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Western Asia in the days of Sargon of Assyria online

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might be expected. As a result, perhaps, of this investiga-
tion, Ashur rigua next learned that Argishtish had now
entered Turushpa and had there captured the second tartan,
Urgine, with his Assyrian army. The tartan, it would
seem, had advanced incautiously, thinking that the Haldian
was still at Argistihina. Now his brother, Apli uknu, had
gone off to see him, presumably under a truce, and was
about to investigate the cause of the capture. The near
approach of the Haldian army had quite naturally led to
disaffection among Sargon's soldiers, many of them captives
who had seen their homes destroyed and relatives killed by
the men who now forced them to fight their cause. Narage,
a rab kigir, plotted revolt, and was followed by twenty of
his men. Ashur rigua, however, detected it in time and the
plotters were sent back from the front.^** Another example
of the disaffection felt may be seen in a letter from Sha
Ashur dubbu, governor of Tushhan. Two officers and six
men were sent with warrants, seal in hand, the Assyrian
says, for deserters in Penza on the Haldian frontier.

"Johns, Laws, 341, is no doubt correct in making him the head scribe
of the harem, Sarg 12, 45, Strassmaier, Alphabet. Verzeich., 880, dated
Kalhu, 709.

' For the various forms of Turushpa or Tushpa, the classical Lake
Thospites, the Armenian Tosp, cf. Sayce, Jour. Roy. Asiat. Soc, 1882.

'K. 1907 = H. 148. Badly mutilated and little to be gotten out of it.
Cf. Thompson, /. c, 163, and Johns, Laws, 342.

' Is he the amel shanute to whom Ashur rigua writes a very urgent
letter, 81-7-27, 199 = H. 382, requesting a reply to his former message?
If so, then perhaps he was already a prisoner and this just precedes the
next letter quoted, n. 10.

^^ K. 194 =:H. 144, a letter of Ashur rigua, referred to Thompson,
164, and Johns, 341 f. The second part does not seem to refer to the


While on their way they fell into an ambush set by a Shu-
prian whose brother had just been treacherously eating with
them to throw them off their guard. Fortunately they es-
caped. The governor has ordered a guard, for he has
cavalry as well as infantry, to be stationed here and will
carry on a full investigation.^^ Another letter of his gives
further news of the Penza affair, it would seem, as well as
of conditions on the frontier. A messenger of Bagteshub
has brought news from the front, but Bagteshub himself
has not obeyed orders, and a copy of the reprimand sent
him is given.^^

Frontier conditions were certainly growing alarming.
Akkul anu was cut off and besought the king for a reply.^*
Another letter from Upahhir Bel, governor of Ameda, re-
ports that he is still in Harda and has sent a scout to the
frontier. The governor of an unknown city, perhaps Akku-
lanu, has sent asking aid. Upahhir Bel replies by urging
him to remain shut up close in his forts and he will deliver
him.^* But this must have been a boast which Upahhir Bel
was unable to fulfil, for when we next hear of him he has
been forced to fall back, and Haldian officials are at Harda,

"K. 469 = H.' 138; Johnston, Jour. Amer. Orient. Soc, 1897, 152 /.
= Harper, Literature, 2^7.

" K. 1067 = H. 139, cf. Johnston, op. cit., 151.

"K. 604 = H. 444; Smith, Ashur bani pal, II. 15; Delitzsch, Beitr.
z. Assyr., I. 222.

