Sam'al Stela of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon

Sam'al Stela of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon

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This commemorative basalt stela depicts the Assyrian king Esarhaddon worshiping gods and symbols of gods. The king's left hand holds a royal mace and two ropes. These ropes pass through the lips of two captives. The kneeling smaller figure appears to an Egyptian crown prince, while the larger standing man is a Syrian city-state governor. There are cuneiform inscriptions on the front side of the stela which narrate the victorious military campaigns of Esarhaddon. From the citadel of Sam'al/Zincirli, modern Turkey. 671 BCE. (The Pergamon Museum, Berlin).

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Sam'al Stela of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon - History

Although I often have to wonder how many tales of Israelites in Egypt seem to be veiled references to concerns raised in living in Mesopotamia, I would like to examine the following assertion about “deeds that are offensive to God and mankind” performed by the sons of Sennacherib. I maintain that it was the result of deeds performed by Sennacherib that were offensive to God or the people of Assyria.

..”Sennacherib is affected by their machinations and finally distances himself from his newly minted heir. Secretly, however, Sennacherib continues to wish that Esarhaddon will become king after him. In the meantime, Esarhaddon leaves the capital Nineveh and takes refuge in an unspecified safe location somewhere in the West [ my sources below: Cilicia or Tabal]. Soon after, the brothers “go mad” and commit “deeds that are deeply offensive to the gods and mankind”—a thinly veiled allusion to the fact that, as other sources indicate, they murdered Sennacherib … But the brothers are not to reap any rewards from their actions. Esarhaddon returns to Assyria with a small army, chases the regicides away and, encouraged by prophetic oracles, ascends the Assyrian throne.”
“Ancient Iraq”, a Penguin paperback history, 2nd edition 1980, by French medical doctor and assyrianologist Georges Roux is an easily accessible account of Sennacherib’s demise with numerous source notes, particularly what is covered on pages 322-324. From 324 onward there is an account of what Esarhaddon does in expiation for sin (Page 325: “The first act of the new monarch [Esarhaddon] was to atone for Sennacherib’s sin by rebuilding Babylon”). To be brief [ page 324: “The gread gods of Sumer and Akkad could not leave such a crime unpunished”], the destruction by siege and flooding of Babylon described by Isaiah in chapter 14. Referencing the Babylonian Chronicle as published in Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicle, by Grayson in1975.

According to Roux on page 322:
Sennacherib avenged himself on Babylon and dared to accomplish the unthinkable: he destroyed the illustrious and sacred city, the second metropolis of the empire [after, I presume, Nineveh] the “bond of heaven and earth” which his forebears had always treated with infinite patience and respect:

Quoting the Sennacherib in the Chronicles

“As a hurricane proceeds, I attacked it and, like a storm, I overthrew it.. Its inhabitants, young and old, I did not spare and with the corpses I filled the streets of the city…The city itself and its houses, from their foundations to their roofs I devastated, I destroyed, by fire I overthrew… In order that in future even the soil of its temples be forgotten, by water I ravaged it, I turned it into pastures [ Does this ring familiar?].
“To quiet the heart of Ashur, my lord, that peoples should bow in submission before his exulted might, I removed the dust of Babylon for presents to the (most) distant peoples, and in ithat Temple of the New Year Festival (in Assur) I stored up some in a covered jar.”

Roux concludes about Sennacherib, saying that “on the 20th day of Tebet ( January 681 BC), Sennacherib while praying in a temple met with the end he deserved.”

Which takes us back to the original article and the comparisons to the story of Joseph – but with quite different interpretation of the motives of the brothers involved. Or else who was at fault before God.

How could this happen? Well, it depends on how you play the game of Biblical archeological review. We have loads of archeological data from Assyrian records written in stones, tablets or obelisks, but not much of it has been submitted as evidence, unless it was via Kings or Chronicles. Yet should it be included, we get a different perspective and we do a great deal to reduce the odds that we are simply chasing our tails – or is it tales?

Some times, I fill that the autors of this articles, are trayin to diminish the word of GOD,
or a least to put doubt in the maind of readers.
I always felt the what the BIBLE says is the ultimate autority. acording to the declarations
of Jesus and the Apostle Paul. Jhon 5:39 and 2st. 3:16-17

You can do it, Mr. Shanks, we’re all pulling for you to take your ship back from these pirates who censure me in the hope that we can avert a curse over the land (Malachi 4:6). Just remember your eponymous ancestor, “the mighty one of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24) and muster all your strength like a comic book superhero in the face of adversity and say to yourself, “I…will..act…my age!”

The reign of Sennacherib is described in only negative terms by the author of the book of Tobit whose main character was among those deported from the tribe of Naphtali in Galilee to Ninevah where he found favor with the Neo-Assyrian King Shalmaneser V, but not his successor Sennacherib and Tobit had to flee for his life, returning home only after Esarhaddan’s succession (Tobit 2:1). Shalmaneser V was the king who conquered the kingdom of Samaria and some of the people were exiled to the city of Gozan on the Khabor River, or “in Habor at the river Gozan” (2 Kings 17:6), and the area’s mixed population of Hurrian and Semitic people are reflective of the cultural blend of textual sources that comprise the foundation of the material found in the book of Genesis, in the region known as Naharin in Egyptian sources before it was known as Mitanni and it was also destination for the Pharaoh’s hunting expeditions during the 18th Dynasty, another possible connection to Joseph who likely would have spent more time practicing his archery (Genesis 49:23-24) than worrying about starting his own dynasty.

Well it certainly is mind-boggling how the revision of the dating of Genesis from its inception during the early Israelite monarchy period to some period centuries later opens the narrative with an insightful perspective with these allusions to contemporaneous history and you wouldn’t know how compelling the evidence is unless you read the full article that is crammed with data that places you in a vortex circa early 7th century B.C.E. at the beginning of a “like Nimrod a mighty hunter” (Genesis 10:9) epic saga that the author of the latter half of Genesis compiled by using a technique familiar to the authors of Exodus with Aaron and Moses not themselves relying on the magical arts of the Egyptians but instead using the wise men and the sorcerers and magicians in a polemic against them and now we have the story of the patriarch Joseph set against a backdrop of the behind-the-scenes intrigue between rival heirs to the throne, as it is written, “…and E’sar-had’don his son began to reign in place of him” (2 Kings 19:37).
Along with the fact that Joseph has a chapter named after him in the 12th sura of the Koran he is the most mentioned character in the Koran that goes beyond the Bible in praising his attribute of chastity that in Jewish mysticism is the attribute known as “zedek” or righteous, that is, taken in the context that Joseph never rose beyond the position of second-in-command to Pharoah, which is an attribute of “malkhut” or kingdom, and that could have a potential negative import in the Kabbalistic tradition not unlike the distinction between what is Pharaoah’s and what is God’s (Mark 12:17).
So the fact that Esarhaddan as a prince was in exile in the same region from where the partriachs came, “beyond the river” (Joshua 24:2), or the Euphrates, and the city of Uru is mentioned in Esarhaddan’s annals recording the first of his military campaigns launched from his base in Hanigalbat, a region formerly known as Mitanni and Naharayim that roughly includes the region between the Balikh and Khabor rivers north of the upper Euphrates. It is thought by some scholars that the region referred to as “Aram Naharayim” (Genesis 24:10, 27:43) or “Aram of the two rivers,” includes “Ur of Kasdim” (Genesis 10:31), a city northwest of Haran. The article in the current issue of BAR states on page 48 the significance of the patriarch Jacob’s association with this city and that “Haran may also have the ancestral home of Sennacherib’s wife Naqi’a” and that Esarhaddan “invested heavily” in Haran’s temples having been “crowned there a second time in 671 B.C.E.”

You can’t know when the Pentateuch was first written, with what we have. And even with the oldest examples we do have, it is a copy. Every argument would be full of fallacy. To say these books did not exist before this and this time is insane. It can also, more than likely, make one look the fool with possible future findings. Obviously, if going by the text, it was certainly much older than Josiah (and they most obviously knew what it was in their time) II Kings 22:8.

I think that there is some confusion here, Mr. Roth. I wrote that no one believes that the entire Pentateuch as such was written during the Babylonian Exile. At least, no knowledgeable scholar does that I am aware of. All that those “Higher Criticism” scholars claim who support the (now antiquated, usually heavily modified and for very many largely discredited) “Wellhausen Documentary Hypothesis” is that the allegedly separate documents were all edited and sorted out into a single Pentateuch (or Hexateuch) during the Babylonian Exile. But they admit and even generally insist that the supposed “J, E, P and D” documents, and their ancillary modifications or sub-documents, predated, sometimes by many centuries, the Babylonian Exile.

With regard to the age of the Penteteuch I am skeptical of the extremes myself. But I think it might be interesting to consider its age relative to other books of the OT, particularly Isaiah.

If we were to analyze Isaiah we might come away with the conclusion that there were a sequence of sections of less and less age – with some editing to tie the first (early) and later (later) chapters together. And in the early parts of Isaiah we have texts that relate so directly to the time of Sennacherib that they correspond rather well to Assyrian accounts of Babylon’s destruction by same ( 14:21-23 thought the latter part appears as prose vs. the earlier verse) and that he was coming to lay siege to Jerusalem (see below). Sennacherib’s destruction of Babylon (circa 690 BC) is recorded in Assyrian chronicles, discussed by Georges Roux ( chapter 20, Ancient Iraq). Elsewhere we find that Esarhaddon, reversed the sentence of desolation after a period of 11 years vs. the nominal 70. Whether Esarhaddon was involved or not with the murder of Sennacherib (681 BC), it is unclear, but he found it disturbing that he could eradicate a city with sites that to Assyrians were sacred.

And then later, circa chapters 39 ( where Isaiah quotes from 2nd Kings chapter 2) and 40-45 where the text speaks of Cyrus – the most straight-forward explanation for these two segments is that the overall book or scroll was written and re-written into the document we know today.

Now what about Sennacherib, Babylon and Jerusalem? Well it turns out that Jerusalem was attacked and besieged earlier than Babylon by about a decade and a half. Isaiah as an adviser to Hezekiah – the whole story rests on that notion. When Isaiah is layed to rest is uncertain, but Hezekiah supposedly survived until 687 BC, long enough to be reign contemporaneously with Esarhaddon. So, what is the intent of reciting the fate of Babylon? Is it to compare it with that of Jerusalem confronted with the same adversary but protected from on high? And did the story get tweaked further as time went by?

