45) Father Of Tyrants

According to the biblical account, Noah and his descendants up to his great-great-grandsons each lived about 500 years after the flood. They were superhuman in physical and intellectual power, supplemented by centuries of accumulated learning from experience.

This may seem mythic, but explanatory clues are given.

Before the windows of heaven were opened, the antediluvian ecosystem was protected, apparently not just to rain but also to genetically damaging solar radiation.

This no doubt explains one reason Abraham insisted on marrying close relations: himself to his half sister, his son Isaac to his cousin, and grandson Jacob to his cousins. This maximized the highest quality gene pool passed from both parents to their children. Isaac died at the age of 180, Jacob was astonishingly old at the age of 130 years, and lived until the age of 147. Joseph died at the age of 110and Moses, who was born during Joseph’s lifetime, died at the age of 120.

Note, too, the exceptionally long generational spans that prevented genetic defects from accumulating in the Bible’s First Family. For example, Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 (or 91). Meanwhile the lifespans of the hoi poloi rapidly decreased from genetic defects accumulating in the exponentially shorter breeding periods. Anthropologists’ best estimates for Bronze Age lifespans are 70 years if one was lucky enough to die of old age.

Just think about the immense influence that these first few exceptionally long-lived ancestors had over the new population.

Too often the biblical record is treated as a series of events, when we know that all literature, media and documentation is limited to describing single events with flashbacks or “meanwhile, back at the ranch” to acknowledge overlapping timelines.

The following timeline using biblical lifespans in Genesis 5 and 11 allow us to collate co-existing persons and their significant events in history. Centuries are included in the graph to give a rough sense of the time spans vs overlapping events.The commonly encountered historical notation of BC is matched with the Jewish Anno Mundi system which provides a more readily apparent timeframe.

Bear in mind that historical documentation of “first millennium BC” accounts for dates from 0 backwards to 999 BC, “second millennium BC” for dates 1,000 backwards to 1999 BC, “third millennium BC” for dates 2000 – 2999 BC, and “fourth millennium BC” for dates 3000 – 3999 BC. In other words, one thousand years less than the label of the millennium.

From a biblical perspective, the historical millennia can be roughly categorized as:

  • Fourth Millennium BC: Adam to Noah, the gods reign on earth, Genesis 1-5
  • Third Millennium BC: Noah’s first 600 years before the flood to Abram leaving Mesopotamia. Artifacts dated to this era include the highly developed pre-flood civilization brought to earth by the gods, its renaissance as best as could be recreated after the flood, as well as simultaneous rough necessities of life by refugees fleeing the tyranny of the gods. Genesis 6-12
  • Second Millenium BC: Abraham in the land of his contemporaneous nephew Canaan to King David. Genesis 12-Ruth
  • First Millenium: I Samuel / King David – Birth of Christ

Centuries are included in the graph to give a rough sense of the time spans between simultaneous events.

 

