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Western Asia in the days of Sargon of Assyria online

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^ Bikni is not mentioned in the Annals, a proof of its being " learned."
It seems to be the Demavend, Winckler, Sargon, XXVII n. 3. Rost,
op. cit., 77, compares the Abakaina of Ptol. VI. 2. 17.

^ These eastern Aribi are very puzzling. Delitzsch, Kossder, II. n. 3,
takes Aribi as a general word for nomad and compares the " Arabian "
dynasty of Berossus which is really Kossaean. I suspect there is some
truth in this view. Finzi, Ricerche, 514 /., quoted by A. Delattre,
Medes., 1883, 106, compares the Aribes of Strabo. XV. 2. i, and of
Dionysius Periegetes 1096. For these Aribes, Arbies, etc., of the east,
see the full discussion in note, Geog. Minor es, I. 335. Delattre, /. c,
compares with more probability the Arabians of Iran who were forced
to submit to Seleucus, Appian, Syriaca, 55. Billerbeck, op. cit., 108,
would find their descendants in the nomad races who still wander in
winter to the salt marshes of Tushu Gol near Sultanabad, but in the
summer come far west, nearly to the frontier,

*Nagiru is placed by Billerbeck, op. cit., 107, about Kengovar Tulan
and the region Mekhoran near the head of the Gamas rud.


'' mighty " Mandai*^ who had thrown off the yoke of Ashur
and were encamped on mountain and steppe. The tribute
received from Ullusunu of Mannai and of Adar aplu iddin
was more in the nature of the real thing. But, again, in the
tribute of several thousand horses and mules, sheep and
cattle sent in by forty-five chiefs of the "mighty" Medes,
we have only the usual presents.*-

Only once more does there seem to have been trouble
along this frontier, and then it was not serious. By 708
Dalta of Elli had ''gone the way of death," and his two
sons, Nibe and Ishpabara,''^ contested his throne. Nibe
called in Shutruk nahunta, none the worse it would seem
for his Assyrian wars, while his brother summoned Sargon.
Shutruk nahunta sent four thousand five hundred bowmen
to garrison Elli, but the seven generals of Sargon won the
day. The capital, Marubishtu,^* situated on a high moun-

" It is tempting to connect the Mandai with the Umman Manda of
the later inscriptions or even with the Mandaeans or so-called Sabaeans.
Neither is at all probable. Winckler, Sargon, XXVII. n. 3, has
shown that they are Medes. I would go a step further and suggest
that Mandai dannuti is a mere error for Madai danniiti, the '' power-
ful " Medes. Did the scribe start to write Mannai ? Winckler, Forsch.,
II. 74, sees in Sharrakish, " desert," the first use of Saracen. But
it would be certainly curious to find it first used in Media.

"A. 162 ff.; D. 69. Prism B. gives to this year also an expedition
against the land of Bagris and the leader of the opposition was brought
to Sargon. Billerbeck, op. cit., 106 if., has worked out an elaborate
system of campaigning, parallel columns and all the rest. The vital
objection to all this is that we have to do, not with real expeditions,
but merely with tribute presentations.

** Justi, Namenbuch, s. v., makes Nibe the old Persian waiha, the
Pahlevi Niwika, and Ishpabara or Ashpabara the Astibares of Ctesias
and a number of other Iranian forms all meaning " Ritter." In K.
1025 = H. 159, Eshtar duri sends the king certain information about
the cavalry of Nibe. The rest is too mutilated for translation.

"Billerbeck, op. cit., 127, compares with Marubishti the region
Mahidesht. He locates it between Kirmanshah and Hulelan, at the
pass south of Kargan.


tain, was captured and rebuilt, Nibe made prisoner, and
Ishpabara placed on the throne."*^

The revolt of Ishpabara only six years later* is only one
indication among many of the untenable position the As-
syrians held in Media. The attempt to hold back the ad-
vancing Median hordes was an impossible one, but Sargon
did what he could and at least somewhat postponed the evil

"A. 402 if.; D. 117 ff.