" K. 593 = H. 548, cf. Johns, Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch., 1902, 297, and
Laws, 344. Johns is perfectly justified in attributing it to Upahhir Bel
as the reconstruction shows. But he makes one very curious error.
A slightly mutilated line which can be restored only as (amel)aqi,
" messenger," and noting that he was sent to Haldia according to
orders from the king, is read Argista by Johns. He then, neglecting
the fact that the appeal and reply relate to a governor, reconstructs
the history in a rather surprising way, making this a submission of the
Haldian king to Assyrian suzerainty on account of the Cimmerian in-

va<sinn I


his old quarters. From here to Turushpa, where the king
still was, they keep guard. There is no immediate danger
of attack, for a captured letter from Argishtish to the
governor of Harda forbids for the present further advance.
The Ituai, who seem to have been a sort of military caste,
have been called in. The palace Ituai who has come from
the Euphrates has gone off with one or two " houses " of
the governor's sukalli. The Ituai who inspected beams at
Eziat has been sent of with the rob ali, or mayor, to the
front. An engagement has taken place and the Assyrians
have been worsted. The enemy lost only three wounded,
while the Assyrians suffered a loss of two killed and ten
wounded, including the lieutenant of the rab ali. Upahhir
Bel is now at Shuruba and must have an army there by
harvest time to support him.^'^

But still worse news was to come to Sennacherib, for
while Argishtish was still at Turushpa sacrificing, and with
all his governors around him, ready for an advance, the
Mannai, whose traditional policy was to side with Assyria,
broke away and made a raid on Assyrian territory. Analu-
qunu, the governor of Mugagir, and Tunnaun, governor of
Karsitu,^ hastened to the boundary, but the Mannai had
already retreated. Such was the news of Ashur rigua.^^
Gabbu ana Ashur, who had arrived at his province of
Kurban,^ in Tammuz (July), sends in a report a month
later, in Ab. On his arrival he sent messengers to Nabu
liu, Ashur bel danan, and Ashur rigua, who were at the forts

"S. 760 = H. 424; S. A. Smith, Ashur bani pal, III. 53 ff.; van
Gelderen, XIX; Johns, Lazvs, 344.

"Johns reads Kar Sippar.

"81-2-4, SS=:H. 381; Harper, Amer. Jour. Sent. Lang., 1897, 212;
van Gelderen, IX; Johns, Laws, 342; Thompson, 164.

"Floods are reported in Kurban by Sennacherib in the letter 81-7-27,
41 =: H. 731. These occurred in 708, cf. Johns, Laws, 345.


immediately before the enemy. Now the messengers have
returned and report that Argishtish is still in Turushpa.^
From another letter we learn that there were ten Assyrian
generals operating in this region.^^ About the same time
must have taken place the revolt of the Zikirtai.^^

The events of this year had been most favorable for
Haldia. On the northwest Mutallu of Qummuh had been
drawn away." Then along the whole southern boundary
of Haldia an advance had been made and disaffection was
spreading in the enemy's ranks. The situation seemed black
enough for Assyria, with even the Zikirtai and their faith-
ful Mannai gone.

The operations of the next year, 708, were no more cal-
culated to restore confidence to Sargon. At the beginning
of Nisan (April), Argishtish at last advanced, first to
Qaniun^^ and then to Eliggadu where he was met by the
levy from all Armenia.-* Meanwhile, Qaqqadanu, his tartan,
had been sent on to Uesi with four other officers.^** After

"K. 574 =:H. 123. Cf. Thompson, 164 and Johns, 343. The
latter does not name the letter he quotes from.

^ K. 1182 = H. 619, c, Johns, Laws, 345. K. 910 =: H. 145, cf.
Johns, Laws, 342, is a letter from Ashur rigua to the abarakku, con-
cerning the Ukkai messenger, A somewhat similar letter from him is
forwarded by Tab gil Ashur to the king, K. 561 = H. loi, cf, Johns,
Laws, 342,

^^ K. 1037 =: H. 215; Winckler, Sammlung, II, 13; Thompson, 164,
from the same Bagteshub who is reprimanded by Sha Ashur dubbu,
cf. n. 12, The revolt of the Mannai is known and reference is made
to a city Shulman? ...

=^ Cf, chap. V. SZ.

