Shalmaneser I

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The inscriptions
Building projects
Index of geographic, ethnic and tribal names in the inscriptions of Shalmaneser I

Text no. 9


Shalmaneser I (actual spelling Salmānu-ašared, see Radner 2006-2008, and here [riao/theassyrianempire883745bc/shalmaneseriii/index.html]) was, according to the Assyrian King List [/riao/kinglists/assyriankinglist/assyriankinglist/index.html#MiddleAss] (AKL), the seventy-seventh king of Ashur, son and successor of Adad-nārari [/riao/thekingdomofassyria13631115bc/adadnararii/index.html] I and father and predecessor of Tukultī-Ninurta I [/riao/thekingdomofassyria13631115bc/tukultininurtai/index.html], and reigned for thirty years.
His name might also be restored in a fragmentary exemplar (VAT 11931 [/riao/kinglists/synchronistickinglist/fragmentvat11931/index.html]) of the Synchronistic King List. A part from his own inscriptions, the Assyrian ruler is mentioned in various later inscriptions for different historical reasons, i.e. political episodes and building activities: Tukultī-Ninurta I, text no. 1 [/riao/Q005837/] iii 33 (rebellion of the Šubaru, Kašiyari, and Alzu); Aššur-rēša-iši I, text no. 1 [/riao/Q005899/]: 9 (Ištar Temple at Nineveh); Tiglath-pileser I, texts nos. 12 [/riao/Q005937/]: 27' (Ištar Temple at Nineveh), and 1008 [/riao/Q005963/]: 3' (Ištar Temple at Ashur); Aššurnaṣirpal II texts nos. 1 [/riao/Q004455/] I 102 (rebellion of Ḫulāiya - Kašiyari region) and 19 [/riao/Q004473/]: 93 (garrisoning the fortress of Tīdu), and texts nos. 2 [/riao/Q004456/]: 52; 17 [/riao/Q004471/] v 1; 23 [/riao/Q004477/]: 15; 26 [/riao/Q004480/]: 46; 28 [/riao/Q004482/] v 1; 32 [/riao/Q004486/]: 7 (founder of the city Kalḫu); Esarhaddon texts nos. 57 [/rinap/Q003286/] iii 30; 58 [/rinap/Q003287/] iii 10; 59 [/rinap/Q003288/] i 20; 60 [/rinap/Q003289/] obv. 18' (Aššur Temple); Sîn-šarru-iškun text no. 10 [/rinap/Q003871/]: 22 (Nabû Temple at Ashur).

The reign of Shalmaneser I is one of continuity between the two reigns of Adad-nārari I and Tukultī-Ninurta I, in a general tendency of growth for the Assyrian State. His major campaigns were led north- and north-eastwards, on one hand, against "rebellious" polities (although it is the first time we see mention of them) like Uruaṭri (see below), Arinu, and Muṣru, and against attacks from the still threatening Gutians, while, on the other hand, a campaign westward against the, possibly temporarily lost, reign of Ḫanigalbat (Mittani), was necessary in order to re-establish the rule that Adad-nārari had previously imposed.

The inscriptions

Shalmaneser I's royal inscriptions represent a digression in the development of the genre, in that their authors attempted to integrate the military detailed narrations, introduced by Shalmaneser's father Adad-nārāri I, with the traditional form of the inscriptions, embedding them within the epithet section (see, texts nos. 1 and 16). This produced some syntactic problems and few eccentricities for the reader – if not a "retrograde step," in the words of Grayson (RIMA 1 p. 180).

Building projects

City interested by Shalmaneser I's building project, as survyed in text no. 16

The campaign against Mittani, which marks the end of that kingdom, assures to the Assyrians control over the western trade routes. It is probably because of such new flow of revenues that Shalmaneser I starts a large building activity that goes well beyond the scope recorded in his father's inscriptions. A building policy which will be pursued even to a greater extent by his son, Tukulti-Ninurta I.
In Ashur, Shalmaneser concentrates his attention especially to the reconstruction of the Aššur Temple, or Eḫursagkurkurra, which had been destroyed by a fire. The many texts recording this building undertaking (nos. 1-5 and 20-22) give the Distanzangaben, i.e. lapses of time between the writing king and those kings among his predecessors, who founded and rebuilt the temple. Ušpia [/riao/kinglists/assyriankinglist/index.html#Forefathers], Erišum [/riao/romcolonytocitystate23341809bc/puzurashurdynasty/erishumi/index.html] I, and Samsī-Addu [/riao/fromsamsiaddutomittanicilent18081364bc/samsiaddudynasty/samsiaddui/index.html] I, and a tragic report of the premise's destruction:

Fire broke out in it. The temple, its sanctuary, the chapels, shrines, daises, cult platforms, stools, all the property of the temple of Aššur, my lord, burnt in the fire.
(text no. 1 [/riao/Q005789/]: 125-128)
The Assyrian king had the debris cleared away and rebuilt the temple larger than before: bigger forecourts of the gods Nunnamnir and Aššur and new tower-gates and chapel of the divine judges were made, the house of beer vats was completely rebuilt and references to bronze doors, stair walls, architraves with friezes abound in the inscriptions, too.
Other projects in the capital included the works on the ziqqurrat (text nos. 16 and 23), the Ištar Temple (no. 6), "The Ninevite Goddess" Temple (no. 7), the temple or shrine of Šerua and Dagan (no. 8), the Palace (nos. 1010-11 and 28), a gate (no. 9) and a structure for the son of the king (no. 12). From Nineveh, the inscriptions give record of the works on the Ištar Temple (nos. 17-19, 24 and 29).
Of great interest, however, is the presence of a new kind of building inscription, which instead of recording the works on one single monument, presents an overview of different building projects located in several sites. This is text no. 16, and although its poor condition it clearly shows record of building projects from at least eight different cities: Ashur, Nineveh, Talmuššu, probably Arbela and Nimrud, and possibly Tarbiṣu, Kaḫat and Isana. With the exception of Kaḫat, all the cities mentioned in the text are located in central Assyria (see map).

Index of geographic, ethnic and tribal names in the inscriptions of Shalmaneser I

Most of geographical information from Shalmaneser I's inscriptions come from two very similar texts (so similar that their editions have been partly merged [/riao/Q005804/]). Both texts describe five major campaigns.
The campaign against Uruaṭri is said to start because of a rebellion, although we do not possess any information on this mountainous region prior to Shalmaneser I. The Assyrian king subjucates eight lands – Ḫimme (see also Aššur-bēl-kala, texts nos. 1 [/riao/Q005982/]: 1'; 2 [/riao/Q005983/] iii 15'; 3 [/riao/Q005984/]: 3'; and 7 [/riao/Q005988/] ii 18; and Tukulti-Ninurta I, text no. 1001 [/riao/Q005879/] r. 12'), Uatqun, Mašgun (or Bargun, see also Aššur-bēl-kala, texts nos. 2 [/riao/Q005983/] iii 16' and 5 [/riao/Q005986/]: 12'), Salua (see also Tiglath-pileser I text no. 4 [/riao/Q005929/]: 22 and 10 [/riao/Q005935/]: 26, and Adad-nērāri II texts nos. 2 [/riao/Q006021/]: 25 and 4 [/riao/Q006023/]: 16'), Ḫalila, Luḫu (see also Tiglath-pileser I text no. 1 [/riao/Q005926/] iv 10), Nilipaḫri (or Ṣ/Zallipaḫri), and Zingun - and destroys fifty-one cities.
The identification of Uruaṭri (var. Uruḫuatri, Uratri) is still debated (Gaspa 2014-16): while M. Salvini identifies it as a different pronunciation of Urartu, A. Fuchs locate it in the area east of the Tigris, between Upper and Lower Zab, an identification that seems to find confirmation in one of the very few later mentions of this land, in the inscriptions of Adad-nērāri II:

valiant man who marched with the support of the god Aššur, his lord, from the other side of the Lower Zab, the district of the Lullumu, the lands Ḫabḫu (and) Zamua, as far as the passes of the land Namru and subdued the extensive land of the Qumānu as far as the lands Meḫru, Salua, and Uraṭru
(Adad-nērāri II text no. 2 [/riao/Q006021/]: 23-25)

From there, Shalmaneser I goes to subdue the rebellion of the religious center of Arina (see also Tiglath-pileser I text no. 1 [/riao/Q005926/] v 77 and Adad-nērāri II text no. 2 [/riao/Q006021/]: 35). The city, which must have been located in the area east of the coast of the Tigris, being mentioned between Uruaṭri and Muṣri, must have had a special importance for the Assyrian king, who takes the necessary space in the inscription to describe its destruction and the sowing of the salt yelding kudimmu-plant and the ritual of taking a heap of earth from the annihilated settlement in order to put it in front of Ashur's walls for future memory.
The following campaign is against Muṣru, but here only a brief mention is given: "At that time I subdued all of the land Muṣri at the feet of Aššur, my lord." The land itself is to be located in an area bordering with central Assyria on the eastern side of the Tigris; note that Adad-nārāri I had praised his predecessor Aššur-uballiṭ as conqueror of Muṣri in his own inscriptions [/riao/Q005738/].
Then Shalmaneser needs to take care of Šattura II, king of Ḫanbigalbat, who rebelled against the rule imposed by Shalmaneser's father, Adad-nārāri I. This time the Mittanian king has been successful in bonding an alliance with the Hittites and the Aḫlamu-Arameans against Assyria, and in a rare case (for the Assyrian royal inscriptions) of description of a battle in the field the western allies are said to take the Assyrians by surprise and almost beat them: an even rarer description of actual peril on behalf of the Assyrian army. Shalmaneser I is, however, able to react and win the battle and therefore reestablishes his control over the same area (and same place names) formerly conquered by his father.

