Historical Overview of the Reigns of Tiglath-pileser III and Shalmaneser V

Reign of Shalmaneser V

Shalmaneser V was certainly the legitimate heir of Tiglath-pileser III, as shown by letters written by him to his father while he was crown prince (Radner, AfO 50 [2003/4] pp. 95–104); in these texts, he uses his nickname (or birth name) Ulūlāyu — "(One born in the month) Ulūlu" — and not his throne name Shalmaneser. According to the Babylonian Chronicle, Shalmaneser V ascended the thrones of Assyria and Babylonia in the month Ṭebētu (X), shortly after the death of Tiglath-pileser III in that same month. This suggests that the royal succession occurred without any serious disturbance. There is very little textual and archaeological evidence for his short five-year reign extant today, thus little is known about his political, military and building accomplishments. Only a small number of short and uninformative contemporary inscriptions have survived from his reign (see above). The Babylonian Chronicle, a text attesting to his legitimate status as the king of Akkad (Babylonia), records that he conquered or devastated Samaria; the Bible (2 Kings 17:3–6 and 18:9–11) and Josephus (Jewish Antiquities IX 15) also credit Shalmaneser with the conquest of Samaria, which probably took place near the end of his reign. The Eponym Chronicle, which is very fragmentarily preserved for Shalmaneser's reign, appears to record campaigns conducted in his second, third, and fourth regnal years (725, 724, and 723), but the names of his military targets are unfortunately broken away and thus remain unknown.[6] He may have also conducted a campaign in his fifth regnal year, but the Eponym Chronicle is too badly damaged to make out what took place at that time. Since Samʾal and Que both appear to be Assyrian provinces in the reign of Sargon II, it has often been suggested that Shalmaneser annexed them. Josephus (Jewish Antiquities IX 16) states that Shalmaneser V besieged Tyre for five years; the reliability of this account is sometimes questioned.

No building activity by this king is known so far. An inscribed brick found at Tell Abu Marya (ancient Apku) is reported as belonging to Shalmaneser V (text no. 1002), and assuming the attribution is correct, this may attest to a building project of his in that city.

For more information and further discussion about his reign, see Brinkman, PKB pp. 243–245; Grayson, CAH2 3/2 pp. 85–86; Baker, PNA 3/1 p. 1077 sub Salmānu-ašarēd no. 5; Radner, AfO 50 (2003/4) pp. 95–104; and Baker, RLA 11/7–8 (2008) pp. 585–587 sub Salmanassar V.


6The campaign mentioned in the eponymy of Bēl-Ḫarrān-bēlu-uṣur (727) took place during the reign of Tiglath-pileser, and not in that of Shalmaneser V. This is supported by the Babylonian Chronicle, which records Tiglath-pileser's death in the month Ṭebētu (X). This does not leave enough time for Shalmaneser V to go out on campaign during his accession year. Shalmaneser apparently also stayed at home in his first regnal year. Therefore, one might restore i-[na? KUR?], "(the king stayed) i[n the land (Assyria)]," for the entry for 726 in the Eponym Chronicle.

Hayim Tadmor & Shigeo Yamada

Hayim Tadmor & Shigeo Yamada, 'Historical Overview of the Reigns of Tiglath-pileser III and Shalmaneser V', RINAP 1: Tiglath-pileser III and Shalmaneser V, The RINAP 1 sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2019 [http://oracc.org/rinap/rinap1/rinap1introduction/historicaloverviewshalmaneserv/]

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