^ K, 645 = H, 444; van Gelderen, IV; Thompson, 164; Johns, Laws,
344. *

^* 81-2-4, 60 = 11. 492; Thompson, 164; Johns, 341; from Ashur

"^ The other officials were Setinu of . . . teni, Sakuata of Qaniun,
Siplia of Alzi, Tutu of Armiraliu. Johns, /. c, is probably correct in
attributing this to Ashur rigua. This advance is also mentioned in


a long delay, during which he received the tribute of the
Zikirtai, the king left Eliggadu and himself went to Uesi.
His forces at this time were said to be few. By this
time it was already Elul ( September) .^^ Here he seems to
have remained until the beginning of the next year.^^ But
while still in Uesi, apparently before the winter closed in,
he sent against Mugagir a body of three thousand men with
baggage camels under Setinu, one of his governors. But
Suna, the Assyrian general in charge of the Ukkai country,
who had already put down a revolt at home,- learned of this
and hurried to Mugagir to head him off. This he succeeded
in doing, although not before the enemy had crossed the
Calmat river.^^ This was the first victory, it would appear,
of all the operations. An attempt was made to push the
advantage home. The commanders of Uesi and Ukkai,^*^
the latter Suna, of course, came to Mugagir, sacrificed in the
famous temple, and then advanced, the result being that
Argishtish fell back to Uesi. This information was sent
the king by no less a person that Urzana, king of Mugagir,
the former friend of Rusash. He now protests his loyalty

81-2-4, 60. Johns, /. c, mentions directly after these operations the
fact that according to an unpublished text, the commander of Uesi
was slain. One gains the impression that the Assyrian governor
of Uesi was killed as a result of these movements. But reference to
Thompson, 165, shows that the governor of Uesi was one of the
numerous Haldian nobles who were slain in the great battle with the

^^ Letter of Ashur rigua quoted by Sennacherib, K. 5464 ^ H. 198,
also Winckler, Sammlung, II. 8; Johns, Proc, 230 if.; Laws, 339 ff.

^ Cf. Johns, Laws, 341.

''K. 5464.

^ Rm. 2, 3 = H. 380, also Harper, Zeitschr. f. Assyr., 1893, 34; G. R.
Berry, Hebraica, 1895, 174 ff.; van Gelderen, op. cit., 521 f.; cf.
Thompson, 165, and Johns, Laws, 341. Letter of Ashur rigua.

^ Cf. S. 96, perhaps a part of Rm. 978, Thompson, 165.


and his wish to do whatever the king orders him.^^ This
success of the Assyrians must have been followed by a re-
verse, for soon after we find Urzana negotiating a treaty
with Haldia and his example followed by Hubushkia.^^
Hardly, however, had the spring campaign of 707 begun
when Argishtish was suddenly drawn to the north by a
terrible danger which now began to threaten the civilized
countries of Western Asia.^^ Another branch of that Iranian
race which was already pressing so hard on the eastern
frontier of Assyria had poured across the Caucasus, carry-
ing everything before it. Coming out of their " Cimmerian
darkness," these Gimirrai, so soon as the late spring of the
highlands allowed, began their operations.^* They struck
the Haldian frontier obliquely and finally took up their po-
sition in Cappadocia, where many traces of their stay lasted
on in the later nomenclature of the region.^^ Here they
were able to attack, as they might desire, Phrygia or the
rising power of Lydia on the one hand, or Assyria or Haldia
on the other. The land of Haldia first felt the presence of
these barbarians and Argishtish decided to attack them be-

*^ This letter of Uurzana, Rm. 2, 2 = H. 409 has been frequently
published, V. R. 54; Harper, Zeitschr. f. Assyr., 1893, 345; Berry,
op. cit.; Scheil, Rec. Trav., 1897, 62; Thompson, 165, Johns, Laws,
343. Cf. also S. 1056 = H. 768 with its reference to the land of Nakiri
(or a hostile land?) and its protestation of fidelity.

