Harman Patil (Editor)

Early Period (Assyria)

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Capital  Assur
Historical era  Bronze Age
Government  Not specified
Established  c. 2500 BCE
Early Period (Assyria)
Languages  Akkadian language Sumerian language
Religion  Ancient Mesopotamian religion

The Early Period was a period in the history of Assyrian civilization preceding the Old Assyrian Empire. The city-state of Assur, a major Mesopotamian East Semitic-speaking kingdom, existed as an independent state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE. The city-state of Assur seems to have fl. c. 2500 BCE. However, it is likely that this Assyrian settlement was initially a Sumerian or Akkadian dominated administrative centers. The dominant Sumerian ruler in Mesopotamia (Eannatum of Lagash, fl. c. 2500 BCE) mentioned "smiting Subartu". Similarly, the King Lugal-Anne-Mundu (fl. c. 2500 BCE) of the Sumerian city-state of Adab listed Subartu as paying tribute to him. Of the early history of Assyria, little is known.

Contents

In the Assyrian King List (AKL), the earliest king recorded was Tudiya. According to the Assyriologist Georges Roux, Tudiya would have fl. c. 2450 BCE — c. 2400 BCE. In reports from the archaeological site for the ancient city-state of Ebla, it appeared that Tudiya's activities were confirmed with the discovery of a tablet where he concluded a treaty for the operation of a kārum (an Assyrian trading colony) with "King" Ibrium of Ebla (who is now known to have been the vizier for King Isar-Damu of Ebla) in Eblaite territory. Tudiya was succeeded on the AKL by Adamu and then a further 13 rulers: Yangi, Suhlamu, Harharu, Mandaru, Imsu, Harsu, Didanu, Hana, Zuabu, Nuabu, Abazu, Belu and Azarah. Nothing concrete is yet known about these names, although it has been noted that a much later Babylonian tablet listing the ancestral lineage of the Amorite King Hammurabi of Babylon seems to have copied the same names from Tudiya through Nuabu (though in a heavily corrupted form.)

Assyria is named after its original capital, the ancient city of Assur, which dates to c. 2500 BC, originally one of a number of Akkadian city states in Mesopotamia. In the 25th and 24th centuries BC, Assyrian kings were pastoral leaders. From the late 24th century BC, the Assyrians became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from c. 2334 BC to 2154 BC.

Etymology

"Assyria" is named after its first capital city, Assur. The city Assur is itself named after its patron deity, Ashur. Assyria was also sometimes known as "Azuhinum", prior to the rise of the city-state of Assur, after which it was referred to as "Aššūrāyu". "Assyria" can also refer to the geographic region and/or heartland where the Old Assyrian Empire and the Assyrian people were centered. Scholars suggest that Subartu may have been an early name for Assyria proper along the Tigris river and further upriver into Upper Mesopotamia, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little further out to the north, west, and/or east within the Tigris–Euphrates river system.

Subartu

Subartu (Akkadian: Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian: mât Šubarri, Sumerian: Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. Subartu was apparently a polity in Upper Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Most scholars suggest that Subartu is an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris and westward, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east and/or north. Its precise location has not been identified. From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire: Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as: Mar.tu, Elam, and Sumer marked “west”, “east”, and “south”, respectively. The Sumerian mythological epic “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta” listed the countries where the “languages are confused” as: Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki, and the Martu land.

Subartu in the earliest texts seems to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves. Eannatum of Lagash was said to have smitten Subartu or Shubur, and it was listed as a province of the empire of Lugal-Anne-Mundu; in a later era Sargon of Akkad campaigned against Subar, and his grandson Naram-Sin listed Subar along with Armani (which has been identified with Aleppo) among the lands under his control. Ishbi-Erra of Isin and Hammurabi also claimed victories over Subar.

Assur

Archaeology reveals that the archaeological site of the city-state Assur was occupied by c. 2400 BCE. This was still during the Early Dynastic Period of Mesopotamia, before Assyria emerged c. 2500 BCE — c. 2000 BCE. The oldest remains of the city-state were discovered in the foundations of the Ishtar temple, as well as at the Old Palace. In the subsequent period, the city-state was ruled by the kings of the Akkadian Empire. During the Third Dynasty of Ur, the city-state was ruled by a Sumerian governor.

Language

The Akkadian-language-speaking people (the earliest historically-attested Semitic language-speaking people) who would eventually found Assyria appear to have entered Mesopotamia at some point c. 3500 BCE — c. 3000 BCE, eventually intermingling with the earlier Sumerian-language-speaking population, with Akkadian-language names appearing in written record from as early as c. 2890 BCE. A very intimate cultural symbiosis developed between both the Sumerians and the Akkadians throughout Mesopotamia, which included widespread bilingualism, c. 2800 BCE. The influence of the Sumerian language (a language isolate) on the Akkadian language (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from: lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to: syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to the Sumerian and Akkadian languages as a sprachbund c. 3000 BCE — c. 2000 BCE. The Akkadian language gradually replaced the Sumerian language as the spoken language of Mesopotamia c. 2000 BCE (the exact dating being a matter of debate), although Sumerian cuneiform continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language throughout Mesopotamia, as did use of Akkadian cuneiform.

Ashur

Ashur was the head of the Assyrian pantheon in Mesopotamian religion, worshiped mainly in Upper Mesopotamia which constituted old Assyria. Ashur was a deified form of the city of Assur, which dates from c. 2500 BCE. The symbols of Ashur include:

1. A winged disc with horns, enclosing four circles revolving round a middle circle; rippling rays fall down from either side of the disc.

