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Sargon seems to have collected his troops at Ashur, which
he perhaps inhabited at this time. He then would have
moved down the west bank of the Tigris and crossed the
Euphrates, probably at Falujah, where the last hills retreat
from the river.*^ From here he entered the country of Bit
**D. 124.

" It is possible that this is the place where Trajan crossed. Phalga
is mentioned by Arrian, Parthica, X = Frag. 7, Steph. Byz. s. v. It
is there observed that the word means middle which would agree with
Falujeh from root f 1 j. The following fragments are in Babylonia.
In fact, frag. 8, from the same book X, is Choke near Seleucia and the
Tigris. The preceding fragments seem to point to a line like that
followed by Sargon, along the Tigris, e. g., frag. 6, from Book IX,
is Libanai, a city of (As)syria near Hatra. A pontoon bridge was made
across the Tigris at the Carduchian mountains, Die Cassius, LXVIII.


Dakkuri,*^ not perhaps without a battle, where he found the
ruined fort of Dur Ladina, about where we now have the
sacred city of Kerbela. As this was a good outpost against
Babylon, it was rebuilt and garrisoned. The position of
Merodach Baladan had now become untenable. On the
west, Dur Ladina, on the north Kutha^^ were in the hands
of the Assyrians, and each was but a few miles from Baby-
lon. On the east the whole of the Elamitish foothills had

26. 2, and Arbela passed, ib. 4. What other evidence we have seems
to indicate that the march was, as might be expected, along the usual
route across Mesopotamia close to the mountains and thence down the
Tigris. The very unusual route straight down the Euphrates has only
one point in its favor and many against, but this one point is difficult
to get rid of. Phalga is said to be half way between Seleucia and
Pieria and to be in Mesopotamia ; and this statement is confirmed by the
detailed itinerary in Isidore of Charax, where Phalga or Phaliga oc-
cupies a position corresponding to the later Circesium. Since the
position of a Phalga is thus fixed, we must either, on the strength of
this one quotation and against natural probability and the general tenor
-of the other pertinent passages, make the troops go by the Euphrates
route direct, or we must assume a confusion, either in the mind of
Arrian or of Stephen, between the Babylonian Falujah and the better
known town of the same name near the Roman frontier. In the
condition of our sources, scanty and mutilated as they are, it is im-
possible to come to a definite conclusion, but I incline to the second.

" Bit Dakkuri is placed by Winckler, map, and Billerbeck, map,
west of the Euphrates and of Babylon. Bab. Chron., II. 2, seems to
place here a regular battle. Here also seems to belong K. ii4i=:H.
542 = IV. R. 46. I (53. i). Information is sent the king that Bit
Dakkuri has sent to make common cause with Merodach Baladan. The
forces of Bit Dakkuri now seem to be at Bit Qa. It is hoped they
will proceed to Bab Bit Qa. The king sent a message to the governor
Ana Nabu takkalla. Reference is made to the son of lashunu with
his clan who were settled somewhere. Daini is also mentioned. The
land of Rabiti has been brought back and the strongholds have been

" Assyrian control of Kutha seems proved by the absence of any
mention of its capture by Sargon. This seems to be confirmed by
Rm. 2, 97 where under 719 we have the building of a Nergal temple,
seemingly the great one at that place.


fallen into their hands, and a part of their troops was already
working their way through the swamps toward Dur lakin
and threatening his rear.