*" Prism II. 8 fF. The prayers, Knudtzon 23, 75, etc., show that by
the time of Esarhaddon, Elli was entirely lost.

*^ In the account of the Median wars, I have again followed the
chronology of Prism B. in preference to that of the Annals, thus placing
the events one year earlier than is usually done. The only additional
evidence is to be gained from Rm. 2, 97, where an expedition against
Elli is given for 715. This agrees well enough with Prism B. Nat-
urally, any definite chronology of such continuous frontier wars must
be somewhat artificial.



The campaigns of Sargon, after the first Babylonian
troubles, fall into a definite series of movements. First
came the settlement of Syrian affairs, then the advances
on the northwest frontier and the struggles with Rusash
and Midas. After this there had been no great movements,
but constant wars along the Median and Asia Minor fron-
tiers had exercised the troops as well as extended the boun-
daries. At the same time an opportunity was given for
recuperation and for preparation for new wars.

The Median wars had already shown the influence of
Shutur nahundi, who had ruled in Elam since 717.^ In
Babylon, too, it was Elamitish support which helped to keep
Merodach Baladan on the throne, and a movement to re-
cover the old sacred city could not be better begun than by
an attempt to disable the usurper's ally.^ Shutur nahundi
held the same place in the affairs of the southeast as did
Rusash in the north, Midas on the northwest, and Egypt on
the southwest. Around each all the disaffection of that
section centered and a conquest of each was essential to a
lasting peace on that frontier.

^ Bab. Chron., I. 38 if. These lines are found in Delitzsch,
Lesestiicke* not in the earlier editions. He is there called Ishtar
hundu. The native name is Shutruk nahunta, cf., e. g., the brick in
M. Dieulafoy, L'Acropole de Suse, 1893, 31 1- The Assyrian form is
Shutur nahundi.

^ Lenormant, Les Premieres Civilizations, II. 202, made him a Baby-
lonian patriot. Delattre, Rev. Quest. Hist., 1877, I. 538, and later
writers go to the other extreme and make him a tyrant. It is only
fair to read both sides of the case.
9 129


It was therefore as a preliminary to the conquest of
Babylon that Elam was invaded.^ Confused though the
accounts are, we can yet, by the aid of the topography, give
a fairly correct account of the operations. One division
moved down southeast behind the Hamrin Hills, the first
important elevation beyond the Babylonian plain, and at-
tacked Dur Athara,* a Gambulu fort only sixty miles from
Susa itself and on the direct road between that city and
Babylon. This important post had already been fortified
by Merodach Baladan and was now still more strengthened.
Its walls were raised, a canal from the Surappu^ river drawn
about it, and a force of four hundred infantry and six hun-
dred cavalry thrown in. In spite of all this preparation, the
fort was quickly taken, before nightfall, the scribes of Sar-
gon boast, and the usual prisoners and booty of live stock
carried off.^ If the plan of Sargon had been to advance
from here direct upon Susa, he was doomed to disappoint-
ment, for the road, though short, was too rough for an army

- These campaigns have been worked out in detail by Billerbeck in
his Susa, 1893. He has since, in his Suleimania, 1898, changed his
opinion on certain points, but has not gone over again the ground in
detail. As in the case of the Median wars, the excellence of his work
must be admitted without believing that the last word has been said.

* Billerbeck, Susa, 80, first placed Dur Athara on the Mendeli. Later
he placed it more to the south at Sebo'a Kherib, Suleimania, 113 n, .
Maspero, Empires, 256 n. 4, seems to have arrived independently at
the same conclusion. In all probability, it is correct.

^ The Surappu has been identified with the Umm el Jemal by
Delitzsch, Paradies, 195, and the Kekha by Delattre, Les Travaux, 39
n. 4, cited by Maspero, /. c. Neither is probable. Billerbeck, Mitth.
Vorderasiat. Gesellsch., 1898, 2, 28, reconstructs the rivers of south
Babylonia in ancient times and makes the Tigris of that time the
Shatt el Hai, while the present lower Tigris is made the Surappu. I
am more inclined to agree with Maspero, /. c, in making it the Tib;
for this is the river naturally to be used, if Dur Athara is to be placed,
with Billerbeck himself, at Sebo'a Kherib.

