Aššur-dugul and the six kings who were "sons of a nobody"

According to most versions of the Assyrian King List [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/kinglists/assyriankinglist/index.html] (AKL), the reign of Išme-Dagān I [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/samsiaddudynasty/ishmedagani/index.html] was immediately followed by a turbulent six-year period during which seven "son(s) of a nobody" (mār lā mammana) exercised kingship. These men, about whom we know almost nothing, are (in chronological order?):

Aššur-dugul (?-? BC)
Aššur-apla-īdi (?-? BC)
Nāṣir-Sîn (?-? BC)
Sîn-nammir (?-? BC)
Ipqi-Ištar (?-? BC)
Adad-ṣalūlu (?-? BC)
Adāsi (?-? BC)

Aššur-dugul is said to have held authority for six years, while the other six rulers are recorded as exercising kingship for bāb ṭuppīšu (lit. "the gate of his tablet"), a chronological expression whose exact meaning is still not known. This chaotic period continues to be debated by scholars since the precise (chronological and temporal) relationship between these seven individuals is not entirely clear. For example, C. Eder proposes that Aššur-dugul reigned six years and that Aššur-apla-īdi, Nāṣir-Sîn, Sîn-nammir, Ipqi-Ištar, Adad-ṣalūlu, and Adāsi altogether held authority for less than a year (=zero years by the AKL's reckoning), while J. Reade suggests that the six men named after Aššur-dugul were not rulers but Aššur-dugul's eponym-officials. This latter proposal is plausible as (1) the AKL portrays Aššur-apla-īdi, Nāṣir-Sîn, Sîn-nammir, Ipqi-Ištar, Adad-ṣalūlu, and Adāsi as contemporaries of Aššur-dugul, and (2) these six men are not mentioned in the VAT 9812 [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/kinglists/fragmentvat9812/index.html] version of the AKL; and (3) since no royal inscription from this time has yet been discovered. Given the paucity of information, one cannot rule out the possibility that all of these men were rulers of Aššur, even if only for a brief time.

The "standard" version of the AKL records that Aššur-dugul was the immediate successor of Išme-Dagān I, but E. Weidner and B. Landsberger note that the span of time between the reigns of these two men must have been significantly longer than indicated in the AKL. Furthermore, Landsberger suggests that sometime after the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/thekingdomofassyria1114884bc/tiglathpileseri/index.html] (1114-1076 BC), Išme-Dagān I's popularity in historical memory rose to the degree that his immediate successors were excluded from the list of Aššur's rulers. These lesser known individuals (Mut-aškur [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/samsiaddudynasty/mutashkur/index.html], Rīmu-x [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/samsiaddudynasty/rimux/index.html], and Asīnum [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/samsiaddudynasty/asinum/index.html]) are, however, included in king list fragment VAT 9812 [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/kinglists/fragmentvat9812/index.html] and, therefore, it is likely that Aššur-dugul did not hold authority in Aššur immediately following the reign of Išme-Dagān I.

As for Aššur-dugul, Reade forwards the theory that he and Lullaya [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/belubanidynasty/lullayu/index.html] were one and the same person.

With regard to Ipiq-Ištar, Landsberger suggests that he and the identically-named king of Malgium, a city located on the lower Tigris, were one and the same man; D. Edzard rightly rejects this proposal on the grounds that the name Ipiq-Ištar was commonly used at that time.

According to the AKL (and first-millennium royal inscriptions), Adāsi, the last member of this group, was succeeded by his son Bēlu-bāni [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/belubanidynasty/belubani/index.html] and, thereby, started a new dynasty.


Eder, C., 'Assyrische Distanzangaben und die absolute Chronologie Vorderasiens,' Altorientalische Forschungen 31, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2004, pp. 191-236.
Edzard, D O., 'Ipiq-Ištar', Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 5, 1976-80, 151.
Reade, J., 'Assyrian King-lists, The Royal Tombs of Ur, and Indus Origins,' Journal of Near Eastern Studies 60/4 Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001, pp. 1-29.
Landsberger, B., 'Assyrische Königsliste und "Dunkles Zeitalter",' JCS 8 (1954), pp. 31-45.
Michel, C., 'Sîn-namir', Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 12, 2009-11, 522.
Weidner, E.F., 'Adasi,', Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 1 (1932), pp. 35.
Weidner, E.F., 'Bemerkungen zur Königsliste aus Chorsābād,' AfO 15 (1945-51), pp. 85-102.

Jamie Novotny & Poppy Tushingham

Jamie Novotny & Poppy Tushingham, 'Aššur-dugul and the six kings who were "sons of a nobody"', The Royal Inscriptions of Assyria online (RIAo) Project, The RIAo Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2021 [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/sonsofnobody/]

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