AM BC Birth / Event

Death

0 -4004 Death imposed, calendar begins
930 -3074 Adam aged 930 yrs
1000
1056 -2948 1st generation: Noah born, lives 950 yrs
1100
1200
1300
1400
1500
1558 -2446 2nd generation: Shem born, lives 610 yrs
Approximate same for Ham & Japheth
1600
1656 -2348 The Flood 
1658 -2346 3rd gen: Arphaxad born, lives 438 yrs
Approximate same for bro Assur
Approximate same for 1st cousin Cush son of Ham, lives ~ 430 yrs
1693 -2311 4th gen: Shelah born, lives 433 yrs
1700
1723 -2281 5th gen Eber born, lives 464 yrs
1734 -2270 Historic Sargon begins rule per short chronology, but exact dates unknown
1757 -2247 Peleg born, lives 239 yrs
1787 -2217 Reu born, lives 239 yrs
1789 -2215 Sargon overthrown after 55 yr reign
1800
1819 -2185 Serug born lives 230 yrs
1849 -2155 Nahor born lives 148 years
1878 -2126 Terah born lives 205 years
4th gen Nimrod born, lifespan ~400 yrs
1900 -2086 Nimrod reigns at ~40 yrs old, Tower of Babel begins shortly after
1948 -2056 Abram born, lives 175 yrs
1978 -2020 Tower of Babylon construction stops about now as workforce breaks up
1996 -2008 By now division of physical earth by aftershocks expedites separating nations Peleg
1997 -2007 Nahor
2000
2006 -1998 Shem moves from cave to Mount Zion? Noah
2018 -1986 Abram age 70 leaves Ur fleeing Nimrod
2026 -1978 Reu
2048 -1956 Sodom & Gomorrah – Nimrod still alive new name of Amraphel to glorify him
2048 -1956 Isaac born, lives 180 years Serug
2087 -1921 Terah
2096 -1908 Arphaxad, approx for Assur & Cush
2100
2108 -1896 Jacob & Esau born, Jacob lives 147 years
2123 -1881 Abraham
2126 -1876 Shelah
2148 -1856 Esau kills Nimrod per Jewish legend Approximate for Nimrod
2158 -1846 Shem, approx. for Ham
2187 -1817 Eber
2199 -1805 Joseph born, lives 110 years
2200
2216 -1788 Joseph to Egypt
2228 -1776 Isaac
2235 -1769 Amram son of  Kohoth son of Levi born
2238 -1766 Jacob & Family to Egypt
2255 -1749 Jacob
2309 -1695 Moses son of Amram born
2300
2319 -1685 Joseph, end of Genesis
2389 -1615 The Exodus under Moses aged 80

021032a0322368dbb09f4f1885930867Using 25 years as a statistical average for subsequent generations, the founding fathers would have outlived a minimum of 16 consecutive generations, but actually more since another generation is born to some family every year.  These Elders appear immortal to those who are born hombre-africano-joyasand die without seeing them age. They are entreated to intervene in problems / beseeched / prayed to. In order to gain access to their resources and network of connections their favor is curried with offerings of the best housing, best foods, gifts of precious metals, gems, fabrics and crafts exploited from their territories or obtained in trade, extolled in ceremonies with memorial speeches and songs / worshipped. As they finally age, they maintain their mystic by secreting themselves in Mount Olympus, Valhalla, etc. Ancestor worship develops in Africa, Japan, Americas as a more accurate memory of history.

Their precious birthright was literacy, from pre-apocalypse records stored on the ark and and in pyramid vaults. They led the renaissance of civilization for the pioneers forging homes in every type of wilderness from tundra to desert. This explains how “civilizations seem to have appeared full-blown, already fully developed.

To catch a glimpse of how these men shaped the world, imagine that one of them is Leonardo DaVinci, the genius who epitomizes that other Renaissance humanist ideal, superhuman intellect in all sciences and arts, revered for technological ingenuity never matched by another historically known human. What impact would he have had on the world if he had lived for five hundred years from 1656 AD to 2106 AD, alive in our day and continuing after our deaths up to the 22nd century? Would humanity have survived its wars if Da Vinci had continued to develop his war machines?

Shem’s son Arphaxad was born just two years after the flood. Imagine what it would be like to be one of only eight adults colonizing a strange new world. The birth of a son would be cause for great rejoicing. Maybe they spoiled him too much. Shem’s joy and hopes for this child turned to heartbreak as his son grew up to be a psychopathic mass murderer.

Arphaxad

When we apply the knowledge that every language doesn’t include all the same consonants, and that the older languages don’t have vowels, we can break down this name as it was spelled in his day. It is a combination of ‘rp (not in Hebrew but in cognate languages) and כשד, (from the Hebrew language).

There have been many accounts of the origin of language in the world’s mythologies…and the reasons behind the diversity in languages today…

Recurring themes in the myths of language dispersal are floods and catastrophes…Punishment by a god or gods for perceived wrongdoing on the part of man…generally subsumed or footnoted into larger creation myths

Akkadian is the oldest Semitic dialect still preserved, and here we find the oldest pronunciation of Arphaxad’s name as well as the name of his nation in consonants only – KD.