2. A circle or wheel, suspended from wings, and enclosing a warrior drawing his bow to discharge an arrow.

3. The same circle; the warrior's bow; however, is carried in his left hand, while the right hand is uplifted as if to bless his worshippers. An Assyrian standard, which probably represented the world column, has the disc mounted on a bull's head with horns. The upper part of the disc is occupied by a warrior, whose head, part of his bow, and the point of his arrow protrude from the circle. The rippling water rays are V-shaped, and two bulls, treading river-like rays, occupy the divisions thus formed. There are also two heads—a lion's and a man's—with gaping mouths, which may symbolize tempests, the destroying power of the sun, or the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Jastrow regards the winged disc as "the purer and more genuine symbol of Ashur as a solar deity.” He calls it, “a sun disc with protruding rays," and says, "to this symbol the warrior with the bow and arrow was added—a despiritualization that reflects the martial spirit of the Assyrian empire."

Pre-history

The city-states of Assur and Nineveh (together with a number of other towns and cities) existed since at least c. 2500 BCE, although; they appear to have been Sumerian-ruled administrative centers at this time (rather than independent states.) Classical Greco-Roman writers such as: Julius Africanus, Marcus Velleius Paterculus, and Diodorus Siculus dated the founding of Assyria to various dates c. 2284 BCE — c. 2057 BCE (listing the earliest king as being either: Belus or Ninus.) According to the Biblical Generations of Noah, which appears to have been largely compiled between c. 700 BCE — c. 500 BCE, the city of Assur was allegedly founded by a Biblical Ashur (the son of Shem), who was deified by later generations as the city's patron god. Assyrian tradition itself listed the first king of Assyria as Tudiya, and an early urbanized Assyrian king named Ushpia (fl. c. 2050 BCE) as having dedicated the first temple to the god Ashur in the city c. 2050 BCE. It is highly likely that the city was named in honor of its patron Assyrian god with the same name.

Mythology

Classical Greco-Roman writers such as: Julius Africanus, Marcus Velleius Paterculus, and Diodorus Siculus dated the founding of Assyria to various dates c. 2284 BCE — c. 2057 BCE (listing the earliest king as being either: Belus or Ninus.) According to the Biblical Generations of Noah, which appears to have been largely compiled between c. 700 BCE — c. 500 BCE, the city of Assur was allegedly founded by a Biblical Ashur (the son of Shem), who was deified by later generations as the city's patron god. Assyrian tradition itself listed the first king of Assyria as Tudiya, and an early urbanized Assyrian king named Ushpia (fl. c. 2050 BCE) as having dedicated the first temple to the god Ashur in the city c. 2050 BCE. It is highly likely that the city was named in honor of its patron Assyrian god with the same name.

Belus

Belus or Belos in classical Greek or classical Latin texts (and later material based on them) in an Assyrian context refers to one or another purportedly ancient and historically mythical Assyrian king, such king in part at least a euhemerization of the Babylonian god Bel Marduk.

Belus most commonly appears as the father of Ninus, who otherwise mostly appears as the first known Assyrian king. Ctesias provides no information about Ninus' parentage. But already in Herodotus there is a Ninus son of Belus among the ancestors of the Heraclid dynasty of Lydia, though here Belus is strangely and uniquely made a grandson of Heracles. See Omphale for discussion.

A fragment by Castor of Rhodes, preserved only in the Armenian translation of Eusebius of Caesarea, makes Belus king of Assyria at the time when Zeus and the other gods fought first the Titans and then the giants. Castor says Belus was considered a god after his death, but that he does not know how many years Belus reigned.

Belus elsewhere is a vague, ancestral figure. It was suggested in The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop that he was originally a conqueror who fathered king Ninus the first, and that after Ninus' death his wife Semiramis began to claim Ninus as a Sun god, Cush (Belus) as the Lord God, herself as the mother goddess and her son Tammuz as the god of love, in an effort to control her subjects better after the death of her husband, and to allow her to rule as her newborn son's regent.

Some versions of the tale of Adonis make Adonis the son of Theias or Thias the King of Assyria, who is the son of Belus.

Ovid's Metamorphoses (4.212f) speaks of King Orchamus who ruled the Achaemenid cities of Persia as the 7th in line from ancient Belus the founder. But no other extant sources mention either Orchamus or his daughters Leucothoe and Clytie.

Nonnus in his Dionysiaca (18.5f) brings in King Staphylus of Assyria and his son Botrys who entertain Dionysus, characters unknown elsewhere. Staphylus claims to be grandson of Belus.

Diodorus Siculus (6.5.1) introduces the Roman god Picus (normally son of Saturn) as a king of Italy and calls him brother of Ninus (and therefore perhaps son of Belus).

The odd connection between Picus and Ninus reappears in John of Nikiû's Chronicle (6.2f) which relates that Cronus was the first king of Assyria and Persia, that he married an Assyrian woman named Rhea and that she bore him Picus (who was also called Zeus) and Ninus who founded the city of Ninus (Nineveh). Cronus removed to Italy but was then slain by his son Zeus Picus because he devoured his children. Then Zeus became the father of Belus by his own sister. After the disappearance of Zeus Picus (who apparently reigned over both Italy and Assyria), Belus son of Zeus Picus succeeded to the throne in Assyria (later Faunus who is elsewhere always the son of Picus reigns in Italy before moving to Egypt and turning into Hermes Trismegistus father of Hephaestus). Upon the death of Belus, his uncle Ninus became king and then married his own mother who was previously called Rhea but is now reintroduced under the name of Semiramis. It is explained that from that time on this custom was maintained so that Persians allegedly thought nothing of taking a mother or sister or daughter as a wife.

