Chapter 3: Of the Assyrian Empire
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Of the Assyrian Empire.
AS the Gods or ancient Deified Kings and Princes of Greece, Egypt, and Syria of Damascus, have been made much ancienter than the truth, so have those of Chaldæa and Assyria: for Diodorus tells us, that when Alexander the great was in Asia, the Chaldæans reckoned 473000 years since they first began to observe the Stars; and Ctesias, and the ancient Greek and Latin writers who copy from him, have made the Assyrian Empire as old as Noah's flood within 60 or 70 years, and tell us the names of all the Kings of Assyria downwards, from Belus and his feigned son Ninus, to Sardanapalus the last King of that Monarchy: but the names of his Kings, except two or three, have no affinity with the names of the Assyrians mentioned in Scripture; for the Assyrians were usually named after their Gods, Bel or Pul; Chaddon, Hadon, Adon, or Adonis; Melech or Moloch; Atsur or Assur; Nebo; Nergal; Merodach: as in these names, Pul, Tiglath-Pul-Assur, Salman-Assur, Adra-Melech, Shar-Assur, Assur-Hadon, Sardanapalus or Assur-Hadon-Pul, Nabonassar or Nebo-Adon-Assur, Bel Adon, Chiniladon or Chen-El-Adon, Nebo-Pul-Assur, Nebo-Chaddon-Assur, Nebuzaradon or Nebo-Assur-Adon, Nergal-Assur, Nergal-Shar-Assur, Labo-Assur-dach, Sheseb-Assur, Beltes-Assur, Evil-Merodach, Shamgar-Nebo, Rabsaris or Rab-Assur, Nebo-Shashban, Mardocempad or Merodach-Empad. Such were the Assyrian names; but those in Ctesias are of another sort, except Sardanapalus, whose name he had met with in Herodotus. He makes Semiramis as old as the first Belus; but Herodotus tells us, that she was but five Generations older than the mother of Labynetus: he represents that the city Ninus was founded by a man of the same name, and Babylon by Semiramis; whereas either Nimrod or Assur founded those and other cities, without giving his own name to any of them: he makes the Assyrian Empire continue about 1360 years, whereas Herodotus tells us that it lasted only 500 years, and the numbers of Herodotus concerning those ancient times are all of them too long: he makes Nineveh destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians, three hundred years before the Reign of Astibares and Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed it, and sets down the names of seven or eight feigned Kings of Media, between the destruction of Nineveh and the Reigns of Astibares and Nebuchadnezzar, as if the Empire of the Medes, erected upon the ruins of the Assyrian Empire, had lasted 300 years, whereas it lasted but 72: and the true Empire of the Assyrians described in Scripture, whose Kings were Pul, Tiglath-pilesar, Shalmaneser, Sennacherib, Asserhadon, &c. he mentions not, tho' much nearer to his own times; which shews that he was ignorant of the antiquities of the Assyrians. Yet something of truth there is in the bottom of some of his stories, as there uses to be in Romances; as, that Nineveh was destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians; that Sardanapalus was the last King of the Assyrian Empire; and that Astibares and Astyages were Kings of the Medes: but he has made all things too ancient, and out of vainglory taken too great a liberty in feigning names and stories to please his reader.
When the Jews were newly returned from the Babylonian captivity, they confessed their Sins in this manner, Now therefore our God, —— let not all the trouble seem little before thee that hath come upon us, on our Kings, on our Princes, and on our Priests, and on our Prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the Kings of Assyria, unto this day; Nehem. ix. 32. that is, since the time of the Kingdom of Assyria, or since the rise of that Empire: and therefore the Assyrian Empire arose when the Kings of Assyria began to afflict the inhabitants of Palestine; which was in the days of Pul: he and his successors afflicted Israel, and conquered the nations round about them; and upon the ruin of many small and ancient Kingdoms erected their Empire, conquering the Medes as well as other nations: but of these conquests Ctesias knew not a word, no not so much as the names of the conquerors, or that there was an Assyrian Empire then standing; for he supposes that the Medes Reigned at that time, and that the Assyrian Empire was at an end above 250 years before it began.