The great gods gave me to rule from the city Taidu
to the city Irridu, the city Eluḫat and Mount Kašiieri
in its entirety, the fortress of the city Sudu,
the fortress of the city Ḫarrānu, to the bank of the Euphrates.

Adad-nārāri I, text no. 3 [/riao/Q005740/]: 37-42
At that time I captured their cities (in the region) from
Taʾidu to Irridu, all of Mount Kašiyari to the city Eluḫat, the
fortress of Sūdu, the fortress of Ḫarrānu to Carchemish which is on
the bank of the Euphrates.

Shalmaneser I, text no. 1 [/riao/Q005789/]: 81-87

Finally, Shalmaneser had to deal, like his predecessors, with the threat represented by the Gutians (Qutū). Here, with a more heroic tone, the king annihilates the enemy alone, with only one third of his army with him.

Names are ordered according to graographical area (see the key-map)

Name Determinative* Type Modern Name Reference
Central Assyria
Arbela URU city Erbil Text no. 16 iii 11'
Aššur 0, DINGIR city Qal'at Shirqat IsaniText no. 1: 52, 106; 16 iii 14'
Isani URU city Text no. 16 iii 16'.
Talmuššu URU district of Ashur Qal'at Shirqat Text no. 16 iii 6', 9', 10'
Tarbiṣu (Tarbiṣi) 0 district of Ashur Qal'at Shirqat Text no. 10: 35; 13: 29, 30
Ḫanigalbat (Mittani) and the West
Carchemish 0 city Ğarablūs, krkymyš Text no. 1: 84
Euphrates (Upper) 0 river Text no. 1: 85
Ḫanigalbat KUR land Text no. 1: 58, 60
Ḫarran 0 city Ḥarran, Carrhae Text no. 1: 84
Hittite(s) 0 people Text no. 1: 61, 78
Irridu URU city Text no. 1: 11; 3 :35, 37, 47, 49, 50; 26: 4 (ex. 13)
Kaḫat* URU city Text no. 16 iii 15'
Taidu (Taʾidu) URU royal city Tall al-Ḥamīdīya Text no. 1: 81
Area of and around the Kašiyari range, upper Mesopotamia and north. Tigris
Aḫlamû(-Aramaeans) 0 people Text no. 1: 61, 79
Eluḫat URU city Text no. 1: 83
Kašiyari KUR mountain range Ṭūr ʿAbdīn Text no. 1: 82
Sūdu 0 fortress Text no. 1: 83
Šubaru 0, KUR land, people Text no. 4: 14; 17: 3; 18; 6; 1003: 2'
Kutmuḫu (Katmuḫu) KUR land Text no. 1: 99
Muṣru KUR land Text no. 1: 54; 17: 3
Uruaṭri and the East of Tigris
Arinu URU city Text no. 1: 46
Ḫalila KUR land Text no. 1: 34
Lūḫu KUR land Text no. 1: 34
Lullumu (Lullubu) 0 people Text no. 4: 14; 17: 3; 18; 6
MAŠgun (or BARgun) KUR land Text no. 1: 33
Nilipaḫri (or ṢALlipaḫri or ZALlipaḫri) KUR land Text no. 1: 35
Qutu (Gutians) KUR, 0 people Text no. 1: 88; 4: 12; 17: 3; 18: 5
Salua KUR land Text no. 1: 34
Uatqun KUR land Text no. 1: 33
Uruaṭri KUR land Text no. 1: 27, 40, 98
Zingun KUR land Text no. 1: 36
* 0 = no det.; [...] = erased


Cancik-Kirschbaum, E., Die Assyrer: Geschichte, Gesellschaft, Kultur, München, 2008, pp. 45-51.
Donbaz, V. and Frame, G., "The Building Activities of Shalmaneser I in Northern Mesopotamia," ARRIM [] 1 (1983), pp. 1-5.
Fuchs, A., "Uatqun,"Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie vol. 14 (2014-16) p. 257.
Gaspa, S., "Uruaṭri,"Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie vol. 14 (2014-16) p. 445.
Kessler, K., " Muṣri,"Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie vol. 8 (1993-95) p. 497.
Radner, K., "Salmānu,"Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie vol. 11 (2006-08) pp. 587-588.

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Nathan Morello

Nathan Morello, 'Shalmaneser I', The Royal Inscriptions of Assyria online (RIAo) Project, The RIAo Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2019 []

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