1000-801 BC PART IV



1000 - 801 BC
The Zhou Dynasty and the "Warring States"
Zhou dynasty
King David
The Ancient Levant
The Early Israelites and the Kingdoms of David and Solomon
King Solomon
KING SOLOMON "Song of Songs"
The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
Judah (Southern Kingdom)
Abijah of Judah
Asa of Judah
Jehoram of Judah
Ahaziah of Judah
Athaliah, Queen of Judah
Jehoash of Judah
Israel (Northern Kingdom)
The Third Intermediate Period and the Late Kingdom Egypt
Sheshonk I
Adadnirari II
The Neo-Assyrian Empire
Ashurnasirpal II
Shalmaneser III
Queen Semiramis of Assyria
The Culture of the Greeks and Romans
Greek Mythology
Greek and Roman Myths in Art

Bulfinch Thomas

Berens E.M.
"Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome" 

Edith Hamilton
"Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
Temple in Jerusalem
Balawat, Neo-Assyrian
North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud
Hebrew and the Aramaic Script
Semitic Languages
KING SOLOMON "Song of Songs"
Stele for King Mesa
Myths of Babylonia and Assyria
Homer   "Iliad"    "Odyssey"
The Trojan War - HEROES
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Adad-Nirari II

  1000-801 BC

The Third Intermediate Period and the Late Kingdom Egypt
1070-332 в.с.
During the Third Intermediate Period, Egypt once again fragmented. The Late Kingdom then saw alternating periods of foreign occupation and independence.


The fifth king of the 21st dynasty, Osorkon I (ruled c. 979–c. 973 bc), was of Libyan descent and probably was an ancestor of the 22nd dynasty, which followed a generation later. From Osorkon’s time to the 26th dynasty, leading Libyans in Egypt kept their Libyan names and ethnic identity, but in a spirit of ethnicity rather than cultural separatism. Although political institutions were different from those of the New Kingdom, the Libyans were culturally Egyptian, retaining only their group identity, names, and perhaps a military ethos.

Toward the end of the 21st dynasty the Libyan leader of Bubastis, the great Meshwesh chief Sheshonk I (the biblical Shishak), secured special privileges from King Psusennes II (ruled c. 964–c. 950 bc) and the oracle of Amon for the mortuary cult of his father at Abydos. The oracle proffered good wishes not only for Sheshonk and his family but, significantly, also for his army. With a strong military backing, Sheshonk eventually took the throne. His reign (c. 950–929 bc) marks the founding of the 22nd dynasty (c. 950–c. 730 bc).
  Military controls were established, with garrisons under Libyan commandants serving to quell local insurrections, so that the structure of the state became more feudalistic. The dynasty tried to cement relations with Thebes through political marriages with priestly families.

King Sheshonk’s son Osorkon married Psusennes II’s daughter, and their son eventually became high priest at Karnak. By installing their sons as high priests and promoting such marriages, kings strove to overcome the administrative division of the country. But frequent conflicts arose over the direct appointment of the Theban high priest from among the sons of Libyan kings and over the inheritance of the post by men of mixed Theban and Libyan descent. This tension took place against a background of Theban resentment of the northern dynasty. During the reign of Takelot II, strife concerning the high priestship led to civil war at Thebes. The king’s son Osorkon was appointed high priest, and he achieved some semblance of order during his visits to Thebes, but he was driven from the post several times.
The initially successful 22nd dynasty revived Egyptian influence in Palestine.

After Solomon’s death (c. 936), Sheshonk I entered Palestine and plundered Jerusalem.

Prestige from this exploit may have lasted through the reign of Osorkon II (ruled c. 929–c. 914 bc). In the reign of Osorkon III (ruled c. 888–c. 860 bc), Peywed Libyans posed a threat to the western delta, perhaps necessitating a withdrawal from Palestine.

The latter part of the dynasty was marked by fragmentation of the land: Libyan great chiefs ruled numerous local areas, and there were as many as six local rulers in the land at a time. Increased urbanization accompanied this fragmentation, which was most intense in the delta.
  Meanwhile, in Thebes, a separate 23rd dynasty was recognized.

