Nipissing University  -- History 2055 -- Ancient Civilizations

Reading for November 1, 2000

Inscription of Tiglath Pileser I

This document is an excerpt from a fuller translation posted  at http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ASSYRIA/INSCRA00.HTM.
See the bottom of this page for copyright information.

Introduction (Muhlberger):

Tiglath Pileser was the first of a series of powerful Assyrian monarchs following a period of Assyrian weakness.   In this inscription he gives us his own view (or at least the official view) of  his accomplishments.

What kind of accomplishments does Tiglath Pileser record?   What, according to this inscription, is the basis of good government?   What does good government consist of?   Can we connect these ideas to others we have seen?   What do we learn about ancient warfare from this excerpt?


[1] Ashur, the great Lord, ruling supreme over the gods; the giver of sceptres and crowns; the appointer of sovereignty. Bel, the Lord; King of the circle of constellations; Father of the gods; Lord of the world. Sin; the leader the Lord of Empire the powerful the auspicious god; Shamas; the establisher of the heavens and the earth; . . . ; the vanquisher of enemies; the dissolver of cold. Vu1; he who causes the tempest to rage over hostile lands and wicked countries. Abnil Hercules; the champion who subdues heretics and enemies, and who strengthens the heart. Ishtar, the eldest of the gods; the Queen of Victory; she who arranges battles.

[2] The great gods, ruling over the heavens and the earth, whose attributes I have recorded and whom I have named; the guardians of the kingdom of Tiglath Pileser, the Prince inspiring your hearts with joy; the proud Chief whom in the strength of your hearts ye have made firm, (to whom) ye have confided the supreme crown, (whom) ye have appointed in might to the sovereignty of the country of Bel, to whom ye have granted pre-eminence, exaltation, and warlike power. May the duration of his empire continue forever to his royal posterity, lasting as the great temple of Bel!

[3] Tiglath Pileser the powerful king;... the exalted sovereign, whose servants Ashur has appointed to the government of the country of the four regions (and) has made his name celebrated to posterity; the conqueror of many plains and mountains of the Upper and Lower Country; the conquering hero, the terror of whose name has overwhelmed all regions; the bright constellation who, according to his power has warred against foreign countries (and) under the auspices of Bel, there being no equal to him, has subdued the enemies of Ashur.

[4] Ashur (and) the great gods, the guardians of my kingdom, who gave government and laws to my dominions, and ordered an enlarged frontier to their territory, having committed to (my) hand their valiant and warlike servants, I have subdued the lands and the peoples and the strong places, and the Kings who were hostile to Ashur; and I have reduced all that was contained in them. With a host of kings I have fought . . . and have imposed on them the bond of servitude. There is not to me a second in war, nor an equal in battle. I have added territory to Assyria and peoples to her people. I have enlarged the frontier of my territories, and subdued all the lands contained in them.

[5] In the beginning of my reign 20,000 of the Muskayans and their 5 kings, who for 50 years had held the countries of Alza and Perukhuz, without paying tribute and offerings to Ashur my Lord, and whom a King of Assyria had never ventured to meet in battle betook themselves to their strength, and went and seized the country of Comukha. In the service of Ashur my Lord my chariots and warriors I assembled after me . . . the country of Kasiyaia, a difficult country, I passed through. With their 20,000 fighting men and their 5 kings in the country of Comukha I engaged. I defeated them. The ranks of their warriors in fighting the battle were beaten down as if by the tempest. Their carcasses covered the valleys and the tops of the mountains. I cut off their heads. The battlements of their cities I made heaps of, like mounds of earth, their movables, their wealth, and their valuables I plundered to a countless amount. 6,000 of their common soldiers who fled before my servants and accepted my yoke, I took them, and gave them over to the men of my own territory.

