Information on Sennacherib Scores, Part 1

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Of the 261 royal inscriptions edited in RINAP 3 [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/rinap/rinap3/], score transliterations of 29 texts were provided in that volume. Some information on those inscriptions are provided below. To access the RINAP 3 score transliterations, click on one of the "score" links below, click here [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/rinap/scores/corpus/], or click on the "Browse Online Corpus" link to the left.

1

Several clay cylinders and cylinder fragments from Nineveh and Aššur are inscribed with the earliest known annalistic account of Sennacherib's reign. This inscription includes a short prologue, a lengthy and detailed account of the king's first campaign (late 704–early 702), which was directed against Marduk-apla-iddina II (biblical Merodach-baladan) and his Chaldean and Elamite allies in Babylonia, and a building report describing the large-scale renovations of the "Palace Without a Rival" (the South-West Palace) and various other public works at Nineveh, including the creation of a botanical garden. Although none of the cylinders inscribed with this text are dated, the inscription was probably written early in 702 (Sennacherib's 3rd regnal year). In lieu of a date, the scribe indicated the total number of lines; each copy was inscribed with ninety-four lines of text. The inscription is sometimes referred to as the "First Campaign Cylinder."

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2

Three badly damaged cylinders, all presumably from Nineveh, are inscribed with a text that duplicates material from two well-known inscriptions, text no. 1 and text no. 3. This foundation inscription with annalistic narration includes a short prologue, an abbreviated report of Sennacherib's first campaign (against Marduk-apla-iddina II and his Chaldean and Elamite allies), an account of his second campaign (a military expedition against the Kassites and Yasubigallians, and the land Ellipi), and a building report describing the large-scale renovations of the "Palace Without a Rival" (the South-West Palace) and various other public works at Nineveh, including the creation of a botanical garden. Two of the exemplars preserve a date and both were inscribed in the second half of the eponymy of Nabû-lēʾi, governor of the city Arbela (702); copies of text no. 3 were made at the same time. In addition, the scribe indicated the total number of lines; each copy was inscribed with seventy-one lines of text.

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3

One complete clay cylinder and several fragments of clay cylinders are inscribed with an inscription that is a near duplicate of text no. 2. The prologue and military narration (which contains accounts of Sennacherib's first two campaigns) are identical to the previous inscription (with one minor omission and minor orthographic variations). The building report, however, deviates from that text, as it omits the passage recording the roofing of the palace, the construction of an ornate portico (a bīt-ḫilāni), and the lining of the walls of the palace with sculpted orthostats, as well as the passage stating that the gods were invited into the "Palace Without a Rival" upon its completion. The complete cylinder (ex. 1) was inscribed at the same time as several copies of text no. 2, in the second half of the eponymy of Nabû-lēʾi, governor of the city Arbela (702). The scribe also indicated the total number of lines; each copy was inscribed with sixty-three lines of text. The inscription is commonly referred to as the "Bellino Cylinder." The name derives from Karl Bellino's hand-drawn facsimile of the complete cylinder (ex. 1) that C.J. Rich, the Resident in Baghdad for the East India Company, purchased at Nineveh in 1820; that copy was published in 1850 by G.F. Grotefend, who had received the copy in 1820 (just before Bellino died). In older literature, this inscription is very occasionally referred to as "Cylinder A."

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4

Eight complete clay cylinders and numerous fragments from Nineveh and Aššur are inscribed with a text describing Sennacherib's first three campaigns and his large-scale renovations of the "Palace Without a Rival" (the South-West Palace) at Nineveh, as well as various other public works in that city, including the creation of a botanical garden, the broadening of city squares, and the construction of a bridge. The prologue, the accounts of the first and second campaigns, and the building report are similar to those of text no. 3. This inscription also includes the earliest known account of his third campaign, during which he marched to the Levant, where he collected gifts and tribute from eight kings, deposed Ṣidqâ of Sidon and replaced him with a pro-Assyrian ruler (Šarru-lū-dāri), defeated an Egyptian-led coalition that had been organized by the nobles and citizens of the city Ekron, reinstalled Padî as king of Ekron, captured numerous cities belonging to the Judean king Hezekiah, and laid siege to Jerusalem (but without capturing the city). Some of the events in Judah are also described in the Bible (2 Kings 18:13–19:36 and 2 Chronicles 32:1–22). The military narration concludes with a boast about Hezekiah sending a substantial payment to Nineveh and a short passage stating that Sennacherib formed a large military contingent of archers and shield bearers from prisoners deported from conquered lands. Several exemplars preserve a date and these were inscribed at the beginning of the eponymy of Mitūnu, governor of the city Isāna (700). In addition, the scribe indicated the total number of lines; each copy was inscribed with ninety-four lines of text. The inscription is commonly referred to as the "Rassam Cylinder," being named after Hormuzd Rassam, who discovered several complete copies (exs. 1–5) in the ruins of the South-West Palace. In older literature, this inscription is also referred to as "Cylinder B."

