Sennacherib
Overview
 
Sennacherib was the son of Sargon II
Sargon II
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

 (705 – 681 BC).
As the crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

, Sennacherib was placed in charge of the Assyrian Empire while his father, Sargon II
Sargon II
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

, was on campaign. Unlike his predecessors, Sennacherib's reign was not largely marked by military campaigns, but mainly by architectural renovations, constructions, and expansions. After the violent death of his father, Sennacherib encountered numerous problems in establishing his power and faced threats to his domain.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Sennacherib was the son of Sargon II
Sargon II
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

 (705 – 681 BC).

Rise to power

As the crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

, Sennacherib was placed in charge of the Assyrian Empire while his father, Sargon II
Sargon II
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

, was on campaign. Unlike his predecessors, Sennacherib's reign was not largely marked by military campaigns, but mainly by architectural renovations, constructions, and expansions. After the violent death of his father, Sennacherib encountered numerous problems in establishing his power and faced threats to his domain. However, he was able to overcome these power struggles and ultimately carry out his building projects. During his reign, he moved the empire's capital from his father's newly-constructed city of Dur-Sharrukin
Dur-Sharrukin
Dur-Sharrukin , present day Khorsabad, was the Assyrian capital in the time of Sargon II of Assyria. Khorsabad is a village in northern Iraq, 15 km northeast of Mosul, which is still today inhabited by Assyrians. The great city was entirely built in the decade preceding 706 BCE...

 to the old city and former capital of Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

. It is considered striking that Sennacherib not only left his father's city, but also doesn’t name him in any official inscription during his reign.

War with Babylon

During his reign Sennacherib encountered various problems with Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

. His first campaign took place in 703 BC against Marduk-apla-iddina II who had seized the throne of Babylon and gathered an alliance supported by Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

ns, Aramaeans, and Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

ites. We can date the visit of Babylonian ambassadors to Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

 of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 in this period. The allies wanted to make use of the unrest that arose at the accession of Sennacherib. Sennacherib split his army and had one part attack the stationed enemy at Kish
Kish (Sumer)
Kish is modern Tell al-Uhaymir , and was an ancient city of Sumer. Kish is located some 12 km east of Babylon, and 80 km south of Baghdad ....

 while he and the rest of the army proceeded to capture the city Cutha
Kutha
Kutha, Cuthah, or Cutha was an ancient city of Sumer on the right bank of the eastern branch of the Upper Euphrates, north of Nippur and around 25 miles northeast of Babylon...

. After that was done the king returned swiftly to aid the rest of his army. The rebellion was defeated and Marduk-apla-iddina II fled. Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 was taken, and its palace plundered but its citizens were left unharmed. The Assyrians searched for Marduk-apla-iddina II, especially in the southern marshes, but he was not found. The rebellion forces in the Babylonian cities were wiped out and a Babylonian named Bel-ibni
Bel-ibni
Bel-ibni was a Babylonian nobleman who served as King of Babylon for several years as the nominee of the Assyrian king Sennacherib.Sennacherib, believing that direct Assyrian rule was too costly, appointed Bel-ibni, a young Babylonian nobleman raised at the Assyrian court, King of Babylon in 703...

 who was raised at the Assyrian court was placed on the throne. When the Assyrians left, Marduk-apla-iddina II started to prepare another rebellion. In 700 BC the Assyrian army returned to fight the rebels in the marshes again. Not surprisingly, Marduk-apla-iddina II fled again to Elam and died there.

Bel-Ibni proved to be disloyal to Assyria and was taken back a prisoner. Sennacherib tried to solve the problem of the Babylonian rebellion by placing someone loyal to him on the throne, namely his son Ashur-nadin-shumi
Ashur-nadin-shumi
Ashur-nadin-shumi was an ancient King of Babylon. The son of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, Ashur-nadin-shumi was installed by his father as King of Babylon in 700 BC. He reigned for six years, until he was murdered by the Elamites following their capture of the city in 694 BC....

