Bible, by Wikipedia

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:51 am

HEZEKIAH
by Wikipedia

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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

Hezekiah is the common transliteration of a name more properly transliterated as "Ḥizkiyyahu." (Hebrew: חִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ or יְחִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ, Modern {{{2}}} Tiberian {{{3}}}; Greek: Ἐζεκίας, Ezekias, in the Septuagint; Latin: Ezechias).

Hezekiah witnessed the forced resettlement of the northern Kingdom of Israel by Sargon's Assyrians in c 720 BCE and was king of Judah during the invasion and siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BCE.

The invasion of Judah by Sennacherib and the Assyrian army was a major and well documented historical event. Sennacherib recorded on his monumental inscription, "The Prism of Sennacherib", how in his campaign against Hezekiah ("Ha-za-qi-(i)a-ú") he took 46 cities in this campaign (column 3, line 19 of the Sennacherib prism), and besieged Jerusalem ("Ur-sa-li-im-mu") with earthworks.[6] Herodotus wrote of the invasion and acknowledges many Assyrian deaths, which he claims were the result of a plague of mice.[7]

The Assyrians claimed that Sennacherib raised his siege of Jerusalem after Hezekiah acknowledged Sennacherib as his overlord and paid him tribute[9].

Assyrian records show that Sennacherib was assassinated by his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, in 681 BCE - ie., twenty years after the invasion of Judah in 701 BCE.[10] He was succeeded by Esarhaddon as the Assyrian king.

Evidence from archaeology show that Hezekiah built temples at Lachish and Arad, and allowed a high place to continue in operation at Beersheva.

Archaeological evidence

Image
Stamped bulla sealed by a servant of King Hezekiah, formerly pressed against a cord; unprovenanced Redondo Beach collection of antiquities.

Seal

One class of seal impression has been found in modern Israel relating to King Hezekiah:

• LMLK seals on storage jar handles, excavated from strata formed by Sennacherib's destruction as well as immediately above that layer suggesting they were used throughout his 29-year reign (Grena, 2004, p. 338)

Siloam Inscription

• In the Siloam Tunnel we find the Siloam Inscription, which commemorates the meeting of the two teams.

References

6.^ James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Related to the Old Testament (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965) 287-288.
7.^ (19:35) Herodotus (Histories 2:141)
9.^ Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism
10.^ J. D. Douglas, ed., New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965) 1160.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:52 am

JOSIAH
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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

[YES, THAT'S IT! NO INFORMATION FROM REALITY AT ALL, MEANING THIS PERSON DID NOT REALLY EXIST. The fact noted that considerable archaeological evidence exists from the time period that the Bible says he reigned IS NOT evidence he existed.]
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:53 am

ZEDEKIAH
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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

[YES, THAT'S IT! NO INFORMATION FROM REALITY AT ALL, MEANING THIS PERSON DID NOT REALLY EXIST.]
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:53 am

OMRI
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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

He was significant enough that his name is mentioned on a stele erected by Mesha, king of Moab, who records his victory over a son of Omri—but omits the son's name. Thomas L. Thompson (The Bible in History), however, interprets the Mesha stele as suggesting that Omri is an eponym, or legendary founder of the kingdom rather than an historical person. Most archaeologists reject this interpretation, seeing Omri as historical. Assyrian kings frequently referred to Omri's successors as belonging to the "House of Omri" (Bit Hu-um-ri-a).[2]

Omri in archaeological sources

In archaeology, Omri appears several times over the next century or so, beginning with the Mesha stele, which recounts one of his acts as king: the annexation of Moab. He is also mentioned in the contemporary Assyrian Black Obelisk which states that Jehu was the "son of Omri."

_______________

References

2. James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (3rd ed.; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966) 283.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:56 am

AHAB
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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

Ahab's reign

Shalmaneser III's (859-824 BC) Kurkh Monolith names King Ahab.

Image
The Monolith

Kurkh Monolith

The Kurkh Monolith is an Assyrian document that contains a description of the Battle of Qarqar at the end. Today it stands in the British Museum but it was originally found at the Kurdish village of Kurkh (Turkish Üçtepe), near the town of Bismil in the province of Diyarbakır, Turkey. The Monolith stands some 2.2 metres tall, and roughly covers years one through six of the reign of Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (859-824 BC), although the fifth year is missing.

The Monolith mainly deals with campaigns Shalmaneser made in western Mesopotamia and Syria, fighting extensively with the countries of Bit Adini and Carchemish. At the end of the Monolith comes the account of the Battle of Qarqar, where an alliance of twelve kings fought against Shalmaneser at the Syrian city of Qarqar. This alliance, comprising eleven kings, was led by Irhuleni of Hamath and Hadadezer of Damascus, describing an improbably large force[1] led by King Ahab of Israel. The Monolith is also the first time that the Arabs make an appearance in world history, fielding a contingent containing dromedaries led by King Gindibu.

Scribal errors and disputes

There are a number of issues surrounding the written words contained in the Monolith, mostly surrounding the text of the Battle of Qarqar. For example, the scribe lists one city as Gu-a-a, which some scholars believe refers to Que. However, H. Tadmor believes that this is actually a mistake, with Gu-a-a being an incorrect spelling for Gu-bal-a-a, that is, Byblos. Other scholars have also pointed out that it would be more logical if Shalmaneser fought Byblos instead of Que, because it would make better geographic sense -- since the other kings of the area are polities to the south and west of Assyria, it might be expected that another city-state in that area -- Byblos -- would fight at Qarqar, rather than Que, which is in Cilicia.

Another issue with regard to spelling is the term musri, which is Akkadian for "march". Tadmor says that the actual Musri people had been conquered by the Assyrians in the 11th century BC, and thus believes that this reference to Musri must be "Egypt", although some scholars dispute this.

Another major error in the text is the assertion that Assyria fought "twelve kings". Casual readers will note that the Monolith in fact lists eleven, but some scholars have attempted to explain that there really is a missing king, stemming from the description of "Ba'sa the man of Bit-Ruhubi, the Ammonite". One scholar suggests that the two entities be split into "Bit-Ruhubi" (Beth-Rehob, a state in the Trans-Jordan) and "Ammon", one of Israel's traditional enemies. However, "twelve kings" is a common Mesopotamian literary device for any kind of alliance,[citation needed] so it is entirely possible that the scribe here was using a figure of speech, rather than miscounting.

References

1. Huffmon, Herbert B. "Jezebel - the 'Corrosive' Queen" in Joyce Rilett Wood, John E. Harvey, Mark Leuchter, eds. From Babel to Babylon: Essays on Biblical History And Literature in Honor of Brian Peckham, T&T Clark, 2006, ISBN 978-0-567-02892-1 p. 276 http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr= ... #PPA276,M1


Battle of Qarqar

The Battle of Qarqar is one event mentioned by external sources and was perhaps at Apamea where Shalmaneser III of Assyria fought a great confederation of princes from Cilicia, Northern Syria, Israel, Ammon and the tribes of the Syrian desert (853 BC).

Order of events

It has been suggested that the Assyrian scribe wrote "Ahab" for his son "Jehoram", and that the very identification of the name with Ahab of Israel has been questioned.

Sources

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:00 am

SENNACHERIB
by Wikipedia

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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

Image
Sennacherib during his Babylonian war, relief from his palace in Nineveh

[Sennacherib (Akkadian Sîn-ahhī-erība ("(Moon god) Sîn has replaced (lost) brothers for me") was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria (704 – 681 BC).

Rise to power

As the crown prince, Sennacherib was placed in charge of the Assyrian Empire while his father, Sargon II, was on campaign. Unlike his predecessors, the Sennacherib's reign was not largely marked by military campaigns, but mainly by architectural renovations, constructions, and expansions. After the violent death of his father, Sennacherib encountered numerous problems in establishing his power and faced threats to his domain. However, he was able to overcome these power struggles and ultimately carry out his building projects. During his reign, he moved the empire's capital from his father's newly-constructed city of Dur-Sharrukin to the old city and former capital of Nineveh. It is considered to be striking that Sennacherib not only left his father's city, but also doesn’t name him in any official inscription during his reign.

War with Judah

Background


In 701 BC, a rebellion backed by Egypt and Babylonia broke out in Judah, led by King Hezekiah. In response Sennacherib sacked a number of cities in Judah. He laid siege to Jerusalem, but soon returned to Nineveh, with Jerusalem not having been sacked, in order to put down an attempted coup. This event was recorded by Sennacherib himself, and by Herodotus.

Sennacherib's account

Some of the Assyrian chronicles, such as the baked-clay Taylor prism now preserved in the Oriental Institute, Chicago, date from very close to the time. (see also: Military history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire) [1](The Taylor Prism itself bears the date "the month of Tammuz; eponym of Galihu, governor of Hatarikka" which is Tammuz in the year 689 BC, according to the Assyrian Eponym List).

Sennacherib's Prism or Taylor prism is a clay prism inscribed with the annals of the Assyrian king Sennacherib notable for describing his siege of Jerusalem in 701 BC during the reign of king Hezekiah.

Taylor prism

Image
The Taylor Prism, photo by David Castor

Description

The prism contains six paragraphs of cuneiform written Akkadian. It is hexagonal in shape, made of red baked clay, and stands 38.0 cm high by 14.0 cm wide, and was created during the reign of Sennacherib (689 BC).