However we must allow that Nimrod founded a Kingdom at Babylon, and perhaps extended it into Assyria: but this Kingdom was but of small extent, if compared with the Empires which rose up afterwards; being only within the fertile plains of Chaldæa, Chalonitis and Assyria, watered by the Tigris and Euphrates: and if it had been greater, yet it was but of short continuance, it being the custom in those early ages for every father to divide his territories amongst his sons. So Noah was King of all the world, and Cham was King of all Afric, and Japhet of all Europe and Asia minor; but they left no standing Kingdoms. After the days of Nimrod, we hear no more of an Assyrian Empire 'till the days of Pul. The four Kings who in the days of Abraham invaded the southern coast of Canaan came from the countries where Nimrod had Reigned, and perhaps were some of his posterity who had shared his conquests. In the time of the Judges of Israel, Mesopotamia was under its own King, Judg. iii. 8. and the King of Zobah Reigned on both sides of the River Euphrates 'till David conquered him, 2 Sam. viii, and x. The Kingdoms of Israel, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Philistia, Zidon, Damascus, and Hamath the great, continued subject to other Lords than the Assyrians 'till the days of Pul and his successors; and so did the house of Eden, Amos i. 5. 2 Kings xix. 12. and Haran or Carrhæ, Gen. xii. 2 Kings xix. 12. and Sepharvaim in Mesopotamia, and Calneh near Bagdad, Gen. x. 10, Isa. x. 9, 2 Kings xvii. 31. Sesac and Memnon were great conquerors, and Reigned over Chaldæa, Assyria, and Persia, but in their histories there is not a word of any opposition made to them by an Assyrian Empire then standing: on the contrary, Susiana, Media, Persia, Bactria, Armenia, Cappadocia, &c. were conquered by them, and continued subject to the Kings of Egypt 'till after the long Reign of Ramesses the son of Memnon, as above. Homer mentions Bacchus and Memnon Kings of Egypt and Persia, but knew nothing of an Assyrian Empire. Jonah prophesied when Israel was in affliction under the King of Syria, and this was in the latter part of the Reign of Jehoahaz, and first part of the Reign of Joash, Kings of Israel, and I think in the Reign of Mœris the successor of Ramesses King of Egypt, and about sixty years before the Reign of Pul; and Nineveh was then a city of large extent, but full of pastures for cattle, so that it contained but about 120000 persons. It was not yet grown so great and potent as not to be terrified at the preaching of Jonah, and to fear being invaded by its neighbours and ruined within forty days: it had some time before got free from the dominion of Egypt, and had got a King of its own; but its King was not yet called King of Assyria, but only King of Nineveh, Jonah iii. 6, 7. and his proclamation for a fast was not published in several nations, nor in all Assyria, but only in Nineveh, and perhaps in the villages thereof; but soon after, when the dominion of Nineveh was established at home, and exalted over all Assyria properly so called, and this Kingdom began to make war upon the neighbouring nations, its Kings were no longer called Kings of Nineveh, but began to be called Kings of Assyria.<271>
Amos prophesied in the Reign of Jeroboam the Son of Joash King of Israel, soon after Jeroboam had subdued the Kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath, that is, about ten or twenty years before the Reign of Pul: and he  thus reproves Israel for being lifted up by those conquests; Ye which rejoyce in a thing of nought, which say, have we not taken to us horns by our strength? But behold I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord the God of Hosts, and they shall afflict you from the entring in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness. God here threatens to raise up a nation against Israel; but what nation he names not; that he conceals 'till the Assyrians should appear and discover it. In the prophesies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah and Zechariah, which were written after the Monarchy grew up, it is openly named upon all occasions; but in this of Amos not once, tho' the captivity of Israel and Syria be the subject of the prophesy, and that of Israel be often threatned: he only saith in general that Syria should go into captivity unto Kir, and that Israel, notwithstanding her present greatness, should go into captivity beyond Damascus; and that God would raise up a nation to afflict them: meaning that he would raise up above them from a lower condition, a nation whom they yet feared not: for so the Hebrew word מקם signifies when applied to men, as in Amos v. 2. 1 Sam. xii. 11. Psal. cxiii. 7. Jer. x. 20. l. 32. Hab. i. 6. Zech. xi. 16. As Amos names not the Assyrians; at the writing of this prophecy they made no great figure in the world, but were to be raised up against Israel, and by consequence rose up in the days of Pul and his successors: for after Jeroboam had conquered Damascus and Hamath, his successor Menahem destroyed Tiphsah with its territories upon Euphrates, because they opened not to him: and therefore Israel continued in its greatness 'till Pul, probably grown formidable by some victories, caused Menahem to buy his peace. Pul therefore Reigning presently after the prophesy of Amos, and being the first upon record who began to fulfill it, may be justly reckoned the first conqueror and founder of this Empire. For God stirred up the spirit of Pul, and the spirit of Tiglath-pileser King of Assyria, 1 Chron. v. 20.
