Ashur-etil-ilani

Last updated

Background and chronology

There is a distinct lack of available sources in regards to the last few years of Ashurbanipal's reign and the reign of Ashur-etil-ilani. The annals of Ashurbanipal, the primary sources for his reign, go no further than 636 BC. [8] Although Ashurbanipal's final year is often repeated as 627 BC [9] [10] , this follows an inscription at Harran made by the mother of the Neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus nearly a century later. The final contemporary evidence for Ashurbanipal being alive and reigning as king is a contract from the city of Nippur made in 631 BC. [4] To get the attested lengths of the reigns of his successors to match, most scholars agree that Ashurbanipal either died, abdicated or was deposed in 631 BC. [11] Of the three options, a death in 631 BC is the most accepted. [12] If Ashurbanipal's reign would have ended in 627 BC, the inscriptions of his successors Ashur-etil-ilani and Sinsharishkun in Babylon, covering several years, would have been impossible since the city was seized by the Neo-Babylonian king Nabopolassar in 626 BC to never again fall into Assyrian hands. [13]

Ashurbanipal had named his successor as early as 660 BC, when documents referencing a crown prince were written. He had been the father of at least one son, and probably two, early on in his reign. These early sons were likely Ashur-etil-ilani and Sinsharishkun. The common assumption that Ashur-etil-ilani came to the throne at a young age is based on the phrase "my father did not rear me" ("rear" meaning to care for someone until they're fully grown), found in one of his inscriptions. However, the same phrase appears in a prayer by Ashurbanipal and Ashur-etil-ilani is unlikely to have been very young as he is attested to have had male children during his reign. [14]

Reign

Ashur-etil-ilani ascended the throne after the death of his father Ashurbanipal in 631 BC. [15] A land grant from Ashur-etil-ilani to his rab shaqi (a general serving him since he was a young boy) Sin-shumu-lishir suggests that Ashurbanipal died a natural death. [8] As in many other successions in Assyrian history, Ashur-etil-ilani's rise to the Assyrian throne was initially met with opposition and unrest. [15] The same land grant to Sin-shumu-lishir references the actions of an Assyrian official called Nabu-rihtu-usur who with the help of another official, Sin-shar-ibni, attempted to usurp the Assyrian throne. Sin-shum-lishir probably assisted the king with stopping Nabu-rihtu-usur and Sin-shar-ibni. [8] As no sources indicate the opposite, the conspiracy appears to have been crushed relatively quickly. [15] Excavations at Nineveh from the time around Ashurbanipal's death show fire damage, indicating that the plot perhaps resulted in some violence and unrest within the capital itself. [16]

The spread of inscriptions by Ashur-etil-ilani in Babylonia suggest that he exercised the same amount of control in the southern provinces as his father Ashurbanipal had, having a vassal king (Kandalanu) but exercising actual political and military power there himself. His inscriptions are known from all the major cities, including Babylon, Dilbat, Sippar and Nippur. [15] Too few inscriptions of Ashur-etil-ilani survive to make any certain assumptions about his character. Excavations of his palace at Kalhu, one of the more important cities in the empire and a former capital, may indicate that he was less boastful than his father as it had no reliefs or statues similar to those that his predecessors had used to illustrate their strength and success. [17] The lack of such depictions may partly be because there are no records of Ashur-etil-ilani ever conducting a military campaign or going on a hunt. His Kalhu palace was quite small with unusually small rooms by Assyrian royal standards. [18] It is possible that some of Assyria's vassals used the reign of what they perceived to be a weak ruler to break free of Assyrian control and even attack Assyrian outposts. In c. 628 BC, Josiah, ostensibly an Assyrian vassal and the king of Judah in the Levant, extended his land so that it reached the coast, capturing the city of Ashdod and settling some of his own people there. [18]

It is frequently assumed, without any supporting evidence, that Ashur-etil-ilani's brother Sinsharishkun fought with him for the throne. [19] Although the exact circumstances of Ashur-etil-ilani's death and the rise of his brother Sinsharishkun to the throne are unknown, there is no evidence to suggest that Ashur-etil-ilani was deposed and/or killed in a coup. [15]

Titles

Very few inscriptions survive from Ashur-etil-ilani's brief reign. Preserved on bricks of the temple of Nabu at Kalhu, [20] the following titles can be read:

I am Ashur-etil-ilani, King of the Universe, King of Assyria, son of Ashurbanipal, King of the Universe, King of Assyria, grandson of Esarhaddon, King of the Universe, King of Assyria. [20]

See also

Notes

  1. His reign is often given erroneously as 627–623 BC, under the assumption that Ashurbanipal died in 627 BC and not in 631 BC. [3]

Related Research Articles

Chaldea Small Semetic nation

Chaldea was a country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into Babylonia. Semitic-speaking, it was located in the marshy land of the far southeastern corner of Mesopotamia and briefly came to rule Babylon. The Hebrew Bible uses the term כשדים (Kaśdim) and this is translated as Chaldaeans in the Greek Old Testament, although there is some dispute as to whether Kasdim in fact means Chaldean or refers to the south Mesopotamian Kaldu.

Sennacherib King of Assyria

Sennacherib was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Sargon II in 705 BC to his own death in 681 BC. The second king of the Sargonid dynasty, Sennacherib is among the most famous of all Assyrian kings due to the role he played in the Old Testament of the Bible, which describes his campaign in the Levant. Other events of his reign which secured his legacy throughout the millennia following his death include his destruction of the city Babylon in 689 BC and his construction of the last great Assyrian capital, Nineveh.

Babylonia Ancient Akkadian region in Mesopotamia

Babylonia was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia. A small Amorite-ruled state emerged in 1894 BC, which contained the minor administrative town of Babylon. It was merely a small provincial town during the Akkadian Empire but greatly expanded during the reign of Hammurabi in the first half of the 18th century BC and became a major capital city. During the reign of Hammurabi and afterwards, Babylonia was called "the country of Akkad", a deliberate archaism in reference to the previous glory of the Akkadian Empire.

Sargon II King of Assyria in late 8th century BC

Sargon II was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the downfall of his predecessor Shalmaneser V in 722 BC to his death in battle in 705 BC. Though Sargon claimed to be the son of the previous king Tiglath-Pileser III, this is uncertain and he probably gained the throne through usurping it from Shalmaneser V. Sargon is recognized as one of the most important Neo-Assyrian kings due to his role in founding the Sargonid dynasty, which would rule the Neo-Assyrian Empire until its fall less than a century after Sargon's death.

Esarhaddon 7th-century BC King of Assyria

Esarhaddon, also spelled Essarhaddon, Assarhaddon and Ashurhaddon, was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Sennacherib in 681 BC to his own death in 669. The third king of the Sargonid dynasty, Esarhaddon is most famous for his conquest of Egypt in 671, which made his empire the largest the world had ever seen, and for his reconstruction of Babylon, which had been destroyed by his father.

Ashurbanipal Assyrian ruler

Ashurbanipal, also spelled Assurbanipal, Asshurbanipal and Asurbanipal was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Esarhaddon in 668 BC to his own death in 631 BC. The fourth king of the Sargonid dynasty, Ashurbanipal is generally remembered as the last great king of Assyria.

The year 627 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. In the Roman Empire, it was known as year 127 Ab urbe condita. The denomination 627 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Sinsharishkun Assyrian king

Sinsharishkun or Sin-shar-ishkun was the penultimate king of Assyria, reigning from the death of his brother and predecessor Ashur-etil-ilani in 627 BC to his own death at the Fall of Nineveh in 612 BC.

Shamash-shum-ukin Babylonian king

Shamash-shum-ukin or Shamashshumukin, also known as Saulmugina and Sarmuge, was the son of the Neo-Assyrian king Esarhaddon and his appointed successor as King of Babylon, ruling Babylonia from 668 BC to his death in 648 BC.

Sin-shumu-lishir King of Assyria

Sin-shumu-lishir or Sin-shumu-lisher, also spelled Sin-shum-lishir, was a usurper king in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, ruling some cities in northern Babylonia for three months in 626 BC during a revolt against the rule of the king Sinsharishkun. He was the only eunuch to ever claim the throne of Assyria.

Kandalanu was a vassal king of Babylonia under the Neo-Assyrian kings Ashurbanipal and Ashur-etil-ilani, ruling from the defeat and death of his predecessor Shamash-shum-ukin in 648 BC to his own death in 627 BC.

Neo-Assyrian Empire Historical state in Mesopotamia

The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and became the largest empire of the world up until that time. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in later empires, The Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, and their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics.