Significance

It is one of three accounts discovered so far which have been left by Sennacherib of his campaign against the Kingdom of Israel and Kingdom of Judah.

The Taylor Prism proclaims that 46 walled cities and innumerable smaller settlements were conquered by the Assyrians, with 200,150 people, and livestock, being deported, and the conquered territory being dispersed among the three kings of the Philistines instead of being given back.

Additionally, the Prism says that siege resulted in Hezekiah being shut up in Jerusalem like a caged bird, Hezekiah's mercenaries and 'Arabs' deserted him, and Hezekiah eventually bribed Sennacherib, having to give him not only money, jewels, and ivory-inlaid furniture, but also his own daughters, harem, and musicians. It states that Hezekiah became a tributary ruler.

Discovery

The prism comes from Nineveh, which was the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire under Sennacherib. The prism was discovered by Colonel Taylor in 1830 in the ruins of Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh, now in northern Iraq. It was purchased from Colonel Taylor's widow in 1850 by the British Museum.[5] Another version, now in the Oriental Institute and known as the Sennacherib Prism, was purchased by James Henry Breasted from a Baghdad antiques dealer in 1919 for the Oriental Institute, where it now resides.[6]

The two known complete examples of this inscription are nearly identical, with only minor variants, although the dates on the prisms show that they were written sixteen months apart (the Taylor Prism in 691 BC and the Oriental Institute prism in 689 BC). There are also at least eight other fragmentary prisms preserving parts of this text, all in the British Museum, and most of them containing just a few lines.

The text was translated by Daniel David Luckenbill and the Akkadian text, along with a translation into English, is available in his book: "THE ANNALS OF SENNACHERIB" D.D. Luckenbill 1924, University of Chicago Press.


Assyrian accounts do not treat it as a disaster, but a great victory — they maintain that the siege was so successful that Hezekiah was forced to give a monetary tribute, and the Assyrians left victoriously, without losses of thousands of men, and without sacking Jerusalem. In the Taylor Prism, Sennacherib states that he had shut up Hezekiah the Judahite within Jerusalem, his own royal city, like a caged bird.

Sennacherib first recounts several of his previous victories, and how his enemies had become overwhelmed by his presence. He was able to do this to Great Sidon, Little Sidon, Bit-Zitti, Zaribtu, Mahalliba, Ushu, Akzib and Akko. After taking each of these cities, Sennacherib installed a puppet leader named Ethbaal as ruler over the entire region. Sennacherib then turned his attention to Beth-Dagon, Joppa, Banai-Barqa, and Azjuru, cities that were ruled by Sidqia and also fell to Sennacherib.

Egypt and Nubia then came to the aid of the stricken cities. Sennacherib defeated the Egyptians and, by his own account, single-handedly captured the Egyptian and Nubian charioteers. Sennacherib captured and sacked several other cities, including Lachish (the second most-strongly fortified city in the Kingdom of Judah). He punished the "criminal" citizens of the cities, and he reinstalled Padi, their leader, who had been held as a hostage in Jerusalem.

After this, Sennacherib turned to King Hezekiah of Judah, who stubbornly refused to submit to him. Forty-six of Hezekiah's cities (cities 1st millennium BC terms ranged in size from large modern-day towns to villages) were conquered by Sennacherib, but Jerusalem did not fall. His own account of this invasion, as given in the Taylor prism, is as follows:

“Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I came up against him, and by force of arms and by the might of my power I took 46 of his strong fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a countless number. From these places I took and carried off 200,156 persons, old and young, male and female, together with horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the gates, so as to prevent escape... Then upon Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, and diverse treasures, a rich and immense booty... All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat of my government. ”


Building projects

During Sennacherib's reign, Nineveh evolved into the leading Metropolis of the empire. His building projects started almost as soon as he became king. Already in 703 BC he had built a palace complete with park and artificial irrigation he called his new home ‘The palace without rival’. For this ambitious project an old palace was torn down to make more room. In addition to his own large gardens, several small gardens were made for the citizens of Nineveh. He also constructed the first ever aqueduct, at Jerwan in 690 BCE,[5] which supplied the large demand of water in Nineveh. The narrow alleys and squares of Nineveh were cleaned up and enlarged, and a royal road and avenue were constructed, which crossed a bridge on its approach to the park gate and which was lined on both sides with stelae. Temples were restored and built during his reign, as is the duty of the king. Most notable is his work on the Assur (god) and the new year (Akitu) temples. He also expanded the city defences which included a moat surrounding the city walls. Some of his city walls have been restored and can still be seen nowadays. The labour for his giant building project was performed by people of Que, Cilicia, Philistia, Tyre, and Chaldeans, Aramaeans, and Mannaeans who were there involuntarily.

Sennacherib is sometimes credited with the invention of the Archimedes screw for the purpose of irrigation, although evidence for this is contentious[6].

Death

Sennacherib was assassinated by two of his sons. [7] He was ultimately succeeded by another son Esarhaddon. One part tells of one of Sennacherib's sons toppling a giant statue of a bull with a mans head, thus crushing him to death.

_______________

References

1. (http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/meso/sennprism1.html)
2. ["Wesley's Notes on the Bible" II Chronicles 32 http://wes.biblecommenter.com/2_chronicles/32.htm]
3. The legends of the Jews, Volume 6 By Louis Ginzberg, Henrietta Szold, Paul Radin
4. [Adam Clarke's Commentary - 2 Chronicles 32 http://www.godrules.net/library/clarke/clarke2chr32.htm]
5. von Soden, Wolfram. (1985). The Ancient Orient: An Introduction to the Study of the Ancient Near East. (pp.58). Grand Rapids: Erdman's Publishing Company.
6. Stephanie Dalley and John Peter Oleson (January 2003). "Sennacherib, Archimedes, and the Water Screw: The Context of Invention in the Ancient World", Technology and Culture 44 (1).
7. The British Museum: Sennacherib, king of Assyria (704-681 BC)
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:11 am

Military history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
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The Assyrian Empire originated in the early 2nd millennium BC,[3][4] succeeding the Akkadian Kingdom of the late 3rd millennium BC.[5] Assyria did not become a powerful military state until the early 1st millennium BC, when Ashurnasirpal II's conquests reasserted Assyria's hegemony in the Near East,[3] nor was it a true empire until the reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III in the mid-8th century BC. The Assyrian empire has at times been described as the first military power in history.[6] This article deals with the forces of the Assyrians in the above described times.

In 911 B.C., the Assyrian state was ruled by Adad-nirari II and was in a poor state -- trade routes were under foreign control and her territories in Babylon and other former vassal states were out of their hands. Adad nirari II changed all of this with aggressive campaigning against his opponents. His son was later succeeded by one of the most successful military Kings of Assyria, Ashurnasirpal II.[7]

Ashurnasirpal II is credited for utilizing sound strategy in his wars of conquest. Whilst aiming to secure defensible frontiers, he would launch raids further inland against his opponents as a means of securing economic benefit,[8] as he did when campaigning in the Levant. The result meant that the economic prosperity of the region would fuel the Assyrian war machine.[9]

Ashurnasirpal II was succeeded by Shalmaneser III. Although he campaigned for 31 years of his 35 year reign,[9] he failed to achieve or equal the conquests of his predecessor,[10] and his death led to another period of weakness in Assyrian rule.[10]

Assyria would later recover under Tiglath Pileser III whose reforms once again made Assyria the most powerful force in the Near East,[11] and transformed her into a fully fledged empire -- the first of its kind. Later Kings under Shalmaneser V, Sargon II and Sennacherib would see further Assyrian offensives, although these were designed not so much for conquest but to destroy the enemies ability to undermine Assyrian power. As such, costly battles raged taking tolls on Assyrian manpower. Esarhaddon succeeded in taking lower Egypt and his successor, Ashurbanipal, took the southern upper half of Egypt.

However, by the end of the Ashurbanipal's reign it appears that the Assyrian Empire was falling into another period of weakness,[12] one from which she would not escape. It appears that years of costly battles followed by constant (and almost unstoppable) rebellions meant that it was a matter of time before Assyria ran out of troops. The loss of the outer regions meant that foreign troops were gone too. By 605 B.C., Independent Political Assyrian records vanish from history and the Assyrians lose their independence forever.[13]

Background

Mesopotamia, whilst a fertile land in Ancient History, was the site of some of the earliest recorded battles in history.[14][15] In fact, the first recorded battle was between the forces of Lagash and Umma c.2450 B.C.[15] Like many Mesopotamian records, it contains an element of fiction. The ruler of Lagash, Eanatum, was inspired by his God Ningirsu to attack the rival Kingdom of Umma; the two were involved in minor skirmishes and raids along their respective borders.[15] Eanatum, although the attacker, triumphed, even though he was struck in the eye by an arrow. After the battle, he proudly documented the behavior of the vultures.

