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Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, c. 858-824 BC
Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, c. 858-824 BC
Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, c. 858-824 BC
June 18, 2016 at 11:25pm

Excerpt (2,877 years ago):

His warriors I slew, his spoil I carried off. (His) cities I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. The rest of them went up into the moun- tains. The mountain peak I stormed and captured. I slew their warriors. I brought down their booty, their goods. I de- parted from Namri.

Shalmaneser III

Shalmaneser III (Šulmānu-ašarēdu) was king of Assyria (859–824 BC). The "BLACK OBELISK" inscriptions shown above record his deeds.

Translation

THE "BLACK OBELISK" INSCRIPTION

555. Assur, the great lord, king of all of the great gods; Ami, king of the Igigi and Anunnaki, the lord of lands; Enlil (Bel), the exalted, father of the gods, the creator; Ea, king of the Deep (Apsu), who determines destiny; [Sin], king of the tiara, exalted in splendor; [Adad,1 mighty, pre-eminent, lord of abundance (plenty); Shamash, fjudge1 of heaven and earth, director of all (things); 'Marduk, 1 master of the gods, lord of law (omens); Urta, valiant (ruler) of the Igigi and the Anunnaki, the almighty god; Nergal, the ready (perfect), king of battle; Nusku, bearer of the shining scepter, the god who renders decisions; Ninlil, spouse of Bel, mother of the [great] gods; Ishtar, first in heaven and on earth, who fills full the measure of bravery;—the great [gods], who ordain destiny (destinies), who have made great my kingdom, (I in- voke).

556. Shalmaneser, king of all peoples, lord, priest of As- sur, mighty king, king of all the four regions (of the world), Sun of all peoples, despot of all lands; son of Assur-nasir-pal, the high priest, whose priesthood was acceptable to the gods and who brought in submission at his feet the totality of the countries (of earth); glorious offspring of Tukulti-Urta, who slew all of his foes and overwhelmed them like a hurri- cane (deluge).

Year of accession. Against the city of Aridu Ql. 22-26)

557. At the beginning of my reign, when I solemnly took my seat upon the royal throne, I mobilized my chariots and troops, the passes of the land of Simesi I entered; Aridu, the stronghold of Ninni, I captured.

Year 1. To the Mediterranean (IL 26-31)

558. In my first year of reign I crossed the Euphrates at its flood. To the shore of the sea of the setting sun I ad- vanced. I washed my weapons in the sea; I offered sacrifices to my gods. I climbed Mount Amanus; I cut cedar and cypress timbers. I climbed Mount Lallar, (and) there set up my royal image.

Year 2. Against the cities of Ahuni and the city ofDabigu (ll. 32-35)

559. In my second year of reign I drew nigh to Til-bar- zip (written, barzaib). The cities of Ahum, son of Adini, I cap- tured. In his city I shut him up. The Euphrates I crossed at its flood; I captured Dabigu, a fortified city of Hatti, to- gether with the cities of its neighborhood.

Year 3. Against Ahuni and back to Assyria by way of Armenia (ll. 35-44)

560. In my third year of reign Ahuni, son of Adini, took fright before my mighty weapons, and forsook Til-barzip, his royal city. I crossed the Euphrates. The city of Ana-Assur- utir-asbat, which lies on the other side of the Euphrates, on the Sagur River, (and) which the Hittite people called Pitru, I seized for myself. On [my] return, I entered the passes of the land of Alzi; the lands of Alzi, 'Suhni1, Daiaeni, Tumme, Arzashkunu, the royal city of Arame, the Armenian (king), Gilzanu, (and) Hubushkia (I conquered).

Year 4. Defeat and capture of Ahuni. Against the land of Zam- ua {11 45-52)

561. In the eponymy of Daian-Assur I departed from Nineveh, crossed the 'Euphrates1 at its flood, pin-sued (lit., went after) Ahuni, son of Adini. He made Shitamrat, a mountain peak, which is on the bank of the Euphrates, his stronghold. The mountain peak I stormed and captured. Ahuni, together with his gods, his chariots, his horses, his sons, his daughters, his troops, I carried off and brought (them) to my city Assur. In that same year I crossed Mount Kullar (and) descended against Zamua, which lies inside. The cities of Nikdiara1 of the city of Ida (and) Nikdima1, I captured.

