Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib
Sargon: "In my twelfth year of reign, Marduk-apal-iddina [Merodach-baladan] and Shuturnahundu, the Elamite ... I ... smote with the sword, and conquered ..."
Sargon: "Talta, king of the Ellipi ... reached the appointed limit of life ... Ispabara [his son] ... fled into ... the fortress of Marubishti, ... that fortress they overwhelmed as with a net. ... people ... I brought up."
Sennacherib: "In my first campaign I accomplished the defeat of Merodach-baladan ... together with the army of Elam, his ally ....".
Sennacherib: "... I turned and took the road to the land of the Ellipi. ... Ispabara, their king, ... fled .... The cities of Marubishti and Akkuddu, ... I destroyed .... Peoples of the lands my hands had conquered I settled therein".
Sargon Year 1
Sargon, as we have already seen, tells us plainly that he captured Samaria at the beginning of his rule in the first year of his reign. He appears to have been co-regent with Shalmaneser at this point.
Also in this year Sargon went against Merodach-baladan, now ruler of Babylon, whose reign began at the same time as Sargon's.
He also tells that, during this year: "On the Tu'munu tribe I imposed Assur's yoke".
Sennacherib's First Campaign
There is some good correspondence here. Sennacherib also encountered Merodach-baladan at the beginning of his campaigning. He tells it in much more detail than does Sargon:
"In my first campaign I accomplished the defeat of Merodach-baladan, king of Babylonia, together with the army of Elam, his ally, in the plain of Kish ....". After describing his subsequent entry into Babylon, Sennacherib also mentions - as does Sargon - that he brought the Tu'munu tribe to heel: "On my return (march), the Tu'muna ... not submissive ... I conquered.
Sargon Year 8
It was Sennacherib's second campaign that I had originally thought corresponded so closely to Sargon's 15th year campaign.
Now I can revise this because Sargon, in his 15th year, says that he had previously, "in the course of my former campaign", subdued Taltâ of Ellipi. Sennacherib's second campaign can be seen as the record of this "former campaign" which is lacking in Sargon's Annals. It probably occurred in Sargon's Year 8. "In my eighth year of reign I went against the lands of the ... Medes .... I carried off their spoil".
Sennacherib's First Campaign
Historians wonder why Sennacherib had so little contact with the Medes who posed such a problem for other Assyrian kings.
Sennacherib's brief mention of the Medes at the end of his second campaign is considered by historians to be insignificant - mere gift receiving.
But perhaps we should listen to Sennacherib more closely, for he claims that he "received the heavy tribute of the distant Medes."
In my twelfth year of reign, (Merodach-baladan), ... violated the oath and curse (invoked in the name of) the great gods, and withheld his tribute. ....
Humbanigash, the Elamite, came to his aid. ....
The might of Assur ... and Marduk, which I had made to prevail against those cities .... Babylon, the city of the lords, I entered amidst rejoicing ....
In my fourth campaign .... Merodach-baladan, whose defeat I had brought about in the course of my first campaign, and whose forces I had shattered ... his cities I destroyed, I devastated, I made like ruin heaps. Upon his ally, the king of Elam, I poured out terror.
On my return I placed on [Babylon's] royal throne, Assur-nâdin-shum, my oldest son, .... I made subject to him the wide land of Sumer and Akkad.
Another detailed account. It focusses on Sargon's destruction of the Chaldean strongholds previously ruled by Merodach-baladan, especially the capital, Dur-Iakin, and his defeat of the Elamites. Here are the relevant portions:
Dûr-Iakini, his stronghold, I burned with fire; its high defences I destroyed, I devastated; ... I made it like a mound left by the flood.
The people of Sippar, Nippur, Babylon, Borsippa, who were imprisoned therein through no fault of theirs, - I broke their bonds and caused them to behold the light (of day).
....I waged bitter warfare against the people of Elam .
... people from Bît-Iakin [which my hands had conquered], I settled [ in Calah] ....
This has exactly the same elements as Sargon's account, most notably the deportation to Assyria of the "people of (from) Bît-Iakin". Even the same descriptive (violent) language is used for the destruction of the cities of Chaldea.
The cities which were in those provinces I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. To mounds and ruins I turned (them).
On my return march Shuzubu, the Babylonian, who during an uprising in the land had turned to himself the rule of Sumer and Akkad ....
I accomplished his defeat in a battle ....
The king of Elam .... His forces I scattered and I shattered his host.
... the people of Bît-Iakin ... not a rebel (lit., sinner) escaped. I had them ... on the way to Assyria.
.... Shuturnahundu, the Elamite. [He lent his aid and came] to [the king of Ellipi's] rescue. .... Seven of my officials, governors, I sent .... 4,500 Elamite bowmen, fled to save their lives and went up into the city of Marubishti. .... Him, together with his fighters they brought in bonds and fetters before me .... Over all [of Elam] ... people of Ellipi, to the farthest border, I caused to dwell in habitations of peace, my royal yoke [I placed upon them], and they were subject to me.
The Elamite, Kudur-nahundu, heard of the overthrow of his cities, terror overwhelmed him, the (people of) the rest of his cities he brought into the strongholds. He himself left Madaktu, his royal city, and took his way to the city of Haidala, which is in the distant mountains. .... Kudur-Nahundu, the king of Elam, did not live three months longer ... but died suddenly, before his appointed time. After him, Umman-menanu ... his younger (?) brother, sat on his throne.
In the seventeenth year [the Assyrian king] ... came to Ecbatana [i.e. Babylon], captured its towers, plundered its markets, and turned its glory into disgrace.
(Still Year 17)
Then he returned to Nineveh, he and all his combined forces, a vast body of troops; and there he and his forces rested and feasted for one hundred and twenty days.
I advanced swiftly against Babylon .... Like the on-coming of a storm I broke loose .... I completely invested that city, with mines and engines .... The plunder ....
Sargon's Dedication Feast
... with the princes of (all) countries, the governors of my land ... nobles, officials ... of Assyria, I took up my abode in that palace and instituted a feast of music.
When we combine all of this together in a simple chart, we can ask:
What are the chances of this happening by mere coincidence, in such perfect chronological sequence?