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older generation, and the younger patriots were not loath
to attempt a renewal of the strife with the help of Assyrian
outlaws. That the conflict in Armenia was at any time
doubtful is hardly probable. But Esarhaddon naturally im-
proved the opportunity to fasten securely the bonds that
had been relaxed under Sinacherib. Thus the time was oc-
cupied until he could safely assume the crown in Nineveh.
§ 748. The comparatively brief reign of Esarhaddon
(6811-668 B.C.) was memorable for two great events: the
rehabilitation of Babylonia and the annexation of Egypt.
To the former task the new king applied himself as to a
labour of love. His twelve years were filled with impor-
tant action, but he never lost sight of the claims of Babylon
upon his attention and care, and of the duty laid upon him
to undo, as far as might be, the ruin and misery wrought
by his father. As soon as he was firmly settled upon the
throne he began the work of restoration. The state of

1 Strictly speaking, from the beginning of January, 680. Tlie Babylo-
nian (and Hebrew) year begins with the spring equinox in Nisan (March-
April) and ends with Adar (February-March). Tebet, the tenth month,
on the twentieth day of which Sinacherib died, would correspond to De-
cember-January. A similar variation of notation occurs in the dating of
Sargon's accession (cf. § 358 in the third edition), whose reign, strictly
speaking, began with January of 721. We reckon Esarhaddon's reign
from the death of his father, although legally there was no king on the
throne till May, 680.


things as he found them in Babylon may be described in
the graphic language which distinguishes his inscriptions
above those of all his predecessors : ^ '• Esarhaddon, king of
all peoples, king of Assyria, viceroy of Babylon, king of
Shumer and Akkad, the exalted prince, who adores Nebo
and Merodach. Before my time, under the government of
a former king in Shumer and Akkad, hostile powers had
. . . the inhalntants of Babylon . . . had laid violent hands
on Bit-elu,2 the temple of the gods, and had sent gold and
silver and precious stones as blackmail to Elam.^ Then
Merodach, the lord of the gods, was angry, and resolved to
lay waste the land and to destroy its people. The canal
Arahtu . . . like a deluge it came over the city, its dwell-
ings and its sacred shrines, and made them like waste land.
The gods and goddesses that dwelt therein went aloft to
the heavens.'* The people that dwelt therein were por-
tioned out for the yoke and fetter, and went into exile.
XI ° years, the (mystical) number of his own exaltation,
had the merciful Merodach prescribed. His spirit was de-
pressed and dull ; he stood humbled, for he had for XI
years dismantled its dwelling-places. Me, Esarhaddon, to
restore these buildings to their place, thou hast invoked
from among all my brothers."

§ 749. The pious king then goes on ^ to ascribe to the
patron god of Babylon his triumph over his rivals and ene-
mies in Assyria. " To soothe the heart of thy great god-
head and to tranquillize thy soul, thou didst invest me

1 In the Black Stone Inscription (III R. 49), col. land II ; cf. § 740.

- See note to § 749.

3 The reference is to Suzub the ChaldtBan (602 n.c; § 739). Esar-
haddon wishes to spare the memory of his father and so diminish the
odium of his own dynasty in Babylonia.

* That is, they abandoned the earth because their seats, which were
inseparable from their divine functions (§ 57, 61), were destroyed. So in
the Deluge story (line 108) it is said that the gods ascended from the
desolated earth to the heaven of Ann, or the highest heaven.

5 "Eleven" is the symbolic number representative of Merodach, as,
for example, "fifteen" symbolizes Ishtar.

6 III R. 49, col. Ill, IV.



with the sovereignty of Assyria." In the first year of his
reign he proceeded to the work. In addition to his own
soldiers he made a levy of workmen from all Babylonia.
To encourage the toilers,^ he himself wore the labourer's
cap, the badge of servile employment. After a description
of the preparations and the materials he enthusiastically
concludes : " Bit-elu, the temple of the gods, and its sacred
shrines : ^ Babylon, the protected city,^ Imgur-Bel its wall,
Nemid-Bel"* its rampart, from their foundation to their
summit I built up anew, I made greater, loftier, and more
imposing. The images of the great gods I renewed, and
placed them in their sanctuaries. I fixed in perpetuity the
due amount of their revenue which had fallen in abeyance.
The sons of Babylon who had gone into exile, and had
been portioned out for the yoke and fetter, I gathered
together and I reckoned them as Babylonian citizens. Its
rights as a protected state I established anew."