Akkadian and Old Assyrian

According to legend, Sargon, the first King of the Akkadian Kingdom, was discovered by a gardener in Mesopotamia in a basket.[15] In time, he would found the city of Agade and raise an army of 5,400 men,[15] and then conquer much of modern-day Iraq. His inscriptions boasts of 34 victories and "5,400 men eating bread before Sargon", exemplifying both the vast manpower and the obedience of his troops (and possibly a standing army as well). Though small by even the standards of later kings, Sargon's army was larger and more sophisticated than others of the time, utilizing a combination of spears and missile weapons. Bronze swords[15] and four wheeled chariots[15] brushed aside any resistance as he carved out his Empire, which may well have included (at least briefly) parts of the Mediterranean, Anatolia and western Iran.[14] Siege warfare was not a problem; most of the cities that were walled at the time of Sargon were made of mud and his inscriptions further boast of the destruction he brought on the walls of captured cities.[15] Though he utilized simple tactics that would be later emulated in many states, his dynasty survived for another 125 years.[5] Assyrian, Babylonian and even Persian conquerors would claim to be Sargon's successors and attempted to emulate his great military success.[citation needed]

Middle Assyrian

Information on the Assyrian army during this time is difficult to make out =- the Assyrians were able to establish their independence on two occasions, during the Old Assyrian Kingdom and the Middle Assyrian Kingdom, with the latter reaching as far as Babylon in their pursuit of conquest. However, military tactics mainly involved using troops raised from farmers who had finished planting their fields and so could campaign for the King until harvest time called for their attention again. The result was that military campaigning was limited to a few months of the year. As a result, armies could not conquer vast amounts of land without having to rest (and hence allow their enemy to recover) and even if they did they would not be able to garrison conquered lands with troops for long.

Organization of the Military

The Assyrian army's hierarchy was typical of the Mesopotamian armies at the time. The King whose rule was sanctioned by the gods, would be the commander of the entire army of the Empire. He would appoint senior officers on certain occasions to campaign in his place if his presence on the battlefield could or had to be spared.[16]

Sargon of Akkad

Image
A helmet believed to represent Sargon of Akkad, first great conqueror of Mesopotamia and creator of the first standing army.[17]

Sargon of Akkad is believed to have created the first standing army. Such feats required food and weapons to be supplied to the army at all times. He is also credited for introducing the composite bow to Mesopotamia as he defeated his Sumerian adversaries.[18] Later on, his successor Shulgi introduced specialized units; grouping missile units and infantry into different smaller groups.[19]

Pre-reform

Image
Assyria's greatest pre-reform military commander, Ashurnasirpal II

Before the reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III, the Assyrian army was also very much similar to the other Mesopotamian armies of the time. Soldiers were mostly raised farmers, who had to return to their fields to collect the harvest. Professional soldiers were limited to a few bodyguards that protected the King and or other nobles and officials but these would not have been deployed or wasted in battle unless the situation became urgent, as it later did.

Assyrian armies could be very large; Shalmaneser III once boasted a force of 120,000 men in his campaigns against Syria.[2] Such a force required men to be extracted from conquered peoples. A large army also needed more food and supplies and for this the Assyrians organized what they needed for a campaign before they set out.

Preparations for a new Campaign

Preparations for a new campaign required first and foremost the assembly of troops at a designated base.[2] In Assyria, the designated locations included Nineveh, Kalhu or Khorsabad.[2] On some occasions the designated meeting points would change depending upon the campaign. Governors were instructed to accumulate supplies of corn, oil and war material.[2] Other requirements of the Governors included calling up the needed man power. Vassal states were in particular required to present troops as part of their tribute to the Assyrian King and in good time -- failure to do so, would have almost certainly been seen as an act of rebellion.[2]

The arrival of the King and his bodyguard ended the preliminary stage and the army would move on to the target of their campaign. The army would march in good order; in the vanguard came the standard of the Gods, signifying the servitude of the Assyrian Kings to their primary God Assur.[2] Following this was the King, the humble servant of Assur surrounded by his bodyguard with the support of the main chariot divisions and cavalry, the elite of the army. In the rear was the infantry; the Assyrian troops followed by the conquered peoples. Following this would be the siege train, supply wagons and then the camp followers. Such a formation would have been very vulnerable to a rear attack. Some columns of troops could travel 30 miles a day and such speed would have been used to surprise and frighten an opponent into submission.[2]

Reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III

Image
An image of Tiglath Pileser III's troops (not II). In the background can be seen a siege engine - therefore they are at siege.

Before long, the weaknesses of the Assyrian army soon began to show itself. Battle after battle killed off important soldiers, whilst the seasons ensured that soldiers returned after a short time to their fields without achieving decisive conquests. By the mid-eighth century B.C., the Assyrian levy-army could not cope with the demands of an empire that often stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.[20]

All was to change when Tiglath Pileser III came to the throne in 745 B.C. After increasing the efficiency of the Assyrian administration,[11] he went on to change the Assyrian army as well.[20] The most important aspect of his reform was the introduction of a standing army. This included a larger number of foreign soldiers but mixed in with other Assyrian soldiers.[20][16] These men could be supplied by vassal states as tribute or when demanded by the Assyrian King. They were given Assyrian equipment and uniform which made them indistinguishable from one another, possibly to increase their integration.[20] Whilst the infantry in the standing army contained a large number of foreigners (including Aramaeans and even Greeks), the Assyrian Cavalry and Charioteers continued to be dominated by Assyrians.[16] There were exceptions however, and as casualties mounted additional troops would not be unwelcome; Sargon II reports that he managed to incorporate 60 Israelite Chariot teams into his army.[20]

Transportation and Communication

Assyrians using inflated sheep skins to transport Chariots across the Euphrates (or Tigris).[21]With the rise of the Assyrian Empire, new demands were placed on transport and communication. Governing such a vast Empire required the attention of the Assyrian king and his administrators. Prior to the Neo-Assyrian Empire, roads in Mesopotamia were little more than well-trodden pathways used by the locals -- over time a clear path could be made out.[22] However, this was inadequate for an empire whose armies were constantly on the move, repressing one revolt after another. The Assyrians were the first to institute, control and maintain a system of roads throughout their empire.[22] Pony expresses with regular way stations for messengers to rest and/or exchange horses were established.[22] Later, these would form the basis for the Persians to expand this system to their own empire.[22]

Rugged mountains were cut through thus greatly decreasing travel time. Engineers built fine stone pavements leading up to the grand cities of Assur and Nineveh, so as to impress foreigners with the wealth of Assyria. By the 2nd millennium B.C., wooden bridges were built across the Euphrates. By the 1st millennium B.C., Nineveh and Assur were blessed with bridges of stone,[22] testament to the wealth of the kingdom of Ashur. The construction of roads and increased transport meant that goods would flow through the empire with greater ease, thus feeding the Assyrian war effort further. Of course, roads that sped up Assyrian troops would not discriminate and would also speed up enemy troops as well.

Use of Camels

The Assyrians were the first to use Camels as beasts of burden for their military campaigns.[23] Camels were of greater use than Donkeys because they can carry five times the load and yet require less watering. Camels were not domesticated until shortly before 1000 B.C., on the eve of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.[23]

Wheeled Vehicles

Although the Sumerians are credited for inventing the wheel sometime before 3000 B.C.,[23] the Assyrians were the first to manufacture tires of metal, made from copper, bronze and later iron.[23] Metal-covered wheels have the obvious advantage of being more durable and when overrunning an opponent in battle, will have a greater effect.

Weapons

Chariots


Image
Assyrian king Ashurbanipal on a chariot during a royal lion hunt, during which only the King was permitted to kill lions, and only his chariot was permitted a parasol.

The core of the Assyrian army lay in her chariots.[24] Originally these chariots were used as two-horse vehicles.[24] The Ancient Egyptians and Sumerians used War Chariots in this fashion as firing mobile platforms or as mobile command platforms; the elevated view would give the General some ability to see how the troops fared in battle. The Assyrians also used Chariots in reconnaissance,[24] carrying messages to and from the frontlines as well as for battle. However, the rise of Cavalry in the 1st Millennia B.C. meant that by the 7th Century B.C., the Chariot was demoted to combat duties only;[24] lighter chariots consisting of two to three horses were later upgraded under the reign of Ashurnasirpal II to heavy four horse chariots.[24] Such chariots could contain more men (four in total). Heavier Chariots also found new roles; smashing into enemy formations and dispersing the infantry in the process.[24] The Assyrian Cavalry and Infantry would then be able to exploit the gap and rout the enemy thereby taking the field.

Cavalry

Cavalry were rarely used by the Assyrians or many other Mesopotamians until the 9th century B.C. when their use is mentioned during the reign of Tukulti-Ninurta II.[24] Before then, many nomads or steppe warriors relied on cavalry, who raided Assyrian lands. The Assyrians had to counter this mobile form of warfare and so beat their opponents (notably the Iranians) at their own game.[25] Perhaps the greatest outside influence is that of the Iranian peoples, the Elamites and the Medes. It is ironic that the raiding by these people assisted Assyrian attempts in building a Cavalry army with which to destroy the Kingdom of Elam. However, Assyrian attempts were not without difficulties; horse archers were utilized but could not use their bows and the reins of their horses at the same time. As a result, Cavalry under Ashurnasirpal are depicted in pairs, with one rider holding both reins and the other shooting with a bow.[24]

Image
An Assyrian Cavalry Archer, most likely a King; the robes and the perfect handling of his horse testify to his supreme position.

