Ashur-uballit II

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Ashur-uballit II (Aššur-uballiṭ II) was the last king of the Neo Assyrian Empire, succeeding Sin-shar-ishkun (623-612 BC). He took his name from Ashur-uballit I, the Assyrian king who had overthrown Mitanni Empire and defeated the Hittite Empire, and started the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365 BC – 1020 BC). While it is clear that he was a member of the Assyrian royal family, and that he was a tartan (General) of the Assyrian army before declaring himself king, there is some disagreement as to whether or not he was the brother of Sin-shar-ishkun.

Reign[edit]

Ashur-uballit II refused to submit in vassalage to Cyaxares and Nabopolassar, and fought his way out of Nineveh during the siege and capture of that city by the Babylonian-Chaldean-Mede-Persian-Scythian-Cimmerian alliance in mid 612 BC. Thereafter, he reigned from the last capital city of Harran from 612 BC to somewhere between 608 and 605 BC.

In alliance with Egypt, whose 26th dynasty had been installed by the Assyrians, Ashur-uballit's depleted army was somehow able to defend Harran and the remainder of the Assyrian kingdom from combined Babylonian-Mede-Scythian-Cimmerian attacks for four years following the destruction of Nineveh; however, after the Egyptian army was defeated and had to return to its homeland in 610 BC, the Babylonians, Medes and Scythians eventually took Harran and sacked it in 609 BC.

Limmu new-year officials were appointed down to the very end of Ashur-uballit's recorded reign; his final known year (= 609 BC), known eponymously for the limmu as Gargamishayu ("the Carchemishite"), was the last year ever in history so to receive an official Assyrian name.[1][2]

Fate[edit]

Ashur-uballit II again managed to fight his way out of the city, and called once more upon Assyria's former Egyptian colony. The forces of Egypt under Pharaoh Necho II came to his assistance. King Josiah of Judah allied himself with Babylon and Media and tried to block Necho's way, but was defeated and killed at Megiddo. Pharaoh Necho II joined with Ashur-uballit II and marched on with him to besiege Harran in 608 BC. They were defeated and the Egyptians retreated into northern Syria.

It is possible that Ashur-uballit II was killed in this second siege of Harran, although this is not certain. He may have survived and been involved in the final Assyrian-Egyptian defeat in the region, at Carchemish in 605 BC, or survived and lived on in obscurity.[3] In any event, he disappeared from history, marking the final end of the Assyrian empire.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Approche scientifique d'une chronologie absolue (French)
  2. ^ Geschichte Vorderasiens (German)
  3. ^ Georges Roux -Ancient Iraq
Ashur-uballit II of Assyria
Preceded by
Sinsharishkun
King of Assyria
612–609 BC
Succeeded by
Conquest by the Babylonians and Medians