^=^K. i8i=:H. 197, also V. R. 54; Pinches, Proc. Soc. Bihl. Arch.,
1884, 220 fF.; Johns, Proc, 1895, 222 ff.; Laws, 339 ff.; Thompson, 166.

*'K. 1120=: H. 596, cf. Thompson, 165. One of these places con-
quered is the city ABNU.IMERU of the Haldian inscriptions Belck
and Lehmann, 130, 131.

** Cf . N. Schmidt, art. Scythians, Ency. Biblica.; Winckler, Forsch.,
I. 484 if.

^ It is interesting to see (mat) Gamir of K. 181 appearing as Kamir
in Moses. Chor., II, 80. For the Greek forms Kemer, Kamouria
(Kamoulia), Kamouresarbon, see Ramsay, Hist. Geog., 304,


fore they actually crossed his borders.^^ At first he seems
to have had some success. Guriania,-^ "a region between
Haldia and Gamirra," ^^ was forced to pay tribute.^ As the
Haldian advance must have been up the Tokhma Su past
Melitene and Tulgarimmu, this whole country must have
already been lost to Assyria. It is therefore with no surprise
that we see Sennacherib engaged once more in reconquering
this region.

The advantage did not long remain to Argishtish. Soon
after he entered the land of Gamir,*^ the battle with the
Cimmerians took place. The result was a complete defeat.
The king himself escaped and retreated to Uazaun, but his
tartan, Qaqqadanu, was taken and most of his nobles slain.
The defeat was a terrible one. The wars with Assyria had
already weakened Haldia, and now this came. The country
was permanently crippled and never again became a serious
menace to Assyria.

The news spread far and wide, and soon reports from the
various frontier officers began to come in to Sennacherib,
who forwarded them to Sargon,*^ who was still delaying in

^^ K. 181, 29 seems to indicate that the battle took place outside of
his proper territory.

^ For site of Guriania-Gurun, see chap. IV, n. 40.

^ So. Thompson, 166 n. 7. Johns, Laws, 342, still takes Nagiu as
a proper name.

^^ K. 1080 r=:H. 146, cf. Thompson, 166; Johns, Laws, 342, by Ashur

*" K. 181; Rm. 554, Thompson, 165.

" These forwarded reports are from the Ukkai, from Ashur rigua,
and from Nabu liu, K. 181. Other references to the great defeat are
in Rm. 554, Thompson, 165, from Urzana ; in K. iiii^rH. 590,
where a nameless official sends the report of the defeat given by Sania,
bel all of Qaqqadanu; and in K. 1080. K. 485 = H. 112 from Ardi
Ishtar reports the defeat, mentions the booty, and says that Umar,
Buliai, Surianai, cities of Urartu, feared greatly. These should be
sought near the Euphrates boundary. K. 7434 = H. 199 from Senna-


Babylon. The news seems to have aroused him, for by the
end of the year 707 he was once more back in Assyria.^-
The next year he himself took the field in Tabal, though now
an old man.*^ For a time there seems to have been no
decisive battle, the Cimmerians probably being weakened by
their late contest, while Sargon would follow a more cau-
tious policy. But in the year 705 he was forced to give
battle to the Cimmerians, who seem now to have been led
by Eshpai the Kulummite. The king fell in the ensuing
conflict and his camp was taken.^* Later his body was re-
covered and, after much opposition for some unknown
cause by the priests,*^ his son buried it with all the necessary

cheno has only the address. K. 622 =: H. 306, c. Delattre, Proc. Soc.
Dibl. Arch., 1901, 59 /., is a rather sharp "word of the king" to Nabu
dur ugur, ordering him to send at once to headquarters the Haldian
prisoners who are at Arapha in the charge of the body guard Mannu ki

" Rm, 2, 97, "the king returned from Babylon." So in D. 114 the
king's stay seems to end in year III = 707.