The Assyrians would experience fewer problems with Cavalry when they were deployed as Lancers; under Tiglath Pileser III, the Assyrian Cavalry continued to be paired off but this time each warrior holds his own lance and controls their own horse.[24] By the 7th century B.C., mounted Assyrian warriors were well armed with a bow and a lance,[24] armored with lamellar armor and their mounts equipped with fabric armor, providing limited yet useful protection in close combat and against missiles. Cavalry would form the core of the later Assyrian armies.

Large units of Cavalry were required to be deployed by the Assyrians; some units would consist of hundreds or even a thousand horsemen. There is little doubt that without a continuous supply of horses, the Assyrian War machine would have collapsed. As the Empire suffered horrendous casualties under Ashurbanipal's campaigns of conquest, the rebellions following his death may have contributed significantly to the downfall of the Empire as fewer vassals were available to pay tribute horses and other war material needed. Horses were an incredibly important war resource and the Assyrian King himself took a personal interest to oversee adequate horse supply.

Three main sources of horses were:

• Raids designed to steal horses from opponents, albeit from Scythians or other steppe peoples.
• Tribute paid by vassal states.
• High-ranking state officers would oversee horse production and report to the King.[25]

Horses would be drawn from outlying provinces and brought in to be trained with new recruits for war.[25]

Infantry

Image
Assyrian archers taking aim, under the protection of a shield bearer.

Whilst Cavalry provided the most expensive and effective arm of the Assyrian Empire, Infantry are cheaper and more numerous. In the right circumstances, they were also more effective, for example in siege warfare whereby the mobility provided by Horsemen would be of no advantage in such encounters. Assyrian Infantry were composed of both native Assyrians and foreigners employed as auxiliaries, spearmen, slingers, shield bearers or archers. The latter type was the most dominant in Assyrian armies.[25] From the time of Ashurnasirpal, archers would be accompanied by a shield bearer whilst slingers would aim to distract the enemy into lowering their shield to protect against the stones, thereby allowing the archers to shoot above their shield walls and slay their enemies.[26] Even in siege warfare, arrows were used to drive back defenders from the wall whilst engineers advanced against the fortifications. Many different types of bows are recorded by the Assyrians, including Akkadian, Cimmerian and their own "Assyrian" type.[26] However, it is most likely that these were simply different variants of the powerful composite bow. Depending upon the bow, an archer would have a range of anything between 250 to 650 meters.[26] Vast amounts of arrows could be expended in battle so in preparation for war many arrows would be made. Facilities also existed that would travel with the army's supply train that could manufacture more arrows.[26] An Assyrian army without arrows was an army without the main capability to win.

Lancers were introduced to the infantry under Tiglath-pileser III.[26] The idea was that a long spear would be able to penetrate and attack the enemy's ranks at longer range than a sword or a dagger could. Armour (lamellar) amongst the melee troops was limited to Elite soldiers only, whilst the rest of the army made do with shields and helmets.

Strategy and Tactics

Tactics


Not much is recorded about Assyrian tactics in battle. However, Assyrian reliefs always depict their troops launching devastating chariot and cavalry charges,[28] smashing the enemy lines and allowing their foot soldiers to exploit the divided enemy. It is likely that the chariots would head in first. A preliminary barrage of arrows would soften up the enemy for a chariot attack. To keep up the momentum, cavalry would follow up. Lagging behind would be the infantry whose job was to destroy the now scattered enemy. Despite the extensive use of missile weapons, the Assyrians still preferred a bloody frontal assault as Sennacherib describes his pyrrhic victory (in which he claims total victory):

“ At the command of the god Ashur, the great Lord, I rushed upon the enemy like the approach of a hurricane...I put them to rout and turned them back. I transfixed the troops of the enemy with javelins and arrows. Humban-undasha, the commander in chief of the king of Elam, together with his nobles...I cut their throats like sheep...My prancing steeds, trained to harness, plunged into their welling blood as into a river; the wheels of my battle chariot were bespattered with blood and filth. I filled the plain with corpses of their warriors like herbage"
—Sennacherib, [29]


Assyrian frontal offensives were designed to shock the enemy and surprise them. However, they were also a strategy employed when time was not on their side:

“ The harassed troops of Ashur, who had come a long way, very weary slow to respond, who had crossed and re-crossed sheer mountains innumerable, of great trouble for ascent and descent, their morale turned mutinous. I could give no ease to their weariness, no water to quench their thirst; I could set up no camp, nor fix defences"
—Sargon II, [30]


Despite the above, Sargon II's instinct saved the day; leading his exhausted troops, he launched a surprise attack against his Urartian opponents who broke at the speed and surprise of the attack. So vicious was the battle that the Urartian King abandoned his state officials, governors, 230 members of the Royal family, many cavalry and infantry and even the capital itself was abandoned.

Overall war strategy

Image
Assyrian warships. The Assyrians would have used these to transport horses, chariots and supplies across rivers. Although they reached the Mediterranean on numerous occasions[31], problems (in the shape of rebellions) in the Fertile Crescent would have made such sea ventures into the Mediterranean unlikely.

The nature of Mesopotamia, plain and fertile with few natural defenses, meant that defensive operations were out of the question; only a decisive attack could defend such vulnerable yet valuable locations. The cities of Assur and Nineveh were both "sandwiched" between rivers, Nineveh being more so enclosed and protected by the Tigris whilst Assur, whilst being close to the Tigris, was a fair distance away from the Euphrates. The result was that both cities had a measure of natural protection. However, rivers would not stop a determined army so attacking and destroying the enemies' ability to wage war was the best method of ensuring survival. To this end the Assyrians sought a decisive encounter that would destroy the enemies' army.

Colonization: The Assyrians, in conjunction with their deportation (see below) would also send some of their own into foreign lands and settle them as colonists. The primary aim was to establish a loyal power base; taxes, food and troops could be raised here as reliably as at their homeland, or at least it must have been hoped. Furthermore, their presence would bring innumerable benefits; resistance to other conquerors, a counter to any rebellions by the natives and assist the provincial Assyrian governors in ensuring that the vassal state was loyal to Assyria.

Total Destruction: One must be careful before assuming that the Assyrians utilized Total War. However, it is known that the Assyrians, as part of their overall strategy of weakening their opponents and of exacting revenge would violently destroy what they could not take back or could not consolidate.:

“ For a distance of a month and twenty-five days' journey I devastated the provinces of Elam. Salt and sihlu I scattered over them... The dust of Susa, Madaktu, Haltemash and the rest of the cities I gathered together and took to Assyria... The noise of people, the tread of cattle and sheep, the glad shouts of rejoicing, I banished from its fields. Wild asses, gazelles and all kinds of beasts of the plain I caused to lie down among them, as if at home."
—Ashurbanipal, [12]


This "strategy" is not dissimilar to genocide, and the Assyrians are often cited among the first offenders of genocide.

Psychological warfare

The Assyrians fully appreciated the use of terrorizing their enemies. To conserve manpower and rapidly move on to solve Assyria's multiple problems, the Assyrians preferred to accept the surrender of their opponents or else destroy their ability to resist a surrender. This in part explains their offensive strategy and tactics.

Deportations

It is not known if the Assyrians were the first to deport people, although since none before had ruled the Fertile Crescent as they did it is likely that they were the first to practice it on a large scale. The Assyrians began to utilize mass-deportation as a punishment for rebellions since the 13th century B.C.[32] The purposes of deportation included, but were not limited to:

1) Psychological warfare: the possibility of deportation would have terrorized the people;

2) Integration: a multiethnic population base in each region would have curbed nationalist sentiment, making the running of the Empire smoother;

3) Preservation of human resources: rather than being butchered, the people could serve as slave labor or as conscripts in the army.

By the 9th century B.C. the Assyrians made it a habit of regularly deporting thousands of restless subjects to other lands.[33] Re-settling these people in the Assyrian homeland would have undermined the powerbase of the Assyrian Empire if they would rebel again as a result, Assyrian deportation involved removing one enemy population and settling them into another. Below is a list of deportations carried out by Assyrian Kings:[31]

• 744 B.C. Tiglath Pileser III deports 65,000 people from Iran to the Assyrian-Babylonian border at the Diyala river
• 742 B.C. Tiglath Pileser III deports 30,000 people from Hamath, Syria and into the Zagros mountains in the east.
• 721 B.C. Sargon II (claimed) deports 27,290 people from Samaria, Israel and disperses them throughout the Empire. However, it is likely that his ousted predecessor, Shalmaneser V ordered the deportation
• 707 B.C. Sargon II deports 108,000 Chaldeans and Babylonians from the Babylonian region
• 703 B.C. Sennacherib deports 208,000 people from Babylon

Tiglath Pileser III re-introduced deportation on a grand scale, deporting tens, even hundreds of thousands of people. Deportations were also coupled with Colonization, see above for more details.

Dealing with Rebels

When rebellion inevitably broke out in the Assyrian Empire, the Assyrian Kings would often brutally crush the rebellion (as an alternative to deportation) and inflict great punishments on her rebellious vassals. Ashurnasirpal II ensured that the rebellions he suffered would be crushed with the same ruthlessness so that his opponents would never wish to do so again; in this way he was utilizing psychological warfare:

“ To the city of Suru of Bit Halupe I drew near, and the terror and splendour of Ashur, my Lord, overwhelmed them. The chief and the elders of the city, to save their lives came forth into my presence and embraced my feet, saying: 'If it is thy pleasure, slay! If it is thy pleasure, let live! That which thy heart desireth, do!'...In the valour of my heart and with the fury of my weapons I stormed the city. All the rebels they seized and delivered them up"
—Ashurnasirpal II, [34]


Ashurnasirpal II paints a descriptive picture when he later describes how he dealt with the rebels; they were flayed, impaled, beheaded (first if they were lucky), burnt alive, eyes ripped out, fingers, noses and ears cut off.

