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The Nimrud Letters, 1952—Part II

  • H. W. F. Saggs
Extract

The twelve letters here published have been selected on a geographical basis, the common feature being that they all appear to be concerned with the regions west of Assyria. The evidence is against all the letters of this group relating to the events of the same campaign, or even of the same reign, although it is possible to show correlations between certain letters of the group.

To only two letters can a precise date be certainly assigned. For some others, internal evidence supplies good ground for a closely approximate dating, whilst for the remainder direct internal evidence as to the date appears to be lacking, and an approximate dating can only be assigned after consideration of the evidence concerning the Nimrud Letters as a whole. This evidence, insofar as it has yet been studied, is that nothing has appeared which necessitates postulating a date after the reign of Sargon, whereas about twenty letters have already been noted containing allusions on the basis of which they can be placed either in the latter part of the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III or in the first half of the reign of Sargon. There is thus a prima facie case for dating the collection as a whole between about 740 and a few years before 705 B.C., the precise terminus being probably the year in which Sargon transferred his capital from Calah to Dur-šarrukin.

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page 126 note 1 See XV, on pages 133f., and XVIII, on pages 137 f.

page 126 note 2 See Iraq XVII, Pt I, pp. 2156.

page 133 note 1 In the translations italics are used not only for doubtful passages but also for Akkadian terms. The existence of a doubt about an Akkadian term is indicated by a question mark.

page 144 note 1 For the reservations with which this discussion is offered see Iraq XVII, Pt. 1, p. 44.

page 144 note 2 See above, p. 126.

page 144 note 3 See Iraq XV, Pt. 1, pp. 3234.

page 144 note 4 Rost, P., Die Keilscbrifttexte Tiglat-Pilesers III (2 Bände, 1893), referred to hereafter as Rost, T.P.III.

page 144 note 5 It may be noted that two further fragments, apperently of the annals of Tiglath-Pileser III, have been found at Nimrud in the 1955 season.

page 144 note 6 Thiele, E. R., The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (1951), referred to hereafter as M.N.H.K.

page 144 note 7 L.A.R., I, §772. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XV, line 10; Bd. I, p. 26, line 150.

page 144 note 8 M.N.H.K., 73, 74.

page 144 note 9 M.N.H.K., 82-85.

page 144 note 10 M.N.H.K., 91.

page 144 note 11 2 Kings, xv, 19, 20.

page 144 note 12 L.A.R., I, §769. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XIII, lines 2–7; Bd. I, pp. 14-16, lines 83-88.

page 145 note 1 M.N.H.K., 97.

page 146 note 2 For an edition of the texts see R.L.A., II, 430435.

page 146 note 3 The states of the West, when defeated by Assyria, had hitherto normally been left under a native administration bound by treaty; see the treaty of Mati’-ilu of Arpad with Aššur-nirari V (L.A.R. I, §§750ff; M.D.V.G., 1898, pt. 6, 211). Tiglath-Pileser III made extensive administrative changes in Syria; see Forrer, , Die Provinzeinteilung des assyriscben Reichts, 57ff.

page 146 note 1 On the problem of the identity of Azriau of Yaudi see Luckenbill, , A.J.S.L. XLI, 217232 and Smith, Sidney, C.A.M. III, 35ff.

page 146 note 1 See page 150, footnote 1.

page 146 note 2 Because of its biblical associations, the capture of Samaria tends to be accorded an importance out of keeping with its actual political significance. Thus Thiele, , M.N.H.K., 125, comments: “If Sargon had accomplished such an important feat as capturing the city of Samaria in 722 and thus bringing to an end the history of the nation of Israel—a feat which he so proudly pretended to remember at the close of his reign—why did he not record that capture at the beginning of his reign ?”. There is nothing in the Annals of Sargon to indicate that the capture of Samaria claimed by him was regarded as a highlight in his career.

page 146 note 3 For an edition of the Annals of Sargon see Lie, A. G., The Inscriptions of Sargon II King of Assyria, Part I, The Annals (1929), referred to hereafter as Lie, Sargon.

page 146 note 4 This circumstance has been taken to support the inference from the biblical account that Samaria was taken by Shalmaneser, not by Sargon. See M.N.H.K., 122, 123, and literature there quoted.

page 146 note 5 Only events closely connected with Syria and Palestine are included in the table.

page 146 note 6 See above, p. 145, n. 2.

page 146 note 7 For the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III the correctness of the order of events given by Rost in T.P. III, concerning which considerable doubt is possible, is provisionally assumed.