. It didn’t help. Another campaign was led six years later, in 694 BC, to destroy the Elamite base on the shore of the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. To accomplish this, Sennacherib had obtained Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n boats which sailed with the rest of his army down the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 to the sea. The Phoenicians were not used to the tide of the Persian Gulf which caused a delay. The Assyrians battled the Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

ns at the river Ulaya and won the day. While the Assyrians were busy at the Persian Gulf, the Elamites invaded northern Babylonia in a complete surprise. Sennacherib's son was captured and taken to Elam and his throne was taken over by Nergal-ushezib
Nergal-ushezib
Nergal-ushezib, originally Shuzub, was a Babylonian nobleman who was installed as King of Babylon by the Elamites in 694 BC, after their capture of Babylon and deposition and murder of the previous king Ashur-nadin-shumi, son of King Sennacherib of Assyria.Nergal-ushezib reigned as King for little...

. The Assyrians fought their way back north and captured various cities, in the meanwhile a year had passed as it was now 693 BC.

A large battle was fought against the Babylonian rebels at Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

, their king was captured and in turn taken to Nineveh. For the loss of his son Sennacherib launched another campaign into Elam where his army started to plunder cities. The Elamite king fled to the mountains and Sennacherib was forced to return home because of the coming winter. Another rebellion leader, named Mushezib-Marduk
Mushezib-Marduk
Mushezib-Marduk , Chaldean prince chosen as King of Babylon after Nergal-ushezib.He led the Babylonian populace in revolt against Assyria and King Sennacherib in 689 BC, with the support of Elam and King Humban-nimena , at the Battle of Halule...

 claimed the Babylonian throne and was supported by Elam. The last great battle was fought in 691 BC with an uncertain result which enabled Mushezib-Marduk to remain on the throne for another two years. This was only a brief respite because shortly afterwards Babylon was besieged which led to its fall in 689 BC. Sennacherib claimed to have destroyed the city and indeed the city was unoccupied for several years.

Background

In 701 BC, a rebellion backed by Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 and Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 broke out in Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, led by King Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

. In response Sennacherib sacked a number of cities in Judah. He laid siege to Jerusalem, but soon returned to Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

, with Jerusalem not having been sacked, in order to put down an attempted coup. This event was recorded by Sennacherib himself, by Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, and by several Biblical
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 writers.

According to the Bible, the siege failed because the angel of Yahweh
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...

 went forth and struck down 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp (2 Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

 19:35).

Sennacherib's account

Some of the Assyrian chronicles
Babylonian Chronicles
The Babylonian Chronicles are many series of tablets recording major events in Babylonian history. They are thus one of the first steps in the development of ancient historiography...

, such as the baked-clay Taylor prism now preserved in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

, and the similar Sennacherib prism, preserved in the Oriental Institute, Chicago
Oriental Institute, Chicago
The Oriental Institute , established in 1919, is the University of Chicago's archeology museum and research center for ancient Near Eastern studies.- History and purpose:James Henry Breasted built up the collection of the Haskell Oriental Museum...

, date from very close to the time. (see also: Military history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Military history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Assyria originated in the 23rd century BC, its earliest king Tudiya being a contemporary of Ibrium of Ebla. It evolved from the Akkadian Empire of the late 3rd millennium BC. Assyria was a strong nation under the rule of Ilushuma , who founded colonies in Asia Minor and raided Isin and other...

) (The Taylor Prism itself bears the date "the month of Tammuz; eponym of Galihu, governor of Hatarikka" which is Tammuz in the year 689 BC, according to the Assyrian Eponym List).
Assyrian accounts do not treat it as a disaster, but a great victory — they maintain that the siege was so successful that Hezekiah was forced to give a monetary tribute, and the Assyrians left victoriously, without losses of thousands of men, and without sacking Jerusalem. Part of this is indeed confirmed in the Biblical account, but it is still debated fiercely by historians. In the Taylor Prism, Sennacherib states that he had shut up Hezekiah the Judahite within Jerusalem, his own royal city, like a caged bird.

