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Assyrian Propaganda for the West

Esarhaddon's Steles for Til Barsip and Sam'al


Soon after his successful campaign to Egypt in the year 671 B.C., King
Esarhaddon of Assyria (61!66" B.C.# commissioned three large stone
steles,
1
each $ith a car%ing on its face sho$ing the &ing raising an em'lem
of royal po$er in one hand $hile t$o small capti%es (the re'ellious &ing
A'di!(il&utti of Sidon, captured in 677, and the cro$n prince of Egypt,
captured in the recent Egyptian campaign# stand or &neel at his feet ()ls.
1*, 17, and +#. ,n the sides of each stele are images of the t$o sons Esar!
haddon had recently appointed as his heirs to the thrones of Assyria and
Ba'ylonia ()ls. 16, 1 and +"#.
2
-he three steles $ere erected in t$o north$estern pro%incial capitals of
the Assyrian empire, t$o of them in -il Barsip, a long!esta'lished pro%in!
cial capital on the upper Euphrates, and the third in Sam.al, a $estern %assal
city that had 'ecome a pro%incial capital under direct Assyrian rule not
long 'efore Esarhaddon.s reign.
/n 'oth cities the steles $ere erected on high stone pedestals and promi!
nently displayed. -he stele at Sam.al $as erected in the gate leading to the
citadel, a traditional setting for pu'lic monuments in $estern cities.
0
At -il
Barsip one stele $as erected 1ust inside the eastern city gate, $hile the sec!
1
/ am inde'ted to many institutions and indi%iduals for supporting my research on this
pro1ect2 -he American )hilosophical Society3 the 4ar%ard Semitic (useum3 5r. E%elyn
Klengel!Brandt and the 6orderasiatisches (useum of Berlin3 )rof. 5r. Sultan (ehesen,
5irector 7eneral of Anti8uities and (useums, Syrian Ara' 9epu'lic3 (r. :ahid Kha!
yata and the ;ational (useum of Aleppo3 (r. An$ar A'del 7hafour, photographer for
the Aleppo (useum3 5r. (ichael )orter and the Cartographic 5i%ision of the Casco
Bay Assyriological /nstitute2 and a'o%e all, )rofs. 7uy Bunnens and Arlette 9oo'aert
and the mem'ers of the -ell Ahmar team, for their generous hospitality and patient help.
/ am grateful to them all. <or helpful comments on the paper itself / am inde'ted to
/rene =. :inter, (ichael 4. )orter, and ;ada% ;a.aman.
+
-he nature of the o'1ect raised 'y the &ing is unclear, 'ut it $as an attri'ute of royalty,
first in Ba'ylonia, and later in Assyria. See for discussion, =. E. 9eade, >/deology and
)ropaganda in Assyrian Art,> in (. -. ?arsen, ed., Power and Propaganda (Copenha!
gen2 A&ademis& <orlag, 1"7"#, p. 0@1, and for illustrations, A. )arrot, The Arts of Assyr-
ia (;e$ Aor&2 7olden )ress, 1"61#, figs. 70, 100, +16, and +17. <or the identity of the
capti%es, see <. -hureau!5angin, >-ell ABmar,> Syria 1C (1"+"#, pp. 1"1!"+ and <.
-hureau!5angin and (. 5unand, Til-Barsib ()aris2 ?i'rairie ,rientaliste )aul 7euthner,
1"06#, pp. 1*1!*+3 for the figures on the side panels, see in addition =. E. 9eade, >;eo!
Assyrian Court and Army2 E%idence of the Sculptures,> Iraq 0@ (1"7+#, p. "0 and idem,
s.%. >KronprinD,> RLA 6, pp. +@"!*C.
0
5. Essish&in, >-he Erection of 9oyal (onuments in City!7ates,> Anatolia and the An-
cient Near ast! St"dies in #onor of Tahsin $%g&c, K. Emre, B. 4rouda, (. (ellin&,
ed. (An&ara2 -Fr& -urih Kurumu Basime%i, 1""#, pp. @*!@"+.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- 0
ond stele $as erected at the foot of the citadel, approaching the Assyrian
palace.
@
/n pu'lishing the -il Barsip steles in 1"+", <. -hureau!5angin, the first
eGca%ator of -il Barsip, commented that the car%ings on these steles repre!
sent the same scene as the stele at Sam.al3 the car%ings are so similar, in his
opinion, that he treated them essentially as duplicates, using e%idence from
the Sam.al stele to confirm the identity of figures on the t$o steles at -il
Barsip.
*
5iscussions of the steles since that time ha%e follo$ed -hureau!
5angin.s lead in stressing the great similarity of the three monuments.
6
Although the three steles do represent essentially the same scene, it is
clear on closer eGamination that the elements of that scene are handled dif!
ferently in the t$o cities, significantly changing the effect of the %isual im!
agery. /n addition, the teGts inscri'ed on the steles in the t$o cities are
completely different, one consisting of 'rief accounts of a series of royal
achie%ements, the other of a detailed report on the campaign to Egypt. -he
@
<or the locations of the -il Barsip steles, see -hureau!5angin, Syria 1C (1"+"#, pp. 1"!
"C and -hureau!5angin and 5unand, Til-Barsib, pp. 1*1 and 1**. <or the Sam.al stele,
see <. %on ?ushan, A"sgrab"ngen 'on Sendschirli, / (Berlin2 Spemann, 1"0#, p. 1C, fig.
+. A second ;eo!Assyrian stele found at Sam.al, 'adly 'urned, is mentioned 'y Borger,
IA(, p. 1CC, in connection $ith this stele, 'ut it is unli&ely to 'e related to the Esarhad!
don stele3 no teGt sur%i%es, and enough sur%i%es of the 'as!relief on its face to sho$ it
represented only a single figure (see ?uschan, fig. "#.
*
-hureau!5angin, Syria 1C (1"+"#, pp. 1*!+C* and Til-Barsib, pp. 1*1!*6.
6
See for eGample, =.E. 9eade, >/deology and )ropaganda,> p. 0@+3 =. (. 9ussell, s.%. >-il
Barsip,> 7ro%e )ictionary of Art, =. -urner, ed. (;e$ Aor&2 7ro%e, 1""6#, pp. 70!7@3
and =. BHr&er!KlIhn, Alt'orderasiatische Bildstelen "nd *ergleichbare +elsreliefs
((ainD am 9hein2 )hilipp %on Ja'ern, 1"+#, /, pp. +1+!+10 and //, figs. +17!+1" ($ho
notes differences of style and %isual detail 'et$een the steles 'ut treats the scenes as es!
sentially duplicates of one another#.
Figure 3 The Northwest orner of the Assyrian Empire! "a# $%& B##
Sam'al
Siss
Kundu
@ ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
steles erected at Sam.al and -il Barsip are in fact different 'oth %isually and
%er'ally in $ays that made them deli%er different messages to t$o cities
$hose political situations, as $e $ill see, $ere 8uite different.
-he pattern of differences in the steles suggests they $ere designed as
%ehicles of Assyrian propaganda. -he $ord propaganda has ac8uired a
$ide range of meanings in modern usage3 in Assyriological discussions, it
has usually 'een used in its more restricted and pe1orati%e sense, to denote
systematic efforts 'y the Assyrians to manipulate political attitudes and
'eha%ior through sym'olic pu'lic actions or images that $ere in many
cases deli'erately intimidating or that in%ol%ed the deli'erate suppression
or distortion of information. ,ebster-s New .ollegiate )ictionary, ho$!
e%er, offers a more neutral definition of propaganda, as >any organiDed or
concerted group, effort, or mo%ement to spread particular doctrines, infor!
mation, etc.,>
7
$hile scholarly discussions in fields such as political science
and communications theory

ha%e also tended to adopt more neutral defini!


tions that encourage an eGploration of the similarities and differences 'e!
t$een propaganda and other forms of persuasi%e pu'lic rhetoric and action.
/t is in this more neutral sense that / am using the $ord here. By proposing
that Esarhaddon.s three steles should 'e included in the discussion of As!
syrian propaganda, / mean to suggest that the %isual and %er'al imagery of
the steles $as designed less to inform than to persuade, and that the steles
appear to ha%e 'een designed at least in part to influence the political atti !
tudes and 'eha%ior of audiences in the cities $here the steles $ere erected.
-he discussion of Assyrian propaganda has so far focused primarily on
the images and teGts that $ere presented to audiences in the palaces and
7
+nd ed. (Springfield, (ass.2 7. and C. (erriam Co., 1"*6#, p. 676.

<or a recent discussion of Assyrian propaganda in general and of the use of the $ord in
Assyriological discussions in particular, see the percepti%e comments of 4. -admor,
>)ropaganda, ?iterature, 4istoriography2 Crac&ing the Code of the Assyrian 9oyal /n!
scriptions,> Assyria /0012 S. )arpola and 9. (. :hiting, ed., (4elsin&i2 ;eo!Assyrian
-eGt Corpus )ro1ect, 1""7#, pp. 0+*!00, especially pp. 00+!00*. (See also note " 'e!
lo$.# ,n the use of the term propaganda in the social sciences, see Bruce ?. Smith, s.%.
>)ropaganda,> The International ncyclopedia of the Social Sciences2 5. ?. Sills, ed.
