People - Ancient Near East: Shalmaneser Iii
Ancient Near East
Shalmaneser Iii in Wikipedia
Shalmaneser III (Šulmānu-ašarēdu, "the god Shulmanu is pre-eminent") was king of Assyria (859 BC-824 BC), and son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal
His father was Ashurnasirpal II.
Overview of Reign
His long reign was a constant series of campaigns against the eastern tribes, the Babylonians, the nations of Mesopotamia and Syria, as well as Kizzuwadna and Urartu. His armies penetrated to Lake Van and the Taurus Mountains; the Hittites of Carchemish were compelled to pay tribute, and the kingdoms of Hamath and Aram Damascus were subdued.
Kurkh stela of Shalmaneser that commemorates the battle of Carcar.
In 853 BC a coalition which was formed by the kingdoms of Egypt, Hamath, Arvad, the Ammonites, "Ahab of Israel" and other neighboring states, under the leadership of king Hadadezer of Damascus, defeated the Assyrian king at Battle of Qarqar. However, the Assyrian king persevered in his attempts to subjugate Israel and Syria. Other battles soon followed in 849 BC and 846 BC.
Jehu bows before Shalmaneser III.
In 842 BC, Shalmaneser campaigned against Hadadezer's successor Hazael, forcing him to take refuge within the walls of his capital. While Shalmaneser was unable to capture Damascus, he devastated its territory, and Jehu of Israel (whose ambassadors are represented on the Black Obelisk now in the British Museum), together with the Phoenician cities, prudently sent tribute to him in 841 BC. Babylonia had already been conquered as far as the marshes of the Chaldaeans in the south, and the Babylonian king put to death. It was the Assyrian king who defeated the Western coalition at Qarqar.
In 836 BC, Shalmaneser sent an expedition against the Tibareni (Tabal) which was followed by one against Cappadocia, and in 832 BC came another campaign against Urartu. In the following year, age required the king to hand over the command of his armies to the Tartan (turtānu commander-in-chief) Dayyan-Assur, and six years later, Nineveh and other cities revolted against him under his rebel son Assur-danin-pal. Civil war continued for two years; but the rebellion was at last crushed by Shamshi-Adad V, another son of Shalmaneser. Shalmaneser died soon afterwards.
Significance to the Bible
His reign is significant to the Bible (See: Hebrew Bible / Old Testament) because two of his monuments name Biblical figures. The Black Obelisk names Jehu son of Omri and the Kurkh Monolith names king Ahab in reference to the Battle of Karkar.
Construction and the Black Obelisk
Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III in the British Museum.
He had built a palace at Calah, and left several editions of the royal annals recording his military campaigns, the last of which is engraved on the Black Obelisk from Calah.
The Black Obelisk is a significant artifact from his reign. It is a black limestone, bas-relief sculpture from Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), in northern Iraq. It is the most complete Assyrian obelisk yet discovered, and is historically significant because it displays the earliest ancient depiction of an Israelite. On the top and the bottom of the reliefs there is a long cuneiform inscription recording the annals of Shalmaneser III. It lists the military campaigns which the king and his commander-in-chief headed every year, until the thirty-first year of reign. Some features might suggest that the work had been commissioned by the commander-in-chief, Dayyan-Assur.
The second register from the top includes the earliest surviving picture of an Israelite: the Biblical Jehu, king of Israel. Jehu severed Israel’s alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, and became subject to Assyria. It describes how Jehu brought or sent his tribute in or around 841 BC. The caption above the scene, written in Assyrian cuneiform, can be translated:
“The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears."
It was erected as a public monument in 825 BC at a time of civil war. It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard in 1846.
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