Pomoč pri lovu asirskega leva, Niniva

Pomoč pri lovu asirskega leva, Niniva



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Datoteka: Izklesani reliefi, ki prikazujejo Ašurbanipala, zadnjega velikega asirskega kralja, lovske leve, relief iz mavčne dvorane iz severne palače Nineve (Irak), c. 645-635 pr. N. Št., Britanski muzej (16722368932) .jpg

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Datum časSličicaDimenzijeUporabnikKomentiraj
tok10:29, 30. december 20154811 × 3178 (11,76 MB) Butko (pogovor | prispevki) Preneseno s Flickra prek Flickr2Commons

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Lov na asirskega leva

Nekega dne smo bili v Britanskem muzeju, ko sem naletel na te izredne rezbarije v nizkem reliefu iz Nineve.

Čeprav poznam velika vrata iz Nimroda v muzeju, so bile te kamnite plošče za lov na leve pravo odkritje.

Rezbarije izvirajo od leta 645 - 635 pred našim štetjem in so obdajale sobo v Severni palači v Ninivi.

Palača je bila zgrajena za kralja Ashurbanipala. Čeprav je bil navdušen športnik, namesto da bi lovil leve v naravi, jih je Ashurbanipal pobral in pripeljal v areno, kjer jih je lahko enega za drugim ustrelil. Uprizorjeni lov je moral biti pravi spektakel in dokaz njegove moči in avtoritete.

Pri rezbarijah se mi zdi res izjemno, da medtem ko so ljudje na slikah zelo stilizirani - vedno prikazani v profilu in brez izraza na obrazu, so umirajoči levi upodobljeni z intenzivnim realizmom in - vsaj za moje oči - sočutje do njihovega trpljenja. Jasno vidite bolečino v njihovih zarežanih in nabranih gobcih.

Morda so obstajala stroga pravila in konvencije o tem, kako je mogoče upodobiti ljudi, medtem ko so kiparji pustili živali razlagati na veliko bolj svoboden način.

Ne glede na resnico, če imate v britanskem muzeju petnajst minut prostega časa, jih je vredno obiskati.


Slika: Reliefi kraljevega leva iz asirske palače v Ninivi, približno 645-635 pr. N. Št., Britanski muzej (12254719435) .jpg

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V starodavni Asiriji je lov na leve veljal za šport kraljev, ki je simbol dolžnosti vladajočega monarha, da ščiti in se bori za svoje ljudstvo. Izklesani reliefi v sobi 10a ponazarjajo športne podvige zadnjega velikega asirskega kralja Ašurbanipala (668-631 pr. N. Št.) In so bili ustvarjeni za njegovo palačo v Ninivi (v sodobnem severnem Iraku).


Lov na kraljevega leva.

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Ӳkerčĕk: Reliefi za lov kraljevega leva iz asirske palače v Ninivi, kralj lovi, približno 645-635 pr. N. Št., Britanski muzej (12254914313) .jpg

Ta datoteka z Vikiklade se lahko uporablja v drugih projektih. Podatki na njegovih straneh so opisani spodaj.


Ashurbanipal in konjska plošča

Če niste zadovoljni z vsem, kar ste kupili v spletni trgovini, se v 14 dneh po dostavi obrnite na službo za stranke.

Ekskluzivno za Britanski muzej, ročno izdelana smolna plošča s podrobnostmi iz reliefov lova na leva, izkopana iz Severne palače v Ninevi v Iraku (645–635 pr. N. Št.).

Asirski kralj Ashurbanipal (r. 668-c. 631 pr. N. Št.) Je bil najmočnejši človek na zemlji. V napisih se je opisal kot "kralj sveta", njegova vladavina iz mesta Nineveh (danes v severnem Iraku) pa je zaznamovala vrhunec Asirskega cesarstva, ki se je raztezalo od obale vzhodnega Sredozemlja do gora zahodnega sveta Iran. Ašurbanipalova moč kot bojevnika je zapisana v vrsti reliefov, ki prikazujejo lov na kraljevega leva, dramski nazor, ki ga prirejajo na loviščih v Ninivi. Ker je bil kralj božansko določen zaščitnik svojega kraljestva, je bila njegova dolžnost vzdrževati red v svetu z premagovanjem sil kaosa.

V Asiriji je lev predstavljal vse divje in nevarno na svetu. Podprti z bogovi, ki so Ashurbanipala obdarili z izjemno močjo, se spretni lovec sooči z levi s svojega kočije, na konju in peš.

Relief mavčnih zidnih plošč je v muzejski zbirki.

Veličastno darilo za dom.

  • Koda izdelka: CMCR64680
  • Dimenzije: V29 x Š21 x D1 cm
  • Blagovna znamka: British Museum
  • Material: smola
  • Podrobnosti: Ročno izdelano v Veliki Britaniji
  • Teža poštnine: 0,30 kg

Ekskluzivno za Britanski muzej, ročno izdelana smolna plošča s podrobnostmi iz reliefov lova na leva, izkopana iz Severne palače v Ninevi v Iraku (645–635 pr. N. Št.).

Asirski kralj Ashurbanipal (r. 668-c. 631 pr. N. Št.) Je bil najmočnejši človek na zemlji. V napisih se je opisal kot "kralj sveta", njegova vladavina iz mesta Nineveh (danes v severnem Iraku) pa je zaznamovala vrhunec Asirskega cesarstva, ki se je raztezalo od obale vzhodnega Sredozemlja do gora zahodnega sveta Iran. Ašurbanipalova moč kot bojevnika je zapisana v vrsti reliefov, ki prikazujejo lov na kraljevega leva, dramski nazor, ki ga prirejajo na loviščih v Ninivi. Ker je bil kralj božansko določen zaščitnik svojega kraljestva, je bila njegova dolžnost vzdrževati red v svetu z premagovanjem sil kaosa.

V Asiriji je lev predstavljal vse divje in nevarno na svetu. Podprti z bogovi, ki so Ašurbanipalu obdarili izjemno moč, se spretni lovec sooči z levi s svojega kočije, na konju in peš.

Relief mavčnih zidnih plošč je v muzejski zbirki.


Datoteka: Reliefi za lov kraljevega leva iz asirske palače v Ninivi, kralj lovi, približno 645-635 pr. N. Št., Britanski muzej (12254914313) .jpg

Naslednja informacija o datoteki, dostopna z izvirno mu opisana stran.


Asirski relief ranjenega leva iz palače v Ninivehu.