Year 5. Into the Kashiari hills (ll. 52-54)

562. In my fifth year of reign I went up against Mount Kashiari. Eleven strongholds I captured. Assur-itti-sheruri- ai I shut up in his city. His many gifts I received from him.

Year 6. Against the cities on the Balih, then against Hadad- ezer and his allies (ll. 54-62)

563. In my sixth year of reign I drew near to the cities on the banks of the Balih. Giammu, governor of their cities, they slew. I entered Til-mar-ahi. The Euphrates I crossed at its flood. I received gifts from all of the kings of Hatti. At that time Hadad-ezer, [king] of Aram (? Damascus), Irhuleni, the Hamathite, together with the kings of Hatti and the sea- coast, relied on each other's strength and came out against me to offer battle (lit., to make battle and war). At the com- mand of Assur, the great lord, my lord, I fought with them, I accomplished their defeat. Their chariots, their cavalry, their weapons of war, I took from them. 20,500 of their warriors I slew with the sword.

Year 7. Against Til-abne. To the source of the Tigris (ll.67-72)

564. In my seventh year of reign I marched against the cities of Ha—rat, the Til-abneite. I captured Til-abn6, his royal city, together with the cities of its neighborhood. I ad- vanced to the source of the Tigris, where the waters gush forth (lit., where the coming forth of the waters is situated). The weapon of Assur I washed therein, I offered sacrifices to my gods, I spread a gladsome banquet. I fashioned a heroic image of my royal self. The glory of Assur, my lord, every one of my deeds of bravery, which I performed in (different) lands, I wrote thereon, and set it up there.

Year 8. Against the rebels in Babylonia (ll. 73-76)

565. In my eighth year of reign there revolted against Marduk-zakir-shumi, king of Karduniash (Babylonia), his younger brother, Marduk-bel-usate, (and) they divided the land totally. To avenge Marduk-zakir-shumi, I marched forth and captured Me-Turnat.

Year 9. Second campaign into Babylonia (ll. 77-84)

566. In my ninth2 year of reign I marched against Ak- kad a second time. I besieged Gananate. As for Marduk- bel-usate, the terrifying splendor of Assur (and) Marduk overcame him and he went up into the mountains to save his life. I pursued him. Marduk-bel-usate (and) the rebel army officers who were with him, I cut down with the sword. To the great cities I marched. I offered sacrifices in Babylon, Borsippa, (and) Kutha. I presented gifts to the great gods. I went down to Chaldea. Their cities I captured. The gifts of the kings of Chaldea I received. The terror of my arms overpowered (the enemy) as far as the Bitter Sea,

Year 10. Against Sangara of Carchemish (ll. 85-86)

567. In my tenth year of reign I crossed the Euphrates for the eighth time. The cities of Sangara of Carchemish I captured. Against the cities of Arame3 drew near. Arne, his royal city, together with 100 of his small cities, I captured.

Year 11. Against Hadad-ezer and his allies (ll. 87-89)

568. In my eleventh year of reign I crossed the Euphrates for the ninth time. Countless cities I captured. Against the cities of the land of Hamath, I descended. 89 cities I cap- tured. Hadad-ezer of Aram (? Damascus) (and) twelve kings of the land of Hatti stood by each other. I accomplished their overthrow.

Year 12. Against Pakarhubuna (ll. 89-90)

569. In my twelfth year of reign I crossed the Euphrates for the tenth time. I marched against the land of Pakar- hubuna. I carried off their spoil.