But back to the comparative age question? Is there any mention of the Penteteuch in Isaiah or any of the ideas in its content?

With all due respect to Ben, unfortunately the Babylonian Captivity Scripture composition theory is in fact quite alive and well in the scholarly world. In fact, I have seen half a dozen mainstream academics proclaim it as fact–and this on television–in the past week.

One was in the Morgan Freeman show “Searching for God” (or words to that effect). Freeman, who has in the past said he is an atheist, seemed very reverent with regards to Biblical tradition and it was ironically the scholars he interviewed from the US and UK acted as if it were a foregone conclusion. The other was a British program I caught on Netflix called “Bible Secrets” about the Tower of Babel. It featured theories by alternative theorist David Rohl, with whom I almost always have huge problems with. In this case his theory was interesting enough to at least not dismiss out of hand, but the people who helped him linked it directly to the Babylon Scripture theory mentioned above, and scholar and after scholar chimed in expressing this as “the majority view”, so it can’t be both “no one endorses this today” and “the majority view” at the same time. The truth is likely in the middle which is, sorry to say, not what Ben mentioned and trust me, I would much prefer that Ben was right on this point. It would make my job a lot easier.

Respectfully yours,
Andrew Gabriel Roth
Translator Aramaic English New Testament

I must correct myself. I was bothered by the fourth century statement I made, and then recalled that it was in the Third century BCE that the Septuagint was produced. The basic argument still stands.

One can add to that that the Joseph story explained the derivation of two of the twelve tribes of ancient Jewry. Tribes down through the ages and in just about all cultures have been notable for stressing genealogy as the key to their distinct identity, and all tribal members, even children, were commonly able to recite the full lineage of their tribal ancestors, especially the founders. Joseph was the founding ancestor for the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Therefore the accounts of his life were part of the most ancient oral traditions of those tribes. Can we imagine a fourth century BCE novelist inventing this story and trying to foist it on the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh? Not even the other tribes would have a bar of such inventions. They all were invested in their own roles in the common heritage. We should also bear in mind that ancient Israel was a literate culture, and that it is highly unlikely that there would not have been very ancient written accounts of the origins of the twelve tribes, in addition to the oral heritage. So the account of Frahm is preposterous on the face of it.

One other comment: the late dating of the Pentateuch suggested above, putting the whole thing at the time of the Babylonian Exile is quite thoroughly discredited by general scholarship. No one asserts such a thing, even those who want to claim the Pentateuch was “edited” into its present shape then — the original narratives, even these fevered sceptics must admit, predate the Babylonian Exile. Even more ludicrous is the idea that the Pentateuch stems from the fourth century BCE. Despite the best efforts of the secularist (and maybe even Judaeophobic) denigrators, this is the very latest time they can even implausibly claim the Mosaic books were written, since this was the time when as everyone acknowledges the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Mosaic books, was produced — i.e., those books, in their present form and text, were already the traditional canon of Scripture back then, which is precisely why the translation was made for diaspora Jewry. The story of Joseph far predates Esarhaddon.

In the kingdoms of antiquity, it was common for brothers to contest against each other to be the heir to their father — in fact, it was usual for the victor, who might well be the youngest son and favorite if the father died of ripe old age, to kill all his rival brothers to make sure there would be no future civil strife, as also was the standard Ottoman imperial practice even in the last centuries before its fall. Therefore, we can assume that just about all previous and subsequent royal contests between royal brothers would show “surprising parallels” to the Joseph story, especially if we studiously ignore the differences. No prizes to Frahm in finding these “surprises.”

Actually, the Assyrian story seems to have more in common with the story of Joseph’s father, Jacob.
Like Esarhaddon, Jacob’s father (Isaiah) makes Jacob the heir in place of his elder brother (Esau). In fear for his life because of his elder brother’s jealousy, Jacob must flee. In Jacob’s absence, the elder brother conducts a life that is displeasing to both his parents and to the biblical God. When Jacob finally returns after decades abroad, it is with a great host that is prepared to battle, if need be. The long estranged brothers meet only once, briefly, (possibly for a wrestling match that Jacob wins) and then separate forever.
It seems the “similarity” between the Esarhaddon story and that of Joseph stems from both having many older brothers. But structurally, it seems to me that exploring the Jacob story would bear more fruit.

The stories are far more dissimilar than similar. The Assyrian story is simply the battle of sons over who succeeds their kingly father. A common occourence throughout the ancient world. Solomon was a younger son of David, for example. Jacob was a regular guy with a big family, who’s youngest son accomplished more than Jacob could’ve imagined. And in a foreign land. I can’t see a reason why either needed to borrow from the other. And because Israel’s history is based on Israel/Jacob’s 12 sons, it would be absurd to think they would need in any way to borrow from this far later Assyrian story.

Interesting, but the Bible itself more than answers this question. Most scholars, and me as well, firmly believe that Joseph’s story take place entirely in the Hyksos period, ca. 1678-1570 BCE (High Chronology) are about 20 years later on Low Chronology.

The fact that the Messiah affirms Moses as the author of the first five books of the Bible should not be cast aside lightly in favor of flawed scholarly convention that Genesis-Deuteronomy is a product of the Babylonian Exile. What then were the books priest Hilkiah found in the plastered walls of the Temple?

Therefore, I find it very odd that this expert does not even bother to mention that almost a thousand years separate Joseph from Earshaddon, and it is Joseph who was earlier. To not bring that up is, in my view, bad process, as it leaves hanging the assumption as to whether one ascribes historicity of the Torah to Moses or if the liberals are so confident about their Babylonian Exile/Scripture theory that they feel they don’t even need to explain themselves to an audience comprised of large numbers of Biblical believers. I sincerely hope the actual magazine article does a better job than the internet excerpt does!

Respectfully yours,
Andrew Gabriel Roth
Translator, Aramaic English New Testament

Liberal scholars(never trust their dating it’s always based on their won agendas-i hve done much reserch over the years and seen these speculations go down) would love for the account of Joseph to be a copy of the Assyrian account! It never stops! There are many dissimlarities, to be sure.The mileage on this liberal camel will run out of energy. Nice try no camel! They need to research Homer of some secular subject matter as they always try and undermine scripture.Why waste their time and ours?

All dates from Antiquity are subject to revision, and in some cases, must undergo quite significant corrections. They are currently all based on Egyptian events that were considered contemporary to other Middle Eastern parallel events.
This is standard procedure, yet leads to extreme reliance on some specific sources whenever no real contemporary events can be brought up.
The unreliable standard-derivation from Egyptian history uses the assumption that the dynasties 20 and 21 succeeded each other in the same way that the succession of 17th-18th-19th dynasties had taken place.
However, the Deir Bahari cache of burials used at that time shows that there were some 20th dynasty kings that reigned much later than the apparently later 21st dynasty kings.
The recent unraveling of the dates for the Apis bull burials has led to a truly sequential corrected chronology, and it shows that in the long run, the dates we assumed for Antiquity are generally about two centuries too old.
In general terms, the lives of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph may have coincided then with the 18th dynasty Egyptian accounts. The many parallels found that way, could actually imply a historical basis for some of the Biblical personal narrations.
The parallels between Joseph and the historical Esarhaddon may be coincidental or litterary, but the coincidence of Joseph with the historical Yuya (short for Yussef-Yahveh) goes much further. And his late-Bronze-Age existence would place him toward the end of the Second Millenium B.C.

Kevin- some scholars (Wellhausen, Documentary Hypothesis e.g.) believe the Torah in it’s current, final form was written as late as 400 BC based on other stories and documents which are now lost to us. I would say that Sauter, in the above, chose her words very carefully (“…did one of these stories borrow from the other?”)
In Ecclesiastes we read (“..what has been done will be done again
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
‘Look! This is something new’?
It was here already, long ago
it was here before our time.”

I hope I am reading you comment wrong. As Joseph dates around a thousand years before Esarhaddon.

Once again, the intellectual/theological brilliance and moral excellence of the biblical writers (in comparison to other ancient cultures) is clearly shown. Even if it could be proven that the Joseph narrative is a “re-write” of the Esarhaddonn story, the Joseph story conveys that the true and living God is a god that teaches and practices forgiveness and reconciliation (once again, as in other parallel stories such as Gilgamesh/Noah, the biblical telling of the story is theologically and morally superior/advanced to the so-called “originals”). And, once again, those “comparative” mythologists who try to show that there is nothing unique about the Bible and claim that every religion is just a repeat – that every religion is just the same as every other religion every which way – have FAILED.

Maybe the Joseph story was a way to use this story to show the importance of brotherly forgiveness and how that will help the nation to work together to prevent destruction of the tribe due to hate, division.


Esarhaddon was a king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire who reigned between 681 – 669 BC. His rise to power was not easy neither were court intrigues at Nineveh.

Despite being the youngest son, Esarhaddon was named a successor by his father, and immediately his elder brothers tried to discredit him. Esarhaddon was forced into exile beyond the Euphrates, somewhere in what is now southeastern Turkey.

The biblical account is that Esarhaddon’s brothers killed their father after the failed attempt to capture Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:37).

Esarhaddon then returned to the capital of Nineveh and defeated his rival brothers in a civil war. He was formally declared king in 681 BC.

Esarhaddon’s reign was full of rebellions and battles which enabled him to acquire many titles during his reign which included:

  • King of Assyria
  • King of Babylon
  • King of Sumer and Akkad
  • King of Kush
  • King of Egypt
  • King of the Four Corners of the World
  • King of the Universe

Almost as soon as Esarhaddon left Egypt after his 671 BC victory, Egypt rebelled against the Assyrian rule.

Thus in 669 BC, Esarhaddon set off for Egypt to attempt to restore order in the Nile Valley but suddenly died during the same year.

Esarhaddon was succeeded by his sons Ashurbanipal as king of Assyria, and Shamash-Shum-ukin as king of Babylonia.


Kilamuwa Stela

Kilamuwa Stele foundat the entrance to Kilamuwa's palace

Victory stele of Esarhaddon

Stele was discovered in 1888 in Zincirli Höyük (Sam'al, or Yadiya) by Felix von Luschan and Robert Koldewey.