Vaš račun za enostaven dostop (EZA) omogoča tistim v vaši organizaciji, da prenesejo vsebino za naslednje namene:

  • Preizkusi
  • Vzorci
  • Kompoziti
  • Postavitve
  • Grobi rezi
  • Predhodne spremembe

Preglasi standardno spletno zbirno licenco za fotografije in video na spletnem mestu Getty Images. Račun EZA ni licenca. Če želite dokončati svoj projekt z gradivom, ki ste ga prenesli iz računa EZA, morate pridobiti licenco. Brez licence ni mogoče več uporabljati, na primer:

  • predstavitve fokusnih skupin
  • zunanje predstavitve
  • končno gradivo, razdeljeno v vaši organizaciji
  • vse materiale, distribuirane zunaj vaše organizacije
  • kakršno koli gradivo, razdeljeno javnosti (na primer oglaševanje, trženje)

Ker se zbirke nenehno posodabljajo, Getty Images ne more jamčiti, da bodo določeni izdelki na voljo do trenutka izdaje licence. Pozorno preglejte vse omejitve, ki spremljajo licencirano gradivo na spletnem mestu Getty Images in se obrnite na svojega predstavnika Getty Images, če imate o njih vprašanje. Vaš račun EZA bo ostal v veljavi eno leto. Vaš predstavnik Getty Images se bo z vami pogovoril o podaljšanju.

S klikom na gumb Prenesi sprejemate odgovornost za uporabo neobjavljene vsebine (vključno s pridobivanjem dovoljenj, potrebnih za vašo uporabo) in se strinjate, da se boste držali vseh omejitev.


Starodavna zgodovina

Ponovno moram poudariti, da glede tega nisem poklicni zgodovinar ali kateri koli drug zgodovinar. V virih zagotovo obstajajo napake in napake in morda bom naredil napako pri interpretaciji teh virov. Napake se pojavljajo zlasti pri obravnavi let, saj babilonska/asirska/judovska leta ne ustrezajo ravno našim. Torej obstaja možnost, da sem si dogodek morda razlagal kot dogodek konec leta 640, v resnici pa že v začetku leta 639. Če bralec opazi takšne napake, mi to sporočite v komentarjih in raziskal bom in ga čim prej popraviti. Tudi strokovni zgodovinarji imajo različna mnenja o natančnem vrstnem redu dogodkov v tem času, zato natančna natančnost tukaj ni verjetna.

Začel bom s kratkim povzetkom dogajanja drugod po svetu v teh letih. Na Kitajskem je dinastija Zhou zbledela v nejasnost, ko so se naraščajoči fevdalci začeli boriti za oblast. Kralj Xiang iz Zhou je bil nominalni vladar, vendar je bil tako nemočen, da ga je moral na prestolu zamenjati eden od njegovih vojvod, potem ko so ga izgnali. Indija je bila v poznejšem vedskem obdobju in države, kot so Kuru, Panchala, Kosala in Videha, so cvetele vzdolž Gangesove nižine. Ta stanja bodo kasneje oblikovala tako imenovane Mahajanapade. Grške države so se še naprej kulturno razvijale in tudi izgnale svoje tradicionalne vladarje v korist priljubljenih diktatorskih voditeljev, znanih kot tirani, čeprav tega seveda niso storile vse mestne države. Drugod je bilo še veliko drugih dogodkov, upamo pa, da bodo o njih v kasnejših blogih. To bi moralo dati pregled vsaj nekaterih dogodkov drugje.

Na bližnjem vzhodu je bil asurški kralj Ašurbanipal. Ashurbanipalovo kraljestvo je bilo zajeto v hudobnem boju z babilonsko vstajo, ki jo je vodil Ashurbanipalov brat, Shamash-shuma-ukin. Uzurpator Indabibi je prevzel nadzor nad vojno razdejanim Elamom. Elam je pomagal babilonski vstaji in Asirci so ga opustošili, medtem ko so se različne frakcije med seboj borile za nadzor nad vse šibkejšim prestolom Elamitov. Kraljevina Urartu je bila relativno stabilna pod nadzorom Rusa II. Lidiji na zahodu je vladal Gyges, ki je prej prisegel na zvestobo Asircem, zdaj pa se je uprl in se soočal s cimmerijskimi plemenskimi stepe. Egipt je vodil faraon Psammetichus I (ali Psamtik I), ki je izpeljal Asirce iz svoje države. Zdaj nepomembno in zmanjšano Judovo kraljestvo je vladal Manasseh, ki so ga kasnejši hebrejski pisci izganjali zaradi odpadništva od izraelskega Boga.

Elamitski zigurat v Chogha Zanbilu
Kot smo že omenili v prejšnji objavi, je bil leta 650BC Bel-Harran, guverner Tira, leto asirski Limmu. Ashurbanipal je začel odpravo proti Arabcem v Kedarju in napadel tudi moabskega kralja. Zdi se, da je bila odprava proti Arabcem uspešna, čeprav so se boje proti njim občasno nadaljevale naslednja tri leta, in ker so bili Arabci nevtralizirani in Elamiti pod Indabibijem niso več podpirali Babilonce, se je asirska vojska preselila v obleganje samega mesta Babilona. .

Osemnajsto leto: enajsti dan v mesecu Du'ûzu je sovražnik naložil Babilon.
Babilonska kronika Shamash-shuma-ukin

Leta 649 je bil Ahu-ilaya, guverner Karkemiša, letos asirski limmu. Ahu-ilaya je zadnji limmu, ki je zagotovo znan. Imamo imena limmusa iz drugih let, vendar vrstni red ni prepričan. Bom še naprej dajal datume, vendar bom poskušal upoštevati naročilo, ki ga je dal Parpola, zato se drugi viri morda ne bodo popolnoma strinjali z naročilom, ki sem ga upošteval.

Asirsko obleganje Babilona se je nadaljevalo. Zdi se, da je kaldejski guverner Nabu-bel-shumate, ki je prej služil Asircem in se pridružil uporu, zdaj z mnogimi visokimi asirskimi ujetniki zbežal v Elam. Ti ujetniki so bili predani Indabibiju, kralju Elama, kot vrsta zavarovalne police, medtem ko se zdi, da sta Nabu-bel-shumate in njegove čete lahko prosto hodila, kakor sta želela. To bi bilo v očeh Asircev kršitev protokola, saj je bil Nabu-bel-shumate visoko uvrščeni ubežnik.

Leta 648 je bil Belshunu Limmu in Babilon je padel. Babilonski viri v tem trenutku skoraj molčijo, razen da ugotavljajo, da verski prazniki niso potekali tistega leta, kar je bilo res, ampak podcenjevanje dogajanja. Zdi se, da je mesto bolj stradalo kot napadlo. Babilon je bil dobro utrjen, vendar je bil veliko mesto in da bi nahranili prebivalstvo, bi potrebovali ogromna sredstva, ki so jih nabirali skozi leta. Kar se tiče starejšega brata, ki se je uprl asirskemu kralju Shamash-shuma-ukin, se zdi, da je šel v svojo palačo, ko je mesto padalo, palačo zažgal in storil samomor, namesto da bi se soočil z mučenjem ujetništva in ponižanje, da so ga sile njegovega brata ujele živega.