The same Prophet Amos, in prophesying against Israel, threatned them in this manner, with what had lately befallen other Kingdoms: Pass ye,  saith he, unto Calneh and see, and from thence go ye to Hamath the great, then go down to Gath of the Philistims. Be they better than these Kingdoms? These Kingdoms were not yet conquered by the Assyrians, except that of Calneh or Chalonitis upon Tigris, between Babylon and Nineveh. Gath was newly vanquished  by Uzziah King of Judah, and Hamath  by Jeroboam King of Israel: and while the Prophet, in threatning Israel with the Assyrians, instances in desolations made by other nations, and mentions no other conquest of the Assyrians than that of Chalonitis near Nineveh; it argues that the King of Nineveh was now beginning his conquests, and had not yet made any great progress in that vast career of victories, which we read of a few years after.
For about seven years after the captivity of the ten Tribes, when Sennacherib warred in Syria, which was in the 16th Olympiad, he  sent this message to the King of Judah: Behold, thou hast heard what the Kings of Assyria have done to all Lands by destroying them utterly, and shalt thou be delivered? Have the Gods of the nations delivered them which the Gods of my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan and Haran and Reseph, and the children of Eden which were in [the Kingdom of] Thelasar? Where is the King of Hamath, and the King of Arpad, and the King of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivah? And Isaiah  thus introduceth the King of Assyria boasting: Are not my Princes altogether as Kings? Is not Calno [or Calneh] as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Samaria as Damascus? As my hand hath found the Kingdoms of the Idols, and whose graven Images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; shall I not as I have done unto Samaria and her Idols, so do to Jerusalem and her Idols? All this desolation is recited as fresh in memory to terrify the Jews, and these Kingdoms reach to the borders of Assyria, and to shew the largeness of the conquests they are called all lands, that is, all round about Assyria. It was the custom of the Kings of Assyria, for preventing the rebellion of people newly conquered, to captivate and transplant those of several countries into one another's lands, and intermix them variously: and thence it appears  that Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and Gozan, and the cities of the Medes into which Galilee and Samaria were transplanted; and Kir into which Damascus was transplanted; and Babylon and Cuth or the Susanchites, and Hamath, and Ava, and Sepharvaim, and the Dinaites, and the Apharsachites, and the Tarpelites, and the Archevites, and the Dehavites, and the Elamites, or Persians, part of all which nations were led captive by Asserhadon and his predecessors into Samaria; were all of them conquered by the Assyrians not long before.<275>
In these conquests are involved on the west and south side of Assyria, the Kingdoms of Mesopotamia, whose royal seats were Haran or Carrhæ, and Carchemish or Circutium, and Sepharvaim, a city upon Euphrates, between Babylon and Nineveh, called Sipparæ by Berosus, Abydenus, and Polyhistor, and Sipphara by Ptolomy; and the Kingdoms of Syria seated at Samaria, Damascus, Gath, Hamath, Arpad, and Reseph, a city placed by Ptolomy near Thapsacus: on the south side and south-east side were Babylon and Calneh, or Calno, a city which was founded by Nimrod, where Bagdad now stands, and gave the name of Chalonitis to a large region under its government; and Thelasar or Talatha, a city of the children of Eden, placed by Ptolomy in Babylonia, upon the common stream of Tigris and Euphrates, which was therefore the river of Paradise; and the Archevites at Areca or Erech, a city built by Nimrod on the east side of Pasitigris, between Apamia and the Persian Gulph; and the Susanchites at Cuth, or Susa, the metropolis of Susiana: on the east were Elymais, and some cities of the Medes, and Kir,  a city and large region of Media, between Elymais, and Assyria, called Kirene by the Chaldee Paraphrast and Latin Interpreter, and Carine by Ptolomy: on the north-east were Habor or Chaboras, a mountainous region between Assyria and Media; and the Apharsachites, or men of Arrapachitis, a region originally peopled by Arphaxad, and placed by Ptolomy at the bottom of the mountains next Assyria: and on the north between Assyria and the Gordiæan mountains was Halah or Chalach, the metropolis of Calachene: and beyond these upon the Caspian sea was Gozan, called Gauzania by Ptolomy. Thus did these new conquests extend every way from the province of Assyria to considerable distances, and make up the great body of that Monarchy: so that well might the King of Assyria boast how his armies had destroyed all lands. All these nations  had 'till now their several Gods, and each accounted his God the God of his own land, and the defender thereof, against the Gods of the neighbouring countries, and particularly against the Gods of Assyria; and therefore they were never 'till now united under the Assyrian Monarchy, especially since the King of Assyria doth not boast of their being conquered by the Assyrians oftner than once: but these being small Kingdoms the King of Assyria easily overflowed them: Know ye not, saith  Sennacherib to the Jews, what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? —for no God of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand? He and his fathers therefore, Pul, Tiglath-pileser, and Shalmaneser, were great conquerors, and with a current of victories had newly overflowed all nations round about Assyria, and thereby set up this Monarchy.