Akkad was the northern (or northwestern) division of ancient Babylonia...beyond the line of the modern cities of Al-Fallūjah and Baghdad. The early inhabitants of this region were predominantly Semitic [descended from Shem], and their speech is called Akkadian.

Based on the record that Noah’s ark landed in the mountains, it is only logical to find the first settlement in the plains closest to the mountains.

This is the central territory of today’s Kurds. “According to the English Orientalist Godfrey Rolles Driver, the term Kurd is related to the Sumerian Karda which was found in Sumerian clay tablets of the third millennium B.C.

Again we find the K-D phonetic link

1-32

To recognize Arphaxad’s significance in the historical records, we must apply the knowledge that names were given at any stage of a person’s life to memorialize that individual’s accomplishments.

“there were twins in her womb. the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name EsauAnd after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob.

Esau…cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing….Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing.” (Genesis 25:24-26, 27:34-36)

The name Arpachshad is probably a combination…meaning extent, border; and כשד, Chesed, the Hebrew word for Chaldeans

Josephus…also concluded Boundary Of The Chaldeans.

This is easily recognized as memorializing this individual for expanding the borders of his domain, a major preoccupation in any pioneer era.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast.” (I Chronicles 4:10)

Arphaxad extended his boundary throughout the entire fertile plain from the foothills to the ocean.

Akkad was the northern (or northwestern) division of ancient Babylonia...beyond the line of the modern cities of Al-Fallūjah and Baghdad. The early inhabitants of this region were predominantly Semitic, and their speech is called Akkadian. To the south of the region of Akkad lay Sumer…inhabited by a non-Semitic people known as Sumerians.

“Babylonia” is used to describe the south of modern Iraq…the “land of Sumer and Akkad”, a term attested from the third millennium BC onwards…”

Semitic Sargon the Great reigned during Arphaxad’s long lifetime from the city he had founded and named Akkad about 2300 BCE.

We can confidently identify the biblical Arphaxad as the historical Sargon.

sargon-of-akkad-2

Sargon of Akkad (r. 2334 – 2279 BCE)…the king of the Akkadian Empire…the first multi-national empire in history…

“for at least 1,500 years after his death, Sargon the Great, founder of the Akkadian Empire, was regarded as a semi-sacred figure, the patron saint of all subsequent empires in the Mesopotamian realm”. Even so, where he came from and even his actual name are unknown.`Sargon’ was not the name given him at birth but the throne name he chose for himself. It is a Semitic, not Sumerian, name and so it is generally accepted that he was a Semite.

Sargon is a title assumed by the individual. It means “True King”, clearly in defiance of the LORD God’s King of Righteousness. “And Noah…said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem.” {Genesis 9:24-26) If it seems backwards to modern Christians to bless God instead of asking for God to bless you, that is because the relationship between Christians and God has gone backward. In the olden days it was understood that humans owed a debt to their God or gods that needed to be honored and repaid with tithes, offerings, obedience and worship. Exactly what Sargon demanded as the representative of his god.

The line in the Legend of Sargon that states “my father I knew not” does not mean he couldn’t identify his father. He must have in order to identify his uncles, “the brother(s) of my father” who he states “loved the hills”, which is a sneer to their defensive posture. This is the same wording Jesus uses when he rejects false followers by announcing “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23) Sargon is stating that he rejected being identified with his father and way of life ordered by his LORD God.

Interestingly, the legend identifies “Akki” as the man who raised him. The similarities between Akki and Akkad and -axad are plain to see. After breaking with his father Shem Arphaxad considered himself to be a “self made man.”

Kings prefer to claim legitimacy through a dynasty, but Arphaxad rejected his genealogical dynasty. And so the legend reports that Sargon began his rise to power as a cupbearer / most trusted associate to the king of Kish, “the seat of the first postdiluvian dynasty.

