī V; Babylonia 729–727 1
        727–722     Šulmānu-ašarēd V (Ulūlāyu) … son of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra III; Babylonia 727–722
        722–705     Šarru-kīn II … son of Tukultī-apil-Ešarra III; Babylonia 710–705
        705–681     Sîn-aẳẳē-erība … son of Šarru-kīn II; Babylonia 705–703, 689–681
        681–669     Aššur-aẳa-iddina … son of Sîn-aẳẳē-erība; Babylonia 681–669
        669–627     Aššur-bāni-apli … son of Aššur-aẳa-iddina; Babylonia 669–668
        627–623     Aššur-etel-ilāni … son of Aššur-bāni-apli
        623–612     Sîn-šarra-iškun … son of Aššur-bāni-apli; rival since 626? 2
        612–609     Aššur-uballiụ II … son of (?) Aššur-aẳa-iddina
                    (division between Media and Babylonia by 609)

II. BABYLONIA
       A hitherto insignificant city, Babylon (Bāb-ili, “Gate of the god,” later Bāb-ilāni, “Gate of the gods”)
became the capital of an Amorite dynasty in the early 19th century BC, after the fall of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur and
the struggle for hegemony over southern Mesopotamia between the dynasties of Isin and Larsa. In the 18th
century BC the famous lawgiver Ẳammu-rāpi succeeded in conquering the rival states of Larsa, Mari, and
Ešnunna, and thereby uniting southern and central Mesopotamia under the rule of Babylon. This unity proved
unsustainable, and Ẳammu-rāpi’s successors lost control of many of his conquests. In the 16th century BC the
dynasty was overthrown by a Hittite raid, but Babylon was soon resettled by the Kassites (Kaššu). The new
regime quickly assumed the traditional duties of Mesopotamian monarchs and unified southern and central
Mesopotamia under Babylon’s rule once again. Under Kassite rule Babylonia prospered economically and ranked
as one of the several “great kingdoms” participating in Late Bronze Age diplomacy. Victim of the aggression of
its Assyrian and Elamite neighbors, the Kassite dynasty fell in the mid-12th century BC, but Babylonian
independence was rapidly reasserted by the succeeding 2nd dynasty of Isin under Nabû-kudurrī-uởur I. However,
the settlement of Aramaean tribes (including the Chaldeans, Kaldu) in Mesopotamia from the 11th century BC
eroded royal control over the country, leading eventually to Assyrian intervention and domination.
       After a long period of Assyrian supremacy (812–626), Babylonia recovered its independence and asserted
itself against Assyria under the leadership of Nabû-apla-uởur (Nabopalassar), founder of what is now called the
“Neo-Babylonian Empire.” Allied to the king of the Medes, the Babylonian king invaded the Assyrian heartland
in 616–612. The conquest of Assyria was completed by Nabû-kudurrī-uởur II (Nebuchadrezzar) before his
accession in 605, who went on to conquer Syria, the kingdom of Judah and its capital Jerusalem in 587.
Although the state continued to expand under his successors, the usurpations of Nergal-šarra-uởur (Neriglissar)
and Nabû-nāỵid (Nabonidus), and the latter’s patronage of the cult of Sîn over that of the chief god Marduk are
signs of internal problems. In 539 Babylon was conquered by the Persian king Kuruš II, who made a
considerable effort to act as a traditional and pious Babylonian monarch and protector of the cult of Marduk.
       The absolute chronology of the Neo-Babylonian period is based on ample sources and several astronomical
anchors including identified eclipses, and also lists of astronomical data compiled by Babylonian astronomers and
stretching into the Achaemenid and Seleucid periods. Thanks to the so-called Canon of Ptolemy, the continuous
Babylonian chronology can be traced back to 748. Names are presented in standard Akkadian forms. The basic
royal title was šarru or šar Bābili (“king of Babylon”), but also šar Karduniaš (“king of Babylonia”), šar Akkadî


1 Called “son” of Adad-nērārī III on his own inscriptions, but this filiation may simply imply descent, avoiding
the stigma of acknowledging a murdered predecessor (compare the reticence of Sîn-aẳẳē-erība to state his
descent from his father, Šarru-kīn II).
2 Sîn-šarra-iškun and a high official named Sîn-šumu-līšir appear to have contested the throne, perhaps in

Babylonia, sometime in the period 626–623.
                                                                                                 I. Mladjov, Page 4/4



(“king of Akkad”), šar kiššati (“king of the universe”), among others. Kings who reigned before the 8th century
are treated elsewhere.