Between the Reigns of Jeroboam II, and his son Zachariah, there was an interregnum of about ten or twelve years in the Kingdom of Israel: and the prophet Hosea  in the time of that interregnum, or soon after, mentions the King of Assyria by the name of Jareb, and another conqueror by the name of Shalman; and perhaps Shalman might be the first part of the name of Shalmaneser, and Iareb, or Irib, for it may be read both ways, the last part of the name of his successor Sennacherib: but whoever these Princes were, it appears not that they Reigned before Shalmaneser. Pul, or Belus, seems to be the first who carried on his conquests beyond the province of Assyria: he conquered Calneh with its territories in the Reign of Jerboam, Amos i. 1. vi. 2. & Isa. x. 8, 9. and invaded Israel in the Reign of Menahem, 2 King. xv. 19. but stayed not in the land, being bought off by Menahem for a thousand talents of silver: in his Reign therefore the Kingdom of Assyria was advanced on this side Tigris: for he was a great warrior, and seems to have conquered Haran, and Carchemish, and Reseph, and Calneh, and Thelasar, and might found or enlarge the city of Babylon, and build the old palace.
Herodotus tells us, that one of the gates of Babylon was  called the gate of Semiramis, and that she adorned the walls of the city, and the Temple of Belus, and that she  was five Generations older than Nitocris the mother of Labynitus, or Nabonnedus, the last King of Babylon; and therefore she flourished four Generations, or about 134 years, before Nebuchadnezzar , and by consequence in the Reign of Tiglath-pileser the successor of Pul: and the followers of Ctesias tell us, that she built Babylon, and was the widow of the son and successor of Belus, the founder of the Assyrian Empire; that is, the widow of one of the sons of Pul: but  Berosus a Chaldæan blames the Greeks for ascribing the building of Babylon to Semiramis; and other authors ascribe the building of this city to Belus himself, that is to Pul; so Curtius  tells us; Semiramis Babylonem condiderat, vel ut plerique credidere Belus, cujus regia ostenditur: and Abydenus, who had his history from the ancient monuments of the Chaldæans, writes,  Λέγεται Βηλον Βαβυλωνα τείχει περιβαλειν· τωι χρόνω δὲ τωι ἰκνευμένω α᾽φανισθηναι. τειχίσαι δὲ ἀυθις Ναβουχοδονόσορον, τὸ μέχρι της Μακεδονίων α᾽ρχης διαμειναν ἐὸν χαλκόπυλον. 'Tis reported that Belus compassed Babylon with a wall, which in time was abolished: and that Nebuchadnezzar afterwards built a new wall with brazen gates, which stood 'till the time of the Macedonian Empire: and so Dorotheus  an ancient Poet of Sidon;
Αρχαιη Βαβυλων, Τυρίου Βήλοιο πόλισμα.
The ancient city Babylon built by the Tyrian Belus;
That is, by the Syrian or Assyrian Belus; the words Tyrian, Syrian, and Assyrian, being anciently used promiscuously for one another: Herennius  tells us, that it was built by the son of Belus; and this son might be Nabonassar. After the conquest of Calneh, Thelasar, and Sippare, Belus might seize Chaldæa, and begin to build Babylon, and leave it to his younger son: for all the Kings of Babylon in the Canon of Ptolemy are called Assyrians, and Nabonassar is the first of them: and Nebuchadnezzar  reckoned himself descended from Belus, that is, from the Assyrian Pul: and the building of Babylon is ascribed to the Assyrians by  Isaiah: Behold, saith he, the land of the Chaldeans: This people was not 'till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness, [that is, for the Arabians.] They set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof. From all this it seems therefore that Pul founded the walls and the palaces of Babylon, and left the city with the province of Chaldæa to his younger son Nabonassar; and that Nabonassar finished what his father began, and erected the Temple of Jupiter Belus to his father: and that Semiramis lived in those days, and was the Queen of Nabonassar, because one of the gates of Babylon was called the gate of Semiramis, as Herodotus affirms: but whether she continued to Reign there after her husband's death may be doubted.