§ 750. There is something very impressive in the devo-
tion of the son of Sinacherib to the country and city which
his father had oppressed and desolated. It was a master-
stroke of policy that, in relinquishing the despotic control
which Sinacherib had exercised, he should have called
himself, like his great grandfather, merely the vicegerent
of Babylon. Nothing could have so greatly tended to
restore the self-respect of the outraged people as the su-
preme enthronement of their national gods and the ac-

1 Also to show them that he, as well as they, owed service to their
common lords, the gods of Babylon.

■■2 The name of this famous temple of Merodach (cf. § 117) I still write
B'lt-elu, in spite of the correct statement of Jensen in the Theol. Lite-
ratrn-zeitung, No. 20, 1895, in his review of vol. i of the present work, to
the effect that Esak{k)ila was a current pronunciation. The analogy of
Eit-kenu confirms the view that Eit-elu was also used. Both forms are
good Semitic ; see note to § 117.

3 That is, the city that is under the special tutelage and care of Esar-
haddon. Cf. Del. AHW. s. v. kidlmi.

■* The names of the two famous walls of Babylon. Imgur-Bel, the
inner wall, means "Bel is propitious"; Nemid-Bel, the outer, probably
"the station of Bel."


knowleclgment by their suzerain that he too owed all his
rights among them to the grace of Nebo and Merodach.
He was doubtless also sincerely convinced of the rightful
supremacy of these deities, and it is more than probable
that he attributed his father's ill-omened ending to their
just vengeance for the impiety that deposed and banished
them from their sacred seats. The effect of tlie restora-
tion of Babjdon and its temples, its defences, its trade, its
manufactures, and its schools, was of inestimable impor-
tance. Henceforward Nineveh looked to Babylon for intel-
lectual culture and inspiration, while Babylon expected
from Nineveh protection guaranteed by religious homage.
Of the country as a whole Babylon was the centre. If
we wish to picture to ourselves what Babylonia was during
the eleven years of Merodach's humiliation, we may think
of England, with London reduced to ashes and the diverted
waters of the Thames overflowing its site.

§ 751. The eleven years of Babylon's desolation ex-
tended from 689 B.C. (§ 740) till 678. The renovation
of the city, or at least of the walls and the temples, must
therefore have occupied the greater portion of the first
two years of the reign of Esarhaddon.^ But this did not
exhaust his activity during that period. Most of his reign
was occupied with wars outside of Babylonia, mainly in-
tended to conserve the bounds of the empire as it was fixed
by Sargon. In Babylonia itself, while busied with the
work of restoration, he had, though but for a brief interval,
to repel encroachments from the side of the Chalda3ans.
The sons of the great Merodach-baladan had inherited their
father's ambition and patriotism. One of them took the
throne in Bit-Yakin. Upon learning of the death of Sin-

1 We must not suppose, however, that -within this period the task
was finished. All that Esarhaddon could do was to see the work so well
brought forward that its completion could be left to others. He was con-
tent with making the city habitable and secure. Even the great temple
of Merodach was not made tit for the reception of Bel and the other gods
of Babylon until after his death, when they were brought back with great
pomp and ceremony.


acherib, he organized an expedition for the deliverance of
the south-country from the hated regime. He succeeded
in regaining the lost territory as far north as Ur. But in
679 he retired before an army of Esarhaddon, and fled to
Elam. Here he was put to death by the king of that
country, opposed though all the rulers of Elam were to
the Assyrian conquerors. Another brother made peace
with Esarhaddon, and in accordance with the new policy
of conciliation, he was appointed to rule over his hereditary
domains for the Assyrian over-lord.^ He became a faithful
vassal, and the long strife between the Chaldceans of the
south-land and the empire of the Tigris was suspended for
nearly a generation.

§ 752. Other difficulties which arose in the settlement
of Babylonian affairs were of a minor character, and their
speedy adjustment tended to augment the general tran-
quillity. Even with Elam, the consistent opponent of
Assyria's intervention in Babylonia, Esarhaddon succeeded
after a few years in establishing a modus vivendi. The
king who, strangely enough, had put to death the fugitive
son of Merodach-baladan in 679, made a murderous raid
upon the ill-fated city of Sippar in 674 (cf. § 739). But
on his death in the following year his successor made
peace with the ruling power in Babylonia in the way most
expressive of propitiation and good-will. He sent back to
the city of Akkad, which was still a religious centre, if not
a distinct community (§ 94), images of Ishtar and other
deities which had been taken thence to Elam.^

§ 753. These, however, were matters left to be settled
without the personal intervention of Esarhaddon, who
trusted to the new policy in the southeast to work out its
own beneficent results. The time at length seemed pro-

