The Assurbanipal Letters

In relation to Babylonia Assurbanipal's reign falls into three phases:

After ascending the Assyrian throne in 669 B.C., Assurbanipal oversees the appointment of his brother Šamaš-šumu-ukin as king of Babylonia in 668 B.C. The two brothers rule contemporaneously but the extent of Šamaš-šumu-ukin's independent authority in Babylonia is unclear.

Šamaš-šumu-ukin's revolt against Assurbanipal. Loyalties in Babylonia are divided and the country is riven by civil war. The fall of Babylon and the death of Šamaš-šumu-ukin mark the end of the revolt in 648 B.C. Assurbanipal is victorious. For key events during the revolt, see Frame Babylonia 188-90.

Assurbanipal reasserts his authority over Babylonia and installs Kandalanu as king of Babylonia.

The following key letters can be assigned to these phases within Assurbanipal's reign.

TABLE VI. Assurbanipal Letters Assigned to Chronological Phases

PhaseText no.
INos. 143, 158, 159, 192, 196, 202-204. Possibly nos. 160, 173, 201
I/IINos. 166-169. Possibly no. 174
IINos. 146, 147, 152, 153, 157, 164, 165, 175, 183, 185, 186, 200. Possibly nos. 176, 180, 199
II/IIINos. 193, 197
IIIPossibly no. 181

Frances Reynolds

Frances Reynolds, 'The Assurbanipal Letters', The Babylonian Correspondence of Esarhaddon and Letters to Assurbanipal and Sin-šarru-iškun from Northern and Central Babylonia, SAA 18. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 2003; online contents: SAAo/SAA18 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 []

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