On some Influential Figures in the Nimrud Letters

The pragmatically disposed Assyrians did not waste time exploiting conquered areas. For instance, the Nimrud Letters reveal a network of people whose responsibilities included Assyrian logistics. However, it is a typical feature of Neo-Assyrian letters which deal with military matters including deportations, that any clear statements about the position and function of the people carrying out delicate operations are completely missing. Hence our curiosity about their duties is aroused but not satisfied by the available sources, and the titles of these high officials and their exact serving locations have to be inferred from the available data.

The following is a selection (in alphabetical order) of some influential figures in the Nimrud Letters, including Assyrian officials and tribal leaders; some - but not all of them - may also be said to act as the main protagonists in the corpus under Tiglath-pileser and Sargon:

Ašipâ may be the same person who later served as governor of Tushan.[[175]] Nevertheless, in the Nimrud corpus, Ašipâ takes care of boat and water-skin raft traffic and delivers goods, especially barley, to the cities in northern Babylonia: Babylon, Cutha, Kar-Nergal and Sippar seem to be the main cities to which he distributed barley or from which he collected it. Other significant figures in his network are Balassu of the Bit-Dakkuri, Mušezib-ilu, Nergal-eṭir and Ṣil-Bel[[176]]; they are all providers of the barley to be distributed and were involved in river transport in northern Babylonia. We may posit, with considerable certainty, that in the Nimrud Letters the need for these (additional?) deliveries of barley resulted from the Assyrian campaign against Mukin-zeri.

These letters do not usually name the beneficiaries of the delivered rations. Nevertheless, the Assyrians supplied food for instance to the deportees that resulted from military campaigns, and it is possible that some local people in straitened circumstances were also provided with food. [[177]] Naturally, the Assyrians may have sought to help those who could become their allies. It would be an exaggeration to state that the food was solely reserved for the Assyrian troops in the area; the food was most likely destined for a combination of different groups of people in the area. Despite the fact that Ašipâ is clearly in charge of the boat and water-skin raft traffic, his title and rank are not specified in the Nimrud Letters. One may suggest such titles as rab kārmani "chief of granaries," "governor" or even "vizier" but without any certainty. Nos. 113, a report on killing locusts and successful "harvests in the entire land of the king," and 114 are the only letters from Ašipâ which do not concern boat transport. The second letter suggests that Ašipâ may have been a palace official since he informs the king of having arrested thieves who stole valuables from the Palace.

Aššur-belu-taqqin. It is only since Parpola and Fuchs ' SAA 15 and Dietrich 's SAA 17 that the significance of Aššur-belu-taqqin's role in Assyro-Babylonian affairs has started to emerge. [[178]] Fortunately the letter SAA 17 95,[[179]] which confirms Aššur-belu-taqqin as Šamaš-bunaya's successor in northern Babylonia, is explicit enough, and the present volume adds some piecemeal information on him. In this respect, significant is the succinct no. 154 which points to his role in reviving northern Babylonia, in all likelihood after Sargon 's campaign in the area in 710.Unfortunately most of the references to Aššur-belu-taqqin's activities in Babylonia are quite broken, hindering us to evaluate his presumably major role in these events in detail, but they all seem to date to around 710.

Aššur-da"inanni, governor of Mazamua and sender of nos. 91 -3, role in the east is worth singling out because of two reasons: he is one of few officials mentioned by name in Tiglath-pileser's royal inscriptions (see TABLE I, above) for whom we may also exceptionally have hard evidence of a long career in the same (?) office until the reign of Sargon II. This provided that the governor whose mule express is to alert the equipment of the Arzuhinaeans in a letter from Nabû-belu-ka''in, governor of Kar-Šarruken, refers to the same person (SAA 15 83 r.18).

In CTN 5, only one letter is ascribed to Aššur-le'i, whose title is not known, but with a new analysis it can be shown that he was the author/sender of four letters altogether (nos. 71-74). These include an important letter (no. 71) reporting on a sensitive matter: the defeat of the Assyrian army by the Urarṭians, an incident in which the chief cupbearer was killed. This chief cupbearer may well have been Nabû-etiranni, eponym official of the year 740, i.e., active in the early years of Tiglath-pileser III's reign, and the sender of three letters of this corpus (nos. 65-67), although perhaps more likely is that the killed chief cupbearer was Nabû-eṭiranni's predecessor as otherwise it might be difficult to explain the latter's connection to the campaign against Ulluba in 739 (cf. Ullubaean deportees in no. 65; for the date of Aššur-le'i's letters, see also below). Aššur-le'i held his office on the Urarṭian border and kept a close eye on the Urartian king and his activities. There is a fine stylistic parallel between nos. 71 and 7 4 as the body of both letters begins with a narrative which mentions a high Assyrian official:

TABLE IV. Nos. 71 and 74
No. 71 No. 74
(1) To the king , [my] lord: your servant Ašš[ur-le'i]. (1 ) [To the ki]ng , my lord: your [ser]vant Aššur-le'i.
(3) When the chief cupbearer entered with the army, Rusa came and defeated him. Not one of them got out (alive). (10) He is marching on and setting on the forts of the chief cupbearer, and is going to do battle. (r.2) May the king do as he deems best. (3) The major-domo has come and entered Birdunu. All the vast troops who escaped have not yet even minimally come together, so we are not able to se[nd] the details of how many were killed or taken prisoners. (13) The messenger of the king, my [lor]d, [is in the presence of] Inurta-ili'i (Rest destroyed)

In the translation, the first two verbs are highlighted in bold since they are the same even if their order is reversed: erābu "to enter" and alāku "to go/come." The difference between the two is that in no. 74 the first narrative clause, after the introductory formula, is a main clause whereas no. 71 begins with a subordinate clause. In both letters, the following verbal form is also shown in bold since their meaning is similar, even though they employ two different Akkadian verbs .[[180]] It is thus only logical to suggest that the contents of the two letters, and the way in which they are expressed, were prepared by the same person. Such a conclusion could of course easily be rejected if we had many letters whose beginning was formulated in the same manner as in these two; however, this is not the case. For instance, the two letters get straight to the point without introducing the topic using the frequent opening phrase ina/issu muhhi, "Concerning (the ...)" or referring to the king's previous missive to the sender (e.g. , ša šarru bēlī isšuranni mā). These are the main reasons why the two letters clearly stand out from others (otherwise the closest comparable letter is no. 70 by Assur-natkil). It is also worth noting that Assur-le'i (or his scribe) had a predilection for "when" clauses and horizontal rulings [[181]] after the address at the beginning of a letter; the town of Birdunu appears both in no. 74 and in no. 72: another letter from Aššur-le'i.

Thus far, no deputy of the chief cupbearer (rab šāqê) is attested, and for the time being it appears impossible to determine whether Aššur-le'i, the sender of no. 71, was e.g., deputy chief cupbearer, governor or another high-ranking military official. The letters of Assur-le'i are now tentatively dated to the reign of Tiglath-pileser III,[[182]] but their dating is not self-evident; it is tempting to interpret these events as a prelude to Sargon's famous eighth campaign, but since Rusa was already king of Urarṭu during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III, it may be that these letters originated from that time. The mention of Inurta-ila' i in no. 74:15 could of course tentatively be linked with Inurta-ila'i and the Ullubaeans in no. 65, a letter attributable to Tiglath-pileser's reign (c. 739).

