Annals Of Assur-Nasir-Pal (Sometimes Called Sardanapalus) Column 1; Assyrian

Concerning Assur-nasir-habal or Assur-nasir-pal (“i.e.”, “Assur preserves the son”) we possess fuller historical records than of any other of the Assyrian monarchs, and among these the following inscription is the most important. From it, and from the inscription upon his statue discovered by Mr. Layard [Footnote: Now in the British Museum.] in the ruins of one of the Nimroud temples, we learn that he was the son of Tuklat-Adar or Tuklat-Ninip, that he reigned over a territory extending from the “Tigris to the Lebanon, and that he brought the great sea and all countries from the sunrise to the sunset under his sway.” These inscriptions are published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. I, plates 17 to 27, and were partially translated by Professor Oppert, “Histoire des Empires de Chaldee et d’Assyrie,” page 73 and following ““Extrait des Annales de philosophie chretienne”” tom. IX, 1865.

There is considerable difficulty and a consequent divergence of opinion as to the precise date when Assur-nasir-pal ascended the throne. But he most probably reigned from 883 to 858 B.C. It need scarcely be remarked that Assur-nasir-pal is a different person from the well-known Sardanapalus of classic writers, or Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esar-haddon, who reigned from about B.C. 668 to 625.

It will be seen from the inscription that the campaigns of Assur-nasir-pal took place in the mountains of Armenia, in Commagene and the provinces of the Pontus, inhabited by the Moschi [Footnote: The Mesek of Psalm cxx. 5.] and other tribes. He probably advanced into Media and a portion of western Persia. The countries on the banks of the Euphrates submitted to his arms, and in one of his expeditions he vanquished Nabu-bal-iddin, King of Babylon. Westward, he reduced the southern part of Syria, and advanced to the mountain chains of the Amanus and Lebanon, but though he penetrated as far as to Tyre and Sidon and exacted tribute from both as well as from Byblus and Aradus, he did not subdue Phoenicia. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah, under the sway of Ahab and Jehosaphat, were no doubt too powerful, as is evinced by the armies which they must have maintained for their struggle with the Syrians, [Footnote: See 2 Chron. xvii. and following chapters.] for Assur-nasir-pal to have ventured upon attacking them. This feat was reserved for his successors on the throne of Assyria.

The inscription was found in the ruins of the Temple at the foot of the Pyramid at Nimroud (Calach).