Asirski vojaki oblegali mesto
Takrat so jih prevzeli ljudje deželne dežele Akad, ki so bili na strani Šamaš-šuma-ukina in načrtovali hudobna dejanja. Jedli so meso svojih sinov in hčera zaradi lakote, ki so jo grizli po usnjenih pasovih. Božanstva …, ki korakajo pred mano in ubijejo moje sovražnike, so Shamash-shuma-ukin, mojega sovražnega brata, ki se je začel boj proti meni, predala v besni ogenj in mu uničila življenje.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Visoko preživeli Babilon so odpeljali v Ninive, kjer so jih usmrtili na mestu, kjer je bil umorjen Senaherib. Morda je bil to nekakšen ritual, ki upravičuje politiko iztrebljanja, ki jo je Sennacherib sprejel proti Babilonu. Ašurbanipal tokrat mesta dejansko ni uničil, ampak so ulice očistili izstradanih trupel in mesto postavili pod neposredno vojaško oblast. V nekem trenutku naslednjega leta je bil v Babilonu postavljen nov kralj, imenovan Kandalanu. O Kandalanuju ne vemo prav nič in morda dejansko ni obstajal kot ločena oseba, kar je morda drugo ime za Ashurbanipala. Če pa je bil resnična oseba, je bila njegova edina funkcija ritual in morali so ga pozorno opazovati.

Približno v tem času je Ashurbanipal poslal odposlance v Indabibi iz Elama, da bi ga prisilili, da izroči upornika Nabu-bel-shumate. Nabu-bel-shumate ni bil le močan kaldejski poglavar plemena Bit-Yakin, ki je pred tem premagal asirsko vojsko in vzel pomembne zapornike. Bil je tudi vnuk Merodach-Baladana II., Sovražnika Sargona in Sennacheriba. Ashurbanipal ni mogel dovoliti, da bi upornik s tako družinsko zapuščino upora ostal na prostosti. Zdi se, da je Indabibi poskušal narediti nekaj popuščanja, vendar je prihod odposlancev v Elam vnesel strah v srca Elamitov, ki so ugibali, da bodo asirske vojske sledile odposlancem.

Indabibi, kralj dežele Elam, jih je (asirske ujetnike, ki jih je vzel Nabu-bel-shumate) izpustil iz zapora. Da bi posredovali pri meni, povedali dobre stvari o njem …
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 648 (napis 3)

Leta 647 je bil Nabu-nadin-ahhe Limmu v Asiriji. Indabibija, kralja uzurpatorja Elama, so njegovi ljudje strmoglavili in ubili. Humban-Haltash III je prevzel prestol, prav tako številni drugi zahtevki, vključno z Indattu-Inshushinak IV, Umhuluma, Humban-Hapua in Humban-Nikash III. Pošteno je reči, da je Elam kot združena entiteta na tem mestu prenehal obstajati. Asirci so Humban-Haltasha III obravnavali kot kralja in ponovili svoje zahteve po izročitvi Nabu-bel-shumate, medtem ko so še naprej zatrli ostanke upora, ki je trajal po padcu Babilona.

Kar se tiče Humban-Haltasha III, kralja dežele Elam, je slišal za vstop mojih čet, ki so vstopile v deželo Elam, zapustil mesto Madaktu, svoje kraljevsko mesto, nato pa pobegnil in zbežal v gore
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Asirska vojska se je odpravila proti Elamu in s seboj pripeljala izgnanega kralja Tammarituja II. Zdi se, da se je elamitska obramba, če je bila sploh nameščena, osredotočila na mesto utrdbo, imenovano Bit-Imbi, ki je bilo takoj oblegano in hitro zavzeto. Ko je Bit-Imbi padel in je njegov guverner v verigah poslal v Asirijo, se zdi, da je Humban-Haltash iz Elama pravkar zbežal v gore. Zdi se, da so tudi drugi prestolonasledniki pobegnili iz svojih baz moči. Tammaritu II je bil ponovno nameščen na elamitskem prestolu kot nejevoljen lutkovni vladar. Zdi se, da se je Tammaritu skoraj takoj uprl ali se je vsaj obnašal tako, kot se je Asircem zdelo nesprejemljivo. Bil je odstavljen s prestola in ponovno odpeljan v izgnanstvo v Ninivo. Asirci so medtem opustili vsakršno pretvarjanje, da imajo pooblaščenca, in v Elamu začeli divjati uničenje.

Asirski vojaki v Elamu
Odstranili so ga (Tammaritu II) s njegovega kraljevskega prestola in ga prisilili, da se je vrnil in se drugič priklonil k mojim nogam. Zaradi teh besed sem z besom, ki ga je imelo moje srce, ker je nezvest Tammaritu grešil proti meni, z mogočnimi zmagami velikih bogov, mojih vladarjev, zmagoslavno korakal po deželi Elam v celoti.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Zdi se, da se asirska vojska v svojem napadu ni ustavila, niti v nobenem trenutku ni vrnila v zimske prostore. Na tej stopnji so osvojili dovolj Elama, da bi lahko prezimovali v zavzetih trdnjavah, če bi to želeli. Asirci so zdaj napredovali v dveh najbolj bleščečih nagradah, Madaktu in predvsem Susa. Madaktu je bilo kraljevsko mesto neoelamitskih vladarjev, verjetno sodobno mesto Tepe Patak, približno 40 kilometrov zahodno od Suze. Humban-Haltash je morda še enkrat pobegnil v mesto Dur-Undasi (verjetno sodobni Chogha Zanbil). Madaktu je padel, njen plen in ujetniki pa so bili poslani v Asirijo.

Tako pravi vsemogočni Gospod: "Glej, prelomil bom lok Elama, nosilca njihove moči. Proti Elamu bom pripeljal štiri vetrove iz štirih četrtin nebes, jih razpršil na štiri vetrove in tam ne bo narod, kamor ne gredo Elamovi izgnanci. Elama bom razbil pred njihovimi sovražniki, pred tistimi, ki jih hočejo ubiti, jim bom povzročil katastrofo, celo svojo hudo jezo, «govori Gospod. "Z mečem jih bom zasledoval, dokler jih ne bom končal. Postavil bom svoj prestol v Elamu in uničil njenega kralja in uradnike," oznanja Gospod. "Toda v naslednjih dneh bom obnovil bogastvo Elama," oznanja Gospod.
Jeremija 49: 35-39, napisan najpozneje okrog 580 in verjetno tukaj, ki se nanaša na drugačen napad na Elam

Zdaj so se Asirci preselili v Suzo. Susa je bila največje mesto Elam že več kot tisoč let in je bila sama veliko starejša od tega. Mezopotamski monarhi so ga redkokdaj celo oblegali in vseboval je nakopičeno bogastvo z močjo vsaj tisoč let. Nad mestom se je dvignil ogromen zigurat. Grobovi elamitskih kraljev, kultni kipi elamitskih bogov in zajeti kipi bogov drugih narodov ležijo v Suzi. Sile Ašurbanipala so bile neusmiljene in so oropale mesto. Vendar so presegli ropanje. Raztrgali so zigurat, uničili svete nasade, ukradli vse kipe elamitskih bogov, razbili grobnice mrtvih kraljev, deportirali ljudi, sejali sol na poljih in zbrali zemljo iz osvojenih mest, da bi jih stopili pod noge prebivalci Ninive.