Year 13. Against Iaeti (IL 90-91)

570. In my thirteenth year of reign, I went up against the land of Iaeti. Their spoil I carried off.

Year 14. Against the Syrian allies (ll. 92-93)

571. In my fourteenth year of reign I mustered (all the resources of my) land. I crossed the Euphrates. Twelve kings advanced to meet me. I battled with them, I accomplished their overthrow.

Year 15. To the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates (IL 92-93)

572. In my fifteenth year of reign I advanced to the sources of the Tigris (and) Euphrates. I set up (i.e., carved) my royal image upon their cliffs,

Year 16. Eastward against Namri (ll. 93-95)

573. In the sixteenth year of reign I crossed the Azaba River. Against the land of Namri I marched. Marduk- mudammik, king of Namri, went (up into the mountains) to save his life. His goods, his armies, his gods, I carried to As- syria. Ianzu, son of Hanban, I set up as king over them.

Year 17. To Mount Amanus (ll. 96-97)

574. In my seventeenth year of reign I crossed the Eu- phrates. I went up on Mount Amanus; I cut cedar timbers.

Year 18. Against Eazael of Syria (ll. 97-99)

575. In my eighteenth year of reign I crossed the Eu- phrates for the sixteenth time. Hazael of Aram (? Damascus) came forth to battle. 1,121 of his chariots, 470 of his cavalry, together with his camp, I captured from him.

Year 19. To Mount Amanus (ll. 99-106)

576. In my nineteenth year of reign I crossed the Eu- phrates for the eighteenth time. I went up on Mount Ama- nus. I cut cedar timbers.

Year 20. Against Kile (Cilicia) (U. 100-102)

577. In my twentieth year of reign I crossed the Euphra- tes for the twentieth time. I descended against the land of Kaue. Their cities I captured. Their spoil I carried off.

Year 21. Against Hazael (ll. 102-4)

578. In my twenty-first year of reign I crossed the Eu- phrates for the twenty-first time. I advanced against the cities of Hazael of Aram (? Damascus). Four of his cities I captured. The gifts of the Tyrians, Sidonians, and Gebalites, I received.

Year 22. Against Tabal (tt. 104-7)

579. In my twenty-second year of reign I crossed the Eu- phrates for the twenty-second time. Against the land of Tabal I descended. At that time I received the presents of 24 kings of Tabal. To Mount ^Tunni1 (Taurus), the silver moun- tain,4 and Mount Mull, the marble mountain, I advanced.

Year 23. Against Milid (tt. 107-10)

580* In my twenty-third year of reign I crossed the Eu- phrates. Uetash, the royal city of Lalla of the land of Milid, I captured. The kings of the land of Tabal came and I received their gifts.

Year 24. Against Namri (tt. 110-26)

581. In my twenty-fourth year of reign T crossed over the Lower Zab. I advanced through the land of Hashimur, to the land of Namri I descended. Ianzu, king of Namri, took fright befqre my mighty weapons, and went up (into the mountains) to save his life. I captured Sihishalah, Bit-tamul, Bit-sakki, Bit-shgdi, his strong cities. His warriors I slew, his spoil I carried off. (His) cities I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. The rest of them went up into the moun- tains. The mountain peak I stormed and captured. I slew their warriors. I brought down their booty, their goods. I de- parted from Namri. I received the gifts of 27 kings of the land of Parsua. From Parsua I departed. To the lands of Messi(?) and of the Medes, the lands of Araziash and Harhar I descended. The cities of Kuakinda, Tarzanabi(P), Esamul, Kinablila, together with the cities of their neighborhood, I captured. I slew their warriors. I carried off their spoil. (Their) cities I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. My royal image I set up in the land of Harh&r. Ianzd, son of Haban, together with his great wealth, his gods, his sons, his daughters, his many soldiers, I carried off and brought to Assyria.

