Joe Baker
Did Salmanu-ašared 3 mention Egypt
Wed Sep 27, 2017 08:19

Hi All

While in London I managed to spend a couple of hours at the British Museum. The Assyrian section is spectacular. The Egyptian almost as good - but I noticed the adjoining sign alongside the Shabaka Stone still places Shabaka before Shabataka.

Thrilled to see all the monuments I have read about right up close and touchable (oops, forgot the do not touch signs). One surprise for me was the Black Obelisk, inscribed in the 31st year of Salmanu-ašared 3 and in particular the information on the adjoining sign that the scenes showing the tribute of the land of Muṣri concerned some eastern border country. Now the books I have read almost unanimously say the illustrated tribute was from Egypt, however looking at the scenes I now tend to agree with the adjoining sign. Amongst the illustrated animals are, in scene 3 side A, two two humped Bactrian camesl (not the single humped Arabian camel one would expect from Egypt and this scene is identical to scene 1 side C which illustrates part of the tribute of Sua of Gilzanu whose country was east of Assyria on Lake Urmia), in scene 3 side B, a one horned Indian rhinoceros (not a two horned African rhinoceros one would expect from Egypt) and, in scene 3 side C, a female Indian elephant (not the African elephant one would expect from Egypt). The other depicted animals are common to each area and the illustrations are not good enough to observe any distinguishing differences.

On two other occasions Salmanu-ašared makes reference to places which are usually assumed to be Egypt. But a closer look seems to show that this is illusionary. I have already pointed out that the earliest example, from his year 6 Kurkh Monolith (also saw this at the museum) which lists the southern Syrian allies who defeated him at Qarqar. After listing the main allies the inscription continues with the following states

the land of Gua, the land of Muṣra, the land of Irqanata, the land of Armada, the land of Usanata, the land of Šiana ...

Now this list has several spelling mistakes (and spelling and grammar mistakes are quite common in this provincial inscription). Once corrections (based on other written sources) are made it is evident that this list is an enumeration of states along the lower Syrian-upper Lebanon coast which requires that the Muṣri here is also to be sought for in this same region, not in far off Egypt. The only major city missing from the list (which is very similar to lists in the records of Tukulti-apil-Ešarra 3 and to the list in Genesis 10:17-18) is Ṣimirra/Ṣmr. Now this city would corresponds to a rearrangement of the syllables of Mu-uṣ-ri to Ṣu-mu-ri (similar to Ṣa-mu-ru, the way the inscriptions of Tukulti-apil-Ešarra 1 name Ṣimirra). Thus Salmanu-ašared’s listing, after correction, would have enumerated the cities as

Gubala (Gubla/Gbl), Ṣumura (Ṣimirra/Ṣmr), Irqata (Arqa/ʿrq), Armada (ʾrwd), Usanata (Usnu), Šiana (Siannu/Syn) ...

The third example is in his year 13 Calah throne base inscription. Besides enumerating the events of certain years it also contains a summary of what he has achieved in the west. In part it says he had

“crossed the Euphrates 10 times (the 10th time was in his 12th year) pouring out my lordly splendour over the land of Ḫatti, the land of Meṣri, the land of Ṣuri (Tyre), the land of Ṣiduni (Sidon) and the land of Ḫanigalbat

Now we known he fought against Ḫatti (that is Gargamiš/Karkamiš) in years 1, 2, 10 and 11, Tyre and Sidon had sent tribute as early as year 1. Ḫanigalbat was an older term for lands between the Euphrates and the eastern Ḫabur, as such it probably refers to the year 6 campaign against the Upper Baliḫ cities of Giammu and/or the year 7 campaign against Ḫabinu of Til-abne, who ruled somewhere between Şanlıurfa and Samsat.

This leaves Meṣri, which can not be Egypt for at this time Salmanu-ašared had never marched further west and south then the upper/middle Orontes. The more likely candidate would be his major foe during his early years - Aḫuni of Bit-Adini whose capital was Til-Barsip (Tell Ahmar) on the Euphrates. In Hittite documents and neo-Hittite inscriptions this city is called Masuwari which can be a match for Meṣri. Supporting this assertion is the Middle Assyrian letter, MARV 10:44 (probably from the reign of Tukulti-apil-Ešarra 1), which reports that

(Metal) for 50 axes, on the day the king, went to the city of Araziqi to supply the land of Muṣri, they (that is, the axes) were sold to the Muṣreans.

Araziqa (which, like Masuwari, was once part of the state of Aštata/Emar) is modern day Tell el-Hajj (classical Eragiza) close to the east bank of the Euphrates and north of Emar. Tukulti-apil-Ešarra 1 records how he hunted bulls at the city of Araziqu before the land of Ḫatti and the above inscription mentioning Araziqu in conjunction with the land of Muṣri ensured that Muṣri/Meṣri must be Masuwari, that is Til Barsip.

Thus it is probably that Salmanu-ašared never mentioned Egypt in his inscriptions. The three mentions of Muṣra, Meṣri and Muṣri refer not to Egypt but respectively to Ṣimirra (in year 6), Musawari/Til Barsip/Kar-Salmanu-ašared (year 13) and a distant eastern land (year 31).

Regards Joe

    • Re: Did Salmanu-ašared 3 mention EgyptTory, Fri Sep 29 03:22
      Hi Joe Mesri must be Egypt, but Lipinski has already suggested that "Egypt" in the time of Salmanu-ašared III included the vassal state of Sumur. Hence Musri/Mesri = Egypt = Sumur. Sumur probably... more
    • re:Did Salmanu-ašared 3 mention EgyptMarianne Luban, Wed Sep 27 09:54
      Joe wrote: "The third example is in his year 13 Calah throne base inscription. Besides enumerating the events of certain years it also contains a summary of what he has achieved in the west. In part... more
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