He was accordingly forced to retreat. At first he with-
drew to latbur along the Tigris.*^ From here he sent a
" tribute," as the Assyrian writer sarcastically calls his
presents to Shutur nahundi, begging for Elamitish aid.
The Assyrian insinuates that Shutur nahundi did not come,
because he did not wish to, and portrays with deep feeling

^' Here again, equally with its connection with the Uknu swamps,
we see that latbur is much more to the south than is usually assumed.
If we locate latbur as I do, it would be perfectly natural for Merodach
Baladan to take the direct road east to Susa and then, finding this road
blocked by the Assyrian advance, to fall back southeast to Dur lakin.
On the other hand, it is absurd to suppose that he fled far to the north-
east and then retraced his steps through country already conquered by
Sargon. Billerbeck, Suleimania, 114 n., believes that Merodach Baladan
fled to latbur early in the year and then returned to Babylon. This
is not only unsupported by any direct evidence, but, as it seems to me,
is difficult to understand in the light of the topography and of the
statements of the sources themselves. It is the news of these earlier
expeditions of Sargon, threatening his flank and even his rear, which
were, as we are expressly told in A. 288 if., the cause of his retreat
to latbur. But then all the region about Dur Athara and to the north
was in the hands of Sargon and so retreat to or through these was
impossible. A. 291 ff. shows what he was trying to do, to get in touch
with Elam and to do this he would naturally try the direct road to
Susa. When he found this road blocked by Dur Athara which was now
in Assyrian hands, he naturally retreated. This was first to Iqbi Bel
and then to Dur lakin. Between the two parts of the retreat, the
Assyrian scribes put the entrance of Sargon into Babylon and I do not
see why this should not be accepted. But if so, then the retreat to
Iqbi Bel is part of the retreat to Dur lakin. At any rate, I do not see
how he could have gone back to Babylon. It seems to me that my
reconstruction of the military operations is clear, I cannot under-
stand the military reasons which compelled these operations according
to Billerbeck's theory. Bah. Chron., II. 3, says that Merodach Baladan
fled to Elam and puts it under 710. The whole general condition seems
to prove that either the Bah. Chron. is mistaken or, more probably,
that ana means " towards " in this place.


the scene which took place when Merodach Baladan learned
the news, how he threw himself on the ground, tore his
clothes, and filled the air with his loud lamentations. As we
have already seen, the Elamite king was busy in the north
at this time and perhaps did not know of the plight of his
ally. Besides, he had all the fighting he needed in this part
of the field.

As Merodach Baladan was unable by himself to break
through to Elam and as Shutur nahundi could not or would
not come to his aid, he was forced to fall back along the
Tigris to Iqbi Bel, perhaps the present Amara.*^

With the retreat of Merodach Baladan, Babylon opened
its gates. In long procession, the citizens of Babylon and
Borsippa, magistrates, trade guilds, artisans, carried to Sar-
gon, as he lay encamped at Dur hadina, the greeting of the
great gods, Bel Marduk and Zarpanit, Nabu and Tashmit.
The envoys were received graciously by the pious monarch,
who showed by his sacrifices his respect for the old order of
things.*^^ It was now late in the year, and New Year's Day
was approaching. Sargon resolved to " seize the hands of
Bel " himself and thus assume personal rule over Babylon.

**Iqbi Bel seems to have been on the banks of the Tigris, above
Dur lakin. If Merodach Baladan actually advanced as far as Dur
Athara (Serboa Kherib), he would naturally fall back first to 'Amara
at the junction of the Tib and the Tigris. A. 287 ff.; D. 121 fF.

K. 7426 =: H. 30 is from Arad Ea, evidently not the well-known
physician who lived later, Johnston, Jour. Amer. Orient. Soc, 1897,
I, 160. Reference is made to Merodach Baladan and there is a direct
address to Sargon by name. Unfortunately, it is too mutilated to
be translated.

It would seem as if the Chaldaean Belibni who was later made king
of Babylon by Sennacherib was at this time carried to Assyria to be
educated at Sargon's court, cf. Bellino CyL, 13.

^A. 296 ff. In three years Sargon gave over 150 talents of gold
and 1600 of silver besides much bronze, iron, stone, wood, and clothing
to the Babylonian gods, D. 140 if.


For the approaching ceremony the old canal of Borsippa
was restored in order that it might be used as the festival
street along which Nabu might pass to greet Marduk on this
auspicious day.

