Adad-apla-iddina (1068-1047 BC)

After the reign of Marduk-šāpik-zēri [], the Second Isin "Dynasty" [] seems to have experienced a break in lineage:[1] While there are at least three different accounts on the parentage of the following ruler, Adad-apla-iddina (Akk. "Adad has given an heir"), all of them -- including the genealogy given in some of his own royal inscriptions [], claiming divine descent (see Adad-apla-iddina 10+11 []) -- agree insofar as he is never described as being related to his predecessor Marduk-šāpik-zēri [] or one of the latter's ancestors, and it is thus very likely that he came to power without the previously ruling family's consent. According to the so-called Synchronistic History [], Adad-apla-iddina -- who is described in this text as "son (or: descendant) of Esagil-šaduni, son (or: descendant) of a nobody" -- was installed on the throne by the Assyrian king Aššur-bēl-kala (1073-1056 BC) who afterwards also married Adad-apla-iddina's daughter and took her and a large dowry with himself to Ashur; however, these circumstances are not mentioned in the Eclectic Chronicle [] and the Walker Chronicle [] both of which claim that he had been the "son (or: descendant) of Itti-Marduk-balāṭu," perhaps in order to provide him with some legitimacy.[2]

During Adad-apla-iddina's reign (which lasted twenty-two years according to Babylonian King List A []), there seems to have been considerable unrest in the country: The Eclectic Chronicle [] and the Walker Chronicle [] mention a rebellion conducted by the Aramaeans and an unnamed usurper, which caused a lot of damage to cities and sanctuaries in Northern Babylonia (from Agade to Nippur); afterwards, the Suteans are reported to have attacked and taken home "the booty of Sumer and Akkad."[3] It has further been suggested that Adad-apla-iddina might also have come into conflict with the Assyrians: The Broken Obelisk, a monument that presumably dates to the fifth or sixth year of Aššur-bēl-kala, states that the Assyrian king went on campaign against two cities in the (Babylonian) province of Dūr-Kurigalzu (the names of which are, unfortunately, not preserved) and captured their governor, Kadašman-Buriaš, son of Itti-Marduk-balāṭu.[4] However, these events are not reported in one of the known chronicles for this period and they could also have already happened in the late reign of Adad-apla-iddina's predecessor Marduk-šāpik-zēri []. At least, if we were to believe the account about Adad-apla-iddina's accession in the Synchronistic History [], this version seem to be slightly more likely: A war between Babylonia and Assyria at the end of Marduk-šāpik-zēri []'s reign, ending with a victory by the Assyrians, might provide a reasonable explanation for why Aššur-bēl-kala was in the position to install Adad-apla-iddina as the new Babylonian ruler, while an attack of the Assyrian king against a Babylonian ruler whom he had just put upon the throne himself would not make much sense.

Despite his mysterious origins and the troubles he had with some semi-nomadic tribes, Adad-apla-iddina was obviously not an unsuccessful ruler. On the contrary, he had a rather long reign and seems to have fulfilled his royal duties very well: The Eclectic Chronicle [] and the Walker Chronicle [] point out explicitly that he repeatedly visited the shrines of Marduk and restored his cultic rites (as well as those of his son Nabû), and there is also a -- comparatively large -- number of royal inscriptions [] from his reign (as well as some kudurrus and other sources), which attest to intensive building activities and high expenditures for cities, sanctuaries and their cults all over the land.

For further information on the inscriptions of Adad-apla-iddina, click here or on the "Inscriptions" link to the left.

Browse Adad-apla-iddina Online Corpus []

Selected Bibliography:

Brinkman, J.A., A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia. 1158-722 B.C. (Analecta Orientalia 43), Roma: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1968 (esp. pp. 43-44, 135-144 and 335-338 no. 8).

Frame, G., Rulers of Babylonia. From the Second Dynasty of Isin to the End of Assyrian Domination (1157-612 BC) (The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, Babylonian Periods 2), Toronto et al.: University of Toronto Press, 1995 (esp. pp. 50-63).


[1] This might also be indicated by Babylonian King List C [], which ends with the reign of this ruler and a short summary. Babylonian King List A [], on the other hand, simply continues its listing of the rulers of the (Second) "Isin Dynasty []." [Go back to body text.]

[2] Note that Itti-Marduk-balāṭu is also the name of one of Adad-apla-iddina's early predecessors, the second ruler [] of the "dynasty." It is possible that Adad-apla-iddina was indeed a distant descendant of this king, but without further evidence, this idea must remain speculative. [Go back to body text.]

[3] These events are also mentioned in an inscription [] (Simbar-Šipak 1) of Simbar-Šipak [], the first king of the Second Dynasty of the Sealand []. [Go back to body text.]

[4] Because this filiation is identical to the one given to Adad-apla-iddina in the Eclectic Chronicle [] (see now also the Walker Chronicle []), Brinkman (1968, p. 143 n. 861) tentatively suggests the possibility that Kadašman-Buriaš and Adad-apla-iddina could have been related. [Go back to body text.]

Alexa Bartelmus

Alexa Bartelmus, 'Adad-apla-iddina (1068-1047 BC)', RIBo, Babylon 2: The Inscriptions of the Second Dynasty of Isin, The RIBo Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2016 []

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