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10

A small damaged clay cylinder and a fragment of another cylinder, both presumably from Nineveh, are inscribed with a short inscription recording the construction of a shrine for the god Ḫaya, the "god of scribes." The style of the inscription is similar to a text written on stone horizontal prisms recording the construction of the Aššur temple at Aššur. Both texts consist of a prologue, a building report, a petition to the foundation inscription, and advice to future rulers. Because the inscription does not include narration of military events and since the known copies do not include a date line, the year during which the cylinders were inscribed is not known.

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15

Two fragmentarily preserved octagonal clay prisms and numerous prism fragments from Nineveh and Aššur are inscribed with a text describing Sennacherib's first four campaigns, the large-scale renovations of the "Palace Without a Rival" (the South-West Palace), the construction of Nineveh's inner and outer walls (Badnigalbilukurašušu and Badnigerimḫuluḫa), and many other public works at Nineveh. Sennacherib boasts also of forming a military contingent of 20,000 archers and 15,000 shield bearers from prisoners deported from conquered lands. The building report, which utilizes material from earlier inscriptions, includes: (1) an introduction to Sennacherib's building program at Nineveh; (2) a detailed account of the rebuilding of Egalzagdinutukua and the planting of a botanical garden; (3) a passage describing the construction of the great wall Badnigalbilukurašušu, with its fourteen gates, and the outer stone wall Badnigerimḫuluḫa; (4) a general statement about enlarging Nineveh, restructuring its public areas, and building its walls; (5) a brief report recording the building of aqueducts and a bridge; (6) reports of the creation of a game preserve and a marsh; and (7) an account of the digging of canals for irrigating fields and orchards given to the citizens of Nineveh. In connection with the construction of his palace, Sennacherib openly criticizes work sponsored by his predecessors. He states that they had depleted valuable resources, performed certain tasks (namely the transport of stone bull colossi) at the wrong time of year, and exhausted the workforce. Moreover, he notes that the work had been clumsily done and the result was not in good taste. The text concludes with a short passage stating that Sennacherib celebrated the completion of his palace; Aššur and other deities are said to have been invited inside, where they were presented with offerings and given gifts. Four exemplars preserve a date and these were all inscribed in the first half of the eponymy of Nabû-dūrī-uṣur, governor of the city Tamnunna (697). This text is sometimes referred to as "Cylinder C" in older publications.

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16

Two fragmentarily preserved octagonal clay prisms and numerous prism fragments from Nineveh, Aššur, and Kalḫu are inscribed with a text describing Sennacherib's first five campaigns, the formation of a large military contingent of archers and shield bearers, the large-scale renovations of the "Palace Without a Rival" (the South-West Palace), the construction of Badnigalbilukurašušu and Badnigerimḫuluḫa (Nineveh's inner and outer walls), and many other public works at Nineveh. Apart from the account of the fifth campaign (to Mount Nipur and against Maniye, king of the city Ukku) and some variation in the building report, this inscription is a near duplicate of text no. 15. With regard to the fifth campaign, Sennacherib had his scribes describe in his res gestae the extremely rugged mountain terrain that he and his army had to traverse; he records that in the most difficult places he had to clamber forward on his own two feet, sit down when his legs got tired, and drink cold water to quench his thirst. The Judi Dagh Inscription (to be edited in RINAP 3/2) is proof that Sennacherib campaigned in the region and, furthermore, that he had an inscription carved on rock faces to commemorate his hard-earned victory over the insubmissive inhabitants of the Mount Nipur region (Judi Dagh, in southern Turkey); this inscribing of the rock face at Judi Dagh, however, is not recorded in accounts of the king's fifth campaign. Upon his return to Nineveh, Sennacherib had his sculptors carve on his palace walls a relief depicting the narrow mountain passes through which his army marched and the difficult, steep terrain around the city Ukku. Two exemplars of this inscription preserve a date: one was inscribed in the eponymy of Šulmu-Bēl, governor of the city Talmusu (696), and the other in that of Aššur-bēlu-uṣur, governor of the city Šaḫuppa (695). This text is sometimes referred to as "Cylinder D" in older publications.