Sargon now went into winter quarters at Babylon where
the tribute of some of the Arimi, or Aramaeans, of the Bit
Amukani, and of Bit Dakkuri, was received. At the same
time the conquest of North Babylonia was completed by the
subjugation of the Hamarana, one of the "helper" tribes
of Merodach Baladan. They had retreated across the Eu-
phrates before the Assyrian advance and established them-
selves in Sippar. The Babylonians attempted to drive them
out, but failed. An Assyrian force was detached from the
main body and sent under a governor against them. A wall
of circumvallation was thrown around Sippar and the
Hamarana were forced to surrender.'*^

The great prize was now Sargon's. On New Year's Day
he " seized the hands of Bel " and became king of Babylon
with all due pomp and ceremony.^- A month was still
needed for the settlement of Babylon, and then, in the month
of May, he set out for his final attack on Merodach Bala-
dan. On his advance, the Chaldaean fell back to Dur lakin^^

" A. 301 ff. Perhaps here belongs K. 507 = H. 88 = Delitzsch,
Beitr. zur Assyr., II. z^ if.j a letter written by Tab gil esharra from
Ashur to the king who is elsewhere, seemingly further north. The
cause of its sending is to excuse Nabu bel shumate the qepu of Birat
who could not visit the king at the appointed time because he must,
with his forces, drive back the Uppai who have plundered Sippar. Is
it possible that this indicates that Sargon was not with any of the
armies attacking Babylon ?

Many of these conquests were not permanent as Sennacherib was
compelled to reconquer them, Prism, V. 51 fF.

"A. 309 ff. Tiele takes this to be in 710, since the Annals places
it under year XII, Gesch., 276, but this is only the usual anticipation.

^^ Andreas, art. Alexandreia, 13, Pauly-Wissowa, Real Encykl., identi-
fies Dur lakin with the urhs regia D urine of Plin., H. N., VI 138, and


in the marshes of the Mar Marrati,^* the swamps at the head
of the Persian Gulf. Here he prepared to make his last
stand. The nomad troops were collected, the city fortified,
and a canal from the Euphrates brought around the place,
the bridges destroyed, and the whole country made a morass
by the breaking down of the dams. Outside the walls,
earthworks were thrown up and troops posted in them.

" Like eagles " Sargon's troops crossed the streams and
advanced to the attack. The nomads were forced back and
a hand-to-hand conflict took place before the walls. Mero-
dach Baladan was wounded in the arm and obliged to take
refuge within the city. His troops, nevertheless, Puqudu,
Marsamai, Sute,^^ resisted to the last and were slaughtered
before the gate. Rich booty was taken, including the king's
furniture and plate,^^ in addition to captives and the various
domestic animals. For three days the city was given over
to plunder. Then it was burned, its towers thrown down,
its very foundations torn up, and the place given over to
utter ruin.

Yet the real object of the expedition was not accomplished.
Merodach Baladan escaped, as one of the versions is forced
to admit. Other versions, indeed, give the history as it

also with the Aginis, s. v., of Strabo, XV. 3. 5. The place must be
somewhere near Qorneh, quite probably at the small nearby hill of
Jebel Beni Mangur, Billerbeck, Mitth. Vorderasiat. Gesell, 1898, 2, 47.
Dieulafoy, Suse, 6^, suggests Durak Gadim, a tumulus northeast of
Mohammereh. The identity of name is remarkable, but I cannot
satisfy myself that Dur lakin lay so far south or east. If it actually
did, there must be some changes in our generally accepted topography.

^ According to Andreas, op. cit., art. Aginis, this is the Melitene of
Ptol. VI. 3. 3.

^ Sute was a common word for nomad, cf . W. M. Miiller, Asien, 20, 46 ;
Winckler, Forsch., II. 254, reads Shuth in Ezek. 23^^ and compares the
Sittakenoi of Arr. Anab. III. 8. 5.