As Shem’s son, Arphaxad’s upbringing gave him not only first-hand training in administration and military strategy, but also rare access to the ancient world heritage documents of wisdom and arcane knowledge. He was certainly a good choice for any king’s Prime Minister, but also the worst choice. Sargon used his position to overthrow the king and begin his sweep through Mesopotamia.

Historians concur with the biblical account of the dawn of post-flood history.

The rise of cities began in this period, most notably in the region of Sumer in which thrived the cities of Eridu, Uruk, Ur, Kish, Nuzi, Lagash, Nippur, and Ngi and Ngirsu, and in Elam with its city of Susa… “Mesopotamia was the most densely urbanized region in the ancient world.  

The post Sin Cities details the reason for cities filling the newly settled land – to protect the people from the violence of those who were following the way of Cain. We should not be surprised to find the same blood spatter pattern in the first post-flood generation as we saw in the first pre-flood generation with Cain and Abel.

Sargon is famous for founding the first historic empire at the dawn of known civilization. In the 24th to 23rd centuries BC he conquered the fledgling Sumerian city-states, ruling from the city of Akkad. Among the most important sources of information about Sargon’s reign is a tablet of the Old Babylonian period recovered at Nippur…The tablet is a copy of the inscriptions on the pedestal of a statue erected by Sargon in the temple of Enlil…In the inscription, Sargon styles himself

  • display-2957Sargon, king of Akkad [naming his capitol after himself, like “Alexandria” in Egypt],
  • overseer (mashkim) of [the goddess] Inanna,
  • king of Kish,
  • anointed (guda) of Anu / Creator, i.e. Messiah / Christ,
  • king of the land [Mesopotamia],
  • governor (ensi) of [the line of] Enlil / Adam who was given dominion over the earth by And

More detail on the Sumerian equivalent biblical characters in the post Son of the Morning, but basically Sargon is announcing that he rejects following the God of his father Shem and has gone to the dark side.

The image below of the reconstruction of the ancient city of Ur graphically shows what the post Sin Cities details. The reason for cities filling the newly settled land was to protect the people from the violence of those who were following the way of Cain.

ur

He celebrates the conquest of

  • Uruk – one of Cain’s sin cities, restored after the flood waters receded. A great city known for the White Temple of Anu on a ziggurat.

55aac51fa581788639fe006f1a99f4ea

  • 5edc9025d9e61f4793d1bd55974f95c2Lugalzagesi, the only king of the third dynasty of Uruk, whom Sargon brought “in a collar to the gate of Enlil.”

Sargon then conquered Ur and E-Ninmar and “laid waste” the territory from Lagash to the sea, and from there went on to conquer and destroy Umma, and he collected tribute from Mari and Elam. He triumphed over 34 cities in total. Ships from Meluhha, Magan and Dilmun rode at anchor in his capital of Akkad on the Tigris River. Submitting himself to the Levantine god Dagan in exchange for his support in his territory, Sargon conquered territories of Upper Mesopotamia and the Levant, including Mari, Yarmuti (Jarmuth?) and Ibla “up to the Cedar Forest (the Amanus) and up to the Silver Mountain (Aladagh?)”, ruling from the “upper sea” (Mediterranean) to the “lower sea” (Persian Gulf).

map-featured-image-post-body

As the above account of the “beginning” of Sargon’s kingdom demonstrates, the list of cities congregating into any kingdom means a warlord’s initial military victories, not his initial building projects.

Arphaxad is more accurately portrayed in gory movies than in glorifying history books.

bn-ij445_madmax_p_20150512103406

mad-max-fury-road-foto-2Sargon is reported to have supported a court, i.e. standing army, of 5,400 men who “ate bread daily before him”. This is a credible number, endorsed by historians although with the assumption that there were thousands of years preceding this explosion onto the stage of history. However, this is a credible number from the biblical account of occurring within only a few hundred years starting with only three reproducing couples.