(;e$ Aor&2 (acmillan and <ree )ress, 1"*#, %. 1+, pp. *7"!", $ho defines propagan!
da as >the relati%ely deli'erate manipulation, 'y means of sym'ols ($ords, gestures,
flags, images, monuments, music, etc.#, of other people.s thought or actions $ith respect
to 'eliefs, %alues, and 'eha%iors $hich these people (.reactors.# regard as contro%ersial>
(p. *7"#. 4e argues that the elements of deli'erateness and manipulati%eness distinguish
propaganda from 'oth casual communication and the >free> eGchange of ideas, $hile the
effort to offer a spectrum of ideas, rather than a single prefa'ricated argument, distin!
guishes education from the promulgation of propaganda. 4e comments in passing that
although the term propaganda $as coined in 16++ A.5. as part of the title of the College
of )ropaganda, founded to super%ise missionary acti%ity of the 9oman Catholic Church,
the phenomenon itself 'egan in the $est $ith the 7ree&s ca. *CC B.C. $ith the codifica!
tion of rhetoric3 / mean to suggest here that the use of propaganda as Smith defines it
dates at least to the time of the Assyrians.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- *
cities of the Assyrian homeland, and the picture of Assyrian propaganda
that has emerged from these discussions is of an essentially monolithic
phenomenon, the systematic pro1ection in any gi%en period of a single, un!
differentiated image of Assyrian po$er and dominance to the Assyrian
&ing, his gods, his magnates, and his su'1ects in the empire at large, as $ell
as to %assals and foreign diplomats during their %isits to the imperial cen!
ters in Assyria.
"
-he eGample of Esarhaddon.s steles at -il Barsip and
Sam.al suggests, ho$e%er, that Assyrian propaganda could instead 'e fleGi!
'le and nuanced, pro1ecting carefully differentiated messages to different
audiences, e%en $ithin a single region.
-o test the hypothesis that the differences in the steles $ere designed to
address the different political and cultural circumstances of audiences in the
t$o cities, $e need to loo& in more detail first at the circumstances of the
t$o cities and then at the steles themsel%es. Although the cultural and po!
litical situation of the cities in Esarhaddon.s reign must 'e reconstructed
from documentary e%idence that is sparse and archaeological e%idence that
is to some eGtent am'iguous, the sources ma&e it clear that the different
eGperience of the t$o cities under Assyrian domination had made them 'y
Esarhaddon.s day 8uite different 'oth culturally and politically.
Before its capture 'y Assyria, -il Barsip $as a siDea'le fortified north
Syrian city and a center of the resistance to Assyrian con8uest led 'y the
Aramean tri'e of Bit!Adini. Strategically important, -il Barsip controlled
the Euphrates 9i%er crossing 1ust south of the po$erful city of Carchemish
on a ma1or route lin&ing the north Syrian plains and the (editerranean3 in
addition, the Euphrates %alley connected the city to fortresses of the north
(<ig. 0#. -his situation made it a natural 'ase for controlling 'oth trade and
"
/n addition to -admor.s discussion (n. 6 a'o%e#, see A. ?. ,ppenheim, >;eo!Assyrian
and ;eo!Ba'ylonian Empires,> in Propaganda and .omm"nication in ,orld #istory2 I!
The Symbolic Instr"ment in arly Times, 4. 5. ?as$ell et al., ed. (4onolulu2 E. )ress of
4a$aii, 1"C#, pp. 111!1@@3 ). 7arelli, >?a )ropagande royale assyrienne,> A33adica +7
(1"+#, pp. 16!+"3 (. ?i%erani, >-he /deology of the Assyrian Empire,> in ?arsen,
Power and Propaganda, pp. +"7!013 idem, >+C@2 Ancient )ropaganda and 4istorical
Criticism> in The St"dy of the Ancient Near ast in the Twenty-+irst .ent"ry, =. S. Coo!
per and 9. (. Sch$artD, ed. (:inona ?a&e, /nd.2 Eisen'rauns, 1""6#, pp. +0!"3 and ).
(achinist, >Assyria and /ts /mage in the <irst /saiah,> 4A5S 1C0 (1"0#, pp. 71"!073 and
for ideology and propaganda in Assyrian %isual imagery, / .=. :inter, >9oyal 9hetoric
and the 5e%elopment of 4istorical ;arrati%e in ;eo!Assyrian 9eliefs,> St"dies in *is"al
.omm"nication 7 (1"1#, pp. +!03 idem, >-he )rogram of the -hroneroom of
Assurnasirpal //,> ssays on Near astern Art and Archaeology in #onor of .harles
(yrle ,il3inson, ). ,. 4arper and 4. )ittman, ed. (;e$ Aor&2 (etropolitan (useum of
Art, 1"0#, pp. 1*!01, and =. E. 9eade, >/deology and )ropaganda,> in ?arsen, Power
and Propaganda, pp. 0+"!@0. See also /. =. :inter, >Art as E%idence for /nteraction2
9elations 'et$een the Assyrian Empire and ;orth Syria,> in (esopotamien "nd seine
Nachbarn, 4. =. ;issen and =. 9enger, ed. (Berlin2 5ietrich 9eimer, 1"+#, n. 1CC, $ho
notes that Assyrian royal monuments, and the Sam.al stele in particular, >could also con!
sciously address a :estern audience.>
6 ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
military mo%ements in the region, ma&ing -il Barsip an early target of As!
syrian con8uest.
1C
Captured 'y Shalmaneser /// in *6 B.C., -il Barsip $as
promptly declared an Assyrian royal city and placed under the rule of an
Assyrian general.
11
Shalmaneser also ordered the construction of a palace at
-il Barsip to ser%e as his royal residence in the $est3 the Assyrian palace on
the citadel at -il Barsip that succeeded Shalmaneser.s residence, decorated
$ith some of the most spectacular Assyrian $all paintings e%er disco%ered,
attested to the city.s continuing importance o%er almost t$o centuries as an
Assyrian center in the $est.
1+
)olitically, -il Barsip 'ecame in a short time
essentially Assyrian. Although the go%ernor!general $ho ruled the city
during the prolonged period of Assyrian $ea&ness follo$ing Shalmaneser.s
1C
<or a 'rief introduction to the material and documentary e%idence for the city in the
Assyrian period and for further 'i'liography, see 7uy Bunnens, >-il Barsi' under As!
syrian 5omination2 A Brief Account of the (el'ourne Eni%ersity EGca%ations at -ell
Ahmar,> Assyria /001, S. )arpola and 9. :hiting, ed., pp. 17!+. <or discussions of the
history of 'oth -il Barsip and Sam.al, $ith 'i'liography, see =. 5. 4a$&ins, >-he ;eo!
4ittite States in Syria and Anatolia,> .ambridge Ancient #istory ///K/, =. Boardman et
al., ed., +nd ed. (Cam'ridge2 Cam'ridge Eni%ersity )ress, 1"+#, pp. 07+!@@13 4. Sader,
Les tats arame6ns de Syrie (Beirut2 ,rient!/nstitut der 5eutschen (orgenlIndischen
7esellschaft, 1"7#3 and ).!E. 5ion, Les Aram6ens 7 l-8ge d" fer! #istoire politiq"e et
str"ct"res sociales2 Etudes Bi'li8ues, n.s. 0@ ()aris2 ?i'rairie ?e Coffre, 1""7#.
11
(ost of the Assyrian and nati%e teGts for reconstructing the city.s history are con%en!
iently collected and translated (as a $hole or as eGcerpts# in Sader, Les tats arame6ns2
pp. **!77. <or complete teGts of Shalmaneser ///.s inscriptions, see A. Kir& 7rayson,
Assyrian R"lers of the arly +irst 9illenni"m B. II :;1;-<=1 B.>, 9/(A, %. 0 (-oron!
to2 Eni%ersity of -oronto )ress, 1""6#, pp. *!17". <or the appointment of -il Barsip.s
first Assyrian ruler, see A. ?i%ingstone, ed., .o"rt Poetry and Literary 9iscellanea,
SAA 0 (4elsin&i2 4elsin&i Eni%ersity )ress, 1""#, p. @@, ll. !10. ?ater Assyrian go%!
ernors attested include the ninth century official ;inurta!'el!uLur, named in his o$n 'i!
lingual lion inscriptions from Arslan -ash as go%ernor of -il Barsip under Shamshi!
Adad (+0!11 B.C.# (5ion, Les Aram6ens, pp. "6!"#3 the %ery po$erful late ninth or
early eighth century general and city ruler Shamshi!ilu, named in his o$n inscriptions
from -il Barsip (-hureau!5angin and 5unand, Til-Barsib, pp. 1@1!1*1, $ith teGt3 A.
9oo'aert, >-he City 7ate ?ions,> in Tell Ahmar! /0;; Season, 7uy Bunnens, ed., A'r!
;ahrain Supplement Series + M?eu%en2 5epartment of Classical and ;ear Eastern Stud!
ies, Eni%ersity of (el'ourne, 1""CN, pp. 1+6!10*3 5ion, Les Aram6ens2 pp. "*!"7#3 an
unnamed go%ernor mentioned in t$o letters from the reign of Sargon // (7+1!7C* B.C.#
(S. )arpola, The .orrespondence of Sargon II2 Part I! Letters from Assyria and the ,est,
SAA 1 M4elsin&i2 4elsin&i Eni%ersity )ress, 1"7N, nos. @ and 0+#3 the eponym official
for 7C1, named 4ananu (A. 9. (illard, The ponyms of the Assyrian mpire2 0/?-@/A
B., SAAS // M4elsin&i2 ;eo!Assyrian -eGt Corpus )ro1ect, 1""@N, p. @"#, and ;a'u!
nadin!ahi, a go%ernor of Kar!Shalmaneser (-il Barsip# and an eponym, pro'a'ly in the
year 6@7 B.C. (9. :hiting in ponyms, A. (illard, ed., p. 7@, and =. E. 9eade, >Assyrian
Eponyms, Kings and )retenders, 6@!6C* BC,> 5rientalia 67 M1""N, pp. +*6!*7#. <or
the possi'ility that (anLuate $as an alternati%e name for the city and that its go%ernor,
eponym for 6C, $as thus a go%ernor of -il Barsip under Esarhaddon, see S. 5alley,
Abr-Nahrain 0@ (1""6!"7#, pp. 6"!7C. <or alternati%e locations for (anLuate, see ;.