Later historians and chronographers make no mention of such stories. They either do not mention Belus at all or accept him as father of Ninus. They also dispute as to whether the Biblical Nimrod was the same as Belus, the father of Belus or a more distant ancestor of Belus.

It is likely that this Assyrian Belus should mostly not be distinguished from the euhemerized Bablyonian Belus. But some chronographers make a distinction between them.

Ninus

Ninus (Greek: Νίνος), according to Greek historians writing in the Hellenistic period and later, was accepted as the eponymous founder of Nineveh (also called Νίνου πόλις "city of Ninus" in Greek), ancient capital of Assyria. His name is not attested on the Assyrian King List or in any cuneiform literature; he does not seem to represent any one personage known to modern history, and is more likely a conflation of several real and/or fictional figures of antiquity, as seen to the Greeks through the mists of time.

Assyrian King List

There are three extant cuneiform tablet versions of the Assyrian King List, and two fragments. They date to the early first millennium BC — the oldest, List A (8th century BC) stopping at Tiglath-Pileser II (ca. 967–935 BC) and the youngest, List C, at Shalmaneser V (727–722 BC). Assyriologists believe the list was originally compiled to link Shamshi-Adad I (fl. ca. 1700 BC (short)), an Amorite who had conquered Assur, to the native rulers of the land of Assur. Scribes then copied the List and added to it over time. Before Erishum I the list gives no regnal lengths are given for kings.

The following kings are listed from the list of cuneiform tablets.

Akkadian Empire

The earliest kings (such as Tudiya) who are recorded as: "kings who lived in tents", were independent semi-nomadic pastoral rulers. These kings at some point became fully urbanized and founded the city-state of Assur. During the Akkadian Period (fl. c. 2334 BCE — c. 2154 BCE, short chronology timeline of the Ancient Near East), the Assyrians along with both the Semitic language-speaking peoples and Sumerian people, became subject to the Dynasty of Akkad, centered in central Mesopotamia. The empire founded by Sargon of Akkad claimed to encompass the surrounding "four corners of the world". The region of Assyria (north of the seat of the Akkadian Empire in central Mesopotamia) had also been referred to as "Subartu" by the Sumerians, while the name "Azuhinum" seems to have referred to Assyria proper in Akkadian cuneiform script records.

Assyrian rulers were subject to Sargon of the Akkadian Empire and his successors, and the city-state of Assur became a regional administrative center of the empire (implicated by the Nuzi tablets.) During this period, the Akkadian language-speaking Semites of Mesopotamia came to rule an empire encompassing not only over Mesopotamia itself but large swathes of: Syria, Elam, Canaan, Asia Minor, and the Arabian Peninsula. Assyria seems to have already been firmly involved in trade with peoples of Asia Minor by this time; the earliest known reference to Anatolian karums in the Hittite cuneiform script was found on later cuneiform tablets describing the early period of the Akkadian Empire. On those tablets, Assyrian traders in Burushanda implored the help of their ruler (Sargon the Great), and this appellation continued to exist throughout Assyrian history for about 1,700 years. The name "Hatti" itself even appeared in later accounts of Sargon's grandson (Naram-Sin of Akkad) campaigning in Anatolia.

Both Assyrian and Akkadian traders spread the use of the Mesopotamian cuneiform script throughout Asia Minor and the Levant. Towards the end of Sargon's reign, however; the Assyrian faction rebelled against him: "the tribes of Assyria of the upper country—in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously." The Akkadian Empire was destroyed by a combination of both economic decline and internal civil war, followed by attacks from the barbaric Gutian people c. 2154 BCE. The rulers of Assyria during the time period between c. 2154 BCE — c. 2112 BCE once again became fully independent, as the Gutians are only known to have administered Lower Mesopotamia. However, the AKL is the only information from Assyria for this period.

The AKL has the following entry for Tudiya and his 13 succesors:

"Kings who lived in tents"

Tudiya or Tudia is the earliest Assyrian king named in the Assyrian King List, and the first of the “seventeen kings who lived in tents.” His existence is unconfirmed archeologically and uncorroborated by any other source. According to the Assyriologist Georges Roux, Tudiya would have lived in the latter half of the 25th century BC (i.e. somewhere between fl. c. 2450 BC — fl. c. 2400 BC.) Tudiya was succeeded by Adamu.

Tudiya is succeeded on the Assyrian King List by Adamu and then a further thirteen rulers: Yangi, Suhlamu, Harharu, Mandaru, Imsu, Harsu, Didanu, Hana, Zuabu, Nuabu, Abazu, Belu and Azarah. Nothing concrete is yet known about these names, although it has been noted that a much later Babylonian tablet listing the ancestral lineage of Hammurabi of Babylon, seems to have copied the same names from Tudiya through Nuabu, though in a heavily corrupted form: Tudiya's name seems to be joined with that of Adamu to appear there as Tubtiyamutu.