Ashurnasirpal II's brutal treatment succeeded in pacifying the rebels. As he campaigned into Syria, he was able to take a large body of soldiers out of Mesopotamia without fear of a rebellion cutting his supply lines. So successful were his brutal sieges of the cities of northern Syria that many other smaller settlements immediately surrendered to his army as it marched south parallel to the Mediterranean. The Assyrians viewed their Kings as governing with the gods' (or the god Ashur) sanction. To rebel against this most humble servant of Ashur would be to rebel against Ashur himself, something that could only bring divine destruction; hence the glorification of such brutality.[citation needed]

Other acts of brutality include: rape, mutilating men until death, placing heads, arms, hands and even lower lips on the conquered city's walls, skulls and noses atop stakes.[32] Alternatively these could also be piled up or even their corpses cut up and fed to the dogs. On some occasions, people were blinded so that as they wandered throughout the land they would speak of Assyrian terrors and demoralize the local population.

Siege warfare

Image
Susa, sacked by the Assyrians. Ashurbanipal's brutal campaign against Susa in 647 BCE is triumphantly recorded in this relief. Here, flames rise from the city as Assyrian soldiers topple it with pickaxes and crowbars and carry off the spoils.

In 647 BCE, the Assyrian king Assurbanipal leveled the city during a war in which the people of Susa apparently participated on the other side. A tablet unearthed in 1854 by Austen Henry Layard in Nineveh reveals Ashurbanipal as an "avenger", seeking retribution for the humiliations the Elamites had inflicted on the Mesopotamians over the centuries. Ashurbanipal dictates Assyrian retribution after his successful siege of Susa:

“ Susa, the great holy city, abode of their gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods and wealth were amassed... I destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones toward the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and on their lands I sowed salt."
—Ashurbanipal, [35]


The plains and fertile lands of Mesopotamia were not only ideal for warfare: they actually attracted war. Raiders from all nations coveted the lands of the Assyrians -- Scythians to the north, Syrians, Arameans and Cimmerians to the West, Elamites to the East and Babylonians to the south. In fact, the latter never tired of rebelling against Assyrian rule.[10] As a result, in order to prevent chariots and cavalry from completely overwhelming these settlements, walls were constructed though often from mud or clay since stone was neither cheap, nor readily available. In order to destroy the opponents, these cities had to be taken as well and so the Assyrians soon mastered Siege warfare -- Esarhaddon claims to have taken Memphis, the capital of Egypt in less than a day, demonstrating the ferocity and skill of Assyrian siege tactics at this point in time:

“ I fought daily, without interruption against Taharqa, King of Egypt and Ethiopia, the one accursed by all the great gods. Five times I hit him with the point of my arrows inflicting wounds from which he should not recover, and then I laid siege to Memphis his royal residence, and conquered it in half a day by means of mines, breaches and assault ladders"
—Esarhaddon, [36]


Sieges were costly in terms of manpower and more so if an assault was launched to take the city by force -- the siege of Lachish cost the Assyrians at least 1,500 men[2] --found at a mass grave near Lachish. Before the advent of standing armies, a city's best hope would be that the harvest would force the enemy to return to their fields and therefore abandon the city. However, with the reforms of Tiglath Pileser III Assyria's first standing army was forged and could therefore blockade a city until it surrendered instead. Nonetheless it is known that Assyrians always preferred to take a city by assault then to settle down for a blockade -- the former method would be followed by extermination or deportation of the inhabitants and would therefore frighten the opponents of Assyria into surrendering as well.[17]

Siege weapons

The Assyrians were not naturals at siege warfare and this can be seen by their attempts to experiment with numerous methods for taking a city.

The most common siege weapon and by far the cheapest was the ladder. However, ladders are easy to topple over and so the Assyrians would shower their opponents with arrows to provide cover fire [37]. These archers in turn would be supported by shield bearers[26]. Other ways of undermining the enemies' defences included mining. A 9th century Assyrian relief depicts soldiers using ladders to scale walls, while others use their spears to scrape the mud and clay from the walls. A soldier is also depicted beneath a wall, suggesting that mining was used to undermine the foundations and bring the walls down on their opponents.

The Battering ram appears to be one of the best Assyrian contributions to siege warfare. Although looking nothing like the tougher weapons used by the Greeks and Romans many centuries later, they nonetheless served their purpose. They consisted of a tank-like wooden frame on four wheels. There was a small tower on top for archers to provide covering fire as the engine moved forward. When it had reached its destination, its primary weapon, a large spear, was used to batter away and chip pieces of the enemy wall. Whilst this would have been almost useless against stone walls, one must keep in mind that mud and not stone was used to build walls. Even when dried, these mud walls could be attacked with such engines. Walls were strengthened with time and the Assyrians responded by building larger engines with bigger "spears". In time, they closely resembled a large and long log with a metal tip at the end. Even stone would not withstand pounding by a larger weapon. Larger engines accommodated greater numbers of archers. To protect against fire (which was used by both sides at the Siege of Lachish) the battering ram would be covered in wet skins[38]. These could be watered at any time in battle in case they dried.

“ I captured 46 towns... by consolidating ramps to bring up battering rams, by infantry attacks, mines, breaches and siege engines"
—Sennacherib, [17]


Siege towers, even ones that could float were reported to have been in use whenever there was a wall facing a river.[2]

Timeline of Assyrian Military

3rd and 2nd Millennia B.C.


• 2340 - 2284 B.C. Sargon of Agade conquers much of Mesopotamia
• 1230 B.C. Battle of Nairi
• 1170 B.C. Nineveh is stronger than ever with more power than ever

9th Century B.C.

Cavalry use first recorded by Tukulti Ninurta II

• 883 BC Ashurnasirpal II takes power and begins expansion of Assyria beyond Mesopotamia
• 877 B.C. Ashurnasirpal II takes Assyrian troops to the Mediterranean and Mount Lebanon for the first time.
• 858 B.C. Shalmaneser III subjugates Bit Adini to vassal status
• 853 B.C. After taking Aleppo, Shalmaneser III is stopped at the Battle of Qarqar
• 851 B.C. Shalmaneser III defeats Chaldean revolt in Babylon
• 849, 845 & 841 B.C. Shalmaneser III makes three unsuccessful attempts to take Syria
• 840 B.C. Shalmaneser III fails to defeat Urartu
• 832 B.C. Shalmaneser III fails to take Damascus in a siege
• 824 B.C. Shalmaneser III dies, Assyria enters into period of weakness

8th Century B.C.

• 780 - 756 B.C. Argistis I reigns over Assyria, lake Urmia lost by Assyria to Urartu
• 745 B.C. Tiglath Pileser III seizes power in a coup; Assyrian Army reformed
• 744 B.C. Mass deportation of Iranians by Tiglath Pileser III
• Unknown date: Tiglath Pileser III defeats Babylon
• 743 B.C. Tiglath Pileser III decisively defeats Urartu, besieges Arpad
741 B.C. Arpad falls to Tiglath Pileser III
• 734 - 732 B.C. Syro-Ephraimite War: Rebellions in Syria and Palestine are crushed. Damascus falls in 732.
• 732 B.C. Babylon is conquered by Assyria following an usurpation of the throne by a Chaldean. Lands around Babylon are devastated during three years of fighting
• 724 - 722 B.C. Shalmaneser V besieges and then captures Samaria
• 721 B.C. Coup of Sargon II results in Samaria revolt; it is quickly crushed.
• 721 B.C. Sargon II defeats Babylonian rebellion
• 717 - 716 B.C. Sargon II takes Carchemish to secure trade routes in the north.
• 714 B.C. A major military disaster befalls Urartu; Sargon II destroys Urartu's ability to fight forever
• 713 B.C. Rumours of an anti-Assyrian alliance leads Sargon II to take Tabal.
• 710 - 707 B.C. Another Babylonian revolt is crushed by Sargon II
• 709 B.C. Assyrian expeditionary forces sent by Sargon II force Midas to seek peace terms.
• 703 B.C. Another Chaldean-backed Babylon revolt is crushed by Sennacherib, only one year after his succession
• 701 B.C. Sennacherib moves down Mediterranean coast to subdue Syria and Israel. Lachish is taken after bloody fighting, whilst Egyptian aid is driven back. Siege of Jerusalem fails.

7th Century B.C.