Pul therefore was succeeded at Nineveh by his elder son Tiglath-pileser, at the same time that he left Babylon to his younger son Nabonassar. Tiglath-pileser, the second King of Assyria, warred in Phœnicia, and captivated Galilee with the two Tribes and an half, in the days of Pekah King of Israel, and placed them in Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and at the river Gozan, places lying on the western borders of Media, between Assyria and the Caspian sea, 2 King. xv. 29, & 1 Chron. v. 26. and about the fifth or sixth year of Nabonassar, he came to the assistance of the King of Judah against the Kings of Israel and Syria, and overthrew the Kingdom of Syria, which had been seated at Damascus ever since the days of King David, and carried away the Syrians to Kir in Media, as Amos had prophesied, and placed other nations in the regions of Damascus, 2 King. xv. 37, & xvi. 5, 9. Amos i. 5. Joseph. Antiq. l. 9. c. 13. whence it seems that the Medes were conquered before, and that the Empire of the Assyrians was now grown great: for the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul King of Assyria, and the spirit of Tiglath-pileser King of Assyria to make war, 1 Chron. v. 26.
Shalmaneser or Salmanasser, called Enemessar by Tobit, invaded  all Phœnicia, took the city of Samaria, and captivated Israel, and placed them in Chalach and Chabor, by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes; and Hosea  seems to say that he took Arbela: and his successor Sennacherib said that his fathers had conquered also Gozan, and Haran or Carrhæ, and Reseph or Resen, and the children of Eden, and Arpad or the Aradii, 2 King. xix. 12.
Sennacherib the son of Shalmaneser in the 14th year of Hezekiah invaded Phœnicia, and took several cities of Judah, and attempted Egypt; and Sethon or Sevechus King of Egypt and Tirhakah King of Ethiopia coming against him, he lost in one night 185000 men, as some say by a plague, or perhaps by lightning, or a fiery wind which blows sometimes in the neighbouring deserts, or rather by being surprised by Sethon and Tirhakah: for the Egyptians in memory of this action erected a statue to Sethon, holding in his hand a mouse, the Egyptian symbol of destruction. Upon this defeat Sennacherib returned in haste to Nineveh, and  his Kingdom became troubled, so that Tobit could not go into Media, the Medes I think at this time revolting: and he was soon after slain by two of his sons who fled into Armenia, and his son Asserhadon succeeded him. At that time did Merodach Baladan or Mardocempad King of Babylon send an embassy to Hezekiah King of Judah.
Asserhadon,  called Sarchedon by Tobit, Asordan by the LXX, and Assaradin in Ptolomy's Canon, began his Reign at Nineveh, in the year of Nabonassar 42; and in the year 68 extended it over Babylon: then he carried the remainder of the Samaritans into captivity, and peopled Samaria with captives brought from several parts of his Kingdom, the Dinaites, the Apharsachites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, the Elamites, Ezra iv. 2, 9. and therefore he Reigned over all these nations. Pekah and Rezin Kings of Samaria and Damascus, invaded Judæa in the first year of Ahaz, and within 65 years after, that is in the 21st year of Manasseh, Anno Nabonass. 69, Samaria by this captivity ceased to be a people, Isa. vii. 8. Then Asserhadon invaded Judæa, took Azoth, carried Manasseh captive to Babylon, and  captivated also Egypt, Thebais, and Ethiopia above Thebais: and by this war he seems to have put an end to the Reign of the Ethiopians over Egypt, in the year of Nabonassar 77 or 78.
In the Reign of Sennacherib and Asserhadon, the Assyrian Empire seems arrived at its greatness, being united under one Monarch, and containing Assyria, Media, Apolloniatis, Susiana, Chaldæa, Mesopotamia, Cilicia, Syria, Phœnicia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and part of Arabia, and reaching eastward into Elymais, and Parætacene, a province of the Medes: and if Chalach and Chabor be Colchis and Iberia, as some think, and as may seem probable from the circumcision used by those nations 'till the days of Herodotus, we are also to add these two Provinces, with the two Armenia's, Pontus and Cappadocia, as far as to the river Halys: for  Herodotus tells us, that the people of Cappadocia as far as to that river were called Syrians by the Greeks, both before and after the days of Cyrus, and that the Assyrians were also called Syrians by the Greeks.