1 Bab. Chr. Ill, 39 ff. ; I R. 45 (Cyl. A), col. II, 32 ff. ; III R. 15
(Broken Cylinder B), col. II, 1 ff.

" The diplomatic significance of this event is indicated by its being
recorded in the brief Babylonian Chronicle, with the exact date (tenth of
Adar). See Col. IV, 9, 17 f.


pitious for settling the long-neglected affairs of the West-
land. Here the Phcjenician states first claimed his atten-
tion. How pressing was the need of his intervention may
be inferred from the fact that he had been less than two
years upon the throne when he relinquished the over-sight
of Babylonia, and headed an expedition against Tyre and
Sidon. The latter city had been made by Sinacherib an
object of peculiar care. It had been his policy to aggran-
dize and strengthen it as a rival to Tyre, whose subjection
he had vainly sought to accomplish in 701 B.C. (§ 680 ff.).
Sidon had indeed performed good service for Assyria dur-
ing the years that followed the expedition of that memo-
rable year ; for, as has been pointed out (§ 683), the five
years' war against Tyre could only have been carried on
by Phoenician cities, ships, and sailors, of whom Sidon took
the lead. The unnatural vassalage had since been fore-
sworn, and the ancient rival of Tyre was now to be found
arrayed with her against the common taskmaster. But its
sturdy independence could not now be longer maintained.
It soon fell before the attack of Esarhaddon (678 B.C.).
Thus the reviving hope of the return of its ancient
splendour, which had been inspired by the favouring pol-
icy of one Assyrian king was quenched by the resent-
ment of his successor. While Assyria remained an
empire, Sidon appeared no longer even among the tribu-
tary states. In its place a new city was erected and
named '' Esarhaddonsburg." ^

§ 754. But Tyre remained what it long had been, not
merely the leading Pluenician state in wealth and enterprise,
but a stubborn obstacle to the vast designs of the Assyrian
kings. Expecting a prolonged resistance, Esarhaddon con-
tented himself with a land blockade and postponed the
regular siege till he had got well under way the expedition
to Egypt. By this undertaking he was to assert most
signally the supremacy of Asshur, and at the same time

1 The capture of Sidon and (in 675) of its fugitive king are i-elated in
V R. 45 (Cyl. A) col. I, 10 ff. For the dates see Bab. Chr. IV, 3, 6.


to fix the extreme western limit of his march of conquest.
To make the descent upon Egypt more certain of success,
two preliminary enterprises were undertaken. These were
both directed against the nomads of the desert of Arabia,
and Esarhaddon in his I'eports seems to lay as great stress
upon his success among these people as upon the conquest
of EgjqDt itself. Two elements in his achievement were
of special significance. One was his overcoming the
enormous difficulties of a desert march. He describes the
long and toilsome journey, the heat and drought, the ter-
rible monsters who infested his route. This achievement
was characteristically Assyrian, and indicative of the un-
conquerable spirit of enterprise and endurance which had
created the empire of the Tigris out of mountains and
wildernesses as well as valleys and fruitful fields. The
other and the principal ground of self-gratulation was the
fact that by these ventures the Great King made himself
master of the regions which served as a recruiting ground
for Egypt, and were the home of tribes ready for fray and
foray on the borders of Assyrian territory. These desert
campaigns enable us to understand better the persistent
attempts of Tiglathpileser (§ 334), Sargon (§ 630), and
Sinacherib (§ 741 ; cf. § 706) to control the peninsula of
Sinai and northern Arabia generally.

§ 755. Esarhaddon, with the largeness of aim peculiarly
his own, and knowing the mobility and restlessness of the
sons of the desert,^ determined to render all Arabia harm-
less and, if possible, friendly to him in his government of
the west. The first expedition (675 B.C.) was directed
asfainst certain troublesome tribes in the interior of Arabia,^

1 Illustrated, for example, by the invaders of Palestine in the days of
Gideon (Jud. vi.). We must not suppose that these were " Midianites "
alone, though they were doubtless the moving spirits by whom inter-
mediate tribes were pushed onwards, like the Hyksos of the olden time
in Egypt (§ 13Gf.).

