Ninurta-apil-Ekur was the eighty-second king of Ashur and, according to some copies of the Assyrian King List [] (AKL), he held authority over Assyria for thirteen years; others record that his reign lasted only three years. An inscription of his (see text no. 1 []) and the AKL state that he was a son of Ilī-ipaddu (also read Nabû-dān and Ilī-iḫaddâ; see Brinkmann 1976-1980, 50-51), who was the grand vizier of Assyria and king of Ḫanigalbat during the reign of Aššur-nārārī III [], as well as a descendant of the earlier Assyrian king Erība-Adad I []. The notion that Ninurta-apil-Ekur's kingship marked some sort of dynastic change is supported by an inscription of Tiglath-pileser I [] (text no. 1 [] vii 55-59), in which he traces his lineage all the way back to Ninurta-apil-Ekur and no further (Grayson 1998-2001, 524).

The AKL tells us that Ninurta-apil-Ekur seized the throne from his predecessor Enlil-kudurrī-uṣur []. The relevant passage of that text reads:

Ninurta-apil-Ekur, son of Ilu-iḫadda, descendant of Erība-Adad (I), went to the land Karduniaš. He came up from the land Karduniaš, seized the throne, (and) exercised kingship for three/thirteen years.

The Synchronistic History describes the event slightly differently: Ninurta-apil-Ekur is said to have "go home," while Enlil-kudurrī-uṣur waged war against the Babylonian king Adad-šuma-uṣur. After the battle, Babylonian troops marched north and conquered Ashur (Grayson 1975 161-162, ii 3-8). This seems to indicate that Adad-šuma-uṣur joined forces with Ninurta-apil-Ekur and help him take the throne of Assyria from Enlil-kudurrī-uṣur. Ninurta-apil-Ekur was succeeded by his own son Aššur-dān I [].

Two short inscriptions of Ninurta-apil-Ekur survive (texts no. 1 and 2).

[Poppy Tushingham]


Brinkman, J. A., 'Ilī-iḫaddâ,' Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 5 (1976-1980), pp. 50-51.
Grayson, A. K., Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles TCS 5 (1975).
Grayson, A. K., 'Ninurta-apil-Ekur,' Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie 9 (1998-2001), pp. 524-525.

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Fragments of two stone vases from Aššur, one of which is housed in the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Berlin), bear a three-line inscription of Ninurta-apil-Ekur.

Access the composite text [] of Ninurta-apil-Ekur 1.

Sources: (1) VA 07881 (Ass 22493a)     (2) Ass 04795


1905 Andrae, MDOG 26 p. 63 (ex. 2, provenance, study)
1922 Schroeder, KAH 2 no. 76 (ex. 1, provenance, copy)
1926 Luckenbill, ARAB 1 §338 (ex. 1, translation)
1959 Weidner, Tn. p. XIV after no. 49 (ex. 2, study)
1961 Borger, EAK 1 p. 100 (ex. 1, study)
1972 Grayson, ARI 1 LXXXII 1 (ex. 1, translation) and 4 (ex. 2, study)


A rhomboid-shaped piece of turquoise has a short text of Ninurta-apil-Ekur inscribed on it. The object, which once formed part of a necklace of this Assyrian king, is presumed to still be in the Iraq Museum (Baghdad).

Access the composite text [] of Ninurta-apil-Ekur 2.

Source: IM 056801


1976 Khalil Ismail and Tosi, Sumer 32 pp. 105-12, two plates following p. 112, and pp. 81-87 in the Arabic section (photo, copy, edition)

Jamie Novotny & Poppy Tushingham

Jamie Novotny & Poppy Tushingham, 'Ninurta-apil-Ekur', The Royal Inscriptions of Assyria online (RIAo) Project, The RIAo Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2017 []

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