For Aššur-šallimanni, governor of Arrapha, see the section "Babylonia and the Mukin-zeri Rebellion" above. Nos. 81, 86 and 87 were probably written by a Babylonian scribe[[183]] whilst the other six letters by Aššur-šallimanni may have been written by an Assyrian scribe.

For Aššur-šimanni, governor of Kilizi, see the section "Ululayu (Shalmaneser V)" below.

As pointed out by Brinkman,[[184]] "the tribal chieftains in southern Babylonia did not present a united front against the Assyrian invaders" at the time of Tiglath-pileser III. Pertinent to this is the personal history of Balassu, the leader of the Bit-Dakkuri, which may have been extremely complicated since the evidence implies that he was in a difficult position. On the one hand, the Nimrud Letters show that he was an ally of the king of Assyria who may have tried to make the most of precarious circumstances. On the other hand, Balassu was related to Mukin-zeri by marriage as Balassu's sister was Mukin-zeri 's mother. Balassu' s vulnerable position can be highlighted by the episode in no. 87. He becomes afraid when a letter from Zakir of the Bit-Ša'alli to Merodach-baladan ends up in Assyrian hands. This can be easily explained by the aforementioned fact that Balassu was allied with the Assyrians but was, at the same time, a relative of Mukin-zeri, and as a consequence he appears to panic: "You must come this moment and deport me! I will go [wit]h you. How can I become an enemy of my sister's son? [Mu]kin-zeri is dragging the army here and will destroy the land" lines 12ff.

In addition to this, the tribes of Bit-Amukani and Bit-Dakkuri were mutual treaty partners at the time. Be that as it may, the sources suggest that Balassu, together with Nadinu of Larak, played a pivotal role in the conflict between the Assyrians and the Chaldean tribes of Babylonia.[[185]]

We may be justified in asking whether Nabû-balassu-iqbi, who sent/wrote three letters of this corpus to the king of Assyria, should be identified with Balassu whose letters are apparently not extant. Nabû-balassu-iqbi 's three letters (nos. 135-137) relate to problems in receiving messengers, and this breakdown in communication is the cause of excuses and explanations; the first two letters deal with the problems of their correspondence and it seems that Nabû-balassu-iqbi's messengers were not able to enter the Assyrian court unhindered (or such, at least, was his excuse). While there is no clear-cut proof that Balassu is the same person as Nabû-balassu-iqbi, abbreviated names were often used and, in addition, it seems that in no. 135:6f Nabû-balassu- iqbi attempts to mediate in a conflict that involves some clansmen of Dur-ša-Balihaya. This role would fit well with the role of an important tribal leader, and to this end one should also compare no. 110:1lff in which Balassu and Dur-Balihaya are mentioned in the same context.

Nabû-balassu-iqbi was obviously not from Babylon (cf. no. 137:8-11). Furthermore, no. 147:8f may be a letter from Balassu, the governor of Nippur or another local potentate: "I am [now] telling [everything] to the king, as [do] the eyes [of the king], my [lord]." Thematically, this letter adds further complaints about the breakdown in communication (lines 22f).

No extant letters sent by Bel-aplu-iddina are known. Nevertheless, he must have been an influential figure since he is mentioned in several letters, always in connection with fields or barley:

The main document linking Bel-aplu-iddina with fields is no. 89, sent to the king by Nergal-uballit, governor of A/Urzuhina. According to the letter, Bel-aplu-iddina accuses Nergal-uballiṭ of appropriating his field(s), although Nergal-uballit tells the king that he has never seen "Bel-aplu-iddina putting his feet in that field" (lines 14-16). The quarrel over this field within or outside the borders of A/Urzuhina seems to lead to a lawsuit between Nergal- uballit and Bel-aplu-iddina; the letter records allegations of malpractice by both parties as one shifts the blame to the other. Nergal-uballiṭ states that he does not know where this field of Bel-aplu-iddina' s is located but a clue to the location of the contested field may be provided by the statement that "the lands of the vizier's and the chief judge's households do not cross the Radanu river. The royal road which goes to Azari is their border" (lines 17-21). This is a tricky sentence which may or may not give us reason to think that Bel-aplu-iddina could be either the vizier or the chief judge. However, without any further evidence, the sudden use of titles instead of Bel-aplu-iddina' s name, which occurs at least seven [[186]] times in the letter, does not support his identification with either of these magnates; admittedly, this is not a particularly strong argument, and the question of Bel-aplu-iddina' s identity remains open. The towns of Bel-aplu-iddina appear in no. 166, also a letter from the east (Arbela is mentioned), whose main message is to inform the king about a successful harvest in the area.

According to a letter from Aššur-šallimanni (no. 83), Bel-aplu-iddina's barley is transported by boats to or from Babylonia. The barley is probably also a major concern at the end of no. 80, another letter from Aššur-šallimanni, in which we witness a generous or sly act by Merodach-baladan who may have provided a troubled town (of Sapia?) with barley after Mukin-zeri and his son Šumu-ukin had been defeated there. It seems that this barley may originally have been sent by the Assyrians to Merodach-baladan. The letter mentions neither Bel-aplu-iddina nor his barley, and it may also be worth pointing out their absence from no. 81, a well-known letter by Ašsšr-šallimanni, in which the lack and distribution of barley forms a major issue.

No. 39 concerns the exacting of corn taxes in the western (?) province of Is ana; according to the author/sender of the letter, the deputy governor of Isana, "Bel-aplu-iddina has now driven the delegates away,"[[187]] supposedly disturbing the manner in which the taxes were extracted in Isana. In no . 200 r.6, I have emended the reading of the personal name mEN-AS-A, which could in fact be Bel-nadin-apli, but this name is not attested in Neo-Assyrian sources so far, making him Bel-aplu-iddina. The context of the letter may favour the emendation since it concerns barley delivered to men in forts.

Put together, the pertinent pieces of information suggest that Bel-aplu-addina may have been in charge of numerous fields located in different parts of the Assyrian empire. He may accordingly have distributed barley to the campaigning Assyrians and deportees so that logistics would not fail to provide those in need when large-scale deportations were taking place. Generally speaking, the logistical aspect of the Assyrian deportation policy is not particularly well documented and any new piece of information concerning the "feeding and settling of deportees" is to be considered a welcome addition.

Bel-duri, governor of Damascus, sends a letter to the king (SAA 1 172 = ND 2495) regarding the raising of food. It appears from the letter that the following governors belong to the same network as him: Abu-lešir, who is connected to the soldiers of Commagene, Adad-isse'a,[[188]] possibly governor of Til-Barsip, Bel-lešir, perhaps the predecessor of Adda-hati as governor of Manṣuate, and Šamaš-ahu-iddina, most likely governor of Ṣupat. No. 172 from Bel-duri also concerns food; the letter records him giving barley to Inurta-šarru-uṣur, probably governor of an uncertain province in the west, and Aššur-remanni, governor of Calneh. Bel-duri's third letter (SAA 1 171 = ND 2645), however, is not about distributing barley, bread or fodder but about reclaiming runaway servants, including a baker.

