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King of Assyria
King of the Middle Assyrian Empire
Reign1196-1194 BC
PredecessorTukulti-Ninurta I
SuccessorAshur-nirari III
IssueAshur-nirari III, Ashur-dan I
FatherTukulti-Ninurta I

Ar-n?din-apli, inscribed ma?-?ur-SUM-DUMU.U?,[1] was king of Assyria (1207 BC - 1204 BC or 1196 BC - 1194 BC short chronology). The alternate dating is due to uncertainty over the length of reign of a later monarch, Ninurta-apal-Ekur, where conflicting king lists differ by ten years. His name meant "Aur is the giver of an heir"[2] in the Akkadian language. He was a son of Tukulti-Ninurta I.[i 1]


Schroeder's line art for Ar-n?din-apli's brick inscription.[i 2]

The events surrounding the overthrow of Tukulti-Ninurta remain somewhat shrouded in mystery. His military conquests seem to have taken place during the first half of his reign with modern scholarship suggesting that his climactic victory against Ka?tilia?u IV and the city of Babylon occurred during two campaigns during his thirteenth and fifteenth years,[3] if the placing of the eponyms, the Assyrian dating system, of Etel-pi-Aur and Aur-bel-ilani are correct.[4] The latter part of his reign was characterized by reversal as the over-extended Assyrian military struggled to hold on to the earlier prizes and this may well have been the reason for his toppling.

Copies of the Assyrian King List record that "Ar-n?din or nir-apli,[i 3] his son, seized the throne (for himself and) ruled for three or four[i 4] years." Brinkman relates that "it is uncertain whether one or two princes lie behind the conflicting scribal traditions,"[5] but Grayson is more emphatic, "there seem to have been at least two sons."[6] Yamada, however, argues that it was scribal confusion with the later succession of Tukulti-Ninurta II by Ar-nir-apli II.[7] The names differ by just one cuneiform character, PAB for nir and SUM for n?din. The Babylonian Chronicle P recalls "Aur-nir-apli, his son (mar-?u) and the officers of Assyria rebelled, removed him from his throne, shut him up in a room and killed him."[i 5]

It was Ar-n?din-apli who succeeded to the throne, as testified by the scanty inscriptions left behind, which include bricks[i 2] from Assur (line art pictured), "(Property of) the palace of Ar-n?din-apli ..." and a lengthy text on a stone tablet commemorating rerouting the Tigris to the north of the city by "divine means" to recover agricultural fields and the erection of a shrine.[6] This breaks with Assyrian tradition, extending the list of royal epithets to include "faithful shepherd, to whom by the command of the gods Aur, Enlil and ?ama? the just sceptre was given and whose important name was called for the return (or care) of the land, the king under the protective hand of the god An and select of the god Enlil..."[6] by which we may infer he was seeking divine support for his tenuous throne.

Just one eponym has been positively identified for his rule, that of Er?b-Sîn, which dates the stone tablet. A tablet also dated to this year was found at Tell Taban, site of the vassal state of Tâbatu near modern Al-Hasakah during salvage excavation under the direction of Hirotoshi Numoto in advance of the building of a dam in northeastern Syria. The king of Tâbatu was an Assyrian official named Adad-b?l-gabbe whose rule spanned that of four Assyrian monarchs seemingly unaffected by the turmoil at the heart of the empire.[8]

He was succeeded by Aur-nerari III, who was either his son or his nephew, again depending on the existence of Ar-na?ir-apli.


  1. ^ All three copies of the Assyrian King List agree on his paternal relation.
  2. ^ a b Brick inscription Ass. 22346, KAH 2 62.
  3. ^ The Nassouhi King List (NaKL) and the Khorsabad King List (KhKL) say Ar-n?din-apli but the Seventh Day Adventist Seminary King List (SDAS) says Ar-nir-apli.
  4. ^ The NaKL says three years, while the KhKL and the SDAS say four years.
  5. ^ Chronicle P, column 4, lines 10 to 11.


  1. ^ M. Capraro (1998). "Ar-n?din-apli". In K. Radner (ed.). The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Volume 1, Part I: A. The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. p. 202.
  2. ^ Where nad?nu is "to give" and aplu is "an heir."
  3. ^ For example, Stephan Jakob (Univ. Heidelberg), Sag mir quando, sag mir wann (Workshop: "Middle Assyrian Texts and Studies") Time and History in the Ancient Near East; Barcelona; 26 - 30 July 2010.
  4. ^ H. Freydank (2005). "Zu den Eponymenfolgen des 13.Jahrhunderts v. Chr. in Dûr-Katlimmu". Altorientalische Forschungen. 32 (1): 45-56.
  5. ^ J. A. Brinkman (1973). "Comments on the Nassouhi Kingslist and the Assyrian Kingslist Tradition". Orientalia. 42: 312-313.
  6. ^ a b c A. K. Grayson (1972). Assyrian Royal Inscriptions, Volume I. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. pp. 134-136.
  7. ^ Shigeo Yamada (1998). "The Assyrian King List and the Murderer of Tukulti-Ninurta I". NABU (1): 26-27.
  8. ^ Daisuke Shibata (2006). "Middle Assyrian Administrative and Legal Texts from the 2005 Excavation at Tell Taban: A Preliminary Report". 49th Regular Meeting of the Sumerian Studies. Kyoto University: 169-180.
Preceded by
Tukulti-Ninurta I
King of Assyria
1196–1193 BC
Succeeded by
Aur-nerari III

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