A. 245 if.


easily to traverse it even in time of peace, while in the face
of an enemy it was utterly impossible."^

Something, however, had been accomplished. The direct
road between Susa and Babylon was held by Dur Athara
which was made the capital of a new province, while Dur
ilu held the Susians back from a return attack on Assyria.
With the new capital as a base, further advances were made.
One detachment, perhaps trying to go around the south end
of the Hamrin chain and so attack Susa on the flank, in-
vaded the Uknu region,^ where, among their reed beds and
swamps, the natives felt secure.^ Nevertheless, their towns
were taken and eight chiefs came forth from their retreat
and paid tribute in livestock.^^ All the region thus far
taken was made a new province, that of Gambulu, with Dur
Athara, now called Dur Nabu, as its capital. The nomads
were ordered to settle,^^ and a cash tribute added to a tax
of one out of twenty from their flocks. This province seems
to have been well Assyrianized, and Dur Nabu, unlike most
of these re-christenings, long retained that name. Years
later, when Gambulian exiles are found settled near Harran,
we find a Dur Nabu as one of their foundations.^^

Next came the attempt to extend the province to the
south as well as to the southeast, a movement of importance,

'Thus Billerbeck, Suleimania, 114.

'Delitzsch, op. cit., 194, identified the Uknu with the Kerkha and this
has been generally followed. The region here indicated seems to be the
lower swamps of that stream, the Shatt el Jamus, so called from the
buffaloes spending the day there with only their noses out of the

*This we learn from H. Cf. Peiser, Zeitschr. f. Assyr., 1889, 412.

"These were Ba(?)ar(?) ; Hazailu, cf. Johns, Deeds, III. 453;
Handanu; Zabidu; Amai, cf. the city Ama of A. 275; la ; Amelu
sharru iddin ; Aisam.mu.

" So it would seem from A. 254 if.

"Johns, Doomsday Book, 2, I. 19; cf. 4. III. 18.


as it brought the army close to the ancestral home of Mero-
dach Baladan. Here was captured Qarad Nanni, a town of
Nabu ugalla, six regions of the Gambulu, and four of their
strongholds.^^ Then, moving northeast, he attacked some
of the greater tribes of the country, the Ru'a,^* the Pu-
qudu,^^ the latburu,^ and the Hindaru. From the two
somewhat different accounts which the scribe has neglected
to amalgamated^ we learn that they fled by night and occu-
pied the morasses of the Uknu. The Assyrian army first
devastated their land and cut down their main means of
support, the date palms. Then they advanced into the
swamp where they found the Dupliash^ dammed and forti-

" These were the Husiqanu, Tarbugati, Tibarsunu, Pashur, an un-
known land, Hirutu, Hilmun. For the last, cf. the Hillimmu of D. 20.
Winckler in his transliteration gives a break between 263 and 264.
This is unjustified. In XII, the text is continuous, while in the other
the six named lands of the one line correspond with the VI nage of
the next.

"According to Glaser, Skizze, 1890, 408, the Re'u of Gen. 11". K. 530
= H. 158 is from Ishtar duri, the well-known official. It describes how
Nabu zer ibni, chief of the Rua, has escaped from Damascus from Bel
duri who seems to have been the governor of that place. The name of
the man he escaped to is mostly gone ; but traces allow us to restore
Merodach Baladan who is mentioned later. He fled to the city Abdudi
and his men met him. Just what the operations next described were
the mutilated state of the text does not allow us to learn, but Me
Turnat seems to have been surrounded. Some sort of a victory is
probable where some were captured and settled.

" The Peqod of Ezek. 23=^.

"latbur was a rather ill-defined region extending along the Elamitish
foothills. Billerbeck, Suleimania, map, brings it nearly as far north
as the Dyala ; but this is certainly too far north for our present opera-

" A. 264-71 := 271-78.

