The Chronology and Historical Background of the Corpus

The problem with the royal documents from the reign of Esarhaddon is not lack of information, but their chronological arrangement. We lack from the reign of this king annals in the strict sense of the term, such as we have from the reigns of other Assyrian kings. On the other hand, we do have, aside from royal inscriptions, chronicle texts providing a firm chronological framework for the major political events of the period, and an abundance of royal correspondence, including astrological omen reports and the corpus of oracle queries and reports edited here. The queries in particular are a major source of information, sometimes our only source, for events in the reign of Esarhaddon. The major shortcomings of the queries are their fragmentary nature and, with a few exceptions, their lack of dating, so that in the majority of cases we can only guess at the chronological order of the episodes described in them.

Ivan Starr

Ivan Starr, 'The Chronology and Historical Background of the Corpus', Queries to the Sungod: Divination and Politics in Sargonid Assyria, SAA 4. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1990; online contents: SAAo/SAA04 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 []

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