|999-0 B.C. Assyrian History
823: Black Obelisk of King Shalmaneser II of Assyria
by Rev. A. H. Sayce, M.A.
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2000 02:13 pm CST
This inscription is engraved on an obelisk of black marble, five feet in height, found by Mr. Layard in the centre of the Mound at Nimroud, and now in the British Museum. Each of its four sides is divided into five compartments of sculpture representing the tribute brought to the Assyrian King by vassal princes, Jehu of Israel being among the number. Shalmaneser, whose annals and conquests are recorded upon it, was the son of Assur-natsir-pal, and died in 823 B.C., after a reign of thirty-five years. A translation of the inscription was one of the first achievements of Assyrian decipherment, and was made by Sir. H. Rawlinson; and Dr. Hincks shortly afterward (in 1851) succeeded in reading the name of Jehu in it. M. Oppert translated the inscription in his "Histoire des Empires de Chaldee et d'Assyrie," and M. Menant has given another rendering of it in his "Annales des Rois d'Assyrie" (1874). A copy of the text will be found in Layard's "Inscriptions in the Cuneiform Character" (1851).
Beginning of Translation:
 Assur, the great Lord, the King of all
 the great gods; Anu, King of the spirits of heaven
 and the spirits of earth, the god, Lord of the world; Bel
 the Supreme, Father of the gods, the Creator;
 Hea, King of the deep, determiner of destinies,
 the King of crowns, drinking in brilliance;
 Rimmon, the crowned hero, Lord of canals; the Sun-god
 the Judge of heaven and earth, the urger on of all;
 (Merodach), Prince of the gods, Lord of battles; Adar, the terrible,
 (Lord) of the spirits of heaven and the spirits of earth, the exceeding strong god; Nergal,
 the powerful (god), King of the battle; Nebo, the bearer of the high sceptre,
 the god, the Father above; Beltis, the wife of Bel, mother of the (great) gods;
 Istar, sovereign of heaven and earth, who the face of heroism perfectest;
 the great (gods), determining destinies, making great my kingdom.
 (I am) Shalmaneser, King of multitudes of men, prince (and) hero of Assur, the strong King,
 King of all the four zones of the Sun (and) of multitudes of men, the marcher over
 the whole world; Son of Assur-natsir-pal, the supreme hero, who his heroism over the gods
 has made good and has caused all the world to kiss his feet;
 the noble offspring of Tiglath-Adar
 who has laid his yoke upon all lands hostile to him, and
 has swept (them) like a whirlwind.
 At the beginning of my reign, when on the throne
 of royalty mightily I had seated myself, the chariots
 of my host I collected. Into the lowlands of the country of 'Sime'si
 I descended. The city of Aridu, the strong city
 of Ninni, I took. In my first year
 the Euphrates in its flood I crossed. To the sea of the setting sun
 I went. My weapons on the sea I rested. Victims
 for my gods I took. To mount Amanus I went up.
 Logs of cedar-wood and pine-wood I cut. To
 the country of Lallar I ascended. An image of my Royalty in the midst (of it) I erected.
 In my second year to the city of Tel-Barsip I approached. The cities
 of Akhuni the son of Adin I captured. In his city I shut him up. The Euphrates
 in its flood I crossed. The city of Dabigu, a choice city of the Hittites
 together with the cities which (were) dependent upon it I captured. In my third year Akhuni
 the son of Adin, from the face of my mighty weapons fled, and the city of Tel-Barsip,
 his royal city, he fortified. The Euphrates I crossed.
 The city unto Assyria I restored. I took it. (The town) which (is) on the further side
 of the Euphrates which (is) upon the river 'Sagurri, which the Kings
 of the Hittites call the city of Pitru,
 for myself I took. At my return
 into the lowlands of the country of Alzi I descended. The country of Alzi I conquered.
 The countries of Dayaeni (and) Elam, (and) the city of Arzascunu, the royal city
 of Arame of the country of the Armenians, the country of Gozan (and) the country of Khupuscia.
 During the eponymy of Dayan-Assur from the city of Nineveh I departed. The Euphrates
 in its upper part I crossed. After Akhuni the son of Adin I went.
 The heights on the banks of the Euphrates as his stronghold he made.
 The mountains I attacked, I captured. Akhuni with his gods, his chariots,
 his horses, his sons (and) his daughters I carried away. To my city Assur
 I brought (them). In that same year the country of Kullar I crossed. To the country of Zamua
 of Bit-Ani I went down. The cities of Nigdiara of the city of the Idians
 (and) Nigdima I captured. In my fifth year to the country of Kasyari I ascended.