^ In one version, they are nearly all gold, in the other nearly all
silver. What was the original material?


should have been, with Merodach Baladan as a captive or as
a pardoned rebel with his tribute paid and his fortresses dis-
mantled, but the course of later events proves that he did
indeed escape. He remained safe in the marshes of the
extreme south until Sargon died, when once more, for a
short time, he held the throne of Babylonia.*^^

The remainder of the year was taken up with the settle-
ment of affairs in South Babylonia. The political prisoners
from Babylon, Sippar, Nippur, and Borsippa, were freed
from their confinement at Dur lakin and restored to their
homes and lands. Religion once more became supreme.
The gods were restored to the cities and new buildings
erected. The whole of the region along the Elamitish bor-
der, Dur lakin included, was settled by captives from Qum-
muh, hardly a wise proceeding for the change from the cold
bracing highlands along the upper Euphrates to the hot,
fever-laden swamps of this region must have soon proved
fatal to the majority of them. A strong fort was built against
Elam at Sagbat by Nabu damiq ilani, who seems to be the
governor of Gambulu mentioned immediately after. The
control of this frontier was confided to him and to the gov-
ernor of Babylon.^^

"A. 317 if.; D. 126 ff.; Bah. Chron., II. 6; Rm. 2, 97.

"A Nabu damiq alani is given by Johns, Deeds, III. 119, but is
hardly this person. Sagbat is clearly not the Bit Sagbat of A. 69.
Billerbeck, Suleimania, 97, 116, places it at Kala Janshur, at the Aft
ab pass to the east of Dur ilu. Billerbeck, op. cit., 96, speaks " von
der Griindung einer neuen Stadt Nabu damiq ilani *ina(mhz) Sagbad."
I do not see how he gets this. The Nabu damiq ilani has the sign
of the person before it. It would therefore be possible to take it as
Sagbat of the man Nabu damiq ilani and compare the Dur Bel Harran
Bel UQur which that official founded, see Scheil, Rec. de Trav., 1894
(XVI), 176 if. The rarity of such an action and the unlikelihood of a
ruler publishing such an act of almost actual usurpation of sovereign
power, especially when he never names his governors at all, makes
this very unlikely. But if this will not go, then there seems to be


At almost the same time Sargon's vanity was flattered by
" tribute " from two distant islands at the two extreme
corners of the known world. We have already seen the
reason for his relations with Cyprus. What led Uperi, king
of Tilmun, a half mythical island lying a sixty hours' jour-
ney down the gulf, " like a fish in the sea," to open relations
with Sargon is not so clear. Probably it was for commercial
reasons. If Tilmun was indeed the present Bahrein, we may
perhaps see in it a wish to secure a market for the pearls
which have made the island so famous in modern times.^^

Sargon remained for some time in Babylonia, receiving
the submission of the natives and attempting to put affairs
in order.^^ In 707 all seemed to be quiet, or at least matters
were becoming more serious to the north. The king re-
turned to Assyria, after having brought back the gods of the

only one other possibility and that is to translate eli migir Elamtu ina
Sagbat Nabu damiq Hani ana shuprus shapa Elami usharkis birtu ex-
actly as Winckler does, " gegen das gebiet van Elam Hess ich Nabu
damqu ilani in Sagbat, um die Elamiter aufzuhalten, eine festung bauen."
For this sense of usharkis, see Muss Arnolt, s. v., rakasu. I there-
fore do not see how I can take it otherwise than in the text.

*A. 359 ff.\ D. 134 ff.; 144 Z^. This Tilmun is no doubt tne Tylos
of Arr, Anab., VII. 20. 12; Artemidorus, in Steph. Byz., s. v.; Ptol.
VI. 7. 47; Pliny, H. N., VI. 28. 148. The last speaks of its pearl
fisheries. It is now the island of Bahrein where pearl fisheries are
still carried on, cf. S. M. Zwemer, Arabia [1900], 97 ff. For dis-
cussion, cf. Oppert, Journal Asiatique, 1880, I. 90 ff.; H. Rawlinson,
Jour. Roy. Asiat. Soc, 1880, 201 ff. For the ancient ruins still there,
see Durand, Jour. Roy. Asiat. Soc, 1880, 189 ff.