Yet the Medes revolted from the Assyrians in the latter end of the Reign of Sennacherib, I think upon the slaughter of his army near Egypt and his flight to Nineveh: for at that time the estate of Sennacherib was troubled, so that Tobit could not go into Media as he had done before, Tobit i. 15. and some time after, Tobit advised his son to go into Media where he might expect peace, while Nineveh, according to the prophesy of Jonah, should be destroyed. Ctesias wrote that Arbaces a Mede being admitted to see Sardanapalus in his palace, and observing his voluptuous life amongst women, revolted with the Medes, and in conjunction with Belesis a Babylonian overcame him, and caused him to set fire to his palace and burn himself: but he is contradicted by other authors of better credit; for Duris and  many others wrote that Arbaces upon being admitted into the palace of Sardanapalus, and seeing his effeminate life, slew himself; and Cleitarchus, that Sardanapalus died of old age, after he had lost his dominion over Syria: he lost it by the revolt of the western nations; and Herodotus  tells us, that the Medes revolted first, and defended their liberty by force of arms against the Assyrians, without conquering them; and at their first revolting had no King, but after some time set up Dejoces over them, and built Ecbatane for his residence; and that Dejoces Reigned only over Media, and had a peaceable Reign of 54 years, but his son and successor Phraortes made war upon his neighbours, and conquered Persia; and that the Syrians also, and other western nations, at length revolted from the Assyrians, being encouraged thereunto by the example of the Medes; and that after the revolt of the western nations, Phraortes invaded the Assyrians, but was slain by them in that war, after he had Reigned twenty and two years. He was succeeded by Astyages.
Now Asserhadon seems to be the Sardanapalus who died of old age after the revolt of Syria, the name Sardanapalus being derived from Asserhadon-Pul. Sardanapalus was the  son of Anacyndaraxis, Cyndaraxis, or Anabaxaris, King of Assyria; and this name seems to have been corruptly written for Sennacherib the father of Asserhadon. Sardanapalus built Tarsus and Anchiale in one day, and therefore Reigned over Cilicia, before the revolt of the western nations: and if he be the same King with Asserhadon, he was succeeded by Saosduchinus in the year of Nabonassar 81; and by this revolution Manasseh was set at liberty to return home and fortify Jerusalem: and the Egyptians also, after the Assyrians had harrassed Egypt and Ethiopia three years, Isa. xx. 3, 4. were set at liberty, and continued under twelve contemporary Kings of their own nation, as above. The Assyrians invaded and conquered the Egyptians the first of the three years, and Reigned over them two years more: and these two years are the interregnum which Africanus, from Manetho, places next before the twelve Kings. The Scythians of Touran or Turquestan beyond the river Oxus began in those days to infest Persia, and by one of their inroads might give occasion to the revolt of the western nations.
In the year of Nabonassar 101, Saosduchinus, after a Reign of twenty years, was succeeded at Babylon by Chyniladon, and I think at Nineveh also, for I take Chyniladon to be that Nabuchodonosor who is mentioned in the book of Judith; for the history of that King suits best with these times: for there it is said that Nabuchodonosor King of the Assyrians who Reigned at Nineveh, that great city, in the twelfth year of his Reign made war upon Arphaxad King of the Medes, and was then left alone by a defection of the auxiliary nations of Cilicia, Damascus, Syria, Phœnicia, Moab, Ammon, and Egypt; and without their help routed the army of the Medes, and slew Arphaxad: and Arphaxad is there said to have built Ecbatane and therefore was either Dejoces, or his son Phraortes, who might finish the city founded by his father: and Herodotus  tells the same story of a King of Assyria, who routed the Medes, and slew their King Phraortes; and saith that in the time of this war the Assyrians were left alone by the defection of the auxiliary nations, being otherwise in good condition: Arphaxad was therefore the Phraortes of Herodotus, and by consequence was slain near the beginning of the Reign of Josiah: for this war was made after Phœnicia, Moab, Ammon, and Egypt had been conquered and revolted, Judith i. 7, 8, 9. and by consequence after the Reign of Asserhadon who conquered them: it was made when the Jews were newly returned from captivity, and the Vessels and Altar and Temple were sanctified after the profanation, Judith iv. 3. that is soon after Manasseh their King had been carried captive to Babylon by Asserhadon; and upon the death of that King, or some other change in the Assyrian Empire, had been released with the Jews from that captivity, and had repaired the Altar, and restored the sacrifices and worship of the Temple, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 11, 16. In the Greek version of the book of Judith, chap. v. 18. it is said, that the Temple of God was cast to the ground; but this is not said in Jerom's version; and in the Greek version, chap. iv. 3, and chap. xvi. 20, it is said, that the vessels, and the altar, and the house were sanctified after the prophanation, and in both versions, chap. iv. 11, the Temple is represented standing.