Asirski vojaki opustošijo Suzo z ognjenim mestom
Osvojil sem mesto Susa, veliko kultno središče, rezidenco njihovih bogov, kraj njihove skrivnosti. … Odprl sem njihove zakladnice, v katerih je bilo shranjeno srebro, zlato, imetje in premoženje —, ki so jih zbrali in deponirali nekdanji kralji dežele Elam do takratnih kraljev — in kjer ni bilo nobenega drugega sovražnik, razen mene, je položil svoje roke, … Zigurat mesta Susa, ki je bil zgrajen iz pečene opeke, obarvane z lapis lazulijem, uničil sem ga in mu odtrgal rogove, ki so bili uliti s sijočim bakrom. … Kar zadeva božanstva Inshushinak —, boga njihove tajne vesti, ki živi osamljeno in čigar božanska dejanja nihče ni nikoli videl … sem te bogove in boginje odnesel skupaj z njihovim nakitom, &# 8230 Kar se tiče njihovih skrivnih nasadov, v katere noben zunanji človek nikoli ni pogledal ali stopil v njihove meje, so moje bojne čete vstopile vanje, videle njihove skrivnosti in jih požgale. … Uničila sem in porušila grobove njihovih prejšnjih in kasnejših kraljev … Preprečila sem njihovim duhovom, da bi spali … Uničila sem okraje dežele Elam in jih razsula. … Dovolil sem stepskim zveri, da prebivajo v mestih kot na travniku.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Zdi se, da je Humban-Haltash III poskušal ustaviti Asirce na bregovih reke Idide (morda reke Diz v sodobnem Khuzestanu). Elamiti so imeli močan položaj na rečnem prehodu, vendar je po anšurbaširskih analih božansko navdihnjene sanje prerokovalo, da bodo njegove čete lahko prečkale. Asirci so prečkali reko in premagali Humban-Haltasha III., Ki je moral še enkrat pobegniti v gore.

Elamitske zapornike prevažajo z ladjo
Moje čete so videle reko Idide, divji hudournik in se je bale prečkati. Ponoči je boginja Ishtar, ki prebiva v mestu Arbela, mojim četam pokazala sanje in jim rekla naslednje: "Jaz bom šel pred Ashurbanipala, kralja, ki so ga ustvarile moje roke." Moje čete so zaupale tem sanjam in so varno prečkale reko Idide.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

V vsem tem uničenju je Ashurbanipal še vedno našel čas za nekaj versko navdihnjene arheologije. Našel je starodavni kip boginje iz Uruka, ki so ga Elamiti pred več tisočletji oropali. Ugotovil je, koliko časa je minilo, odkar so Elamiti zajeli kip, in se odločil, da ga vrne v prvotni tempelj v Uruku.

Boginja Nanāya, ki se je pred 1635 leti razjezila in odšla živeti v deželo Elam, kraj, ki se ji ne spodobi, zdaj, v tistem času, ko so me ona in#8212 in bogovi, njeni očetje — imenovali za oblast nad deželah, mi je zaupala vrnitev svojega božanstva, rekoč: "Ashurbanipal me bo pripeljal iz zle dežele Elam in me znova vnesel v Eanno." … Prisilil sem jo, da je vstopila v Uruk, in jo zadrževal na svojem večnem pomolu v Eḫiliani, ki jo ima rada
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Ko se je 647 končalo in se je začelo 646, se je plenjenje Elama začelo končati in asirska vojska se je umaknila. Nabu-shar-ahheshu iz Samarije je bil Limmu za leto 646. Elamitski deportiranci so bili razpršeni po vsem asirskem cesarstvu, a zdi se, da so imeli tako kot kasnejši begunci nekaj prerokb o vrnitvi in ​​prihodnji veličini svoje dežele. Precej pozneje hebrejska knjiga Ezra kaže, da so bili nekateri Elamiti deportirani v Samarijo, kjer so se pridružili prejšnjim deportirancem asirskih kraljev in preostalemu delu severnega izraelskega kraljestva, da bi kasneje oblikovali samarićansko etnično skupino. Humban-Haltash III iz Elama je še vedno imel neko obliko oblasti v Elamu in se vrnil v uničeno kraljevsko mesto Madaktu, kjer asirski letopisi z veseljem beležijo, da je jokal, ko je videl uničenje svojega mesta.

Elamitski zigurat v Chogha Zanbilu
Vstopil je v mesto Madaktu, ki sem ga uničil …. Sedel je v žalovanju …
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Vzhodno od Babilonije so se ukvarjali z Elamiti, vendar se je v tem času proti zahodu nadaljevala vojna proti Arabcem. Kedaritski kralj po imenu Iauta ali Uaite je bil zaveznik Shamash-shuma-ukina, vendar ga je leta 650 skupaj s svojimi zavezniki na zahodu premagal moabski kralj. Iauta je pobegnil k kralju plemena Nabayyate, a je bil zavrnjen azil. To pleme Nabayyate se lahko ali pa tudi ne identificira s poznejšimi Nabatejci, vendar je bilo verjetno druga skupina.

Iauta se je predal in prišel v Ninive, kjer je bil zaprt. Njegove čete v Babiloniji so bile poražene z ostalimi babilonskimi uporniki, njihovega vodjo Abiyate pa je Ashurbanipal postavil za kralja Kedaritov. Pripoved je zmedena zaradi dejstva, da je bilo videti več voditeljev Arabcev Kedaritov, ki so jih imenovali tudi Iauta. Uporniški kralj je bil postavljen z ovratnico okoli vratu in je ostal v pesjaku z medvedom in psom, ki je čuval eno od vrat Ninevije. Iauta so morda kasneje izpustili, da bi ga znova postavili na mesto kralja. Tu je zapis zmeden, vendar je dovolj reči, da asirski zapisi nakazujejo vrsto kampanj proti Arabcem iz leta 650-647, ki so se končale z uspehi za Asirce.