;a.aman, >)ro%ince System and Settlement )attern in Southern Syria and )alestine in
the ;eo!Assyrian )eriod,> in Neo-Assyrian Beography, (. ?i%erani, ed. (9ome2 Eni!
%ersitO di 9oma >?a SapienDa,> 1""*#, p. 1C@.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- 7
reign eGercised great independent po$er in the $est, the city made no
attempt to 'rea& a$ay from the Assyrian empire and reassert its
independence, e%en $hen cities in the Assyrian homeland re%olted against
the &ing.
10
<rom the time of its con8uest in *6 B.C. until the fall of the
empire more than t$o hundred years later, -il Barsip, ruled 'y Assyrian
officials and ser%ing as a center of Assyrian administration, remained con!
sistently loyal to Assyria.
1@
Culturally as $ell, the city 'ecame highly AssyrianiDed, $hile retaining
some sense of $estern identity. /n pottery and architecture, -il Barsip 'e!
came stri&ingly Assyrian in character3 7uy Bunnens, the director of the re!
ne$ed eGca%ations at the site, notes that to a stri&ing degree the city.s mate!
rial culture in the se%enth century is Assyrian, essentially indistinguisha'le
from that of cities in the Assyrian homeland.
1*
Although its uniformly As!
syrian material culture might suggest that the city had 'ecome an encla%e
1+
-he date of construction of the Assyrian palace (or palaces# at -il Barsip is de'ated, in
part 'ecause of contro%ersy a'out the dating of the palace frescoes, $hich in $hole or in
part ha%e 'een assigned dates ranging from the time of -iglath!pileser /// to that of As!
sur'anipal or later (for discussions and 'i'liography, see :inter, >Art as E%idence for
/nteraction,> n. 603 A. (oortgat, The Art of Ancient 9esopotamia! The .lassical Art of
the Near ast, trans. =udith <ilson (?ondon2 )haidon, 1"6"#, pp. 1@C!@03 =. E. 9eade,
>-he ;eo!Assyrian Court and Army,> Iraq 0@ (1"7+#, p. "3 A. -oma'echi, >:all )aint!
ings from -il Barsip,> Af5 +"!0C (1"0!@#, pp. 60!7@. Shalmaneser pro'a'ly used the
palace of the city.s pre%ious rulers initially, and Bunnens notes (in pri%ate correspon!
dence# that the Assyrian palace eGca%ated 'y the <rench must date from late in the As!
syrian period and that earlier remains la'elled >Aramean> 'y the <rench eGca%ators may
include earlier Assyrian le%els as $ell as pre!Assyrian remains.
10
<or the period $hen the city $as ruled 'y the semi!independent Assyrian!appointed
go%ernor Shamshi!ilu, see 5ion, Les Aram6ens2 pp. "*!"6 and 1+"!0+, $ith 'i'liogra!
phy3 5alley, Abr-Nahrain 0@ (1""6!"7#, p. 6"3 and A. /&eda, >?oo&ing from -il Barsip
on the Euphrates2 Assyria and the :est in "th and th Centuries B.C.,> to appear in the
proceedings of the Second Collo8uium on the Ancient ;ear East, 1""6, >-he City and
/ts ?ife,> (iddle Eastern Culture Center in =apan.
1@
-he city.s feeling to$ard its Assyrian rulers, ho$e%er, may not al$ays ha%e 'een en!
tirely cordial, as is suggested 'y the apparent ritual assassination of a statue of an As!
syrian high official, found 'uried on the tell, dating perhaps to the time of Sargon //3 see
A. 9oo'aert, >A ;eo!Assyrian Statue from -il Barsi',> Iraq * (1""6#, pp. 7"!7.
1*
7. Bunnens, Assyria /001, p. 1C3 for his summary of the current eGca%ations $ith fur!
ther 'i'liography, pp. 17!+. <or the results of the first eGca%ation, see -hureau!5angin
and 5unand, Til-Barsib (see a'o%e, n. +#3 for preliminary reports on the rene$ed eGca!
%ations, see Bunnens, Tell Ahmar /0;; Season3 idem, >-all ABmarK-il Barsip, 1"!
1""+,> Af5 @C!@1 (1""0!"@#, pp. ++1!++*3 and for a popular account, Carlo Jaccagnini,
>Sulla Collina 9ossa,> Archeo 1C (Sept., 1""*#, pp. +@!0+. <or a detailed study of the
;eo!Assyrian period pottery from the site, see Andre$ S. =amieson, >;eo!Assyrian )ot!
tery from -ell Ahmar,> Iron Age Pottery in Northern 9esopotamia2 Northern Syria and
So"theastern Anatolia, A. 4ausleiter and A. 9eiche, ed. ((uenster2 Egarit!6erlag, 1"""#
and idem, >Area 5 )ottery 1""!"C,> forthcoming. / am grateful to (r. =amieson for
allo$ing me to see these articles 'efore their pu'lication and for his eGemplary in!
troduction to the -ell Ahmar pottery at the site.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
of Assyrian 'ureaucrats and soldiers li%ing in the $est, it seems more li&ely
to reflect a thoroughgoing adoption of Assyrian practices 'y the city.s $est!
ern residents, since there is no suggestion in Assyrian inscriptions that
residents of the city $ere e%er deported,
16
and since documentary e%idence,
in contrast to the city.s material culture, suggests the continued presence of
some $esterners in the city and pro%ince $ho seem to ha%e retained some
ties to $estern culture. -he documentary e%idence from the city is limited
to a single family.s archi%e of nineteen teGts, some fragmentary, 'ut these
pro%ide at least a glimpse of the population of the city at a'out the time of
Esarhaddon.s reign.
17
:hile most of the teGts are $ritten in the Assyrians.
language, A&&adian, t$o of them are $ritten in Aramaic, the common lan!
guage of the $est, indicating the continued occasional use of $estern lan!
guage in the city, e%en for formal 'usiness records, despite the presence of
an Assyrian go%ernor and garrison in the city for $ell o%er a century. Al !
though the use of the Aramaic language and of Aramean names $as in!
creasing in Assyria in the late ;eo!Assyrian period, the miGture of Arame!
an and Assyrian names in the -il Barsip teGts, often designating people
participating as e8uals in a single transaction, suggests the presence of a
miGed population, including $esterners, in the city. E%en some of the As!
syrian names in the teGts, such as 4amataya (>the man from 4amat,> a
near'y $estern city# and -a'alaya (>the man from -a'al,> a near'y pro%!
ince#, attest to the continuing presence of $esterners in the city. Se%eral
names cited in the teGts include the theophoric element >Adad> or >4adad,>
the name of an important $eather god in the $est, and one names the moon
god SPn, $orshipped in Assyria 'ut also the focus of an important cult in
the near'y city of 4arran, suggesting that the religious ties of the city.s
residents $ere also to some eGtent still influenced 'y $estern practice. A
similar presence of Aramean names, $estern theophoric elements in names,
and legal teGts $ritten in Aramaic is e%ident in the much larger collection
of clay ta'lets some 10C altogether no$ disco%ered in ;eo!Assyrian
le%els at the neigh'oring site of -ell Shiu&h <a$8ani. -hese mar&s of
$estern cultural lin&s suggest that the pro%ince ruled from -il Barsip, li&e
the city itself, $as still partially 'ilingual and still identified itself to some
eGtent $ith the $est despite the long!esta'lished Assyrian presence.
1
-he
16
Shalmaneser.s inscriptions record the a'sorption of troops from -il Barsip into the As!
syrian army $hen the city fell, 'ut say nothing a'out deporting other residents.
17
-eGts in the archi%e dated to 60, 6* and 6*C B.C. suggest it co%ers a period of a'out
@C years, including all of the ele%en!year reign of Esarhaddon.
1
-il Barsip.s earlier nati%e rulers had used the ?u$ian language for their inscriptions. Al!
though the city $as, according to Assyrian teGts, controlled 'y the Aramean tri'e of Bit!
Adini at the time of Shalmaneser.s con8uest, this $as apparently 'rief, and its later use
of Aramaic and the presence of Aramean names is not a sur%i%al of the city.s o$n early
traditions, 'ut rather a mar& of its lin&s in later times to the contemporary culture and
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- "
documentary and archaeological e%idence from the city and region together
suggest that the local audience for the steles erected at -il Barsip consisted
of people $ho still to some eGtent identified themsel%es as $esterners
$hile enthusiastically em'racing many elements of Assyrian culture and
remaining deeply loyal to Assyria politically.
Sam.al.s situation $as different. (ore isolated in a %alley at the foot of
the Amanus (ountains some 1+C &ilometers to the north$est (<ig. 0#,
Sam.al $as less important than -il Barsip for control of the $est and $as
therefore su'1ected to less Assyrian control and presence. -he city formally
su'mitted to the Assyrians for the first time in *6 B.C., e%en 'efore -il
Barsip fell, 'ut $as allo$ed to retain a measure of independence as a %assal
of Assyria, paying tri'ute and sending troops to support Assyrian military
endea%ors in the $est, 'ut still directly ruled 'y its o$n nati%e &ings.
1"
As a
result, Sam.al remained much less AssyrianiDed than -il Barsip, 'oth po!
litically and culturally.