To Ninip[1] most powerful hero, great, chief of the gods, warrior, powerful Lord, whose onset in battle has not been opposed, eldest son, crusher of opponents, first-born son of Nukimmut,[2] supporter of the seven,[3] noble ruler, King of the gods the producers, governor, he who rolls along the mass of heaven and earth, opener of canals, treader of the wide earth, the god who in his divinity nourishes heaven and earth, the beneficent, the exalted, the powerful, who has not lessened the glory of his face,[4] head of nations, bestower of sceptres, glorious, over all cities a ruler,[5] valiant, the renown of whose sceptre is not approached, chief of widespread influence, great among the gods, shading from the southern sun, Lord of Lords, whose hand the vault of heaven (and) earth has controlled, a King in battle mighty[6] who has vanquished opposition, victorious, powerful, Lord of water-courses and seas,[7] strong, not yielding, whose onset brings down the green corn, smiting the land of the enemy, like the cutting of reeds, the deity who changes not his purposes, the light of heaven and earth, a bold leader on the waters, destroyer of them that hate (him), a spoiler (and) Lord of the disobedient, dividing enemies, whose name in the speech of the gods no god has ever disregarded, the gatherer of life, the god(?) whose prayers are good, whose abode is in the city of Calah, a great Lord, my Lord–(who am) Assur-nasir-pal, the mighty King, King of multitudes, a Prince unequalled, Lord of all the four countries, powerful over hosts of men, the possession of Bel and Ninip the exalted and Anu and of Dakan,[8] a servant of the great gods in the lofty shrine for great (O Ninip) is thy heart; a worshipper of Bel whose might upon thy great deity is founded, and thou makest righteous his life, valiant, warrior, who in the service of Assur his Lord hath proceeded, and among the Kings of the four regions who has not his fellow, a Prince for admiration, not sparing opponents, mighty leader, who an equal has not, a Prince reducing to order his disobedient ones, who has subdued whole multitudes of men, a strong worker, treading down the heads of his enemies, trampling on all foes, crushing assemblages of rebels, who in the service of the great gods his Lords marched vigorously and the lands of all of them his hand captured, caused the forests of all of them to fall,[9] and received their tribute, taking securities, establishing laws over all lands, when Assur the Lord who proclaims my name and augments my Royalty laid hold upon his invincible power for the forces of my Lordship, for Assur-nasir-pal, glorious Prince, worshipper of the great gods the generous, the great, the powerful, acquirer of cities and forests and the territory of all of them, King of Lords, destroying the wicked, strengthening the peaceful, not sparing opponents, a Prince of firm will(?) one who combats oppression, Lord of all Kings, Lord of Lords, the acknowledged, King of Kings, seated gloriously, the renown of Ninip the warrior, worshipper of the great gods, prolonging the benefits (conferred by) his fathers: a Prince who in the service of Assur and the Sun-god, the gods in whom he trusted, royally marched to turbulent lands, and Kings who had rebelled against him he cut off like grass, all their lands to his feet he subjected, restorer of the worship of the goddesses and that of the great gods, Chief unwavering, who for the guidance of the heads (and) elders of his land is a steadfast guardian, the work of whose hands and the gift of whose finger the great gods of heaven and earth have exalted, and his steps[10] over rulers have they established forever; their power for the preservation of my Royalty have they exercised; the retribution of his power, (and) the approach of His Majesty over Princes of the four regions they have extended: the enemies of Assur in all their country, the upper and the lower I chastised, and tribute and impost upon them I established, capturing the enemies of Assur–mighty King, King of Assyria, son of Tuklat-Adar who all his enemies has scattered; (who) in the dust threw down the corpses of his enemies, the grandson of Bin-nirari, the servant of the great gods, who crucified alive and routed his enemies and subdued them to his yoke, descendant of Assur-dan-il, who the fortresses established (and) the fanes made good. In those days by the decree[11] of the great gods to royalty power supremacy I rose up: I am a King, I am a Lord, I am glorious, I am great, I am mighty, I have arisen, I am Chief, I am a Prince, I am a warrior I am great and I am glorious, Assur-nasir-habal, a mighty King of Assyria, proclaimer of the Moon-god, worshipper of Anu, exalter of Yav,[12] suppliant of the gods am I, servant unyielding, subduing the land of his foeman, a King mighty in battle, destroyer of cities and forests, Chief over opponents, King of the four regions, expeller of his foes, prostrating all his enemies, Prince of a multitude of lands of all Kings Even of all, a Prince subduing those disobedient to him, who is ruling all the multitudes of men. These aspirations to the face of the great gods have gone up; on my destiny steadfastly have they determined; at the wishes of my heart and the uplifting of my hand, Istar, exalted Lady, hath favored me in my intentions, and to the conduct of (my) battles and warfare hath applied her heart. In those days I Assur-nasir-pal, glorious Prince, worshipper of the great gods the wishes of whose heart Bel will cause him to attain, and who has conquered all Kings who disobey him, and by his hand capturing his enemies, who in difficult places has beaten down assemblages of rebels; when Assur, mighty Lord, proclaimer of my name aggrandizer of my royalty over the Kings of the four regions, bountifully hath added his invincible power to the forces of my government, putting me in possession of lands, and mighty forests for exploration hath he given and urgently impelled me–by the might of Assur my Lord, perplexed paths, difficult mountains by the impetuosity of my hosts I traversed, and an equal there was not. In the beginning of my reign (and) in my first campaign when the Sun-god guider of the lands threw over me his beneficent protection[13] on the throne of my dominion I firmly seated myself; a sceptre the dread of man into my hands I took; my chariots (and) armies I collected; rugged paths, difficult mountains, which for the passage of chariots and armies was not suited I passed, and to the land of Nairi[14] I went: Libie, their capital city, the cities Zurra and Abuqu Arura Arubie, situated within the limits of the land of Aruni and Etini, fortified cities, I took, their fighting-men in numbers I slew; their spoil, their wealth, their cattle I spoiled; their soldiers were discouraged; they took possession of a difficult mountain, a mountain exceedingly difficult; after them I did not proceed, for it was a mountain ascending up like lofty points of iron, and the beautiful birds of heaven had not reached up into it: like nests of the young birds in the midst of the mountain their defence they placed, into which none of the Kings my fathers had ever penetrated: in three days successfully on one large mountain, his courage vanquished opposition: along the feet of that mountain I crept and hid: their nests, their tents, I broke up; 200 of their warriors with weapons I destroyed; their spoil in abundance like the young of sheep I carried off; their corpses like rubbish on the mountains I heaped up; their relics in tangled hollows of the mountains I consumed; their cities I overthrew, I demolished, in fire I burned: from the land of Nummi to the land of Kirruri I came down; the tribute of Kirruri of the territory of Zimizi, Zimira, Ulmanya, Adavas, Kargai, Harmasai, horses,[15] (fish (?), oxen, horned sheep in numbers, copper, as their tribute I received: an officer to guard boundaries[16] over them I placed.