As the sender of four letters (nos. 33-36) and the recipient of one royal letter, Inurta-belu-uṣur [[189]] is one of the better attested high officials from the reign of Tiglath-pileser III. Despite this, his profession and role have so far remained unclear. The following Nimrud Letters belong to the dossier of Inurta-belu-uṣur and are thus relevant when trying to find out what he was doing and where:

No. 3, a letter from the king to Inurta-belu-uṣur, clearly connects the Recipient[[190]] with the turtānu in the west (lines 4ff) and warns that, despite the latter's success in defeating the Arabs, lnurta - belu – uṣur should be as vigilant as ever, obviously together with the turtānu.[[191]]

There is little doubt that he is the same Inurta-belu-uṣur who sent four letters to the king. These letters include many details, especially geographical and personal names, that link him and his letters firmly to the west. However, providing even approximate dates for them is difficult. As with so many other Assyrian letters from the late eighth century, Inurta-belu-uṣur's missives combine the two most important issues: the military and agriculture. No. 36 is about the raising of barley, no. 34 about the problems of taking care of the king's many oxen, and no. 35 deals with the isšāru dues on horses; no. 33, which also concerns relatively large numbers of horses, oxen and sheep from Tabal, tells us indirectly who Inurta-belu-uṣur is. The relevant passage reads: "Heretofore, Attar-šumki and Mati'-il used to pile up [logs] on the [river] bank, and I have piled them up there as well" (lines r.4-8). As Attar-šumki and Mati'-il are known to be father and son, and successive rulers of Arpad, it is virtually certain that Inurta-belu-usur is their "successor" in the office of the governor of Arpad.

It can easily be inferred from the letters of Inurta-belu-uṣur that all letters sent by him to the king were written by the same scribe; this contrasts with many of his colleagues in this corpus who used the services of more than one scribe.

Having ascertained the name and the apparent high status of Inurta-belu-uṣur as the governor of Arpad in the Nimrud Letters, we may formulate a speculative question: is it also possible that this same man is to be identified with the governor of Kar-Shalmaneser (Til-Barsip) who represented himself as a eunuch of the powerful turtānu Šamši-ilu? Ostensibly this would appear to be supported by an unpublished trilingual inscription from Hadattu (Arslantash) by Inurta-belu-uṣur, the provincial governor of Kar-Shalmaneser.[[192]]

The trilingual inscription that was inscribed on the two lions guarding an entrance gate to Hadattu is often dated to approximately 780 BC.[[193]] This date, however, is rather elusive as it depends on the long career of the turtānu Šamši-ilu, who had an inscription made for himself in the area. Šamši-ilu's inscription on two portal lions of Kar-Shalmaneser may be dated to 774 at the earliest.[[194]] It is plausible to assume that Šamši-ilu' s inscription on the two lions in Kar-Shalmaneser (Til-Barsip) functioned as a model for Inurta-belu-uṣur' s inscriptions in Hadattu. The argument that the inscription of Inurta-belu- uṣur, a eunuch of Šamši-ilu, in the provincial town of Hadattu must have been written prior to Šamši-ilu' s inscription in the important city of Kar-Shalmaneser (Til-Barsip) would appear to go against expectation, since it implies that the more peripheral town would have set the example. Accordingly, I would suggest c. 760-750 BC as an alternative date for governor Inurta-belu-uṣur's inscriptions on the lions of Arslantash/Hadattu.

The conjectural date I am suggesting and the scenario on which it is based depends on Inurta-belu-uṣur, who may also have held the office of governor of Kar-Shalmaneser and is a correspondent of Tiglath-pileser III (nos. 33-36). However, the potential problem is that we need an official with a long career who served under the Assyrian king and the turtānu for at least 30 years or so. However, when thinking of Šamši-ilu, for instance, another official with a long tenure - more or less in the same area in the west- should not be ruled out a priori. Alternatively, the Arslantash inscriptions may indeed date to c. 780 BC but so far the arguments presented in favour of such an early date do not appear more compelling than the ones considered here.

lnurta-ila'i is another important figure who needs to be discussed in connection with Inurta-belu-uṣur. The Nimrud Letters, in addition to the eponym chronicle,[[195]] provide valuable pieces of information on him. It may be that the same man was earlier the governor of Naṣibina (eponym of the year 736) and, later on, presumably from the late 730s or early 720s, the governor of Kar-Shalmaneser (Til-Barsip); his career may have reached a climax as the holder of the office of the commander-in-chief (eponym of the year 722). The following Nimrud Letters were sent by Inurta-ila'i or mention him:

No. 53 from Inurta-ila'i to the king. The obverse of the describes a chase initiated by the words of a "former deserter," apparently a mercenary becoming an Assyrian, who may have been targeted by the men of his (former) tribe. The reverse of the letter talks about the important agricultural matters: harvest and oxen, emphasizing the importance of bringing the harvest into the city (probably to the provincial capital) but is not particularly informative about Inurta-ila'i.

No. 54 is probably likewise a letter from Inurta-ila'i to the king. This was originally the idea of K. Deller,[[196]] although he considered the sender to be the governor of Naṣibina; one could alternatively interpret the sender of the letter as the governor of Kar-Shalmaneser or the commander-in-chief. Otherwise I find his argument excellent, as he linked the letter topically with SAA 1 186-187 and concluded that the sender of no. 54 was identical with the person whose two letters were edited in SAA 1.

In discussing the reasons for attributing no. 54 to the governor of Kar-Shalmaneser or the commander-in-chief, it is helpful to repeat the edition of this short letter here in translation:

(1) [To the king, my lord: your servant Inurta-ila' i].[[l97]]

(3) On the 30th of Adar (XII), the interpreter [NN] and the emissaries from Que - with them 1 wooden carriage, 3 mules and 3 men- crossed the river and spent the night in Kar-Shalmaneser. They [are coming] to the palace to greet (the king).

Stating that a group of men "crossed the river and spent the night in Kar-Shalmaneser" makes the most sense if the sender of the letter was the governor of Kar-Shalmaneser, or the commander-in-chief, whose main residence may have been in the vicinity.

No. 55 clearly connects Inurta-ila'i with the turtānu, but as this letter is early, dated above to 738, Inurta-ila'i apparently acts here as the governor of Nasibina.

No. 56 is a tablet of Inurta-ila' i to the palace scribe.

No. 57 is probably a letter by lnurta-ila'i (see sub turtānu, below, and the critical apparatus of the letter).

No. 58 is a small, fragmentary and previously unedited tablet from Inurtaila'i, discussing an estate in Dur-Ayumma (location unknown).

It is uncertain whether Inurta-ila'i was the sender of no. 59, but the letter could have been by him as it clearly concerns military matters. For Inurta-ila'i in nos. 65 and 74, see sub Aššur-le'i (above).

