A History of Babylonia and Assyria, Book II: The History of Babylonia
Robert William Rogers author
THE DYNASTY OF ISIN
THE Cause Of the downfall of the great Kassite dynasty is unknown to 115. It may have been due to an uprising of the Semites against foreign domination, with the war cry of .Babylonia for the Babylonians;" a cry which in various languages has often resounded among men and won many a national triumph. The Babylonian King List names the new dynasty, the dynasty of Isin,427 but its origin is still doubtful. It has been suggested that it began in Babylon and is named after a section of the city known as Isin,428 but it is still possible that it originated in the city of Isin, whose influence had been marked at an earlier period of the history. This dynasty reigned in Babylon a period of one hundred and thirty-two years. The list is so badly broken that but few of the names have been retained, and we are once more forced to seek the means of restoring the names from notices in other documents. There were eleven kings in this dynasty who were regarded by the Babylonian historians as legitimate, and of these four or five are entirely unknown to us. The names of the first two kings of the dynasty, who reigned eighteen and six years respectively (about 1206-1189 B. C. and 1188-1183 B. C.), are lost and cannot yet be restored; so, also, are the names and the regnal years of the next three kings. The sixth king of the dynasty was Nebuchadrezzar I429 (about 1135 B. C.). This king exhibits once more the spirit almost of a Halnmurabi. His victories are brilliant, and his defeats only evidence the hopelessness of the cause of Babylonia and the vigor of his efforts to save the state. When he began to reign Mutakkil-Nusku was probably king of Assyria, and in him lived the traditions of the glorious reign of Asshur-dan, who had once more carried the Assyrian arms to victory. Assyria was preparing to contest with Babylonia the possession of the whole of the valley, and the older land had need of a man of force and character. In the reign of the next Assyrian king, by name Asshur-rich-ishi, came the first great contest, the beginning of the struggle for supremacy between the two great nations. Nebuchadrezzar took the initiative and entered Assyria, but was met by Asshur-rish-ishi, defeated and forced to retreat in a veritable rout, having burned even his baggage to lighten his return to Babylonia. Having collected reinforcements, he returned to the contest, but was met by superior forces, again defeated and forced to retreat, having lost forty of his chariots. This terrible reverse found a counterbalancing success elsewhere, for Nebuchadrezzar conquered the Lulubi, punished Elam on the east, 430 and, most important of all, swung fearlessly and successfully his flying columns into the far west, even into Syria,431 that goal of such mighty endeavor in the distant past. In one of his inscriptions Nebuchadrezzar calls himself "sun of his land, who makes his people prosperous, the protector of boundaries." Well might he make the boast, for, though unsuccessful against the Assyrians, he had maintained a kingdom, which without him had probably fallen before the new and already almost invincible Assyrian power. Nebuchadrezzar I was succeeded by Bel-nadinapli (about 1125 B. C.), whose reign furnishes no event of importance known to us. In the reign of his successor, Marduk-nadin-akhe (about 11171096 B. C.), the Assyrians displayed in a still clearer light the power which was finally to put the destinies of all western Asia in their hands. The throne of Assyria was now occupied by Tiglathpileser I, one of the greatest warriors of antiquity. Against his kingdom Marduk-nadinakhe at first had some success, for he carried away from Ekallati the images of the gods Adad and Sala. These remained away for centuries, and were only restored to their place by Sennacherib. But such successes only nerved Tiglathpileser to greater efforts. He invaded Babylonia and captured a number of cities in its northern half and even took Babylon itself. Herein is the first great blow against Babylonian independence. The Assyrians did not hold the captured city, but Tiglathpileser I was the grand monarch of western Asia, and the Babylonian king ruled only by sufferance. The next Babylonian king was probably Mardukakhe-irba, who ruled only one year and six months and then gave place to Marduk-shapik-zer-coati (about 1094-1083 B. C.), with whom there began again a brief period of stable peace. The Assyrians under king Asshur-bel-kala had given over for the present the policy of crushing Babylonia, and had adopted rather the plan of making an ally and friend of the ancient commonwealth. After the death of Marduk-shapik-zer-coati, a man of unknown origin, Adad-apal-iddin, came to the throne. Usurper though he was, Asshur-bel-kala continued the same friendship to him, and even gave him a daughter in marriage. The last king of this dynasty was Nabu-shum (or -nadin), about 10821075 B. C.) of whose reign no tidings have yet come down to us. During the latter part of this dynasty the Assyrians were chiefly occupied in the internal strengthening and solidifying of their kingdom, while the Babylonians were unable to undertake any extensive campaigns. After this period our direct Babylonian information becomes more and more fragmentary, and even in some cases of doubtful meaning. The Babylonian state had lost the key to western Asia and the Assyrians had found it. Neither state was for the moment making any great efforts, but the future belonged to Assyria for centuries at least, and the sun of Babylonia had suffered a long eclipse. From now onward we must turn away from Babylon to see the main stream of history flowing through its rivalís dominions. We have followed the fortunes of the Babylonian cities from the gray dawn of antiquity down the centuries, through good report and evil report. We have watched the cities grow into kingdoms and have seen the kingdoms welded into a mighty empire. We have followed its advance to the very zenith and have seen its decline into subjection. It is a noble history, and even in outline has enough of the rich color of the Orient to make a glowing picture for the mind. From its contemplation we must now turn to look upon the development and progress of the kingdom of Assyria.