While in the land of Kirruri they detained me, the fear of Assur my Lord overwhelmed the lands of Gilzanai and Khubuskai; horses, silver gold, tin, copper, “kams” of copper as their tribute they brought to me. From the land of Kirruri I withdrew; to a territory close by the town Khulun in Gilhi[17] Bitani I passed: the cities of Khatu, Khalaru, Nistun, Irbidi, Mitkie, Arzanie, Zila, Khalue, cities of Gilhi situated in the environs of Uzie and Arue and Arardi powerful lands, I occupied: their soldiers in numbers I slew; their spoil, their riches I carried off; their soldiers were discouraged; the summits projecting over against the city of Nistun which were menacing like the storms of heaven, I captured; into which no one among the Princes my sires had ever penetrated; my soldiers like birds (of prey) rushed upon them; 260 of their warriors by the sword I smote down; their heads cut off in heaps I arranged; the rest of them like birds in a nest, in the rocks of the mountains nestled; their spoil, their riches from the midst of the mountains I brought down; cities which were in the midst of vast forests situated I overthrew, destroyed, burned in fire; the rebellious soldiers fled from before my arms; they came down; my yoke they received; impost tribute and a Viceroy I set over them.

Bubu son of Bubua son of the Prefect of Nistun in the city of Arbela I flayed; his skin I stretched in contempt upon the wall. At that time an image of my person I made; a history of my supremacy upon it I wrote, and (on) a mountain of the land of Ikin(?) in the city of Assur-nasir-pal at the foot I erected (it). In my own eponym in the month of July[18] and the 24th day (probably B.C. 882), in honor of Assur and Istar the great gods my Lords, I quitted the city of Nineveh: to cities situated below Nipur and Pazate powerful countries I proceeded; Atkun, Nithu, Pilazi and 20 other cities in their environs I captured; many of their soldiers I slew; their spoil, their riches I carried off; the cities I burned with fire; the rebel soldiers fled from before my arms, submitted, and took my yoke; I left them in possession of their land.