In initial archaeological reports from Ebla, it appeared that Tudiya's existence was confirmed with the discovery of a tablet where it was stated that he had concluded a treaty for the operation of a kārum in Eblaite territory, with "King" Ibrium of Ebla (who is now known to have instead been the vizier of the King Isar-Damu of Ebla.) This entire reading is now questionable, as several scholars have more recently argued that the treaty in question was not with king Tudiya of Assur at all, but rather with the unnamed king of an uncertain location called "Abarsal".

The earliest Assyrian kings recorded as “kings who lived in tents” (such as Tudiya) had at first been independent semi-nomadic pastoralist rulers; Assyria is thought to have begun as an oligarchy rather than a monarchy. These kings at some point became fully urbanized and founded the city-state of Assur.

Adamu was an early Assyrian king, and listed as the second among the, "seventeen kings who lived in tents" within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. The Mesopotamian Chronicles state that Adamu succeeded Tudiya. The Assyriologist Georges Roux stated that Tudiya would have lived c. 2450 BCE — c. 2400 BCE. The earliest known use of the name “Adam” as a genuine name in historicity is Adamu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Adamu's reign.

Tudiya is succeeded on the Assyrian King List by Adamu and then a further thirteen rulers: Yangi, Suhlamu, Harharu, Mandaru, Imsu, Harsu, Didanu, Hana, Zuabu, Nuabu, Abazu, Belu and Azarah. Nothing concrete is yet known about these names, although it has been noted that a much later Babylonian tablet listing the ancestral lineage of Hammurabi of Babylon, seems to have copied the same names from Tudiya through Nuabu, though in a heavily corrupted form. The earliest Assyrian kings (such as Tudiya), who are recorded as “kings who lived in tents”, had at first been independent semi-nomadic pastoralist rulers, moreover; Assyria was originally an oligarchy rather than a monarchy. These kings had at some point become fully urbanized and founded the city-state of Assur.

In initial archaeological reports from Ebla, it appeared that Tudiya's existence was confirmed with the discovery of a tablet where it was stated that he had concluded a treaty for the operation of a kārum in Eblaite territory, with "King" Ibrium of Ebla (who is now known to had instead been the vizier of the King Isar-Damu of Ebla.) This entire reading is now questionable, as several scholars have more recently argued that the treaty in question was not with king Tudiya of Assur at all, but rather with the unnamed king of an uncertain location called "Abarsal". Assyria seems to had already been firmly involved in trade in Anatolia by this time; the earliest known reference to Anatolian kārums in Hatti was found on later cuneiform tablets describing the early period of the Akkadian Empire. On those tablets, Assyrian traders in Burushanda had implored the help of their ruler, Sargon of Akkad, and this appellation continued to exist throughout Assyria for about one-thousand-seven-hundred years. The name “Hatti” appears in later accounts of Sargon of Akkad's grandson (Naram-Sin of Akkad) campaigning in Anatolia. Assyrian and Akkadian traders had spread the use of writing in the form of the Mesopotamian cuneiform script to Anatolia and the Levant.

The Assyrians and Sumerians had become subject to the Akkadians, centered in central Mesopotamia c. 2400 BC. The Akkadian Empire claimed to encompass the surrounding, “four corners of the world”. Assyrian rulers had become subject to Sargon of Akkad and his successors, and the city-state of Assur had become a regional administrative center of the Empire, implicated by the Nuzi tablets.

The region of Assyria, north of the seat of the empire in central Mesopotamia, had been known as Azuhinum in Akkadian records. Towards the end of the reign of Sargon the Akkad, the Assyrian faction had rebelled against him; “the tribes of Assyria of the upper country—in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously.”

Yangi was an early monarch of the Early Period of Assyria. He is listed as the third among the “seventeen kings who lived in tents” within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Yangi was preceded by Adamu, and succeeded by Suhlamu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Yangi's reign.

Tudiya is succeeded on the Assyrian King List by Adamu and then a further thirteen rulers: Yangi, Suhlamu, Harharu, Mandaru, Imsu, Harsu, Didanu, Hana, Zuabu, Nuabu, Abazu, Belu and Azarah. Nothing concrete is yet known about these names, although it has been noted that a much later Babylonian tablet listing the ancestral lineage of Hammurabi of Babylon, seems to have copied the same names from Tudiya through Nuabu, though in a heavily corrupted form. The earliest Assyrian kings (such as Tudiya), who are recorded as, “kings who lived in tents,” had at first been independent semi-nomadic pastoralist rulers, moreover; Assyria was originally an oligarchy rather than a monarchy. These kings had at some point become fully urbanized and founded the city-state of Assur.

In initial archaeological reports from Ebla, it appeared that Tudiya's existence was confirmed with the discovery of a tablet where it was stated that he had concluded a treaty for the operation of a kārum in Eblaite territory, with "King" Ibrium of Ebla (who is now known to had instead been the vizier of the King Isar-Damu of Ebla.) This entire reading is now questionable, as several scholars have more recently argued that the treaty in question was not with king Tudiya of Assur at all, but rather with the unnamed king of an uncertain location called, "Abarsal". Assyria seems to had already been firmly involved in trade in Anatolia by this time; the earliest known reference to Anatolian kārums in Hatti was found on later cuneiform tablets describing the early period of the Akkadian Empire. On those tablets, Assyrian traders in Burushanda had implored the help of their ruler, Sargon of Akkad, and this appellation continued to exist throughout Assyria for about one-thousand-seven-hundred years. The name, “Hatti” appears in later accounts of Sargon of Akkad's grandson (Naram-Sin of Akkad) campaigning in Anatolia. Both Assyrian and Akkadian traders had spread the use of writing in the form of the Mesopotamian cuneiform script to both Anatolia and the Levant.