• 694 B.C. Sennacherib attacks Elam. Elam attacks Babylon, which is now unoccupied by Assyrian army
• 693 B.C. Battle of Diyala River: Assyrian assault to Elam through Der is called back due to Babylonian revolt
• 692 B.C. Battle of Halule: The alliance of Elamites, Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Aramaic and Zagros tribes fight off the Assyrians.
• 691 B.C. Sennacherib wins a Pyrrhic victory against Elam. However he is able to crush the Babylon revolt
• 681 B.C. Sennacherib is murdered by two of his sons; another son Esarhaddon avenges his death and rules Assyria
• 679 B.C. An alliance of Cimmerians and Scythians is defeated by Esarhaddon's forces.
• 679 B.C. Esarhaddon's troops take Arzani and reach the Egyptian border.
• 676 B.C. Esarhaddon launches an offensive to counter increasing Iranian power.
675 B.C. An assault on Egypt is thrown back.
• 671 B.C. Another Assyrian offensive into Egypt is a success;
• 669 B.C. Memphis is sacked by Assyrian troops
• 668 B.C. Ashurbanipal succeeds Esarhhadon, last King of Assyria to expand her borders beyond Mesopotamia
• 663 B.C. Ashurbanipal relieves an Egyptian siege of Memphis and destroys Thebes in the south.
• 665 B.C. A ten year campaign against Media is launched.
• 665 B.C. Elam attacks Babylon, but fails.
• 655 B.C. Elam attacks Babylon. At the same time, Egypt launches another offensive. Elamite attack repelled by large Assyrian army assembled by Ashurbanipal.
• Unknown date (possibly 655 B.C.) Ashurbanipal drives Elmite forces across the River Ulai in the plain of Susa.
• 653 B.C. Median invasion stopped by Scythian attack
• 652 B.C. Babylon once more revolts
• 651 B.C. Ashurbanipal abandons Egypt to focus on Elamite attacks; Assyrian army shows signs of overstretching itself.[39]
• 648 B.C. Babylon is utterly destroyed by Assyria; Elamite civil war ensures no help from Elam.
• 647 B.C. Battle of Susa: Susa is destroyed completely by Ashurbanipal.[35]
• 639 B.C. Ashurbanipal decimates the lands of Elam. Elamite kingdom does not recover.

Collapse of Assyria

• 635 B.C. Egypt, unchecked since 651 B.C., storms Ashdod.
• 627 B.C. Ashurbanipal dies. Collapse of Assyria accelerates.
• 622 B.C. An Assyrian expedition may have been launched west of the Euphrates; lack of Assyrian records points to a likely Assyrian defeat.
• 616 B.C. Nabopolassar, King of Babylon since 626 B.C., drives out Assyrian troops from Babylonia.
• 615 B.C. Median invasion of Assyria results in capture of Arrapha.
• 614 B.C. Assur, first Capital of Assyria is sacked by the Medes under King Cyaxares.
• 612 B.C. Battle of Nineveh (612 BC): Nineveh is destroyed by an alliance of Medians and Babylonians after a mere 3 month siege.
• 609 B.C. Battle of Megiddo (609 BC): Egyptians unsuccessfully tried to help the Assyrians.
• 608 B.C. Newly established Assyrian capital at Harran is destroyed by pursuing Babylonian forces.
• 605 B.C. Battle of Carchemish: Egypt, fearing the power of Babylon, assists Assyria. An Assyrian-Egyptian alliance is crushed by a Babylonian army. Assyria ceases to exist as an independent nation.
_______________

References

• Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. London: Osprey. ISBN 1855321637. OCLC 26351868.http://books.google.com/books?id=Hodh6f ... 1855321637.
• Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP.
• Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle a Visual Journey Through 5000 Years of Combat. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp.

Notes

1. Until final Egyptian aid at Megiddo was beaten
2. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 23
3. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 6
4. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 10–11.
5. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. p. 56.
6. Burenhult, Göran (in Swedish). Bra böckers encyklopedi om människans historia. 5, Civilisationens vaggor: tidiga högkulturer i esopotamien, Egypten och Asien. pp. 37. ISBN 9171331719. OCLC 186397556. "Assyrien har med rätta kallats världens första militärmakt."
7. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 6,10
8. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 7
9. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 10
10. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 13
11. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 17
12. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 54
13. Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle a Visual Journey Through 5000 Years of Combat. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 16.
14. Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle a Visual Journey Through 5000 Years of Combat. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 12.
15. Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle a Visual Journey Through 5000 Years of Combat. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 13.
16. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 19
17. Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle a Visual Journey Through 5000 Years of Combat. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 17.
18. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 264.
19. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 265.
20. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 18
21. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 253.
22. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 254.
23. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 255.
24. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 20
25. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 21
26. Healy, The Ancient Assyrians, p. 22
27. "Manners and Customs of Babylonia-Assyria". The Historians' History of the World. I. The Outlook Company. 1904. pp. 470.
28. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. 24. Texts describe attacking as a preferred method of war
29. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. 47.
30. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. 32.
31. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. Various pages.
32. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 268.
33. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP.
34. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. 7.
35. Persians: Masters of Empire" ISBN 0-8094-9104-4 p. 7-8
36. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. 50.
37. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. pp. 267.
38. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. 30.
39. Healy, Mark (1991). The Ancient Assyrians. New York: Osprey. pp. .. "Whilst he did indeed give up the "kingdom of the two lands" (upper and lower Egypt, shows the frontline in 639 BC as including the Nile River)" [unreliable
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

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NECHO II
by Wikipedia

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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

Image
A small kneeling bronze statuette, likely Necho II, now residing in the Brooklyn Museum

Necho II (sometimes Nekau) was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (610 BCE - 595 BCE).

Biography

Family


Necho II was the son of Psammetichus I by his Great Royal Wife Mehtenweskhet. His prenomen or royal name Wahemibre means "Carrying out the Wish of Re."[2]

Military campaign

Herodotus reports the campaign of the pharaoh in his Histories:

“Necos, then, stopped work on the canal and turned to war; some of his triremes were constructed by the northern sea, and some in the Arabian Gulf, by the coast of the Sea of Erythrias. The windlasses for beaching the ships can still be seen. He deployed these ships as needed, while he also engaged in a pitched battle at Magdolos with the Syrians, and conquered them; and after this he took Cadytis (Kadesh), which is a great city of Syria. He sent the clothes he had worn in these battles to Branchidae of Miletus and dedicated them to Apollo. ”


Ambitious projects

Necho II initiated but never completed the ambitious project of cutting a navigable canal from the Pelusiac branch of the Nile to the Red Sea, the earliest precursor of the Suez Canal.[3] It was in connection with this new activity that Necho founded the new entrepot city of Per-Temu Tjeku which translates as 'The House of Atum of Tjeku' at the site now known as Tell el-Maskhuta[4], about 15 km west of Ismailia. The waterway was intended to facilitate trade between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean; Necho also formed an Egyptian navy by recruiting displaced Ionian Greeks. This was an unprecedented act by the pharaoh since most Egyptians had traditionally harboured an inherent distaste for and fear of the sea.[5] The navy which Necho created served to operate along both the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts.[6]

Herodotus (4.42) also reports that Necho sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, who in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa back to the mouth of the Nile.[7] Some current historians tend to believe Herodotus' account, primarily because he stated with disbelief that the Phoenicians as they sailed on a westerly course round the southern end of Libya (Africa), they had the sun on their right -- to northward of them" (The Histories 4.42) -- in Herodotus' time it was not known that Africa extended south past the equator. However, Egyptologists also point out that it would have been extremely unusual for an Egyptian Pharaoh to carry out such an expedition.[8] Alan B. Lloyd doubts the event and attributes the development of the story by other events.[9]

Death and succession

Necho II died in 595 BC and was succeeded by his son, Psamtik II, as the next pharaoh of Egypt. Psamtik II, however, later removed Necho's name from almost all of his father's monuments for unknown reasons.

Further Reading

Peter Clayton (1994). Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson.
Nekau (II) Wehemibre., digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk
Christian Settipani (1991). Nos ancêtres de l'Antiquité. p. 153 and 161

References

General information


Budge, E. A. W. (1894). The mummy: Chapters on Egyptian funereal archaeology. Cambridge [England]: University Press. page 56+.
Budge, E. A. W. (1904). A history of Egypt from the end of the Neolithic period to the death of Cleopatra VII, B.C. 30. Books on Egypt and Chaldaea, v. 9-16. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Page218+.

_______________

Notes:

2. Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson, 1994. p.195

3. Redmount, Carol A. "The Wadi Tumilat and the "Canal of the Pharaohs"" Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 127-135

4. Shaw & Nicholson, p.201

5. Clayton, p.196

6. Herodotus 2.158; Pliny N.H. 6.165ff; Diodorus Siculus 3.43

7. Note however that though the original documents state "Red Sea", many ancient manuscripts reference the "Mediterranean Sea" as the "Red Sea". See History of Suez Canal and painting by Wybylack for more detail.

8. For instance, the Egyptologist Alan Lloyd wrote "Given the context of Egyptian thought, economic life, and military interests, it is impossible for one to imagine what stimulus could have motivated Necho in such a scheme and if we cannot provide a reason which is sound within Egyptian terms of reference, then we have good reason to doubt the historicity of the entire episode." Alan B. Lloyd, "Necho and the Red Sea: Some Considerations", Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 63 (1977) p.149.

