|King of the Neo-Assyrian Empire|
|Died||c. 824 BC|
His long reign was a constant series of campaigns against the eastern tribes, the Babylonians, the nations of Mesopotamia and Syria, as well as Kizzuwadna and Urartu. His armies penetrated to Lake Van and the Taurus Mountains; the Neo-Hittites of Carchemish were compelled to pay tribute, and the kingdoms of Hamath and Aram Damascus were subdued. It is in the annals of Shalmaneser III from the 850s BC that the Arabs and Chaldeans first appear in recorded history.
Shalmaneser began a campaign against Urartian Kingdom and reported that in 858 BC he demolished the city of Sugunia and then in 853 BC also Ara?kun. Both cities are assumed to have been capitals of the Kingdom before Tushpa became a center for the Urartians. In 853 BC, a coalition was formed by 11 states, mainly by Hadadezer (Hadad-ezer) the Aramean king of Damascus, Irhuleni king of Hamath, Ahab king of Israel, Gindibu king of the Arabs, and some other rulers who fought the Assyrian king at the Battle of Qarqar. The result of the battle was not decisive, and Shalmaneser III had to fight his enemies several times again in the coming years, which eventually resulted in the occupation of The Levant (modern Syria and Lebanon) and Arabia by the Assyrian empire.
In 851, following a rebellion in Babylon, Shalmaneser led a campaign against Marduk-b?l-u?ate, younger brother of the king, Marduk-zakir-shumi I, who was an ally of Shalmaneser. In the second year of the campaign, Marduk-b?l-u?ate was forced to retreat and was killed. A record of these events was made on the Black Obelisk:
In the eighth year of my reign, Marduk-bêl-usâte, the younger brother, revolted against Marduk-zâkir-?umi, king of Kardunia?, and they divided the land in its entirety. In order to avenge Marduk-zâkir-?umi, I marched out and captured Mê-Turnat. In the ninth year of my reign, I marched against Akkad a second time. I besieged Ganannate. As for Marduk-bêl-usâte, the terrifying splendor of Assur and Marduk overcame him and he went up into the mountains to save his life. I pursued him. I cut down with the sword Marduk-bêl-usâte and the rebel army officers who were with him.-- Shalmaneser III, Black Obelisk[i 1]
In 841 BC, Shalmaneser campaigned against Hadadezer's successor Hazael, forcing him to take refuge within the walls of his capital. While Shalmaneser was unable to capture Damascus, he devastated its territory, and Jehu of Israel (whose ambassadors are represented on the Black Obelisk now in the British Museum), together with the Phoenician cities, prudently sent tribute to him in perhaps 841 BC. Babylonia had already been conquered, including the areas occupied by migrant Chaldaean, Sutean and Aramean tribes, and the Babylonian king had been put to death.
In 836 BC, Shalmaneser sent an expedition against the Tibareni (Tabal) which was followed by one against Cappadocia, and in 832 BC came another campaign against Urartu. In the following year, age required the king to hand over the command of his armies to the Tartan (turt?nu commander-in-chief) Dayyan-Assur, and six years later, Nineveh and other cities revolted against him under his rebel son Assur-danin-pal. Civil war continued for two years; but the rebellion was at last crushed by Shamshi-Adad V, another son of Shalmaneser. Shalmaneser died soon afterwards.
Despite the rebellion later in his reign, Shalmanesar had proven capable of expanding the frontiers of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, stabilising its hold over the Khabur and Mountainous frontier region of the Zagros, contested with Urartu. His reign saw the first appearance in history of the camel-mounted Arabs.
His reign is significant to Biblical studies because two of his monuments name rulers from Hebrew Bible. The Black Obelisk names Jehu son of Omri (although Jehu was misidentified as a son of Omri). The Kurkh Monolith names king Ahab, in reference to the Battle of Qarqar.
He had built a palace at Kalhu (Biblical Calah, modern Nimrud), and left several editions of the royal annals recording his military campaigns, the last of which is engraved on the Black Obelisk from Calah.
The Black Obelisk is a significant artifact from his reign. It is a black limestone, bas-relief sculpture from Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), in northern Iraq. It is the most complete Assyrian obelisk yet discovered, and is historically significant because it displays the earliest ancient depiction of an Israelite. On the top and the bottom of the reliefs there is a long cuneiform inscription recording the annals of Shalmaneser III. It lists the military campaigns which the king and his commander-in-chief headed every year, until the thirty-first year of reign. Some features might suggest that the work had been commissioned by the commander-in-chief, Dayyan-Ashur.
The second register from the top includes the earliest surviving picture of an Israelite: the Biblical Jehu, king of Israel. Jehu severed Israel's alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, and became subject to Assyria. It describes how Jehu brought or sent his tribute in or around 841 BC. The caption above the scene, written in Assyrian cuneiform, can be translated:
It was erected as a public monument in 825 BC at a time of civil war. It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard in 1846.
Media related to Shalmaneser III at Wikimedia Commons