Both the Assyrians and Sumerians had become subject to the Akkadians, centered in central Mesopotamia c. 2400 BC. The Akkadian Empire claimed to encompass the surrounding, “four corners of the world.” Assyrian rulers had become subject to Sargon of Akkad and his successors, and the city-state of Assur had become a regional administrative center of the Empire, implicated by the Nuzi tablets.

The region of Assyria, north of the seat of the empire in central Mesopotamia, had been known as Azuhinum in Akkadian records. Towards the end of the reign of Sargon the Akkad, the Assyrian faction had rebelled against him; “the tribes of Assyria of the upper country—in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously.”

Suhlamu was an early monarch of the Early Period of Assyria. He is listed as the fourth among the “seventeen kings who lived in tents” within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Suhlamu was preceded by Yangi, and succeeded by Harharu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Suhlamu's reign.

Harharu was an early Assyrian king. He was listed as the fifth among the “seventeen kings who lived in tents” within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Harharu was preceded by Suhlamu, and succeeded by Mandaru. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Harharu's reign.

Mandaru was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the sixth among the “seventeen kings who lived in tents” within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Mandaru was preceded by Harharu, and succeeded by Imsu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Mandaru's reign.

Imsu was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the seventh among the "seventeen kings who lived in tents" within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Imsu was preceded by Mandaru, and succeeded by Harsu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Imsu's reign.

Harsu was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the eighth among the, "seventeen kings who lived in tents" within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Harsu was preceded by Imsu, and succeeded by Didanu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Harsu's reign.

Didanu was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the ninth among the, "seventeen kings who lived in tents" within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Didanu was preceded by Harsu, and succeeded by Hana. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Didanu's reign.

Hana was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the tenth among the "seventeen kings who lived in tents" within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Hana was preceded by Didanu, and succeeded by Zuabu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Hana's reign.

Neo-Sumerian Empire

Most of Assyria briefly became part of the Neo-Sumerian Empire (fl. c. 2112 BCE — c. 2004 BCE.) Neo-Sumerian domination extended as far north as the city-state of Assur, but appears not to have reached Nineveh and further north into Assyria. One local ruler (a "shakkanakku") named "Zāriqum" (who does not appear on any AKL) was listed as paying tribute to Amar-Sin of Ur. Assur's rulers appear to have remained largely dominated by the Third Dynasty of Ur until c. 2050 BCE. The AKL named Assyrian rulers for this period and several are known from other references to have also borne the title of "shakkanakka" or vassal governors for the Neo-Sumerians.

Zuabu was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the eleventh among the "seventeen kings who lived in tents" within the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Zuabu was preceded by Hana, and succeeded by Nuabu. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Zuabu's reign.

Nuabu was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the twelfth among the “seventeen kings who lived in tents” on the Mesopotamian Chronicles. According to the Mesopotamian Chronicles, Nuabu was preceded by Zuabu. Nuabu is succeeded by Abazu on the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Nuabu's reign.

Abazu was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the thirteenth among the "seventeen kings who lived in tents" on the Mesopotamian Chronicles. According to the Mesopotamian Chronicles, Abazu was preceded by Nuabu. Abazu is succeeded by Belu on the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Abazu's reign.

Belu was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the fourteenth among the "seventeen kings who lived in tents" on the Mesopotamian Chronicles. According to the Mesopotamian Chronicles, Belu was preceded by Abazu. Belu is succeeded by Azarah on the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Belu's reign.

Azarah was an early Assyrian king. He is listed as the fifteenth among the, "seventeen kings who lived in tents" on the Mesopotamian Chronicles According to the Mesopotamian Chronicles, Azarah was preceded by Belu. Azarah is succeeded by Ushpia on the Mesopotamian Chronicles. Next to nothing is otherwise known about Azarah's reign.

Independence

Ushpia was an early Assyrian king who ruled Assyria (fl. c. 2030 BC), as the second last within the section "kings who lived in tents” of the Assyrian King List (AKL), however; Ushpia has yet to be confirmed by contemporary artifacts. According to the Cambridge Ancient History, the conclusion of this section, "marked the end of the nomadic period of the Assyrian people," and, "visualized Ushpia as the actual founder of the Semitic city of Assur." Ushpia is alleged to have founded the temple for the god Ashur within the city-state of Assur, according to the much later inscriptions of both of these Assyrian kings: Shulmanu-asharedu I (fl. c. 1274 BC) and Esarhaddon (fl. 681 BC). Ushpia is succeeded on the AKL by Apiashal. Arthur Ungnad interpreted both Ushpia's and Kikkia's (fl. c. 2000 BC) names as being that of the Hurrian language (as opposed to the Assyrian dialect of the Semitic Akkadian language), but; Arno Poebel was not convinced by this interpretation and more recent research no longer holds Ungnad's thesis as tenable.

Apiashal had been an early monarch (fl. c. 2205 BCE — c. 2192 BCE) of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). He is listed within the section of the AKL as the last of whom, "altogether seventeen kings, tent dwellers." This section shows marked similarities to the ancestors of the First Babylonian Dynasty. The AKL also states that Apiashal had been preceded by his father Ushpia (fl. c. 2218 BCE — c. 2205 BCE.) Additionally, the AKL states that Apiashal had been succeeded by his son Hale (fl. c. 2192 BCE — c. 2179 BCE.)

