Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

884 or 883-859 BCE

Mesopotamia / Kings /
Assyria / Neo period / Kings /
Ashurnasirpal 2

ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

From British Museum, London, UK
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Assyria at the time of Ashurnasirpal 2

King of Assyria from 884 or 883 until 859 BCE, and founder of the New Assyrian Empire. Ashurnasirpal means "Ashur is Guardian of the Sun".
Ashurnasirpal was both a great general and an effective administrator. But what he is infamous for, is the brutality committed on his war captives and on his own subjects for protesting against taxation and other hardships.
The rather comprehensive material we have on him is gathered from his own inscriptions at his palace in Calah. Here we see a ruler proud of the power that allowed him to be exceptionally cruel to anyone he chose.
Ashurnasirpal was able to extend his kingdom north to the borders of Urartu (modern eastern Turkey) and to the Mediterranean Sea. He never went into war with the strong state in the south, Babylonia.

Around 910 BCE?: Born as the son of king Tukulti-Ninurta 2.
883: Ascends the throne after his father.
— Ashurnasirpal soon sets out on campaigns to secure the borders of the kingdom against threatening rulers in north, east and west.
881: Ashurnasirpal starts a campaign against the rebel governor of Nishtun at eastern Arbela (modern Irbil, Iraq).
880: The governor of Nishtun is captured, and publicly flayed.
879: Revolt in the northern Kashiari hills, where Ashurnasirpal's vassal Amme-ba'ali is killed. Ashurnasirpal's troops strike quickly back and subdue the rebels.
— After some years of rebuilding Calah using enemy captives as labour, Ashurnasirpal moves his court from Nineveh to this new capital. The move is celebrated with a gigantic feast lasting for 10 days.
867: The campaign in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea succeeds, and the Phoenician city-states of Tyre, Byblos and Sidon are forced to pay tribute to Ashurnasirpal.
859: Dies, and is succeeded by his son, Shalmaneser 3.

Confused? Try to find a good place to start learning about Mesopotamia in
Where to begin?Detailed article

By Tore Kjeilen