*^ Bab. Chron., II. 9. The sharru mu ig(f) must refer to the same
expedition though it is placed, if we admit the relative position to
mean anything, early in the year. What the king is doing I do not
know, although I have puzzled over it many times.

** II. R. 69. Delitzsch, after a new collation, Beitr. zur Assyr., I.
615 n., reads ina muhhi Eshpai, etc., " against Eshpai." The next line
begins with sharru, " king," not amelu. The following sign is GAZ
which, cf. Briinnow, means daku or some other word for " destroy,"
etc. Daku means " to fight " as well as " to destroy." May the
ideogram here have some such meaning as " hostile " ? Madaktam
seems to mean only " camp." We may then translate this line " A
hostile king the camp of the king of Assyria [took]."

" K. 4730, published Winckler, Sammlung, II. 52 f. ; translated
Forsch., I. 410 ff., with the exception of rev. 19-26. Winckler would
also make the well-known triumph song of Is. 14*-^'* refer to this. I
do not see how a mere postponement of burial would agree with i8-2oa,
a complete lack of burial. Nor do I see why this would make the
prophet exclaim " How hath the golden city ceased ! " when the death
of Sargon made so little difference in Assyria's power in Syria.


pomp.**^ On the twelfth of Ab (August) Sennacherib for-
mally ascended the throne and a new reign began.*^

"81-2-4, 6s = H. 473, discussed Johns, Deeds, II. 148 may belong
here. It reports the bringing of the news of the king's death to the
palace. The city of Ashur wept, the governor abandoned his home life
and sent away his wife, his shaque put on dark clothes and gold rings.
Kisai and his daughters, the professional mourners, chanted funeral
dirges before the officials. Then the corpse was escorted to the gate
with weeping,

" II. R. 69. My chronology for the chapter is of course conjectural
but seems to work out well enough. Sargon died in 705 in the great
battle. In 706, he was already in Tabal where that battle took place.
But this was also the place where Argishtish was defeated by the
Cimmerians, This took place while Sargon was still living and at
Babylon. Sargon returned to Assyria in 707 and it is natural to
assume that he found affairs too threatening on the northwest and the
reason for this threatening condition must have been the defeat of the
Haldians. If, then, Sargon returned late in 707, the Haldian defeat
could have taken place in the summer of that year. At most, we can
place it in 708, These are the limits on one side. On the other, we
know that the trouble could not have broken out before 710-709, since
these letters assume that Sargon is already in Babylon, The limits
are therefore 710-709 and 708-707, at most three years. This does
actually seem to be the amount of time demanded, if our reconstruction
is true. The first reports of preparation would naturally be in the
winter, while the advance to Turushpia would take place in the spring.
In July he is still there and in fact he did not leave until April, of
course, in the following year. This gives something over one year.
If we assign the preparation to the winter of 710-709, the July to 709,
and the April to 708, we are putting it as early as we can. In Sep-
tember, 708, the king is at Uesi. The attempt on Mugagir, the falling
back again to Uesi, the final winning of Mugagir and Hubushkia, and
the retreat back to within his own frontier may possibly have taken
place all after September, 708. More probably, it was in the early
spring of 707 that the latter of these events took place. The more
severe winters further north would make the time for the Cimmerian
breaking up of camp somewhat later. It would take time for the mes-
sengers to come, for the Haldians to retreat, and for a new advance
to be made into Cappadocia. The battle would then take place, say,
in the autumn of 707, the very latest possible time, for, at very latest,
in the winter of 707 Sargon had heard of the defeat and was back


home. The data therefore exactly fill the space allowed and a better
confirmation of our reconstruction could hardly be asked. If this is
all true, and I do not see how the events of the letters can be placed
later than 707, we face a startling question. If the group of docu-
ments of which the Annals and the Display Inscription are the most
important, was made in 707, cf. chap. I, why are these events not
referred to? Only in the Qummuh troubles de we have an allusion
that can be connected with the letters. Was a general lack of success
on this frontier the cause of the letter material not being worked up?