2 I R. 46, col. Ill, 25 ff. For the date see Bab. Chr. IV, 5 : "In the fifth
year on the second day of Teshrit (September) the king of Assyria took
the road to the desert."


east and southeast of the Gulf of Akaba.^ According to
the official record he " marched over 140 double-leagues
of desert ground with thickets and gazelle-mouth stones,
20 double-leagues of serpents and scorpions, which covered
the earth like grasshoppers," besides 20 miles of stony-
mountain territory. The other campaign was executed in
674, and had for its object the reduction of the Sinaitic
peninsula.2 It was successfully accomplished by the sub-
mission of the tribes ; and the surrender of their leader,
Hazael, king of the " Arabs," who had submitted to Sinach-
erib (§ 741), was further instrumental in clearing the way
for Esarhaddon in his designs against Egypt. Knowing
the reasonable and conciliatory disposition of the Assyrian
monarch, he entreated him to restore his national and tribal
palladium, the gods which had been taken from him by
his predecessor. The request was granted. The heart of
the doubly bereaved king was also made glad by the release
of the princess Tabua, who was raised to royal rank along
with Hazael.^ An important additional result of all these
transactions was to deprive Egypt not only of her former
allies, but also of much of her lucrative trade (cf. § 334).

1 Bazu, the principal point of attack, is identified by Delitzsch, Par.
.307, with the "Buz" (more probably Boz) of the Bible, the birthplace
of Elihu, .Job xxxii. 2; cf. Jer. xxv. 23 and Gen. xxii. 21. |Iazu, the
mountain land above referred to, is identified by him with " Hazo " of
Gen. xxii. 22. These districts are located by Glaser, Skizze der Geschichte
itnd Geocjraphie Arnbiens, II, 205 ff. (1890), in the region of Yemama.

- " ^lelucha," the objective point, is (cf. Winckler, GBA. 205) a desig-
nation for northwestern Arabia. The most striking evidence is that with
Magan (which, it is agreed on all hands, stands for Northeast Arabia) it
is used as an equivalent of North Arabia generally ; e.g. V R. 1, 52 ; cf. § 96.

3 This double royalty is thought by Winckler to "put the phenomenon
of female sovereignty in its right light " (GBA. p. 267). It is more likely,
however, that this and the similar usage referred to by him as existing
among the Nabatseans, represent the transition stage between a sole
female reign as a survival of the primitive matriarchate and a sole male
reign (cf. W. K. Smith, Kinship, p. lO-I, 171). The prevalence of a
supreme queenship throughout the Arabian desert from Palmyra to Sheba
cannot be accounted for on the hypothesis of an extension of the royal
functions from king to queen. See in general § 423 and cf. § 334.


§ 756. " In the seventh j^ear on the fifth day of Aclar
the troops of Assyria marched into Egypt." " In the
tenth year in the month Nisan the troops of Assyria
marched against Egypt." ^ So run the notices of the
Babylonian chronicler. The expedition of the end of
673 was apparently soon abandoned as premature after
crossing the border. But in 670 the decisive movement
was made. The same Tirhaka, who had taken part in the
events of 701 (§ 693 f.), was still at the head of this
Ethiopian twenty-fifth dynasty. Thus, even if pretexts
for a justifiable invasion had been wanting, the attack
upon the troops of Sinacherib could be cited. As the
sequel shows, Esarhaddon did, in fact, treat the Egyptians
as an old and inveterate foe. We may fairly assume that
they were giving aid and comfort to the Phoenician insur-
gents. Though not fully informed of the details of the
campaign, we are able to time the principal stages and
events. Leaving Nineveh in Nisan, Esarhaddon reached
Palestine early in Sivan (May-June). After reconnoiter-
ing before Tyre (§ 754), he mustered his troops at Aphek,
near Samaria, for the invasion. Raphia, near the River
of Egypt, the conventional boundary of Egypt, is noted
as one of the stations. The first battle was fought at
Ischupri on Egyptian soil.^ The march thence to Mem-
phis occupied fifteen days^ — an undue length of time,
which implies steady resistance by the retreating Tirhaka
to the Assyrian advance. Battles were fought on the
third, the sixteenth, and the eighteentli of Tammuz (June-
July). On the twenty-second,* Memphis was taken after a
siege of half a day.^ The famous old city was plundered and

1 Bab. Chr. IV, 16, 23. Notice the accuracy with which the crossing
of the Egyptian border (the " Kiver of Egypt") was recorded.

2 K. 3082 ; 3086 ; S. 2027. See Budge, Hist, of Esarhaddon, p.
114 ff.

3 Stele of Sinjirli.

*The Bab. Chr. IV, 26 says "the twelfth," but this is probably a
scribal error.

5 Bab. Chr. IV, 24 ff. Stele of Siujirli.


destroyed, while Tirhaka fled to his Ethiopian father-land.
The whole of Lower and Upper Egypt now submitted
without a blow. A thoroughly Assyrian administration
was introduced, though in such a fashion as not entirely to
quench patriotic self-respect. Native Egyptians, who had
been in most cases viceroys under Tirhaka (cf. § 347 f.),
were appointed to rule nominally with direct responsi-
bility to the Great King. But the real administrators
were the Assja-ian officials,^ who were in constant and
close communication with the Ninevite court.

