Neo-Assyrian Later Sargonid I/51: 680BC- 609BC
1x HCh (General): King Esarhaddon or "Tartan" (commander-in-chief of the army)
Assyria in earliest historical times referred to a region on the Upper Tigris river, named for its original capital, the ancient city of Ashur.
Esarhaddon (681 - 669 BC) was the younger son of Sennacherib. His actual name was Ashur-Aha-Iddin. As king of Assyria, he immediately had Babylon rebuilt, and made it his capital. In 679 BC the Cimmerians, who had already killed his grandfather Sargon, reappeared in Cilicia and Tabal under their new ruler Teushpa. Esarhaddon defeated them near Hubushna, and subdued the rebellious inhabitants of Hilakku as well.After defeating the Cimmerians and Medes, but unable to maintain order in these areas, he turned his attention westward to Phoenicia—now allying itself with Egypt against him—and sacked Sidon in 677 BC. The Sidonian king Abdi-Milkutti, who had risen up against the Assyrian king, was beheaded. The town of Sidon was destroyed and rebuilt as Kar-Ashur-aha-iddina, the Harbor of Esarhaddon. He also captured Manasseh of Judah and kept him prisoner for some time in Babylon (mentioned in 2 Chronicles 33:11). Having had enough of Egyptian meddling, Esarhaddon attempted to conquer Egypt in 673 BC, but was defeated. Two years later he made a new attempt and was successful. The Babylonian Chronicle retells how Egypt "was sacked and its gods were abducted" . The pharaoh Taharqa fled Egypt, and a stele commemorating the victory was set up at Sinjirli (north of the Gulf of Antioch), and is now in the Berlin Museum.
In 672 he divided the realm between his two sons, with Ashurbanipal getting Assyria, and Shamash-Shum- Ukin getting Babylon.
Assyria was also at war with Urartu and Dilmun at this time. This was Assyria's greatest territorial extent. Taharqa returned, fomented a revolt and captured Memphis. The Assyrian governors Esarhaddon had appointed over Egypt fled, so a new campaign was launched by Esarhaddon in 669 BC. He became ill on the way and died. His son Ashurbanipal became king and Shamash-Shum- Ukin became king of Babylon.
After a long period of Assyrian supremacy (812626), Babylonia recovered its independence and asserted itself against Assyria under the leadership of Nabû-apla-uur (Nabopalassar). A united army of Babylonians led by Nabopolassar, Medes under Cyaxares and Scythians besieged Nineveh for three months in 612 before it fell and was destroyed. Sin-Shar- Ishkun,the son of Ashurbanipal and Assyria's last king, was killed in the fall of Nineveh. Nineveh,the oldest and most populous city of ancient Assyria, was located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River opposite modern Mosul, Iraq. Babylon annexed Assyria but did not re-populate or rebuild it. This was retribution for all the centuries of Assyrian cruelty.
Assyria was no more.
Stone of Esarhaddon. Memorial relief on black basalt. Ca. 676 B.C. 21.5 cm. British Museum, UK. Inscribed with an account of Esarhaddon's restoration of Babylon. At top, the sacred tree and a horned crown on an altar. Below a Bablylonian plough with seed drill.
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