Year 25. Against Kite (Cilicia) (//. 126-31)

582. In my twenty-fifth year of reign I crossed the Eu- phrates at its flood. The gifts of the kings of Hatti, all of of them, I received. Mount Amanus I crossed over, to the cities of Katei of the land of Kaue, I descended. Timur, his royal city, I stormed and captured. I slew their warriors. I carried off-their spoil. Countless cities I destroyed, I devas- tated, I burned with fire. On my return, Mliru, the royal city of Arame, son of Agusi,I seized as a stronghold for myself. Its thresholds^)5 I strengthened, I built therein a palace for my royal abode.

Year 26. Against the Cilician cities (fl. 132-41)

583* In my twenty-sixth year of reign I traversed Mount Amanus for the seventh time, and for the fourth time I marched against the cities of Katei of Kaue. Tanakun, the royal city of Tulka, I besieged. The terrifying splendor of Assur, my lord, overpowered him. They came out and seized my feet. I received his hostages; silver, gold, iron, cattle, sheep, as his tribute I received from him. From Tana- kun I departed, against Lamenash I advanced. The people (of that land) took to their heels, they climbed a steep moun- tain. The mountain peak I stormed, I captured. I slew their warriors. Their spoil, their cattle, their sheep, I brought down out of the mountain. Their cities I destroyed, I devas- tated, I burned with fire. To Tarsus (Tarzi) I advanced. They seized my feet. Silver, gold, (as) their tribute I re- ceived. Kirri, brother of Kattei, I set up as king over them. On my return I went up on Mount Amanus, I cut cedar tim- bers, I carried (them) away and brought them to my city, Assur.

Year 27. Against Armenia (ll. 141-46)

584. In my twenty-seventh year of reign I mustered my chariots and troops; Daian-Assur, the Turtan, the chief of (my) large host (widespreading armies) I dispatched at the head of my armies, against Urartu (Armenia) I sent (him). He descended against Bit-Zamani, he entered by the pass of Ammash (and) crossed the Arzania River. Seduri, the Armeni- an, heard of it and trusted in the strength (mass) of his many troops. He advanced against me, to offer battle. I fought with him, I accomplished his defeat. I filled the wide plain with the corpses of his warriors.

Year 28. Against Eattina (ll. 146-56)

585. In the twenty-eighth year of my reign, while I was staying in Calah, word was brought me that the people of Hattina had slain Lubarna their lord, and had raised Surri, who was not of royal blood (lit, lord of the throne), to the kingship over them. Daian-Assur, the Turtan, the chief of my large host (widespreading armies) I dispatched, sending him at the head of my army and camp. He crossed the Eu- phrates at its flood. In Kinalua, his royal city, he came to a halt. Surri, who was not of royal blood,—the awe-inspiring splendor of Assur, my lord, overcame him and he went to his fate (lit., to the death of his fate). The people of Hattina be- came afraid before the terror of my mighty weapons, the sons of Surri, together with the rebels (lit., sinners) they seized and gave (them) to me. These (rebels) I impaled on stakes. Sasi, son of the Uzzite (or, an Uzzite), seized my feet. As king I set him over them. Silver, gold, lead, copper, iron, ivory, without measure, I received from them. I fashioned a heroic image of my royal self, in Kinalua, his royal city, in his temple (lit., the house of his gods) I had it set up.

Year 2p. Against the land of Kirhi (ll. 156-59)

586. In my twenty-ninth year of reign I dispatched and sent (my) troops and camp against Kirhi. Upon their cities I brought destruction, I devastated (them), I burned (them) with fire. Their lands I overwhelmed like a hurricane (flood). Awe-inspiring terror I poured out over them.