page 146 note 8 Anspacher, , Tiglath-Pileser III, 36, points out that there is no justification for emending ina to ana. As to the problem of how Tiglath-Pileser originally got inside a capital which subsequently cost him three years of campaigning for its capture, it may be noted that the king of Arpad had bound himself to Tiglath-Pileser's predecessor by a treaty of alliance; see ref. in footnote 3 on p. 145 above.

page 146 note 9 See refs. in footnote 12 on p. 114 above.

page 146 note 10 L.A.R., I, §769. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XIV, lines 3ff.; Bd. I, p. 16, lines 92ff.

page 146 note 11 L.A.R., I, §770. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XX, lines 3ff, pl. XXI, lines 1ff.; Bd. I, pp. 18-22, lines 104ff.

page 147 note 1 L.A.R., I, §772. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XV, lines 10ff.; Bd. I, p. 26, lines 150ff.

page 147 note 2 2 Kings, xv, 19, 20.

page 147 note 3 2 Kings, xv, 22. Thiele, , M.N.H.K., 74, dates this at 742/1 B.C.

page 147 note 4 L.A.R., I, §770. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XXI, line 12; Bd. I, p. 22, line 133.

page 147 note 5 2 Kings, xv, 7. Thiele, , M.N.H.K., 74, dates this at 740/39 B.C.

page 147 note 6 Isaiah, x, 9.

page 147 note 7 L.A.R., I, §§779, 801, 815. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XVIII, line 7 (= Bd. I, p. 38, line 235), pl. XXXVII, lines 10–12 (= Bd. I, p. 72, lines 10-12), pl. XXV, lines 8ff. (= Bd. I, p. 78, lines 8ff.). It may be noted that the restoration “Menahem(?)” in L.A.R., I, §815, is without support from Rost's text.

page 147 note 8 L.A.R., I, §801. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XXXVII, lines 10, 11; Bd. I, p. 72, lines 10, 11.

page 147 note 9 2 Chron., xxviii, 16-18.

page 147 note 10 2 Chron., xxviii, 20.

page 147 note 11 2 Chron. xxviii, 21.

page 147 note 12 L.A.R., I, §777. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XXII, lines 11-15; Bd. I, pp. 34-36, lines 205-209.

page 147 note 13 L.A.R., I, §816. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XXV, lines 15-18; Bd. I, p. 80, lines 15-18.

page 147 note 14 2 Chron., xxviii, 5-8; 2 Kings, xvi, 5, 6.

page 147 note 15 2 Kings, xvi, 7-9.

page 147 note 16 2 Kings, xv, 29.

page 147 note 17 2 Kings, xv, 30.

page 148 note 1 Lie, , Sargon, p. 4, line 11.

page 148 note 2 2 Kings, xvii, 4.

page 148 note 3 On the identity of So see Drioton, et Vandier, , Les Peuples de L'Orient Méditerranéen, II, L'Égypte, 522.

page 148 note 4 2 Kings, xvii, 5, 6.

page 148 note 5 L.A.R., II, §§5, 55, 118, 134. Lie, , Sargon, p. 6, lines 23-25. Winckler, , Die Keilschrifttexte Sargons, (1889), (hereafter abbreviated to Winckler, , Sargon), Bd. I, p. 102, line 33.

page 148 note 6 L.A.R., II, §56. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, p. 102, line 33.

page 148 note 7 L.A.R., II, §5. Lie, , Sargon, p. 8, line 56.

page 148 note 8 Compare the rab-šaqe's evaluation of military assistance from Egypt in 2 Kings, xviii, 21, and Isaiah, xxxvi, 6, which relate to the events of 701 B.C.

page 148 note 9 L.A.R., II, §5. Lie, , Sargon, p. 8, line 55.

page 148 note 10 Isaiah, x, 9.

page 148 note 11 L.A.R., II, §8. Lie, , Sargon, p. 10, line 72.

page 148 note 12 L.A.R., II, §9. Lie, , Sargon, p. 12, line 78.

page 148 note 13 L.A.R., II, §56. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, p. 106, line 49, p. 108, line 56.

page 148 note 14 L.A.R., II, §17. Lie, , Sargon, pp. 21, 23, lines 120-123. The list in the Annals is irreconcilable with that in 2 Kings, xvii, 24, but the two lists may refer to different transportations.

page 148 note 15 2 Kings, xvii, 24.

page 149 note 1 L.A.R., II, §§30, 62, 193–4. Lie, , Sargon, pp. 3840, lines 249-255. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, p. 114, lines 90-92, p. 186, lines 3ff.

page 149 note 2 L.A.R., II, §195. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, p. 188, lines 29, 30.

page 149 note 3 L.A.R., II, §§62, 79. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, 114, lines 90-92, p. 82, lines 11, 12.

page 149 note 4 L.A.R., II, §137. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, p. 168, line 8.

