Sennacherib during his Babylonian war, relief from his palace in Nineveh
|King of the Neo-Assyrian Empire|
|Born||c. 740 BC|
|Issue|| Ashur-nadin-shumi |
Sennacherib BC to 681 BC. He is principally remembered for his military campaigns against Babylon and Judah, and for his building programs – most notably at the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. He was assassinated in obscure circumstances in 681 BC, apparently by his eldest son (his designated successor, Esarhaddon, was the youngest).was the king of Assyria from 705
The primary preoccupation of his reign was the so-called "Babylonian problem", the refusal of the people of Babylonia to continue to accept Assyrian rule, culminating in his destruction of the city in 689 BC. Further successful campaigns were carried out in the Levant, in the mountains east of Assyria, against the kingdoms of Urartu, Cilicia and the Neo-Hittites of Anatolia, and against the Arabs in the northern Arabian deserts. His campaigns in Syria are recorded in the Second Book of Kings in the Hebrew Bible. His death was welcomed in Babylon as divine punishment for the destruction of that city.
He was also a notable builder: it was under him that Assyrian art reached its peak. km long to bring water to the city, and the "Palace Without Rival", which included what may have been the prototype of the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, or even the actual Hanging Gardens.His building projects included the beautification of Nineveh, a canal 50
Assyria began as a Bronze Age city-state or small kingdom on the middle-Tigris. BC), Assyria extended its rule over Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Syria-Palestine, making its capital Nineveh, one of the richest cities of the ancient world. The empire's rise aroused the fear and hatred of its neighbours, notably Babylon, Elam and Egypt, and the many smaller kingdoms of the region such as Judah. Any perceived weakness on the part of Assyria led inevitably to rebellion, particularly by the Babylonians. Solving the so-called "Babylonian problem" was Sennacherib's primary preoccupation.The kingdom collapsed at the end of the Bronze Age, but was reconstituted at the beginning of the Iron Age, and under Tiglath-Pileser III and his sons Shalmaneser V and Sargon II (combined reigns 744–705
Sennacherib's grandfather Tiglath-pileser III, unlike his predecessors who installed puppet rulers, had made himself king of Babylon, creating a dual monarchy in which the Babylonians retained a nominal independence. This arrangement was never accepted by powerful local leaders, particularly an important tribal chief named Marduk-apla-iddina (the Merodach-baladan of the Bible). Marduk-apla-iddina paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser, but when Tiglath-pileser's successor Shalmaneser V was overthrown by Sargon II (Sennacherib's father) he seized the opportunity to crown himself king of Babylon whilst Sargon was preoccupied driving the Cimmerians from his colonies in Persia and Media. The next thirty years saw a repeating pattern of Assyrian reconquest and renewed rebellion.
Sargon dealt with the Babylonian problem by cultivating the Babylonians; Sennacherib took a radically different approach, and there is little sign that he cared about Babylonian popular opinion or took part in the ceremonial duties expected of a Babylonian king, notably the New Year ritual. His relations, instead, were predominantly military, and culminated in his complete destruction of Babylon in 689 BC. He destroyed the temples and the images of the gods, except for that of Marduk, the creator-god and divine patron of Babylon, which he took to Assyria. This caused consternation in Assyria itself, where Babylon and its gods were held in high esteem. Sennacherib attempted to justify his actions to his own countrymen through a campaign of religious propaganda. Among the elements of this campaign he commissioned a myth in which Marduk was put on trial before Ashur, the god of Assyria–the text is fragmentary but it seems Marduk is found guilty of some grave offense; he described his defeat of the Babylonian rebels in language of the Babylonian creation myth, identifying Babylon with the evil demon-goddess Tiamat and himself with Marduk; Ashur replaced Marduk in the New Year Festival; and in the temple of the festival he placed a symbolic pile of rubble from Babylon. In Babylon itself, Sennacherib's policy spawned a deep seated hatred amongst much of the populace.