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17

Two nearly complete octagonal clay prisms and a few prism fragments from Nineveh are inscribed with a text describing seven military campaigns, the formation of a military contingent of 30,000 archers and 20,000 shield bearers from prisoners deported from conquered lands, the rebuilding and decoration of the "Palace Without a Rival" (the South-West Palace), the construction of Badnigalbilukurašušu and Badnigerimḫuluḫa (Nineveh's inner and outer walls) with their fifteen gates, and other public works at Nineveh, including the digging of several canals. The prologue, the reports of the first five campaigns, and numerous passages in the building report duplicate those same passages in earlier versions of Sennacherib's annals, especially text no. 16. The accounts of the events of the king's 9th and 10th regnal years included in this text are presently not known from other extant inscriptions, presumably because Sennacherib remained at home, in Nineveh. In the eponymy of Šulmu-Bēl (696), Sennacherib reports that Kirūa, the city ruler of Illubru, a man who had been a loyal Assyrian vassal, incited rebellion in Ḫilakku (Cilicia) and that the Assyrian army was sent to deal with the hostilities. The city Illubru was captured and plundered, and Kirūa and his supporters were defeated and brought back to Nineveh, where they were flayed alive. Afterwards, Illubru was reorganized as an Assyrian center. In the following year, in the eponymy of Aššur-bēlu-uṣur (695), Sennacherib records that he sent his army to the city Tīl-Garimme, where Gurdî, the king of the city Urdutu (a man who may have been responsible for Sargon II's death on the battlefield in 705), had incited rebellion. Urdutu is reported to have been taken and looted, but nothing is said about Gurdî, perhaps because he managed to escape. As for the building report, it is the longest and most detailed account of construction in and around Nineveh preserved in the Sennacherib corpus. It borrows material from earlier inscriptions and contains material composed anew for this text and other inscriptions written in 694 (Sennacherib's 11th regnal year). In connection with work on the "Palace Without a Rival," the king notes that the god Aššur and the goddess Ištar revealed to him the existence of cedar at Mount Sirāra, alabaster at Mount Ammanāna (the northern Anti-Lebanon), breccia at Kapridargilâ ("Dargilâ Village"), and limestone at the city Balāṭāya. He also takes credit for making significant advances in metalworking. In contrast to his predecessors, who are said to have ineffectually manufactured metal statues of themselves, Sennacherib boasts that he was able to efficiently and successfully cast tall columns and lion colossi from metal. In connection with supplying the huge number of gardens and orchards around Nineveh with water, Sennacherib reports that he had to look for new sources, as the waters of the Ḫusur River (mod. Khosr) were no longer sufficient. The king had three canals dug from the cities Dūr-Ištar, Šibaniba, and Sulu, all of which are located in the vicinity of Mount Muṣri (mod. Jebel Bašiqā). Two exemplars preserve a date and these were inscribed in the first half of the eponymy of Ilu-issīya, governor of the city Damascus (694). The inscription is commonly referred to as the "King Prism" or "Heidel Prism." Ex. 1 is named after L.W. King, who first published a copy and photographs of it in 1909, and ex. 2 is named after A. Heidel, who published an edition and photographs in 1953.

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22

Two complete hexagonal clay prisms and several fragments of prisms from Nineveh are inscribed with a text describing eight of Sennacherib's military campaigns and the construction of a new armory. This inscription contains material from texts written earlier in the king's reign (especially those written in 694–692) and material composed anew for this text and other inscriptions written in 691 (Sennacherib's 14th regnal year). Like text no. 18 and text no. 23, the military narration of this edition of Sennacherib's res gestae includes accounts of eight campaigns: (1) against Marduk-apla-iddina II (biblical Merodach-baladan) and his Chaldean and Elamite allies in Babylonia; (2) against the Kassites and Yasubigallians, and the land Ellipi; (3) to the Levant, against an Egyptian-led coalition that had been organized by the nobles and citizens of the city Ekron, and against the Judean king Hezekiah; (4) against Bīt-Yakīn; (5) to Mount Nipur and against Maniye, the king of the city Ukku; (6) against the Chaldeans living in Elam and against Šūzubu (Nergal-ušēzib), the king of Babylon; (7) against Elam; and (8) the battle of Ḫalulê, where Assyrian forces battled Babylonian and Elamite forces led by Šūzubu (Mušēzib-Marduk), the king of Babylon, and Umman-menanu (Ḫumban-menanu), the king of Elam. Accounts of the events of the king's 9th and 10th regnal years (696 and 695), the campaigns undertaken by his officials to Ḫilakku (Cilicia) and the city Tīl-Garimme, however, are not included among the king's victories on the battlefield. In the building report, Sennacherib says that after he had completed the "Palace Without a Rival" (the South-West Palace) he started work on an armory, which he refers to as the ekal kutalli (the "Rear Palace"). He tore down the former palace, which he complains was too small, poorly constructed, and dilapidated. On a high terrace built upon a new plot of land (the Nineveh mound now called Nebi Yunus), Sennacherib constructed a new palace consisting of two wings, one in the Syrian style and one in the Assyrian style, and a large outer courtyard. He decorated the building in a fitting fashion, which included large limestone bull colossi stationed in its gateways. The two complete exemplars preserve a date. One (ex. 2) was inscribed in the eponymy of Bēl-ēmuranni, governor of the city Carchemish (691), and the other (ex. 1) was inscribed in the eponymy of Gaḫilu, governor of the city Ḫatarikka (689). The inscription is commonly referred to as the "Chicago Prism" or "Taylor Prism" (or "Taylor Cylinder" in earlier literature). Ex. 1 is named after the city in which it now resides (Chicago, in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago); ex. 2 is named after Col. J. Taylor, who first acquired the object. The text has also been wrongly called by D.D. Luckenbill (and other scholars) the "Final Edition of the Annals."

