Dating and Chronology

Dated inscriptions that are included in the present volume are noted below. A number of inscriptions whose dates may be determined with some degree of confidence (e.g., instances with a clear terminus post quem for the inscription) are given in bold.

Year Regnal Year Eponym Dated Texts
705   Accession year   Nasḫir-Bēl, governor of Amedi     
704   1   Nabû-dēnī-ēpuš, governor of Nineveh     
703   2   Nuḫšāya, governor of Kilizi     
702   3   Nabû-lēʾi, governor of Arbela   213  
701   4   Ḫanānu, governor of Tīl-Barsip     
700   5   Mitūnu, governor of Isāna     
699   6   Bēl-šarrāni, governor of Kurbail   140–141  
698   7   Šulmu-šarri, governor of Ḫalzi-atbar     
697   8   Nabû-dūrī-uṣur, governor of Tamnunna   151, 222  
696   9   Šulmu-Bēl, governor of Talmusi     
695   10   Aššur-bēlu-uṣur, governor of Šaḫuppa/Katmuḫu     
694   11   Ilu-issīya, governor of Damascus     
693   12   Iddin-aḫḫē, governor of Dūr-Šarrukīn [99]     
692   13   Zazāya, governor of Arpad     
691   14   Bēl-ēmuranni, governor of Carchemish     
690   15   Nabû-kēnu-uṣur, governor of Samaria   230  
689   16   Gaḫilu, governor of Ḫatarikka     
688   17   Iddin-aḫḫē, governor of Ṣimirra   223  
687   18   Sennacherib, king of Assyria     
686   19   Bēl-ēmuranni, commander of the right     
685   20   Aššur-daʾʾinanni, governor of Que     
684   21   Manzernê, governor of Kullania     
683   22   Mannu-kī-Adad, governor of Ṣupite   159  
682   23   Nabû-šarru-uṣur, governor of Marʾaš     
681   24   Nabû-aḫḫē-ēreš, governor of Samʾal     

There are a number of inscriptions whose approximate date of composition can be determined with some degree of accuracy; these were not included in the chart above since only an approximate range can be given, not a specific year.

Text no. 205 was written sometime before 700 since Aššur-nādin-šumi was made king of Babylon in that year. Text nos. 214–216 were all probably composed during the first few years that Sennacherib sat on the throne (ca. 704–702) since the renovation of the Nergal temple at Tarbiṣu appears to have been one of this king's first building projects, as suggested from the building report of text no. 213. Based on their contents, text no. 142 was composed in 700 or 699, text no. 135 in 699 or later, and the inscription comprising text nos. 136–139 in 699 or 698.

The years during which the bull and lion colossi stationed in Sennacherib's palace were inscribed are not entirely certain. Based on their contents and those of texts written on octagonal clay prisms (text nos. 15–17), most of these human-headed bull and lion colossi (with the exception of the one set up in the Eastern Building) were likely inscribed in the years 695, 694, and 693. Text nos. 39–40 were written on colossi ca. 696–695, text no. 41 ca. 695; text no. 42 in late 695 or at the very beginning of 694, text no. 43 in mid- to late 694, text nos. 44 and 46 ca. late 694 to early 693, and text nos. 49–50 (the Eastern Building bulls) ca. late 693 to 691.

The terminus post quem for the inscriptions comprising text nos. 146–148 and 164 is the battle of Ḫalulê (691), so the texts on these tablets were likely composed 691–ca. 689. Because the inscriptions on several cylinder-shaped beads state that they were taken as booty from the Dumetu/Duma (text nos. 111–115), a city that is probably identical with Adummatu, those objects could not have been inscribed before that city's conquest, an event that took place ca. 690. Since the building report of text no. 152 describes work on the armory at Nineveh, that text may have been written ca. 690–689 (or possibly later). The inscription comprising text nos. 143–145, as far as it is preserved, is similar to an inscription written on a six-sided clay prism (text no. 26) and to two inscriptions written on stone tablets (text nos. 34–35) and, thus, that text was probably composed around the same time as those three texts (ca. 690–687). The three horse troughs that were found north of Nineveh's armory (text no. 132) were probably inscribed while that royal building was being constructed or shortly after its completion (ca. 690–689 or possibly later).

There are a number of inscriptions that were written after the capture and destruction of Babylon in late 689. The following texts come from that period: Text nos. 153–177, 190–198, and 209; text no. 168 may date ca. 683 since its contents are similar to a royal decree (Kataja and Whiting, SAA 12 no. 86) that is dated to Sennacherib's 22nd regnal year. Six cylinder-shaped beads brought as an audience gift from Karib-il of Saba (text nos. 103–108) likely also date to the post-689 period because they may have been intended to be part of a foundation deposit for the akītu-house at Aššur. Text no. 233 may have been composed ca. 683–681 since Esarhaddon may be mentioned in that inscription as māru rabû "senior-ranking son," that is, Sennacherib's heir designate.


99 I. Finkel and J. Reade (Orientalia NS 67 [1988] p. 253) propose that this Iddin-aḫḫē was governor of the Assyrian province Dūru, which is located along the Mediterranean coast, around the site of Tel Dor. K. Radner (RLA 11/1–2 [2006] p. 66 no. 80), however, suggests that Dūru (biblical Dor) was more likely part of the province of Megiddo since the only evidence for that city being a capital of an Assyrian province is in a fragmentary list of names, which lists provincial capitals as well as other cities.

A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny

A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny, 'Dating and Chronology', RINAP 3: Sennacherib, The RINAP 3 sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2019 []

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