"The name of the stream generally given as Umliash is read, prob-
ably correctly, by Billerbeck, Mitth. Vorderasiat. Gesellsch., 1898, 2,
Dupuliash, Dupliash, on the basis of K. 1146, Winckler, Sammlung,
II. 43, a letter from a chief of Nar Tupuli'ash to the king, perhaps to
be placed here, Billerbeck, ib. Billerbeck, /. c, makes it the Duwary.


fied by two strongholds. An indecisive battle was fought,
but surrender was finally forced by starvation. Fourteen
towns on the banks of the Uknu, the names differ in the
two versions," presented their tribute of livestock to the
governor in Dur Athara. Hostages were taken, taxes as-
sessed, and they, too, became part of the new province.^^

Parallel with all these operations of one corps were those
of another, which had its base at Dur ilu, and which directed
its attention to the country to the north of Elam proper,
where Elamitish influence was still strong. Here again we
have two conflicting versions.^^ Two important places,
Sam'una^^ and Bab duri,^^ were .taken, though whether they

" The first version has lanuku of Zame ; Nabu ugalla of Qarad
Nanni, according to H. 2 but now of Abure ; Pashshunu and Haukanu
of Nuhanu; Sa'lu, a man in A. 268, a city in 275 (C), Sahalu, 275
(XIII), of Ibulu. All these were chiefs of the Puqudu. Abhata
of the Ru'a ; Huninu, Same', Sapharu, Rapi', from the Hindaru. In
the other list we have Zame, Abure, laptiru, Mahigu, Hilipanu, Dandan,
Pattianu, Haimanu, Gadiati, Nuhanu, Ama, Hiuru, Sa'lu. In spite
of the differences, we have here clearly two accounts of the same

^ While these conquests are frequently mentioned in the introductions
of the various display inscriptions, cf. Billerbeck, /. c, 35 ff., there is
a detailed and consecutive account only in the Annals. I have
followed Maspero, Empires, 256, rather than Billerbeck, Susa, 80,
Suleimania, 117 ff., in my location. I do not see how these tribes can
be placed further north than I have done. The references to the
marshes of the Uknu and to the palms seem to me to leave no other
alternative. In the text, I have followed the account of the Annals.
But I am not sure that all these do not refer to one series of more
or less connected fights in the swamps. The Labdudu, or should we
read Kaldudu? are mentioned only in P. IV. 72; D. 18, cf. K. 4286,
Johns, Deeds, II. 171, and 83-1-18, 215, Winckler, Forsch., II 3 if.
K. 1023 = H. 798 from Shamash bel ugur refers to flocks of the Labdudi.

2^ A. 178-81 = 281-84.

^ Samuna occurs also in Ashur bani pal, Rm. Cyl., V. 55 ; Sennacherib,
Prism, V. 33. Maspero, Empires, 256 n. 2^ places it near Zirzirtepe,
Billerbeck, Suleimania, 118, near Mendeli.

^ Bab duri is placed by both Maspero, /. c, and Billerbeck, op. cit.,
117, at Hussenieh on the Aft ab.


were outposts which Shutur nahundi had fortified against
latburu, as one of the versions would have us believe,-* or
whether these were towns of latburu and it was the towns
of Ahilimmu and Pillutu^^ that were Elamitish, as the other
asserts,^ we cannot pretend to know. The commanders of
these cities, Sadunu and Sinlishshibu,-" were forced to sur-
render, together with nearly twenty thousand soldiers, over
a third of whom were Elamitish. In addition, there was
taken much booty of wagons, horses, mules, asses, and
camels. Samuna was rebuilt and named Bel ikisha. While
still in camp here, tribute was received from a number of
latburu chiefs whose tribes^^ were settled on the banks of the
Naditu.2 The operations came to an end with the conquest
of certain important towns in Rashi,^^ Til Humba, Dunni
Shamash, Bube, and Hamanu.^^ The inhabitants retired to

'' A. 278.