Sennacherib was probably not the first-born son of Sargon II (his name implies a compensation for dead brothers), but he was groomed for royal succession and entrusted with administrative duties from an early age. BC, 704 BC, and 703 BC—suggesting that the succession was not smooth. The transition sparked uprisings in Syria-Palestine, where the Egyptians incited rebellion, and more seriously in Babylonia, where Marduk-apla-iddina II assumed the throne and assembled a large army of rebellious Chaldeans, Aramaeans, Arabs and Elamites.Sargon died in battle, and ancient sources give three different years for Sennacherib's first reign-year—705
Sennacherib's first campaign began late in 703 BC against Marduk-apla-iddina (now Marduk-apla-iddina II), who had once more taken the throne of Babylon. The rebellion was defeated, Marduk-apla-iddina fled to his Elamite protectors, and Babylon was taken and the palace plundered, although the citizens were not harmed. An Assyrian puppet king named Bel-ibni was placed on the throne and for the next two years Babylon was left in peace.
In 701 BC, Sennacherib turned from Babylonia to the western part of the empire, where Hezekiah of Judah, incited by the new Nubian rulers of Egypt and Marduk-apla-iddina, had renounced Assyrian allegiance. The rebellion involved various small Canaanite and Phoenician states in the area: Sidon and Ashkelon were taken by force and a string of other cities and states, including Byblos, Ashdod, Ammon, Moab and Edom then paid tribute without resistance. Ekron called on Egypt for help but the Egyptians were defeated by Assyria. Sennacherib then turned on Jerusalem, Hezekiah's capital. He besieged the city and gave its surrounding towns to Assyrian vassal rulers in Ekron, Gaza and Ashdod. However, Sennacherib did not breach the city, and Hezekiah remained on his throne as a vassal ruler.
In 699 BC, Bel-ibni, who had proved untrustworthy or incompetent as king of Babylon, was replaced by Sennacherib's eldest son, Ashur-nadin-shumi. Marduk-apla-iddina continued his rebellion with the help of Elam, and in 694 BC Sennacherib took a fleet of Phoenician ships down the Tigris River to destroy the Elamite base on the shore of the Persian Gulf, but while he was doing this the Elamites captured Ashur-nadin-shumi and put Nergal-ushezib, the son of Marduk-apla-iddina, on the throne of Babylon. Nergal-ushezib was captured in 693 BC and taken to Nineveh, and Sennacherib attacked Elam again. The Elamite king fled to the mountains and Sennacherib plundered his kingdom, but when he withdrew the Elamites returned to Babylon and put another rebel leader, Mushezib-Marduk, on the Babylonian throne. Babylon eventually fell to the Assyrians in 689 BC after a lengthy siege, and Sennacherib put an end to the "Babylonian problem" by utterly destroying the city and even the mound on which it stood by diverting the water of the surrounding canals over the site.
Sennacherib conducted minor campaigns on his borders, but without significantly adding to the already vast empire. In 702 BC and from 699 BC until 697 BC, he made several campaigns in the mountains east of Assyria, on one of which he received tribute from the Medes. In 696 BC and 695 BC, he sent expeditions into Anatolia, where several vassals had rebelled following the death of Sargon. Around 690 BC, he campaigned in the northern Arabian deserts, conquering Dumat al-Jandal, where the queen of the Arabs had taken refuge.
The Assyrian empire was divided into provinces, each provincial governor being responsible for matters such as the maintenance of roads and public buildings, and for the implementation of administrative policy. One major element of that policy was the massive deportation and redistribution of populations, which aimed to punish, prevent rebellion, and repopulate depopulated areas in order to maintain food production in the empire. As many as 4.5 million people may have been moved between 745 BC and 612 BC, and Sennacherib alone could have been responsible for displacing 470,000 people.
