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King of Babylon
Cylinder of Marduk-šāpik-zēri commemorating reconstruction of the Imgur-Enlil wall of Babylon.[i 1]
Reignc. 1077–1065 BC[a]
House2nd Dynasty of Isin

Marduk-šāpik-zēri, inscribed in cuneiform dAMAR.UTU-DUB-NUMUN or phonetically -ša-pi-ik-ze-ri, and meaning “Marduk (is) the outpourer of seed”, reigned c. 1077–1065 BC, was the 7th king of the 2nd dynasty of Isin and 4th dynasty of Babylon and he ruled for thirteen years.[i 2] His relationship with his predecessor, Marduk-nādin-aḫḫē is uncertain. His reign overlapped that of the Assyrian king Aššur-bēl-kala and his immediate predecessor(s) as the Synchronistic King List[i 3] places him alongside both Tukultī-apil-Ešarra and Aššur-bēl-kala.


He succeeded Marduk-nadin-aḫḫē, who may possibly have been his father or brother, during a time when the Arameans, driven by famine, were engaged in attacking the Assyrias under Tukultī-apil-Ešarra during his latter years, which Younger places in Tukultī-apil-Ešarra’s 32nd year, or 1081/80 BC.[2] The events are recorded on a fragmentary chronicle.[i 4] In a letter from the Babylonian astrologer Bel-ušezib to Esarhaddon, 681 – 669 BC, he wrote, “Bel has said: May Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, be seated on his throne like Marduk-šāpik-zēri! – I will deliver all the countries into his hands!”[3] and this may suggest that he was a younger son of Nabû-kudurri-uṣur or there was perhaps a struggle over the succession.[4]

He repaired the E-zida at Borsippa as witnessed by a building inscription, reproduced on a neo-Babylonian tablet,[i 5] from the reign of Kandalanu whose colophon records that it was copied by Nabû-šumu-līšir. He provided gold votive offerings to the temples of Ur, Nippur and elsewhere.[4] He rebuilt the wall of Babylon, the Imgur-Enlil, for which a fragmentary inscription[i 1] has come to light,[b][5] confirmed by the Eclectic Chronicle[i 6] which continues:

He conquered the kings of the lands. During his reign, the people of the land enjoyed prosperity. He made an entente cordiale with Aššur-bêl-kala, king of Assyria. At that time, the king went from Assyria to Sippar.

— Eclectic Chronicle, Lines 5 to 7.

The Synchronistic Chronicle[i 7] confirms the alliance with Assyria, probably forged to counter the growing threat from the Arameans, and notes that he died during Aššur-bêl-kala’s reign.[6] This records his name as Marduk-shapik-zer-mati and it has been argued by Poebel that this is merely a scribal error, where MAN, šar, “king,” was taken to be part of his name. There seems to have been a military intervention in the region of Dūr-Kurgalzu by Aššur-bel-kala towards the end of his reign, as the Assyrian king’s Broken Obelisk inscription records that he captured Kadašman-Buriaš, “governor of their land.”

A kudurru[i 8] records the recovery of certain landed property by Sîn-Kabti-ilāni, the son of Šamaš-šum-lišir and grandson of Kudurri,[7] the šāqû (BI.LUL), “cupbearer”.[8] He granted land[i 9] in his first year to his trusty šakin bāb ekalli, or palace gate officer, Širikti-Šuqamuna, the successor in this role to Uzib-Šiparru, and the land surveyor Nabû-zēra-iddina, “son of Arad-Ea”, was dispatched with a court official to measure it.[9] A kudurru of his reign[i 10] records another member of the Arad-Ea clan measuring a field with a local official.[10] If the reference to Marduk-[…] can be identified with him in the Chronicle of the Market Prices,[i 11] the cost of goods was unexceptional.[4] Another fragment of a kudurru[i 12] has a secondary inscription dated to his twelfth year. An inscription of Napsamenni, chief of the seers and high priest of Enlil in Nippur, adorns a duck weight, and there is an economic text[i 13] dated to his third year.[6] This is an administrative record of an inspection by a storeman dated to the 30th day of the month of Ayaru (around March) marked with the seal of the king's officer, Adad-kudurra-uṣur.[11]


  1. ^ a b BE I 148, ii 3-8.
  2. ^ Babylonian King List C 7.
  3. ^ Synchronistic King List, tablet KAV 216, excavation reference Ass 14616c, ii 18, 20.
  4. ^ Assyrian chronicle fragment 4 8f.
  5. ^ BM 26295.
  6. ^ The Eclectic Chronicle (ABC 24), tablet BM 27859 obverse lines 4 to 7.
  7. ^ Synchronistic Chronicle (ABC 21) ii 25-30.
  8. ^ Kudurru BM 104404, XII.
  9. ^ Land grant to Širikti-Šuqamuna kudurru, IM 74651 in the National Museum of Iraq
  10. ^ Kudurru IM 80908.
  11. ^ Chronicle of the Market Prices (ABC 23), broken tablet BM 48498, lines 14 and 15.
  12. ^ Kudurru YBC 2154, in the Yale Babylonian Collection, New Haven.
  13. ^ IM 85484, fragment of an administrative document, excavated 1926–7 by Woolley in the domestic quarter just outside the south-west wall of the temenos at Ur.


  1. ^ Previous scholarship assumed that Marduk-kabit-ahheshu, the founder of the second dynasty of Isin, ruled for the first years of his reign concurrently with the last Kassite king, but per Beaulieu (2018), more recent research suggests that this was not the case, necessitating a revised chronology of the kings after Marduk-kabit-ahheshu. Marduk-shapik-zeri has previously been dated to about 1082–1069 BC, with 1077–1065 BC being Beaulieu's revised dates.[1]
  2. ^ in qé r[e-eb] ká.dingir.[raki ba-ba-[ti] ú-dan-n[in-ma] bàd im-gur-[den-lil] bàd x-[…]


  1. ^ Beaulieu, Paul-Alain (2018). A History of Babylon, 2200 BC - AD 75. Pondicherry: Wiley. pp. 154–155. ISBN 978-1405188999.
  2. ^ K. Lawson Younger (2007). Ugarit at Seventy-Five. Eisenbrauns. p. 148.
  3. ^ Martti Nissinen (2003). Prophets and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East. Society of Biblical Literature. p. 106.
  4. ^ a b c D. J. Wiseman (1975). "XXXI: Assyria and Babylonia, 1200-1000 B.C.". In I. E. S. Edwards (ed.). Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 2, Part 2, History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1380-1000 BC. Cambridge University Press. pp. 446, 487.
  5. ^ A. R. George (1992). Babylonian Topographical Texts. Peeters Publishers. p. 344.
  6. ^ a b J. A. Brinkman (1968). A political history of post-Kassite Babylonia, 1158-722 B.C. Pontificium Institutum Biblicum. pp. 130–134.
  7. ^ L. W. King (1912). Babylonian boundary-stones and memorial tablets in the British Museum (BBSt). London: British Museum. pp. 80–81.
  8. ^ Leonhard Sassmannshausen (2001). Beiträge zur Verwaltung und Gesellschaft Babyloniens in der Kassitenzeit. Philipp von Zabern. p. 511.
  9. ^ F. Reschid, C. Wilcke (1975). "Ein 'Grenzstein' aus dem ersten (?) Regierungsjahr des Königs Marduk-šāpik-zēri". Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie. 65 (1): 34–62.
  10. ^ Eleanor Robson (2008). Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History. Princeton University Press. p. 174.
  11. ^ O. R. Gurney (1983). Middle Babylonian Legal & Economic Texts from Ur. British School of Archaeology in Iraq. p. 57. text 13.