Consequently, the following tentative sequence of the governors of Kar-Shalmaneser (Til-Barsip) in the latter half of the eighth century BC may be put forward:

Inurta-belu-uṣtur Possibly from the late reign of Aššur-dan III until the early reign of Tiglath-pileser III, but he is also, and more compellingly, to be attributed as the governor of Arpad (no. 33 r.4-8).
Inurta-i la'i He was most likely the governor of Naṣibina first and, later on, the governor of Kar-Shalmaneser (Til-Barsip), from the late reign of Tiglathpileser III until the reign of Sargon II. Possibly also the turtānu for a time as the name of the eponym official of the year 722, immediately following Shalmaneser V, was Inurta-ila'i. [[198]]

Merodach-baladan, the chieftain of the main Chaldean tribe of Bit-Yakin , often referred to as mār Yakin "the son of Yakin" and probably less frequently known as the "son of Zeri" ,[[199]] was the most influential of all the Chaldean chieftains in Babylonia in the late eighth century BC. It seems that Merodach-baladan was a trusted ally of the Assyrians during the late reign of Tiglath-pileser III. The Nimrud Letters do not attest to any hostilities between the Chaldean chieftain and the Assyrians, unless allusions to these are so subtle that they elude us. After taking advantage of the political conflicts in Assyria following Sargon' s deposition of Shalmaneser V, Merodach-baladan, as king of Babylonia, became a hated figure in Assyria. Nevertheless, the early relations may have been so positive between Merodach-baladan and the Assyrians that we may actually better understand why he became so hated in Assyrian eyes later on. For example, in his only letter of the corpus, no. 122, he writes an imperative suhhiramma "give back" (r.7') to the king of Assyria whilst another letter, no. 123 addressed to the palace scribe by Nahiši, may also reflect the friendly early relations between Merodach-baladan and the Assyrians.

The most important new evidence concerning these relations between Merodach-baladan and the Assyrians comes from no. 133, which confirms that he was bound to allegiance to the Assyrians by a treaty which is now lost. However, in the light of the treaty, it becomes easier to understand why the relations between the Assyrians and Merodach-baladan became so bitter after he ascended the Babylonian throne and threw off the Assyrian yoke that restricted his activities. Later on, Merodach-baladan is outspokenly a detestable foe in Sargon's[[200]] and Sennacherib's[[201]] royal inscriptions.

Mukin-zeri/Nabû-mukin-zeri, leader of the Chaldean tribe of Bit-Amukani; see the section "Babylonia and the Mukin-zeri Rebellion" above.

Nadinu, leader of the city of Larak, is probably the author/sender (name broken away) of no. 130 and may be mentioned twice by name in the Nimrud Letters (no. 110:12 and probably also in no. 84:8).[[202]] However, taken together with the references to Larak, his hometown, his role and that of his people in the Nimrud Letters is indirectly more substantial. It seems reasonably clear that Nadinu was under a contract with the Assyrians, under the terms of which he was liable to pay tribute, as Tiglath-pileser' s royal inscriptions prove, and Nadinu 's men were recruited for Assyrian campaigns (see nos. 84, 101, 151 and ND 2619). In return, Nadinu and the Larakeans enjoyed the protection of the Assyrians (no. 130 and the reverse of no. 87) who may have taken revenge against Mukin-zeri on Nadinu's behalf by killing the trees outside Sapia and elsewhere in Bit-Amukani, just as Mukin-zeri had earlier persuaded the citizens of Babylon to kill the date palms of Dilbat.[[203]] Moreover, according to no. 125 r.13 -17, Nadinu and Mukin-zeri retaliated against each other by plundering one another's sheep in the course of their respective campaigns. Since Larak may have been an isolated pocket surrounded by the territories of the Bit-Amukani,204 it is easy to see why Nadinu chose the side of the Assyrians when faced with hostilities from the Bit-Amukani, as their leader Mukin-zeri must have posed a threat to his and his city's existence.[[205]]

Qurdi-Assur-lamur (nos. 22-28 as Qurdi-Assur-lamur and nos. 29-32 as

Qurdi-Aššur: generally assumed to be the same person[[206]], was apparently the governor of Ṣimirra (from c. 738) and possibly, later on, of another province. Since Qurdi-Aááur-lamur has recently been extensively treated by Yamada/ 07 it is enough to repeat a couple of main points here with some new or deviating interpretations. The fact that Qurdi-Aššur-lamur employed two different scribes[[208]] may indicate that he was governor of two different provinces during his career.[[209]] In this respect, the fragmentary no. 30 appears tantalizing as it refers to Qurdi-Aššur's appointment. However, we do not know whether the letter concerns his first post in the west or his transfer to another post.[[210]] Some of the questions concerning Qurdi-Aššur(-lamur)' s career may be elucidated by his mobility, a fact that also accounts for many other high-ranking officials who clearly employed the services of more than one scribe; alternatively, while the number of new governors after Tiglath-pileser' s successful campaign to the west in 738 may initially have been low, they may have been responsible for vast areas. As regards no. 26, 1t may talk about constructing a fort at Ṣimirra, and may thus be the earliest of Qurdi-Aššur-lamur's letters, but, alternatively, the building works may concern Kaspuna,[[211]] Danabu or a coastal town.[[212]] According to Yamada, Qurdi-Aššur-lamur may also have held the title rab kāri, "chief of trade," at the time he was governor of Simirra.[[213]] If correct, it could partly explain his mobility along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and inland. The attribution of no. 24 to Qurdi-Aššur- lamur is subject to doubt because of its late date (c. 728) and scribal hand; even if the geographical details of the letter (Tyre, Sidon, Danabu) perfectly match Qurdi-Aššur-lamur's area of authority, one may suggest that the letter was sent by the chief eunuch, who was also active and/or responsible for administration in the west[[214]] and, according to Tiglath-pileser' s royal inscriptions, was sent to Tyre to collect Matenni's tribute there.[[215]] A small fragment, no. 32, is a new addition to Qurdi-Aššur (-lamur)'s dossier.

rab šāqē "chief cupbearer." The Nimrud Letters clearly show his military involvement in leading a part of the Assyrian army (nos. 4, 71, 77, 187). One chief cupbearer is attested by name in this corpus (although without an accompanying title): Nabû-eṭiranni (the sender of nos . 65-67).[[216]]

turtānu "commander-in-chief." The significance of the highest-ranking military official of the Assyrian empire, after the king, becomes clear from no. 2, which confirms that, in the late eighth century, the turtānu was the king's deputy and hence number two in the Assyrian hierarchy of officials. Unfortunately, except for Nabû-da"inanni,[[217]] eponym of the year 742, the names of the officials who acted as the turtānu during the reigns of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II are uncertain (but cf. Inurta-ila'i, above). The location of the turtānu's headquarters is also uncertain: was it in Harran, Til-Barsip or Arpad (no. 52)? Although the impression is that he was a sort of "migratory campaign bird," it should be stressed that, in contrast to some other magnates, no letters addressed to the turtānu have so far been found in any of the Assyrian capital cities.[[218]] Issues of an agricultural and military nature and building works clearly dominate the daily tasks of the highest Assyrian officials.