Apiashal is also listed within a section of the AKL as the first out of the ten, "kings whose fathers are known.” This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu (fl. c. 2088 BCE — c. 2075 BCE.) and ending with Apiashal, "altogether ten kings who are ancestors"—has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1754 BCE — c. 1721 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Assur. In keeping with this assumption, scholars have inferred that the original form of the Assyrian King List had been written (among other things) as an, “attempt to justify that Šamši-Adad I was a legitimate ruler of the city-state Assur and to obscure his non-Assyrian antecedents by incorporating his ancestors into a native Assyrian genealogy.” However, this interpretation has not been accepted universally; the Cambridge Ancient History rejected this interpretation and instead interpreted the section as being that of the ancestors of Sulili (fl. c. 2075 BCE — c. 2062 BCE.) Very little is otherwise known of Apiashal's reign.

Hale had been the eighteenth Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria (fl. c. 2028 BCE) according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Hale is listed within a section of the AKL as the second out of the ten, “kings whose fathers are known.” This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashalaltogether ten kings who are ancestors "—has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Assur. In keeping with this assumption, scholars have inferred that the original form of the AKL had been written (among other things) as an, “attempt to justify that Šamši-Adad I was a legitimate ruler of the city-state Aššur and to obscure his non-Assyrian antecedents by incorporating his ancestors into a native Assyrian genealogy.” However, this interpretation has not been accepted universally; the Cambridge Ancient History rejected this interpretation and instead interpreted the section as being that of the ancestors of Sulili.

The AKL also states the following: "Hale son of Apiashal," additionally; "Samani son of Hale." Apiashal (fl. c. 2029 BCE) is listed within the section of the AKL as the last of whom, "altogether seventeen kings, tent dwellers." This section shows marked similarities to the ancestors of the First Babylonian Dynasty. According to the AKL, Apiashal had been preceded by his father Ushpia (fl. c. 2030 BCE.) Ushpia had been an early Assyrian king who had ruled Aššūrāyu (fl. c. 2030 BC), as the second last within the section "kings who lived in tents" of the AKL, however; Ushpia has yet to be confirmed by contemporary artifacts. Ushpia is also said to had been the founder of the temple for the god Aššur within the city-state Aššur. According to the Cambridge Ancient History, the conclusion of this section, "marked the end of the nomadic period of the Assyrian people," and, "visualized Ushpia as the actual founder of the Semitic city of Aššur." The earliest kings had been independent semi-nomadic pastoralist rulers. These kings had at some point become fully urbanized and founded the city-state of Aššur.

Very little is otherwise known about Hale's reign.

Samani was the nineteenth Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Samani is listed within a section of the AKL as the third out of the ten "kings whose fathers are known". This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashalaltogether ten kings who are ancestors "—and has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Aššur. The AKL also states that Samani was the son and successor of Hale. Additionally, the AKL states that Samani had been both the predecessor and father of Hayani.

Hayani was the twentieth Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Hayani is listed within a section of the AKL as the fourth out of the ten "kings whose fathers are known". This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashalaltogether ten kings who are ancestors "—and has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Aššur. The AKL also states that Hayani was the son and successor of Hale. Additionally, the AKL states that Hayani had been both the predecessor and father of Ilu-Mer.

Ilu-Mer was the twenty-first Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Ilu-Mer is listed within a section of the AKL as the fifth out of the ten "kings whose fathers are known". This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashalaltogether ten kings who are ancestors "—and has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Aššur. The AKL also states that Ilu-Mer was the son and successor of Hayani. Additionally, the AKL states that Ilu-Mer had been both the predecessor and father of Yakmesi.

Yakmesi had been the twenty-second Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Yakmesi is listed within a section of the AKL as the sixth out of the ten, "kings whose fathers are known". This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashal “altogether ten kings who are ancestors" "—and has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Aššur. The AKL also states that Yakmesi had been both the son and successor of Ilu-Mer. Additionally, the AKL states that Yakmesi had been both the predecessor and father of Yakmeni.

Yakmeni had been the twenty-third Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Yakmeni is listed within a section of the AKL as the seventh out of the ten, "kings whose fathers are known." This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashalaltogether ten kings who are ancestors "—and has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Aššur. The AKL also states that Yakmeni had been both the son and successor of Yakmesi. Additionally, the AKL states that Yakmeni had been both the predecessor and father of Yazkur-el.

Yazkur-el had been the twenty-fourth Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Yazkur-el is listed within a section of the AKL as the eighth out of the ten, "kings whose fathers are known." This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashalaltogether ten kings who are ancestors' "—and has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Aššur. The AKL also states that Yazkur-el had been both the son and successor of Yakmeni. Additionally, the AKL states that Yazkur-el had been both the predecessor and father of Ila-kabkabu.

