Joe Baker
Re: 5th year of Esarhaddon
Tue May 2, 2017 05:52

Hi Michael

Thank you for the Lanfranchi pages. I am not convinced by his arguments. I simply see the Babylonian Chronicle account as having split the year 4 entries between year 4 and 5. Lanfranchi seems to have the Babylonian Chronicle splitting the original year 3 entries into year 3 and year 4 with the original year 4 entries then being assigned to year 5.

I see no merit in his discussion of the use of numbered girru-campaigns in the “Heidel Prism” (Esarhaddon 6). This prism fragment (written near the end of his reign) assigns both the taking of the realms of Abdi-milkutti and Sanduarri and their beheadings to the 2nd girru. The fragmentary section before the notice of the 2nd girru, reports the installation of Na’id-Marduk, so this event presumably concluded the events of the 1st girru). The event concerning Naʾid-Marduk is known to have happened in Aššur-aḫa-iidina’s 1st year (680/679). On this basis one might assume that his 2nd girru = his 2nd year (679/678) and, even in general, that the late girru inscriptions equate his xth girru with his xth year, particularly in light of the fact that tablet K 3082 (Luckenbill II §553-§559) numbers the first recorded Egyptian campaign of his 10th year (670/69) as his 10th girru. Maybe, like Sargon before him, later in his reign, scribes wanted to allocate a campaign to each year. Esarhaddon 8 seems to start the [4th] girru with the Bazu campaign. It would be interesting to know what they allocated from the 5th through to the 9th campaigns.

Now, despite Esarhaddon 6 assigning the taking of Sidon to the 2nd girru, Lanfranchi insists it fell in year 3. He is able to fit it into the 2nd girru by stating that this campaign was part of one long campaign that began in year 2 with the taking of Kundi and Sissu, then the defeat of Teušpa at Ḫubušna followed by action against other Anatolian people, then it dragged on into the third year with the taking of Sidon and the beheading of the captured Abdi-milkutte and Sanduarri. Again Lanfranchi’s arguments are not that convincing given that his order of campaigning (Sanduarri, Cimmerians etc, Sidon) is different from the prism accounts (Sidon, Sanduarri, Cimmerians etc). The earliest prism account (Esarhaddon 2 from the beginning of year 5) even lists the events of (what was later to become) the 1st girru well after the events of (what was later to become) the 2nd girru. However the order of events is changeable across the various inscriptions of Aššur-aḫe-iddina’s reign, but in general the arrangement is almost geographical. For example in the early Esarhaddon 2 inscription the west comes first, then regions directly east of Assyria proper, then Babylonia south of Assyria. Then from a Babylonian prospective, the Arabs in the west (this campaign could have been launched from the middle Euphrates), Bazu in the south, Gambuli in eastern Babylonia and finally the Medes in the east.

Lanfranchi’s placement of the Mannean campaign in year 4 follows from Bel-ušezib’s letter (CT 54, 22 = SAA 10 112) which was written during a Mannean campaign, and mentions that Sidon fell in the previous year. Since a Mannean campaign is also mentioned in a prism of Aššur-aḫa-iddina written early in his 5th year (Esarhaddon 2), the only way Lanfranchi can combine the two is to say that the Mannean campaign must have happened in year 4 because he says the Sidon campaign happened in year 3.

I however would see Sidon falling in year 4 (as per the Babylonian Chronicle) with a (second) Mannean campaign occuring in year 5 following the earlier undated Mannean campaign mentioned in the various prism inscriptions of Aššur-aḫa-iddina. This earlier campaign must have been of limited success for it is a mere summary - “he one who scattered the Mannean people, undisciplined Gutians, who put to the sword the army of Išpaka, a Scythian (Ašguza), an ally who could not save himself”.

My analysis of the three Bel-ušezib docs used by Lanfranchi is as follows.

SAA 10 111 has no chronological information other than that an attack on Mannea is imminent and it is unknown if the Cimmerians and Indareans (whom Lanfranchi unlikely identifies with rebellious Aramean Ḫindaru tribesmen) will attack the Assyrians. This seems to be different from the brief inscriptional references to the (earlier) campaign involving the Manneans and Skythians. This (earlier) campaign may be mentioned in SAA 4 23, where it is enquired of Šamaš if the Skythians staying in Mannea will go through the [Ḫubuškia] pass and attack the [Assyrian] cities of Ḫarrania and Anisus.

SAA 10 112. Assyrians are attacking Mannea and in the previous year Sidon had been captured. Bel-ušezib also accuses MU-SUM-na (that is Šumu-iddina) the šandabakku of Nippur, who had undertaken some controversial reforms to the cult in Nippur and was currently visiting Ninua, of fomenting a conspiracy against the king. Bel-ušezib also says that (recently) 3 different people had held this office in one year. From the Babylonian Chronicle we know that in Aššur-aḫa-iddina’s third year (678/7) ...-aḫḫe-šullim, the šandabakku of Nippur and Šamaš-ibni the Dakkurean were executed and in his 6th year (675/4) MU.MU (that is Šumu-iddina) the šandabakku and Kudurru the Dakkurean (this name was held by a son of Šamaš-ibni) were executed. So Šumu-iddina could have been in Ninua during a campaign against Mannea in year 5 (676/5) or year 6 (675/4). I exclude year 4 (677/6) as the earliest Šumu-iddina could have taken office was a year after the removal of ....-aḫḫe-šullim followed by some period during which he carried out some reforms to the cult.