Sennacherib first recounts several of his previous victories, and how his enemies had become overwhelmed by his presence. He was able to do this to Great Sidon, Little Sidon, Bit-Zitti, Zaribtu, Mahalliba, Ushu
Ushu
Ushu, , was an ancient mainland city that supplied Tyre, Lebanon with water, supplies and burial grounds. The name is based upon the mythical figure Usoos or Ousoüs, a descendant of Genos and Genea, whose children allegedly discovered fire as recorded by Sanchuniathon .-1350 BC, Amarna letters...

, Akzib and Akko. After taking each of these cities, Sennacherib installed a puppet leader named Ethbaal as ruler over the entire region. Sennacherib then turned his attention to Beth-Dagon, Joppa, Banai-Barqa, and Azjuru, cities that were ruled by Sidqia
Sidqia
King of Ashkelon in the 8th century BC. He rebelled against the Assyrian king Sennacherib, just like its neighbor the Kingdom of Judah did. Sennacherib started a war against these rebels in 701 BC and destroyed the cities Beth-Dagon, Joppa, Banai-Barqa, and Azjuru that were under Siqia's rule....

 and also fell to Sennacherib.

Egypt and Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

 then came to the aid of the stricken cities. Sennacherib defeated the Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 and, by his own account, single-handedly captured the Egyptian and Nubian charioteers. Sennacherib captured and sacked several other cities, including Lachish
Lachish
Lachish was an ancient Near East town located at the site of modern Tell ed-Duweir in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime plain of Philistia . The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša...

 (the second most-strongly fortified city in the Kingdom of Judah). He punished the "criminal" citizens of the cities, and he reinstalled Padi, their leader, who had been held as a hostage in Jerusalem.

After this, Sennacherib turned to King Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

 of Judah, who refused to submit to him. Forty-six of Hezekiah's cities (cities 1st millennium BC terms ranged in size from large modern-day towns to villages) were conquered by Sennacherib, but Jerusalem did not fall. His own account of this invasion, as given in the Taylor prism, is as follows:

Biblical account

The Biblical
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 account of Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem begins with the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and its capital Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

. This is how the ten northern tribes came to be known as the Ten Lost Tribes
Ten Lost Tribes
The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel refers to those tribes of ancient Israel that formed the Kingdom of Israel and which disappeared from Biblical and all other historical accounts after the kingdom was destroyed in about 720 BC by ancient Assyria...

, because as recorded in II Kings 17, they were carried off and settled with other peoples as was the Assyrian policy. II Kings 18-19 (and parallel passage II Chronicles 32:1-23) details Sennacherib's attack on Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 and capital Jerusalem. Hezekiah had rebelled against the Assyrians, so they had captured all of the towns in Judah. Hezekiah realized his error and sent great tribute to Sennacherib. But the Assyrians nevertheless marched toward Jerusalem. Sennacherib sent his supreme commander with an army to besiege Jerusalem while he himself went to fight with the Egyptians
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. The supreme commander met with Hezekiah's officials and threatened them to surrender; while hailing insults so the people of the city could hear, blaspheming Judah and particularly Jehovah
Jehovah
Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

. When the King Hezekiah heard of this, he tore his clothes (as was the custom of the day for displaying deep anguish) and prayed to Jehovah in the Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

. Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

 the prophet told the king that Jehovah would take care of the whole matter and that he would return to his own lands. That night, the angel of Jehovah
Angel of the Lord
The Angel of the Lord is one of many terms in the Hebrew Bible used for an angel. The Biblical name for angel, מלאך mal'ach, which translates simply as "messenger," obtained the further signification of "angel" only through the addition of God's name, as The Angel of the Lord (or the Angel of...

 killed 185,000 Assyrian troops. Jewish tradition maintains that the angel Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 (along with Michael in the Targum
Targum
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

's version) was the angel sent to destroy the Assyrian troops, and that the destruction occurred on Passover night. Sennacherib soon returned to Nineveh in disgrace. Some years later, while Sennacherib was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch
Nisroch
Nisroch is the Assyrian god of agriculture, in whose temple Sennacherib was worshipping when he was assassinated . Josephus calls him Dagon....