/n the century and a half of %assaldom that follo$ed their city!state.s
su'mission to Assyria, the &ings of Sam.al 'uilt a series of impressi%e pal!
aces and porticoed 'uildings in the city, all of them firmly $estern rather
than Assyrian in style,
+C
and they continued to erect their o$n royal monu!
ments, inscri'ing them in languages of the $est, first )hoenician and later
the nati%e Sam.alian dialect, rather than in the language of their Assyrian
o%erlords.
+1
5espite traces of Assyrian influence, the car%ings that deco!
rated these monuments attest to the %igorous sur%i%al of a local artistic tra!
dition. E%en $hen the ninth century Sam.alian ruler Kilamu$a $as repre!
sented on a stele dressed as an Assyrian &ing, the style of the car%ing re!
language of the $estern regions. See 7. Bunnens, >4ittites and Arameans at -il Barsi'2
A 9eappraisal,> Immigration and migration within the Ancient Near ast! +estschrift
C LipiDs3i, K. %an ?er'erghe and A. Schoors, ed. (?eu%en2 Eitge%eri1 )eeters en 5e!
partement ,riQntalistie&, 1""*#, pp. +C!+7. -he teGts from -il Barsip are pu'lished and
discussed in Abr-Nahrain 0@ (1""6!"7#. <or their archeological conteGt, see 7.
Bunnens, pp. 61!6*3 for the Assyrian teGts, S. (. 5alley, pp. 66!""3 for the Aramaic
teGts, ). Bordreuil and <. Bri8uel!Chatonnet, pp. 1CC!1C7. <or the teGts from -ell Shiu&h
<a$8ani, see the pu'lication 'y <. (. <ales, >An Aramaic -a'let from -ell Shiou&h
<a$8ani, Syria,> Semitica @6 (1""6#, pp. 1!1+1 and pl. 1C, and the descriptions 'y ?.
Bachelot et alC in 5rient Epress (1""*K0#, p. 0, in Archeo (1""6K1C#, p. 1C*, in 5rient
Epress (1""6K0#, pp. C!@, and in 5rient Epress (1""7K0#, pp. +!0.
1"
<or a sur%ey of the city.s history and for 'i'liography, see =. 5. 4a$&ins, in .ambridge
Ancient #istory2 +nd ed., pp. 07+!@@13 5ion, Les Aram6ens, pp. ""!1113 and Sader, Les
tats arame6ns, Ch. /6, $ho includes teGts or eGcerpts $ith citations3 for the eGca%ation
reports, <. %on ?uschan, A"sgrab"ngen 'on Sendschirli (n. @, a'o%e#.
+C
See Sader, Les tats arame6ns, pp. 11!1@, and 4. <ran&fort, The Art and Architect"re
of the Ancient 5rient (Baltimore, (d.2 )enguin, 1"*6#, pp. 17C!171.
+1
<or these nati%e royal inscriptions, $hich $ere $ritten throughout the period of Assyr!
ian domination from ca. 0C B.C. until the end of Bar!ra&i'.s reign in the last 8uarter of
the eighth century, see Sader, Les tats arame6ns2 pp. 1*6!171.
1C ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
mained unmista&a'ly $estern3 a second stele, pro'a'ly also representing
Kilamu$a, sho$s the Sam.alian &ing in the fringed dress of the Assyrian
court 'ut $earing the cap of a $estern ruler and $ith the stri&ingly large
head and compressed upper!'ody characteristic of the local style. ?ocal
style is e%en more e%ident in the late eighth century orthostat representing
the &ing Bar!ra&i', $hich is almost entirely free of Assyrian influence, al!
though it $as car%ed after more than a century of Assyrian domination of
the city.
++
E%en the pottery from Sam.al remained almost eGclusi%ely local
in style rather than Assyrian during the city.s years as an Assyrian %assal .
+0
/n short, Sam.al retained its nati%e culture largely intact despite a century
and a half of Assyrian domination.
)olitically, it $as for many years a loyal %assal of Assyria according to
'oth nati%e and Assyrian reports, 'ut retained a strong sense of independent
political identity. After t$o 'loody 'attles, the &ing of Sam.al, defeated
along $ith more po$erful allies, had su'mitted to Shalmaneser for the first
time in * B.C., 'ringing tri'ute, and after further Assyrian campaigning
had dealt a mortal 'lo$ to the anti!Assyrian coalition in northern Syria,
su'mitted once more in *0 B.C. and again had annual tri'ute imposed on
him, this time apparently for good. Sam.al seems thereafter to ha%e 'eha%ed
as a loyal %assal3 Assyrian royal inscriptions mention the city.s payment of
tri'ute to the Assyrian &ing -iglath!pileser /// in 70 B.C., o%er a century
later, and are silent a'out any pro'lems in the long inter%ening period. -he
inscriptions of Sam.al.s &ings on their part stri&e a nice 'alance 'et$een
ac&no$ledging their dependence on Assyria on the one hand and present !
ing themsel%es as the proud leaders of a %igorous state on the other. An
inscription $ritten in a'out 0C B.C., in the early years of Assyrian domi !
nation, for eGample, presents a picture of King Kilamua as an essentially
independent ruler, mentioning only in passing that he had applied to the
++
<or Bar!ra&i'.s relief, see <ran&fort, Art and Architect"re, pl. 16+3 Kilamua.s large, in!
scri'ed stele sho$s him $ith the cro$n and pendants of an Assyrian &ing, 'ut $ith the
deeply car%ed eye and cur%ing, not circular, hair loc&s of Sam.alian artistic con%ention.
<or the second stele, uninscri'ed 'ut almost certainly representing Kilamu$a as $ell,
see 4. Klengel, ed., ("lt"rgeschichte des alten *orderasien (Berlin2 A&ademie 6erlag,
1""#, fig. 1"@. All three car%ings are in the collections of the 6orderasiatishes (useum,
Berlin.
+0
<. %on ?uschan, $ith pu'lication and completion 'y :. Andrae, )ie (leinf"nde 'on
Sendschirli , Ausgra'ungen %on Sendschirli 6 (Berlin2 :alter de 7ruyter, 1"@0# and
5ion, Les Aram6ens, p. 1C0, n. 1CC. -he recent study of the pottery of the city 'y 7un!
nar ?ehmann, Fnters"ch"ngen %"r spGten isen%eit in Syrien "nd Libanon!
Stratigraphie "nd (erami3formen %wischen caC <?? bis H?? 'C .hrC ((unster2 Egarit
6erlag, 1""6# $as unfortunately not a%aila'le to me. -he Assyrian pottery and small
o'1ects found in the city are fe$ and pro'a'ly date from the period of resident Assyrian
go%ernors. ,nly t$o clay ta'lets $ritten in Assyrian $ere found in the city (see Andrae,
pp. 106!07#, and none in Sam.alian, so there is little onomastic e%idence to supplement
the e%idence of the material culture.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- 11
Assyrian &ing for help against the &ing of the 5anunians3 the accompany!
ing 'as!relief, as $e ha%e seen, sho$s him dressed as an Assyrian &ing, as
if to imply that Kilamu$a $as the Assyrian &ing.s royal e8ui%alent at least
in Sam.al. Almost a century later the inscriptions of King Bar!ra&i' depict
Sam.alian &ings as locally po$erful, 'ut lay greater emphasis on their role
as Assyrian %assal, reporting that Bar!ra&i'.s father had 'een reinstated on
his throne 'y the &ing of Assyria and had later died in 'attle at 5amascus
supporting the Assyrians, and adding that Bar!ra&i', li&e his father, $as
proud to run $ith &ings 'eside the Assyrian &ing.s chariot. -he image of
Bar!ra&i' that emerges from the teGt is of a ruler $hose faithfulness to
Assyria strengthens his o$n prestige as ruler of a city that had retained a
li%ely sense of its o$n political identity despite its long and apparently
happy association $ith Assyria.
At some point 'efore Esarhaddon came to the throne, ho$e%er, there
$as a radical change in the relationship of the t$o states, and Sam.al $as
reduced to the status of a pro%ince ruled 'y a resident Assyrian go%ernor.
-he timing and reasons for this change are unclear, although an attempted
or at least suspected Sam.alian re'ellion seems li&ely. -here is no mention
of such a re'ellion ho$e%er in either nati%e or Assyrian inscriptions in this
period, $hich report nothing after the city.s apparently routine payment of
tri'ute in 70 B.C.
+@
Although this silence lea%es us $ithout clues to the
reason, there is no dou't that 'y the time Esarhaddon came to the throne,
Sam.al had ceased to 'e ruled 'y its o$n &ings, since se%eral legal docu!
ments from 61 B.C., the final year of Esarhaddon.s father, refer to an As!
syrian go%ernor of Sam.al.
+*
Since its reduction to the status of pro%ince suggests that in the not too
distant past it had pro%en less than loyal to Assyria, Sam.al.s relia'ility as a
+@
-he only reported incident in $hich the city appears to ha%e acted against Assyrian
interests is Sam.al.s participation in 7"6 B.C. in the siege of a $estern city 'y a coalition
of 16 $estern states, pro'a'ly dispersed 'y the Assyrian &ing Adad!nerari /// (reported
in an inscription of the Aramean &ing Ja&&ur2 4. 5onner and :. 9Hllig, (anaanGische
"nd AramGische Inschriften M:ies'aden2 4arrasso$itD, 1"6@N, no. +C+A and 5ion, Les
Aram6ens, p.1+"#. Although this suggests the city $as relati%ely autonomous in this pe!
riod of Assyrian $ea&ness, there is no indication that the attac& $as directly anti!As!
syrian in intent, and neither Assyrian nor Sam.alian inscriptions mention the incident. /n
any case, Sam.al $as still (or again# a tri'ute!paying %assal siGty years later $hen Bar!
ra&i'.s inscriptions 'oast of the city.s close relationship to Assyria.