SAA 10 113. The letter says that Saturn and Cancer were within the halo of the moon. It also refers to a past meeting held in Mannea between some Aramean sheikhs of the land of Iakimanu (probably not, as suggested by Lanfranchi, the land of Iakimanu in Bit-Dakkuri, but an Aramean tribe living in Mannea) and the chief eunuch (who usually lead major military operations). At the meeting the sheikhs spoke in support of Mardiya, a servant in the household of the chief eunuch, who appears to have had some information concerning Arda-Mullissi, the brother of Aššur-aḫe-iddina, who had failed to successfully usurp the throne and had sought refuge in Urarṭu. But, according to the letter, subsequently Mardiya and another had left the household of the chief eunuch and had sworn allegiance to another Assyrian officer. Also now, the (loyal) Aramean sheikhs had suspicions that Arda-Mullissi (“the mortal enemy of our lord”) might gain some political control over them. Chronologically Saturn and Cancer being located within the halo of the moon, could be spread over some 16 possible dates, around Gregorian 25 Dec 677 (±6 full lunar months) or Gregorian 8 March 675 (±2 full lunar months). Since the meeting in Mannaen was sometime in the past, but presumably during a campaign season, the only possible dates for the campaign would fall in Aššur-aḫa-iddina’s 4th year (677/6) or 5th year (676/5). The latter date is preferable as one has to allow some period of time between the campaign and Bel-ušezib’s letter. The latest the letter could have been written in Aššur-aḫa-iddina’s 4th year would be July 677 and this maybe too short a period to allow for the intervening events.

Given the above I suggest that SAA 10 112 and SAA 10 113 were written in Aššur-aḫa-iddina’s 5th year (676/5) and in part concern a second Mannean campaign. The mention of a campaign against Mannea and the Skythians in an Aššur-aḫa-iddina inscription written very early in his 5th year (and which description is repeated in later inscriptions) must therefore report on an earlier undated campaign. Since the inscription account is short and devoid of any detail one might suspect it had very limited scope and that a second attack was required in year 5 which probably failed, as it never appears in later inscriptions - as was also the fate of several other (unsuccessful) campaigns in the following years, such as the year 6 failure to prevent the Elamite occupation of Sippar, the year 6 Melid campaign and the year 7 Egyptian campaign. Also the “queries to Šamaš” present an ongoing picture of Assyrian weakness in this Zagros region. SAA 10 111 may also belong to year 5 as it does not mention the Skythians.

Regards Joe

  • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonMichael Liebig, Wed Apr 12 06:55
    Hi Tory, Meanwhile I have found an datailed analysis of the problem by Lanfranchi ("I Cimmeri" = HANE-S II bis, p. 56ff.), unfortunately Italian. I do not trust a translation into English. But... more
    • Re: 5th year of Esarhaddon — Joe Baker, Tue May 2 05:52
      • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonMichael Liebig, Thu May 4 02:02
        Hi Joe, nearly the same modification you can find here: Ivantchik, A. I.: Les Cimmérians au Proche-Orient, OBO 127(1993).... more
        • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonJoe Baker, Fri May 5 08:11
          Hi Michael Thanks for the Ivantchik. It is time consuming to translate into English as the paper is in jpg format. I have to save it in pdf format and then put it through an OCR and converter program ... more
          • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonMichael Liebig, Sat May 6 05:28
            Hi Joe, Here a link to the text of the Ahmar stele with the figure "Abdi-M[ilk]ūti, king of Sidon": (all: )... more
          • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonMichael Liebig, Sat May 6 04:57
            Hi joe, You write: "Now Dietrich appears to have the incorrect date for the eclipse. It must be that of Julian 14 Sep 675 because the eclipse of Julian 21 Mar 675 actually occurred in the previous... more
            • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonJoe Baker, Sat May 6 08:04
              Hi Michael Oops. Agreed Sidon fell in 677/6, Aššur-aḫa-iddina’s 4th year. But SAA 10 112 still provides some problems if it concerns lunar eclipses. For Bel-ušezib specifically says that Sidon... more
              • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonMichael Liebig, Sat May 6 11:20
                Hi Joe, Because the Heidel Prisma (now RINAP 4, 2) has the date 22.II. 676/75 and report the conquest of Sidon, this conquest was before. This was the starting point. „Last year, when the moon was... more
          • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonMichael Liebig, Fri May 5 11:41
            Hi Joe, you write: "Now Dietrich appears to have the incorrect date for the eclipse. It must be that of Julian 14 Sep 675 because the eclipse of Julian 21 Mar 675 actually occurred in the previous... more
    • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonTory, Thu Apr 13 05:32
      Hi Michael, I hope Lanfranchi's explanation in Italian is more detailed than the quick two-word remark Barbara Porter offered in her 1993 book. That was hardly the same conclusion as Joe's. The... more
      • Re: 5th year of EsarhaddonMichael Liebig, Thu Apr 13 13:29
        Hi Tory, ich have send you and Joea pdf with the detailed work of Lanfranchi. Regards Michael
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