Sam`al (Zincirli Höyük)

Currently in Istanbul Archeological Museum

This object was added by Elżbieta on 2015-05-20. Last update by Jona Lendering on 2020-08-14. Persistent URI: . Download as RDF/XML, KML.
Annotation available using the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. Metadata available using the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication, unless it is explicitly stated otherwise.
Line tracing by Ludwinski.

Stela of Shamshi-Adad V

The Stela of Shamshi-Adad V is a massive round-topped white limestone monolith that portrays the Assyrian King worshipping his gods.

The monarch is shown wearing a conical hat, and full beard with his right hand extended snapping his fingers and his left hand holding a mace, his symbol of royal authority.

A significant amount of cuneiform text covers the sides of the stela, recording the king’s military campaigns.

The king stands in the gesture of blessing before five divine emblems representing five deities, which are represented symbolically in the top left-hand corner of the stela.

The five symbols are the horned helmet, the winged disk, the crescent, the forked line, and the eight-pointed star. The cross worn as an amulet by the king is a symbol of the sun god.

Shamshi-Adad V was named after a god and was the King of Assyria from 824 to 811 BC. The early years of his reign saw a severe struggle for his succession.

The revolt was led by his rebellious brother, who succeeded in bringing to his side 27 principal cities, including Nineveh.

The rebellion lasted for six years and weakening the Assyrian empire, and its ruler and this weakness continued to reverberate in the kingdom until the reforms of future kings.


The Assyrian Empire was a major Mesopotamian empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant named after its original capital, the ancient city of Aššur .

It existed as a state from the 25th century BC until its collapse in the early 600’s BC. Several Neo-Assyrian states arose latter at different times.

At its peak, the Assyrian empire stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean to Iran, and from what is now Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus, to the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and eastern Libya.


The ancient Assyrians followed the ancient Mesopotamian religions, with their national god Ashur having the most prominent role during the Assyrian Empire.

The ancient Assyrian religion gradually declined with the advent of Syriac Christianity between the first and tenth centuries.

The indigenous modern Eastern Assyrian Christian ethnic minority in northern Iraq, northeast Syria, southeast Turkey, and northwest Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians.

According to the Biblical generations of Noah, the city of Aššur was founded by a biblical Ashur, the son of Shem. Later generations worshiped him as the city’s patron god. The ancient city of Aššur is located in modern-day Iraq.

Sam`al (Zincirli Höyük)

Column base with sphinxes from the royal palace at Samal. Currently in Istanbul Archeological Museum

Kilamuwa Stela

Kilamuwa Stele foundat the entrance yto Kilamuwa's palace


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A number of ancient inscriptions refer to Sam’al or its rulers. Some of these inscriptions were found at the site of Zincirli itself or nearby. They shed light on the political, economic, and religious history of Sam’al and the ethnic origins of its inhabitants. The archaeological results obtained from excavations and surveys at Zincirli and neighboring sites help us to interpret these inscriptions, and vice versa.

An Old Assyrian Tablet (19th cent. BCE)

An Old Assyrian cuneiform tablet found at Kültepe, ancient Kanesh in central Anatolia, refers to Sam’al (Kt c/k 441). This text is dated to the nineteenth century BCE. It records payments made by an Assyrian merchant for various expenses related to what seems to have been an expedition to the Amanus Mountains to procure timber and wine. The expedition employed a person from Sam’al, which is likely the same place as Iron Age Sam’al (Zincirli), at the foot of the Amanus Mountains near the eastern outlet of a major pass used in all periods to ascend the forested slopes and cross over to the Cilician plain. The tablet was published by Khaled Nashef in his Rekonstruktion der Reiserouten zur Zeit der altassyrischen Handelsniederlassungen (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1987), pp. 18–20, text no. 7. See also Nashef’s Die Orts– und Gewässernamen der altassyrischen Zeit, pp. 95–96 (Répertoire Géographique des Textes Cunéiformes 4 Wiesbaden, 1991) and Michael Astour’s comments on this text in the Journal of the American Oriental Society 109 (1989), p. 686, and in Eblaitica 4, p. 103 (ed. C. H. Gordon and G. A. Rendsburg Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2002).

Eleven shekels (92 grams) of tin to the employee from Sam’al (a-na ṣú-ḫa-ri-im ša sá-am-a-al). Five shekels (42 grams) of tin and a seal (made) of hematite to his partners. One mina and two shekels (517 grams) of tin from Ennum-bēlum to the investor. Five carnelian (gemstones) and two zigašarrums for the timber in Kunukam. Five dulbātums, a mulūḫum and sundry wares, (and) a half-pint (¼ SÌLA) of fine oil, (the value of which was) five-and-a-half shekels (46 grams) of tin, to the kaššum (a high official) of Kunukam. Two-and-a-quarter shekels (19 grams) of tin for wine. One-and-a-half shekels (12 grams) of tin to the wife of the kaššum. Six-and-a-half shekels (54 grams) of tin to the guide in the mountains.

Seven dulbātums, one mulūḫum and sundry wares, (the value of which was) five shekels (42 grams) of tin, to the wife of Adu (Haddu), prince of Šiḫwa. Five-sixths of a mina (417 grams) of tin to the palace of Šiḫwa. Two shekels (17 grams) of tin to the mayor. Three shekels (25 grams) of tin to the metal-smith. Three shekels (25 grams) of tin for wine. Fifteen shekels (125 grams) of tin to the kaššum of Šiḫwa. Half a mina and five shekels (292 grams) of tin to our escort. All of this I gave when I entered (the town).

Five dulbātums, two nigarašums and sundry wares, (the value of which was) one-third of a mina (167 grams) of copper, to the elders. Fifteen shekels (125 grams) of copper for divination. All of this in Tadḫul.

Three shekels (25 grams) of tin for wine in Šuḫru. One quart (1 SÌLA) of fine oil, ten dulbātums ZA-ma-ḫa-am, one mulūḫum and sundry wares of/for (the) children(?) to the palace. Four(?) shares to the (caravan) driver.

Four dulbātums and sundry wares, (the value of which was) two shekels (17 grams) of tin, to the priest. Three-and-a-half shekels (29 grams) of tin for wine. One-third of a shekel (3 grams) of tin also for wine. All of this I gave in ITI.KAM-im.

Notes: A mina is about 500 grams and a shekel is 1/60th of a mina (ca. 8.3 grams). Kunukam was probably a place in the mountains where the timber was cut.

Letter of Anum-Ḫirbi (early 18th cent. BCE)

A letter written in cuneiform in the Old Assyrian dialect was found on the upper mound of Kültepe, ancient Kanesh (Kt g/t 35). It was sent by Anum-Ḫirbi, ruler of Mamma, to the ruler of Kanesh. It is widely agreed that this Anum-Ḫirbi is the same person as the king mentioned in a text from Mari as the ruler of the city of Zalwar, west of the Euphrates River. And it now seems likely that Zalwar was located at Tilmen Höyük, just 8 kilometers south of Zincirli. Mamma, which was also part of Anum-Ḫirbi’s kingdom, was probably in or near the modern city of Kahramanmaraş, which is 55 kilometers north of Zincirli at the foot of the Taurus Mountains. If so, it would have controlled the southern outlet of the Göksun Pass, which provided a direct route of travel over the mountains from North Syria to Kanesh and the Anatolian plateau (see “Anum-Ḫirbi and His Kingdom,” by Jared L. Miller, in Altorientalische Forschungen 28 [2001]: 65–101 and A Historical Geography of Anatolia in the Old Assyrian Colony Period, by Gojko Barjamovic [Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2011], pp. 204–211). Thus, Sam’al was part of the sizable kingdom of Anum-Ḫirbi, which in the early part of the eighteenth century BCE controlled the east-west trade route from the Upper Euphrates River to the Amanus Mountains and the pass to Cilicia, and also controlled the north-south route that ran by Zincirli along the east side of the Amanus range, northward to the Taurus Mountains and the pass leading to Anatolia.

This text was published by Kemal Balkan in Letter of King Anum-Hirbi of Mama to King Warshama of Kanish (Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınları vol. 7, no. 31a Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1957). The following translation is by Gojko Barjamovic (ibid., pp. 205f.), and has been modified slightly:

Thus says Anum-Ḫirbi, king of Mamma, to Waršama, king of Kanesh: “You wrote to me, saying: ‘The Taišamean is my slave. I will personally take care of him, but will you then take care of the Sibuḫean, your slave?’ Since the Taišamean is your dog, then why is he negotiating with the other vassal princes? For he did consult other vassal princes! Is my dog, the Sibuḫean, negotiating with the other vassal princes? Is the prince of Taišama to turn into a third king with us (i.e., become our equal)? In truth, my enemy defeated me and the Taišamean fell upon my country and destroyed 12 of my towns. He took their cattle and their sheep away, saying: ‘The king is dead, so I have taken (out) my fowler’s trap.’ Instead of protecting my territory and encouraging me, he set fire to my country and made it reek of smoke. Did my land invade your land when your father Inar laid siege to the city of Ḫarsamna for nine years? Did my country fall upon your country and did it withhold a single ox or sheep? Now you wrote to me, saying: ‘Why do you not open the road for me? I will open the road from here.’ … and I will […] the city, and then […]. Let me […] a single road, and then I will open the road from here. … You wrote to me, saying: ‘Let us swear an oath. The former oath has become insufficient. Let your envoy come to me, and let my envoy come regularly to you.’ Tarikutana sealed stones as if they were silver and left them behind. Are such things pleasing to the gods?”

Annals of Ḫattušili I (mid- to late 17th cent. BCE)

Clay tablets excavated at the Hittite capital of Ḫattuša in central Anatolia (modern Boğazköy) contain an account of the deeds of Ḫattušili I, a Hittite king who reigned in the latter part of the seventeenth century BCE (according to the Mesopotamian Middle Chronology). His military exploits are described in a year-by-year format in both Hittite and Akkadian. In his first regnal year he destroyed the city of Zalpa (written Za-al-pa in Hittite and Za-al-ba-ar in Akkadian). This city was formerly equated by scholars with the city of Zalpa/Zalpuwa in Anatolia, located to the north of Ḫattuša near the Black Sea. But the Zalpa mentioned in the Annals of Ḫattušili I is now convincingly identified as Tilmen Höyük, in the Karasu River Valley south of the Taurus Mountains, which had a palace and temple that were violently destroyed near the end of the Middle Bronze Age II. This North Syrian Zalpa was called Zalwar in Old Babylonian texts.