Population growth is exponential, meaning it increases faster and faster with every additional set of parents. In addition, the growth rate in the first few hundred years after the flood would have far exceeded current growth rates due to the greatly extended years of fertility of the first generations of post-flood people. Today’s women have at most about 30 years of fertility and rarely reproduce to their full capacity, whereas the first generations of people populating an emptied earth had hundreds of years and high motivation to achieve their greatest potential.

Plugging these factors into a Population Growth Calculator I came up with a potential population growth from 6 persons (3 reproducing couples) to 126 million people in 300 years.

Why don’t we see that much of a population?

Pervasive population decimation by constant war.

The ancient psychosocial history documented by the Hebrews is validated by known history.

The total number of Indigenous deaths throughout the Western Hemisphere in the 500 years between 1492 and 1900 appears to be about 175 million…

there is much to be gained by understanding the most sustained loss of life in human history

the near-total destruction of the Western Hemisphere’s native people…

colonial authorities and newly independent states throughout the Americas continued to wage war against Indigenous people and engage in genocidal violence…

many Indigenous nations in what is today the United States were “removed, relocated, dispersed, concentrated, or forced to migrate at least once after contact with Europeans or Americans…”

By any reckoning, the Indigenous Holocaust in the Western Hemisphere was…“the worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed.”

As with the nature of warfare in South Africa upon Shaka Zulu’s appearance on the scene, warfare under Sargon in Mesopotamia changed from seizing property and slave labor between neighboring clans with a minimal loss of life into total destruction of the enemy on the battlefield.

8dea573c14ed2c1dc46f8ab1fc0c3c68

The innovative tactics and military reforms of both Shaka Zulu and Sargon welded neighboring clans into a powerful empire.

Sargon of Akkad (unknown–2279 B.C.) and his successors bequeathed to the world a concept of power that involved more than military strength. They commanded obedience not simply by winning battles and striking fear in their foes, but also by…serving as earthly representatives of gods their subjects dreaded and revered.

Sargon is known almost entirely from the legends and tales that followed his reputation through 2,000 years of cuneiform Mesopotamian history, and not from documents that were written during his lifetime. The lack of contemporary record is explained by the fact that the capital city of Agade (Akkad), which he built, has never been located and excavated. It was destroyed at the end of the dynasty that Sargon founded and was never again inhabited.

Sounds like classic retribution against a deeply hated enemy.

And Babylon…the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited.” (Isaiah 13:19-20)

The development of the Chaldeans from marauding tribesmen to membership in the most influential circles of power at Babylon can be traced in scripture.

“There was a man in the land of Uz [Arphaxad’s nephew], whose name was Job…And there came a messenger unto Job, and said…The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword.” (Job 1:1-17)

From the beginning the Chaldeans were famous for accessing hyper dimensional power sources through astrology and astronomy.

“Babylon…daughter of the Chaldeans…thou shalt no more be called…The lady of kingdoms…thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever…Therefore hear now thisfor the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness…Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.“ (Isaiah 47:1-13)

After losing their sovereignty, and despite being mingled with other ethnicities, the Chaldeans continued to be identified as a separated people group due to their unique mystical skill set, like the Gypsies.

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem…And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain…of the king’s seed, and of the princes…skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans…Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” (Daniel 4:1-7)

Daniel is quite likely the author of the prophecy that came true about 600 years after it was preserved by the Chaldeans.

“there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

The Assyrians

“Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people / nation was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof...” (Isaiah 23:13)

The Assyrian is Asshur, Arphaxad’s younger brother

The biblical account of the close ties between brothers, maintained by their nations the Chaldeans and Assyrians, is validated by other historical records.

The relationship between the kings of Assyria and Babylon had traditionally been close. From the 14th century BC when Assyria became an independent state, the royal families had been linked by marriage. Shalmaneser III of Assyria (858-824 BC) and Marduk-zakir-šumi I of Babylon, for example, are depicted as equal partners on the front of Shalmaneser’s throne base from his palace at Kalhu.

Notice the reference to Asshur raising up towers in the cities? Asshur was an architect or engineer. After building cities for his brother Sargon, it appears he built cities for their younger cousin Nimrod, and finally he built his own cities.