Sennacherib made Nineveh a truly magnificent city using this forced labour (specifically, people from Chaldea, the Araamaeans, the Mannai, the people of Kue and Hilakku, Philistia and Tyre). 503 by 242 metres (1,650 by 794 ft). It comprised at least 80 rooms, many of which were lined with sculpture. A large number of cuneiform tablets were found in the palace. The solid foundation was made out of limestone blocks and mud bricks; it was 22 metres (72 feet) tall. In total, the foundation is made of roughly 2,680,000 cubic metres (3,510,000 cubic yards) of brick (approximately 160 million bricks). The walls on top, made out of mud brick, were an additional 20 metres (66 feet) tall. Some of the principal doorways were flanked by colossal stone door figures weighing up to 30,000 kilograms (30 t); they included many winged lions or bulls with a man's head. These were transported 50 kilometres (31 miles) from quarries at Balatai and they had to be lifted up 20 metres (66 feet) once they arrived at the site, presumably by a ramp. There are also 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) of stone panels carved in bas-relief, that include pictorial records documenting every construction step including carving the statues and transporting them on a barge. One picture shows 44 men towing a colossal statue. The carving shows three men directing the operation while standing on the Colossus. Once the statues arrived at their destination, the final carving was done. Most of the statues weigh between 9,000 and 27,000 kg (20,000 and 60,000 lb).He laid out new streets and squares and built within it the famous "palace without a rival", the plan of which has been mostly recovered and has overall dimensions of about
The stone carvings in the walls include many battle scenes, impalings and scenes showing Sennacherib's men parading the spoils of war before him. He also bragged about his conquests: he wrote of Babylon: "Its inhabitants, young and old, I did not spare, and with their corpses I filled the streets of the city." He later wrote about a battle in Lachish: "And Hezekiah of Judah who had not submitted to my yoke...him I shut up in Jerusalem his royal city like a caged bird. Earthworks I threw up against him, and anyone coming out of his city gate I made pay for his crime. His cities which I had plundered I had cut off from his land." 
At this time, the total area of Nineveh comprised about 7 square kilometres (1,700 acres), and fifteen great gates penetrated its walls. An elaborate system of eighteen canals brought water from the hills to Nineveh, and several sections of a magnificently constructed aqueduct erected by Sennacherib were discovered at Jerwan, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) distant.  The enclosed area had more than 100,000 inhabitants (maybe closer to 150,000), about twice as many as Babylon at the time, placing it among the largest settlements worldwide.
It is possible that the garden which Sennacherib built next to his palace, with its associated irrigation works, was the original Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Sennacherib was assassinated in obscure circumstances in 681 BC. An inscription by Sennacherib's successor, Esarhaddon, describes how Esarhaddon heard that his brothers were fighting in the streets of Nineveh, hurried back from the Western provinces with an army, defeated them all, and took the throne. The inscription does not mention that the brothers were fighting because one of them had just murdered Sennacherib, but this is indicated in the Babylonian chronicles, the Bible (2 Kings 19:36-37, 2 Chron. 32:21, Isaiah 37:36–38, Tobit 1:21), and in later Assyrian records. Esarhaddon's silence on the subject of the name of his father's murderer may have been to avoid perpetuating any perceptions of instability. To one Babylonian historian, it was divine punishment for what the king had done to Babylon.
Professor Simo Parpola, basing his findings on a fragmented letter surviving from that period, BC set the stage for the assassination. In 694 BC, Sennacherib's oldest son and heir-designate Assur-nãdin-sumi was captured by Elamites and Babylonians and was removed to Elam, whereafter he disappears from the historical record. Arda-Mulišši, the next eldest son, was expected to be the next heir-designate. However, Naqi'a Zakitu, the king's second wife, (entirely unrelated to Arda-Mulišši) used her influence to have the King proclaim her own son Esarhaddon the heir-designate. Sennacherib made all of Assyria and its subject peoples swear allegiance to the new crown prince.holds that Arda-Mulišši, known as Adrammelech in the Bible (2 Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38), was the son who killed the King, and that a series of events beginning in 694
Despite this, Arda-Mulišši continued to be a popular figure among the powerful at court. Over the following years, dislike of Esarhaddon grew in court, and simultaneously the popularity of Arda-Mulišši and his other brothers expanded. Worried over this turn of events, Sennacherib sent Crown Prince Esarhaddon to the safety of the western provinces. Arda-Mulišši, feeling that a decisive act would grant him the kingship, made "a treaty of rebellion" with co-conspirators and moved to kill his father. Sennacherib was then murdered, either by being stabbed directly by his son, or by being crushed as he prayed to Nisroch underneath a statue of a winged bull colossus that guarded the temple.