[6] Then I went into the country of Comukha, which was disobedient and withheld the tribute and offerings due to Ashur my Lord: I conquered the whole country of Comukha. I plundered their movables, their wealth, and their valuables. Their cities I burnt with fire, I destroyed and ruined. The common people of Comukha, who fled before the face of my servants, crossed over to the city of Sherisha, which was on the further banks of the Tigris, and made this city into their stronghold. I assembled my chariots and warriors. I betook myself to carts of iron in order to overcome the rough mountains and their difficult marches. I made the wilderness (thus) practicable for the passage of my chariots and warriors. I crossed the Tigris and took the city of Sherisha their stronghold. Their fighting men, in the middle of the forests, like wild beasts, I smote. Their carcasses filled the Tigris, and the tops of the mountains. At this time the troops of the Akhe, who came to the deliverance and assistance of Comukha, together with the troops of Comukha, like chaff I scattered. The carcasses of their fighting men I piled up like heaps on the tops of the mountains. The bodies of their warriors, the roaring waters carried down to the Tigris. Kili Teru son of Kali Teru, son of Zarupin Zihusun, their King, in the course of their fighting fell into my power. His wives and his children, the delight of his heart I dispossessed him of. One hundred and eighty iron vessels and 5 trays of copper, together with the gods of the people in gold and silver, and their beds and furniture I brought away. Their movables and their wealth I plundered. This city and its palace I burnt with fire, I destroyed and ruined.

...

[24] Tiglath-Pileser, the ruling constellation; the powerful; the lover of battle.

...

[26] Tiglath-Pileser, he who tramples upon the Magian world; he who subdues the disobedient; he who has overrun the whole earth.
...

[31] There fell into my hands altogether between the commencement of my reign and my fifth year 42 countries, with their kings, from beyond the river Zab, plain, forest, and mountain, to beyond the river Euphrates, the country of the Khatte and the upper ocean of the setting sun. I brought them under one government; I placed them under the Magian religion, and I imposed on them tribute and offerings.

[32] I have omitted many hunting expeditions which were not connected with my warlike achievements. In pursuing after the game I traversed the easy tracts in my chariots, and the difficult tracts on foot. I demolished the wild animals throughout my territories.

[33] Tiglath-Pileser, the illustrious warrior, he who holds the sceptre of Lashanan; he who has extirpated all wild animals.

[34] The gods Hercules and Nergal gave their valiant servants and their arrows as a glory to support my empire. Under the auspices of Hercules, my guardian deity, four wild bulls, strong and fierce, in the desert, in the country of Mitan, and in the city Arazik, belonging to the country of the Khatte, with my long arrows tipped with iron, and with heavy blows I took their lives. Their skins and their horns I brought to my city of Ashur.

[35] Ten large wild buffaloes in the country of Kharran, and the plains of the river Khabur, I slew. Four buffaloes I took alive; their skins and their horns, with the live buffaloes, I brought to my city of Ashur.

[36] Under the auspices of my guardian deity Hercules, two soss of lions fell before me. In the course of my progress on foot I slew them, and 800 lions in my chariots in my exploratory journeys I laid low. All the beasts of the field and the flying birds of heaven I made the victims of my shafts.
...

[50] The list of my victories and the catalogue of my triumphs over foreigners hostile to Ashur, which Anu and Vul have granted to my arms, I have inscribed on my tablets and cylinders, and I have placed them to the last days in the temple of my Lords Anu and Vul, and the tablets of Shamsi-Vul, my ancestor, I have raised altars and sacrificed victims (before them), and set them up in their places.

[51] In after-times, and in the latter days . . . , if the temple of the great gods, my Lords Anu and Vul, and these shrines should become old and fall into decay, may the prince who comes after me repair the ruins. May he raise altars and sacrifice victims before my tablets and cylinders, and may he set them up again in their places, and may he inscribe his name on them together with my name. As Anu and Vul, the great gods, have ordained, may he worship honestly with a good heart and full trust.

[52] Whoever shall abrade or injure my tablets and cylinders, or shall moisten them with water, or scorch them with fire, or expose them to the air, or in the holy place of god shall assign them a position where they cannot be seen or understood, or who shall erase the writing and inscribe his own name, or who shall divide the sculptures, and break them off from my tablets,

[53] Anu and Vul, the great gods, my Lords, let them consign his name to perdition; let them curse him with an irrevocable curse; let them cause his sovereignty to perish; let them pluck out the stability of the throne of his empire; let not offspring survive him in the kingdom; let his servants be broken; let his troops be defeated; let him fly vanquished before his enemies. May Vul in his fury tear up the produce of his land. May a scarcity of food and of the necessaries of life afflict his country. For one day may he not be called happy. May his name and his race perish in the land.

In the month of Kuzallu, on the 29th day, in the High-Priesthood of Ina-iliya-hallik, (entitled) Rabbi-turi.



Text Source:

Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield

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