Revolt of Babylon (626 BC)

The Revolt of Babylon in 626 BC refers to the revolt of the general Nabopolassar and his war of independence until he successfully consolidated control of Babylonia in 620 BC, defeating the Neo-Assyrian Empire which had ruled Babylonia for more than a century. The revolt saw the formation of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and was one of the key factors contributing to the fall of Assyria; twenty years after the revolt had begun, Napopolassar's army and that of his ally, Cyaxares of the Medes, had destroyed the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Old Assyrian Empire Historical period in Assyria

The Old Assyrian Empire is the second of four periods into which the history of Assyria is divided, the other three being the Early Assyrian Period, the Middle Assyrian Empire, and the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Assyria was a major Mesopotamian East Semitic-speaking kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East. Centered on the Tigris–Euphrates river system in Upper Mesopotamia, the Assyrian people came to rule powerful empires at several times. Making up a substantial part of the "cradle of civilization", which included Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, and Babylonia, Assyria was at the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements at its peak.

Ashur-uballit II, also spelled Assur-uballit II and Ashuruballit II, was the final king of Assyria, ruling from his predecessor Sinsharishkun's death at the Fall of Nineveh in 612 BC to his own defeat at Harran in 609 BC. He was possibly the son of Sinsharishkun and likely the same person as a crown prince mentioned in inscriptions at the Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 626 and 623 BC.

Timeline of the Assyrian Empire

The timeline of the Assyrian Empire lists the kings, their successors and the major events that occurred in the Assyrian history.

Sargonid dynasty

The Sargonid dynasty was the final ruling dynasty of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, ruling as kings of Assyria for just over a century from the ascent of Sargon II in 722 BC to the fall of Assyria in 609 BC. Although Assyria would ultimately fall during their rule, the Sargonid dynasty ruled the country during the apex of its power and Sargon II's three immediate successors Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal are generally regarded as three of the greatest Assyrian monarchs. Though the dynasty encompasses seven Assyrian kings, two vassal kings in Babylonia and numerous princes and princesses, the term "Sargonids" is sometimes used solely for Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal.

Medo-Babylonian conquest of the Assyrian Empire Last war fought by the Neo-Assyrian Empire between 626 and 609 BC

The Medo-Babylonian conquest of the Assyrian Empire was the last war fought by the Neo-Assyrian Empire between 626 and 609 BC. The multiple failed offensives against the Medes and the Neo-Babylonian Empire ultimately led to the destruction of the Assyrian Empire, which had dominated the ancient Near East since 911 BC.

Akkadian royal titulary

Akkadian or Mesopotamian royal titulary refers to the royal titles and epithets assumed by monarchs in Ancient Mesopotamia from the Akkadian period to the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, with some scant usage in the later Achaemenid and Seleucid periods. The titles and the order they were presented in varied from king to king, with similarities between kings usually being because of a king's explicit choice to align himself with a predecessor. Some titles, like the Akkadian šar kibrāt erbetti and šar kiššatim and the Neo-Sumerian šar māt Šumeri u Akkadi would remain in use for more than a thousand years through several different empires and others, like the šar ilāni of the Neo-Babylonian Nabonidus, would only be used by a single king.

References

  1. Na’aman 1991, p. 243.
  2. Lipschits 2005, p. 13.
  3. 1 2 Leick 2002, p. 28.
  4. 1 2 Reade 1970, p. 1.
  5. Bertin 1891, p. 50.
  6. Na’aman 1991, p. 248.
  7. Tallqvist 1914, p. 39.
  8. 1 2 3 Ahmed 2018, p. 121.
  9. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  10. Mark 2009.
  11. Reade 1998, p. 263.
  12. Ahmed 2018, p. 8.
  13. Na’aman 1991, p. 246.
  14. Ahmed 2018, pp. 122–123.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 Na’aman 1991, p. 255.
  16. Ahmed 2018, p. 122.
  17. Ahmed 2018, p. 128.
  18. 1 2 Ahmed 2018, p. 129.
  19. Ahmed 2018, p. 126.
  20. 1 2 Luckenbill 1927, p. 408.

Cited bibliography

Cited web sources

Ashur-etil-ilani
 Died: 627 BC
Preceded by
Ashurbanipal
King of Assyria
631 627 BC
Succeeded by
Sinsharishkun