, two of his sons killed him and fled to Armenia.
Some suggest that Psalm 46 was composed as a Song of Deliverance that was led by the Korahite
Korahites
The Korahites in the Bible were that portion of the Kohathites that descended from Korah.They were an important branch of the singers of the Kohathite division...

 Levitical singers and accompanied by the Alamoth (maidens with tambourines) and sung by the inhabitants of Jerusalem after their successful defense of the city from the siege.

Disaster in Egypt according to Herodotus

The Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 historian Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, who wrote his Histories ca. 450 BC, speaks of a divinely-appointed disaster destroying an army of Sennacherib (2:141):
According to F. Ll. Griffith
Francis Llewellyn Griffith
Francis Llewellyn Griffith was an eminent British Egyptologist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.F. Ll. Griffith was born in Brighton on 27 May 1862 where his father, Rev. Dr. John Griffith, was Principal of Brighton College. After schooling at Brighton College , then privately by his...

, an attractive hypothesis is to identify the Pharaoh as Taharqa
Taharqa
Taharqa was a pharaoh of the Ancient Egyptian 25th dynasty and king of the Kingdom of Kush, which was located in Northern Sudan.Taharqa was the son of Piye, the Nubian king of Napata who had first conquered Egypt. Taharqa was also the cousin and successor of Shebitku. The successful campaigns of...

 before his succession, and Sethos as his Memphitic priestly title, "supposing that he was then governor of Lower Egypt and high-priest of Ptah
Ptah
In Ancient Egyptian Religion, Ptah was the deification of the primordial mound in the Ennead cosmogony, which was more literally referred to as Ta-tenen , meaning risen land, or as Tanen, meaning submerged land, though Tatenen was a god in his...

, and that in his office of governor he prepared to move on the defensive against a threatened attack by Sennacherib. While Taharqa was still in the neighbourhood of Pelusium
Pelusium
Pelusium was a city in the eastern extremes of Egypt's Nile Delta, 30 km to the southeast of the modern Port Said. Alternative names include Sena and Per-Amun , Pelousion , Sin , Seyân , and Tell el-Farama...

, some unexpected disaster may have befallen the Assyrian host on the borders of Kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 and arrested their march on Egypt." (Stories of the High Priests of Memphis: The Sethon of Herodotus and the Demotic Tales of Khamuas (1900), p. 11.

Building projects

During Sennacherib's reign, Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 evolved into the leading Metropolis of the empire. His building projects started almost as soon as he became king. Already in 703 BC he had built a palace complete with park and artificial irrigation he called his new home ‘The palace without rival’. For this ambitious project an old palace was torn down to make more room. In addition to his own large gardens, several small gardens were made for the citizens of Nineveh. He also constructed the first ever aqueduct, at Jerwan in 690 BCE, which supplied the large demand of water in Nineveh. The narrow alleys and squares of Nineveh were cleaned up and enlarged, and a royal road and avenue were constructed, which crossed a bridge on its approach to the park gate and which was lined on both sides with stelae. Temples were restored and built during his reign, as is the duty of the king. Most notable is his work on the Assur (god) and the new year (Akitu
Akitu
Akitu was a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia....

