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Assyrian Middle Empire - 1363-912 BC

Name from until
Middle Period
Ashur-Uballit I 1363 BC 1328 BC
Enlil-Nirari 1327 BC 1318 BC
Arik-Den-Ili 1317 BC 1306 BC
Adad-Nirari I 1305 BC 1274 BC
Shalmaneser I 1273 BC 1244 BC
Tukulti-Ninurta I 1243 BC 1207 BC
Ashur-Nadin-Apli 1206 BC 1203 BC
Ashur-Nirari III 1202 BC 1197 BC
Enlil-Kudurri-Usur 1196 BC 1191 BC
Ninurta-Apal-Ekur 1191 BC 1179 BC
Ashur-Dan I 1178 BC 1133 BC
Ashur-Resha-Ishi I 1132 BC 1115 BC
Ninurta-Tukulti-Ashur 1115 BC 1114 BC
Mutakkil-Nusku 1115 BC 1114 BC
Tiglath-Pileser I 1114 BC 1076 BC
Asharid-Pal-Ekur II ? ?
Ashur-Bel-Kala 1076 BC 1057 BC
4 Unknown Rulers    
Shamshi-Adad IV 1053 BC 1049 BC
5 Unknown Rulers    
Ashur-Rabi II 1010 BC 970 BC
Ashur-Resh-Ishi II 969 BC 967 BC
Tiglath-Pilasar II 966 BC 935 BC
Ashur-Dan II 934 BC 912 BC
As the suzerainty of Egypt became purely nominal under the successors of Sesostris, the kings of Niniveh profited by this to extend by degrees their conquests towards the Euphrates. One of them, named Tiglath-samdan occupied Babylon and founded the first Assyrian or Ninevite Empire (1314). This prince, according to the custom in Asia, left the crown to the kings of Babylon, on condition that they would pay tribute. They made many attempts to recover their independence, and these revolts always ended in bloody wars. The Assyrian monarchs, from the first victorious, at length became invincible, and the Pharaos, releasing them from vassalage, esteemed themselves fortunate in obtaining their alliance and support.

Tiglath-pileser was the first who aspired to the conquest of Western Asia. After conquering the countries bordering upon the Caspian and Euxine Seas, he crossed the Euphrates, seized Circesium, and defeated the Hethians, who had long been the implacable enemies of Egypt. It was then easy to penetrate into Phoenicia, where he wished to embark on the Mediterranean, which had never before been done by any of his predecessors. The monarch glorified himself in an inscription as having "slain with his own hand a dolphin," and with having received shortly after, from the king of Egypt, " as an extraordinary present, a crocodile from his river and whales from the great sea."

Bactriana he espoused Semiramis, because of her courage. Semiramis, after the death of Ninus, enlarged Babylon, marched triumphantly through Media, Persia, and Western Asia ; she also conquered Egypt and Ethiopia, but, after an unfortunate expedition into India, she abdicated the throne in favor of her son Ninyas, having reigned forty-two years. This charming narrative of Ctesias is not accepted by critics, and is refuted by other historians and by monuments.

The Jews were not disturbed by the great conqueror who had defeated the neighboring nations. It was at this period that God destined David to found a great kingdom in Western Asia. He therefore ordained that Tiglath-pileser, after having completed his plan, should be recalled to the Euphrates by a fresh revolt of Babylon, which caused him great embarrassment and resulted in the loss of all his conquests.

The Assyrian Empire, weakened for a century and a half, recovered its power only to become the instrument of divine justice against the idolatrous kingdoms of Juda and Israel. "Assyria," said the Lord, "is the rod of my anger and I will revenge myself by its hands." Sardanapalus III began this work of vengeance by recovering all the conquests of Tiglath-pileser. He added to them Media, and went in person to impose tribute on the Phoenician cities. Everywhere he left in his passage traces of his cruelty. He caused his prisoners to be flayed alive, destroyed cities, and placed over them this inscription: "I smile over ruins, I joy in glutting my fury." His statue, which has been transported to London, represents him standing, holding in one hand a scythe, in the other a club, and bearing written on his breast the following pompous eulogy: " Sardanapalus, great king, powerful king, king of the legions, king of Assyria. He possessed the land from the river Tigris to Libanus; he subjected to his sway the great seas and all the countries from the rising to the setting of the sun."

His son, Salmanasar IV, inherited his power and employed it against the kings of Israel^ In the narrative of his first campaign in Syria he himself mentions among the vanquished the impious Achab. Some years later, King Jehu having imprudently implored his aid, Salmanasar compelled him to pay tribute. On an obelisk recently discovered the Assyrian king enumerates all the precious articles he received in gold and silver, and the king of Israel is represented prostrate, with his face to the earth, before him, in the posture of a vassal. Salmanasar has left us the recital of his thirty-one campaigns, which rendered him master of a great part of Asia. His empire extended from Persia to the Euxine Sea, from Oxus to the country of the Philistines. This powerful monarch, surprised by a revolt of his younger son, died during the siege of his capital. His inheritance passed first to his elder son, then to his grandson, Belochus III., less celebrated for his military exploits than for the genius of his wife,(Semiramis. This princess, according to the testimony of Herodotus, embellished Babylon and raised the famous dikes which preserved the lower plains of Mesopotamia from the inundation of the waters of the Euphrates.

The Assyrian Empire, composed of turbulent subjects, could exist only by force of arms. In place of a warlike chieftain, the Assyrians found but an indolent and voluptuous master in Sardanapalus V. It is related that this monarch spent his life among the women of his household, whose dress and occupations he assumed, even plying the spindle and distaff. Arbaces, governor of the Medes, having one day observed the king engaged in some menial occupation, conceived the design of exciting his troops to revolt. Phul, prince of Babylon, and many other chiefs, seconded him with all their forces. The rebels, defeated in three encounters, lost courage, but Phul reassured them by promising that if they would wait five days they should receive reinforcements.

Sardanapalus V, shut up in Ninive, thought he had naught to fear inside its walls, for he deemed them strong enough to defy all the missiles of the besiegers. An oracle had declared that the city would be impregnable till the river became its enemy. The siege lasted two years, when, after prolonged rains, the waters of the Tigris inundated a great part of the city and overthrew the wall to the extent of a league) QThen the king, persuaded that the prophecy was accomplished, erected in his palace a vast funeral pile, on which; himself, his wives, and his treasures were consumed. The besiegers, after pillaging Ninive, consigned everything to fire and sword.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:48:25 ZULU