Ninurta-tukultī-Aššur, inscribed mdNinurta2-tukul-ti-Aš-šur, was briefly king of Assyria during 1133 BC, the 84th to appear on the Assyrian Kinglist, marked as holding the throne for his ṭuppišu, “his tablet,” a period thought to correspond just to the inauguration year. He succeeded his father, the long-reigning Aššur-dān I, but the throne was very quickly usurped by his brother, Mutakkil-Nusku and he was driven from Assur and sought refuge in the city of Sišil, on the Babylonian border, the scene of the final dénouement.
There is some conjecture that he may have ruled jointly with Aššur-dan I during Aššur-dan's declining years or perhaps shared some regnal duties as there is a significant archive of administrative texts[i 1] concerning agricultural products, (from cities such as Arrapha), food distribution, and ritual offerings, in the royal palace referencing him and his wife Rimeni on seals, one of which provides an early Assyrian chariot scene, but only three of these texts call him king. Among these there is a reference to the partial demolition of a number of buildings in Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, during his reign, and also a harem list. The Chronicle P[i 2] which names him mTukul-ti-Aššur, relates that during his reign the statue of Marduk was returned to Babylon having languished in Assyria for sixty (?)-six years, something of an underestimate if the reading of this number is correct and a reconciliatory move likely to test his subjects loyalty.
The Assyrian King List[i 3] relates that “Mutakkil-Nusku, his brother, fought with him (and) carried him off to Karduniaš. Mutakkil-Nusku held the throne for “his tablet” (and then) passed away.”[i 4] A fairly recently recovered source[i 5] provides additional insight into these events. From it we learn Ninurta-tukultī-Aššur seems to have kept the loyalty of provincial regions, while the heartland of Assyria sided with Mutakkil-Nusku, fueling a civil war. Into this milieu comes fragments[i 6] of one, or perhaps two letters, from a Babylonian king, tentatively identified as Ninurta-nādin-šumi, although his predecessor Itti-Marduk-balāṭu or his successor Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur I could also conceivably be the author, addressed to and lambasting Mutakkil-Nusku and threatening to reinstate Ninurta-tukultī-Aššur. His Babylonian contemporary is not certain and the Synchronistic Kinglist[i 7] gives a counterpart whose name begins with, or contains, the theophoric element Marduk-, with other fragmentary copies[i 8][i 9] providing no further insight. The text of the letter(s) is poorly preserved, and difficult to interpret, but the Babylonian quotes the Assyrian in his description of his brother as ku-lu-‘-ú la zi-ka-ru šu-ú, “a kulu’u, not a man,” where the term may mean a 'feminized castrato cultic performer'. The deadlock was apparently broken by the attack by Mutakkil-Nusku’s forces on Ninurta-tukultī-Aššur’s border stronghold of Sišil, after which both brothers disappeared from history, perhaps falling in their fratricidal battle – and Mutakkil-Nusku’s son Aššur-reš-iši I assumed the throne.
- Such as tablet KAJ 188.
- Chronicle P (ABC 22), iv 12–13
- Assyrian Kinglist copies: Nassouhi, iii 43f, Khorsabad, iii 32f and SDAS iii 19f.
- Khorsabad kinglist iii 34–36: mMu-tak-kil-<supdNusku aḫu-šú itti-šú i-duk a-na kurKar-du-ni-áš, e-bu-uk-šú ṭup-pi-šú mMu-tak-kil-dNusku giškussȗ, uk-ta-il šadâ e-mid.
- Ms. A2.
- Tablets BM 104727 (1913-5-12, 2) + Sm. 2116 and K. 212 + K. 4448.
- Synchronistic King List ii 12 KAV 216 (tablet Ass 14616c).
- Synchronistic King List fragment KAV 10, 3 (tablet VAT 11261).
- Synchronistic King List fragment KAV 12, 1 (tablet VAT 11338).
- David Kertai (2008–9). "The History of the Middle Assyrian Empire". Talanta: proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society. 60–61: 39.
- Trevor Bryce (2009). The Routledge Handbook of The People and Places of Ancient Western Asia. Routledge. pp. 67, 373.
- A. K. Grayson (1975). Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles. J. J. Augustin. p. 176.
- A. K. Grayson (1999). "Königslisten und Chroniken". In Erich Ebeling, Bruno Meissner. Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie: Klagegesang - Libanon, Volume 6. Walter De Gruyter. pp. 111–112.
- Jaume Llop, A. R. George (2000–1). "Die babylonisch-assyrischen Beziehungen und die innere Lage Assyriens in der Zeit der Auseinandersetzung zwischen Ninurta-tukulti-Aššur und Mutakkil-Nusku nach neuen keilschriftlichen Quellen". Archiv für Orientforschung. 48–49: 1–20.
- A. R. George (2007). "Babylonian Texts from the Folios of Sidney Smith, part three: a commentary on a ritual of the month Nisan". In Guinan, Ann K. and Ellis, Maria deJ. and Ferrara, A. J. and Freedman, Sally M. and Rutz, Matthew T. and Sassmannshausen, Leonhard and Tinney, Steve and Waters, M. W. If a Man Builds a Joyful House: Assyriological Studies in Honor of Erle Verdun Leichty. Brill. p. 175.
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