Neriglissar (560-556 BC)

Neriglissar's reign (560-556 BC) started with a murder. As a member of a relatively wealthy, possibly Aramean, family,[1] he not only had the honor of becoming a high-ranking court official (see Jeremiah 39:3+13 []), but also a member of the royal family when he married one of Nebuchadnezzar II [/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nebuchadnezzarii/index.html]'s daughters (perhaps Kaššaya). This, however, was obviously not enough for this ambitious man. According to the Hellenistic-period Babylonian writer Berossos [], he killed his brother-in-law, king Amēl-Marduk [/ribo/babylon7/rulers/amelmarduk/index.html], who had sat the throne of his father for only two years before meeting his violent end.

Having achieved his ultimate goal, being Marduk's earthly representative as the king of Babylon, Neriglissar (Akk. Nergal-šarra-uṣur "O Nergal, protect the king!") seems to have fulfilled his new royal duties pretty well. His own inscriptions, and those of his second successor Nabonidus [/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/index.html], report that he did restoration work on several temples in his capital Babylon and in other (northern) Babylonian cities. According to a Babylonian chronicle [], he marched to Cilicia in Anatolia in his third year, defeated the local ruler Apšuannu, and sacked the cities Ura and Kirši.[2] Shortly after this far-flung military expedition, Neriglissar died. In 556 BC, he was succeeded by his still very young son Lâbâši-Marduk [/ribo/babylon7/rulers/labashimarduk/index.html], who only after a few short months of being king was slain in a palace intrigue that placed Nabonidus [/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nabonidus/index.html] on the throne, possibly payback for the evil deed that had brought Neriglissar to power.

For further information on the inscriptions of Neriglissar, click here or on the "Inscriptions" link to the left.

Browse Neriglissar Online Corpus [/ribo/babylon7/pager/]

Selected Bibliography

Beaulieu, P.-A., 'Ba'u-asītu and Kaššaya, Daughters of Nebuchadnezzar II,' Orientalia 67 (1998), pp. 173-201.

Da Riva, R., The Inscriptions of Nabopolassar, Amel-Marduk and Neriglissar (Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records 3), Boston: de Gruyter, 2013.

van Driel, G., 'Neriglissar (Nergal-šarra-uṣur),' in: D.O. Edzard (ed.), Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 9, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 1998-2001, pp. 228-229.

Sack, R.H., Neriglissar: King of Babylon (Alter Orient und Altes Testament 236), Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker / Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1994.

[1] His father Bēl-šum-iškun is perhaps identical with the Bēl-šum-iškun of Puqudu mentioned in the "Hofkalender" of Nebuchadnezzar II [/ribo/babylon7/rulers/nebuchadnezzarii/index.html] (iv 24). [Go back to body text.]

[2] The only preserved contemporary description of a campaign [/ribo/babylon7/Q005393/] is unfortunately broken, but the reference to mountaineous land would fit quite well. [Go back to body text.]

Alexa Bartelmus

Alexa Bartelmus, 'Neriglissar (560-556 BC)', RIBo, Babylon 7: The Inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty, The RIBo Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2022 []

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