9. Lloyd points out that geographical knowledge at the time of Herodutus was such that Greeks would know that such a voyage would entail the sun being on their right but did not believe Africa could extend far enough for this to happen. He suggests that the Greeks at this time understood that anyone going south far enough and then turning west would have the sun on their right but found it unbelievable that Africa reached so far south. He suggests that "It is extremely unlikely that an Egyptian king would, or could, have acted as Necho is depicted as doing" and that the story might have been triggered by the failure of Sataspes attempt to circumnavigate Africa under Xerxes the Great. For more see: Lloyd, Alan B. "Necho and the Red Sea: Some Considerations Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 63, (1977), pp. 142-155
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:17 am

NEBUCHADNEZZAR II
by Wikipedia

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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

Image
An engraving inside an onyx-stone-eye in a Marduk statue that depicts Nebuchadnezzar II[1]

Nebuchadnezzar II (c 634 – 562 BC) was a ruler of Babylon in the Chaldean Dynasty, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC.

Name

The Akkadian name, Nabû-kudurri-uṣur, means "Oh god Nabu, preserve/defend my firstborn son". Nabu is the Babylonian deity of wisdom, and son of the god Marduk. In an inscription, Nebuchadnezzar styles himself as Nabu's “beloved” and “favourite”.[2][3]

The name is often mistakenly interpreted as "O Nabu, defend my kudurru",[4] in which sense a kudurru is an inscribed stone deed of property. However, when contained in a ruler's title, kudurru approximates to "firstborn son" or "oldest son".[5]

The Hebrew form is נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר (Nəḇūḵaḏneṣṣar or Nevuchadnetsar), but is also found as נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר and נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר (Nəḇuḵaḏreṣṣar). The Greek form was Ναβουχοδονόσωρ. He is also known as Bakhat Nasar, which means "winner of the fate", or literally, "fate winner".

Biography

Nebuchadnezzar II was the eldest son, and successor, of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. According to Berossus, some years before he became king of Babylon, he married Amytis of Media, the daughter or granddaughter of Cyaxares, king of the Medes, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.

Nabopolassar was intent on annexing the western provinces of Syria from Necho II (who was still hoping to restore Assyrian power), and to this end dispatched his son westward with a powerful army. In the ensuing Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, the Egyptian army was defeated and driven back, and Syria and Phoenicia were brought under the control of Babylon. Nabopolassar died in August of that year, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to ascend to the throne.

After the defeat of the Cimmerians and Scythians, all of Nebuchadnezzar's expeditions were directed westwards, although the powerful Median empire lay to the north. Nebuchadnezzar's political marriage to Amytis of Media, the daughter of the Median king, had ensured peace between the two empires.

A clay tablet,[7] now in the British Museum, states: "In the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad." Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and a campaign against Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and constructed canals, aqueducts, temples and reservoirs.

According to Babylonian tradition, Nebuchadnezzar, towards the end of his life, prophesied the impending ruin of the Chaldean Empire (Berosus and Abydenus in Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, 9.41). Nebuchadnezzar died in Babylon between the second and sixth months of the forty-third year of his reign.

Construction activity

Image
Building Inscription of King Nebuchadnezar II at the Ishtar Gate. An abridged excerpt says: "I (Nebuchadnezzar) laid the foundation of the gates down to the ground water level and had them built out of pure blue stone. Upon the walls in the inner room of the gate are bulls and dragons and thus I magnificently adorned them with luxurious splendour for all mankind to behold in awe."

During the last century of Nineveh's existence, Babylon had been greatly devastated, not only at the hands of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal, but also as a result of her ever renewed rebellions. Nebuchadnezzar, continuing his father's work of reconstruction, aimed at making his capital one of the world's wonders. Old temples were restored; new edifices of incredible magnificence were erected to the many gods of the Babylonian pantheon (Diodorus of Sicily, 2.95; Herodotus, 1.183). The bridge across the Euphrates is of particular interest, in that it was supported on asphalt covered brick piers that were streamlined to reduce the upstream resistance to flow, and the downstream turbulence that would otherwise undermine the foundations. Nebuchadnezzar's construction activity was not confined to the capital; he is credited with the restoration of the Lake of Sippar, the opening of a port on the Persian Gulf, and the building of the Mede wall between the Tigris and the Euphrates to protect the country against incursions from the north. These undertakings required a considerable number of laborers; an inscription at the great temple of Marduk suggests that the labouring force used for his public works was most likely made up of captives brought from various parts of western Asia.

Nebuchadnezzar is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens, for his sick wife Amyitis (or Amytis) to remind her of her homeland, Medis (Media) in Persia.[9] However, some scholars argue that they may have been constructed by a queen from the Assyrian city, Nineveh.[10]

Interpretations of Nebuchadnezzar's actions

Voltaire interprets the legacy of Nebuchadnezzar and his relationship with Amasis in a short story entitled The White Bull.

_______________

Notes

1. Anton Nyström, Allmän kulturhistoria eller det mänskliga lifvet i dess utveckling, bd 2 (1901)
2. Harper, R.F. quoted in Peet, Stephen Denison (editor). 1900. “Editorial Notes,” The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal. New York: Doubleday, vol. XXII, May and June. p. 207.
3. Lamb, Harold. 1960. Cyrus the Great. New York: Doubleday, p. 104.
4. Schrader, Eberhard. 1888. The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament. London: Williams and Norgate, p. 48 (footnote).
5. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary sub Kudurru Ca5'
7. Elgood, Percival George. 1951. Later Dynasties of Egypt. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 106.
8. Smith, William and Fuller, J.M. 1893. A Dictionary of the Bible: Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History. London: John Murray, vol. I, p. 314.
9. Foster, Karen Polinger (1998). "Gardens of Eden: Flora and Fauna in the Ancient Near East". Transformations of Middle Eastern Natural Environments: Legacies and Lessons. New Haven: Yale University. pp. 320–329. http://environment.yale.edu/documents/d ... foster.pdf. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
10. "How the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Work". Stuff You Missed in History Class. 8.04.08
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:27 am

UGARIT
by Wikipedia

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Ugarit (Ugaritic: [x] ugrt; Arabic: أوغاريت) (modern Ras Shamra رأس شمرة ("top/head/cape of the wild fennel" in Arabic), near Latakia, Syria) was an ancient cosmopolitan port city, sited on the Mediterranean coast. Ugarit sent tribute to Egypt and maintained trade and diplomatic connections with Cyprus (called Alashiya), documented in the archives recovered from the site and corroborated by Mycenaean and Cypriot pottery found there. The polity was at its height from ca. 1450 BC until 1200 BC.

Image
Map of Syria in the second millennium B.C., showing the location of Ugarit.

Location

Ras Shamra (“Fennel Head”) is a sixty-five foot mound located near Minet el-Beida (White Harbor) in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of the point of Cyprus. Ras Shamra, as it is known today, was identified as the ancient city of Ugarit.

Image
Excavated ruins at Ras Shamra

The Site

Ugarit's location was forgotten until 1928 when a peasant accidentally opened an old tomb while plowing a field. The discovered area was the Necropolis of Ugarit located in the nearby seaport of Minet el-Beida. Excavations have since revealed an important city that takes its place alongside Ur and Eridu as a cradle of urban culture, with a prehistory reaching back to ca. 6000 BC, perhaps because it was both a port and at the entrance of the inland trade route to the Euphrates and Tigris lands.

Image
Entrance to the royal palace.

Most excavations of Ugarit were undertaken by archaeologist Claude Schaeffer from the Prehistoric and Gallo-Roman Museum in Strasbourg.

The excavations uncovered a royal palace of 90 rooms laid out around eight enclosed courtyards, many ambitious private dwellings, including two private libraries (one belonging to a diplomat named Rapanu) that contained diplomatic, legal, economic, administrative, scholastic, literary and religious texts. Crowning the hill where the city was built were two main temples: one to Baal the "king", son of El, and one to Dagon, the chthonic god of fertility and wheat.

On excavation of the site, several deposits of cuneiform clay tablets were found, constituting a palace library, a temple library and—apparently unique in the world at the time—two private libraries; all dating from the last phase of Ugarit, around 1200 BC. The tablets found at this cosmopolitan center are written in four languages: Sumerian, Hurrian, Akkadian (the language of diplomacy at this time in the ancient Near East), and Ugaritic (of which nothing had been known before). No less than seven different scripts were in use at Ugarit: Egyptian and Luwian hieroglyphics, and Cypro-Minoan, Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurrian, and Ugaritic cuneiform.

During excavations in 1958, yet another library of tablets was uncovered. These were, however, sold on the black market and not immediately recovered. The "Claremont Ras Shamra Tablets" are now housed at the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California. They were edited by Loren R. Fisher in 1971. In 1973, an archive containing around 120 tablets was discovered during rescue excavations; in 1994 more than 300 further tablets were discovered on this site in a large ashlar building, covering the final years of the Bronze Age city's existence.

The most important piece of literature recovered from Ugarit is arguably the Baal cycle, describing the basis for the religion and cult of the Canaanite Baal.

History

Image
A Baal statuette from Ugarit.

Though the site is thought to have been inhabited earlier, Neolithic Ugarit was already important enough to be fortified with a wall early on, perhaps by 6000 BC.

The first written evidence mentioning the city comes from the nearby city of Ebla, ca. 1800 BC. Ugarit passed into the sphere of influence of Egypt, which deeply influenced its art. The earliest Ugaritic contact with Egypt (and the first exact dating of Ugaritic civilization) comes from a carnelian bead identified with the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senusret I, 1971 BCE–1926 BC. A stela and a statuette from the Egyptian pharaohs Senusret III and Amenemhet III have also been found. However, it is unclear at what time these monuments got to Ugarit. Amarna letters from Ugarit ca. 1350 BC records one letter each from Ammittamru I, Niqmaddu II, and his queen.