From the cities below Nipur and Pazate I withdrew; the Tigris I passed; to the land of Commagene I approached; the tribute of Commagene and of the Moschi[19] in “kams” of copper, sheep and goats I received; while in Commagene I was stationed, they brought me intelligence that the city Suri in Bit-Khalupe had revolted. The people of Hamath had slain their governor Ahiyababa the son of Lamamana[20] they brought from Bit-Adini and made him their King. By help of Assur and Yav the great gods who aggrandize my royalty, chariots, (and) an army, I collected: the banks of the Chaboras[21] I occupied; in my passage tribute in abundance from Salman-haman-ilin of the city of Sadi-kannai and of Il-yav of the city of Sunai,[22] silver, gold, tin, “kam” of copper, vestments of wool, vestments of linen I received. To Suri which is in Bit-Halupe I drew near; the fear of the approach of Assur my Lord overwhelmed them; the great men and the multitudes of the city, for the saving of their lives, coming up after me,[23] submitted to my yoke; some slain, some living, some tongueless I made: Ahiyababa son of Lamamana whom from Bit-Adini they had fetched, I captured; in the valor of my heart and the steadfastness of my soldiers I besieged the city; the soldiers, rebels all, were taken prisoners; the nobles to the principal palace of his land I caused to send; his silver, his gold, his treasure, his riches, copper (?)tin, “kams, tabhani, hariati” of copper, choice copper in abundance, alabaster and iron-stone of large size the treasures of his harem, his daughters and the wives of the rebels with their treasures, and the gods with their treasures, precious stones of the land of …, his swift chariot, his horses, the harness, his chariot-yoke, trappings for horses, coverings for men, vestments of wool, vestments of linen, handsome altars of cedar, handsome …, bowls of cedar-wood beautiful black coverings, beautiful purple coverings, carpets, his oxen, his sheep, his abundant spoil, which like the stars of heaven could not be reckoned, I carried off; Aziel as my lieutenant over them I placed; a trophy along the length of the great gate I erected: the rebellious nobles who had revolted against me and whose skins I had stripped off, I made into a trophy: some in the middle of the pile I left to decay; some on the top of the pile on stakes I impaled; some by the side of the pile I placed in order on stakes; many within view of my land I flayed; their skins on the walls I arranged; of the officers of the King’s officer, rebels, the limbs I cut off; I brought Ahiyababa to Nineveh; I flayed[24] him and fastened his skin to the wall; laws and edicts over Lakie I established. While I was staying in Suri the tribute of the Princes of Lakie throughout the whole of them, silver, gold, tin, copper, “kam” of copper, oxen, sheep, vestments of wool and linen, as tribute and gift, I defined and imposed upon them. In those days, the tribute of Khayani of the city of Hindanai, silver, gold, tin, copper, amu-stone, alabaster blocks, beautiful black (and) lustrous coverings I received as tribute from him.

In those days an enlarged image of my Royalty I made; edicts and decrees upon it I wrote; in the midst of his palace I put it up; of stone my tablets I made; the decrees of my throne upon it I wrote; in the great gate I fixed them, in the date of this year which takes its name from me, in honor of Assur my Lord and Ninip who uplifts my feet.[25]

Whereas in the times of the Kings my fathers no man of Suhi to Assyria had ever come, Il-bani Prince of Suhi together with his soldiers (and) his son, silver, gold as his tribute to Nineveh in abundance brought: in my own eponym[26] at the city of Nineveh I stayed: news they brought me that men of the land of Assyria, (and) Hulai the governor of their city which Shalmaneser King of Assyria my predecessor to the city of Hasiluha had united, had revolted: Dandamusa[27] a city of my dominion marched out to subdue (them); in honor of Assur, the Sun-god and Yav, the gods in whom I trust, my chariots and army I collected at the head of the river Zupnat, the place of an image which Tiglath-Pileser and Tiglath-Adar, Kings of Assyria my fathers had raised; an image of My Majesty I constructed and put up with theirs.

In those days I renewed the tribute of the land of Izala, oxen, sheep, goats: to the land of Kasyari[28] I proceeded, and to Kinabu the fortified city of the province of Hulai. I drew near; with the impetuosity of my formidable attack I besieged and took the town; 600 of their fighting men with (my) arms I destroyed; 3,000 of their captives I consigned to the flames; as hostages I left not one of them alive; Hulai the governor of their town I captured by (my) hand alive; their corpses into piles I built; their boys and maidens I dishonored; Hulai the governor of their city I flayed: his skin on the walls of Damdamusa I placed in contempt; the city I overthrew demolished, burned with fire; in the city of Mariru within their territory I took; 50 warrior fighting men by (my) weapons I destroyed; 200 of their captives in the flame I burned; the soldiers of the land of Nirbi I slew in fight in the desert; their spoil, their oxen, their sheep, I brought away; Nirbu which is at the foot of mount Ukhira I boldly took; I then passed over to Tila their fortified city; from Kinabu I withdrew; to Tila I drew near; a strong city with three forts facing each other: the soldiers to their strong forts and numerous army trusted and would not submit; my yoke they would not accept; (then,) with onset and attack I besieged the city; their fighting men with my weapons I destroyed; of their spoil, their riches, oxen and sheep, I made plunder; much booty I burned with fire; many soldiers I captured alive; of some I chopped off the hands and feet; of others the noses and ears I cut off; of many soldiers I destroyed the eyes;[29] one pile of bodies while yet alive, and one of heads I reared up on the heights within their town; their heads in the midst I hoisted; their boys

(“Continued on Column II.”)