“the sons of Ham; Cush…And Cush begat Nimrod…And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad / Akkad , and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

These are all cities in Chaldea.So it was Nimrod who began the process of ending the Akkadian Empire.

Out of that land went forth Asshur [Sargon’s younger brother], and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

accad

Since Akkad was destroyed and lost with the destruction of its Empire in the period 2200–2154 BCE(long chronology), the stories mentioning Nimrod seem to recall the late Early Bronze Age. The association with Erech (Babylonian Uruk), a city that lost its prime importance around 2,000 BCE…also attests the early provenance of the stories of Nimrod.

Nimrod has his own post in Father of the God-People, his mention here is to bring attention to the familial relationship between the founders of the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian Empires as they jostled for supremacy in Mesopotamia at the same time.

The biblical account of Asshur’s close ties to Arphaxad is supported by other historical records.

The Assyrians were a Semitic people who originally spoke and wrote Akkadian.The city of Ashur was founded c. 1900 BCE on the site of a pre-existing community that had been built by the Akkadians during the reign of Sargon the Great…

Because of a dearth of sources, very little is known of Assyria in the third millennium…Assyria did belong to the Empire of Akkad at times, as well as to the Third Dynasty of Ur.

According to one interpretation of passages in the biblical Book of Genesis, Ashur was founded by a man named Ashur son of Shem, son of Noah, after the Great Flood, who then went on to found the other important Assyrian cities. A more likely account is that the city was named Ashur after the deity of that name sometime in the 3rd millennium BCE; the same god’s name is the origin for ‘Assyria’.

The “dearth of resources” leading to the “more likely account” discounts the Genesis account out of hand despite the fact that it has scholarly reliability and validity and has never been disproven. In fact, the “more likely account” is that Ashur, who as the grandson of Noah lived during the 2000’s BC is one and the same with the deity Ashur from the 2000’s BC. As detailed above, the post-diluvian ecosystem triggered rapid genetic mutations resulting in rapidly constricting lifespans to a maximum of about 70 years. These people attributed immortality to the first few generations of centuries-long-living superhuman they never saw age or die.

In addition, as is well-known in Egypt, the ruler was inhabited by the spirit of the god and therefore considered to be the god. Do you see the bias with the constant discrediting of the biblical history? No historian would ever brush aside the Egyptian account of their dynastic founder being equal to their national god.

The king Erishum I built the temple of Ashur on the site in c. 1900/1905 BCE, and this has come to be the accepted date for the founding of an actual city on the site although, obviously, some form of city must have existed there prior to that date…

This is consistent with the estimated date of Ashur’s death, being about the same time as his brother Arphaxad / Sargon.

King Adad Nirari I (c. 1307-1275 BCE) who expanded the Assyrian Empire to the north and south…is the first Assyrian king about whom anything is known with certainty because he left inscriptions of his achievements which have survived mostly intact…

Adad Nirari I…began what would become standard policy under the Assyrian Empire…the best way to prevent any future uprising was to remove the former occupants of the land and replace them with Assyrians…Those segments of the population that had actively resisted the Assyrian presence were killed or sold into slavery, but the general populace became absorbed into the growing empire and they were thought of as Assyrians…

While the whole of the Near East fell into a ‘dark age’ following the so-called Bronze Age Collapse of c. 1200 BCE, Ashur and its empire remained relatively intact…

In the 11th Century BCE…civil war…allowed certain regions that had been tightly held by Assyria to break free and among these was the area known as Eber Nari (modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel), which had been particularly important to the empire because of the well-established seaports along the coast…

The Late Empire (also known as the Neo-Assyrian Empire) is the one most familiar to students of ancient history as it is the period of the largest expansion of the empire. It is also the era which most decisively gives the Assyrian Empire the reputation it has for ruthlessness and cruelty. The historian Kriwaczek writes…

