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Assyrian king Shalmaneser III

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Assyrian king Shalmaneser III was one of the longest-serving kings of Assyria – but this also meant that at the end of his reign he was already old and frail.


Battle of Qarqar

853 BC

Shalmanesser III faces a coalition of Levantine kingdoms at Qarqar. Ahab of Israel and Hadadezer of Damascus are members. Coalition succeeds (according to the Monolith inscription).

849-848 & 845 BC

Shalmaneser III faces a coalition of Levantine kingdoms (according to the bull inscription and Black Obelisk) and Hadadezer of Damascus is mentioned, uncertain if Jehoram of Israel participated.

841 BC

Damascus besieged and Jehu of Israel mentioned as paying tribute (according to the Black Obelisk).

838 BC

Shalmaneser II attacks four cities of Hazael of Damascus (according to the Black Obelisk).

Dayan-Assur rises

832 BC

The kingdom of Urartu commands a formidable army and invades Assyria from the north. But he can no longer serve as the military's commander-in-chief. Shamshi-ilu was effectively commander in chief of the military. And then in 832 BC, Shalmaneser III appointed Dayan-Assur – one of his eunuch – to the generalship of the highly important campaigns to beat back the Urartians.

Civil War

826 - 820 BC

Crown prince Ashur-da'in-apla was sidelined by the ascensions of Shamshi-ilu and Dayan-Assur. In 826 BC, he began a civil war against the king (his father) and was in direct confrontation with Dayan-Ashur and Shamshi-ilu. The war lasts until 820 BC when – under unclear circumstances – Shalmaneser III dies, and Dayan-Ashur and Ashur-da'in-apla both disappear. Instead of Ashur-da'in-apla becoming king of Assyria, it was the middle-aged Shamshi-Adad V instead. Much of our understanding of this civil war comes from his stele commemorating his subduing of the rebellion.

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC) was found in a central palace erected by Shalmaneser III and Tiglath-Pileser IV Jastrow 1915, p 19.

The Black Obelisk depicts five scenes of tribute, like a miniature throne room. Each scene occupies four panels, wrapping around the obelisk, and is identified by a line of cuneiform script above it. The Black Obelisk provides the earliest depiction of an ancient Israelite.


Sua of Gilzanu

Northwest Iran.

Jehu of Bit Omri

Ancient Israel.


An unnamed rule of Musri likely heralds from Egypt.

Marduk-apil-usur of Suhi

Middle Euphrates, Syria and Iraq.

Qalparunda of Patin

Antakya region of Turkey.

Rebellions in Assyria

When Shalmaneser III was old and frail, central authority over the Assyrian territories diminished due to threats from inside and outside the empire. Urartians were still on the offensive to the north, and the king appointed officials to act in his stead. Shamshi-ilu led the military, with Dayan-Assur overseeing forces against the Urartians. However, Shalmaneser III's son Ashur-da'in-apla gained support from major cities to lead a rebellion which ended with Shalmaneser III dying, Dayan-Ashur and Ashur-da'in-apla disappearing, and Shamshi-Adad V ascending the throne.