 The strongholds I captured. Elkhitti of the Serurians (in) his city I shut up. His tribute
 to a large amount I received. In my sixth year to the cities on the banks of the river Balikhi
 I approached. Gi'ammu, their Governor, I smote.
 To the city of Tel-abil-akhi I descended.
 The Euphrates in its upper part I crossed.
 The tribute of the Kings of the Hittites
 all of them I received. In those days Rimmon-idri
 of Damascus, Irkhulina of Hamath,. and the Kings
 of the Hittites and of the sea-coasts to the forces of each other
 trusted, and to make war and battle
 against me came. By the command of Assur, the great Lord, my Lord,
 with them I fought. A destruction of them I made.
 Their chariots, their war-carriages, their war-material I took from them.
 20,500 of their fighting men with arrows I slew.
 In my seventh year to the cities of Khabini of the city of Tel-Abni I went.
 The City of Tel-Abni, his stronghold, together with the cities which (were) dependent on it I captured.
 To the head of the river, the springs of the Tigris, the place where the waters rise, I went.
 The weapons of Assur in the midst (of it) I rested. Sacrifices for my gods I took. Feasts and rejoicing
 I made. An image of my Royalty of large size I constructed. The laws of Assur my Lord, the records
 of my victories, whatsoever in the world I had done, in the midst of it I wrote. In the middle (of the country) I set (it) up.
Face A, base
 In my eighth year, Merodach-suma-iddin King of Gan-Dunias
 did Merodach-bila-yu'sate his foster-brother against him rebel;
 strongly had he fortified (the land). To exact punishment
 against Merodach-suma-iddin I went. The city of the waters of the Dhurnat I took.
 In my ninth campaign a second time to the land of Accad I went.
 The city of Gana-nate I besieged. Merodach-bila-yu'sate exceeding fear
 of Assur (and) Merodach overwhelmed, and to save his life to
 the mountains he ascended. After him I rode. Merodach-bila-yu'sate (and) the officers
 the rebels who (were) with him (with) arrows I slew. To the great fortresses
 I went. Sacrifices in Babylon, Borsippa, (and) Cuthah I made.
 Thanksgivings to the great gods I offered up. To the country of Kaldu I descended. Their cities I captured.
 The tribute of the Kings of the country of Kaldu I received. The greatness of my arms as far as the sea overwhelmed.
 In my tenth year for the eighth time the Euphrates I crossed. The cities of 'Sangara of the city of the Carchemishians I captured.
 To the cities of Arame I approached. Arne his royal city with 100 of his (other) towns I captured.
 In my eleventh year for the ninth time the Euphrates I crossed. Cities to a countless number I captured. To the cities of the Hittites
 of the land of the Hamathites I went down. Eighty-nine cities I took. Rimmon-idri of Damascus (and) twelve of the Kings of the Hittites
 with one another's forces strengthened themselves. A destruction of them I made. In my twelfth campaign for the tenth time the Euphrates I crossed.
 To the land of Pagar-khubuna I went. Their spoil I carried away. In my thirteenth year to the country of Yaeti I ascended.
 Their spoil I carried away. In my fourteenth year the country I assembled; the Euphrates I crossed. Twelve Kings against me had come.
 I fought. A destruction of them I made. In my fifteenth year among the sources of the Tigris (and) the Euphrates I went. An image
 of my Majesty in their hollows I erected. In my sixteenth year the waters of the Zab I crossed. To the country of Zimri
 I went. Merodach-mudammik King of the land of Zimru to save his life (the mountains) ascended. His treasure
 his army (and) his gods to Assyria I brought. Yan'su son of Khanban to the kingdom over them I raised.
Face B, base
 In my seventeenth year the Euphrates I crossed. To the land of Amanus I ascended. Logs
 of cedar I cut. In my eighteenth year for the sixteenth time the Euphrates I crossed. Hazael
 of Damascus to battle came. 1,221 of his chariots, 470 of his war-carriages with
 his camp I took from him. In my nineteenth campaign for the eighteenth time the Euphrates I crossed. To the land of Amanus
 I ascended. Logs of cedar I cut. In my 20th year for the 20th time the Euphrates
 I crossed. To the land of Kahue I went down. Their cities I captured. Their spoil
 I carried off. In my 21st campaign, for the 21st time the Euphrates I crossed. To the cities
 of Hazael of Damascus I went. Four of his fortresses I took. The tribute of the Tyrians,
 the Zidonians (and) the Gebalites I received. In my 22d campaign for the 22d time the Euphrates
 I crossed. To the country of Tabalu I went down. In those days (as regards) the 24
 Kings of the country of Tabalu their wealth I received. To conquer
 the mines of silver, of salt and of stone for sculpture I went. In my 23d year
 the Euphrates I crossed. The city of Uetas, his strong city,
 (which belonged) to Lalla of the land of the Milidians I captured. The Kings of the country of Tabalu
 had set out. Their tribute I received. In my 24th year, the lower Zab
 I crossed. The land of Khalimmur I passed through. To the land of Zimru
 I went down. Yan'su King of the Zimri from the face
 of my mighty weapons fled and to save his life
 ascended (the mountains). The cities of 'Sikhisatakh, Bit-Tamul, Bit-Sacci
 (and) Bit-Sedi, his strong cities, I captured. His fighting men I slew.