page 149 note 5 L.A.R., II, §§30, 62. Lie, , Sargon, p. 40, line 261 see note ad loc.

page 149 note 6 L.A.R., II, §63. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, p. 116 lines 109ff.

page 149 note 7 Isaiah, xx, 1.

page 149 note 8 Isaiah, xx, 4, 5.

page 149 note 9 See above, page 128.

page 150 note 1 To the objection that a similar argument would prove that action was being contemplated against Egypt, so that the letter should be dated much later, it may be answered (i) that possibly this was the intention of Tiglath-Pileser III, which he was prevented from proceeding with by the trouble in Babylonia in 731 B.C. and the years following, (ii) that rebellion by the states of Palestine frequently received encouragement from Egypt (as with the revolt of Gaza in 721 B.C.) and this economic action against Egypt may have been used as a means of applying pressure to Egypt to keep her neutral. Tiglath-Pileser III had no doubts that his domains extended right to the borders of Egypt; see rets, in footnote 8 on page 152.

page 150 note 2 Forrer, , Die Provinzeinteilung des assyrischen Reiches 57ff.

page 150 note 3 See Wiseman, D. J. in Iraq XIII, pt. 1, p. 27 (on ND. 400, line 8).

page 150 note 4 See above, page 130.

page 150 note 5 The representation of Hebrew -ww- as Assyrian -mm- would present no difficulty; compare = iamanu. On interchange between w, b, and m in Akkadian see von Soden, Gramm., §§21d, 27e, 31d. It may be noted in connection with the interchange between w, b, and m in some Semitic dialects that in the Septuagint version of 2 Kings, xviii, 34, xix, 13, Ivvah is represented by Ἀβά.

page 150 note 6 See Forrer, , Die Provinzeinleilung des assyrischen Reiches, 66.

page 151 note 1 See below, page 153.

page 151 note 2 See above, page 129.

page 151 note 3 See also the Admiralty Handbook of Syria, 403-4.

page 151 note 4 Admiralty Handbook of Syria, 404.

page 152 note 1 The use of abbreviated forms of names is not unknown in Akkadian documents; see San Nicolò, M., Beiträge zu einer Prosopographie neubabylonischer Beamten der Zivil- und Tempelverwaltung, 27, n. 57.

page 152 note 2 The term (mat)gidiraia of XIV line 11 could conceivably refer to a raiding party from Gederoth, one of the towns mentioned in 2 Chron., xxviii, 18, as a victim of aggression, although the form correctly corresponding with the Hebrew name would be (al)gidiraiaia, whilst the enemy in the letter and in 2 Chron. is different. For an alternative identification see above, page 133.

page 152 note 3 On the theory of an Arabian Muṣru see Hall, , The Ancient History of the Near East, 466, n. 1. For the evidence for the existence of a northern Musru see A.O.B. I, 63 n. 11 and J.N.E.S. XIV, 57.

page 152 note 4 In form this term is a gentilic from ban-amman, which represents an earlier West Semitic form of tne singular on which the usual Old Testament term for “Ammonites” is based: see B.D.B., 769, 770. In the Assyrian annals the Akkadian form bit-ammanaia is used.

page 152 note 5 The reading is uncertain and aš/sqalunaia, which does occur in the list referred to, would not be an impossible restoration.

page 152 note 6 The Tiglath-Pileser inscription in Rost's copy reads DlŠ.mu-uṣ-. It is hazardous to argue that this conceals (mat)mu-uṣ-ur-aia. In the context one expects a king's name at this point, followed by the name of his country.

page 152 note 7 L.A.R., I, §801. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XXXVII, lines 10-12; Bd. I, p. 72, lines 10-12.

page 152 note 8 L.A.R., I, §§787, 800, 819. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XXXV, line 4 (= Bd. I, p. 54, line 4), pl. XXXVII, line 6 (= Bd. I, p. 70, line 6), pl. XXVI, line 14 (= Bd. I, p. 82, line 34).

page 152 note 9 See footnote 2 on p. 149 above.

page 153 note 1 See note 5 on p. 148 above.

page 153 note 2 See, e.g., passages referred to in Waterman, , R.C.A.E., IV, 98, under “sîsû”.

page 153 note 3 Compare the part played by the ram in the treaty referred to in note 3 on p. 145 above.

page 153 note 4 L.A.R., II, §55. Winckler, , Sargon, Bd. I, p. 102, line 35.

page 154 note 1 L.A.R., I, §821. Rost, , T.P. III, Bd. II, pl. XXVII, last line; Bd. I, p. 85, line 50.

page 154 note 2 Forrer, , Die Provinzeinteilung des assyrischen Reiches, 62.

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