+*
Eight legal documents from 61 B.C. name the go%ernor of Sam.al2 -. K$asman and S.
)arpola, Legal Transactions of the Royal .o"rt of Nine'eh2 Part I, SAA 6/ (4elsin&i2
4elsin&i Eni%ersity )ress, 1""1#, teGts no. @6, @7, "1, 11C, 1"0, 1"*, 1"6 and pro'a'ly
1"@. A fragmentary teGt of Sargon // (K. 167+# mentions Sam.al 'eside cities that $ere
already capitals of Assyrian pro%inces, $hich ?ands'erger interpreted as an indication
that Sam.al had already 'ecome a pro%ince 'y the late eighth century (for the teGt, see B.
?ands'erger, Sam-al! St"dien %"r ntdec3"ng der R"inenstGtte (aratepe MAn&ara2
-Fr&ische 4istorische 7esellschaft, 1"@N, p. 70#.
1+ ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
$estern pro%ince in the early days of Esarhaddon.s reign could pro'a'ly
not 'e ta&en for granted. -o add to Assyrian dou'ts a'out Sam.al.s loyalty, a
&ing of the cities of Kundu and Sissu in Cilicia, a region lin&ed to Sam.al
'y road and only a'out 6C &ilometers a$ay, then chose to ally himself $ith
the )hoenician &ing A'di!(il&utti of Sidon (later to 'e pictured as a cap!
ti%e on Esarhaddon.s steles# and re%olt against Esarhaddon in 677 B.C. Al!
though the re%olt $as 'ris&ly suppressed and its leaders 'eheaded, the epi!
sode underlined the precariousness of Assyrian control in the more isolated
north$estern regions of the empire and suggested that Sam.al in particular
might 'e under considera'le pressure to 1oin in a regional uprising in the
near future.
Although the e%idence is am'iguous, Sam.al may in fact ha%e suc!
cum'ed to this pressure shortly thereafter. A thic& layer of ru''le and ashes
attests to a %iolent destruction of se%eral 'uildings on the citadel of Sam.al,
follo$ed 'y eGtensi%e re'uilding. A dated ta'let found in the de'ris places
the destruction sometime after the year 676 B.C., part $ay through Esar!
haddon.s reign, and pottery associated $ith the re'uilding indicates it oc!
curred sometime in the se%enth century, 'ut the failure of the eGca%ations to
esta'lish a clear stratigraphic se8uence in the area $here Esarhaddon.s stele
$as erected ma&es it impossi'le to esta'lish $hether the destruction and
later re'uilding occurred under Esarhaddon or in the time of his successors.
7. ?ehmann plausi'ly dates the destruction to shortly after 676 B.C.,
arguing that Esarhaddon.s stele $as erected to cele'rate his recapture of
Sam.al either from re'ellious Sam.alians or in%ading outsiders 'ut the
am'iguity of the archaeological e%idence lea%es this solution uncertain, if
appealing.
+6
:hether the %iolent destruction of the citadel at Sam.al should
'e dated to Esarhaddon.s reign or slightly later, it clearly points to the
precariousness of Assyria.s control of the city at the time of Esarhaddon.s
+6
7. ?ehmann, >Ju den JerstHrungen in Jincirli $Ihrend des frFhen 7. =ahrhunderts %.
Chr.,> 9itteil"ngen der )e"tschen 5rient-Besellschaft 1+6 (1""@#, pp. 1C*!1++.
?uschan.s eGca%ation of the gate in $hich the stele $as found lea%es it unclear $hether
the stele $as erected in the gate 'efore or after the $idespread destruction of 'uildings
on the citadel3 the late Assyrian pottery associated $ith the re'uilding $ould permit a
date for the re'uilding either in Esarhaddon.s reign or that of his son. -he destruction
and re'uilding of the citadel could thus ha%e occurred after the erection of the stele and
thus after Esarhaddon.s reign, although ?ehmann.s hypothesis of destruction in Esarhad!
don.s time is plausi'le. ,ne possi'ility is that the city $as ta&en 'y (ugallu, $ho $as
the su'1ect of t$el%e Assyrian omen in8uiries in8uiring a'out the pro'a'le outcome of
his 'attles $ith $estern -a'al, his (e%idently successful# siege of the city!state of (elid!
du (not far north of Sam.al and lin&ed to it 'y road#, and his proposed diplomatic mar !
riage arrangement $ith the Assyrian &ing. Esarhaddon sent troops to 'esiege (ugallu in
(eliddu in the year 67* B.C., according to the Ba'ylonian Chronicles, $hich $ould
ma&e particular sense if (ugallu had 1ust seiDed near'y Sam.al from Assyria, $ith or
$ithout Sam.alian collusion. / am grateful to ;ada% ;a.aman for dra$ing my attention
to ?ehmann.s article and for his percepti%e comments a'out it.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- 10
reign. -he local audience for Esarhaddon.s stele at Sam.al $as thus one
$ith a still %igorous sense of non!Assyrian cultural identity and one $hose
political loyalty to Assyria $as at least 8uestiona'le.
-he cultural and political situation in the t$o cities $as thus 8uite dif!
ferent at the time the three steles $ere erected. As $estern pro%incial capi!
tals, ho$e%er, the cities did share a common interest in Assyria.s a'ility to
protect her $estern cities against attac&s from the empire.s enemies3 the
steles and the common scene represented on them seem designed in part to
address this common concern.
All three steles con%eyed an image of Assyrian po$er 'y their %ery
massi%eness. -he stele erected at Sam.al $eighs more than 6,CCC &ilo!
grams. (ounted on a massi%e stone 'ase 1.11 meters high, the stele itself
stood 0.@6 meters high, dominating the gatehouse in $hich it $as erected.
+7
-he stele placed near the citadel at -il Barsip $as e%en larger, standing
0.C meters high on a 'ase that $as 1.1C meters in height,
+
$hile the stele
inside the city.s eastern gate $as only slightly smaller.
+"
-he looming pres!
ence of the three massi%e steles $as a potent reminder of Assyrian presence
and po$er in 'oth cities.
-he scene on all three steles reinforced this message of Assyrian domi!
nance. ,n the face of each stele the cro$ned figure of Esarhaddon, more
than siG feet high, looms o%er the capti%es placed in front of him, $hose
heads scarcely reach to his $aist. Staring implaca'ly in front of him, he
seems o'li%ious to the royal capti%es at his feet ()l. 1*#.
0C
-he effect of the
scene as a $hole is one of effortless dominance, $hile the images of Esar!
haddon.s ne$ly appointed heirs standing $ith folded hands on the side pan!
els of each stele implied that Assyrian dominance $ould continue long after
Esarhaddon.s death.
-he message of the scene $as specifically one of Assyrian dominance
in the $est, a point made 'y carefully identifying the capti%e figures as
$estern princes $hose countries had recently opposed Assyria and 'een
defeated. A'di!(il&utti, the )hoenician re'el $hose re%olt against Esar!
+7
?uschan, A"sgrab"ngen 'on Sendschirli, /, p. +, n. 0, and p. 1@.
+
-hureau!5angin and 5unand, Til-Barsib, p. 1*1.
+"
/t stood 0.0C meters high on a stone pedestal +.@C meters in height (-hureau!5angin and
5unand, Til-Barsib, p. 1**#.
0C
,n the Sam.al stele and the stele near the -il Barsip citadel the field in front of the &ing.s
face is filled $ith images and em'lems of Assyrian gods, $hom he appears to salute
$ith the raised o'1ect in his hand. -he stele placed near the gate at -il Barsip, ho$e%er,
is 'lan& in this area. -his difference may 'e a response to the different audiences $ho
$ould see the steles in these t$o locations, $ith the images of Assyrian gods omitted for
the general pu'lic $ho passed through the city gate, 'ut included for the reassurance or
intimidation of those $ho $ere a'out to pass into the presence of Assyrian officials on
the citadel.
1@ ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
haddon had 'een summarily suppressed in 677 B.C., is identified 'oth 'y
his )hoenician hat and 'y his capti%e state ($hich distinguished him from a
later )hoenician re'el, King Ba.al of -yre, $ho had e%entually su'mitted to
the Assyrians after an em'arrassingly long resistance, so effecti%e that he
$as allo$ed to remain free and on his throne#.
01
-he Egyptian prince, the
most spectacular trophy of the recent Egyptian campaign, $as ;u'ian and
is clearly identified 'oth 'y his ;egroid features, unusual in Assyrian re!
liefs, and 'y the uraeus cro$n of Egypt that he $ears. -he defeat of Egypt,
represented 'y his &neeling form, signalled the elimination of Egypt as As!
syria.s last significant challenger for control of the $est after more than
forty years of Egyptian support for $estern uprisings against Assyria3
0+
e%en more important, it signalled the reco%ery of Assyria.s military position
in the $est. Although Esarhaddon ne%er mentions it in his o$n inscriptions,
his army had 'een defeated in Egypt on a first campaign in 67@ B.C.3
00
the
image of Egypt.s &neeling prince, pu'licly displayed in 'oth cities, $as part
of an essential effort to repair Assyria.s tarnished military reputation in the
$est $ith the message that Assyria had no$ pro%en in%inci'le after all.