From the 9th century bc a local Cushite state, which looked to Egyptian traditions from the colonial period of the New Kingdom, arose in the Sudan and developed around the old regional capital of Napata. The earliest ruler of the state known by name was Alara, whose piety toward Amon is mentioned in several inscriptions. His successor, Kashta, proceeded into Upper Egypt, forcing Osorkon IV (ruled c. 777–c. 750 bc) to retire to the delta. Kashta assumed the title of king and compelled Osorkon IV’s daughter Shepenwepe I, the God’s Wife of Amon at Thebes, to adopt his own daughter Amonirdis I as her successor. The Cushites stressed the role of the God’s Wife of Amon, who was virtually the consecrated partner of Amon, and sought to bypass the high priests.
The pharaohs who followed the 20th dynasty only held sway over the lands of Upper Egypt. The leaders of the Libyan mercenary troops employed by the kings grew in power until one of them, 1 Shoshenq I (ca. 945-924 B.C.), managed to seize the throne. Through their dynastic connections, the Libyan pharaohs were initially able to exert a certain influence in Upper Egypt, but Lower Egypt eventually disintegrated into a multitude of principalities and kingdoms.

1 Pharaoh Shoshenq I holds Israelite captive,
hieroglyphic inscription, ca. 930 B.C.


Sheshonk I

Sheshonk I, also spelled Shoshenq or Shishak (flourished 10th century bce), first king (reigned 945–924 bce) of the 22nd dynasty of ancient Egypt (see ancient Egypt: the 22nd and 23rd dynasties).

Sheshonk came from a line of princes or sheikhs of Libyan tribal descent whose title was “great chief of the Meshwesh” and who appear to have settled in Bubastis in the eastern Nile River delta. He was a general under Psusennes II, the last king of the 21st dynasty (1075–c. 950 bce), and probably ascended the throne without a struggle, making Bubastis his residence and marrying his son Osorkon to a daughter of Psusennes II.

According to the Bible, “Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem” (1 Kings 14:25–26) about 930 bce in support of Jeroboam, the pretender who challenged the right of Solomon’s son Rehoboam to succeed to the Israelite throne. Sheshonk’s victories in Palestine were celebrated by reliefs and inscriptions at Karnak. Although the biblical account reported the looting of the palace and temple, the name Jerusalem did not survive in the Egyptian record. A fragment bearing Sheshonk’s name was found at Megiddo.

Sphinx of King Sheshonk, bronze figure from Egypt, c. 945–718 bce; in the Brooklyn Museum, New York

Karnak relief depicting Shoshenq I and his second son

4 The "god-wife of Amun" Karomama,
 statuette, ca. 870 B.C.

The 2 high priests of Amun, in Thebes, had already established a form of theocracy in Upper Egypt, which they legitimized through the prophecies of the 4 "god-wife of Amun." The functions of this high office were usually performed by the princesses of Libya, and later by princesses from the Kushite roval families.

The Kushites began advancing out of Nubia into Egypt in about 740 B.C. They established themselves as pharaohs, first in Thebes and then, under the 3 25th dynasty, in Lower Egypt as well. They succeeded in establishing a single Egyptian state in 712.

2 Egyptian priest reading scrolls


3 Taharka, from the 25th dynasty, bows before the falcon god Hemen, statue

After 671 в.с, the Assyrians launched repeated invasions of Egypt.

They installed Psamtik I, a Libyan prince from the Nile Delta, as governor. In 663, with the help of Greek mercenaries, he declared independence and founded the 26th dynasty. He forced the Kushite god-wife of Amun to name one of his daughters as her successor and thus brought Upper Egypt under his rule by 656. Psamtik I also brought Greek tradesmen to Egypt, who settled primarily in the Nile Delta. Overtime, the relationship with the Greeks became ever closer. The pharaohs married Greek women, donated votive offerings to Delphi, and minted coins after the Greek model.

The Persians 5 conquered Egypt in 525 в.с. and incorporated it into their empire. After many uprisings, Egypt regained its independence only to fall to the Persians a second time in 343. When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian empire in 332 B.C., Egypt also came under his rule and he founded the city of Alexandria. After his death Egypt once again rose to a position of supremacy in the Eastern Mediterranean region under the rule of the Ptolemies.

