Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III and Related Texts

Overview of Previous Editions   Classification of Texts in the Present Volume  

The corpus of inscriptions firmly identifiable to Tiglath-pileser III currently comprises sixty-four texts;[1] seven other inscriptions that might be attributed to Tiglath-pileser III, although some arbitrarily, are also edited here (text nos. 1001–1007). Other texts included in this volume are two belonging to his officials (text nos. 2001–2002), three written in the name of his wife, Yabâ (text nos. 2003–2005), and one of uncertain attribution written by a provincial governor (text no. 2006). These texts are found on a variety of objects made of stone, clay, and metal, specifically:

Object TypeText No.
Stone Slabs1–34, 39–45, 55–57
Stone Stele35
Stone Statue36
Cliff Face37
Clay Tablets38, 46–52
Basalt Bull53
Basalt Lions2001
Stone Block54
Mud Bricks58–60, 2006
Glazed Brick1007
Stone Duck Weights61–62
Bronze Lion Weight63
Stone Beads64, 1004
Clay Vessel1001
Enameled Tiles1002–1003
Stone Tablet2003
Stone Plate1006
Stone Object (uncertain identification)   1005
Gold Bowls2004–2005
Metal Disc2002

Overview of Previous Editions

The history of the discovery and study of Tiglath-pileser III's inscriptions up to and including Tadmor's The Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, King of Assyria (Jerusalem, 1994; hereafter Tadmor, Tigl. III) has been described in great detail in Tadmor, Tigl. III pp. 10–25. It suffices here to give a shorter overview and to state briefly what has been published from 1994 to the present.

In 1851, Austen Henry Layard published copies of all of the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III that were discovered in his excavations at Nimrud (1845–1847) in his Inscriptions in the Cuneiform Character from Assyrian Monuments (London, 1851). Several years later, Henry Rawlinson, Edwin Norris, and George Smith, early pioneers in Assyriology, published copies of other inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III found at Kalḫu in vols. 2 and 3 of The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia (London, 1861 and 1870). In his Assyrian Discoveries (New York, 1875), G. Smith presented for the first time a running translation of the then-known corpus of Tiglath-pileser III inscriptions, primarily the Annals. His edition included many extensive textual restorations, for which he did not reveal the cuneiform sources that served as the basis of his interpretations.

The next scholarly advance is marked by the work of Eberhard Schrader, who first introduced a systematic order into the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III by classifying the texts as annals and summary inscriptions (Übersichtsinschriften and Prunkinschriften, in his terminology). In his Zur Kritik der Inschriften Tiglat-pileser's II., des Asarhaddon und des Asurbanipal (Berlin, 1880), Schrader not only identified different series of the Annals, but also transliterated and translated several new inscriptions for the first time.

Paul Rost's Die Keilschrifttexte Tiglat-Pilesers III. (Leipzig, 1893) brought the study of this king's inscriptions to a new stage. Rost presented not only editions of the then-known texts, but also hand-drawn facsimiles. His editions, which often comprised conjecturally reconstructed running texts, were in many instances not the result of careful philological scrutiny of the original inscribed objects. Despite its shortfalls, Die Keilschrifttexte Tiglat-Pilesers III. served as the standard for the study of Tiglath-pileser III for many decades.

When the British resumed excavations at Nimrud in the 1950s, under the direction of Max Mallowan, new inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, as well as numerous letters relating to his and his successor's reigns, were unearthed. Donald J. Wiseman published the royal inscriptions in a series of articles in the journal Iraq (13 [1951], 18 [1956], and 26 [1964]). In 1962, Richard D. Barnett and Margarete Falkner published a comprehensive and well-illustrated study of Tiglath-pileser's reliefs from Nimrud: The Sculptures of Aššur-naṣir-apli II (883–859 B.C.), Tiglath-pileser III (745–727 B.C.), Esarhaddon (681–669 B.C.) from the Central and South-West Palaces at Nimrud (London, 1962). That volume made the fundamental data for the reconstructions of the texts inscribed on stone orthostats widely available, publishing for the first time photographs of slabs housed in the collections of the British Museum, as well as original drawings that were made in the field and some of Layard's unpublished papers.