Chaldea was a country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BCE, 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.
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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 was an Assyrian king. A son of Tiglath-Pileser III, he came to power relatively late in life, possibly by usurping the throne from his older brother, Shalmaneser V. Sargon II suppressed rebellions, conquered the Kingdom of Israel, and, in 710 BC, conquered the Kingdom of Babylon, thus reuniting Assyria with its southern rival, Babylonia, from which it had been separate since the death of Hammurabi in 1750 BC.
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 BC. The third king of the Sargonid dynasty, Esarhaddon is most famous for his conquest of Egypt in 671 BC and for his reconstruction of Babylon, which had been destroyed by his father.
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Shamash-shum-ukin, also known as Saulmugina, was the Assyrian king of Babylon from 668–648 BC. He was the second son of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon.
Marduk-apla-iddina II was a Chaldean leader from the Bit-Yakin tribe who seized the Babylonian throne in 722 BC from Assyrian control and reigned in 722 BC--710 BC, and 703 BC--702 BC.
Mushezib-Marduk, Chaldean prince chosen as King of Babylon after Nergal-ushezib.
Nergal-ushezib, originally Shuzub, was a Babylonian nobleman who was installed as King of Babylon by the Elamites in 694 BC, after their capture of Babylon and deposition and murder of the previous king Ashur-nadin-shumi, son of King Sennacherib of Assyria.
The Battle of the Ulai River, also known as the Battle of Til-Tuba, in c. 653 BCE, was a battle between the invading Assyrians, under their king Ashurbanipal, and the kingdom of Elam, which was a Babylonian ally. The result was a decisive Assyrian victory. Teumman, the king of Elam, and his son Tammaritu were killed in the battle.
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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, and was, according to many historians, the first real empire in history. The Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, and their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics.
The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria between the fall of the Old Assyrian Empire in the 14th century BC and the establishment of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 10th century BC.
The timeline of the Assyrian Empire lists the kings, their successors and the major events that occurred in the Assyrian history.
The Sargonid dynasty was the final ruling family of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, beginning with Sargon II's ascent to the throne in 722 BC and ending with the fall of the Assyria after the death of Sinsharishkun in 612 BC at the hands of a coalition of invaders. The kings of the Sargonid dynasty remain the most famous of all Assyrian kings, containing rulers such as Ashurbanipal and Sennacherib, and it marked the end of a 1500-year period of Assyrian ascendancy.
Arda-Mulissu or Arda-Mulissi, also known as Urad-Mullissu and Arad-Ninlil and known in Hebrew writings as Adrammelech, was an ancient Assyrian prince, the son of the Assyrian king Sennacherib and the brother of his successor Esarhaddon.
Ashur-ili-muballissu was an ancient Assyrian prince, the son of the Assyrian king Sennacherib and the brother of his successor Esarhaddon. He was probably Sennacherib's second oldest son, after Ashur-nadin-shumi. Ashur-ili-muballissu is mentioned in several of his father's royal inscriptions. One such inscription details Sennacherib giving him an house in the city of Assur, which at this point was no longer the capital of Assyria but still remained an important ceremonial center. This inscription reads:
I, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, creator of images of the god Ashur and great gods, I built this house for my second son, Ashur-ili-muballissu, who is god Ashur, and laid its foundations with limestone, a stone from the mountains
| King of Babylon |
705 – 703 BC
| King of Assyria |
705 – 681 BC
| King of Babylon |