People > Tiglath-Pileser III

Tiglath-Pileser III

Background

Tiglath-Pileser III was the king of Assyria who reigned between 745 BC and 727 BC and ruled over the Neo-Assyrian Empire. He was responsible for merging the two major kingdoms of Assyria and Babylonia.Since the days of Adad-nirari III (reigned 810–783 bc) Assyria had been politically and militarily weak, for its northern neighbour, Urartu, dominated the states controlling its principal trade routes to the Mediterranean and to the Iranian plateau. Some portions of the empire had ceased to pay the tribute required by treaties. In the spring of 745 bc a rebellion against the weak king Ashur-nirari V, a son of Adad-nirari III, brought a new ruler, who was then governor of Calah, to power. This new ruler assumed the throne name of Tiglath-pileser in what may have been a deliberate reference to an illustrious forebear, Tiglath-pileser I (reigned c. 1115–c. 1077 bc).As king, Tiglath-pileser III, an intelligent and vigorous man, acted swiftly. He rearranged territorial governorships by subdividing the larger provinces that had tended to strive for independence from the central power. Outside the immediate home territory he appointed Assyrian officials to be directly responsible to him as well as to support their local ruler.By 738 there were 80 such provinces. The Assyrians had to report directly to the king, who thus was able to check continuously on the loyalty and efficiency of all of his civil servants. They were responsible for local taxation, the storage of military supplies, and the calling up of local forces to support the new Assyrian army, now a skilled professional force compared with its predecessor, which had relied on somewhat haphazard conscription. A new intelligence system, using reports transmitted by staging posts, was also created.Military campaigns.Tiglath-pileser was thus prepared to break the stranglehold of the surrounding tribes. He first moved eastward against Zamua (modern Sulaymānīyah), then north against the Medes. Both were brought back under control of the adjacent provincial governors. The tribal lands of Puqudu, northeast of Baghdad, were joined to the Arrapkha (Kirkūk) province, thereby holding the Aramaean tribes in check.This and contiguous operations strengthened the hands of Nabonassar, the native king of Babylonia, who maintained peace until his death in 734. All this was facilitated by Tiglath-pileser’s policy of mass resettlement. Groups whose loyalty was assured, since they were now dependent on the king for protection in a foreign environment, were settled in troublesome border regions. In 742–741 alone, tens of thousands were thus resettled.Tiglath-pileser next attacked the Urartian ruler Sarduri II and his neo-Hittite and Aramaean allies, whom he defeated in 743 bc. Advance westward was, however, barred by the capital of Arpad, which had to be besieged for three years—a technique now feasible to a standing army. The victory in 741 was far-reaching, as noted in the Bible (Isaiah 37:13), and was to stem the barbarian pressures from the north that, after Tiglath-pileser, were to threaten civilizations throughout the area. Tribute was brought to him at Arpad from Damascus, Tyre, Cilicia, and other cities and regions.The Assyrian king’s skill is best seen in his handling of affairs in Syria and Palestine. From an independent military headquarters he bypassed the rebels’ ringleader at Damascus, won over most coastal cities, cut off supplies of timber from Egypt, and sent a force to Ashkelon and Gaza. In 734 the border with Egypt was sealed. The tribes of Ammon, Edom, and Moab, who, with Israel, had attacked Ahaz of Judah—a vassal of Assyria—now had to pay tribute. Over the next two years Tiglath-pileser systematically broke the power of Damascus. Israel was made subject through the assassination of Pekah (Pakaha) and his replacement by a pro-Assyrian vassal Hoshea (Ausi). Galilee was made part of an adjacent province.The Assyrian sensed that these rebels were encouraged by Ukin-zer, the Chaldean chief who, in 734, had seized the throne of Babylon. Using consummate diplomacy, Tiglath-pileser sowed discord among other Aramaean tribes, one of whose chiefs he won over. His strategy now paid off. He could move the Assyrian army through areas held by loyal governors or vassals east of the Tigris. One force seized Babylon and another the rebel stronghold of Sapia. It proved a fitting culmination that in 729–728 Tiglath-pileser himself took over the throne of Babylon using his personal (or perhaps Babylonian) name of Pulu (II Kings 15:19; I Chronicles 5:26). He died soon afterward, having set Assyria on the road it was to follow to its end.

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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