^Andreas, art. Alexandreia, 13, Pauly-Wissowa, Real Encyl., identi-
fies Pillutu with the Pagum Pellaeum of Plin., VI. 138. Billerbeck,
op. cit., 118, places it at Desht i Gulam, Maspero, /. c, at Tepe

A. 283 f.

^ Or perhaps Singamshibu, as Winckler, ad loc.

^ These were Mushezibu, Natnu, Ailunu, Daizzanu of the land of
Lahiru, Airimmu, the komarch of Sulaia. Winckler for this last reads
Bel Mahazu as a proper name since C. has VI nasikate but II. 26 which
he seems not to have used reads only V and this is preferable. Lahiru
or Lahirimmu is placed by Billerbeck, /. c, in a side valley of the Aft
ab; by Maspero, /. c, at Jughai ben Ruan. The duplicate 283-84 has
the city Lahira of the land of ladibiru, Sulaia, Zu(?)-?-muk, Samu'na,
Babduri, Lahirimmu, Pillutu.

^ The Naditu is the Aft ab according to Maspero, /. c, and Biller-
beck, op. cit., 116. According to the latter, here was the fort of Nabu
damiq ilani of A. 368. Cf. the city Naditu of Sennacherib, Prism,

IV. 59.

^ Rashi is the upper Pusht i Kuh region, according to Maspero,
Empires, I. c, and Billerbeck, op. cit., 120. The latter believes the
Rashi expedition to be separate.

^^ Til Humba evidently has the name of the old Elamitish god
Humba. It is Gilan, according to Billerbeck, op. cit., 124. Dunni


Bit Imbi,^- which does not seem to have been taken, while
Shutur nahundi, the instigator of all this resistance, retired
to the mountains.^^ That he should have been engaged here
while the Assyrians further south were striving to find a
road to his capital shows how safe he felt that to be behind
its mountain walls. How thorough all this conquest was
is shown by the fact that Sargon's own son, Sennacherib,
informs us that some of it was already lost in the days
of his father.^*

While these two divisions had been conquering the coun-
try east of the Tigris and thus driving a wedge between
Elam and Babylonia, Sargon, with the main army, was mov-
ing directly upon Babylon. Here, for twelve years,^^ Mero-
dach Baladan had held his own. Even if not a native patriot,
as the earlier scholars assumed,^*' he was still looked upon as

Shamash he places, /, c, at Desht i Kasimban, Bube on the Kanischend
Rud. cf. Sennacherib, Prism, IV. 51, and Hamanu at the pass from
Kifraur valley.

^^Maspero, /. c, and Billerbeck, op. cit., 122 f., place Bit Imbi in
Desht i Gaur, a very fertile region and a road center. It was a royal
city, Sennacherib, Prism, IV. 54; Ashur bani pal, Rm. Cyl., IV. 124.

^A. 28 fF. Here should be placed the names of D. 18 if., and P.
IV. 71 ff., cf. Billerbeck, Mitth. Vorderasiat. Gesellsch., 1898, 2, 35 ff.
Here we may place K. 7299 = H. 799 from Shamash bel ugur, eponym
in 710 where we are told that the king of Elam went on the 11
Tammuz to Bit Bunaki and on the 13 to land of U. On the edge is a
reference to Balasu (Belysis).

^* Prism IV. 43 if. The towns which are distinctly said to have been
taken from the Assyrian territory are Bit Ha'iri and Raga. But other
towns which Sargon claims to have conquered, such as Bube, Dunni
Shamash, Bit Imbia, Til Humbi, are again taken as foreign places.
Again, at the battle of Halulu, Sennacherib is opposed by many of these
conquered tribes such as Hindaru, Rapiqu, Ru'a, Gambulu, Puqudu,
Bit Amukkana, Samuna, Sulai, etc. Prism, V. 30 fF.

A. 228; Bah. Chron., II. i.

^ Cf. n. 2, For an ancient appreciation of the fact that the
Chaldaeans were not the same as the Babylonians, see Strabo, XVI. i. 6.


a foreign deliverer by a large anti-Assyrian party, whose
property had been confiscated and who had been imprisoned
during the last period of foreign rule.^^ The majority of
our documents come from the priestly class, who would nat-
urally favor so pious a king as Sargon, but their version
should not make us forget that there must have been a large
military class and a still larger commercial one which was
the natural enemy of Assyria.

