Annals of Shalmaneser III

updated by Alan Humm from the translation of

Daniel David Luckenbill

Like many Near Eastern kings, Shalmaneser III liked to tell about his exploits, or to be more accurate, have his staff tell about his exploits. He also spent a significant portion of the 35+ years of his reign traveling around the Near East with his army conquering and collecting tribute (in exchange, generally, for not conquering). He took many opportunities (probably at least one a year) to leave monuments to himself in highly visible places. Most have his image, and many have an inscription summarizing his exploits to date. It would not surprise me in the least to discover that a good number of these were smashed to pieces within weeks after the news of his demise reached the conquered territories, but some have managed to survive. When we speak of the ‘annals’ of Shalmaneser, we mean, for the most part, these collected inscriptions. But one cannot simply go to the final edition—the latest one that has survived is the so called, “Black Obelisk” which takes us through the 31st year of his reign, but only the last few years have any detail. So for example, the passage on his year of accession in the Black Obelisk is only 1/7 as long as the description of the same year in the earliest surviving example (the “Monolith Inscription”), so to get as complete a story as possible we need to look at each.

With this in mind I am presenting the material in two forms. One is by document, the other by year. The document approach is simple. Each of the surviving inscriptions related to Shalmaneser III are presented, organized as did Luckenbill, except that the Black Obelisk is positioned last, thus giving a generally historical order to the inscriptions. The ‘by year’ organization puts material about any given year together in a single file, so it is easy to see all the materials relating to any given year. The underlying translations and notes are the same.

This translation is based on that of Daniel David Luckenbill in Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, pp. 200-252 (Chicago, 1926). My contribution has been to update the language and place names—Modern names have been used where possible. If you know of some I have missed, or if I have gotten some wrong, please inform me. Unless otherwise indicated (by [AH] appended to the end) the descriptions come from Luckenbill.Notes are generally mine, unless noted with [DL]. Sections in blue type are related to biblical characters. Notes are in green. They are cursor hovering notes rather than footnotes. There are a couple of important documents which were unearthed after Luckenbill’s 1926 publication. I will get around to them, but as yet have not.

Please report errors to me (link at end of page). -Alan Humm

By year

By inscription

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