                    Kings of Babylonia from the mid-8th century BC
                    Erība-Marduk … son of Marduk-šākin-šumi of Bīt-Yakīnu
       :760–748     Nabû-šuma-iškun … son of (?) Nabû-šumu-līšir of Bīt-Dakkūri
        748–734     Nabû-nāởir … son of (?) Nabû-šuma-iškun
        734–732     Nabû-nādin-zēri … son of Nabû-nāởir
            732     Nabû-šuma-ukīn II … usurper 3
        732–729     Nabû-mukīn-zēri … son of Nabû-apkal-ili of Bīt-Amukāni
        729–727     Pūlu (Tukultī-apil-Ešarra III) … son of king Aššur-nērārī V of Assyria; Assyria 745–727
        727–722     Ulūlāyu (Šulmānu-ašarēd V) … son of Pūlu; Assyria 727–722
        722–710     Marduk-apla-iddina II … son of Zērî, son of Erība-Marduk; deposed
        710–705     Šarru-kīn (II) … son of Pūlu; Assyria 722–705
        705–703     Sîn-aẳẳē-erība … son of Šarru-kīn; deposed; Assyria 705–681
            703     Marduk-zākir-šumi II … son of Arad-Enlil; deposed
            703     Marduk-apla-iddina II … restored; deposed
        703–700     Bēl-ibni … protégé of Sîn-aẳẳē-erība; deposed
        700–694     Aššur-nādin-šumi … son of Sîn-aẳẳē-erība; deposed
        694–693     Nergal-ušēzib … usurper; deposed
        693–689     Mušēzib-Marduk … usurper from Bīt-Dakkūri; deposed
        689–681     Sîn-aẳẳē-erība … restored
        681–669     Aššur-aẳa-iddina … son of Sîn-aẳẳē-erība; Assyria 681–669
        669–668     Aššur-bāni-apli … son of Aššur-aẳa-iddina; abdicated; Assyria 669–627
        668–648     Šamaš-šuma-ukīn … son of Aššur-aẳa-iddina
        648–627     Kandalānu … son of (?) Aššur-aẳa-iddina 4
        627–605     Nabû-apla-uởur … son of (?) Bēl-ibni of the Sealand
        605–562     Nabû-kudurrī-uởur II … son of Nabû-apla-uởur
        562–560     Amēl-Marduk … son of Nabû-kudurrī-uởur II
        560–556     Nergal-šarra-uởur … husband of Kaššaya, daughter of Nabû-kudurrī-uởur II; son of Bēl-
                      šuma-iškun
            556     Labaši-Marduk … son of Nergal-šarra-uởur
        556–539     Nabû-nāỵid … husband of (?) daughter of Nabû-kudurrī-uởur II; son of Nabû-balāụsu-iqbi;
                      deposed
                    (to Persia 539)



BASIC BIBLIOGRAPHY:

D.O. EDZARD and A.K. GRAYSON, “Königlisten und Chroniken,” in Reallexikon der Assyriologie, vol. 6, 1981.
J.-J. GLASSNER, Chroniques Mésopotamiennes, Paris, 1993.
W.W. HALLO and W.K. SIMPSON, The Ancient Near East: A History, 2nd ed., Fort Worth, 1998.
G. ROUX, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., London, 1992.
M. VAN DE MIEROOP, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000–323 BC, Oxford, 2004.




3Probably not the son of his predecessor, as claimed by the Babylonian Kinglist A.
4Alternately Kandalānu was a protégé of Aššur-bāni-apli or Aššur-bāni-apli himself under another name or
nickname (compare Pūlu and Ulūlāyu).

				
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