The mound of Tilmen Höyük (ancient Zalpa/Zalwar) is just 8 kilometers south of Zincirli Höyük (ancient Sam’al), and our recent excavations have shown that Zincirli, too, was violently destroyed and burned at the same time as Tilmen, or close to it. The dating of both destructions, which is based on recent ceramic and radiocarbon evidence, corresponds well to the early part of Ḫattušili I’s reign, leading us to surmise that both places were destroyed in the campaign of his first year. Likewise, the city of Alalaḫ (modern Tell Atchana), located in the Plain of Antioch about 100 kilometers south of Zincirli, was violently destroyed in the Middle Bronze Age II, and this destruction is usually attributed to Ḫattušili I, who claims to have conquered Alalaḫ in the second year of his reign. Thus, the first two campaigns of this king were directed against kingdoms in North Syria, southeast of his capital at Ḫattuša, on the other side of the Taurus Mountains. In previous generations, before the rise of the Hittite Empire, there had been extensive political and trade interactions between the Hittite heartland and the kingdoms of North Syria, as shown by the Letter of Anum-Ḫirbi, which was sent to the king of Kanesh by an earlier ruler of the North Syrian Zalpa/Zalwar.

In his third year, having conquered the kingdoms to the southeast of Ḫatti as far as the Orontes River, Ḫattušili campaigned against Arzawa in western Anatolia. However, his earlier forays across the Taurus Mountains into Syria seem to have provoked a reaction, because during his absence in western Anatolia, the “Hurrian enemy” invaded his kingdom and instigated a rebellion against him. However, he managed to suppress the insurrection and he returned in vengeance to North Syria during his fourth year, when he attacked and defeated the wealthy cities of Ḫaššuwa and Ḫaḫḫa, to the east of the previously destroyed cities of Zalpa/Zalwar (Tilmen) and Sam’al (Zincirli). The Annals indicate that Ḫaššuwa was allied with the powerful city of Aleppo. The city of Ḫaššuwa (called Ḫaššum in other sources) is possibly to be identified with the prominent mound of Oylum Höyük, which is halfway between Aleppo and Gaziantep, just north of the modern Turkish-Syrian border, or else Tilbeşar southeast of Gaziantep. In any case, Ḫaššuwa controlled the territory east of the kingdom of Zalpa/Zalwar, i.e., the region from the Kurt Dağ mountains to the Euphrates River, and thus was the next target of Ḫattušili after he had secured the north-south corridor along the Amanus range as far south as Alalaḫ on the Orontes, because the conquest of Ḫaššuwa gave him control of the east-west trade corridor from the Amanus to the Euphrates. The city of Ḫaḫḫa (called Ḫaḫḫum in other sources), which Ḫattušili proceeded to conquer after defeating Ḫaššuwa, is thought by most scholars to be near Samsat and is probably to be identified with Lidar Höyük on the east (left) bank of the Upper Euphrates River.

The following translation of the Annals of Ḫattušili I (slightly modified here) is by Gary Beckman and is published in The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation, edited by Mark W. Chavalas (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 219–222:

First Year

§1 (A i 1–8) I, the Great King, the Tabarna, Ḫattušili, [king of the land of Ḫatti], ruler of (the city of) Kuššar, exercised kingship in Ḫatti. The brother’s son of Tawananna, I went to (the city of) Šanaḫuitta, but I did not destroy it I destroyed its countryside. I left forces in two places as garrisons, and I gave whatever sheepfolds there were (in that vicinity) to the garrison troops.

§2 (A i 9–11) [Thereafter] I went to the (city of) Zalpa (Akkadian: Zalbar) and destroyed it. I took its deities and three palanquins and carried them off for the sun-goddess of (the city of) Arinna.

§3 (A i 12–14) I carried off one golden ox and one golden rhyton in the shape of a fist to the temple of the storm-god. I carried off the deities that remained to the temple of (the goddess) Mezzulla.

Second Year

§4 (A i 15–21) In the following year I went to the (city of) Alalaḫ and destroyed it. Thereafter I went to (the city of) Waršuwa, and from Waršuwa I went to (the city of) Ikakali. From Ikakali I went to (the city of) Tašḫiniya. I destroyed these lands, but I took their(!) goods and filled my palace with goods.

Third Year

§5 (A i 22–34) In the following year I went to the land of Arzawa and took away their cattle and sheep. But in my rear the Hurrian enemy entered the land, and all the countries became hostile to me only the single city Ḫattuša remained. I am the Great King, the Tabarna, beloved of the sun-goddess of Arinna. She placed me on her lap, held me by the hand, and ran before me in battle. Then I went into battle to (the city of) Nenašša, and when the people of Nenašša saw me (coming), they opened up (their city).

§6 (A i 35–45) Thereafter I went in battle to the land of Ulma. The people of Ulma came against me twice in battle, and I defeated them both times. I destroyed Ulma and sowed [cress] on its territory. And I carried off seven deities to the temple of the sun-goddess of Arinna, (including) one golden ox, the goddess Katiti, and Mount Aranḫapilanni. I carried off the deities that remained to the temple of Mezzulla. But when I returned from the land of Ulma, I went to the land of Šalliaḫšuwa. Then the land of Šalliaḫšuwa delivered itself with fire, while those persons (its inhabitants) entered my service. Then I returned to my city Ḫattuša.

Fourth Year

§7 (A i 46–52) In the following year I went in battle (to the city) of Šanaḫḫuitta, and I fought Šanaḫḫuitta for five months. [Then] I destroyed [it] in the sixth month. I, the Great King, was satisfied. The sun-god appeared in the midst of the lands. The manly deeds that [I …] I took to the sun-goddess of Arinna.

§8 (A i 53–ii 5) I defeated the chariotry of the land of Appaya, and I took away the cattle and sheep of (the city of) Takšanaya. I went to (the city of) Parmanna. Parmanna was the chief of those kings it used to smooth out the paths before them.

§9 (A ii 6–10) And when they saw me coming, they opened up the city gates. The sun-god of Heaven took them by the hand in [that] matter. (The city of) Alḫa became hostile to me, and I destroyed Alḫa.

Fifth Year

§10 (A ii 11–23) In the following year I went to the land of Zaruna, and I destroyed Zaruna. Then I went to (the city of) Ḫaššuwa. The people of Ḫaššuwa came against me in battle, and the troops of the land of Aleppo were with them as allies. They came to me [in battle] and I defeated them. And in a few days I crossed the Euphrates River. I scattered the land of Ḫaššuwa like a lion with its paws. When I attacked [it], I piled up dirt [on it]. I took all [of its goods] and I filled Ḫattuša (with them).

§11 (A ii 24–31) I [took(?) much] silver and gold. Furthermore, [I took] its deities: the storm-god, Lord of (Mount) Amaruk the storm-god, Lord of Aleppo, Allatum, (Mount) Adalur, Lelluri, 2 oxen of gold, 13(!) statues of silver and gold, 2 model shrines, and a rear wall. And I plated it with silver and gold and I plated the door with silver and gold.

§12 (A ii 32–40) One golden inlaid table, three silver tables, two golden(!) tables, one golden inlaid throne with arms, a … of gold, one palanquin of gold, two scepters(?) of stone, plated with gold—these I carried off from Ḫaššuwa to the sun-goddess of Arinna. The Young Woman, Allatum, Ḫebat, three statues of silver, and two statues of gold—these I carried off to the temple of Mezzulla.

§13 (A ii 41–44) One golden lance, [five(?)] golden maces, five silver maces, two double-axes of lapis-lazuli, one double-ax of gold—these I carried off to the temple of the storm-god.

§14 (A ii 45–53) In one year I conquered Ḫaššuwa. They threw away the spear of the city of Tawannaga. I, the Great King, cut off his/its head. I went to (the city of) Zippašna. Indeed, at night I went up to Zippašna, and I joined battle with them. I piled up dirt on them, and the storm-god appeared in the midst of the land.

§15 (A ii 54–iii 5) I, the Great King, the Tabarna, went to Zippašna. Like a lion, I frightened off (the city of) Ḫaḫḫa with menacing gestures, and I destroyed Zippašna. I took its deities and carried them off to the sun-goddess of Arinna.

§16 (A iii 6–12) Then I went to Ḫaḫḫa, and at Ḫaḫḫa I gave battle three times in the city gate. I destroyed Ḫaḫḫa. I took its goods and brought them to my city Ḫattuša (two pairs of wagons were loaded with silver):

§17 (A iii 13–24) one palanquin, one silver stag, one golden table, one silver table these deities of Ḫaḫḫa: one silver bull, one boat with prow inlaid in gold, I, the Great King, the Tabarna, brought from Ḫaḫḫa and carried off to the sun-goddess of Arinna. I, the Great King, the Tabarna, removed the hands of its slave girls from the grinding stone. I removed the hands of its slaves from the sickle. I freed them from compulsory services, and I ungirded their loins. I turned them over to the sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady. And I made this golden statue of myself and set it up before the sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady. And I plated the wall above and below with silver.

§18 (A iii 25–28) The king of (the city of) Timana sent one chariot of silver to (me), the Great King, and I carried (it) off to the sun-goddess of Arinna. I (also) carried off two statues of alabaster to the sun-goddess of Arinna.

§19 (A iii 29–36) No one had crossed the Euphrates River, but I, the Great King, the Tabarna, crossed it on foot, and my army crossed it on foot behind me. Sargon (of Akkad also) crossed it. [He] fought the troops of Ḫaḫḫa, but [he] did not do anything to Ḫaḫḫa. He did not burn it down smoke was not visible to the storm-god of Heaven.

§20 (A iii 37–42) But I, the Great King, the Tabarna, destroyed Ḫaššuwa and Ḫaḫḫa, and [burned] them down with fire. I showed smoke to the sun-god of Heaven and the storm-god. I hitched the king of Ḫaššuwa and the king of Ḫaḫḫa to a wagon.


[First] tablet, [incomplete(?)], of the manly deeds of Ḫattušili.