[Footnote 1: Ninip was one of the great gods of the Assyrian Pantheon, often joined with Assur as one of the special deities invoked by the Assyrian kings at the opening of their inscriptions. His name is also
written under the symbol used for iron (“parzii”). Thus in later times the planets were connected with special metals.]–[Footnote 2: A goddess, called also Nuha, and the mother of Nebo as well as of Ninip. Fox Talbot (Gloss. 158) compares “nu (= ‘al’) kimmut” with the “al-gum” of Prov. xxx. 31, i.e., irresistible.”]–[Footnote 3: Planets. Or, “warrior among spirits.” I mention this rendering as the suggestion of Mr. G. Smith, though I prefer that given above.]–[Footnote 4: Literally, “horn.” Cf. Job xvi. 15.]–[Footnote 5: Tigallu. Menant renders this sentence “La massue pour regner sur les villes.”]–[Footnote 6: Cf. Ps. xxiv. 8.]–[Footnote 7: Cf. Ps. xcv. 4; civ. 6; cvii. 35.]–[Footnote 8: Probably the Dagon of Scripture.]–[Footnote 9: Compare the boast in Isaiah xxxvii. 24, “I cut down the tall cedars.”]—[Footnote 10: Goings. Cf. Ps. xl. 2, “He hath established my goings.”]–[Footnote 11: Mouth.]–[Footnote 12: The god Yav may be the Yaveh of the Moabite stone.]–[Footnote 13: Or, shade. This may refer to the eclipse of July 13, 885 B.C.]–[Footnote 14: A federation of States north and northeast of Assyria at the head of the Euphrates. In Tig. iv. 7, 33 of their kings are mentioned.]–[Footnote 15: Literally, “animals of the East.” This looks as if the Assyrians obtained the horse from some Eastern land.]–[Footnote 16: Or, a viceroy.]–[Footnote 17: A mountainous country near the upper Tigris, possibly Kurdistan.]–[Footnote 18: The Hebrew month Ab.]–[Footnote 19: In the text, “Kummuhi” and “Muski.”]–[Footnote 20: Dr. Hincks was of opinion that Lamaman meant “nobody”; and that “Son of Lamaman” was a delicate way of indicating a man was of low origin. Norr. Dict., p. 690.]–[Footnote 21: Assyrian, “Khabur.” This may be the Chebar mentioned in the Prophet Ezekiel. Schultens, however (in his Geogr.), mentions another Chaboras which flows into the Tigris.]–[Footnote 22: In the north of Mesopotamia.]–[Footnote 23: Literally, to my back.]–[Footnote 24: Compare 2 Mace. vii. 7 for a somewhat similar proceeding. The custom may also be alluded to in Mic. iii. 3.]–[Footnote 25: Compare Ps. lxxiv. 3, “Lift up thy feet,” etc.]–[Footnote 26: About 882 B.C.]–[Footnote 27: Near the modern Diarbekir, on the road to the sources of the Supnat.]–[Footnote 28: In Armenia near the sources of the Tigris.]–[Footnote 29: Thus in 2 Kings xxv. 7 we read that the Chaldees “put out the eyes of Zedekiah.” Samson (Judges xvi. 21) was similarly treated. And the custom may be alluded to in Num. xvi. 14. It may be well to compare the treatment of children as recorded in Joshua xi. 14 with what we read in line 118. Horrible and ferocious as was the treatment of the conquered by the Israelites, they at least on that occasion were content with enslaving the children.]

SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature (1901); Translated, with notes, BY: REV. J.M. RODWELL, M.A.


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