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King of Babylon
Marduk-shapik-zeri cylinder.jpg
Cylinder of Marduk-šāpik-zēri commemorating reconstruction of the Imgur-Enlil wall of Babylon.[i 1]
Reignca. 1082–1069 BC
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”, ca. 1082 – 1069 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.[1] 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!”[2] and this may suggest that he was a younger son of Nabû-kudurri-uṣur or there was perhaps a struggle over the succession.[3]

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.[3] He rebuilt the wall of Babylon, the Imgur-Enlil, for which a fragmentary inscription[i 1] has come to light,[nb 1][4] 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.[5] 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,[6] the šāqû (BI.LUL), “cupbearer”.[7] 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.[8] A kudurru of his reign[i 10] records another member of the Arad-Ea clan measuring a field with a local official.[9] 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.[3] 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.[5] 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.[10]


  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. ^ in qé r[e-eb] ká.dingir.[raki ba-ba-[ti] ú-dan-n[in-ma] bàd im-gur-[den-lil] bàd x-[…]


  1. ^ K. Lawson Younger (2007). Ugarit at Seventy-Five. Eisenbrauns. p. 148.
  2. ^ Martti Nissinen (2003). Prophets and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East. Society of Biblical Literature. p. 106.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ A. R. George (1992). Babylonian Topographical Texts. Peeters Publishers. p. 344.
  5. ^ a b J. A. Brinkman (1968). A political history of post-Kassite Babylonia, 1158-722 B.C. Pontificium Institutum Biblicum. pp. 130–134.
  6. ^ L. W. King (1912). Babylonian boundary-stones and memorial tablets in the British Museum (BBSt). London: British Museum. pp. 80–81.
  7. ^ Leonhard Sassmannshausen (2001). Beiträge zur Verwaltung und Gesellschaft Babyloniens in der Kassitenzeit. Philipp von Zabern. p. 511.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Eleanor Robson (2008). Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History. Princeton University Press. p. 174.
  10. ^ O. R. Gurney (1983). Middle Babylonian Legal & Economic Texts from Ur. British School of Archaeology in Iraq. p. 57. text 13.