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23

A nearly complete hexagonal clay prism and a small fragment from another prism, both presumably from Nineveh, are inscribed with a near duplicate of text no. 22. This inscription contains the same prologue and military narration as the previous text, but its building report has a shorter description of the rebuilding of the armory, which Sennacherib refers to as the ekal kutalli (the "Rear Palace"). This report records the construction of only one wing of the building and its decoration, which included large limestone bull colossi stationed in its gateways; text no. 22 describes the building of two wings, one in the Syrian style and one in the Assyrian style, and a large outer courtyard. Both exemplars partially preserve dates. One prism (ex. 1) was written in an unknown month in the eponymy of Bēl-ēmuranni, governor of the city Carchemish (691), and the other (ex. 2) was inscribed in Intercalary Addaru (XII₂) of an unknown year. The inscription is commonly referred to as the "Jerusalem Prism"; ex. 1 is named after the city in which it now resides (Jerusalem, the Israel Museum).

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24

A fragment of a hexagonal clay prism, and possibly a second prism fragment, presumably from Nineveh, are inscribed with a foundation inscription written after Sennacherib captured Babylon and its king Šūzubu (Mušēzib-Marduk) in late 689. Only a small portion of the complete text is extant. The prologue, parts of reports of the first campaign (against Marduk-apla-iddina II and his Chaldean and Elamite allies), second campaign (against the Kassites and Yasubigallians, and the land Ellipi), and the second conquest of Babylon, and the beginning of the building account (or a report of an expedition to Arabia) are preserved. With regard to the capture of Babylon in 689, Sennacherib records that he returned the gods of the city Ekallātum to their rightful place after 418 years and that he utterly destroyed Babylon and its temples by diverting water from canals; the actual destruction was probably not as bad as Sennacherib describes. Although neither exemplar preserves a date, the prisms were inscribed in 688 (eponymy of Iddin-aḫḫē; the king's 17th regnal year) or later.

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27

Four small, fragmentary 'triangular' prisms from Nineveh are inscribed with a short inscription of Sennacherib that consisted only of the king's titles and epithets and a statement about the god Aššur supporting Sennacherib as his earthly representative. It is not known if these curious prisms had some functional purpose (foundation deposit, site marker, etc.) or if they were scribal exercises written on practice prisms. The objects were not inscribed before 698 or 697 (Sennacherib's 7th or 8th regnal year; see the commentary).

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35

Two stone tablet fragments, both presumably from Nineveh, are inscribed with a text summarizing the accomplishments of Sennacherib on the battlefield and describing a building project of his at Nineveh, possibly the rebuilding and decoration of the armory (ekal kutalli, the "Rear Palace"). Parts of seventy-four lines are preserved and these contain reports of his sixth (against the Chaldeans living in Elam and against Nergal-ušēzib), seventh (against Elam), and eighth (the battle of Ḫalulê) campaigns, an account of a campaign to Arabia, and the beginning of the building report. The terminus post quem for the inscription is the expedition to Arabia, which took place after Sennacherib's eighth campaign, and therefore the tablets were probably inscribed ca. 690–689; they are probably later in date than text no. 34. The inscription is sometimes referred to as the "Ungnad Stone Tablet Fragment Inscription" or the "Winckler Stone Tablet Fragment Inscription." Ex. 1 is named after A. Ungnad, who published a copy of the fragment in 1907, and ex. 2 is named after H. Winckler, who published an edition of that piece in 1893–97.

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A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny

A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny, 'Information on Sennacherib Scores, Part 1', RINAP Scores, The RINAP Scores sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2019 [http://oracc.org/sennacheribscores/]

 
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