The Amorite name Ila-kabkabu appears twice in the Assyrian King List:

  • Ila-kabkabu appears within the Assyrian King List among the “kings whose fathers are known” (alongside both: Ila-kabkabu's father and predecessor, Yazkur-el; Ila-kabkabu's son and successor, Aminu), Ila-kabkabu may had lived around the year 2000 BC.
  • Ila-kabkabu is also mentioned as the father of one other king named within the Assyrian King List: Šamši-Adad I. Šamši-Adad I had not inherited the Assyrian throne from his father, but had instead been a conqueror. Ila-kabkabu had been an Amorite king not of Aššur (within Assyria), instead; Ila-kabkabu had been king of Terqa (within Syria) during the same time as that of the King Iagitlim of Mari (also within Syria.) According to the Mari Eponyms Chronicle, Ila-kabkabu had seized Shuprum (possibly c. 1790 BC), then Šamši-Adad I had, “entered his father's house,” (e.g.. Šamši-Adad I had succeeded Ila-kabkabu as the king of Terqa, within the following year.):163 Šamši-Adad I had subsequently conquered a wide territory and had emerged as the king of Assyria, where he had founded an Amorite dynasty.
  • Arising from the two appearances of the name "Ila-kabkabu" within two different places of the Assyrian King List, the "kings whose fathers are known" section has often, although not universally. For example, Hildegard Levy, writing in the Cambridge Ancient History, rejected this interpretation and instead interpreted the section as the ancestors of Sulili, the kings mentioned immediately afterwards. been considered a list of Šamši-Adad I's ancestors. In keeping with this assumption, scholars have inferred that the original form of the Assyrian King List had been written among other things as an, “attempt to justify that Šamši-Adad I was a legitimate ruler of the city-state Aššur and to obscure his non-Assyrian antecedents by incorporating his ancestors into a native Assyrian genealogy.” According to this interpretation, both instances of the name would refer to the same man, Šamši-Adad I's father, whose line would have been interpolated into the list. However, the name might also refer to two distinct, though possibly related, individuals.

    Aminu had been the twenty-sixth Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Aminu is listed within a section of the AKL as the last of the, "kings whose fathers are known." This section (which in contrast to the rest of the list) had been written in reverse order—beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashalaltogether ten kings who are ancestors "—and has often been interpreted as the list of ancestors of the Amorite Šamši-Adad I (fl. c. 1809 BCE) who had conquered the city-state of Aššur. The AKL also states that Aminu had been both the son and successor of Ila-kabkabu. Additionally, the AKL states that Yazkur-el had been both the predecessor and father of Sulili.

    Sulili was an early ruler of Assur. The Assyrian King List lists him as the twenty-seventh ruler of Assyria. He also appears within the Assyrian King List as the first out of the six kings "(whose names were written on?) bricks whose eponyms are (not known?)". Additionally, it is stated within the Assyrian King List that he was the successor of and "son of Aminu". Aminu had himself been the son of and successor of Ila-kabkabu, and Aminu and Ila-kabkabu were among the ten kings "who are ancestors".

    The section within the Assyrian King List "kings who are ancestors/whose fathers are known" (which, in contrast to the rest of the list, was written in reverse order, beginning with Aminu and ending with Apiashal), has often been interpreted as a list of Shamshi-Adad I's ancestors. In keeping with this assumption, scholars have inferred that the original form of the Assyrian King List had been written, among other things, as an “attempt to justify that Shamshi-Adad I was a legitimate ruler of the city-state Assur and to obscure his non-Assyrian antecedents by incorporating his ancestors into a native Assyrian genealogy.” However, this interpretation has not been accepted universally; the Cambridge Ancient History rejected this interpretation and instead interpreted the section as the ancestors of Sulili. Sulili is also shown as being the predecessor of Kikkia within the Assyrian King List. Sulili is believed to had ruled around the year 2000 BC.

    Kikkia (sometimes given as Kikkiya), inscribed mKi-ik-ki-a had been the twenty-eighth ruler of Assyria to be recorded within the Assyrian King List. He was listed after Sulili and before Akiya. Kikkia's name is given as the second of a group of rulers “(named) on bricks whose eponyms are not found", suggesting that he had preceded the period in which the annually-elected limmu officials had been appointed and given their names to the years. Consequently, the length of his reign is undetermined.

    Apart from his appearance in two copies of the Assyrian King List (the Khorsabad and SDAS copies, but not the Nassouhi one which is damaged at the top where he might have appeared), he is only known from two building inscriptions of his successors, moreover; the earliest of these is that of Ashur-rim-nisheshu (c. 1398 BC — c. 1391 BC), who commemorated his reconstruction of the wall of the inner-city of Assur by listing the previous restorers on a commemorative cone, (beginning with Kikkia.) The later king, Shalmaneser II, restored this wall and gave credit to his predecessor in his inscription. The erection of a defensive wall suggests that Kikkia may have won his independence from the waning influence of the Neo-Sumerian Empire. An earlier Assyrian šakkanakkum (KIŠ.NITA2) and chief magistrate of Assur, Zariqum, who had been omitted from the extant copies of the Assyrian King Lists, had been a contemporary and vassal of Shulgi (c. 2029 BC — c. 1982 BC) and of Amar-Sin of Ur (c. 1981 BC — c. 1973 BC), so one would suppose that Kikkia must have reigned after this time. Arthur Ungnad interpreted Kikkia's name, and that of Ushpia, as being that of the Hurrian language (BA VI, 5, S. 13), but more recent research no longer holds this thesis as tenable, and Arno Poebel was not convinced by the interpretation.

    Akiya was an early ruler of the city-state Assur. According to the Assyrian King List (AKL), he was the twenty-ninth Assyrian monarch of the Early Period of Assyria. He is listed within a section of the AKL as the third out of the six, "kings whose eponyms are not known." The AKL states that Akiya was the successor of Kikkia, and was the predecessor of Puzur-Ashur I. Very little is otherwise known of Akiya's reign.