A'di!(il&utti.s presence ser%ed a similar function, reminding -il Barsip
and Sam.al that their re'ellious $estern colleague had 'een s$iftly and
01
-his is not immediately e%ident from Esarhaddon.s inscriptions, $hich gloss o%er Ba.al.s
apparently successful resistance. Significantly, Esarhaddon.s <rt. < inscription (Borger,
IA(, p. 11+, o'%., ll. 1+!1@# records the Assyrian siege of Ba.al, $ho had allied $ith the
Egyptian pharaoh against Assyria, as the first part of the successful campaign to Egypt
in 671, 'ut does not mention any outcome of the siege suggesting that the Assyrians
$ere still trying to get Ba.al to capitulate and a'andon his island fortress city at the time
$hen this inscription $as composed. /n a pro'a'ly later teGt (AsB'E, ll. 7!3 Borger,
IA(, p. 6#, Esarhaddon claims to ha%e defeated Ba.al and ta&en a$ay >all his cities and
his 'elongings>3 the more detailed, 'ut 'ro&en, account in <rt. A (re%., ll. +!1C#, ho$!
e%er, reports Ba.al.s su'mission to Assyria, his sending of tri'ute and of daughters $ith
do$ry, and the Assyrian seiDure of his shore to$ns, 'ut significantly does not mention
either the ta&ing of -yre itself or the seiDing of Ba.al as a capti%e. Since A'di!(il&utti,
for similar resistance, $as seiDed and 'eheaded as $ell as losing his capital, it seems
li&ely that Ba.al had resisted the Assyrians. siege successfully in his $alled island city
and that they had 'een forced to come to terms $ith him, allo$ing him his freedom and
rule $hile o'liging him to gi%e up those cities they could ta&e. /t is not clear, in that
case, $hether the sending of his daughters to Assyria $as a payment of tri'ute, as the
Assyrian inscription implies, or a diplomatic marriage to seal the agreement. Ba.al con!
tinued to reign into the time of Esarhaddon.s son Assur'anipal. -his suggests that the
Assyrians $ould ha%e found Ba.al a less instructi%e eGample for $esterners than the
thoroughly su'dued (and in fact 'eheaded# A'di!(il&utti and $ere careful to esta'lish
the identity of the capti%e )hoenician &ing on the steles, e%en placing his name 'eneath
his feet on one -il Barsip stele, as -hureau!5angin notes (Syria 1C M1"+"N, p. 1*+#.
0+
<or further discussion, see Anthony Spalinger, >-he <oreign )olicy of Egypt )receding
the Assyrian Con8uest, > .hroniq"e d-Igypte *0 (1"7#, pp. ++!@7.
00
/t is reported only in the Ba'ylonian chronicles3 see A. K. 7rayson, Assyrian and Baby-
lonian .hronicles, -eGts from Cuneiform Sources 6 (?ocust 6alley, ;.A.2 =. =. Augustin,
1"7*#, Chronicle 1, i% 16.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- 1*
ineGora'ly defeated. -hat he had also 'een 'eheaded is omitted from the
reliefs as a tactful concession to $estern sensi'ilities. 4is defeat and su'!
1ection, ho$e%er, are unmista&a'le, reinforcing the message of Assyria.s
firm control of the $est.
Although the scene con%eyed this 'asic message of Assyrian dominance
in the $est on all three steles, the treatment of the figures represented in the
scenes $as 8uite different in the t$o cities, significantly changing the im!
plications of the %isual imagery. 5espite $eathering, $hich has o'scured
details of the -il Barsip steles, the differences 'et$een the car%ings in the
t$o cities are clearly apparent. At -il Barsip, for eGample ()ls. 1*, 16, 17
and 1#,
0@
the Assyrian &ing, his t$o sons and 'oth capti%es all $ear long,
Assyrian!style tunics the &ing.s distinguished 'y o%erlapping front panels
suggesting a coat cut along similar lines and all four men $ear the same
s8uared!off, typically Assyrian 'eard, sometimes $orn 'y $esterners as
$ell. -he imagery here is inclusi%e, suggesting a close relationship 'et$een
the Assyrians and their $estern su'1ects.
-he t$o Assyrian heirs on the side panels of the t$o steles are repre!
sented at -il Barsip as generic Assyrians, simply dressed and $ithout ela'!
orate 1e$elry ()ls. 1", +C, +1 and +0#, distinguished only 'y the Assyrian
cro$n prince.s pendant, identical to that of the &ing, $hich hangs do$n the
Assyrian heir.s 'ac& ()ls. 1" and ++#, and 'y the Ba'ylonian heir.s more
arching pendant
0*
()ls. 16 and +0# and hea%y sash $ith tassel ()l. +@#.
0@
Clear pictures of the -il Barsip steles ha%e long 'een needed. / am inde'ted to An$ar
A'del 7hafour, photographer for the ;ational (useum of Aleppo, for his super' ne$
photographs of the steles, most of $hich are pu'lished here, and to (r. :ahid Khayata,
5irector of the Aleppo (useum, and )rof. 5r. Sultan (ehesen, 5irector 7eneral, 5i!
rectorate of Anti8uities, -he Syrian Ara' 9epu'lic, for permitting these photographs to
'e made and allo$ing their pu'lication here.
0*
Although 'oth are 'adly $eathered, a close eGamination of the t$o steles sho$s traces
of this different pendant hanging do$n the 'ac& of the prince on the right panel. (/t is
not discerni'le in pu'lished photos and $as not included in the dra$ing of the citadel
stele pu'lished 'y =. BHr&er!KlIhn, Alt'orderasiatische Bildstelen, fig. +17 M)l. 1
hereN#. -races of the pendant are ho$e%er %isi'le on the stele itself and appear faintly in
7hafour.s ne$ photo of it, )l. +0 here. ,n the gate$ay stele, the pendant arches slightly
a$ay from the 'ac& of the figure on the right panel (some$hat more than in the
pu'lished dra$ing, )l. 16 here#, differentiating it from the pendant of the &ing and the
other prince. -he point of attachment of this pendant is also different. ,n the stele set up
'y the gate, the 'ac& of the figure.s head is 'ro&en a$ay so that the point $here the
pendant $ould ha%e 'een attached is missing, 'ut on the stele near the citadel, the
pendant clearly 'egins at the midpoint of the prince.s hair 'un, unli&e the pendants of
the &ing and the other prince, $hich hang from the 'ase of the 'un. -he different pen!
dant of the right!hand figure, li&e his sash, pro'a'ly distinguished him as the heir for
Ba'ylon, since it differs from the con%entional pendant of Assyrian &ings and cro$n
princes $orn 'y the other figures. -he conclusion that the heir for Ba'ylon is the one
$ith the uncon%entional pendant and sash is supported 'y the fact that the &ing has his
'ac& to this figure and faces the figure $ith the more con%entional pendant, $ho is
pro'a'ly the more prestigious heir to the cro$n of Assyria, as in the arrangement on the
16 ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
-hese images of the t$o princes, $hich $ould ha%e 'een e8ually appropri!
ate for an audience in the Assyrian homeland, seem designed to encourage
-il Barsip to accept and support Esarhaddon.s heirs simply 'ecause they are
Assyrian princes.
-he $estern rulers on the -il Barsip steles are 'oth accorded a certain
dignity. -heir hands are raised in a gesture as much of salute as of appeal,
and their heads tilt 'ac& only slightly, so that they appear to stare $oodenly
at the &ing.s 'elt, not 'eseechingly at his face ()ls. +* and +6#. E%en the
more foreign Egyptian prince, although his &neeling posture emphasiDes
his su'1ection, is decently dressed in a tunic ()l. +7# and not other$ise de!
meaned. -he t$o -il Barsip steles represent the capti%e $estern rulers $ith
a certain dignity $hile ne%ertheless indicating 'y their capti%ity and small
stature that opposition to Assyria in the $est $ould 'e firmly suppressed a
message that -il Barsip, its political fortunes long tied to those of Assyria,
could only ha%e found reassuring.
06
-he imagery of the -il Barsip steles
$as essentially inclusi%e, encouraging the people of -il Barsip to continue
in their loyal support of the Assyrian &ing and his heirs.
,n the Sam.al stele the figures in the scene are treated 8uite differently
()ls. + and +"#.
07
Sam.al, $ith its strong local cultural and political iden!
tity, $ould pro'a'ly not ha%e 'een pleased 'y images sho$ing almost e%er!
yone as essentially Assyrian, and on this stele the differing ethnic and na!
tional identities of the figures are underlined. Esarhaddon is identified as
Assyrian not only 'y his distincti%ely Assyrian cro$n to $hich attention is
dra$n here 'y its eGtensi%e decoration 'ut also 'y the ela'orately fringed
Sam.al stele.
06
-he %isual imagery of the steles at -il Barsip $as supplemented 'y the imagery of the
$all paintings in the Assyrian palace on the citadel. Although the dating of these is still
hotly de'ated, it is clear that at least some, and perhaps all, $ere on display to %isitors to
the palace in Esarhaddon.s time (see note 1+ a'o%e3 for illustrations, see -hureau!5an!
gin and 5unand, Til-Barsib2 pls. R?///!?///, and for initial reports of their disco%ery, pp.
@+!7+3 for color reproductions of the fe$ sur%i%ing originals and of copies made at the
time of disco%ery, see )arrot, The Arts of Assyria, passim.# Closely resem'ling the car%!
ings in Assyrian homeland palaces, the paintings include scenes of the Assyrian &ing
and court recei%ing 'ooty or tri'ute, scenes of the royal hunt, of capti%es pulling chari!
ots, of the eGecution of a dar&!s&inned prisoner, and of a group of na&ed $omen or god!
desses, and %arious arrangements of $inged genii, $inged animals, i'eGes, and geomet!
ric patterns3 unli&e the homeland car%ings, ho$e%er, they omit scenes of $ar, ma&ing
them more peaceful in the image they present of Assyria.s relationship to the outside.
