The Construction of the Assyrian Empire: A Historical Study of the Inscriptions of Shalmanesar III Relating to His Campaigns in the West

The Construction of the Assyrian Empire: A Historical Study of the Inscriptions of Shalmanesar III Relating to His Campaigns in the West

The Construction of the Assyrian Empire: A Historical Study of the Inscriptions of Shalmanesar III Relating to His Campaigns in the West

The Construction of the Assyrian Empire: A Historical Study of the Inscriptions of Shalmanesar III Relating to His Campaigns in the West

Synopsis

In numerous ambitious expeditions Shalmaneser III of Assyria (859-824) lay the foundation of the subsequent remarkable military advance to the West of the Neo-Assyrian empire. While systematically scrutinizing and analyzing all accounts of these western campaigns, Shigeo Yamada not only discusses the historiographical problems encountered, together with their impact on the jigsaw of ninth century Ancient Near East history, but also offers new results, and an original historical reconstruction. Ample attention is given to the campaigns economic and ideological aspects. The book will serve as a useful reference for all students interested in Assyrian historiography and the history of Assyria and Syria-Palestine. It includes an appendix on a new edition of the Kurkh Monolith, based on the author's collation.

Excerpt

The reign of Shalmaneser iii (859–824 B.C.) was the most remarkable period of Assyrian military advance in the pre-imperial phase of the Neo-Assyrian empire. Following his predecessors’ recovery of the traditional “Land of Ashur”, Shalmaneser undertook ambitious expeditions far beyond the previous boundaries of Assyria. This phenomenon stands out especially in the king’s campaigns against the lands west of the Euphrates, undertaken 21 times during his 35-year reign. in the present study, I shall examine the historical inscriptions of Shalmaneser, investigate his western campaigns, and discuss their political, economic and ideological aspects.

At the beginning of the present century several significant pioneering works relating to our subject appeared. the first to be noted is the work of A.T. Olmstead, who introduced a systematic critical approach to the historical study of Assyrian royal inscriptions. in 1916, in his monograph Assyrian Historiography: a Source Study, he examined the textual interrelations between various versions of Shalmaneser III’s Annals, and demonstrated their recensional development. While doing so, he aptly argued that the reliability of the text is greatly dependent on its contemporaneity, and thus that earlier versions must be more reliable and should be given priority over later ones. Shortly afterwards, in 1921, he used this principle to investigate Shalmaneser III’s enterprise in a special study. He described all the king’s military expeditions, using Assyrian texts as well as the iconographic evidence from the reliefs of the Balawat Bronze Gate and of the Black Obelisk.

Almost simultaneously with Olmstead’s studies, E. Kraeling discussed Shalmaneser’s major campaigns to Syria in his Aram and Israel (1918). He analysed the course of the campaigns and identified many

For the political-ideological term “Land of Ashur”, see J.N. Postgate, World Archaeology 23 (1991), pp. 237–263. See also below, Part V, 1.

the last western campaign in the 28th palû was, however, conducted by DayyanAshur, the commander-in-chief, but not by the king (see below, Part ii, 19).

Esp. pp. 15–28.

jaos 41, pp. 345–382.

Esp. pp. 59–81.

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