Annals of Shalmaneser III (857 and 853 BCE)

Sam’al and its king Ḥayyānu are mentioned in an Akkadian cuneiform inscription of Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria, found at Fort Shalmaneser in northern Iraq and dated to 857 BCE. The following translation by A. Kirk Grayson (slightly modified here) was published in his Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium B.C. II (858–745 B.C.), vol. 3 in the series Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia—Assyrian Periods (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), pp. 7–11:

Shalmaneser, king of all people, prince, vice-regent of Aššur, strong king, king of Assyria, king of all the four quarters, sun(god) of all people, ruler of all lands, the king who is the desired object of the gods, chosen of the god Enlil, trustworthy appointee of Aššur, attentive prince, who gives income and offerings to the great gods, pious one, who ceaselessly provides for the Ekur, faithful shepherd who leads in peace the population of Assyria, exalted overseer who heeds the commands of the gods, the resplendent one who acts with the support of Aššur and Šamaš, the gods his allies, and at the beginning of his reign conquered the upper sea and the lower sea, who has no rival among the princes of the four quarters, who indeed has seen remote and rugged regions and trodden upon the mountain peaks in all the highlands son of Ashurnasirpal (II), appointee of the god Enlil, vice-regent of Aššur, son of Tukultī-Ninurta (II), appointee of the god Enlil, vice-regent of Aššur, son of Adad-nārārī (II) who was also appointee of the god Enlil, vice-regent of Aššur:

When Aššur, the great lord, chose me in his steadfast heart and with his holy eyes and named me for the shepherdship of Assyria, he put in my grasp a strong weapon which fells the insubordinate, he crowned me with a lofty crown, and he sternly commanded me to exercise dominion over and to subdue all the lands insubmissive to Aššur. At that time, in my accession year and in my first regnal year, after I nobly ascended the royal throne, I mustered my chariots and troops. I entered the pass of the land Simesi and captured the city Aridu, the fortified city of Ninnu. I erected a tower of heads in front of the city. I burned ten cities in its environs. While I was residing in the same city Aridu, I received tribute of teams of horses from the people of the lands/mountains Ḫargu, Ḫarmasa, Sirišu, Ulmānu, and Simerra.

Moving on from the city Aridu, I smashed out with copper picks rough paths in mighty mountains which rose perpendicularly to the sky like the points of daggers and into which no one among the kings my fathers had ever passed. I moved my chariots and troops over those paths and approached the city Ḫubuškia. I burned the city Ḫubuškia and all the cities in its environs. Kakia, king of the city Ḫubuškia, and the remainder of his troops became frightened in the face of my weapons and they ascended mountains where they fortified themselves (lit. “they took as a fortress”). I climbed up the mountains after them. I waged mighty war in the mountains and defeated them. I brought back his chariots and troops from the mountains. Overwhelmed by fear of the radiance of Aššur, my lord, they came down and submitted to me. I imposed upon them tribute of teams of horses.

Moving on from the city Ḫubuškia, I approached the city Sugunia, the fortified city of Aramu of the land Urarṭu. I besieged the city, captured it, massacred many of its people, and carried off booty from them. I erected two towers of heads in front of his city. I burned fourteen cities in its environs.

Moving on from the city Sugunia, I went down to the sea of the land Nairi (prob. Lake Urmia). I washed my weapons in the sea and made sacrifices to my gods. At that time I made an image of myself and wrote thereon the praises of Aššur, the great lord, and the prowess of my power. I erected it by the sea. On my return from the sea I approached the city Gilzānu. I received tribute from Asû of the land Gilzānu: teams of horses and camels with two humps. I brought it to my city Aššur.

… In this first year (858 BCE) I took the path to the western sea (the Mediterranean), also called the sea of the land Amurru. On my way I conquered the city La’la’tu, which belonged to Aḫuni, the “son” of Adini (i.e., ruler of Bīt-Adini, a kingdom on the Euphrates River). I received the tribute of Ḫabini of the city Tīl-Abnī, of Ga’una of the city Sarug, and of Giri-Adad of the city Immerina: silver, gold, tin, bronze, cattle, sheep, and wine.

Moving on from the city […] I crossed the Euphrates River, which was in flood. […]

Moving on [from the city] Gurgum (modern Kahramanmaraş), I approached the city Lutibu (prob. modern Coba Höyük near Sakçagözu), the [fortified] city of Ḥayyānu of the land Sam’al. Ḥayyānu of the land Sam’al, Sapalulme of the land Patin (i.e., the plain of Antioch), [Aḫuni] the “son” of Adini, and Sangara of [the land Carchemish] put their trust in each other and prepared for war. They attacked me to do battle. With the exalted might of the divine standard which goes before me and with the fierce weapons [which] Aššur my lord gave to me, I fought and defeated them. I felled their fighting men with the sword, [rained down] upon them [destruction (lit. “flood”)] as the god Adad, piled up their (bodies) in ditches, [filled the extensive] plain with the corpses of their warriors, and with their blood I dyed the mountain red like red wool. I took from them (lit. “him”) numerous chariots and teams of horses. I erected a tower of heads in front of his city and [razed, destroyed, and] burned [his cities]. I made a colossal royal statue of myself and wrote [thereon] about my heroic deeds [and victorious actions. I erected (it)] before the source of the Saluara River (modern Karasu) at the foot of the [Amanus] range.

Moving on from the Amanus range, I crossed the Orontes River and approached the city Alimuš, the fortified city of Sapalulme of the land Patin. To save his life, Sapalulme of the land Patin received into his armed forces Aḫuni the “son” of Adini, Sangara of the land Carchemish, Ḥayyānu of the land Sam’al, Katê of the land Que (the Cilician plain), Piḫirim of the land Ḫiluka (Taurus Mountains), Bur-Anate of the land Yasbuq, and Adānu of the land Yaḫan. By the command of Aššur, my lord, I scattered their assembled forces. I besieged the city, captured it, and carried off valuable booty from them, namely, numerous chariots and teams of horses. I felled 700 of their fighting men with the sword. In the midst of this battle I captured Bur-Anate of the land Yasbuq. I captured the great cities of Patin. I overwhelmed the cities on the shore of the upper sea of the land Amurru, also called the western sea (the Mediterranean), so that they looked like ruin hills created by the deluge. I received tribute from the kings on the seashore. I marched about by right of victory in the extensive area of the seashore. I made an image of my lordship. […] I approached […] I received tribute from Arame the “son” of Agūsi (i.e., the ruler of Bīt-Agūsi): silver, gold, cattle, sheep, wine, and a gold-and-silver bed.

On the thirteenth day of the month Iyyar, in the eponymy of my own name, I moved out from Nineveh, crossed the Tigris River, traversed Mounts Ḫasamu and Diḫnunu, and approached the city Tīl-Barsip, the fortified city of Aḫuni the “son” of Adini. Trusting in the strength of his troops, Aḫuni the “son” of Adini attacked me. I defeated him and confined him to his city. Moving on from Tīl-Barsip, I crossed the Euphrates, […] I approached […], a city belonging to Aḫuni the “son” of Adini. […] I captured it. I massacred many of its people. […] the plain […] of royalty, his battle equipment, I carried off. […] Moving on from the city […]ra, I approached the city Dabigu. […], the fortified city of Aḫuni the “son” of Adini. I besieged and captured it. I massacred their people and carried off booty from them. I razed and destroyed the city and turned it into a devastated ruin hill.

While I was residing in the same city, Dabigu, I received the tribute of Qalparunda of the city Unqi, of Mutalli of the city Gurgum, of Ḥayyānu of the land Sam’al, and of Aramu the “son” of Agūsi: silver, gold, tin, bronze, iron, bronze, red-purple wool, elephant ivory, garments with multicolored trim, linen garments, cattle, sheep, wine, and ducks.

Additional details concerning Sam’al and its king Ḥayyānu, who is called the “son” of Gabbār, are given in an Akkadian cuneiform inscription on the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III, which is dated to 853 BCE. The following translation of excerpts from this inscription is by A. Kirk Grayson (slightly modified) and is published in his Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium B.C. II (858–745 B.C.), vol. 3 in the series Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia—Assyrian Periods (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), pp. 15–18:

…Moving on from the city Burmar’ana, I crossed the Euphrates in rafts made of inflated goatskins. I received tribute from Qatazilu of the land Kummuḫ (Commagene): silver, gold, cattle, sheep, and wine. I then approached the city Paqarruḫbuni (and other) cities belonging to Aḫuni the “son” of Adini (i.e., the ruler of Bīt-Adini), which is on the opposite bank of the Euphrates. I defeated his land and laid waste his cities. I filled the wide plain with the corpses (lit. “defeat”) of his warriors by felling 1,300 of his combat troops with the sword. Moving on from the city Paqarruḫbuni, I approached the cities of Mutalli of the land Gurgum (modern Kahramanmaraş). I received tribute from Mutalli of the land Gurgum: silver, gold, cattle, sheep, wine, and his daughter with her rich dowry. Moving on from the city Gurgum, I approached the city Lutibu (prob. modern Coba Höyük near Sakçagözu), the fortified city of Ḥayyānu of the land Sam’al….

I ascended the Amanus range and cut down beams of cedar and juniper. I marched to Mount Atalur (prob. modern Kurt Dağ, a range of low mountains east of and parallel to the Amanus range), where the image of Anum-ḫirbe stands, and erected my image with his image….

All of the kings of the land Hatti became afraid in the face of the flash of my strong weapons and my stormy onslaught and submitted to me. I received from Qalparunda of the land Patin three talents of gold, 100 talents of silver, 300 talents of bronze, 300 talents of iron, 1,000 bronze casseroles, 1,000 linen garments with multicolored trim, his daughter with her rich dowry, 20 talents of red purple wool, 500 cattle, and 5,000 sheep. I imposed upon him as annual tribute one talent of silver, two talents of red purple wool, and 100 cedar beams, and I regularly receive it in my city, Aššur. I received from Ḥayyānu the “son” of Gabbār (i.e., ruler of Bīt-Gabbār), which is at the foot of the Amanus range, [N] talents of silver, 90 talents of bronze, 90 talents of iron, 300 linen garments with multicolored trim, 300 cattle, 3,000 sheep, 200 cedar beams, [N] + two homers of cedar resin, and his daughter with her rich dowry. I imposed upon him as tribute ten minas of silver, 100 cedar beams, and one homer of cedar resin, and I receive it annually in my city, Aššur….