-heir imagery sends a message similar to that of the steles. ?i&e the steles, the paintings
present an image of Assyrian royal po$er and of an orderly empire $hose &ing $as
under di%ine protection, and they are, $ith only t$o eGceptions, neither degrading nor
%iolent in their presentation of nonetheless clearly su'missi%e su'1ects or capti%es.
07
/ am grateful to 5r. E%elyn Klengel!Brandt and the Staatliche (useen Du Berlin, 6or der!
asiatisches (useum, for pro%iding me $ith this photograph of the Sam.al stele in their
collection and also for ma&ing it possi'le to photograph details of the stele and pu'lish
those photos here.
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- 17
and $rapped Assyrian royal garment that he $ears, contrasting $ith the
simple tunic and pea&ed cap of the )hoenician &ing.
0
-he s8uare Assyrian
'eards of 'oth the &ing and his sons distinguish them from A'di!(il&utti,
$ho here $ears a pointed 'eard, underlining his non!Assyrian character
()l. 0C#.
Cultural differences are further underlined in the representations of
Esarhaddon.s t$o sons on the side panels, $here the heir to the Assyrian
throne is sho$n in ela'orate Assyrian royal dress li&e that of his father,
$hile his 'rother, heir to the Ba'ylonian throne, $ears a Ba'ylonian 'ac&!
pleated garment
0"
and an unusual 'ac& pendant $ith Dig!Dag decoration ()l.
01#. -he aesthetic con%entions go%erning the car%ing of the figures of the
t$o princes are also adapted to appeal to Sam.al3 in contrast to the figures
on the front of the stele, car%ed $ith the con%entional Assyrian proportions,
the t$o princes are car%ed $ith the large head and oddly compressed upper
'ody that $as a mar& of $estern style ()ls. 01 and 0+#.
@C
5espite their dis!
tincti%e and differing nati%e dress, the proportions of the t$o Assyrian
princes gi%e them a stri&ingly $estern appearance, as if to encourage their
acceptance in Sam.al 'y presenting them almost as Sam.alian nati%es.
-he treatment of the capti%es is also stri&ingly different here, this time
underlining the capti%es. a'1ect state ()l. +#. At -il Barsip, the capti%es
stand $aist!high 'eside the &ing3 at Sam.al they are tiny figures, reaching
only to his &nees. At -il Barsip, the Egyptian prince is decently clothed in a
tunic ()l. +7#3 here, the a'sence of any hemline across the prince.s lo$er
leg and his strongly modelled leg muscles suggest he is na&ed eGcept for
0
-he position of the &ing on the face of the steles also differs in the t$o cities, $ith the
&ing facing right on the Sam.al stele and left on the t$o -il Barsip steles. -his is pro'a!
'ly not related to a difference in intended message, 'ut to the placement of the steles
$ithin each city, since in this arrangement the &ing $ould in each case face the %ie$er
as he approached. (<or the position of the steles, see for Sam.al the plan of the outer
citadel gate, <. %on ?uschan, A"sgrab"ngen in Sendschirli, //, pl. R///, along $ith the
dra$ing, ibid., /, <ig. 1C, p. +". <or -il Barsip, see -hureau!5angin and 5unand, Til-
Barsib, pp. 1*1 and 1**, $ith the city plan, )lan A, and -hureau!5angin, Syria 1C
(1"+"#, pp. 1"!"C.# / am inde'ted to <eliG Blocher for noting that the placement of the
&ing on the %ie$er.s left is typical of royal steles at Sam.al and may 'e a nod to local
practice.
0"
-hureau!5angin and 5unand, Til-Barsib, p. 1*+ and =. E. 9eade, s.%. >KronprinD,> RlA 6
(1"+#, p. +*C. -he garment is sho$n on the 3"d"rr" monuments of the ninth century
Ba'ylonian &ing (ardu&!Da&ir!shumi ()arrot, Arts of Assyria, fig. +17# and the eighth
century &ing (erodach!'aladan // (ibid., fig. +16#.
@C
/n the $estern style the head is often sho$n as the same height as the entire torso. /n one
of the Sam.al gatehouse car%ings, for eGample, the soldier.s head is 7 1K+> high, and his
nec& to $aist measurement is eGactly the same. ,ther figures sho$ similar proportions.
<or additional eGamples, see the three gate$ay figures from Sam.al pictured in <ran&!
fort, Art and Architect"re2 pl. 16C, and the stele sho$ing Kilamu$a, discussed a'o%e.
,n $estern style in general, see :inter, >Art as E%idence for /nteraction,> (n. " a'o%e#,
p. 06.
1 ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
his royal cro$n. At Sam.al, t$o clearly car%ed leashes coiled in the Assyr!
ian &ing.s lo$er hand run to rings that appear to pierce the capti%es. lips,
@1
and hea%y, unadorned 'ands around the capti%es. $rists and an&les, a'sent
on the -il Barsip steles, appear to represent manacles rather than 1e$elry.
-he capti%es. heads here are thro$n 'ac& so that they appear to loo& 'e!
seechingly at the face of the imper%ious Assyrian &ing. /n an ironic t$ist,
the scri'e $ho laid out the teGt left large spaces in this line so that the $ord
>Assur> is incised neatly on the upturned pointed 'eard of the )hoenician
capti%e, as if la'elling him as Assyrian property ()l. 0C#.
@+
-he Sam.al stele, in short, underlines the different national identities of
the figures $hile emphasiDing the degradation of the capti%e $estern
princes. /ts message seems intended as a pointed reminder to potentially
disloyal su'1ects that opponents of Assyria $estern or not $ould 'e
captured and demeaned. -he more gruesome details of A'di!(il&utti. s pun!
ishment are tactfully omitted, 'ut his su'1ection is underlined, and the
@1
-he surface in front of the capti%es. faces on the t$o -il Barsip steles is completely
'lan& and sho$s no lip rings. :hether leashes $ere depicted is unclear 'ecause of the
damaged condition of the area a'o%e the figures on 'oth steles, although no trace of
leashes no$ sur%i%es. (/ $as una'le to find any clear indication of the traces of leashes
sho$n in BHr&er!KlIhn.s dra$ing of the -il Barsip gate stele $hen / eGamined the stele
in the Aleppo (useum.# -he surface in this area is 'adly pitted and $eathered. -his sec!
tion of the stele near the citadel is almost completely 'ro&en a$ay, so that it is not pos!
si'le to 'e sure $hat $as or $as not originally car%ed there. (-he looped leashes on the
gate stele in the photographs are a modern reconstruction.# -hureau!5angin spea&s of
prisoners 'eing held >en laisse par le roi> on this stele, 'ut it is not clear if he sa$ sur!
%i%ing traces of such a leash (no$ long gone# or $as eGtrapolating from the e%idence of
the Sam.al stele and from the loop or circle that is still clearly %isi'le in the &ing.s hand.
Since there are no nose rings on these steles and no clear e%idence of leashes descending
'eyond the loop, the t$o -il Barsip steles, unli&e the Sam.al stele, may ha%e depicted
only a loop and ring in the &ing.s hand rather than leashes, echoing the >rod and ring>
motif familiar from earlier (esopotamian royal car%ings. /n any case, if leashes $ere
originally indicated on the -il Barsip steles, they must ha%e 'een only lightly indi cated,
since they ha%e left no discerni'le trace. At Sam.al, ho$e%er, the leashes are emphasiDed
'y strong modelling.
@+
-he spacing of the signs in this line and the line 'efore ma&e it clear that this placement
$as deli'erate. (See <. %on ?uschan, A"sgrab"ngen in Sendschirli /, -af. /6, for a copy
sho$ing the lay!out of the signs3 it does not, ho$e%er, sho$ the position of the car%ed
figures in relation to the signs.# -he ligature aS!Sur $as carefully isolated on the 'eard,
separated from its pre! and post!position determinati%es 'y space for a total of a'out
three signs more than enough space to ha%e allo$ed a different placement of the signs if
desired. <or a second eGample on this stele of the placement of signs to interact $ith the
%isual images, see the discussion that follo$s. -he implication that the $ord >Assur> on
the 'eard $as meant as an ironic property la'el is less con1ectural than it may seem.
6alua'le o'1ects ta&en as 'ooty $ere sometimes similarly inscri'ed $ith a line of cunei!
form la'elling them as the property of the &ing $ho had seiDed them. (<or the inscrip!
tion on t$o ala'aster %ases found in the Alten )alast at Assur that identifies them as
'ooty ta&en from A'di!(il&utti, see Borger, IA(2 p. , Assur 5. -he %ases are in the col!
lections of the 6orderasiatisches (useum, Berlin.#
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- 1"
message that re%olt against Assyria $ould ine%ita'ly fail, $ith unpleasant
conse8uences for the perpetrators, is made unmista&a'ly clear.
-he different teGts inscri'ed on the steles in the t$o cities
@0
are carefully
integrated $ith the %isual imagery, complementing and supplementing the
message of the accompanying car%ings. Although the inscription at -il Bar!
sip is 'adly $eathered and $as perhaps deli'erately mutilated in anti8uity,
large sections of it sur%i%e and its general outlines are clear. /ts teGt is typ!
ical of Esarhaddon.s inscriptions, closely paralleling sections of his 'uild!
ing inscriptions from ;ine%eh, and li&e the %isual imagery of the stele,
$ould ha%e 'een 8uite appropriate for an Assyrian homeland audience.
