Joe Baker
A synchronism with Larsa in the MEC?
Thu Feb 1, 2018 07:40

Hi All

In the latest downloadable NABU journal - available here
Werner Nahm has several notes. One (number 99) concerns a possible Larsa-Ešnunna-Aššur synchronism, that may be able to be absolutely dated with the aid of the eclipse notice in the Mari Eponym Chronicle (MEC) attached to the limu year of Puzur-Ištar (number 127 in the Kanesh Eponym List). Now, in the MEC and KEL, five years before this occurs the limu year of Iddin-abum (KEL 122) to which the MEC attaches a notice that is so heavily damaged it only preserves the opening dEN.Z[U ...]. Werner implicitly suggests that given events, as we now know them, a possible restoration of the name could be Si[n-iddinam], a king of Larsa whose 6th year name (so the event occurred in his 5th year) is “the year the country-side/land of Ešnunna was destroyed”.

Now one would not normally expect a ruler of Larsa to appear in the MEC. The MEC is mainly concerned with the background to the rise and reign of Samsi-Addu and in particular events concerning the (mainly major) hostile surrounding countries of Mari and Ešnunna. Not all the events concerning Ešnunna could have been taken from a list of its compiled year names - particular those that concerns Ešnunnean defeats (like the notice of Ešnunna being defeated by Elam). But whatever the source, a MEC notice that mentions Sin-iddinam probably would only concern his defeat of Ešnunna, in his 5th year. Confirmation of his supremacy over Ešnunna is provided by an alliance treaty wherein Ibal-pi-El 1 [of Ešnunna, who therefore has to be reassigned to this time] swears to provide militarily support to Sin-iddinam of Larsa and Sin-kašid of Uruk against Sabium of Babylon and Ikun-pi-Sin of Nerebtum and only make peace with them after Sin-iddinam and Sin-kašid had made peace with them. Seeé_d_alliance_entre_Larsa_Uruk_et_Ešnunna_contre_Sabium_de_Babylone

What follows assumes that somehow the compiler of the MEC was able to be accurate in his assignments, even under such conditions where different calendars were being used, either with spring or autumn new year starts and even when local intercalation of each variety could alter their starts by ±2 months within each variety, assigning events in year names to the preceding year, etc.

To obtain a relative date for the Ešnunna campaign of Sin-iddinam we need first to look at the Larsa King List which gives a total 289 years for the following kings. The years in red were not clear in the tablet, although the reading of 13 for Ḫammu-rabi is today the accepted reading.

21 Naplanum
28 Iemiṣium
35 Samium
9 Zabaya
27 Gungunum
11 Abi-sare
29 Sumu-El
16 Nur-Adad
x Sin-iddinam 7 or maybe 8 years from known year dates
2 Sin-iribam
5 Sin-iqišam now known to be 5 years from a year name list
1 Ṣilli-Adad
12 Warad-Sin
61 Rim-Sin actually only 60 years
13 Ḫammu-rabi
12 Samsu-iluna
289 years

The two remaining numbers that are not clear are that for Sin-iqišam, however it is known to be 5 from a year name list. The only reign length not preserved (in this or a year name list) is that for Sin-iddinam, but given the sum total of 289 years and the known and preserved sum total of 272 years, one can conclude that the reign length for Sin-iddinam in this Larsa king list was 7 years. However there is some evidence that it could have been 8 years. And note that this king list is not always accurate (such as its 61 years for Rim-Sin).

Fitzgerald on page 104 of her on-line dissertation “The Kings of Larsa”, see
gives a list of the known year names of Sin-iddinam (the order of the first five being established from the documentation. Here I give an abbreviation of these names

1 king king
2 Tigris Tigris
3 Ebabbar Ebabbar
4 Babylon Babylon
5 Malgium Malgium
6 Ešnunna or Maškan-šapir
7 Maškan-šapir or year after Maškan-šapir = Ešnunna
[8 year after Maškan-šapir] -

Now the evidence against ARRANGEMENT 2 is that there is a documented dated to the 2nd month of year “Ešnunna”, showing that by then the year alreday had a name, yet the two documents dated “the year after the great wall of Maškan-šapir was built" were written in the 6th month of that year, which is unlikely if that year had already been given its name by the 2nd month. This leaves ARRANGEMENT 1 as the most probable sequence and that Sin-iddinam reigned 8 years. Even so, in much of what follows I will assume that the reign length of Sin-iddinam was either 7 or 8 years.

Now in establishing a relative chronology for Sin-iddinam’s 5th year (the year he attacked Ešnunna, an event that provided the year name for his 6th year), we note that his 5th year would fall 82 or 83 years (depending on a reign length of 7 or 8 years) before the 60th (and last) year of Rim-Sin, which was the 30th year of Ḫammu-rabi. The next table shows other ways of looking at this

EVENT                                               YEARS BACK TO SIN-IDDINAM’S EŠNUNNA CAMPAIGN                           
60th year of Rim-Sin = 30th year of Ḫammu-rabi 82 or 83
Last year of Samsi-Addu = 18th year of Ḫammu-rabi 70 or 71
Accession of Ḫammu-rabi 52 or 53

Now we can apply some absolute dates based on the Middle Chronology or the Lower Middle Chronology to see if the (autumn) limu year of Iddin-abum overlaps with Sin-iddinam’s (spring) year 5 campaign against Ešnunna.

                            |          MIDDLE CHRONOLOGY        |     LOWER MIDDLE CHRONOLOGY
Accession year Ḫammu-rabi | spring 1793/2 | spring 1785/4
Sin-iddinam reigned (years) | 7 or 8 | 7 or 8
Year of Ešnunna campaign | spring 1845/4 or spring 1846/5 | spring 1837/6 or spring 1838/7
If limu year Puzur-Ištar | autumn 1839/8 | autumn 1834/3
then limu year Iddin-abum | autumn 1844/3 autumn 1844/3 | autumn 1839/8 autumn 1839/8
overlaps Ešnunna campaign | NO OVERLAP NO OVERLAP | NO OVERLAP OVERLAP

So if the synchronism and eclipse dates hold then this fits only the Lower Middle Chronology and a year 8 reign for Sin-iddinam (since the only match is the 6 month overlap between autumn year 1839/8 and spring year 1838/7). This then gives the 18th year of Ḫammu-rabi as spring 1767/5, during which Babylonian year Samsi-Addu died in the Assyrian limu year of Ṭab-ṣilli-Aššur (autumn 1768/7). Thus the (exclusive) number of limus between the limu year of Ṭab-ṣilli-Aššur (autumn 1768/7) and Puzur-Ištar (autumn 1834/3) is 66.

This can be compared with various reconstructions of Kanesh Limu List G.

Günbattı (2008)                     66 ( 127- 193) - but with wrong assignments
Baker (2011) 66;article=11524
Barjamovic, Herel, Larsen (2012) 70 (R127-R197)
Charpin/Ziegler (2014) 69
Koliński (2014 and 2015) 72 additions of R183A and R193A

My 2011 reconstruction of 66 limu years was based on improvements to Günbattı’s assignments by Charpin and Ziegler. I still hold to it. Later reconstruction of KEL G gave higher numbers which can not be fitted to Werner’s new synchronism.

Regards Joe

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