** H. 196, e. g., is a letter from Sennacherib in Kalhu to his father
Sargon who seems still to be in Babylon. Under 708, the Bab. Chron.,
has ina, " in," mati, " land," is generally supplied. A statement that
there was no war seems rather out of place in a Babylonian chronicle
which does not go by years, and is not parallel elsewhere. I should
compare Rm. 2, 97, under 710, and read ina Kesh (ki), "in Kesh," or
ina Babili, " in Babylon." The second part of 708 in Rm. 2, 97, as
I now think, (amel)-pehu shakin, " a governor appointed," would rather
refer to Babylon than to Qummuh.


sea lands to their ancestral seats, taking with him a body of
captives to be settled there.^^ But these northern troubles
seem once more to have aroused the south, and the settlers
placed in Dur lakin were driven out in 706.^^ In 705 we
have the news of a capture of Dur lakin. By this time

" II. R. 69 reads " On the 22 of Tashrit, the gods of Dur Sharrukin "
and this has generally, with Tiele, Gesch., 281, been taken to refer
to a great festival procession which took place when the gods entered
the new city. But Bah. Chron., II. 8, under year XV, on the same
day of the same month says that the gods of the sealands to their
places came back. I do not quite see how Dur Sharrukin came to
take the place of (mat) tamdim, but the agreement of date and of so
many signs makes me feel sure that the two refer to the same fact.
This literal agreement of signs seems to point to some connection be-
tween the two documents. The Chronicle continues " BAD.MESh
were established in Assyria." Winckler, Keilinschr. Bibl., ad he,
refuses a translation, Barta, in Harper, Literature, 201, reads dame,
" bloods," and so makes it refer to sacrifices made in Assyria. I am
now a little inclined to compare Briinnow, 1525, nisu, "remove," per-
haps nisute, " those who were removed, t. e., the captives, were settled
in Assyria." II. R. 69 also reads under 707 issuhra ga rah (pi)
shal-lu. Schrader, Keilinschr. Bihl., ad loc, considers ga rah (pi)
an easy mistake for ekallati, " palaces." But then we do not know
what to do with the shal-lu. Schrader considers them to be an error
for the longer form of u which they do closely resemble. But it is
more natural to supply shal-lu-Ue, "captive." This then throws
doubt on the " houses." An easy correction for ga rah (pi) is Hani
rahute, " the great gods." The line is then to be read with tEe one
succeeding. " He returned the great gods who were capti[ve. Cn
the XXII of Tashrit the gods of (the sea land) [to their places came
back]." Rm. 2, 97, under 707 states that the king returned from
Babylon, which agrees with the second part of Bah. Chron.

* Rm. 2, 97, under 706 read sha (al) Dur lakin nag a. Winckler
reads "von D. wurde vertrieben (?)." I would translate "He of Dur
lakin was driven out." For this use of sha, cf. Muss-Arnolt, e. g., sha
hit gihitti, " prisoner." Is sha here rather taken collectively ? Under
70s, Rm. 2, 97, has only Dur lakin nahil, " Dur lakin was destroyed."
The failure to remark the death of Sargon is noteworthy. In this it
seems to agree with Bah. Chron., another point seeming to show a
southern connection for Rm. 2, 97.


it would seem as if South Babylonia was all in revolt. For
a time Sennacherib was able to hold Babylon and the North,
but even this finally went over to Merodach Baladan, who
once more for a short while held rule over all Babylonia.^

""The whole history of this later part of Sargon's reign and the first
part of Sennacherib is very obscure, especially as it relates to Babylon.
The text furnishes only a working hypothesis.