@@
After an introduction, no$ destroyed 'y $eathering, the teGt descri'es
Esarhaddon.s &indnesses to a faithful Ara' %assal, $hose gods, plundered
'y Esarhaddon.s father Sennacheri', Esarhaddon had refur'ished and re!
turned, $hose female compatriot, also carried off 'y Sennacheri', Esarhad!
don had returned and made 8ueen, and $hose son, deposed 'y a ri%al, Esar!
haddon had later helped to reclaim the throne of his father, seiDing the 'e!
longings of the hapless ri%al in the process. After esta'lishing Esarhaddon.s
military pro$ess 'y eGtolling his %arious con8uests (including his defeat of
the near'y Cilicians#, the teGt concludes $ith an account of A'di!(il&utti.s
defeat at Esarhaddon.s hands. -his section of the teGt is set apart on the
'ase of the stele as if to dra$ particular attention to it, and A'di!(il&utti.s
name is placed directly 'elo$ his car%ed figure, lin&ing the teGt to the car%!
ings it accompanies. -hese lines are no$ so 'adly $eathered, ho$e%er, that
only A'di!(il&utti.s name and title at the 'eginning are clearly reada'le,
'ut the eight lines of no$!o'literated teGt that follo$ presuma'ly told the
story of his re%olt and ignominious defeat, familiar to us from 'etter pre!
ser%ed Esarhaddon inscriptions. After praising the god Assur and announc!
ing the stele.s construction, the teGt then 'rea&s off $ith se%eral ruled lines
still uninscri'ed. Although it remains unfinished, pro'a'ly 'ecause of Esar!
haddon.s death, the inscription.s message is clear 2 it is the story of a faith!
ful (and $estern# %assal re$arded and of a re'ellious (and also $est ern#
@0
;o teGt $as inscri'ed on the stele near the gate at -il Barsip, although one may ha%e
'een planned. -he teGt on the other -il Barsip stele 'rea&s off a'ruptly, ho$e%er, lea%!
ing ruled lines empty 'elo$ it, and details of its car%ing are incomplete (the feet of the
prince on the left!hand panel are only s&etched#, suggesting that the pro1ect of ma&ing
steles for -il Barsip came to an a'rupt end, perhaps 'ecause of Esarhaddon.s sudden
death in 66" B.C. :hate%er $as originally intended, only the stele near the citadel at -il
Barsip $as actually inscri'ed. BHr&er!KlIhn.s suggestion that an inscription in Aramaic
(as $ell as leashes and sym'ols of gods, 'oth missing on the stele near the gate# $as to
'e added in paint is intriguing 'ut seems uncon%incing in the a'sence of other eGamples
of painted details or teGts on Assyrian stone steles.
@@
Borger, IA(2 (nm. B, pp. 1CC!1C1. -he contents of the 'ro&en sections of the teGt can
'e approGimately reconstructed, as Borger suggests, from the teGt.s close parallels to
sections of Esarhaddon.s ;ine%eh A and B inscriptions.
+C ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
%assal firmly punished. -he -il Barsip inscription deli%ers a classic Assyr!
ian message appropriate for loyal $estern Assyrian su'1ects2 that as loyal
su'1ects they $ill prosper under the rule of a 'ene%olent and po$erful As!
syrian &ing $ho has already esta'lished his a'ility to protect them 'y de!
feating the enemies of Assyrian rule in the $est.
-he Sam.al teGt is predicta'ly 8uite different. /t focuses on a single cam!
paign, Esarhaddon.s recent con8uest of Egypt, and its message, here again
echoing the %isual imagery, is one of $arning. After listing Esarhaddon.s
di%ine patrons and royal titles ($hich no$ at last could include >&ing of the
&ings of Egypt, )atros, and Ethiopia,> a pointed reminder of the &neeling
Egyptian prince of the car%ing#, the teGt then praises Esarhaddon as a fierce
and successful $arrior, again recalling the accompanying %isual images 'y
referring to him as >holder of the leashes of &ings> (the $ord used here for
>&ings> is significantly not the Assyrian term, JarrKnL, 'ut its $estern
e8ui%alent, mali3L#. -he placement of the cuneiform signs is also integrated
$ith the car%ed images, not only in the case of the )hoenician &ing.s 'eard,
as $e sa$ earlier, 'ut also later in the teGt, $here the comment that >all the
non!su'missi%e, the &ings $ho $ould not 'o$ to him, li&e s$amp reed he
cut do$n and trampled at his feet,> is $ritten in signs that themsel%es are
placed neatly under the &ing.s car%ed feet. After its lengthy assertions of
Esarhaddon.s di%ine protection and military pro$ess, the teGt turns at last to
its main su'1ect, Esarhaddon.s defeat of -ar8u, pharaoh of Egypt, $ho had
>sinned against the god Assur, 'een disrespectful,> a %eiled reference to
Eygpt.s persistent support for $estern re%olts. At great length the teGt
descri'es the Assyrian army.s difficult 'ut determined desert crossing to
Egypt, its pursuit of the fleeing pharaoh (adding that he $as struc& >fi%e
times> $ith arro$s, a detail pro'a'ly intended to o'scure his later unmen!
tioned escape to safety#, and the rapid defeat of his army at (emphis. -he
teGt reports that Esarhaddon then looted -ar8u.s palace, ta&ing $i%es, chil!
dren (including the unfortunate cro$n prince# and palace treasure, and fi!
nally appointed go%ernors to rule the country for Assyria3 it is, in short, the
detailed account of a comprehensi%e defeat. -he Sam.al inscription con!
cludes 'y reporting the ma&ing of the stele itself, $hich is intended for >the
$ondering glance of all enemies fore%er> and to >ma&e these deeds im!
mortal>.
?i&e the -il Barsip inscription, the Sam.al teGt tells a story of Assyrian
po$er, 'ut its moral is not one of faithfulness re$arded, 'ut rather of disre!
spect that is, efforts to foment re'ellion ineGora'ly punished. ?i&e its
%isual imagery, the message of the Sam.al inscription is not one meant for a
loyal and trusted su'1ect, 'ut one that $as eGplicitly designed for Assyria.s
potential enemies, a $arning message appropriate for a city of dou'tful
ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES- +1
loyalties $hich might $ell 'e under pressure to 1oin in the neGt $estern
re%olt.
/n 'oth cities the differing messages of the steles $ere intended for
pu'lic consumption. ,n permanent pu'lic display, the massi%e monuments
$ere in themsel%es a looming and una%oida'le reminder of Assyrian
po$er. -he scenes car%ed on the steles, cast in a familiar %isual %oca'ulary,
$ould ha%e 'een comprehensi'le to almost anyone in the t$o cities. -he
teGts, $hich re8uired reading, $ould ha%e 'een directly accessi'le to a
smaller 'ut more politically po$erful audience of scri'es and the people
$ho employed them, a group that included Assyrian officials, foreign dig!
nitaries, and mem'ers of $ealthy families in 'oth cities and their pro%inces.
/f the teGts $ere also pu'licly read aloud during dedication ceremonies for
the steles ($hich seems li&ely 'ut remains hypothetical#, the message of the
teGts $ould ha%e e%entually reached almost e%eryone in the t$o cities, ei !
ther directly or e%entually 'y $ord of mouth.
@*
-he intended audience for
the teGts pro'a'ly also included the Assyrian &ing and his no'les, their
gods, and future rulers, as seems to ha%e 'een the case for any Assyrian
royal inscription, 'ut people in the t$o cities $here the teGts $ere dis!
played $ere certainly part of their intended audience as $ell.
Both %isually and %er'ally, Esarhaddon.s carefully differentiated steles
for -il Barsip and Sam.al addressed the different political and cultural cir!
cumstances of these audiences, encouraging the -il Barsipians on the one
hand to remain confident and loyal citiDens of the Assyrian empire, $hile
encouraging the less relia'le Sam.alians on the other hand to resist any fu!
ture enticements to re%olt. /n addition, the images of the Assyrian princes
on the sides of the steles, adapted to accommodate the cities. different cul !
tural and political sensi'ilities, encouraged each city to support the princes
as accepta'le rulers of the empire after Esarhaddon.s death.
As vehicles of Assyrian propaganda public monuments part of whose
purpose was to influence the political attitudes and behavior of people resi-
dent in the two cities and their provinces for Assyria's benefit the steles
shed light not only on Esarhaddon's western policy but also on Assyrian
propaganda as a whole. The steles at Til Barsip and Sam'al are examples of
a sophisticated public relations effort they provide evidence that far from
@*
-he use of Assyrian in $estern cities $here Aramaic $as the main language of the local
population $as pro'a'ly not a serious 'arrier to understanding in either city, $here
&no$ledge of Assyrian had long 'een necessary for any po$erful person (and also for
less po$erful people such as craftsmen, ser%ants, etc.#, a s&ill permitting local people to
deal effecti%ely in 'usiness and other matters $ith the city.s Assyrian 'ureaucrats and
numerous Assyrian residents. /t is possi'le in addition that the teGts $ere translated
aloud into Aramaic during pu'lic dedication ceremonies for the steles, 'ut this remains
con1ectural. See B. ;. )orter,>?anguage, Audience and /mpact in /mperial Assyria,>
Israel 5riental St"dies 1* (1""*#, Lang"age and ."lt"re in the Near ast2 S. /Dre.el and
9. 5rory, ed., pp. *1!7+.
++ ASSA9/A; )9,)A7A;5A <,9 -4E :ES-
pro!ecting a single" undifferentiated message of intimidation and reassur-
ance to the empire at large" Assyrian public monuments and texts were
carefully fine-tuned for particular audiences" at times addressing even indi-
vidual cities in the same region in significantly different terms. #n their nu-
anced differences" Esarhaddon's three steles reveal the sophistication and
flexibility of Assyrian propaganda as it was used in the west in the final
years of Assyria's empire.

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