After almost seventy years, Rost's Die Keilschrifttexte Tiglat-Pilesers III. had become outdated. With the discovery of new texts and advances in the understanding of Akkadian, a new standard edition was needed. The first modern, comprehensive edition appeared in 1994, when Hayim Tadmor published his Tigl. III. Many of the complicated philological problems associated with editing texts no longer available on the original object (slabs left at Kalḫu) were resolved by carefully examining and crosschecking draft copies made in the field by Layard, Rawlinson, and G. Smith; those field and draft copies had not been published until that time. Tadmor included all of the Tiglath-pileser inscriptions known to him, including a lengthy annalistic account written on a stele reportedly from Iran and a shorter annalistic-style account inscribed on a rock cliff in Kurdistan (Mila Mergi). Tadmor's Tigl. III presented not only new comprehensive editions, but also detailed historical and philological studies, copies, and photographs of nearly the entire corpus, including draft copies made by Layard, Rawlinson, and G. Smith.

In many regards, the present volume, RINAP 1, closely follows the text editions of Tadmor's Tigl. III. The part of the book devoted to Tiglath-pileser III (pp. 19–153) is a rather faithful reproduction of Tigl. III in the RINAP style, but with many corrections reflecting the later collaborative work of Tadmor and Shigeo Yamada, as well as the comments and suggestions of many other scholars, which were expressed in their published reviews of Tadmor, Tigl. III. [2] Note also that the translations are presented in blocks of text, rather than line-by-line as they were in Tigl. III, and that the editions contain more extensive restoration of damaged text. This book includes several texts of Tiglath-pileser that Tadmor was not able to include in his 1994 publication, or that appeared after that time (for example, text nos. 2–4, 33–34, 36, and 38). Following RINAP's editorial policy, inscriptions tentatively assigned or (incorrectly) attributed to Tiglath-pileser III (text nos. 1001–1007) and those written by his high officials (text nos. 2001–2002) and his wife (text nos. 2003–2005) are presented here. Moreover, a text written by a provincial governor (text no. 2006) on behalf of a Tiglath-pileser is arbitrarily edited in this volume since it might date to the reign of the third king of that name. None of the 1000- or 2000-number texts were included in Tadmor, Tigl. III. The small corpus of inscriptions of Shalmaneser V, including those of his wife, is treated in this volume; Tadmor did not edit these inscriptions either. For inscriptions not edited in RINAP 1, see pp. 11–12. Although the editions in RINAP 1 naturally represent an improvement over those of Tigl. III, that publication still has great merit, as it contains supplementary studies on philological and historical matters, photographs, and copies (including early drafts), all of which fall outside the scope of the present series. Thus, Tadmor, Tigl. III will serve as an excellent companion to this book.

Classification of Texts in the Present Volume

Following Tadmor's historiographic criteria for classification of the corpus, this volume divides Tiglath-pileser III's inscriptions into three categories: (1) annals, texts whose historical narrative is arranged chronologically (text nos. 1–38); (2) summary inscriptions, texts whose narrative is arranged in a predominantly geographical pattern (text nos. 39–52); and (3) miscellaneous texts, texts classified as labels, dedicatory inscriptions, as well as other texts that are too fragmentarily preserved to classify them as annals or summary inscriptions (text nos. 53–64).


1 Text nos. 1–34, however, actually comprise altogether a single annalistic account with many lacunae. These "texts" are referred to as the Kalḫu Annals. This inscription is a composite text composed of several series (probably originally four or five), each of which originates from a separate room in Tiglath-pileser's palace at Kalḫu. These series are hypothetically reconstructed in this volume into three series: Series A, Series B, and Series C (see the Kalḫu Annals below). Thus, this reduces the actual number of texts to thirty-four or thirty-five.

2 For some reviews of Tadmor, Tigl. III, see: Frahm, AfO 44/45 (1997–1998) pp. 399–404; Frame, BSMS 35 (2000) pp. 93–95; George, BSOAS 60 (1997) pp. 124–125; Jas, BiOr 55 (1998) cols. 192–194; Naʾaman, Tel Aviv 22/2 (1995) pp. 268–278; Oded, IEJ 47 (1997) pp. 104–110; Schramm, Orientalia NS 68 (1999) pp. 169–171; and Streck, ZA 89 (1999) pp. 152–154. In addition, the authors also benefitted from suggestions by R. Borger, who personally delivered his notes to H. Tadmor (personal communication, Nov. 1999), as well as from our personal communication with many other scholars. Major changes/corrections from Tigl. III are noted in the on-page notes, with their reviewers cited. Not all changes or deviations from Tadmor, Tigl. III are indicated.

Hayim Tadmor & Shigeo Yamada

Hayim Tadmor & Shigeo Yamada, 'Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III and Related Texts', RINAP 1: Tiglath-pileser III and Shalmaneser V, The RINAP 1 sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2019 []

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