 His spoil I carried away. The cities I threw down, dug up, (and) with fire burned.
 The rest of them to the mountains ascended. The peaks of the mountains
 I attacked, I captured. Their fighting men I slew. Their spoil (and) their goods
 I caused to be brought down. From the country of Zimru I departed. The tribute of 27 Kings
 of the country of Par'sua I received. From the country of Par'sua I departed. To
 the strongholds of the country of the Amadai, (and) the countries of Arazias (and) Kharkhar I went down.
 The cities of Cua-cinda, Khazzanabi, Ermul,
 (and) Cin-ablila with the cities which were dependent on them I captured. Their fighting men
Face C, base
 I slew. Their spoil I carried away. The cities I threw down, dug up (and) burned with fire. An image of my Majesty
 in the country of Kharkhara I set up. Yan'su son of Khaban with his abundant treasures
 his gods, his sons, his daughters, his soldiers in large numbers I carried off. To Assyria I brought (them). In my 25th campaign
 the Euphrates at its flood I crossed. The tribute of the Kings of the Hittites, all of them, I received. The country of Amanus
 I traversed. To the cities of Cati of the country of the Kahuians I descended. The city of Timur, his strong city
 I besieged, I captured. Their fighting men I slew. Its spoil I carried away. The cities to a countless number I threw down, dug up,
 (and) burned with fire. On my return, the city of Muru, the strong city of Arame the son of Agu'si,
 (as) a possession for myself I took. Its entrance-space I marked out. A palace, the seat of my Majesty, in the middle (of it) I founded.
 In my 26th year for the seventh time the country of the Amanus I traversed. For the fourth time to the cities of Cati
 of the country of the Kahuians I went. The city of Tanacun, the strong city of Tulca I approached. Exceeding fear
 of Assur my Lord overwhelmed him and (when) he had come out my feet he took. His hostages I took. Silver, gold,
 iron, oxen, (and) sheep, (as) his tribute I received. From the city of Tanacun I departed. To the country of Lamena
 I went. The men collected themselves. An inaccessible mountain they occupied. The peak of the mountain I assailed,
 I took. Their fighting men I slew. Their spoil, their oxen, their sheep, from the midst of the mountain I brought down.
 Their cities I threw down, dug up (and) burned with fire. To the city of Khazzi I went. My feet they took. Silver (and) gold,
 their tribute, I received. Cirri, the brother of Cati to the sovereignty over them
 I set. On my return to the country of Amanus I ascended. Beams of cedar I cut,
 I removed, to my city Assur I brought. In my 27th year the chariots of my armies I mustered. Dayan-Assur
 the Tartan, the Commander of the wide-spreading army, at the head of my army to the country of Armenia I urged,
 I sent. To Bit-Zamani he descended. Into the low ground to the city of Ammas he went down. The river Arzane he crossed.
 'Seduri of the country of the Armenians heard, and to the strength of his numerous host
 he trusted; and to make conflict (and) battle against me he came. With him I fought.
 A destruction of him I made. With the flower of his youth his broad fields I filled. In my 28th year
 when in the city of Calah I was stopping news had been brought (me, that) men of the Patinians
 Lubarni their Lord had slain (and) 'Surri (who was) not heir to the throne to the kingdom had raised.
 Dayan-Assur the Tartan, the Commander of the widespreading army at the head of my host (and) my camp
 I urged, I sent. The Euphrates in its flood he crossed. In the city of Cinalua his royal city
 a slaughter he made. (As for) 'Surri the usurper, exceeding fear of Assur my Lord
 overwhelmed him, and the death of his destiny he went. The men of the country of the Patinians from before the sight of my mighty weapons
Face D, base
 fled, and the children of 'Surri together with the soldiers, the rebels, (whom) they had taken they delivered to me.
 Those soldiers on stakes I fixed. 'Sa'situr of the country of Uzza my feet took. To the kingdom
 over them I placed (him). Silver, gold, lead, bronze, iron, (and) the horns of wild bulls to a countless number I received.