Image
Boar rhyton, Mycaenean ceramic imported to Ugarit, 14th-13th century BC (Louvre)

During its high culture, from the 16th to the 13th century BC, Ugarit remained in constant touch with Egypt and Cyprus (named Alashiya).

Destruction

The last Bronze Age king of Ugarit, Ammurapi, was a contemporary of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma II. The exact dates of his reign are unknown. However, a letter by the king is preserved. Ammurapi stresses the seriousness of the crisis faced by many Near Eastern states from invasion by the advancing Sea Peoples when he wrote a dramatic response to a plea for assistance from the king of Alasiya. Ammurapi highlights the desperate situation Ugarit faced in letter RS 18.147:

My father, behold, the enemy's ships came (here); my cities(?) were burned, and they did evil things in my country. Does not my father know that all my troops and chariots(?) are in the Land of Hatti, and all my ships are in the Land of Lukka?...Thus, the country is abandoned to itself. May my father know it: the seven ships of the enemy that came here inflicted much damage upon us.[1]


Unfortunately for Ugarit, no help arrived and Ugarit was burned to the ground at the end of the Bronze Age. Its destruction levels contained Late Helladic IIIB ware, but no LH IIIC (see Mycenaean period). Therefore, the date of the destruction is important for the dating of the LH IIIC phase. Since an Egyptian sword bearing the name of pharaoh Merneptah was found in the destruction levels, 1190 BC was taken as the date for the beginning of the LH IIIC. A cuneiform tablet found in 1986 shows that Ugarit was destroyed after the death of Merneptah. It is generally agreed that Ugarit had already been destroyed by the 8th year of Ramesses III—i. e. 1178 BC.

Whether Ugarit was destroyed before or after Hattusa, the Hittite capital, is debated. The destruction is followed by a settlement hiatus. Many other Mediterranean cultures were deeply disordered just at the same time, apparently by invasions of the mysterious "Sea Peoples".

Alphabet

Scribes in Ugarit appear to have originated the Ugaritic alphabet around 1400 BC; 30 letters, corresponding to sounds, were adapted from cuneiform characters and inscribed on clay tablets. A debate exists as to whether the Phoenician or Ugaritic alphabet was first. While many of the letters show little or no formal similarity, the standard letter order (preserved in the latin alphabet as A, B, C, D, etc.) shows strong similarities between the two, suggesting that the Phoenician and Ugaritic systems were not wholly independent inventions. It was later the Phoenician alphabet that spread through the Aegean and on Phoenician trade routes throughout the Mediterranean. The Phoenician system became the basis for the first true alphabet, when it was adopted by Greek speakers who modified some of its signs to represent vowel sounds as well, and as such was in turn adopted and modified by populations in Italy (including ancestors of the Romans). Compared with the difficulty of writing Akkadian in cuneiform—such as the Amarna Letters from ca. 1350 BC— the flexibility of an alphabet opened a horizon of literacy to many more kinds of people. In contrast, the syllabary (called Linear B) used in Mycenaean Greek palace sites at about the same time was so cumbersome that literacy was limited largely to administrative specialists.

Ugaritic Language

The Ugaritic language is attested in texts from the 14th through the 12th century BC. Ugaritic is usually classified as a Northwest Semitic language and therefore related to Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician, among others. Its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic and Akkadian. It possesses two genders (masculine and feminine), three cases for nouns and adjectives (nominative, accusative, and genitive); three numbers: (singular, dual, and plural); and verb aspects similar to those found in Western Semitic languages. The word order in Ugaritic is Verb Subject Object (VSO); possessed–possessor (NG) (first element dependent on the function and second always in genitive case); and noun–adjective (NA) (both in the same case (ie. congruent)).[2]

Ugaritic literature

Apart from royal correspondence to neighboring Bronze Age monarchs, Ugaritic literature from tablets found in the libraries include mythological texts written in a narrative poetry, letters, legal documents such as land transfers, a few international treaties, and a number of administrative lists. Fragments of several poetic works have been identified: the "Legend of Kirtu," the "Legend of Danel", the Ba'al tales that detail Baal-Hadad's conflicts with Yam and Mot, and other fragments.[3]

The discovery of the Ugaritic archives has been of great significance to biblical scholarship, as these archives for the first time provided a detailed description of Canaanite religious beliefs during the period directly preceding the Israelite settlement. These texts show significant parallels to Biblical Hebrew literature, particularly in the areas of divine imagery and poetic form. Ugaritic poetry has many elements later found in Hebrew poetry: parallelisms, meters, and rhythms. The discoveries at Ugarit have led to a new appraisal of the Old Testament as literature.

Ugaritic religion

Writing of 'religion' in the Ancient Near East is at best a dubious science. Academia prefers to speak of various 'cults' within the ancient context.[4] The important textual finds from the Ras Shamra (Ugarit) site shed a great deal of light upon the cultic life of the city and Canaanite culture. There is growing scholarly agreement that the material culture of Ugarit should be properly designated Canaanite High Culture.[5]

In the north-east quarter of the walled enclosure the remains of three significant buildings were unearthed; the temples of Baal and Dagon and the library (sometimes referred to as the high priest's house). Within these structures atop the acropolis numerous invaluable mythological texts were found. Since the 1930s these texts have opened up for us something of the Canaanite mythological world. The Baal cycle represents Baal's destruction of Yam (the chaos sea monster), demonstrating the relationship of Canaanite chaoskampf with those of Mesopotamia and the Aegean: warrior god rises up as the hero of the new pantheon to defeat chaos and bring order.

It is almost certain that the cult(s) of Baal in the Levant influenced later Israelite cult and mythology. Yahweh often takes on the chaoskampf role of Baal in his struggle with the chaotic sea. It would, however, be incorrect to use later redacted biblical texts to reconstruct Canaanite religion or cult. At the soonest we can date a people known as Israel in southern Canaan by the Merneptah Stele (c.a. 1200 BCE), and it would be some two hundred years more before this people have a monarchic state.

While we know El to be the chief of the Canaanite pantheon, very little attention is paid to him in the cultic/mythological texts. This is rather common of Middle to Late Bronze Age mythology; the high god is drawn into the background whilst new warrior deities move to centre stage. In Ugarit and much of the Levant this is Baal, to the Shasu / Shosu and the later Israelites this is Yahweh and his consort, and in Mesopotamia this is Marduk. These warrior-god mythologies show remarkable points of contact and are most likely reflections of the same arche-myth.

Kings of Ugarit

(short chronology)

Niqmaddu I
Yaqurum I
Ibiranu I
Ammittamru I ca. 1350 BC
Niqmaddu II ca. 1350 - 1315 BC Contemporary of Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites
Arhalba ca. 1315 - 1313 BC
Niqmepa ca. 1313 - 1260 BC Treaty with Mursili II of the Hittites, Son of Niqmadu II,
Ammittamru II ca. 1260-1235 BC Contemporary of Bentisina of Amurru, Son of Niqmepa
Ibiranu ca. 1235 - 1225/20 BC
Niqmaddu III ca. 1225/20 - 1215 BC
Ammurapi ca. 1200 BC Contemporary of Chancellor Bay of Egypt, Ugarit is destroyed

_______________

References

1. Jean Nougaryol et al. (1968) Ugaritica V: 87-90 no.24
2. Stanislav Segert, A basic Grammar of the Ugaritic Language: with selected texts and glossary (1984) 1997.
3. Nick Wyatt. Religious texts from Ugarit, (1998) rev. ed 2002.
4. Miller, J. Maxwell, and Hayes, John H., A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (London: SCM Press, 1986)pp. 121-147
5. Wyatt, Nicholas, Religious Texts from Ugarit: the words of Ilimiku and his colleagues (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998)p. 53f

Sources

Bourdreuil, P. 1991. "Une bibliothèque au sud de la ville : Les textes de la 34e campagne (1973)". in Ras Shamra-Ougarit, 7 (Paris).
Drews, Robert. 1995. The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 BC (Princeton University Press). ISBN 0-691-02591-6
Meletinskii, E. M., 2000 The Poetics of Myth
Smith, Mark S., 2001. Untold Stories ; The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century ISBN 1-56563-575-2 Chapter 1: "Beginnings: 1928–1945"
Ugarit Forschungen (Neukirchen-Vluyn). UF-11 (1979) honors Claude Schaeffer, with about 100 articles in 900 pages. pp 95, ff, "Comparative Graphemic Analysis of Old Babylonian and Western Akkadian", ( i.e. Ugarit and Amarna (letters), 3 others, Mari, OB,Royal, OB,non-Royal letters). See above, in text.
Virolleaud, Charles, 1929. "Les Inscriptions cunéiformes de Ras Shamra." in Syria 10, pp 304–310.
Yon, Marguerite, 2005. The City of Ugarit at Tell Ras Shamra ISBN 1-57506-029-9 (Translation of La cité d'Ugarit sur le Tell de Ras Shamra 1979)
Ed. K. L. Younger Jr. "Ugarit at Seventy-Five," Eisenbrauns, 2007.
William M. Schniedewind, Joel H. Hunt, 2007. A primer on Ugaritic: language, culture, and literature ISBN 0521879337 p. 14.
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