In his inscriptions Sargon tells us that the Chaldaean
usurper imprisoned the leading men of the land, although
they had committed no crime, and confiscated their prop-
erty.* No doubt this is all true enough. But when Mero-
dach Baladan did all this he was, only inflicting on the pro-
Assyrian party severities which they themselves had em-
ployed on their rivals of the other party. In the royal
charter granting lands to Bel ahe erba,^ we are told of lands
torn from their rightful owners, of forgotten boundaries
and destroyed boundary stones, and all this took place in
the days when the Assyrian enemy devastated the land and
" there was no king " in Babylon. Peaceable people must
indeed have suflfered when the land was torn between the
two factions, and could have had as little love for one as the

While, therefore, the accusations of the two enemies
throw light on the conduct of each other, Sargon is deliber-
ately telling an untruth, when he states that Merodach Bala-
dan did not respect the gods, but removed them and allowed
their sacrifices to fall into neglect. If the Babylonian priest-
hood remained hostile to the Chaldaean, it was from no lack

^^ See the discussion of the boundary charter under Sources, chap.
I. n. 56.

'^A. 359 ^.
'' Cf. n. 37.


of effort on his part to win them over. Like all other for-
eign conquerors of Babylon, he became a votary of the gods
of the land. Thus, in the above-mentioned inscription, we
have the same glorification of Marduk, Nabu and Ea, the
same recognition of dependence on them, as we meet in those
of the native rulers. Nor was this homage confined to words
alone. He adorned and rebuilt the ancient temples, one of
which was that of Nana at Uruk,*^ and provided for their
maintenance and their revenues.^^ Special attention, too,
was given to the ancient and revered cities of Sippar, Nip-
pur, and Babylon.*^ It is therefore probable that the mass
of the people were well enough content with his rule. Other-
wise, it is difficult to understand why he so easily won back
Babylon so soon after Sargon died.

The settlement of Merodach Baladan at the gates of As-
syria was a grave danger, for it was a constant incitement
to the other subject states to follow the example of a suc-
cessful revolt. In addition, there were sentimental reasons
which would induce any Assyrian ruler, much more one so
religious and so interested in antiquity as Sargon, to attempt
the conquest. This constant desire to conquer the seemingly
eternal city of Babylon, " seize the hands of Bel," and thus
become the vice gerent of Marduk on earth, has been well
compared with the equally constant desire of the Germanic
kings to be crowned emperor at Ronie.*^ In many ways the
attitude of respectful mastership assumed by Rome in her
dealings with Greece would be a comparison more to the
point. But neither is close enough. We have here no for-

*" Brick I. R. 5. XVII in the pavement at the base of the Bowarieh
mound at Warka. Transliterated and translated by Winckler, Zeitschr.
f. Assyr., 1892, 184.

" Boundary Stone, II. 4 ff.

*^Ib. II. 8 ff.; III. 10 ff.

*' Winckler, Sargon, XXXIII.


eign countries separated as much by barriers of speech and
custom as by sea or mountain. In its origin Assyria seems
to have been a Babylonian colony. In language there was
less difference than between Athens and Sparta. The only
natural boundary was the line of the alluvium, and that
was no barrier. On the other hand, the two great navigable
rivers, the numberless canals, the roads with easy grades, all
brought the two countries into close relations with each
other. The result was what might have been expected. To
the end Assyria was like Rome, the faithful copyist of Baby-
lonia in most that did not relate to war or government. In
art, in literature, in law, even in the trivial details of every-
day life, Assyria leaned upon Babylon. Above all, this was
true of religion, although Assyria did indeed have a national
Ashur cult. But even this could not prevent the older gods
of the south from usurping to a considerable degree his
place. The earlier Assyrian kings could ascribe victory to
Ashur. The later ones did not feel their world empire sure
until Bel Marduk of Babylon had allowed them to seize his
hands in the " city of the lord of gods." **

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