5 Pharaoh Psamtik III defeated and made to submit to his conqueror,
Persian King Cambyses, painting, 19th century

  1000-801 BC
  Adadnirari II
Adadnirari II of Assyria makes peace with Babylon

Adad-nirari II is generally considered to be the first King of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian period. He firmly subjugated the areas previously under only nominal Assyrian vassalage, conquering and deporting troublesome Aramean, Neo-Hittite and Hurrian populations in the north to far-off places. Adad-nirari II then twice attacked and defeated Shamash-mudammiq of Babylonia, annexing a large area of land north of the Diyala River and the towns of Hīt and Zanqu in mid Mesopotamia. He made further gains over Babylonia under Nabu-shuma-ukin later in his reign. He also campaigned to the west, subjugating the Aramean cities of Kadmuh and Nisibin. Along with vast amounts of treasure collected, he also secured the Kabur region.

Adad-nirari II's father was Ashur-dan II, whom he succeeded.

Adad-nirari II's son was named Tukulti-Ninurta II and Tukulti continued to wage war against Assyrian enemies.

He reigned from 911 to 891 BC.

Because of the existence of full eponym lists from his reign down to the middle of the reign of Ashurbanipal in the 7th century BC, year one of his reign in 911 BC is perhaps the first event in ancient Near Eastern history which can be dated to an exact year, although the Assyrian King List is generally considered to be quite accurate for several centuries before Adad-nirari's reign, and scholars generally agree on a single set of dates back to Ashur-resh-ishi I in the late 12th century BC.


The Neo-Assyrian Empire (883-612в.с.)

Map of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and its expansions.


During the period of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (883-612 B.C.), the military power of the Assyrians expanded through Palestine and Israel, and into Egypt.

Assyria experienced a renewed period of expansion under King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.). Annual military campaigns were waged in order to break the resistance of neighboring kingdoms, and the conquests were followed by brutal mass executions.

Stela of Ashurnasirpal II in the British Museum
Ashurnasirpal II

Ashurnasirpal II, (flourished 9th century bce), king of Assyria 883–859 bce, whose major accomplishment was the consolidation of the conquests of his father, Tukulti-Ninurta II, leading to the establishment of the New Assyrian empire. Although, by his own testimony, he was a brilliant general and administrator, he is perhaps best known for the brutal frankness with which he described the atrocities committed on his captives. The details of his reign are known almost entirely from his own inscriptions and the splendid reliefs in the ruins of his palace at Calah (now Nimrūd, Iraq).
The annals of Ashurnasirpal II give a detailed account of the campaigns of his first six years as king and show him moving from one corner of his empire to another, putting down rebellions, reorganizing provinces, exacting tribute, and meeting opposition with calculated ruthlessness. In the east, Ashurnasirpal early in his reign publicly flayed the rebel governor of Nishtun at Arbela (modern Irbīl, Iraq), and, after brief expeditions in 881–880 bce, he had no further trouble there.
In the north, he thwarted Aramaean pressure on the Assyrian city of Damdamusa by storming the rebel stronghold of Kinabu and ravaging the land of Nairi (Armenia). He organized a new Assyrian province of Tushhan to control the border, and there he received tribute from his father’s former opponent Amme-ba’ali. In 879 bce, however, the tribes in the Kashiari hills revolted and murdered Amme-ba’ali. The Assyrian revenge was swift and ruthless. In the west, he subdued the Aramaeans, extracting submission from the powerful state of Bit-Adini, and subsequently marched unopposed to the Mediterranean Sea by way of Carchemish and the Orontes River, receiving tribute along the way and from the cities of Phoenicia.
Ashurnasirpal used the captives from his campaigns to rebuild the city of Calah, which had been founded by Shalmaneser I (reigned c. 1263–c. 1234 bce) but was then only a ruin. By 879 bce the main palace in the citadel, the temples of Ninurta and Enlil, shrines for other deities, and the city wall had been completed. Botanic gardens and a zoologic garden had been laid out, and water supplies were ensured by a canal from the Great Zab River. The inscriptions and reliefs from this city, to which the king moved from Nineveh, are the principal historical source for the reign. In 1951 a stela was discovered at the site commemorating a feast lasting 10 days for 69,574 persons to celebrate the city’s official opening when the king moved there from Nineveh in 879 bce.

Succeeding Ashurnasirpal, Queen Sammu-ramat, also known as Semiramis, conducted the empire's affairs very successfully. She acted as regent for her son, Adadnirari III (810-783 B.C.), and then continued to exert a significant influence over the throne even after he came of age. A succession of weak kings, rebellious provincial governors, and the growing power of Urartu threatened the empire. These dangers were averted after Tiglath-pileser III seized power in 745 B.C. and set about refashioning the Kingdom and overseeing renewed military success. He advanced into Gaza in the west, conquered Babylon in the south, and triumphed over the ruler of Urartu. In addition to reviving Assyrian military fortunes, Tiglath-pileser proved a capable administrator, strengthening the empire by reordering the provinces and standardizing laws. His economic planning involved the forced relocation of the empire's subjects.


