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Shamshi-ilu was an influential court dignitary and commander in chief (turtanu) of the Assyrian army who rose in high prominence.
Shamshi-ilu probably was not born in Assyria, though he was from noble lineage of the Bit-Adini tribe and was more than likely educated at the Assyrian court. Later, he rose in the ranks of the Assyrian army to become the commander in chief (turtanu) who had a high degree of influence over the kings of Assyria who lived in his time. He was probably made governor when Shalmaneser III annexed the territories of the Bit-Adini.
Rising in high order through the ranks thanks to his teachings in the Assyrian ways Shamshi-ilu rose to the highest position in the army under the Kings Adad-Nirari III and Shalmaneser IV, although he quite posibily could have been around much later, possibly coming into contact with Pulu (Tiglath-Pileser III) at some point. He may possibly have taken part in the rebellion that saw Tiglath-pileser III take the throne from Ashur-nirari V, although he may have been dead at this point.
Shamshi-ilu's most famous and well documented campaign was against the Urartu king Argishti I, his name appeared on many public monuments such as the colossal stone lion which accounts for his victories on this campaign. He is also known to have transferred land and border agreements with the Syro-Hittites, which are recorded on a stone stele. He quite possibly could have been the prime leader in the Damascus campaign in 796 BCE.
- Leick, Gwendolyn 1999: Who's who in the ancient near east: pg 149
- Grayson 1996: pg 231- 6
- Hawkins 1982, in CAHIII/1: pg 404- 405