After this war Nabuchodonosor King of Assyria, in the 13th year of his Reign, according to the version of Jerom, sent his captain Holofernes with a great army to avenge himself on all the west country; because they had disobeyed his commandment: and Holofernes went forth with an army of 12000 horse, and 120000 foot of Assyrians, Medes and Persians, and reduced Cilicia, Mesopotamia, and Syria, and Damascus, and part of Arabia, and Ammon, and Edom, and Madian, and then came against Judæa: and this was done when the government was in the hands of the High-Priest and Antients of Israel, Judith iv. 8. and vii. 23. and by consequence not in the Reign of Manasseh or Amon, but when Josiah was a child. In times of prosperity the children of Israel were apt to go after false Gods, and in times of affliction to repent and turn to the Lord. So Manasseh a very wicked King, being captivated by the Assyrians, repented; and being released from captivity restored the worship of the true God: So when we are told that Josiah in the eighth year of his Reign, while he was yet young, began to seek after the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year of his Reign began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from Idolatry, and to destroy the High Places, and Groves, and Altars and Images of Baalim, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 3. we may understand that these acts of religion were occasioned by impending dangers, and escapes from danger. When Holofernes came against the western nations, and spoiled them, then were the Jews terrified, and they fortified Judæa, and cryed unto God with great fervency, and humbled themselves in sackcloth, and put ashes on their heads, and cried unto the God of Israel that he would not give their wives and their children and cities for a prey, and the Temple for a profanation: and the High-priest, and all the Priests put on sackcloth and ashes, and offered daily burnt offerings with vows and free gifts of the people, Judith iv. and then began Josiah to seek after the God of his father David: and after Judith had slain Holofernes, and the Assyrians were fled, and the Jews who pursued them were returned to Jerusalem, they worshipped the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and gifts, and continued feasting before the sanctuary for the space of three months, Judith xvi. 18, and then did Josiah purge Judah and Jerusalem from Idolatry. Whence it seems to me that the eighth year of Josiah fell in with the fourteenth or fifteenth of Nabuchodonosor, and that the twelfth year of Nabuchodonosor, in which Phraortes was slain, was the fifth or sixth of Josiah. Phraortes Reigned 22 years according to Herodotus, and therefore succeeded his father Dejoces about the 40th year of Manasseh, Anno Nabonass. 89, and was slain by the Assyrians, and succeeded by Astyages, Anno Nabonass. 111. Dejoces Reigned 53 years according to Herodotus, and these years began in the 16th year of Hezekiah; which makes it probable that the Medes dated them from the time of their revolt: and according to all this reckoning, the Reign of Nabuchodonosor fell in with that of Chyniladon; which makes it probable that they were but two names of one and the same King.
Soon after the death of Phraortes  the Scythians under Madyes or Medus invaded Media, and beat the Medes in battle, Anno Nabonass. 113, and went thence towards Egypt, but were met in Phœnicia by Psammitichus and bought off, and returning Reigned over a great part of Asia: but in the end of about 28 years were expelled; many of their Princes and commanders being slain in a feast by the Medes under the conduct of Cyaxeres, the successor of Astyages, just before the destruction of Nineveh, and the rest being soon after forced to retire.