§ 757. It is passing strange that the great warrior and
statesman before whom fell, after a brief campaign, the
empire of the Nile, should have been baffled by the resist-
ance of a single city. But true it is, that Tyre could not
be reckoned among the Assyrian conquests till after the
death of Esarhaddon. Certainly the blockade (§ 754)
was strictly maintained. But through the nature of its
plan of defence which Sinacherib had found too hard to
overcome (§ 683), it was long in a position to defy its
besiegers. The island city, though cut off from its proper
territory on the mainland, could obtain supplies from its
colonies, through its command of an element whose posses-
sion was destined to remain an unrealized dream of Assyr-
ian ambition. Esarhaddon, indeed, or an obsequious artist,
has left a monumental representation ^ of a triumph over
Ba'al, the Tyrian king. But his inscriptions more truth-
fully omit the name of Tyre from the list of vassals.
This memorial of Esarhaddon's western campaigns is ap-
propriately set up at the meeting-place of the south and

1 Essential information as to the Assyrian administration we obtain
from references of Asshurbanipal, V K. 1 and 2.

2 On the stele of Sinjirli, where Ba'al is exhibited as kneeling before
Esarhaddon and begging for mercy, with a ring throngh his lips, attached
to a cord in the hands of the Great King. Tirhaka also, who escaped
to Ethiopia (§ 756), is represented in a similar attitude. Cf. Winckler,
GBA. p. 2G4. Probably these figures aimed at setting forth what was
potentially correct ; namely, that Esarhaddon was able to put them in that
.situation if he only had the opportunity !


the north, and thus faithfully symbolizes his authority and
the range of his dominion.

§ 758. In defending and maintaining his northern
boundary, Esarhaddon achieved a success not the least
amono- the triumphs of his brilliant career. The enemy
that threatened from the north were the far-famed Kim-
merians — to name them according to the spelling of the
Greek authors.^ They are rightly described by Herodo-
tus ^ as having lived north of the Black Sea, whence they
had been dislodged by the Scythians. Late in the eighth
century B.C. they descended, probably over the Caucasus,
into Armenia. Thence they spread southeastward and
westward and came within the Assyrian sphere of influ-
ence, where they were known as Crimirre. Thus, also,
they came to the knowledge of the Bible writers, who
have spoken of them as G-omer^ (Gen. x. 2 f.; 1 Chr.
i. 5 f . ; Ez. xxxviii. 6 ; Sept. Tafxep). They were of Indo-
European race,"^ and were apparently aware of kinship
with the Medians (Madai) ; for in their southeastern divis-
ion they allied themselves with the latter, along with the
people of Van (^Mannai).^ There seems to be no doubt

1 These were long known to the Greeks ; for the myth which ascribed
to them an abode in darkness beyond the bounds of the ocean (Od. xi. 14)
is based upon the fact of their residence beyond the Euxine.

2 i. 15, 104; iv. 11, 12. Among tlie many identifications that have
been made, we may leave aside the Cimbri and the Cymnj, and retain the
local reminiscence perpetuated in the Crimea.

3 These people have naturally attracted much attention from scholars.
Besides the comments on the Bible passages, the most notable discussions
are ZDMG. XXIV, 79, 82 ; XXVI, 689 ; Lagarde, Gesammelte Abhand-
hingen, 254; Mittheilungen, I, 227; Armenische Stiidien, § 448; De-
litzsch,Par. 245 f. ; Hommel, GBA. 721 ff. ; Tiele, GAB. 334 f. ; Winckler,
GBA. 267 ff. ; Sayce, Babylonian Literature, 78 ff. ; The Higher Criti-
cism and the Monuments, p. 123 ff.

* And so named in Gen. x. among the sons of Japhet, along with the
Lydians, IMedes, lonians, and Thracians. In Ezekiel they are spoken of
as nomads, and, perhaps, also by Esarhaddon himself in I R. 45, col. II, 6,
who refers to their king TeiiSpa as a " Manda (Scythian) warrior whose
home is remote."

5 S. 2005 and K. 4668, transcribed in Sayce, Babyl. Lit. I.e.


about the general locality of this rendezvous^ since we
know that the Medians were settling to the east and
northeast of Assyria proper (§ 248, 311), and that the
Mannai ^ dwelt on the western shore of Lake Urmia.

§ 759. Here, then, we have a combination of kindred
tribesmen bearing down upon the ancient civilizations of
the south, a forerunner of more formidable inroads yet to

Online LibraryJames Frederick McCurdyHistory, prophecy and the monuments (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 39)