    Puzur-Ashur I was an Assyrian who fl. c. 2000 BC. His clearly Assyrian name (meaning, "servant of Ashur") distinguishes him from his three immediate predecessors on the Assyrian King List, who possibly bore non-Semitic names, and from the earlier, Amorite-named, "kings who are ancestors" (also translatable as, "kings whose fathers are known"), often interpreted as a list of Shamshi-Adad I's ancestors. He is known only from his place in the Assyrian King List and from references in the inscriptions of later kings (his son and successor Shalim-ahum and the much later Ashur-rim-nisheshu and Shalmaneser III.) These later kings mentioned him among the kings who had renewed the city walls of Assur begun by Kikkia.

    Puzur-Ashur I may have started as an Assyrian dynasty that endured for eight generations until Erishum II was overthrown by the Amorite Shamshi-Adad I. Hildegard Levy, writing in the Cambridge Ancient History, rejects this interpretation and sees Puzur-Aššur I as part of a longer dynasty started by one of his predecessors, Sulili. Inscriptions link Puzur-Aššur I to his immediate successors, who, according to the Assyrian King List, are related to the following kings down to Erišum II. The Assyrian King List omits Zariqum, who is known from inscriptions to have been governor (ensí) of Assur for the Third Dynasty of Ur under Amar-Sin; this Zariqum (whose name is Semitic) is sometimes placed by scholars immediately before Puzur-Ashur I, and following Akiya.

    Puzur-Ashur I's successors bore the title Išši’ak Aššur, vice regent of Assur, as well as ensí.

    Shalim-ahum or Šalim-ahum was a ruler of the city-state of Assur fl. c. 1900 BC (short chronology.) The Assyrian King List records his name as Šallim-aḫḫe, inscribed šal-lim-PAB-MEŠ, meaning, “keep the brothers safe”, and he appears among the six kings “whose eponyms are not found”, meaning that the length of his reign was unknown. He was described as the son of Puzur-Ashur I (dumu Puzu Assur) in his only known inscription. He is the earliest independent ruler to be attested in a contemporary inscription. Carved in curious archaic character mirror-writing in Old Assyrian on an alabaster block found during the German excavations at Assur under Walter Andrae, this sole exemplar of his contemporary inscriptions records that the god Ashur “requested of him” the construction of a temple and that he had "beer vats and storage area" built in the "temple area".

    He ruled during a period when nascent Assyrian merchant companies were branching out into Anatolia to trade textiles and tin from Assur for silver. He was succeeded by his son, Ilu-shuma, as recorded in his brick and limestone inscriptions and he appears in the genealogy of his grandson, Erishum I. His name appears in an inscription of Adad-nirari I and one of Shalmaneser I but only in the context of references to his son, Ilu-shuma. Shalim-ahum and his successors bore the title išši’ak Aššur, vice regent of Assur, as well as ensí.

    Ilu-šūma, inscribed DINGIR-šum-ma, son of Shalim-ahum was the thirty-second king of Assyria, c. 1900 BCE (short chronology.) The length of his reign is uncertain, as the Assyrian King List records him as one of the "six kings whose names were written on bricks, but whose eponyms are not known", referring to the lists of officials after which years were named. His son, Erishum I, is identified as the king who succeeded him and reigned for 30 years (or 40, depending on the copy of the Assyrian King List), followed by Ilu-shuma's other son, Ikunum. He titled himself "vice-regent of Assur, beloved of the god Ashur and the goddess Ishtar." The Synchronistic King List records, "eighty-two kings of Assyria from Erishum I, son of Ilu-shuma, to Ashurbanipal, son of Esarhaddon", in the concluding colophon.

    The Chronicle of Early Kings records his contemporary as Su-abu, who was once identified with the founder of the First Dynasty of Babylon, Sumu-abum, c. 1830 BCE. The word "battles" is discernible on the subsequent, fragmentary line of the Chronicle and this has led some historians to believe Ilu-shuma may have engaged in conflict with his southerly neighbor. A brick inscription of Ilu-shuma describes his relations with the south and reads:

    "The freedom of the Akkadians and their children I established. I purified their copper. I established their freedom from the border of the marshes and Ur and Nippur, Awal, and Kismar, Der of the god Ishtaran, as far as Assur."

    The historian M. Trolle Larsen has suggested that this represented an attempt to lure traders from the south of Assur with tax privileges and exemptions, to monopolize the exchange of copper from the gulf for tin from the east. The cities cited therefore are the three major caravan routes the commodities would have traveled rather than campaign routes for the king.

    Ilu-shuma's construction activities included building the old temple of Ishtar, a city wall, subdivision of the city into house plots and diversion of the flow of two springs to the city gates Aushum and Wertum. Tukultī-Ninurta I recorded that he preceded him by 720 years, on his own inscriptions commemorating his construction of an adjacent Ishtar temple. From this it might be deduced that, despite later being among the "kings whose year names are not known", the reign length of Ilu-shuma was still known in the time of Tukulti-Ninurta I to be 21 years. Larsen has suggested that he may have been a contemporary of Iddin-Dagan and Ishme-Dagan of Isin, which would clash with the synchronization with Sumu-abum, but make more sense given the current chronology favored.

    References

    Early Period (Assyria) Wikipedia


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