King Shalmaneser III
Shalmaneser III

Shalmaneser III, (flourished 9th century bc), king of Assyria (reigned 858–824 bc) who pursued a vigorous policy of military expansion.
Although he conducted campaigns on the southern and eastern frontiers, Shalmaneser’s main military effort was devoted to the conquest of North Syria. His progress was slow. In 853 bc he fought a coalition formed by the kings of Hamath, Damascus, and Israel in a huge-scale, but indecisive, battle, and he did not penetrate the west until the coalition had broken up.
In 841 bc he defeated Hazael and, after failing to capture Damascus itself, marched to the Mediterranean coast where he received tribute from Tyre, Sidon, and Samaria. The submission of the latter is shown on the “Black Obelisk” (from Nimrūd, now in the British Museum) where “Jehu, son of Omri” bows before Shalmaneser. By 832 Cilicia had been invaded, Tarsus captured, and the region made an Assyrian dependency. The remaining campaigns of Shalmaneser’s reign were led by Shalmaneser’s army commander against Sardur I and the Mannai. Before the king died in 824 bc, civil war broke out between a son, Ashur-danin-apal, and his heir, Shamshi-Adad V. Shalmaneser rebuilt a palace and ziggurat at Nimrūd. His wars were commemorated both on palace reliefs there and on the gates of the temple at Balawat.


Basalt statue of King Shalmaneser III, 858-824 BCE. Found in Assur (Qala't Sharqat). Today it is displayed in the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, in the Museum of the Ancient Orient section. This text is from a display at this statue, a translation of script on the actual statue:
The king gives a brief account of his genealogical titles and characteristics as follows:

"Shalmaneser, the great king, the mighty king, king of all the four regions, the powerful and the mighty rival of the princes of the whole universe, the great ones, the kings, son of Assur-Naşirapli, king of universe, king of Assyria, grandson of Tukulti-Ninurta, king of universe, king of Assyria."

The inscription continues with describing his campaigns and deeds of the lands of Urartu, Syria, Namri, Que and Tabal, and ends with this:

"At that time I rebuilt the walls of my city Ashur from their foundations to their summits. I made an image of my royal self and set it up by the metal-workers gate."


King Jehu of Israel bows before Shalmanezer III of Assyria.

Queen Semiramis of Assyria

Queen Sammu-ramat (Semiramis) of Assyria, who reigned as regent after the death of her husband,  is cloaked in legend.

She allegedly had innumerable lovers and distinguished herself as a ruler and military commander.

She is also credited with the construction of the "Hanging Gardens" of Babylon.

Semiramis Puts Down an Uprising in Babylon
, painting by Matteo Rosselli, 17th century A.D.


Semiramis staring at the corpse of Ara the Beautiful.

The real and historical Shammuramat (in Greek, Semiramis), was the Assyrian queen of Shamshi-Adad V (ruled 824 BC–811 BC), King of Assyria and ruler of the Neo Assyrian Empire, and its regent for four years until her son Adad-nirari III came of age.

For the ancient Greeks Semiramis (pronounced /səˈmɪrəmɪs/) was one of several legendary Assyrian queens. The most recent was Semiramis II for whom the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built.

The legends narrated by Diodorus Siculus, Justin and others from Ctesias of Cnidus make a picture of her and her relationship to King Ninus, himself a mythical king of Assyria, not attested in the Assyrian King List.

The name of Semiramis came to be applied to various monuments in Western Asia, the origin of which was forgotten or unknown. Ultimately every stupendous work of antiquity by the Euphrates or in Iran seems to have been ascribed to her, even the Behistun Inscription of Darius. Herodotus ascribes to her the artificial banks that confined the Euphrates and knows her name as borne by a gate of Babylon. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are also known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis.

Various places in Assyria, Mesopotamia, Medea, Persia and Asia Minor bore the name of Semiramis, but slightly changed, even in the Middle Ages, and an old name of the city of Van was Shamiramagerd. Assyrians still name female children Semiramis to this day.

  Semiramis hearing of the insurrection at Babylon by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1624
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston