The War against Merodach-Baladan

Soon after Sargon became king of Assyria in 722 he lost Babylonia, which for many reasons was seen as the most precious, the most prestigious possession of the empire – apart from the Assyrian heartland, of course. The circumstances of Sargon's accession had been dubious and during the first decade of his reign he was busy first with strengthening his grip on power and then with avoiding even further losses. Allies cried for help against evil neighbours, disputed borders had to be secured against encroachments from outside, and rebels had to be punished inside the empire.

All of Sargon's enemies were despised, scorned and mocked gloatingly in the inscriptions composed for him. However there was one who surpassed them all in terms of the burning hatred apparent at every mention of his name or his (mis)deeds: This was Merodach-Baladan (Marduk-apla-iddina), the king of the powerful Chaldaean tribe of Bit-Yakin, the enemy who had wrested Babylon from Sargon's hands. [[1]]

1 See for instance the numerous animals Merodach-Baladan was compared with (Fuchs Sar. p. 334 n. 365).

Andreas Fuchs

Andreas Fuchs, 'The War against Merodach-Baladan', The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part III: Letters from Babylonia and the Eastern Provinces, SAA 15. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 2001; online contents: SAAo/SAA15 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2021 []

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