World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000623607
Reproduction Date:

Title: Shamash-shum-ukin  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 648 BC, Esarhaddon, 7th century BC, Nebuchadnezzar I, Babylon
Collection: 640S Bc Deaths, 648 Bc, 648 Bc Deaths, Babylonian Kings, Year of Birth Unknown
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Shamash-shum-ukin was the Assyrian king of Babylon from 668-648 BC. He was the second son of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon.


His elder brother, crown prince Sin-iddina-apla had died in 672, and in his stead the third son Ashurbanipal was invested as crown prince and later king of Assyria, while Shamash-shum-ukin remained crown prince of Babylonia. This arrangement caused some dissension, and at least one civil servant wrote the King warning against it.[1] Provincial governors and vassals had to take an oath to accept this and to help the brothers gain their respective thrones in the event of Esarhaddon's death.[2]

When Esarhaddon unexpectedly died on a campaign against rebellious Egypt in 669, it was only the decisive action of his grandmother Naqi'a-Zakutu, widow of his grandfather Sennacherib and mother of his late father, that got Ashurbanipal on the throne,[3] in the face of opposition by court officials and parts of the priesthood. Shamash-shum-ukin, the older brother, became viceroy of Babylonia. The arrangement was evidently intended to flatter the Babylonians by giving them once more the semblance of independence.

In 668 BC Shamash-shum-ukin brought the statue of Marduk back to Babylon. The following year at the New Year's Day ritual, he took the hand of Bêl and became he legitimate king of Babylon.[4]

The Babylonian territory consisted of Babylon, Borsippa, Kutha and Sippar. As overlord, Ashurbanipal continued to offer royal sacrifices in these cities. While Shamash-shum-ukin was the sovereign ruler of the south in theory, Assyria maintained a garrison in Nippur, and some of the provincial governors tried to get into Assyrian favour. Letters by Sin-balassu-iqbi, governor of Ur show how he tried to ingratiate himself with Ashurbanipal.

Ashurbanipal retained responsibility for Babylonia's defense and foreign policy; Shamash-shum-ukin handled economic matters and land tenure.[5] Ashurbanipal took an active part in the restoration of sanctuaries in the south. A stela now in London commemorates his help in restoring the temple Esagila; another tells of how he restored the Nabu-temple in Borsippa. Even the Sumerian language was revived as the official tongue. For some time this worked well, however Shamash-shum-ukin became infused with Babylonian nationalism, and claimed that it was he rather than his younger brother that was the successor of the Mesopotamian monarchs whose empire stretched from Iran to the Mediterranean and from the Caucasus to Arabia and north Africa.

In May 652 BC, Shamash-shum-ukin rose in rebellion.[6] He formed a powerful coalition including Nabu-bel-shumate, king of the Mesopotamian Sealands, the Elamites, the Chaldean tribes of the South, the kings of Guti, Amurru and Meluhha and the Arabs from Arabia. After two years Babylon and Borsippa were besieged, and Elam was defeated and destroyed. Babylon yielded in June 648.

A fragment of the annals of Ashurbanipal excavated at Nimrud says that Shamash-shum-ukin was wounded by an arrow. Another account says that he threw himself into his burning palace as Babylon fell to Assyrian troops, to be remembered by the Greeks in the story of Sardanapalus (or Sardanapalos, his Greek name) (Ashurbanipal). However, since after his brother's death, Ashurbanipal reviewed Shamash-shum-ukin's property, including vehicles, horses, furniture, and retainers, J.D.A. MacGinnis regards the account of a grand conflagration as "pure fantasy".[6] His successor on the throne of Babylon was Kandalanu (647-627). Kandalanu, however, may have been either a throne name taken by Ashurbanipal himself or an Assyrian puppet ruler.[5]

MacGinnis believes that details of the siege of Babylon were later incorporated into Ctesias' account of the siege of Nineveh.[6]


  1. ^ , The Rosen Publishing Group, 2010, ISBN 9781615301126Mesopotamia: The World's Earliest CivilizationKuiper, Katherine.
  2. ^ , ASCSA, 2004, 9780876615331Charis: Essays in Honor of Sara A. ImmerwahrPorter, Barbara Nevling. "Problems of Transferring Power",
  3. ^ , Vol. VI, Clarendon Press, 1905Journal of Theological StudiesJohns, C.H.W. "Recent Assyriology",
  4. ^ , CUP ArchiveAncient BabyloniaJohns, C.W.H.,
  5. ^ a b , University of California Press, 2000, ISBN 9780520202221BabyloniansSaggs, H.W.F.,
  6. ^ a b c , Illinois Classic Studies, XII.I, University of IllinoisIdealsMacGinnis, J.D.A., "Ctesias and the Fall of Nineveh",

External links

  • 15ABC: Chronicle Concerning the Reign of Šamaš-šuma-ukin
Preceded by
King of Babylon
668–648 BC
Succeeded by
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.