Phoenician Inscription of Kulamuwa (ca. 830 BCE)

On the upper mound of Zincirli, the German expedition discovered an inscription by Kulamuwa, king of Sam’al, which is dated to ca. 830 BCE. Kulamuwa’s father Ḥayyā(nu) is mentioned in the Annals of Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria, who defeated Ḥayyā’s army and conquered Sam’al in 858 BCE. Kulamuwa’s inscription was written in Phoenician and carved on a stone orthostat that also bears his portrait, showing him in Assyrian-style garb. Phoenician is a Canaanite dialect that was spoken along the Mediterranean coast of the Levant during the Iron Age. It was not the spoken language of the kingdom of Sam’al but it was widely used in the Iron Age II as a lingua franca because, beginning in the tenth century BCE, Phoenician travelers and merchants had disseminated their new alphabetic method of writing, ancestral to all alphabets in use today, far and wide among the Iron Age kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean. After Kulamuwa, the later royal inscriptions we possess from the kingdom of Sam’al were written in the local Sam’alian dialect using a Phoenician-derived alphabetic script, or, in the case of the latest known inscription by Barrākib (ca. 720 BCE), were written in the “official” dialect of Aramaic used as a lingua franca in the Neo-Assyrian Empire beginning in the late eighth century BCE. The following translation of the Kulamuwa inscription (slightly modified) is by K. Lawson Younger and is published in The Context of Scripture, vol. 2 (ed. W. W. Hallo and K. L. Younger Leiden: Brill, 2003), pp. 147–148:

I am Kulamuwa, the son of Ḥayyā. Gabbār ruled over Y’DY, but he achieved nothing. BNH also (ruled over Y’DY), but he achieved nothing. Then my father Ḥayyā, but he achieved nothing. And then my brother Ša’īl, but he achieved nothing. But I am Kulamuwa, son of TML—what I achieved, (my) predecessors had not achieved.

The house of my father was in the midst of mighty kings. Each one stretched forth his hand to fight. But I was in the hand of the kings like a fire consuming the beard and like a fire consuming the hand. The king of the Danunians (in the Cilician plain west of the Amanus Mountains) was more powerful than I, but I engaged against him the king of Assyria. A young woman was given for a sheep and a young man for a garment.

I am Kulamuwa, son of Ḥayyā. I sat upon the throne of my father. During the reigns of the former kings, the muškabīm were living like dogs. But I was to some a father and to some I was a mother and to some I was a brother. Whoever had never possessed a sheep, I made a lord of a flock. Whoever had never possessed an ox, I made owner of a herd and owner of silver and lord of gold. Whoever from his childhood had never seen linen, now in my days wore byssos. I took the muškabīm by the hand and they showed (me) affection like the affection of a fatherless child toward (its) mother.

Now, whoever of my descendants (lit. “sons”) sits in my place and damages this inscription—may the muškabīm not honor the ba‘rīrīm and may the ba‘rīrīm not honor the muškabīm. And whoever strikes out this inscription, may Baal Ṣemed, (the god) of Bamah, and Rākib-El, the lord of the dynasty (lit. “house”), strike his head.

Hadad Statue Inscription of Panamuwa I (ca. 750 BCE)

A mortuary inscription of Panamuwa I, king of Sam’al, was written in the local Sam’alian dialect and engraved on a colossal statue of the storm-god Hadad found by the German expedition at the site of Gercin, atop a rocky outcrop 7 kilometers north-northeast of Zincirli. There was a temple of Hadad on the highest part of Gercin, which was easily visible from the royal citadel of Sam’al. Panamuwa’s inscription indicates that there was a royal necropolis or memorial place for the Iron Age kings of Sam’al in or near the temple of Hadad. It is dates to ca. 750 BCE. The following translation (slightly modified) is by K. Lawson Younger and is published in The Context of Scripture, vol. 2 (ed. W. W. Hallo and K. L. Younger Leiden: Brill, 2003), pp. 156–158:

I am Panamuwa, son of Qarli, king of Y’DY, who have erected this statue for Hadad in my eternal abode (burial chamber). The gods Hadad and El and Rašap and Rākib-El and Šamaš supported me. Hadad and El and Rākib-El and Šamaš and Rašap gave the scepter of dominion into my hands. Rašap supported me. So whatever I grasped with my hand […] and whatever I asked from the gods, they granted to me. The devastation(?) they restored. […] a land of barley […] a land of wheat and a land of garlic and a land of […]. Then […]. And […]. They cultivated the land and the vineyard. They dwelt there […].

I, Panamuwa, reigned on the throne of my father. Hadad gave into my hands a scepter of dominion. I cut off war and slander from the house of my father, and in my days also Y’DY ate and drank. In my days it was commanded throughout all my land to reconstruct ṬYRT and to reconstruct ZRRY and to build the villages of the dominion. Each one took his friend(?). Hadad and El and Rākib-El and Šamaš and ’Arqû-Rašap gave abundance. Greatness was granted to me and a sure covenant was concluded with me. In the days when I gained dominion, a gift-offering(?) was given to the gods they took the land from my hand. Whatever I asked from the gods of the land, they gave to me. The gods of the land delighted in me, the son of Qarli.

Then Hadad gave the land for my […]. He singled me out to build and during my dominion, Hadad […] gave me the land to build. So I have built the land. I have erected this statue of Hadad and have built the place of Panamuwa, son of Qarli, king of Y’DY, with the statue—a burial chamber. Whoever of my sons (descendants) seizes the scepter, and sits on my throne, and maintains power, and sacrifices to this Hadad, […] an oath(?) and sacrifices this […] sacrifices to Hadad. Or, on the other hand, […] then he says: “May the soul (NBŠ) of Panamuwa eat with you and may the soul of Panamuwa drink with you.” May he remember eternally the soul of Panamuwa with Hadad. May he give this his sacrifice to Hadad. May he (i.e., Hadad) look favorably upon it. May it be a tribute for Hadad and for El and for Rākib-El and Šamaš and Rašap.

I am Panamuwa […] a house for the gods of this city. I built it and I caused the gods to dwell in it. During my reign, I allotted the gods a resting place. And they gave to me a seed of the bosom. […] whoever of my sons (descendants) seizes the scepter, and sits on my throne, and reigns over Y’DY, and maintains his power, and sacrifices to this Hadad, and does not remember the name of Panamuwa—who does not say: “May the soul of Panamuwa eat with Hadad, and may the soul of Panamuwa drink with Hadad” then […] his sacrifice. May he (i.e., Hadad) not look favorably upon it, and whatever he asks, may Hadad not grant him. As for Hadad, may his wrath be poured out on him and may he not give to him to eat because of his rage and may he withhold sleep from him in the night and may terror be given to him. And may he not […] my kinsmen or relatives.

Whoever of my house seizes the scepter in Y’DY and sits on my throne and reigns in my place, may he not stretch his hand with the sword against anyone(?) of my house, either out of anger or out of violence. May he not do murder, either out of wrath or out of […]. And may no one be put to death, either by his bow or by his word or by his command.

But should (the future king’s) kinsman plot the destruction of one of his kinsmen or one of his relatives or one of his kinswomen, or should any member of my house plot destruction, then may (the king) assemble his male relatives and may he stand (the accused plotter) in the middle. Indeed, (the aggrieved victim of the plot) will pronounce his oath: “Your brother has caused my destruction!” If (the accused) denies it and (the aggrieved) lifts up his hands to the god of his father and says on his oath: “If I have put these words in the mouth of a stranger, say that my eyes are fixed or fearful, or that I have put my words in the mouth of enemies!”—then if (the accused) is male, may his male relatives be assembled and may they pound him with stones and if (the accused) is female, then may her kinswomen be assembled and may they pound her with stones.

But if indeed ruin has struck him (a royal kinsman?) himself, then should your (i.e., the future king’s) eyes be weary of him on account of his bow or his power or his words or his instigation, then you […] his right […]. But if you slay him in violence or in anger, or you issue a decree against him, or you incite a stranger to slay him, may the gods […] slay […]

Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III (737 and 729 BCE)

Sam’al and its king Panamuwa II are mentioned in an Akkadian cuneiform inscription of Tiglath-pileser III, king of Assyria, on the Iran Stele III A, which is dated to 737 BCE. The following translation (slightly modified) is by Hayim Tadmor and is published in his The Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, King of Assyria: Critical Edition, with Introductions, Translation and Commentary (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994), pp. 107–109:

The kings of the land of Hatti, (and of) the Arameans of the western seashore, the Qedarites (and) the Arabs: Kuštašpi of Kummuh (Commagene), Rezin of Damascus, Menahem of Samaria, Tuba’il (Itto-ba‘al) of Tyre, Sibitba’il (Šipṭi-Ba‘al) of Byblos, Urik (Awariku) of Que (Cilicia), Sulumal of Melid (modern Malatya), Uassurme of Tabal, Ušhiti of Atuna, Urballa of Tuhana, Tuhame of Ištundi, Uirimi of Hubišna, Dadi-il of Kaska, Pisiris of Carchemish, Panammu (Panamuwa) of [Sa]m’al, Tarhularu of [Gur]gum (modern Kahramanmaraş), Zabibe, queen of the Arabs—tribute of silver, gold, tin, iron, elephant hide, ivory, blue-purple and red-purple garments, multicolored linen garments, dromedaries, she-camels I imposed on them. And as for Iranzu of Mannea, Dalta of Ellipi, the city rulers of Namri, of Singibutu (and) of all the eastern mountains—horses, mules, Bactrian camels, cattle (and) sheep I imposed upon them (as tribute) to be received annually in Assyria. I had a stele made in the vicinity of the mountain, (and) depicted on it (the symbols of) the great gods, my lords, (and) my own royal image I engraved upon it. The mighty deeds of Aššur, my lord, and [my] personal achievements, which were performed throughout all the lands, I w[rote] upon it [at] the border, which is on […

Another inscription of Tiglath-pileser III dated to 729 BCE (Calah Summary No. 7 [reverse]) also mentions Panamuwa II and refers to the construction of a bīt-hilāni palace “modeled after a palace of the land of Hatti” (i.e., the Northern Levant). The site of Zincirli has produced some of the best examples of this type of palace, which had a pillared portico and made use of long timber beams obtained from the nearby Amanus Mountains. The following translation (slightly modified) is by Hayim Tadmor and is published in his The Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, King of Assyria: Critical Edition, with Introductions, Translation and Commentary (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994), pp. 169–175:

…] … I set on fire. [Samsi (or: and she) was startled by my mighty weapons camels, she-camels with their young she brought to As]syria to my presence. [An inspector ov]er her I insta[lled and 10,000 soldiers…]

[The tribes of Mas]a, Tema, Saba, Hayappa, Badanu, [Hatte, Idiba’ilu, … who dwell on the border of the western lands,] of whom no one (of my ancestors) knew and whose place is far away, fame of my majesty [(and of) my heroic deeds they heard and made supplication to my lordship.] [Gold, silver,] camels, she-camels, all kinds of spices, their tribute as one [they brought] be[fore me and kissed my feet.] I appointed [Idi]bi’ilu as the “Gatekeeper” facing Egypt. In all the (foreign) lands that […

[The tribute of] Kuštašpi of Kummuh (Commagene), Urik (Awariku) of Que (Cilicia), Sibittibi’il (Šipṭi-Ba‘al) of [Byblos, Hiram of Tyre, Pisiris of Carchemish, Eni]-il of Hamath, Panammu (Panamuwa) of Sam’al, Tarhulara of Gurgum (modern Kahramanmaraş), Sulu[mal of Melid (modern Malatya), Dadi-ilu of Kaska, U]assurme of Tabal, Ušhitti of Tuna, Urballa of Tuhana, Tuham[mi of Ištunda, Urimmi of Hubišna, Ma]tanbi’il of Arvad, Sanipu of Ammon, Salamanu of Moab, [… … Mi]tinti of Ashkelon, Jehoahaz of Judah, Qaušmalak of Edom, Muṣ… […of … …] (and) Hanunu of Gaza: gold, silver, lead, iron, tin, multicolored garments, linen garments, the garments of the lands, wool (dyed) red-purple, [all kinds of] costly articles, produce of the sea (and) dry land, the commodities of their countries, royal treasures, horses (and) mules broken to the yo[ke … I received.]

Uassurme of Tabal acted as if he were the equal of Assyria and did not appear before me. A eunuch of mine, the Chief-[Eunuch, … I sent to Tabal … H]ulli, a commoner (lit. “son of nobody”), I placed on his throne. Ten talents of gold, 1,000 talents of silver, 2,000 horses, [… mules as his tribute I received.]

I sent a eunuch of mine, the Chief Eunuch, to Tyre. From Metenna of Tyre, 150 talents of gold (and) [2,000 talents of silver his tribute I received.]

With keen understanding and broad knowledge, which the prince Nudimmud, the most expert of the gods, bestowed upon me, a cedar palace [… for my royal residence] and a bīt-hilāni, modeled after a palace of the land of Hatti, I built for my pleasure in Calah. [To a length of x cubits and a wide of 6 cubits I expanded its size over and above (the palaces) of my ancestors (by filling up) the Tigris River […] I cleverly made plans with the help of all the skilled craftsmen […]. I piled up heavy limestone boulders like a mountain, to a depth of 20 cubits in the raging waters, and I [… arresting] the flood. I built the terraces, laid the foundations firmly and raised them high. To a height of 6 2/3 cubits, palaces of [… I] constructed, and I set up their gates facing north. With ivory, ebony, boxwood, sissoo wood, cypress wood, In[dian wood … and] juniper—the tribute of the kings of the land of Hatti and the Aramean and Chaldean princes, whom I subdued with mighty courage—[I decorated them] (and) filled (them) with splendor. To a height of 5 1/2 ninda (+) 4 cubits (= 70 cubits), from the riverbed to the cornice, I designed their structure, and I made them more resplendent than the palaces of (foreign) lands. With long beams of cedar, a product of the Am[anus], Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, which are as sweet to smell as the scent of hašurru wood, I roofed them, demonstrating appropriate care. To exhibit the splendor of […] I fashioned stones, expertly cut, and (thus) made the gate befitting (a royal palace). Double doors of cedar and pine, which bestow (great) pleasure on those who enter them (and) whose fragrance wafts into the heart, I overlaid with strips of shining silver alloy and <gold alloy> and set them up in the gateways. Lion colossi and bull colossi with very skillfully wrought features, clothed with splendor, I placed in the entrance and set up for display. At their feet I laid threshold-slabs of gypsum and alabaster, and so I brightened the exits. And I fashioned statues, the guardians of the great gods, creatures of the deep (i.e., fish-men), and placed them around the supporting wall, thus endowing (it) with splendor. To put the final touch on them (i.e., the new palaces), I studded them all around with knobbed pegs of gold, silver, and bronze, giving them a gleaming appearance. For my royal residence, I constructed (within it) a glittering chamber inlaid with precious stones. I named them: “(The) Palaces-of-Joy, Which-Bear-Abundance-Which-Bless-the-King, Who-Made-Their-Structure-Everlasting.” I named their gates: “Gates-of-Justice-Which-Give-the-Correct-Judgment-for-the-Rulers-of-the-Four-Quarters (i.e., the world), Which-Offer-the-Yield-of-the-Mountains-and-the-Seas, Which-Admit-the-Produce-of-Mankind-Before-the-King-Their-Master.”

Stele of Katumuwa, servant of Panamuwa II (ca. 735 BCE)

The inscribed mortuary stele of Katumuwa (KTMW), a royal official of Sam’al, was discovered in our excavations at Zincirli in July 2008. The inscription is written in the local Sam’alian dialect, which in this period had begun to show Aramaic influence. It is dated to ca. 735 BCE. The vocalization of KTMW, the name written on the stele, is uncertain. “Katumuwa” has been proposed by K. Lawson Younger (2011) as the most likely reading, based on Luwian parallels. The archaeological context and iconography of his stele indicate that the Panamuwa whom Katumuwa served was Panamuwa II son of Barṣūr, who was installed as king of Sam’al by Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria in ca. 740 BCE, and not the earlier king Panamuwa I, son of Qarli. According to an inscription of Barrākib, his son and successor, Panamuwa II died in battle at Damascus fighting alongside the Assyrians as a loyal client of Tiglath-pileser III. The Assyrian conquest of Damascus occurred in 733/32 BCE. The following translation of the Katumuwa Stele inscription (slightly modified) is by Dennis Pardee and is published in The Context of Scripture, vol. 4, Supplements, edited by K. Lawson Younger, pp. 95–96 (Leiden: Brill, 2017).

I am KTMW, servant of Panamuwa, who commissioned for myself (this) stele while still living. I placed it in my eternal chamber and established a feast (at) this chamber: a bull for Hadad Qarpatalli, a ram for NGD/R ṢWD/RN, a ram for Šamš, a ram for Hadad of the Vineyards, a ram for Kubaba, and a ram for my “soul” (NBŠ) that (will be) in this stele. Henceforth, whoever of my sons or of the sons of anybody (else) should come into possession of this chamber, let him take from the best (produce) of this vineyard (as) a (presentation)-offering year by year. He is also to perform the slaughter (prescribed above) in (proximity to) my “soul” and is to apportion for me a leg-cut.

Inscriptions of Barrākib (732 and ca. 720 BCE)

Barrākib, the last known king of Sam’al, erected a statue of his deceased father, Panamuwa II, on which was carved a memorial inscription. The lower part of this statue was found by the German expedition at Tahtali Pinar, a few kilometers north of Zincirli, on the way toward the temple of the storm-god at Gercin, where the inscribed Hadad statue of Panamuwa I had been found. The Panamuwa II statue inscription of Barrākib was written in the local Sam’alian dialect and can be dated to 732 BCE, soon after Panamuwa II died in battle at Damascus. The following translation (slightly modified) is by K. Lawson Younger and is published in The Context of Scripture, vol. 2 (ed. W. W. Hallo and K. L. Younger Leiden: Brill, 2003), pp. 158–160:

This statue Barrākib has set up for his father, for Panamuwa, the son of Barṣūr, the king of Y’DY, in the year [of his death(?)]. My father, Panamuwa—because of the loyalty of his father, the gods of Y’DY delivered him from the destruction which was in the house of his father. The god Hadad stood with him. […] his throne against […]. […] destroyed(?) […] in the house of his father. He (i.e., the destroyer) killed his (i.e., Panamuwa’s) father Barṣūr and he killed seventy brothers (kinsmen) of his father. But my father (i.e., Panamuwa) mounted a chariot […] and […] lord […]. He pierced […] Panamuwa(?). And with the rest of it he indeed filled the prisons. He made ruined cities more numerous than inhabited cities. And it gave(?) Panamuwa, son of Qarli, (and he spoke): “If you cause bloodshed in my house, and you also kill one of my sons, then I also will make bloodshed in the land of Y’DY.” Then […] Panamuwa, son of Qarli […]. My father Panamuwa, son of Barṣūr, […] ewe and cow and wheat and barley. And a parīs stood at a shekel and a STRB-(measure) of onions/wine at a shekel and two-thirds of a mina of oil at a shekel.

Then my father, Panamuwa, son of Barṣūr, brought a gift to the king of Assyria, who made him king over the house of his father. He killed(?) the stone of destruction from the house of his father and […] away from the treasuries of houses of the land of Y’DY from […]. He opened the prisons and released the captives of Y’DY. So my father arose, and released the women in […]. […] the house of the women who had died, and he buried(?) them(?) in […]. He […] the house of his father and he made it better than before. It abounded with wheat and barley and ewe and cow in his days. And then the land ate and drank […]. The price was cheap.

In the days of my father Panamuwa, he truly appointed lords of villages and lords of chariots. My father Panamuwa was esteemed in the midst of mighty kings from the east to the west. […] my father surely possessed silver and surely he possessed gold. On account of his wisdom and because of his loyalty, he seized the robe of his lord, the mighty king of Assyria. […] of Assyria. Then he lived and Y’DY also lived. His lord, the king of Assyria, placed him over powerful kings […]. He ran at the wheel of his lord, Tiglath-pileser (III), king of Assyria, in campaigns from the east to the west and from the north to the south, over the four quarters of the earth. The population of the east he brought to the west and the population of the west he brought to the east. My father profited more than all other mighty kings. To his territory his lord Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, added cities from the territory of Gurgum and […]. My father Panamuwa, son of Barṣūr […]

My father, Panamuwa, died while following his lord, Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, in the campaigns. Even his lord, Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, wept for him and his brother kings wept for him and all of the camp of his lord, the king of Assyria, wept for him. His lord, the king of Assyria, took […] “may his soul eat and drink.” He set up for him a memorial in the way and he brought my father from Damascus to Assyria. In my days […]. And the whole house wept for him.

I am Barrākib, son of Panamuwa. Because of the loyalty of my father and because of my loyalty, my lord Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, has caused me to reign on the throne of my father, Panamuwa, son of Barṣūr. […]. […]. […] the king […]. And […] before the tomb of my father, Panamuwa. This memorial is it. Thus may Hadad and El and Rākib-El, the lord of the dynasty (lit. “house”), and Šamš and all the gods of Y’DY have favor on me, the son of Panamuwa. And may Rākib-El show favor to me before gods and before men.

Another inscription of Barrākib, also discovered by the German expedition, was carved on a stone monument found in the northwestern palace area on the upper mound of Zincirli. This inscription was written, not in Sam’alian, but in “official” Aramaic, a lingua franca of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. It is dated to ca. 720 BCE, not long before the royal dynasty of Sam’al was deposed and the kingdom annexed as a directly governed province of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The following translation (slightly modified) is by K. Lawson Younger and is published in The Context of Scripture, vol. 2 (ed. W. W. Hallo and K. L. Younger Leiden: Brill, 2003), pp. 160–161:


The site was excavated in 1888, 1890, 1891, 1894 and 1902 during expeditions led by Felix von Luschan and Robert Koldewey. Ώ] ΐ] Α] Β] Γ] Each of the expeditions was supported by the German Orient Committee, except for the fourth (1894), which was financed with monies from the Rudolf-Virchow-Stiftung and private donors. Δ]

They found a heavily fortified teardrop-shaped citadel, which was surrounded by the as yet unexcavated town and a further enormous double fortification wall with three gates and 100 bastions. Among the notable objects found at the site are five giant statues of lions carved from stone, which apparently had guarded the gates of the city, but may have been ritually buried together within the citadel. The German excavations on the citadel recovered large numbers of relief-carved orthostats, along with inscriptions in Aramaic, Phoenician, and Akkadian. These are on exhibit in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, and Istanbul. Also found was the notable Victory stele of Esarhaddon celebrating his victory over Taharqa. The field diaries of the excavation were lost during World War II.

In August 2006, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago began a new long-term excavation project at the site of Zincirli under the directorship of David Schloen. Seven seasons of excavation have been conducted through 2012. Ε] Ζ]


Three royal inscriptions from Ya'udi or Sam'al are particularly informative for the history of the area. The earliest is from the reign of King Panammu I, the others later at 730 BCE. Their language is known as Samalian or Ya'udic. Some scholars including P.-E. Dion. Η] and S. Moscati ⎖] have advanced Samalian as a distinct variety of Old Aramaic. ⎗] ⎘] ⎙] Attempts to establish a rigorous definition of "Aramaic" have led to a conclusion of Samalian as distinct from Aramaic, despite some shared features. ⎚] ⎛] ⎜]

Sam'al Stela of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon - History

The 25th dynasty was a line of rulers originating in the Nubian Kingdom of Kush and most saw Napata as their spiritual homeland. They reigned in part or all of Ancient Egypt from 760 BC to 656 BC The dynasty began with Kashta's invasion of Upper Egypt and culminated in several years of war with the Assyrians which was to result in the destruction of the Kushite Empire. The 25th's reunification of Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and also Kush (Nubia) created the largest Egyptian empire since the New Kingdom. They ushered in an age of renaissance by reaffirming Ancient Egyptian religious traditions, temples, and artistic forms, while introducing some unique aspects of Kushite culture.

It was during the 25th dynasty that the Nile valley saw the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in modern Sudan) since the Middle Kingdom. After Assyrian king Esarhaddon invaded Egypt and defeated the Nubians, they were succeeded by the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt, the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest.


The period starting with Kashta and ending with Malonaqen is sometimes called the Napatan Period. The later Kings from the twenty-fifth dynasty ruled over Napata, Meroe, and Egypt. The seat of government and the royal palace were in Napata during this period, while Meroe was a provincial city. The kings and queens were buried in El-Kurru and Nuri.

XXV Dynasty 760 - 656 B.C.E
Kashta/Maare 760 - 752 B.C.E.
Piye/Seneferre 752 - 721 B.C.E
Shabako/Neferkare 721 - 707 B.C.E.
Shebitku/Djedkare 707 - 690 B.C.E.
Taharqa 690/Khuneferturme - 664 B.C.E.
Tanutamun/Tanwetamani/Bakare 664 - 656 B.C.E.

Tantamani (Assyrian pronunciation, identical to Tandaname) or Tanwetamani (Egyptian) or Tementhes (Greek) (d. 653 BC) was a Pharaoh of Egypt and the Kingdom of Kush located in Northern Sudan and a member of the Nubian or Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen or royal name was Bakare which means "Glorious is the Soul of Re." He was the son of King Shabaka and the nephew of his predecessor Taharqa. In some sources he is said to be the son of Shebitku. Assyrian records call Tantamani a son of Shabaka and refer to Qalhata as a sister of Taharqa. Some Egyptologists interpreted the Assyrian text as stating that Tantamani was a son of Shebitku, but as he was most likely a son of Shabaka himself, it is now more common to consider Tantamani a son of Shabaka.

Once the Assyrians had appointed Necho I as king and left Egypt, Tantamani marched down the Nile from Nubia and reoccupied all of Egypt including Memphis. Necho I, the Assyrians' representative, was killed in Tantamani's campaign. In reaction, the Assyrians returned to Egypt in force, defeated Tantamani's army in the Delta and advanced as far as south as Thebes, which they sacked. The Assyrian reconquest effectively ended Nubian control over Egypt although Tantamani's authority was still recognised in Upper Egypt until his 8th Year in 656 BC when Psamtik I's navy peacefully took control of Thebes and effectively unified all of Egypt.

Thereafter, Tantamani ruled only Nubia (Kush). Tantamani died in 653 BC and was succeeded by Atlanersa, a son of Taharqa. He was buried in the family cemetery at El-Kurru. The archaeologist Charles Bonnet discovered the statue of Tantamani at Kerma (now called Doukki Gel) in 2003. Tanwetamani (Assyrian Tandamane or Tantamani, Greek Tementhes, also known as Tanutamun) was Egypt's last ruler of the 25th Dynasty as well as the last Nubain (Kushite) Ruler, ruling from about 664 to 657 BC. We are told his throne name was Ba-ka-re, meaning "Glorious is the Soul of Re". He succeeded Taharqa, though he was probably the son of that king's sister, queen Qalhata. His succession to the throne is recorded in a record known as the Dream Stela, not to be confused with that of Tuthmosis IV. It was discovered along with the Victory Stela of Piye at Gebel Barkal in 1862, and now resides in the Nubian Museum in Aswan.


Tanwetamani may have served as a co-regent with Taharqa, but his parentage and family relationships are difficult. From his stela we find depicted two women, one of whom is referred to as "the royal sister, the Mistress of Egypt, Qalhata", while the other is "the royal sister, the Mistress of Ta-Seti, Pi-(ankh)-Arty". An analysis of the text associated with the stela would seem to indicate that Qalhata was Tanwetamani's mother, while the second woman was his wife. The fact that Qalhata was his mother is also supported by her tomb at Nuri in the modern Sudan, where she is given the title of "King's Mother". Foundation deposits also show that the tomb was build during the reign of Tanwetamani.

Most recent histories which discuss the 25th dynasty identify Tanwetamani (Urdamani) as a son of Shabataka, Taharqa's brother, not of his uncle Shabaka as the Rassam cylinder annalist appears to suggest.. The errant orthography can be explained by the fact that the name Shabaka is more properly vocalized as Shebitku. If so then the "t" in the doubled consonant "tk" in the name of Shebitku would easily be lost to a foreign ear. The annalist wrote what he heard and recorded Shabataku instead of Shabitku.

In the narrative of his stela, the king is referred to as "lord of valor like Montu, great of strength like a fierce-eyed lion". It goes on to explain that in the first year of his reign, Tanwetamani had a dream of two serpents, one on his right hand and one on his left. After waking, the king's advisors interpreted the dream, saying that, "the southland is already thin, seize the northland". Hence, he should bring Egypt back under control of the Kushite empire. After this passage, another states that Tanwetamani then "rose on the throne of Horus", a term which may be interpreted as his having ascended the throne. This is the primary evidence we have for his co-regency with Taharqa, but we are also told that Assyrian text provides that he did not do so until after Taharqa's death.

Nekau of Sais may have been killed in this battle, but his son, Psamtek, who was loyal to the Assyrians fled to Asia. After this victory, Tanwetamani honored the God, Ptah-Sokar and his wife Sakhmet in the great temple of Memphis, and afterwards ordered the building of a chapel dedicated to Amun at Napata in Nubia. The temple, we know, was to be built of stone overlaid with gold, sections of cedar wood and the leaves of the door plated with electrum. This temple may be associated with parts of the great temple of Amun at Gebel Barkal.

Interestingly, Tanwetamani seems to have continued to be acknowledged as pharaoh in Thebes until his eighth year. There are inscriptions at Luxor that date the installation of priests by his name and the Kushites still maintained a large official presence in the city. Piye's daughter, Shepenwepet II we know as God's Wife of Amun, with Taharqa's daughter, Amenirdis II as her designated successor. Even in year none of Tanwetamani's reign, his cousin remained the High Priest of Amun, and we have other evidence of the Kushite's continued power within the region.

It is possible that Tanwetamani one again tried to assert control over Egypt, though the evidence is slight. In a brief passage in the work of Polyaenus from a 2nd Century (AD) text, we hear of a later battle near the temple of Isis at Memphis that may have involved Tanwetamani. He states that Psamtik, aided by Carian mercenary troops, defeated "Tementhes". A few Egyptologist believe, based on a hellenistic Jewish source, that Tanwetamani may have even retaken Memphis, but much of this is conjecture. In any case, Tanwetamani probably continued to rule in Nubia for at least a few more years, and was buried in the necropolis at Nuri.

Watch the video: . How Do We Know About Esarhaddons Covenant? (September 2022).


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