Tablica, ki opisuje potop iz Ninive
Abiyate je nato pobegnil sam in me prijel za noge, da bi rešil svoje življenje. Usmilil sem se ga, prisilil ga je v pogodbo, prisego velikih bogov, nato pa ga namesto Iauta postavil za kralja arabske dežele.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Ni jasno, zakaj so si Arabci tako želeli vojskovati z Asirijo, vendar obstajajo nekateri znaki, da je v časovnem obdobju okoli 650 v regiji nastala vrsta trajnih suš. Asirija bi se trudila nahraniti svoje povečano prebivalstvo in vojsko, saj je bilo njihovo kmetijstvo odvisno od dežja. Babilonija pa je imela obsežne namakalne sisteme in bi teoretično imela več hrane. Letopisi v Ashurbanipalu omenjajo lakoto med Arabci v preteklih letih in pomanjkanje hrane po vsej regiji v tem času je morda povzročilo nekaj nasilja in vojn. Toda to je domnevno.

Med njimi (Arabci) je izbruhnila lakota in zaradi lakote so pojedli meso svojih otrok.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Nabu-bel-shumate je uspel preživeti asirski napad, vendar so Asirci še vedno zahtevali, da jim ga izročijo. Namesto tega naj bi si kaldejski bojevnik v samomorilskem paktu odvzel življenje, njegovo telo pa so nato predali Asircem. Zdi se, da so s tem sovražnosti proti Elamu za nekaj časa prenehale.

Kaldejski vojni ujetniki
Slišal je za napredovanje mojega glasnika, ki je vstopil v deželo Elam. Postal je zaskrbljen in v stiski. Njegovo življenje mu ni bilo dragoceno in hotel je umreti. Govoril je s svojim osebnim spremljevalcem in rekel: "Poseci me z mečem." Z osebnim spremljevalcem sta se z železnimi bodali pognala med seboj.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Leta 645 je bil Shamash-da-inanni letos verjetno asirski limmu. Približno v tem času je Gidž iz Lidije umrl v bitki proti vračanju Kimerijcev. Datum je precej težko natančno določiti, vendar ga zapisujem tukaj, kot da je bilo leto, ki je bilo skoraj tako dobro. To je bil šok za Lidijce in Grke. Kimerci niso le opustošili Lidijskega kraljestva, ampak so napadli tudi grška mesta na zahodni obali današnje Turčije. Vodil jih je vojni vodja Dugdammu ali Tugdummu, Asirci in Lygdamis pa Grki. Simbola D in L v grščini (Δ oziroma Λ) sta si precej podobna in pisarska napaka je morda spremenila "Dygdamis" v "Lygdamis" za klasične pisce.

Lidijske grobnice v Bin Tepeju
Kimerci, ki jih je Gyges poteptal ob omembi mojega imena, so napadli in sploščili njegovo celotno deželo. Nato je na njegov prestol sedel njegov sin.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Ta Dugdammu je verjetno že premagal Gyges, zdaj pa se mu je maščeval. Potem ko so izropali velik del Lidije in Jonije, so Kimerci za nekaj let izginili iz zgodovinskih zapisov in sin Gyges je Ardys II postal kralj Lidije. Ardys II je morda poskušal obnoviti odnose z Asirijo, saj so bili Kimerijci prehuda grožnja, da bi jih lahko obravnavali ločeno. Sam Gyges je bil pokopan v tumulih zunaj mesta Sardis in njegovi potomci so zgradili lastne gomile, sčasoma pa so naredili ogromno nekropolo, ki je ena izmed manj znanih arheoloških znamenitosti Turčije.

On (Ardys II) je poslal svojega glasnika in se podredil mojemu kraljevskemu veličanstvu, rekoč: "Ti si kralj, ki ga bog prepozna. Preklel si mojega očeta in zlo ga je doletelo. Moli zame, služabnika, ki te časti, da bom lahko potegni svoj jarem. "
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 640 (napis 11)

Leta 644 je bil Nabu-sharru-usur Limmu Asircev. V Elamu so se še borili, Humban-Haltash III in Pa'e, še eden izmed mnogih kandidatov za prestol, pa so ujeli Asirci. Ujeti kralji so bili zmagoslavno prikazani v Ninivi, skupaj s predhodno ujetimi Tammaritu II iz Elama in Iauto Kedaritskih Arabcev pa so morali vleči kola asirskega kralja po ulicah. Po tem vsaj desetletje nam ni znanih nobenih kraljev iz Elamita in čeprav bodo obstajali kasnejši kralji Elama, so bili za zdaj, nekdanji tekmeci Asirije, popolnoma poraženi. Uničenje njihovega močnega tekmeca ne bi nujno pomagalo Asiriji, saj je vzhodne pokrajine opustošene dežele zdaj začelo prevzemati indoevropsko pleme konj iz step. To manjše pleme, ki ga vodi Teispes, so Asirci poznali kot Parsumas. Njihovo ime nam je bolj znano kot Perzijci.

Podrobnosti iz reliefov Ashurbanipalovega Lion Hunt
Privezal sem jih kot čistokrvne konje v sprevodno kočijo, vozilo mojega kraljevskega veličanstva, in prijeli so se za moj jarem.
Napis Ashurbanipala, napisan okoli leta 639 (napis 21)

Leta 643 je bil Asshur-sharru-usur Asirijski Limmu. Težko je reči, kaj se je v tem času zgodilo. Nekateri učenjaki špekulirajo, da so se v Elamu še naprej borili, kar je verjetno dovolj, in da je prišlo do pohoda proti Urartuju, v kar pa nisem prepričan, saj se zdi, da sta bila Ashurbanipal in Rusa II Urartu v celotni vladavini dokaj dobrih odnosov.

Leta 642 je bil Nabu-da-innani Limmu iz Asirije. V Judi je umrl dolgoživi kralj Manaseh. Pisatelji knjige Kralji niso imeli veliko povedati o Manasehu, zgolj zapisali so, da je hudoben kralj (kar pomeni, da ni sledil izraelskemu Bogu) in da je živel dolgo. Pisatelji nekoliko poznejše knjige Kronike beležijo skoraj enako, vendar z zanimivim zasukom. V knjigi Kronike je zapisano, da so Asirci ujeli Manaseha in ga odpeljali v Babilon kot nizkega ujetnika, a da se je, potem ko se je ponižal pred izraelskim Bogom, vrnil na judovski prestol. V asirskih virih ni dokazov, da se je to zgodilo, so pa asirski viri v tem časovnem obdobju polni vrzeli.

Pripoved o kralju, ki ga sumijo nelojalnosti, je bil ujet, poslan v Asirijo in pozneje ponovno postavljen na prestol, je precej verjetna in se v času vladavine Ašurbanipala zgodi večkrat. Necho I, Tammaritu II and possibly Iauta are all examples of this, so it is fairly plausible. If it did happen it probably happened towards the end of Manasseh's reign, as he had no chance to reverse his previous religious policies. But Chronicles also record building activity afterwards so it could not have been at the very end of the reign. I suspect that it should probably be located sometime during the revolt of Shamash-shuma-ukin, with Manasseh being secured to prevent the western kingdoms from joining in the Babylonian revolt, as his father Hezekiah had done. This explains why he would be taken to Babylon rather than Assyria, as the king was there with the army, and why he could be released once the revolt was crushed.

Renaissance painting of Manasseh in captivity
The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favour of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God.
2 Chronicles 33:10-13

At least two separate later apocryphal texts, one in Greek and one in Hebrew, were later written, purporting to be the prayers of Manasseh from this time period. When Manasseh died, it is said that he was buried in the Gardens of Uzza and not in the tombs of the kings of Judah. The burial practices of the kings of Judah are a little unclear after the reign of Ahaz. Manasseh's son Amon succeeded him on the throne in Jerusalem.

I am bowed down with many iron bands I cannot lift up mine head, neither have any release: for I have provoked thy wrath, and done evil before thee: I did not thy will, neither kept I thy commandments…
Prayer of Manasseh 9, Greek Apocryphal text written around 100BC

In 641 Asshur-gimilli-tere, the Rab-Saqe, meaning Chief Cupbearer, was the Limmu of Assyria. It seems that Dugdammu of the Cimmerians had turned his armies towards Assyria and that the armies of Assyria were mustered to attack him near the Cilician Gates, the pass through the mountains that would deny any invader access to northern Syria. The Greek records, from a far later date, suggest that Dugdammu died here and that the Cimmerian invaders turned back, but do not record the manner of his death. The Assyrian sources suggest that the confrontations took place on Assyrian territory but do not say where, although Mussi, the king of Tabal in Asia Minor, does side with the Cimmerians. Possibly there were multiple invasions. The record is most unclear here.

Possible depiction of Scythians/Cimmerians
from later Greek sarcophagus at Clazonmenae
Lygdamis led his followers into Lydia, passed through Ionia, took Sardis, but was slain in Cilicia. The Kimmerians and Treres frequently made similar incursions, until at last, as it is reported, these latter, together with their chief Cobus, were driven out by Madys, king of the Scythians.
Strabo Geography 1:3

The Assyrian records suggest that Dugdammu was halted, but not by the Assyrians that there were divine portents that turned back the invaders. A treaty was made and then broken by Dugdammu, who was then stricken with a disease and died shortly afterwards. The Assyrians credit the action of the gods for the death of Dugdammu, but the Cimmerian threat was not finished. The Cimmerians would return to sack Sardis and terrorise Ionia one last time. The Assyrian divine intervention may possibly have been a dangerous ally. Esarhaddon had had an alliance with Bartatua, a chieftain of the Scythian horse nomads. Shortly after this date according to Greek sources, his son, Madys, managed to unite the Scythians and subdue the Medes, who at this point were possibly being led by Cyaxares. Perhaps the Assyrians called their nomadic allies to defeat the invading Cimmerians and then ascribed the victory to their gods? If so, this was a risky alliance to have. But the chronology of this time is most unclear.

Lydian tombs at Bin Tepe
By the command of their great divinity fire fell from the sky and burned him, his troops and his camp. Tugdammu became frightened and distressed and he withdrew his troops and his camp and returned back to his land. … He broke the oath … he transgressed the limits … and plotted evil deeds against the territory of Assyria. … (The god Asshur) overwhelmed him he went into a frenzy and tried biting off his hands during a loss of all reason… His life ended in complete disintegration, saying "Woe" and "Alas" … in their own terror they cut each other down with the sword.
Inscription of Ashurbanipal written around 639 (Inscription 21)

Around this time another war began with the Arabs of the Kedarite tribe, who had this time allied themselves with the Nabayyate. Iauta (who had either returned from captivity in Nineveh or who was another individual with the same name) was allied with the Nabayyate tribe, who had previously sided with Assyria. The Assyrians defeated the Nabayatte, marched from Azalla, which I am unsure of the location of, to near Damascus, where they defeated Iauta, before capturing the king Abiyate and then capturing the cities of Usshu and Akko on their return journey. This series of wars may have continued until around 638.

Ashurbanipal
As for Aya-ammu son of Te'ri, who had stood with Abi-Yate his brother, and did battle with my troops, I captured him alive in the thick of battle and flayed him in Nineveh, my capital city.
Inscription of Ashurbanipal written around 640 (Inscription 11)

In 640 Mushallim-Asshur was Limmu of Assyria. Around this time Amon, king of Judah, was assassinated. It is unclear why he was assassinated, as he had only been on the throne for two years, making him around 24 when he died. The Biblical and Talmudic sources show him as a bad king who continued the policies of his father, primarily by not following the God of Israel correctly. The Talmud traditions, written centuries after the Chronicles, record Amon as being perhaps the worst king of all, in terms of the damage that he did to the servants of the God of Israel and his overall behaviour, but this is probably just a later tradition.

Assyrian soldiers
Ahaz ceased the sacrifices and sealed the Torah … Manasseh cut out the Divine Name from the Torah and broke down the altar. Amon burnt the Torah, and allowed spider webs to cover the altar through complete disuse. Ahaz permitted consanguineous relations Manasseh violated his sister Amon, his mother, as it is written, "For he Amon sinned very much"
Talmud Sanh. 104a, written around 200AD

Regardless of what Amon did or did not do, he was not an unpopular figure among the people and his killers were hunted down and killed. After Amon had been avenged and buried in the Garden of Uzza like his father, Amon's young son Josiah was placed upon the throne. Josiah was said to be only eight years old at this point and we know nothing about the early years of his rule. In fact, apart from the Biblical record we know nothing whatsoever of Josiah or Amon, who are both unmentioned in other sources of the time, although the reasons for this will become clear shortly.

Amon's officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace. Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah his son king in his place.
2 Kings 21:23:24

In 639 Mushallim-Asshur was Limmu of Assyria. In Urartu, Rusa II died and his son Sarduri III succeeded him as king. Urartu and Assyria seem to have maintained reasonable relations, with the annals of Ashurbanipal referring to Sarduri III sending envoys to maintain peaceable relations. Another king who was in communication with the Assyrians around this time was Cyrus I, ruler of the Persian tribe, who had taken up residence near the city of Anshan, in what had once been eastern Elam. This Cyrus was the ancestor of some of the later Persian kings, but at this point was probably a minor component overall Median/Scythian/Umman-manda nomadic tribal grouping and like these tribes, nominally subservient to the Assyrians.

Seal of Cyrus I, king of Anshan
After the conquering weapons of the god Asshur had conquered all of the land Elam and killed its people Cyrus, the king of the land Parsumash, and Pislume, the king of the land Ḫudimiri, kings whose locations are remote and who live on the far side of the land Elam, fear of the deities Asshur, Mulllissu, and Ishtar who resides in the city Arbela, overwhelmed them and they became distressed. They sent their envoys with messages of goodwill and peace, with their substantial audience gifts, before me and they kissed my feet.
Inscription of Ashurbanipal written around 639 (Inscription 21)

In 638 Asshur-gimmilli-tere was Limmu of the Assyrians. The war against the Arabs probably drew to a close around this time. From this point the records of Ashurbanipal simply become silent. We are not sure why exactly this was the case. For the next decade we have no real knowledge of what was happening in the Assyrian Empire. The years preceding this point have had confusion surrounding them, but there has never been an exact answer for why the records stop. Perhaps there was a terrible defeat suffered by the Assyrians. But there is no real evidence for this in any of the other, admittedly poor, sources for this time. The later writings of the Greeks and Hebrews certainly do not mention this explicitly. The writings begin to occur again with Ashurbanipal's successor, Ashur-etil-ilani, in either 631 or 627, and the Assyrian empire was still a mighty force to be reckoned with at that time. Perhaps it is more of an accident of history that only certain records have survived. I would like to think that when the fighting in Iraq ends, that more excavations might discover what happened during this time.

Drawing of the excavation of Nineveh
The most probable answer for the silence of the Assyrian annals at this time lies in previous silences. We have seen in previous posts that the Assyrian records are scant for the years preceding Tiglath-Pileser III, Sargon II and Esarhaddon. The one thing each of these periods has in common is that after these times there has either been a conspiracy or a usurpation. Esarhaddon's brothers murdered Sennacherib and Sargon II and Tiglath-Pileser III were possibly and almost certainly usurpers respectively. So, the silence of the last years of Ashurbanipal may suggest that his sons were making a play for the throne and that the eventual winners of the contest destroyed any records of the struggle.

In 637 Zabab-eriba was probably Limmu of Assyria. Sin-sharru-usur was the probable Limmu for 636 and Belu-lu-darri the probable Limmu of 635. In Urartu Sarduri III died and Erimena succeeded to the throne of Urartu.

Around this time the later Greek historian Herodotus records that the Egyptian Pharaoh, Psammetichus I, attacked the Philistine city of Ashdod and besieged it for twenty-nine years before capturing it. Herodotus also says that the Scythian ruler, Madys, invaded the Levant and threatened Egypt before being bought off by the cunning Psammetichus and returning from whence they came. The Scythians did not escape entirely unscathed however, as some of them looted a temple in Philistia and became "afflicted with the women's disease" as a result.

Later Scythian ornament from Iran
There, the Medes met the Scythians, who defeated them in battle, deprived them of their rule, and made themselves masters of all Asia. From there they marched against Egypt: and when they were in the part of Syria called Palestine, Psammetichus king of Egypt met them and persuaded them with gifts and prayers to come no further.
Herodotus: The Histories, 1:104-105

Herodotus is a very useful, but deeply unreliable source for this time period. It is not that he is dishonest, but he often misunderstands stories or gets certain facts out of order. Madys is not known from ancient sources either Hebrew, Egyptian or Assyrian. In fact if it were not for Herodotus and classical writers who copied him, we would know nothing of this character. Equally his description of a twenty-nine year siege, while not impossible, is rather unlikely. It is also not clear if Madys had turned on the Assyrian Empire, or if he was attacking Psammetichus as a mercenary working for Assyria. Given the unreliability of the sources it is possible that these events happened anywhere from around 640-612, if they ever happened at all. I suspect that there is some truth to them, but that the situation is more complicated.

Psammetichus I
Psammetichus ruled Egypt for fifty-three years, twenty-nine of which he spent before Azotus, a great city in Syria, besieging it until he took it. Azotus held out against a siege longer than any city of which we know.
Herodotus: The Histories, 2.157

We have seen that the Assyrians required Kamash-Halta of Moab to attack the Kedarite Arabs in or around the year 650. We have also seen how the Assyrian troops left Egypt, either directly expelled by Psammetichus or returning to Assyria to take part in the continuous campaigns in the east of the empire. I suspect that the western part of the empire, basically everything west and south of Carchemish on the Euphrates, was effectively left to govern itself, and that Psammetichus and Ashurbanipal made a tacit peace between them. The Assyrians must have been running short of soldiers and could neither garrison the regions nor afford to waste a campaigning season marching against these areas to awe the enemies into submission. This left a vacuum of power that was filled to some extent by the Egyptians. The Scythians then enter the picture, possibly as invaders, but more likely barbarian allies of the Assyrians who have been turned loose in the area, as the Assyrians considered it as temporarily lost territory. This would explain why Madys would decide to plunder the area and why Psammetichus would attack Ashdod, but not attempt to take all of the Levant. What we are seeing here is the behaviour of jackals in the presence of a dazed and wounded lion, warily grabbing morsels from the carcass of the lion's kill, but wary lest the lion stir once more.

In 634, Bullutu was Limmu of Assyria, with Upaqa-ana-Arbail the Limmu in 633 and Tab-sil-Sin the Limmu in 632. According to the Hebrew book of Chronicles it would seem that Josiah, who was now around sixteen years of age, began to enact religious reforms similar to those of his great-grandfather Hezekiah. However the book of Kings, which is probably older than the book of Chronicles, does not record this, so it must be treated with some caution.

Lion Hunt relief of Ashurbanipal
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David.
2 Chronicles 34:3

In 631 Adad-Remanni was the Limmu for the Assyrians. It is possible that Ashurbanipal died this year. There are indications that his successor was dethroned in 627 and that this successor had already reigned for four years, which would suggest he had been on the throne from 631 onwards. But this is conjectural. Some of the evidence for Ashurbanipal living until 627 is actually based on much, much later kinglists preserved by Greek authors, although there is the Harran Kinglist, which is more contemporary with the events described. Some scholars have suspected that Ashurbanipal abdicated, either voluntarily or under compulsion, allowing his son Ashur-etil-ilani to take the throne, which would allow Ashur-etil-ilani to have a four year rule and still allow for Ashurbanipal to live until 627.

Around this time it seems that the Cimmerians returned to Lydia, no longer under the rule of their chieftain Dugdammu, but terrifying nonetheless. This time they conquered Sardis but were unable to take the fortified area on the high ground above the city. The dating for this event relies purely on Herodotus once more and should be treated as an approximate date rather than fixed.

Possible depiction of Scythians/Cimmerians
from later Greek sarcophagus at Clazonmenae
He (Ardys II) took Priene and invaded the country of Miletus and it was while he was monarch of Sardis that the Cimmerians, driven from their homes by the nomad Scythians, came into Asia, and took Sardis, all but the acropolis.
Herodotus: The Histories, 1.15

In 630 Salmu-sharri-iqbi, the Turtanu, or general, of Commagene, was the Assyrian Limmu for the year. Nabu-sharru-usur was the Limmu for 629. In 629 Erimena, king of Urartu, died and was succeeded by his son Rusa III. In 628 there is some confusion as to who was the Limmu for the year. In this year the Hebrew book of Chronicles suggests that Josiah carried out a thorough religious reform of the land. But the book of Kings seems to imply that this was carried out four years later so exact dates must be treated with caution. It is likely that different phases of reform took place at different times, so one date does not invalidate the other. If the book of Nahum was written as a prophecy of the future rather than a paean of triumph, the book of Nahum may have been written around this time.

