Annals of Shalmaneser III

Year of accession (860, BC)

Against the city of Aridu

It is the general consensus of modern scholars (since the work of Edwin R. Thiele) that ancient near eastern kings (including Israelite kings) counted their years not from the beginning of their reign, but from the first New Year (Rosh Hashannah for Israeli kings) of their reign. The period between their enthronement and the first New Year could be any length of time from one to 364 days. Modern scholars call that the ‘year of accession.’

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

The monolith inscription (Kurkh Stele)

(1.12–29) At that time, at the beginning of my kingship, in my first year of reign, when I solemnly took my place on the royal throne, I mustered my chariots and armies, and entered the passes of Simesi. When I came to Aridi, the royal city of Ninni, I stormed and captured it. I burned up their youths and their maidens in its fire. While I was in Aridi I received the tribute from the Hargeans, Harmaseans, Simeseans, Siresheans, and Ulmaneans—tamed horses, cattle, sheep, and wine. Then I left Aridi and encountered difficult roads, steep mountains, with summits pushing into the heavens like the blade of an iron dagger. I cut through with bronze and copper pickaxes, and lead chariots and troops over them. When I came to Hubuskia, with its 100 neighboring cities, I burned them up. Kakia, king of Nairîland got afraid of my terrible weapons and escaped with his armies into the high mountains. So I climbed the mountain after them, and fought a bloody battle there among the mountains. I completely defeated them and bought back chariots, troops, and tamed horses with me from the mountains. They were struck by the terrorizing fear of Assur, my lord, so they came down and prostrated at my feet. I imposed tribute and tax on them. Then I left Hubushkia and came to Sugunia, royal city of Arame, approaching the Armenians. I stormed the city and captured it, killing multitudes of their soldiers, and carrying off their booty. I built a pyramid of heads in front of their city. I set fire to the neighboring cities and left Sugunia, going down to the sea of Nairîland. I washed my weapons in the sea, offered sacrifices to my gods, and made a statue of myself (the glory of the great lord Assur, my lord) and inscribed the story of my great power; I set it up by the sea. Coming back, I received tribute from Asû the Guzanite—horses, cattle, sheep wine, two Bactrian camels; I brought them to my city of Assur.

Bronze Gates of Balâwât


(upper register) I set up an image on the shore of Lake Van; I offered sacrifices to my gods

(lower register) I captured Sugunia, the city of Arame of Armenia


(upper register) Attacked [ ] of the land of Armenia


At that time, when the great lord Assur, [my lord, had uttered my name for the rulership] of the nations, and had crowned me with the exalted crown of dominion, (when) he had entrusted to my hand the sword, the scepter and the staff to rule all peoples, and I was going about, trusting in the aid of my lord Assur, the great lord, and the god who loves my priesthood, and when he had placed all lands and mountain regions, to their farthest border, under my hand;—I, Shalmaneser, the mighty king, the Sun of all peoples conquered from Lake Van and lake Urmia, to the Mediterranean,— I overwhelmed the Hittite-land to its farthest border so that it was like a mound left by the flood. I carried away 44,400 mighty soldiers from their lands and counted them with the people of my land………The splendor of my sovereignty I poured out over the Hittite­land.

Fragments of the royal annals


628 1. (KAH II #112.obv.) At that time, at the beginning of my reign, [when I solemnly seated myself] on the royal throne, [I mustered] my chariots and armies, [entered] the passes [of Simesi], and advanced into the city of Aridu, the fortress of Ninni. I stormed and captured it, killed many of its soldiers, and carried off [their spoil]. From Aridu I went and set fire to Hubushkia, together with 100 nearby towns. King Kâki of Huhushkia, [terrified] of my mighty arms, made the mountain into his fortress. [I waged] a fierce battle on the mountain……

2. (KAH II #113.1 (obv.)) …… I carried off their plunder. After leaving Aridu I approached and set fire to Hubushkia, along with 100 nearby cities. King Kâki of Hubushkia, was terrorized my mighty weapons, and turned the mountain into his fortress. I climbed the mountain, and waged a fierce battle on the mountain. I brought down what was left of their possessions out of the mountain and left Hubushkia. When I got to the sea of Nairî, I washed my weapons in the sea, and offered sacrifices to the gods. On my return, I received the tribute from Azû, the Gilzânite and brought it to my city Assur.

The Black Obelisk inscription

(22–26) At the beginning of my reign, when I solemnly took my seat upon the royal throne, I mobilized my chariots and troops; I entered the passes of the land of Simesi, and captured Aridu, the fortress of Ninni.

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