Other Building Activities

While on his way to campaign in Babylonia ca. 691, Sennacherib camped at the reportedly abandoned and dilapidated city Sūr-marrati (probably modern Samarra), a city on the eastern bank of the Tigris, halfway between Aššur and Babylon and across the river from Ḫalulê. He decided to rebuild that city and plant gardens in the surrounding territory (text no. 230 lines 115–120a). This decision was presumably strategic; the city would provide a line of defense against any Babylonian or Elamite army marching north into Assyria. Apart from the brief report of the work in an inscription written on two stone tablets, no other information about scale and duration of the project is known.[82]

Several paving stones of breccia reused and reinscribed by the Neo-Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar II attest to Sennacherib sponsoring some building project in Babylon (text no. 232). These inscribed paving stones are reported to have been part of the processional way in the court leading to the main eastern gate in the enclosure wall of the ziggurrat precinct. Therefore, it is assumed that Sennacherib restored this processional way. Since Sennacherib had Babylon destroyed and left "kingless" after he captured it in 689, this work was probably undertaken during his first reign over Babylonia (704–703) or when his vassal Bēl-ibni or his son Aššur-nādin-šumi sat on the throne of Babylon (702–694).


82 See also Frahm, Sanherib p. 276; Frahm, PNA 3/1 p. 1123 sub Sīn-aḫḫē-erība II.3.c.8'–9'; and Frahm, RLA 12/1–2 (2009) p. 20 §6.3.

A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny

A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny, 'Other Building Activities', RINAP 3: Sennacherib, The RINAP 3 sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2019 [http://oracc.org/rinap/rinap3/rinap32introduction/otherbuildingactivities/]

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