Year 30. Eastward against Hubushkia, Manash, Parsua (ll. 159-74)

587. In my thirtieth year of reign, while I was staying in Calah, I dispatched Daian-Assur, the Turtan, chief of (my) large host (widespreading armies) and sent him out at the head of my armies. He crossed the Zab, into the midst of the cities of the Hubushkians he approached; the tribute of Da- tana, the Hubushkian, I received. From the midst of the cit- ies of the Hubushkians I departed, into the midst of the cities of Magdubi, the Malhisite, I (text, he)6 approached. Tribute I received. From the midst of the cities of the Malhisites I departed, into the midst of the cities of Ualki, the Mannean, I approached. Ualki, the Mannean, became terrified by the splendor of my weapons, and deserted Zirta, his royal city, going up (into the mountains) to save his life. I pursued him. His cattle, his sheep, his property, in countless number, I brought back. His cities I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. From Manash I departed. To the cities of Shulusu- nu of Harruna(?), I drew near. I captured Masashuru, his royal city, together with the cities of its neighborhood. I granted pardon to Shulusunu, and his sons, I returned him to his land. Tribute and tax, (in the form of) horses broken to the yoke, I imposed. To Shurdira I drew near. I received the tribute of Artasari, the Shurdirite. I descended upon Parsua. I received the tribute of the kings of Parsua. The rest of the Parsuans (lit., Parsua), who were not loyal to Assur,—their cities I captured, their spoil, their property, I carried off to Assyria.

Year 31. Against Hubushkia, Musasir, Namri (IL 174-Q0)

588. In my thirty-first year of reign, for the second time I set my face(?) toward Assur and Adad,7 and at that time, while I remained in Calah, I dispatched Daian-Assur, the Turtan, commander-in-chief of (my) large army, and sent (him) forth at the head of my troops and camp. To the cities of Data (Datana) the Hubushkian, he drew near.. Tribute I received from him. Against Sapparia, the stronghold of the land of Musasir, I marched. Sapparia, together with 46 cities of the Musasirites, I captured. I marched as far as the for- tresses of the Urarteans. 50 of their cities I destroyed, I dev- astated,! burned with fife. Against Gilzanu I descended. The tribute of Upii, the Gilzanite, of the Man—ites, the —buri- sites, the Harranites, the Shashganites, the Andites, the —rites,—cattle, sheep, horses, broken to the yoke, I received. Against the cities of the land of Tabal 1 1 went down. Perria, Shitiuaria, its strong cities, together with 22 cities of its neighborhood, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. Awe-inspiring terror I poured out over them. Against the cities of the Parsuans he marched. Bushtu, Shalahamanu, Kinihamanu, strongholds, together with 23 cities of their neighborhood, I captured. I slew their warriors. I carried off their booty. Against the land of Namri I descended. The awe-inspiring terror of Assur (and) Marduk overwhelmed them. They deserted their cities. Into the wild (steep) moun- tains-they went up. 250 of their cities I destroyed, I devas- tated, I burned with fire. Through the passes of Simesi at the head(?) of the land of Halman, I descended.

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Over the reliefs

589. I. Tribute of S6a, the Gilzanite. Silver, gold, lead, copper vessels, staves for the hand of the king, horses, camels, whose backs are two humps, I received from him.

590. I I . Tribute of Iaua (Jehu), son of Omri (mar Hurnri). Silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden beaker, golden goblets, pitchers of gold, lead, staves for the hand of the king, javelins, I received from him.

591. III. Tribute of the land of Musri. Camels, whose backs are two humps, a river-ox (buffalo), a sakea, a susu, elephants,' monkeys, apes, I received from him.

592. IV. Tribute of Marduk-apal-usur of Suhi. Silver, gold, pitchers of gold, ivory, javelins, buia} brightly colored (and) linen garments, I received from him.

593. V. Tributes of Karparunda, of Hattina. Silver, gold, lead, copper, copper vessels, ivory, cypress (timbers), I re- ceived from him.1

Footnotes

1Personal names.

2For a variant account of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh years see the text of a fragment from Assur (§§ 666 ff.).

3Personal name.

4The silver mountain is mentioned by Sargon of Akkad (cf. Poebel, Historical Texts, p. 178).

5See §§ 85 and 383.

6The change from the first to the third person, and back again, is common in the historical inscriptions, and is not ordinarily indicated in the translation.

7This obscure phrase no doubt refers to the king's assumption of the limmu-role the second time. This marks the beginning of the great revolt.