 An image of my Majesty of great size I made. In the city of Cinalua his royal city in the temple of his gods I set it up. In
 my 29th year (my) army (and) camp I urged, I sent. To the country of Cirkhi I ascended. Their cities I threw down,
 dug up, (and) burned with fire. Their country like a thunderstorm I swept. Exceeding
 fear over them I cast. In my 30th year when in the city of Calah I was stopping, Dayan-Assur
 the Tartan, the Commander of the wide-spreading army at the head of my army I urged, I sent. The river Zab
 he crossed. To the midst of the cities of the city of Khupusca he approached. The tribute of Datana
 of the city of the Khupuscians I received. From the midst of the cities of the Khupuscians
 I departed. To the midst of the cities of Maggubbi of the country of the Madakhirians he approached. The tribute
 I received. From the midst of the cities of the country of the Madakhirians he departed. To the midst of the cities of Udaci
 of the country of the Mannians he approached. Udaci of the country of the Mannians from before the sight of my mighty weapons
 fled, and the city of Zirta, his royal city, he abandoned. To save his life he ascended (the mountains).
 After him I pursued. His oxen, his sheep, his spoil, to a countless amount I brought back. His cities
 I threw down, dug up, (and) burned with fire. From the country of the Mannians he departed. To the cities of Sulu'sunu of the country of Kharru
 he approached. The city of Mairsuru, his royal city, together with the cities which depended on it he captured. (To) Sulu'sunu
 together with his sons mercy I granted. To his country I restored him. A payment (and) tribute of horses I imposed.
 My yoke upon him I placed. To the city of Surdira he approached. The tribute of Arta-irri
 of the city of the Surdirians I received. To the country of Par'sua I went down. The tribute of the Kings
 of the country of Par'sua I received. (As for) the rest of the country of Par'sua which did not reverence Assur, its cities
 I captured. Their spoil, their plunder to Assyria I brought. In my 31st year, the second time, the cyclical-feast
 of Assur and Rimmon I had inaugurated. At the time while I was stopping in the city of Calah, Dayan-Assur
 the Tartan, the Commander of my wide-spreading army, at the head of my army (and) my camp I urged, I sent.
 To the cities of Data of the country of Khupusca he approached. The tribute I received.
 To the city of Zapparia, a stronghold of the country of Muzatsira, I went. The city of Zapparia together with
 forty-six cities of the city of the Muzatsirians I captured. Up to the borders of the country of the Armenians
 I went. Fifty of their cities I threw down, dug up (and) burned with fire. To the country of Guzani I went down. The tribute
 of Upu of the country of the Guzanians, of the country of the Mannians, of the country of the Buririans, of the country of the Kharranians,
 of the country of the Sasganians, of the country of the Andians, (and) of the country of the Kharkhanians, oxen, sheep, (and) horses
 trained to the yoke I received. To the cities of the country of . . . I went down. The city of Perria
 (and) the city of Sitivarya, its strongholds, together with 22 cities which depended upon it, I threw down, dug up
 (and) burned with fire. Exceeding fear over them I cast. To the cities of the Parthians he went.
 The cities of Bustu, Sala-khamanu (and) Cini-khamanu, fortified towns, together with 23 cities
 which depended upon them I captured. Their fighting-men I slew. Their spoil I carried off. To the country of Zimri I went down.
 Exceeding fear of Assur (and) Merodach overwhelmed them. Their cities they abandoned. To
 inaccessible mountains they ascended. Two hundred and fifty of their cities I threw down, dug up (and) burned with fire.
 Into the lowground of Sime'si at the head of the country of Khalman I went down.
The Epigraphs accompanying the sculptures
 The tribute of 'Su'a of the country of the Guzanians: silver, gold, lead, articles of bronze, sceptres for the King's hand, horses (and) camels with double backs: I received.
 The tribute of Yahua son of Khumri: silver, gold, bowls of gold, vessels of gold, goblets of gold, pitchers of gold, lead, sceptres for the King's hand, (and) staves: I received.
 The tribute of the country of Muzri: camels with double backs, an ox of the river 'Saceya, horses, wild asses, elephants, (and) apes: I received.
 The tribute of Merodach-pal-itstsar of the country of the 'Sukhians: silver, gold, pitchers of gold, tusks of the wild bull, staves, antimony, garments of many colors, (and) linen: I received.
 The tribute of Garparunda of the country of the Patinians: silver, gold, lead, bronze, gums, articles of bronze, tusks of wild bulls, (and) ebony: I received.
End of Translation
999-0 B.C. Assyrian History Archives