In the year of Nabonassar 123,  Nabopolassar the commander of the forces of Chyniladon the King of Assyria in Chaldæa revolted from him, and became King of Babylon; and Chyniladon was either then, or soon after, succeeded at Nineveh by the last King of Assyria, called Sarac by Polyhistor: and at length Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabopolassar, married Amyite the daughter of Astyages and sister of Cyaxeres; and by this marriage the two families having contracted affinity, they conspired against the Assyrians; and Nabopolasser being now grown old, and Astyages being dead, their sons Nebuchadnezzar and Cyaxeres led the armies of the two nations against Nineveh, slew Sarac, destroyed the city, and shared the Kingdom of the Assyrians. This victory the Jews refer to the Chaldæans; the Greeks to the Medes; Tobit, Polyhistor, Josephus, and Ctesias to both. It gave a beginning to the great successes of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyaxeres, and laid the foundation of the two collateral Empires of the Babylonians and Medes; these being branches of the Assyrian Empire: and thence the time of the fall of the Assyrian Empire is determined, the conquerors being then in their youth. In the Reign of Josiah, when Zephaniah prophesied, Nineveh and the Kingdom of Assyria were standing, and their fall was predicted by that Prophet, Zeph. i. 1, and ii. 13. and in the end of his Reign Pharaoh Nechoh King of Egypt, the successor of Psammitichus, went up against the King of Assyria to the river Euphrates, to fight against Carchemish or Circutium, and in his way thither slew Josiah, 2 Kings xxiii. 29. 2 Chron. xxxv. 20. and therefore the last King of Assyria was not yet slain. But in the third and fourth year of Jehoiakim the successor of Josiah, the two conquerors having taken Nineveh and finished their war in Assyria, prosecuted their conquests westward, and leading their forces against the King of Egypt, as an invader of their right of conquest, they beat him at Carchemish, and  took from him whatever he had newly taken from the Assyrians: and therefore we cannot err above a year or two, if we refer the destruction of Nineveh, and fall of the Assyrian Empire, to the second year of Jehoiakim, Anno Nabonass. 140. The name of the last King Sarac might perhaps be contracted from Sarchedon, as this name was from Asserhadon, Asserhadon-Pul, or Sardanapalus.
While the Assyrians Reigned at Nineveh, Persia was divided into several Kingdoms; and amongst others there was a Kingdom of Elam, which flourished in the days of Hezekiah, Manasseh, Josiah, and Jehoiakim Kings of Judah, and fell in the days of Zedekiah, Jer. xxv. 25, and xlix. 34, and Ezek. xxxii. 24. This Kingdom seems to have been potent, and to have had wars with the King of Touran or Scythia beyond the river Oxus with various success, and at length to have been subdued by the Medes and Babylonians, or one of them. For while Nebuchadnezzar warred in the west, Cyaxeres recovered the Assyrian provinces of Armenia, Pontus, and Cappadocia, and then they went eastward against the provinces of Persia and Parthia. Whether the Pischdadians, whom the Persians reckon to have been their oldest Kings, were Kings of the Kingdom of Elam, or of that of the Assyrians, and whether Elam was conquered by the Assyrians at the same time with Babylonia and Susiana in the Reign of Asserhadon, and soon after revolted, I leave to be examined.
 Diodor. l. 2, p. 83.
 Amos vi. 13, 14.
 Amos vi. 2.
 2 Chron. xxvi. 6.
 2 King. xiv. 25.
 2 King. xix. 11.
 Isa. x. 8.
 1 Chron. v. 26. 2 King. xvi. 9 & xvii. 6, 24. & Ezra iv. 9.
 Isa. xxii. 6.
 2 King. xvii. 24, 30, 31. & xviii. 33, 34, 35. 2 Chron. xxxii. 15.
 2 Chron. xxxii. 13, 15.
 Hosea v. 13. & x. 6, 14.
 Herod. l. iii. c. 155.
 Herod. l. i. c. 184.
 Beros. apud Josep. contr. Appion. l. 1.
 Curt. l. 5. c. 1.
 Apud Euseb. Præp. l. 9. c. 41.
 Doroth. apud Julium Firmicum.
 Heren. apud Steph. in Βαβ.
 Abyden apud Euseb. Præp. l. 9. c. 41.
 Isa. xxiii. 13.
 Tobit. i. 13. Annal. Tyr. apud Joseph. Ant l. 9. c. 14.
 Hosea x. 14.
 Tobit. i. 15.
 Tobit. i. 21. 2 King. xix. 37. Ptol. Canon.
 Isa. xx. 1, 3, 4.
 Herod. l. 1. c. 72. & l. 7. c. 63.
 Apud Athenæum l. xii. p. 528.
 Herod. l. 1. c. 96. &c.
 Athenæus l. 12. p. 529, 530.
 Herod. l. 1. c. 102.
 Herod. l. 1. c. 103. Steph. in Παρθυαιοι.
 Alexander Polyhist. apud Euseb. in Chron. p. 46 & apud Syncellum. p. 210.
 2 Kings xxiv. 7. Jer. xlvi. 2. Eupolemus apud Euseb. Præp. l. 9. c. 35.
This document is part of
'The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (London: 1728)'
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- The next part of this document is Chapter 4: Of the two Contemporary Empires of the Babylonians and Medes