Babylon may be a byname for corruption, decadence and sin but the Assyrians and their famous rulers…rate in the popular imagination just below Adolf Hitler and Genghis Khan for cruelty, violence, and sheer murderous savagery…

it is tempting to see the Assyrian Empire, which dominated the Middle East from 900-612 BC, as a historical forebear of Nazi Germany…As with the German army of World War II, the Assyrian army was the most technologically and doctrinally advanced of its day and was a model for others for generations afterwards…

Their most common method of conquest was through siege warfare which would begin with a brutal assault on the city…

The Assyrians common root and cause with the Chaldeans is revealed throughout the first 1,200 years of the Empire’s rule beginning about 1,900 BC. Akkadian continued to be the language of Assyria until about 700 BCE when it was dropped in favor of Aramaic. Second, over one thousand years later the most famous Assyrian ruler takes the name of Sargon for himself.

Sargon II (722-705 BCE)…was able to bring the empire to its greatest height…

his son Sennacherib (705-681 BCE)…campaigned widely and ruthlessly, conquering Israel, Judah, and the Greek provinces in Anatolia [eastern Turkey]. His sack of Jerusalem is detailed on the ‘Taylor Prism’, a cuneiform block describing Sennacherib’s military exploits which was discovered in 1830 CE by Britain‘s Colonel Taylor, in which the king claims to have captured 46 cities. His account is contested, however, by the version of events described in the biblical book of II Kings, chapters 18-19, where it is claimed that Jerusalem was saved by divine intervention and Sennacherib’s army was driven from the field.

The internal reliability of the Judean kings’ scribes documenting the standard practice and many times they were abandoned by their God to the destruction of their enemies, and the well-known spin put on embarrassing failures by politicians of any era certainly gives the biblical account the credibility in this contested report.

Sennacherib drove his army against Babylon, sacked it, and looted the temples…[two of his] sons… assassinated him in his palace at Nineveh.

Hmm. This too is recorded in II Kings, chapter 19, but the historian failed to mention that.

His son Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) took the throne, and one of his first projects was to rebuild Babylon. He issued an official proclamation which claimed that Babylon had been destroyed by the will of the gods owing to the city’s wickedness and lack of respect for the divine…

Hmm. This too is recorded in the biblical record. Hundreds of times.

the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE)…was the most literate of the Assyrian rulers and is probably best known in the modern day for the vast library he collected at his palace at Nineveh…

In 612 BCE Nineveh was sacked and burned by a coalition of Babylonians, Persians, Medes, and Scythians, among others. The destruction of the palace brought the flaming walls down on the library of Ashurbanipal and, although it was far from the intention, preserved the great library, and the history of the Assyrians, by baking hard and burying the clay tablet books…the destruction of the great Assyrian cities was so complete that, within two generations of the empire’s fall, no one knew where the cities had been. The ruins of Nineveh were covered by the sands and lay buried for the next 2,000 years.

Legacy of Assyria

Thanks to the Greek historian Herodotus, who considered the whole of Mesopotamia ‘Assyria’, scholars have long known the culture existed (as compared to the Sumerians who were unknown to scholarship until the 19th century CE). Mesopotamian scholarship was traditionally known as Assyriology until relatively recently (though that term is certainly still in use), because the Assyrians were so well known through the primary sources of the Greek and Roman writers…

Tiglath Pileser III had introduced Aramaic to replace Akkadian as the lingua franca of the empire…the expansion of the empire throughout the Middle East brought Aramaic to regions as near as Israel and as far as Greece and, in this way, Mesopotamian thought became infused with those cultures and a part of their literary and cultural heritage…

Among the greatest of their achievements, however, was the Aramaic alphabet, imported into the Assyrian government by Tiglath Pileser III…Aramaean was easier to write than Akkadian and so older documents collected by kings such as Ashurbanipal were translated from Akkadian into Aramaic, while newer ones were written in Aramaic and ignored the Akkadian. [this allowed later scholars to decipher Akkadian writings and then Sumerian.]

The result was that thousands of years of history and culture were preserved for future generations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s