The turtānu's eminent position among the highest Assyrian officials naturally has further implications as several letters in the corpus provide both explicit and implicit evidence for his high status. For example, in no. 165 Aššur-nirka-da''in, the governor of Assur, emphasies to his colleague Nabû-nammir that his own family iS from the [royal][[219]] family and that of the turtānu. Presenting the two families side by side may thus prove a blood relationship between the king and the turtānu, his deputy.

According to a letter from Aššur-šallimanni, the turtānu played a leading role when Assyrian forces set out to Babylonia during the late reign of Tiglath-pileser III (no. 80).[[220]] It should be noted that it is not only Aššur-šallimanni, the governor of Arrapha, finds himself outside his usual territory; so does the commander-in-chief. This is partly related to the importance of Babylonia to the Assyrians which meant that the campaign against Mukin-zeri and his supporters had to be organized carefully (see the section "Babylonia and the Mukin-zeri Rebellion" above). While other magnates, notably the chief cupbearer,[[221]] are also known to have led the Assyrian army, or at least to have had extensive troops under their authority, it is the turtanu who is the most important official in this respect. For instance, according to no. 3 he defeats the Arabs, and distributes their confiscated camels to other governors after the battle. He may also have been responsible for a campaign against the Tabaleans after his victory against the Arabs (cf. no. 33) in 732.

The crown prince Ululayu may have written to the [turtānu] (no . 8) ordering him not to let the emissaries from the west proceed any further. Moreover, it seems that Ululayu collaborated closely with the highest officials and organized the shipment of reed (see Ululayu, below) from the households of the turtānu, t[reasurer] and chief cupbearer to the capital (no. 10). Qurdi-Aššur mentions the turtānu (no. 30) in the context of the orchards of the villages of Helbon and it is apparently the same official who sends men to the palace with the help of the turtānu (no. 26). According to Šamaš-ahuiddina (no. 37), possibly governor of Ṣupat, Aini-el, ruler of Hamath, went and appealed[[222]] to the turtānu. The same letter also mentions a previous communication from the turtānu, sent from Riblah to Šamaš-ahu-iddina.

The turtānu gives an order to the governor Inurta-ila'i to set out with the booty, including Tutammu, the ruler of Unqi, and his eunuchs; this booty was probably initially delivered by the turtānu to Inurta-ila'i. Doubtless the turtanu had been in charge of the campaign against Unqi/Pattina that produced these eminent captives. According to a letter by Marduk-remanni (SAA 1 110 = ND 2765), the governor of Calah, the [...] of the turtānu kept an attentive eye on the emissary from Que by presumably escorting the latter to the Assyrian capital. In no. 57, a letter most likely sent by Inurta-ila'i, Barhalza and Arpad appear to be the sources of the ploughs and oxen respectively, and the turtānu urges the sender of the letter to cultivate fields as quickly as possible.

Four letters in the present corpus originate from crown prince Ululayu (Shalmaneser V), who succeeded his father Tiglath-pileser III on the Assyrian throne. After the publication of CTN 5 (2001), these letters were newly edited by Karen Radner ,[[223]] and Ululayu was also recently discussed by Nadav Na'aman.[[224]]

First, I toyed with the idea that Ululayu himself had written at least some of the letters that carry his name as some possible indications for this might be presented. Surely, as with Sennacherib and Assurbanipal later, part of Ululayu' s education as crown prince must have included literary training which, together with his training in the art of war, was essentially targeted for "practising kingship."[[225]] I recalled the same arguments that were used by Alasdair Livingstone in his recent and seminal article on Assurbanipal's literacy.[[226]] For example, it appeared to me that some of Ululayu's letters may seem clumsier than those written by professional scribes and that his letters may be said to be less coherent, too.[[227]] Later on, however, I gave up this idea of Ululayu' s authorship of the letters sent in his name. In particular, this decision is motivated by the fact that in practice it is difficult to prove that his letters were any clumsier than many others in the corpus. Suffice it to say here, especially as to the use of space and the size of handwriting, that partly different rules or principles govern the writing of small and large Neo-Assyrian letters and, except for no. 8, Ululayu's letters are small.[[228]] Thus the most likely inference from this is that Ululayu (and Sennacherib) used the services of a professional scribe or scribes to write their letters.

In addition, it is surprising that the following passage is not often quoted and discussed in connection with the education of Neo-Assyrian crown princes: "Parruṭu, a goldsmith of the household of the queen, has, like the king and the crown prince, bought a Babylonian, and settled him in his own house. He has taught exorcistic literature to his son; extispicy omens have been explained to him, (and) he has even studied gleanings from Enuma Anu Enlil" SAA 16 65:2-11.[[229]] In this context, I am inclined to believe that this seventh century BC quotation may be applied in a wider context and that there probably was continuity in employing a Babylonian, among other instructors, to teach reading and writing to the Assyrian crown prince also in the late eighth century.[[230]] Of the two Ululayu letters in the British Museum, no. 10 in particular has a somewhat Babylonian appearance, although it is in fact written in Assyrian.

Alongside all the "magnates," the Assyrian crown prince was also involved in the tasks of the highest importance to the empire. These tasks included procuring horses and forwarding tribute to the capital; he also did his part in the Assyrian intelligence system and, perhaps most importantly, fulfilled his duties concerning both agricultural management and building works, and these two spheres of activities of his lead us to an interesting question.

Namely, according to Radner, Ululayu was transporting snow and ice (ku(p)pû) to the capital.[[231]] It is true that already in the Mari letters of the Old Babylonian period ice is attested for cooling wine and food and was possibly used ever since for these purposes.[[232]] Thus, in all likelihood the Assyrians had technical readiness for transporting ice, transporting melting snow over a long distance may be out of the question, but did they really do it? One may doubt this since in Ululayu' s letters the word ku(p)pû may be better understood as "reed,"[[233]] a building material, than "ice." Furthermore, one should note that, except for one passage, the word for "ice" is consistently qarhu,[[234]] and not ku(p)pu, in the previous SAA volumes. [[235]] In two instances these two words appear side by side.[[236]] We do not claim that the Assyrians systematically kept the words for "snow" and "ice" apart from one another, but this is possible.[[237]] Hence, from the lexical point of view, it is questionable whether the Assyrians transported ice from the mountains, although this is not to be ruled out.

Reverting to Ululayu's scribe, could it be that his scribe, a Babylonian(?), was responsible for the use of a rare word ku(p)pû? Apart from this, also another rare word, nāpassu "answer," appears in Ululayu's letter (no. 8 r.15) where it is the direct object of the verb šamū "to hear" instead of the common šulmu "health." In Neo-Assyrian, the only other attestation of napāssu comes from no. 77 r.17 (a letter by an unknown high-ranking sender). Stylistically, one might maintain that the desire to request (i.e., "to hear") an answer from the king at the end of an eighth century letter (no. 8), even if not surprising, may be considered a minor Babylonianism.[[238]]

As regards the Nimrud Letter corpus in general, it is possible that some of the letters published here may have originated from the reign of Shalmaneser V [[239]] but it cannot be excluded that Sargon II destroyed most of the documents from his predecessor's reign. Nevertheless, since we do have Ululayu 's letters from the time he was the crown prince of Assyria, it should not be ruled out a priori that some of the letters in this corpus may indeed have originated from his reign. One should bear in mind that there is no compelling evidence that Sargon ordered the letters of Shalmaneser V to be destroyed.

This is important, especially if we otherwise interpret Sargon as a usurper. However, erasing the name of a previous king from public monuments may have been a popular activity in Mesopotamia;[[240]] one aspect of its purpose would of course have been to cloud the collective memory. Moreover, falsifying historical facts may have seemed especially important for a king who ascended to the throne after a coup. On the other hand, if we compare the Ancient Near East and the world of today we may observe that our own political memory probably tends to be considerably shorter, despite the technological advancements of our time which make it possible for us to delve into details of the past and to refresh our memory with relatively little effort.

One way of evaluating the possibility that some of the letters originated from the reign of Shalmaneser Vis to see whether the eponym officials of his reign are attested in the Nimrud Letters.[[241]] These are presented in TABLE V.

TABLE V. The Eponym Officials of the Reign of Shalmaneser V
Year Eponym
727 Bel-Harran-be lu-uṣur,[[244]] governor of Guzana
726 Marduk-belu-uṣur, governor of Amedi[[245]]
725 Mahdê/ Ammi-hatî, governor of Nineveh[[246]]
724 Aššur-šimanni, governor of Kilizi[[247]]
723 Shalmaneser V, king
722 lnurta-ili'i, probably the commander-in-chief[[248]]

Interestingly, out of these six eponym officials, we draw a complete blank with the first two names, but the following four officials (Aššur-šimanni, Inurta-ila'i, Mahdê, and Shalmaneser himself as Ululayu) all appear as senders of Nimrud Letters. Of course, this does not prove that the letters sent by or mentioning them date from the reign of Shalmaneser V. In any case, if this is not so, their presence in the corpus indicates that (l) they already held high positions during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III and that the letters were sent at that time, or that (2) Sargon II did not immediately get rid of these officials during his reign, or that (3) these letters in fact originate from the reign of Shalmaneser V. In other words, if these persons are not attested here in the letters from the reign of Shalmaneser V, then their presence at the very least proves a continuity of high administrative officials either from Tiglath-pileser III to Shalmaneser V (up to Sargon II) or from Shalmaneser V to the reign of Sargon II.

This brings us to the possible rotation of governors. Such a practice may be difficult to prove but without it we might consider Assyrian methods strange, frankly a waste of resources, especially if the experience of the most senior officers were not utilized in governing the provinces of the empire. Therefore, for example, any proclamations about the purge or dismissals of senior officials under the rule of a new king may not be taken to the letter .[[242]]

Accordingly , it might be a methodological flaw to assume that the lengths or ends of the careers of provincial governors correspond closely to the ends and beginnings of the reigns of Neo-Assyrian kings. For example, this attempt to synchronize the career paths of high officials with those of the reigning kings is often reflected in the entries of PNA.

Be that as it may, it may be productive to list some factors , problems, or reasons why our methods still fall short in the study of the highest officials of the Assyrian empire. These include, among others, the assumed rotation (of high officials), unknown number of deaths on duty, several titles held by many officials at the same time, tendency to give the same names to the governing officials of the area,[[243]] and often our inability to follow the career progression of provincial governors or other leading administrators. Discussion on lengths in high offices is needed to understand the mechanisms of high appointments and the reasons or motives for the careers of short or long duration. Often the Nimrud Letters, together with other Neo-Assyrian sources, provide somewhat conflicting sets of data on these issues, but we seem to have some officials with a long career opposed with others with an extremely short term in high posts. Now that the PNA is complete, including lots of data in a handy format, we should open or continue the discussion on the duration of the governor's offices, their possible rotation and of different strategies employed, even if we are at the mercy of our sources.

The Nimrud Letters clearly show that many top officials employed the services of more than one scribe. An almost constant mobility, reflecting the dynamics of expansion, makes it in some cases difficult for us to identify the officials who sent these captivating letters.

175 See B. J. Parker's article in Festschrift Parpola (n. 5 above).

176 Probably the same Ṣil-Bel (here nos. 93:2 , 6; 108 r.1 ; 109:4; 227:7) is also attested in a letter from Sargon's reign (SAA 1 160 s.3) in connection with barley.

177 S. Parpola," International Law: International Law in the First Millennium," in R. Westbrook (ed.). A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law. Vol.2 (Leiden 2003) 1063 shortly mentions humanitarian aid (with two references) in the form of "shipments of grain in times of famine."

178 He is the sender of SAA 15 177- 183, cf. also SAA 15 17 r.1, 156 r.13, 163:2, 164 r.11, 184:19, r.9, 195:7, 237:5f and SAA 17, xxviii (ad no. 132), xxx ii (ad no. 169). and xxx iv (ad no. 198) as well as SAA 17 67 r.44, 70: 8, 198:2. The PNA entry on Aššur-belu-taqqi n. PNA 1/I, p. 172f. was unlucky to appear before the publication of SAA 15 and SAA 17.

179 See n.111, above.

180 naparšudu and uṣû respectively.

181 Nabû-eṭiranni's letters nos. 65 and 67 also make use of a horizontal ruling; it is not impossible that his letter no. 66 had a ruling inserted after line 4 or 5.

182 For the dating of no. 74 (NL 75), one of the letters from Aššur-le'i, to Tiglath-pileser's reign, cf. SAA 5, xxxii.

183 Cf. CTN 5 p. 44f.

184 Brinkman, Festschrift Oppenheim p. 10.

185 Elsewhere, Balassu and Nadinu appear together in a business context, Cole Governor's Archive no. 45:8f. Note that Balassu's name is differently written in Babylonian (mba-lat-su/i in Cole Governor's Archive p. 430 and SAA 17, p. 195) and Assyrian (see the glossary below) letters.

186 And is, in addition, restored once in r.25.

187 The interpretation of Bel-aplu-iddina"3. Royal delegate" in PNA 1/II p. 286 concerning NL 74:7 (=no. 39) is not correct. For other attestations of Bel-aplu-iddina in this volume, PNA, loc.cit., states "4. Official, probably a governor, in Mazamua; possibly identical with 5."i.e., "Ruler of Allabria/Paddir in western Iran."

188 Adad-isse'a might be identified with governor of Mazamua; perhaps his stay in the west was only of a short duration; cf. the case of Nergal-uballiṭ (no. 89).

189 See Mattila Magnates p. 51 (and PNA, 2/1, p. 548b, no. 5) whose attribution of NL 55 (69) to Inurta-belu-uṣur is almost certainly wrong.

190 The name of the recipient was erroneously read Alla-uṣur by Saggs but the name in line 2 should be read as follows: mdMAŠ-U-PAB. See also PN A 2/I, p. 548 s.v. Inurta-belu-uṣur 5., although this somewhat modestly states "Official active in the north-west."

191 Note especially ENNUN-ku-nu "your guard," with the plural suffix in no. 3:11.

192 This important inscription remains unpublished, yet it is often mentioned that it would have stated Inurta-belu-uṣur being a eunuch of Šamši-ilu if this had been the case; cf. e.g. Gaiter, Melammu 5 (2004) 450, Rollig, "Aramaer und Assyrer: Die Schriftzeugnisse bis zum Ende des Assyrerreiches," in G. Bunnens (ed.), Essays on Syria in the Iron Age (Louvain 2000) 182 and id., Festschrift Parpola pp. 270 and 276.

193 See e.g., the references in the previous note.

194 Cf. Fuchs, WO 38 (2008) 81, 133f (n. 191). The inscription is published as RIMA 3 A0.I04.2010.

195 See Millard Eponyms pp. 44, 46, 59. It is notable that together with Bel-dan, Inurta-ila'i is the most frequent name of the Neo-Assyrian eponyms. The holders of this office in 863, 837, 801, 736 and 722 bore the name Inurta-ila'i; three or more officials of the same name must be credited with these five eponym years.

196 Courtesy of Greta Van Buylaere (personal communication) . Another interpretation is offered by K. Radner, AfO 50 (2003/2004) 103f, who restores the name of the sender as Qurdi-ili-lamur.

197 In this letter, the broken first Iine most likely began on the top edge of the tablet; unfortunately this feature is rarely recorded in copies or transliterations, but see e.g., nos . 28 (cf. CTN 5 p. 154), 38 , 124, 183. It is not plausible that ARAD- ka would have been written on the first line (Radner restores the first line as: [a-na LUGAL EN-ia ARAD-ka]) for which there is not enough space, as many of these signs are relatively long in this short and narrow letter.

198 Note also the tone in his letter to the palace scribe (no. 56), possibly reflecting Inurta-ila'i's superiority to the palace scribe; cf. note on no. 13:3, 5.

199 See SAA 15, xv, xviii, xxi.

200 See SAA I 5. xiii and li (n. I).

201 Although Merodach-baladan is described using a pejorative tone only In AI (Luckenbill Senn. pp. 48f:6f, 51:25f).

202 Perhaps for a third time in no. 118 r.l2, but his name is broken away.

203 Cf. RINAP 1 47:24 (Tadmor Tig l. Summ. 7) and no. 125 r.l 8ff.

204 Larak 's exact location, however, is uncertain.

205 Cf. Cole Governor·s Archive no. 34:9f, "We will eat the wheat of Larak" in a letter from Ninurtayu to Harranû, see esp. ibid. p. 101 on line 27.

206 For an alternative explanation, see Yamada, Festschrift Eph'al p. 310.

207 S. Yamada, "Qurdi-Assur-lamur: His Letters and Career," Festschrift Eph'al pp. 296-3 11. See also G. Van Buylaere, PNA 3/L p. 102lf.

208 See the critical apparatus on no. 30 line 2.

209 Qurdi-Aššur-lamur's early letters fit well with his governorship in coastal Phoenicia whereas the later letters by Qurdi-Aššur seem to originate from an official located in inland Syria (Yamada, ibid. pp. 297, 308-310).

210 The inland context of the letter is suggestive of his second post.

211 No.22r.5ff.

212 Cf. Yamada. ibid. pp. 306,310.

213 Yamada, ibid. p. 310 and id. Orient 40 (2005) 67-70. 78-80.

214 Cf. no. 37:3, probably also no. 38.

215 RINAP l 47 r . l6, 49 r.26f (Tadmor Tigl. Summ. 7 and 9). It should be mentioned that no. 24 speaks about giving tribute (maddattu whereas the word in royal inscriptions seems to be tāmartu "audience gift"; the word is broken away in RINAP I 47 r.l6 and only the beginning of the word is preserved in RINAP 149 r.27), but this need not present an obstacle to the interpretation of the same event.

216 It is highly unlikely that Ašsšr-etṭr, mentioned immediately after the chief cupbearer in no. 4:13, would be the chief cupbearer (contra to CTN 5 p. 8 1) since normally the profession follows the name. Moreover, providing the personal name after the profession would also appear redundant, and it is not common Assyrian practice to state a personal name together with his title, especially when referring to a leading official.

217 For Nabû-da"inanni, whose name is not attested in this corpus, see Mattila Magnates pp. 107 and 111.

218 Except for no. 2 which may be a copy of the original.

219 The word LUGAL/MAN needs to be restored as it appears the only relevant alternative in this context.

220 For a similar situation in which the turtānu is obviously leading extensive troops, cf. SAA 5 250.

221 See e.g. no. 71. The best known passage as regards the chief cupbearer,and , to a lesser degree the turtānu and the chief eunuch, comes from a reference in the Bible (Isaiah 36-37 and 2 Kings 18: 17ff) to the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 .

222 Note that mahāru, in the meaning "to appeal to someone," is mostly used in the connection with the king of Assyria.

223 K. Radner, AfO 50 (2003/2004) 95-104.

224 N. Na'aman, "Eloulaios/Uiulaiu in Josephus, Antiquities IX, 284," NABU 2006/6. For Shalmaneser V see also Baker, RIA II (2008) 585ff and Radner, PNA 3/1, p. I 077 and PNA 3/2, p. 1375.

225 See S. Zamazalová, "The education of Neo-Assyrian princes," in OHCC pp. 313-330.

226 A. Livingstone, "Ashurbanipal: Literate or Not," ZA 97 (2007) 98- 118.

227 In particular, it could be maintained, perhaps on rather flimsy grounds, that nos. 10 and II were written by Ululayu himself. Note the remark in CTN 5 (p. 194) on no. 11: " Nearly 50 mm of rev. is uninscribed"; this means that the letter was written in larger handwriting than usual as the obverse bears 9 and the reverse only 2 lines. In the "standard" handwriting, c. 35 mm would have been sufficient for potentially 7 more lines, i.e., the difference between the obverse and reverse of the letter. In the case of no. 10, Saggs commented (CTN 5 p. 195): "There are unusually wide spaces (c. 3 mm) between lines of script." Unfortunately Ululayu's letters nos . 9 and l1 are IM-tablets in Baghdad that could not be seen for the time being.

228 With small and large letters, I do not necessarily refer to the physical size of tablets, but to the variable number and density of lines as well as to the number of signs per line.

229 E.g., Lenzi, in his edition of the text (SAAS 19 pp. 154-156), does not discuss the education of (crown) princes.

230 But see F. A.M. Wiggermann, "A Babylonian Scholar in Assur," in R.J. van der Spek et al (eds.), Studies in Ancient Near Eastern World View and Society Presented to Marten Stol (Bethesda, MD 2008) 203-234, for the employment of a Babylonian scholar by Ašsur-uballiṭ in the early Middle Assyrian period (fourteenth century). In a way, this may be seen as a precedent for the later practice of having learned Babylonian scholars serving at the Assyrian court.

231 Radner [n. 223) 102.

232 For attestations, cf. note 237 below.

233 For attestations, in particular from Sennacherib's royal inscriptions, see kupû "canebrake" in CAD K 555f. In these references the word always occurs together with apu " reed, reed thicket, canebrake," and unlike kup(p)û and qarhu, apu and kup(p)û must mean more or less the same. Moreover, it is clear from Sennacherib's inscriptions that kup(p)û is used as a building material. In Ululayu's letters the word occurs twice: 36 maqarrāti ša kupê "36 bales of reed" (no. 9:8) and 90 ma[qar]rutu ša kuppê "90 b[al)es of reed" (no. 10 r.3f). In this context the use of the word maqarruru "bale," a unit of volume, may add a further complication to the question. It is easy to suppose the same unit of volume had been used for "straw" and "reed" (see e.g. no. 52:1lff and see also the discussion in Cole Governor's Archive ad no. 97:9, 36) but not so easily for "straw" and " ice." Note also that the relatively rare verb hašālu (no. 9:11), " to crush," seems to have been used for various materials and may not necessarily indicate that " ice" was crushed (certainly not snow), which of course would make perfectly good sense.

234 This is well in line with dictionaries; see for qarhu "ice, frost" in AEAD 87a; " Eis" AHw 903b; "ice" CAD Q 131; "ice, frost" CDA 285b and for ku(p)pû "snow, snowfall; ice" in AEAD 52a; "Schnee" AHw 509a; "snow, ice, cold" CAD K 551 b; "snow, ice" CDA 168a. None of the dictionaries gives the primary, but only secondary, meaning of "ice" for ku(p)pû.

235 Exceptionally, ku-pu-u šērida of SAA 5 142:6 is translated as "bring down ice" (cf. Radner [n. 223] 102 n.63), but this could of course alternatively be rendered as "bring down reed." Unfortunately the etymology of ku(p)pû is not certain. The word may be of Sumerian origin (cf. AHw 509a). The meaning of qarhu "ice" is certain; cf. the corresponding forms in Aramaic (von Soden, Or. 37 [1968] 264). Whatever the situation was with Sumerian or Akkadian of the Old Babylonian period. the problem is that the attempts to claim that ku(p)pû has the secondary meaning "ice" in Assyrian sources are not very convincing (see. e.g. Streck in RIA 12 (2009) 241f).

236 ku-up-pu / qar-hu KALAG-an "there is much snow and tee SAA 5 105 r.5f and šarru bēlī ūda ku-p[u-u] / qar-ha-a-te annāka/ ida''inūni "The king, my lord, knows that winter (lit. sn[ow] and ice) are very severe her[e]" ša šabaṭi/ nurumma "If ice does not form on it, we can leave it in mid – Sebat (XI)" SAA 5 272 r.2-5 and šunu ila''i/ ikabbusu/ adi war-hu lā i-war-ra-hu-ni

237 The lexical sections of the entries for šalgu and šurīpu respectively in CAD S/l 241 b and CAD Š/3 347b may hint at the consistency of the use of the words ku(p)pû for "snow" and qarhu for' ice" in Akkadian sources. For the use of šurīpu "ice" for cooling, see CAD S/3 348f, also discussed by Radner [n. 223] 102, but, without any clear evidence, we cannot agree with her conclusion that ku(p)pû and šurīpu (of Old Babylonian Mari letters) would mean the same.

238 Cf. SAA 17 52 r.20'-22', 53 r.2 l e-s. l, 70 r.7'-9', 151 r.6'f; SAA 19 122 r.9', 14 1 s.3f.

239 For example, one such letter could be no. I 81, titled "Officials inspecting Samaria.'' The letter might have been written soon after the conquest of Samaria in 722, which is attributed to Shalmaneser V (see e.g., Baker, RIA ll [2008] 586f), or in the early reign of Sargon II. Naturally, the two letters (see n . 247) by Aššur-šimanni could also have been written during the reign of Shalmaneser V.

240 For a discussion, see Radner Macht pp. 252-270. See also CAD P 249-251 sub pašāṭu and for an example, RINAP l, p. ll.

241 See also n. 104 above.

242 But a new king could sack or reinstate the highest officials of his predecessor. The latter option is confirmed by the Assyrian Coronation Ritual (K. F. Müller, MVAeG 41/3 [1937]). summarized, e.g., by Wiggermann ("The Seal of Ili-padâ, Grand Vizier of the Middle Assyrian Empire." in P. Taylor [ed.], The Iconography of Cylinder Seals [2006] 95) as follows: "At the enthronement of a new king all office holders (...) were assembled before the new king and collectively reinstated in their offices"; see also the discussion by Radner. OHCC p. 371.

243 In spite of the Neo-Assyrian custom to have eunuchs as provincial governors, relevant to the question of the same personal names of the governing officials of the successive empires of the first millennium BC is Parpola's observation (" Sakas, India , Gobryas, and the Median Royal Court," in Lanfranchi , Roaf and Rollinger [eels.]. Continuity or Empire? Assyria, Media, Persia [Padua 2003] 348): "It was a common practice (especially in aristocratic families) to name sons after their grandfathers." Similarly, on the reuse of the same names in Neo-Babylonian families, see also Jursa, RA 101 (2007) 133f. For example, such a practice might offer an alternative theory for viewing the careers of Inurta-belu-uṣur and/or Inurta-ila'i (discussed above). Theoretically, moreover, the use of the same names for the successive provincial governors, who could have been eunuchs or not related to one another, could signal the stability of the rule.

244 In the fi rst place, B e l-Harran-belu-u~ur is of cour e an eponym from Tiglath-pileser's re ig n; cf. RINAP l , p. 14, n. 6.

245 See n.132 above.

246 For example, Mahdê may well have been a governor of another province before being appointed to the governorship of Nineveh.

247 In this corpus, the two letters by Aššur-šimanni (nos. 15-16) are almost certainly by the governor of Kilizi.

248 The interpretation of Inurta-ila'i as commander-in-chief is based on the sequence of eponyms in which the king was followed by the commander- in-chief. For the sequence, see Millard Eponyms p. 10f. PNA 2/1, p. 550f sub Inurta-ila'i nos. 6 and 7, keeps the eponym officials for the years 736 and 722, both named Inurta-ila'i, separate. However, it may have been a natural career progression for a capable governor of Naṣibina to become governor of Kar-Shalmaneser (Til-Barsip) and even commander-in-chief.

249 Speculatively, the transporting of the letters to Nineveh, and perhaps back to Calah , may have taken place following a short period of storage in Dur-Šarruken at the end of Sargon's reign.

Mikko Luukko

Mikko Luukko, 'On some Influential Figures in the Nimrud Letters', The Correspondence of Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon II from Calah/Nimrud, SAA 19. Original publication: Winona Laka, IN, Eisenbrauns, 2012; online contents: SAAo/SAA19 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2021 [http://oracc.org/saao/saa19/onsomeinfluentialfiguresinthenimrudletters/]

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