) temples. He also expanded the city defences which included a moat surrounding the city walls. Some of his city walls have been restored and can still be seen nowadays. The labour for his giant building project was performed by people of Que
Quwê
Quwê – also spelled Que, Kue, Qeve, Coa, Kuê and Keveh – was a "Neo-Hittite" Assyrian vassal state or province at various times from the 9th century BCE to shortly after the death of Ashurbanipal around 627 BCE in the lowlands of eastern Cilicia, and the name of its capital city,...

, Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, Philistia, Tyre, and Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

ns, Aramaeans, and Mannaeans
Mannaeans
The Mannaeans were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day Iran and Azerbaijan, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC...

 who were there involuntarily.

Sennacherib has been credited with the invention of the Archimedes screw for the purpose of irrigation, although evidence for this is contentious.

According to Second Kings in the Bible we can read, ‘‘The rab-Shakeh returned and found the king of Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

 fighting against Libnah
Libnah
Libnah or Lobna was a town in the Kingdom of Judah. The town of Libnah revolted during the reign of King Jehoram of Judah, according to II Chronicles , because he "had abandoned [the] God of his fathers."...

; for he had heard that the king has left Lachish
Lachish
Lachish was an ancient Near East town located at the site of modern Tell ed-Duweir in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime plain of Philistia . The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša...

. The King heard concerning King Taharqa
Taharqa
Taharqa was a pharaoh of the Ancient Egyptian 25th dynasty and king of the Kingdom of Kush, which was located in Northern Sudan.Taharqa was the son of Piye, the Nubian king of Napata who had first conquered Egypt. Taharqa was also the cousin and successor of Shebitku. The successful campaigns of...

 of Kush and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, ‘See, he has set out to fight against you.’ ’’ Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Niveneh.
It is interesting that Sennacherib never came back close to Egypt until he died.

Patricide

Sennacherib was killed by two of his sons for his desecration of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

. One story tells of one of Sennacherib's sons toppling a giant lamassu
Lamassu
A Lamassu , is a protective deity, often depicted with a bull or lion's body, eagle's wings, and human's head. In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity...

 onto him, crushing him to death. He was ultimately succeeded by another son, Esarhaddon
Esarhaddon
Esarhaddon , was a king of Assyria who reigned 681 – 669 BC. He was the youngest son of Sennacherib and the Aramean queen Naqi'a , Sennacherib's second wife....

.

In popular culture

An 1813 poem by Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib
The Destruction of Sennacherib
The Destruction of Sennacherib is a poem by Lord Byron first published in 1815 in his Hebrew Melodies. It is based on an event described in the Bible during the campaign by Assyrian king Sennacherib to capture Jerusalem...

, commemorates Sennacherib's campaign in Judea from the Hebrew point of view. Written in anapestic tetrameter
Anapestic tetrameter
Anapestic tetrameter is a poetic meter that has four anapestic metrical feet per line. Each foot has two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable...

, the poem was popular in school recitation
Recitation
A recitation is a presentation made by a student to demonstrate knowledge of a subject or to provide instruction to others. In some academic institutions the term is used for a presentation by a teaching assistant or instructor, under the guidance of a senior faculty member, that supplements...

s.

See also

  • Ahikar, Sennacherib's Chancellor
  • Rabshakeh
    Rabshakeh
    Rabshakeh, also Rab-shakeh and Rabsaces Neo-Aramaic: This name meaning chief of the princes was given to the chief cup-bearer or the vizier of the Assyrian royal court.The Bible mentions it for one of Sennacherib's messengers to Hezekiah...

    , Sennacherib's cupbearer

Further reading

  • http://oi.uchicago.edu/pdf/oip2.pdf Daniel David Luckenbill, The Annals of Sennacherib, Oriental Institute Publications 2, University of Chicago Press, 1924
  • Edwards – The Cambridge ancient history volume III part 2, 2nd edition, pp. 103–119.
  • Faust, Avraham, "Settlement and Demography in Seventh-Century Judah and the Extent and Intensity of Sennacherib's Campaign," Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 140,3 (2008), 168-194.

External links

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