Letters to Sin-šarru-iškun

At least two letters in the present volume (nos. 163 and 187) postdate the reign of Assurbanipal. Both of them bear the accession number 48-7-20 indicating that they belong to a small group of letters found in or near the throneroom area of the South-West Palace of Kuyunjik, which in its entirety dates to the reign of Sin-šarru-iškun.[[95]] Four letters of the group are from Uruk and hence not included in the present volume.[[96]] The remaining two letters, both addressed to the king, are from central Babylonia: no. 163 from Babylon, and no. 187 from Dilbat.[[97]] The dating of no. 187 to the reign of Sin-šarru-iškun (or possibly Aššur-etel-ilani) is clear from the historical information found in the letter, especially obv. 13-18, where Assurbanipal figures as a former king along with several other Assyrian kings (Tiglath-pileser III, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon) mentioned by name. No. 163 describes a turning of Babylon to the side of the Assyrian king in terms totally incompatible with the situation following the Šamaš-šumu-ukin war, and must accordingly be dated after Sin-šarru-iškun's victory over his brother Aššur-etel-ilani in late 627 BC.[[98]] Nos. 171 and 172 may also date to this period, see the notes on these texts.

95 See J. Reade, CRRAI 30 (1986) 213, and cf. S. Parpola, ibid. 225.

96 ABL 469, 815, 1089 and 1366; of these all except ABL 1089 mention Nabû-damiq. The letter ABL 1387 (Ki 1904-10-9,47) is closely related in terms of content.

97 In no. 187 the author invokes Uraš and presumably Belet-ekalli, hence the Dilbat attribution. For Uraš and Belet-ekalli in greetings, see nos. 183:2 and 184:2.

98 The victory over Aššur-etel-ilani is probably referred to as "the good news" (áš­em babbanû) in no. 163:18f. For the civil war between Aššur-etel-ilani, Sin-šarru-iškun, Sin-šumu-lišir, and Nabopolassar, and the dates of their control of Babylon, see Liebig, ZA 90 (2000) 281-284, and Gerber, ZA 88 (1998) 72-93.

Frances Reynolds

Frances Reynolds, 'Letters to Sin-šarru-iškun', 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 [http://oracc.org/letterstosinsharruishkun/]

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