Uruk, Ur, and Kissik

Similarly, Uruk and Ur did not support Šamaš-šumu-ukin during the revolt. Hence both cities fell into difficult straits. However, they could not be taken by the rebels[[40]] and were released from the tremendous pressure of the rebels in 650.[[41]]

Uruk functioned as an important stronghold for Assyria during the revolt. Its governor Nabû-ušabši was abducted to Babylon by a general of Šamaš-šumu-ukin and an Urukian named Mukin-zeri, whose brother Nabû-naṣir was appointed to the governorship of Uruk by Šamaš-šumu-ukin. Before he left Uruk, he ordered the city overseer of Uruk to bring Aplaya, the governor of Arrapha, and Marduk-šarru-uṣur, the chariot driver of the queen, into Uruk to protect the city from Šamaš-šumu-ukin. Upon request, Assurbanipal sent reinforcements to Uruk, which in addition to Aplaya and Marduk-šarru-uṣur included Bel-eṭir, Arbaya, and Nuraya, the governor of Mazamua and Lahiru along with 200 horses. These reinforcements are discussed in nos. 22-25 where Aplaya and Nuraya are referred to only by their titles. Nabû-ušabši was saved by the relatives of his mother in Babylon.[[42]]

Nabû-ušabši had intervened on behalf of Assyria with the Chaldean tribe Bit-Amukani that resided north of Uruk.[[43]] In no. 26, Assurbanipal shows his approval of what Nabû-ušabši had done to them. In no. 27, dated 650-II-19, the king orders Nabû-ušabši to write a letter to Bel-ušallim of Ša-amele in Bit-Amukani about Ea-zera-qiša, the leader of Bit-Amukani, and Humbuštu, the mother of Ea-zera-qiša. Possibly Nabû-ušabši wrote the letter no. 108 to the king and he might have referred to the event in which Bel-ēṭir and Arbaya, dispatched by Assyria, captured four men carrying a message from the king of Babylon to Bit-Amukani.[[44]] Ea-zera-qiša was detained as hostage in Assyria as security for his tribe's loyalty during all or part of the revolt. He wrote the letter, No. 155, to his mother and asked her to ensure their loyalty to Assurbanipal.[[45]]

The king refers to four different treaties with Nabû-ušabši in no. 28 dated in Sivan (III) of an unspecified year. He notifies Nabû-ušabši that he is sending three high-ranking Assyrians with a new treaty tablet and urges him to join the treaty.

Kudurru succeeded to the governorship of Uruk by 647,[[46]] but he was already active in the city during the revolt, possibly as a subordinate of Nabû-ušabši. He received, together with Urukians, two letters of Assurbanipal, no. 32 dated on XII-12 (no year date) and no. 33 dated 646*-II-24. In the latter, the king tells them that as a result of weeping (bikītu) the gods worshipped in Uruk have become reconciled.

Ur was less secure than Uruk and it became a target for the rebels such as the Puqudu tribe. Sîn-tabni-uṣur, the governor of Ur, appealed to Uruk for aid.[[47]] Kudurru also wrote to Assurbanipal concerning the critical situation of Ur caused by a messenger of Šamaš-šumu-ukin. He states that he personally garnered 500 to 600 Urukian archers, marched to Ur together with Aplaya, Nuraya, and the general of the Sealand, Bel-ibni.[[48]] It appears that the expedition to Ur was successful, judging from the following letters. Assurbanipal commends Sîn-tabni-uṣur in no. 37 for enduring the enemy and famine for two years. He also refers to a feud between Sîn-tabni-uṣur and Sîn-šarra-uṣur, his predecessor and brother. It seems that the latter was attempting to discredit the former and probably hoping to regain control of Ur. However, the king states that he would not listen to the slander made by the latter. In no. 38, he again tells Sîn-tabni-uṣur that he would not take nonsense from Sîn-šarra-uṣur and thanks him for having been loyal for three years. He also states that the country is becoming safe and Sîn-tabni-uṣur can come to see him when public order has been fully restored. Later, the sibling rivalry between the brothers was settled. Assurbanipal informs Sîn-tabni-uṣur in no. 41 that Sîn-šarra-uṣur came to him and surrendered.

The city of Kissik was located about 30 km southeast of Ur[[49]] The Kissikians had built strong ties with Ur at the time of Assurbanipal; they use an Ur-type blessing formula invoking the gods Sîn and Nikkal in their letters to the king.[[50]] In no. 42, Assurbanipal responds to a letter that the Kissikians had written to him concerning Sîn-šarra-uṣur. He assuages their concerns by pointing out through rhetorical questions that if the troops of Sîn-šarra-uṣur were so numerous and if he were on the alert because of the Kissikians, he would not have fled into Assurbanipal's presence.

40 Both cities dated their economic documents from the beginning by the regnal years of Assurbanipal, see Brinkman and Kennedy 1983, 21-22.

41 Bel-ibni, who was appointed by 650-II-5 (see no. 43), was involved in the release of Uruk and Ur. He worked with Aplaya and Nuraya, who first aided Uruk on the request of Nabû-ušabši, and then headed to Ur on the request of Sîn-tabni-uṣur. Sîn-tabni-uṣur is said to have endured famine for two years in no. 37. In addition, the troops of Šamaš-šumu-ukin were able to be active outside of Babylon only before the city was besieged on 650-IV-11.

42 Frame 1992, 158-159. ABL 1106.

43 Fales 2011, 96.

44 Hug 1993, 19-21, Assurbrief (AssB).

45 Frame 1992, 172-173.

46 Frame 1992, 280.

47 Nos. 22-25.

48 Frame 1992, 160-161. See also ABL 754 + CT 54 250.

49 Frame 1992, 162, n. 139.

50 The royal inscriptions of Sennacherib record that the city of Kissik belonged to the Chaldean Bit-Iakin (RINAP 3/1, 1: 48-49) but the Kissikians clearly distanced themselves from the Chaldeans during the reign of Assurbanipal, see Frame 1992, 40 and 170-171. As for the opening formula, see ABL 210 and ABL 736.

Sanae Ito

Sanae Ito, 'Uruk, Ur, and Kissik', The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part I: Letters from Assyria, Babylonia, and Vassal States, SAA 21. Original publication:Winona Laka, IN, Eisenbrauns, 2018; online contents: SAAo/SAA21 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/saao/saa21/thecontentsoftheletters/urukurandkissik/]

Back to top ^^
SAAo/SAA21, 2014-. Since 2015, SAAo is based at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Historisches Seminar (LMU Munich, History Department) - Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Ancient History of the Near and Middle East. Content released under a CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/] license, 2007-20.
Oracc uses cookies only to collect Google Analytics data. Read more here [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/about/cookies/index.html]; see the stats here [http://www.seethestats.com/site/oracc.museum.upenn.edu]; opt out here.