Lion Hunt relief of Ashurbanipal
In his (Josiah's) twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols. Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 34:3-7

In 627 Marduk-sharru-usur, governor of Cilicia, was Limmu of Assyria. In this year the records begin to speak again. It seems that Ashurbanipal was now dead and that Kandalanu, the shadowy king of Babylon, who may be nothing more than another name for Ashurbanipal, was also dead. Ashur-etil-ilani was king of Assyria in his father's stead and may have been ruling from 631. Whether Ashur-etil-ilani was reigning for one year or four, he seems to have been killed in 627. One of the few inscriptions surviving from his reign shows that Ashur-etil-ilani had brought back the bones of Shamash-ibni, a chieftain of the Bit-Dakkuri Chaldean tribe, killed by Esarhaddon around 680. This was presumably a way of placating the Chaldeans and having them support his cause against others. In fact, practically all the inscriptions of Ashur-etil-ilani are from Babylonia and almost none from Assyria itself. Perhaps Ashur-etil-ilani never fully controlled the whole empire.

The tomb of Shamash-ibni, the Dakkurian, upon whom Ashur-etel-ilani, king of Assyria, had pity, brought from Assyria to Bit-Dakkuri, his own country, and laid to rest in a tomb inside his home of Duru-sha-Ladini
Inscription of Ashur-etil-ilani, written around 627, Inscription 6

In the same year, two other Assyrians were attempting to rule the empire. Sin-shumu-lisir tried to claim the throne for himself. Sinsharishkun, who claimed to be a son of Ashurbanipal, also tried to rule. It is possible that Sinsharishkun only rose up after Ashur-etil-ilani was dead, but also possible that at one point all three of these men who would be kings were in conflict with each other.

Lion Hunt relief of Ashurbanipal
At the beginning of my reign, after the gods Asshur, Bel, Nabu, Sin, Shamash, Ninurta, Nergal and Nusku selected me among my brethren and desired me as king, guided me like a father and a mother and killed my foes, cut down my enemies, performed good deeds for me and gladly made me sit on the royal throne of the father…
Inscription of Sinsharishkun, written around 620's, Inscription 7

In 626 Marduk-remanni was Limmu for Assyria. Sinsharishkun had stabilised the empire, defeated his Assyrian opponents, and consolidated the weakened Assyrian army under his leadership. But while the Assyrian army had been split against itself, a new threat had emerged. Nabopolassar, a Chaldean leader, had taken advantage of the chaos and decided to try and take Babylonia for himself. He launched a night attack on the city of Babylon and the troops there, who were loyal to Sinsharishkun, fled to Assyria. Around September that year, the Assyrians counterattacked and marched to their stronghold at the city of Nippur. Nabopolassar retreated before the Assyrian armies to Uruk, and after a battle, he forced the Assyrians to retreat. The Assyrian armies returned some months later and Nabopolassar won a victory near Babylon itself, which his armies now occupied. On the 23rd of November 626 Nabopolassar had himself proclaimed as king in Babylon, and immediately returned some of the statues of the Elamite gods from Uruk to Susa, which Ashurbanipal had looted in 647.

Babylonian demon
On the twelfth day of the month Tashritu when the army of Assyria had marched against Babylon and the Babylonians had come out of Babylon on that day they did battle against the army of Assyria, inflicted a major defeat upon the army of Assyria, and plundered them.
Early Years of Nabopolassar (Babylonian Chronicle ABC2)

In 625 Sin-sharru-usur was Limmu of Assyria. Around this time it is probable that Cyaxares became king of the Medes and shook off the Scythian domination of the nomadic Indo-European tribes in the region. In April of 625 the chronicles record that a panic fell upon Babylon, which may well have been due to the approach of the army of Sinsharishkun. The gods of Sippar and Shapazzu were withdrawn into Babylon to protect them from the invaders. On the 14th of May 625 the Assyrians captured Raqmat and looted it. I am unsure exactly where Raqmat was, but it must have been close enough to Babylon to force Nabopolassar to try and retake it. On the 30th of July 625 the armies of Babylon marched to Raqmat but had to withdraw when the Assyrian army approached. Thus the period that we are looking at draws to a close.

On the ninth day of the month Abu Nabopolassar and his army marched to Raqmat. He did battle against Raqmat but did not capture the city. Instead, the army of Assyria arrived so he retreated before them and withdrew.
Early Years of Nabopolassar (Babylonian Chronicle ABC2)

This time period started with the Assyrians at the height of their power but somewhat overstretched. Their king, Ashurbanipal, was in some ways the quintessential Assyrian monarch. In some respects he was a learned and civilised man, creating possibly the first great library in the world, doing archaeology and restoring ancient temples and buildings. He ruled over the largest empire the world had ever seen. But he was also exceedingly cruel and, like the other Assyrian kings before him, caused death and devastation wherever he went. He had inherited the most powerful empire in the world from his father and conquered Thebes, Babylon and Susa three great cities that had often defied other Assyrian kings. He seems to have been victorious in nearly every war he fought. However, it was not enough. Despite the continuous stream of victories there were always more rebellions.

Lion Hunt relief of Ashurbanipal
The Assyrian system of empire was breaking down, as there were no more easy states to conquer. States like Elam and Egypt were too large to be properly conquered without committing the army to a single region for many years. Because the Assyrian empire instilled fear and hatred in its neighbours and subject kingdoms, the army could never stay in one place for too long and it was this contradiction that Ashurbanipal was unable to resolve: How could he conquer Elam or Egypt or any similarly powerful kingdom without the rest of his empire falling apart? He also failed to solve the Babylonian question: How Assyria could rule Babylonia, which his ancestors had also failed to resolve. Finally, he failed to resolve the question of how to solve the succession issue. The empire was only held together by a strong ruler and a strong army. This meant that it was always weakest when a change of ruler occurred. But Ashurbanipal cannot be blamed too much for not solving this problem. No dictatorship or empire has ever fully resolved this.

The time period ended with Ashurbanipal dead and a struggle for supremacy among the sons and generals he left behind. Babylonia was partially under the control of the Chaldean rebellion of Nabopolassar but the Assyrians still held their strongholds of Der and Nippur. The Lydians were facing the Cimmerian steppe tribes. The Egyptians were fully independent but not entirely hostile to the Assyrians. The small kingdoms of the Levant were quietly taking advantage of the Assyrian problems to become semi-independent once more. And to the east, across the mountains in Iran, Cambyses was unifying the steppe tribes of the Medes.