Lâbâši-Marduk (556 BC)

After the death of Neriglissar [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/neriglissar/index.html], Babylonia was officially ruled for a few months by a child, a boy called Lâbâši-Marduk (Akk. Lā-abâš-Marduk "O Marduk, may I not come to shame"). Although he is reported to have been a son of Neriglissar [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/neriglissar/index.html] and thus the rightful king, Lâbâši-Marduk was murdered in a palace coup shortly after ascending the throne; the conspirators made Nabonidus [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/index.html] king in his stead.

Nabonidus [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/index.html], presumably in an attempt to justify the bloody deed that had brought him to power and to legitimize himself as the rightful king of Babylon, accused Lâbâši-Marduk of not having learnt good kingly manners and of having sinned against the will of the gods. A few more biased details are provided in a pseudo-autobiographical inscription composed in the name of Nabonidus [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/index.html]' mother Adad-guppi [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/adadguppi/index.html] after her death. It is stated in that text that Lâbâši-Marduk had neglected to provide funerary offerings for his father, Neriglissar [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/neriglissar/index.html], and that Adad-guppi [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/adadguppi/index.html] had to personally carry out those important duties; she makes the same accusation against the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar II [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nebuchadnezzarii/index.html], Amēl-Marduk [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/amelmarduk/index.html]. Moreover, Nabonidus [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/index.html] states that Amēl-Marduk [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/amelmarduk/index.html] and Lâbâši-Marduk were both incompetent military leaders.

Because there are relatively few extant contemporary sources (especially official inscriptions) for the reigns of Amēl-Marduk [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/amelmarduk/inscriptions/index.html] and Lâbâši-Marduk, very little can be said about their accomplishments on and off the battlefield. Their short stints as kings, however, provide brief glimpses into the turbulent state of affairs at the Babylonian royal court after the long and stable reign of Nebuchadnezzar II [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nebuchadnezzarii/index.html] and the power grab by various ambitious members of the (extended) royal family as they vied for the throne.

Selected Bibliography

Beaulieu, P.-A., The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon 556-539 BC, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1989.

Alexa Bartelmus

Alexa Bartelmus, 'Lâbâši-Marduk (556 BC)', RIBo, Babylon 7: The Inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty, The RIBo Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2016 [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/ribo/babylon7/rulers/labashimarduk/]

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