People > Sin-shar-ishkun

Sin-shar-ishkun

Background

Sin-shar-ishkun was a king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire between 627 BC and the collapse of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BC following the Battle of Nineveh. He was the son of the last great king of Assyria named Ashurbanipal and was a weak and ineffective ruler that was unable to prevent the Revolt of Babylon which saw the complete decimation of Assyria as a political entity.

Sinsharishkun (Sin-shar-ishkun; Sîn-šarru-iškun, c. 627 – 612 BC), who seems to have been the Saràkos (Saracus) of Berossus, was one of the last kings of the Assyrian empire, followed only by Ashur-uballit II.Contents [hide]1Early years2Last Strike against Babylon3War in the Assyrian heartlands4In literature5ReferencesEarly years[edit]He was the son of Ashurbanipal, and possibly the brother of the last Assyrian king, Ashur-uballit II (612–605 BC). He is the last king who has years attested in most Babylonian records. Little is known about this king due to the lack of sources for his time. It seems that he ascended the throne sometime around 627 BC. After the death of the powerful Ashurbanipal, the vast Assyrian Empire began to unravel, due to a series of bitter internal wars over who should rule. Sinsharishkun's rise to power was marred by severe violence, crippling internal civil war, and upheaval within the Assyrian Empire. He had to unseat the usurper Sin-shumu-lishir, after his older brother and predecessor, Ashur-etil-ilani, had previously been deposed by Sin-shumu-lishir. During this confusion, a host of Assyria's many colonies and puppet states took advantage of the anarchy to quietly free themselves from Assyrian rule, most the Chaldeans, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Scythians, and Cimmerians.[1]Last Strike against Babylon[edit]After temporarily defeating his rivals, Sinsharishkun faced a much larger threat. Babylon, a vassal state of Assyria for three centuries, took advantage of the anarchy within Assyria and rebelled under the previously unknown Nabopolassar, the leader of the Chaldean peoples of south eastern Mesopotamia, in 626 BC.What followed was a long war fought in the Mesopotamian heartland. Nabopolassar tried to capture Nippur, the main Assyrian center of power in Babylonia, but was defeated by Assyrian reinforcements. However Nabopolassar did manage to take the city of Babylon itself with the help of the Babylonian citizens, and was crowned king in the city circa 625 BC.Sinsharishkun, crippled by civil war in Assyria proper, then lost more ground before succeeded in recapturing Uruk in the far south in about 624 BC, only to quickly lose it again. Sin-shar-ishkun led a large army to Babylonia in 623 BC to finally crush the Babylonian and Chaldean rebels, however yet another major rebellion broke out in the Assyrian homeland. A relief army was sent back north, but promptly joined the rebels, so that the usurper could reach the capital Nineveh without interference, and claim the throne. Chronicles for the next few years are mostly absent due to the civil anarchy in Assyria, however eventually Sin-shar-ishkun was able to quell the latest homeland rebellion. Crucially, precious time was lost to solve the Babylonian problem, with Nabopolassar taking advantage to entrench himself as ruler of most of Babylonia. In 620 or 619 BC Nabopolassar successfully captured Nippur and so became the master of Babylonia. However, he was forced to contend with Sin-Shar-Ishkun's Assyrian armies encamped in the Babylonian heartlands attempting to unseat him for the next four years.War in the Assyrian heartlands[edit]This stalemate ended in 616 BC, when Nabopolassar entered into an alliance with Cyaxares, king of the Medes, who had also taken advantage of the unremitting civil wars in Assyria to free his Iranian peoples: the Medes, Persians and Parthians from the Assyrian yoke and form them into a powerful force. In 616 BC, this alliance of peoples, now also including the Scythians and Cimmerians felt strong enough to move the center of operations northward and launch an attack on the war ravaged Assyrian heartland. In the years that followed Ashur, Kalhu, and Nineveh were besieged and destroyed amid bitter fighting.The fate of Sinsharishkun is not certain, as the section of the Babylonian chronicle in which he is mentioned at the siege of Nineveh is damaged. It is likely that he was killed defending his capital during Battle of Nineveh (612 BC) by Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes/Persians and Scythians.Despite the loss of its major cities, an independent Assyria endured, centered on its last capital city of Harran under its last king Ashur-uballit II. However this too was overrun by the alliance in 608 BC, and a final victory was achieved at Carchemish in 605 BC.In literature[edit]The fictional discovery of the tomb of Sinsharishkun just before the outbreak of the First World War is the central topic of the novel Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth.References[edit]Jump up ^ Georges Roux - Ancient IraqNa'aman, N., "Chronology and history in the late Assyrian empire"', Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, 81 (1991), 243-267.Zawadzki, S., The fall of Assyria and Median-Babylonian relation in light of the Nabopolassar chronicle, Poznan 1988.Unsworth, B., Land of Marvels: a Novel, Hutchinson, London 2009.Sinsharishkun of AssyriaNeo-Assyrian PeriodPreceded bySin-shumu-lishirKing of Assyria627–612 BCSucceeded byAshur-uballit II

Assyrian King List

King NameYears of RuleKingdom
Eriba-Adad I1380–1353 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-uballit I1353–1318 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Enlil-nirari1317–1308 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Arik-den-ili1307–1296 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Adad-nirari I1295–1264 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Shalmaneser I1263–1234 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Tukulti-Ninurta I1233–1197 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-nadin-apli1196–1194 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-nirari III1193–1188 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Enlil-kudurri-usur1187–1183 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ninurta-apal-Ekur1182–1180 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-Dan I1179-1133 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur1333 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Mutakkil-nusku1333 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-resh-ishi I1133-1115 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Tiglath-Pileser I1115-1076 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Asharid-apal-Ekur1076-1074 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-bel-kala1074-1056 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Eriba-Adad II1056-1054 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Shamshi-Adad IV1054-1050 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-nasir-pal I1050-1031 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Shalmaneser II1031-1019 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-nirari IV1019-1013 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-rabi II1013-972 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-resh-ishi II972-967 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Tiglath-Pileser II967-935 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-Dan II935-912 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Adad-nirari II912-891 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Tukulti-Ninurta II891-884 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Ashur-nasir-pal II884-859 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Shalmaneser III859-824 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Shamshi-adad V824-811 BCMiddle Assyrian Empire
Shammu-ramat811-808 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Adad-nirari III811-783 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Shalmeneser IV783-773 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Ashur-dan III773-755 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Ashur-nirari V755-745 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Tiglath-Pileser III745-727 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Shalmaneser V727-722 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Sargon II722–705 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Sennacherib705–681 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Esarhaddon681–669 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Ashurbanipal669–631 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Ashur-etli-ilani631-627 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Sin-shumu-lishir626 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Sin-shar-ishkun627-612 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
Ashur-uballit II612-608 BCNeo-Assyrian Empire
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