In a historical study, even as brief and as confined in its
limits as this, some attention must be paid to the culture
history. Always more difficult to investigate than political
history, it is especially so when an attempt must be made to
indicate what were the lines of development in so short a
time. If we were to take the reign of Sargon as typical
of Assyria and were to present a fairly complete picture of
the general civilization of the age, it might be allowable to
draw from the more abundant data relating to the later
Sargonid days. As the present production is a study rather
than a complete presentation, this chapter will contain merely
certain observations on the civilization of the reign of

In the preceding chapters almost exclusive attention has
been given to the military history. To a large extent this
has been forced by the nature of our sources, which are
largely war annals. But we are not called upon especially to
regret this. To a nation so essentially warlike, the military
history is the most important as well as the most typical.
The real Assyrian race was only a conquering caste settled
among a conquered population and constantly forced to
extend its territories, since no real frontier could be found.
Under these conditions, racial solidarity was demanded, as
well as constant preparation for war, and to secure this, as
at Sparta, all else was subordinated to the military life. The
whole essence of life was military and can be understood
only in this light. Even business and religion took on mili-



tary forms. The great mission of Assyria in the pre-classical
period, as of Rome in the classical, was the dissemination by
arms of the culture of an earlier civilization. With less
adequate a basis in the native population and with smaller
powers of organization and assimilation, it had less success,
yet the period when the older civilizations were amalgamated
to so large an extent in its empire must be considered one of
the germinative periods of human history. Nor must we
forget that it is to these very war annals that we owe much
of our knowledge of customs, of the history, perhaps even
the existence of important Asiatic peoples.^

In a people thus settled as a conquering caste among a
non-Semitic race,^ all depended naturally upon the army.
In the earlier days this had consisted of only the feudal levy,
" the people in arms," and survivals existed on into the reign
of Sargon.^ But by this time the energy which had once
enabled them to send off colonies to settle conquered dis-
tricts was gone. The attempted conquest of the world had
proved too much for Assyrian resources, and at this period
Assyria was just recovering from one of her seasons of
exhaustion. No doubt Sargon was doing the only thing he
could when he changed, if, indeed, to him belongs the credit,
from the old feudal levy to a standing army. We must

^ The earlier students of Assyriology were largely content with a
mere statement of known facts. The views enunciated in this chapter
in general find their origin, if not their present form, in various studies
put forth by Winckler in his Forschungen and in other works. Many
sketches of isolated portions of the subject are well given by Maspero
in his Empires. The mass of material presented by Johns in his
Deeds is of the greatest value, as are discussions on various social
questions which deserve more attention from the non-oriental scholar
than they are likely to secure, immure'd as they are in material under-
standable only by an Assyriologist.

' Cf., e. g., Johns, Deeds.

^ Cf. Johns, Deeds, II. 49 if., for the phrase adki ummanatia, " I
called out my troops."


not measure the wisdom of this departure by the success of
standing armies in modern times, for centraUzation then
coincided with the growth of national sentiment and of a
healthy social condition. Here there was no free peasant
or commercial class to fall back upon, and, with the decay
of the old feudal nobility and their followers, the standing
army could be recruited only from captives, from slaves, or
from mercenaries. Of the first method we have sufficient
proof. As has been noted in other chapters, the usual pro-
ceeding after the conquest of a place was to enroll the cap-
tured soldiers into the royal army. Furthermore, there are
references in the letters to soldiers of various nationalities,
who, however, are combined, so far as possible, to break up
racial feeling and to substitute corps spirit."* In some cases,
as at Carchemish, there were probably mercenaries who
were taken over, at any rate, there seem to have been foreign
mercenaries enlisted.*^ From the business documents we
know that slaves were subject to requisition by the military
as by the civil authorities.^ For a time, at least, the new
arrangement succeeded in spite of the poorer material. The

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