With the accession of Argishtish IP to the throne of
Haldia, about the year 711, the situation became once more
as serious as it had been under Rusash. As usual, the new
king was more anxious for war than his father, and hostili-
ties, which seem to have been intermitted for two or three
years, broke out anew. The first year or two of his reign
seems to have been spent in building for himself a new city,
Argishtihina, whose ruins are probably to be found at
Arjish,^ and in constructing a reservoir for it.^

In 710 the opportunity seemed to have come. Sargon
was in Babylonia with his best troops and engaged with
powerful enemies who, if allied with Argishtish, as seems
to have been the case, would no doubt call upon him to make
a diversion. For the events of these last few years we de-
pend, not on the edited documents intended to glorify the
king, but on the very letters which passed between the gen-
erals in the field and the king himself or his son, Sen-
nacherib, who was left in charge of the north with head-
quarters at Kalhu, while his father was at Babylon.* Thus,

* Argishtish appears as Argista in the letters and as Argisti in D. 113.
Argishtu is mentioned in the inscription of an unknown Assyrian
king from Dehok, Belck and Lchmann, Sitzungsher. Berl. Acad., 1900,
624, no. 12.

' H. Lynch, Armenia, 1901, II. 29.

'No. 130, 131 of Belck and Lehmann, /. c.

* In K. 125 = H. 196; also Winckler, Samnilung, II. 16; Johns, Proc.
Soc. Bibl. Arch., 1895, 2^6 f. ; Bah. and Assyr. Laws, Contracts and
Letters, 1904, 345, we have a letter from Sennacherib sending some
Qummuh chiefs on to his father at Babylon. In K. 5464 = 1!. 198,



in spite of the difficulty of interpretation and of arrangement,
we are enabled to gain a far more correct and more vivid idea
of the campaigns than we can for any other part of the

Our first letters would seem to come from the winter of
710-9, when Sargon was already in control of Babylon. At
this time Argishtish seems to have been collecting his troops
at his new city of Argishtihina, which lay on the north side
and might therefore be supposed to be out of sight from the
Assyrians. But Sargon had a good intelligence depart-
ment, and rumors began to reach him. Ashur rigua, for

also Winckler, op. cit., II. 8; Johns, Proc, 230 if.; Laws, 339 ff.;
Sennacherib, again writing to his father, says that a messenger has
come to Kalhu. In Rm, 2, 2, 14:=!!. 730, Johns, Proc. Soc. Bibl.
Arch., 1895, 238 if., also by Sennacherib, we have references to Nabu
from Kalhu and to Nabu etir napshati, according to Sargon, 12, 45, the
scribe of the governor of that city.

^ The Assyrian letters, after a few had been published in desultory
fashion, are now being edited as a complete corpus by Harper,
Assyrian and Babylonian Letters. References to other publications
of individual texts are given under each separate letter. The first
collection of letters dealing with this period was given by Johns,
Proc, 1895, 220 if. Later Thompson, Amer. Jour. Sem. Lang., 1901,
162 if., gave an important sketch of the history to be gained from these
letters but gave no extended quotations. Some letters are still known
only from his references. Although he was mistaken in placing these
events in the time of Rusash, as is now quite clear, he grasped the
general arrangement of the material that was required, and I have quite
generally followed his order. On the basis of his notes, I began the
study of the untranslated letters he pointed out, so far as they were
published, but was forced to lay aside the work when I began to prepare
for Syria. On my return, I found that this work was rendered useless
by the translations of all the piiblished texts referring to the Armenian
wars by Johns, Laws, 338 if. Aside from this group, my work on the
letters has been sporadic. Some references to them will be found in
other chapters. During the last year, I collected a considerable mass
of data in preparation for an assignment of these letters to various
reigns and to historic events or groups of events.


example, who so often appears in these events,^ was ordered
to send one of his spies to Turushpa, the older capital of
Haldia, on the site of the present Van/ whence a raid

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Online LibraryA. T. (Albert Ten Eyck) OlmsteadWestern Asia in the days of Sargon of Assyria → online text (page 14 of 18)