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Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BC) reconfigured Assyrian administration to make villages responsible to the center. For this reason, he is often considered the founder of the Assyrian empire.

His strategy relied upon diplomacy, deportation and military action. When Tiglath-Pileser III conquered a village, he installed bureaucrats and military officials; these people maintained order and reported directly to him. His queen was named Yaba. Tiglath-Pileser III started a trend in Assyria of dismantling a conquered capital and replacing it with a controlled capital elsewhere (he did so when he replaced Jerusalem with Lachish).

He left behind few monuments in the Assyrian heartland, as he was too busy campaigning elsewhere. Tiglath-Pileser III secured control over rebellious areas, and stopped Urartu in the west. Tiglath-Pileser III also incorporated large parts of Syria, and defeated the Babylonians (he even stole hands from a statue of Bel). Notably, this made Tiglath-Pileser III the first Assyrian king to rule Babylonia (other than a few appointees) since Tukulti-Ninurta. Tiglath-Pileser III also managed to reach the Mediterranean and Gaza. He did not attack the Palestinians, but their great timber trade prompted him to exact tribute from them.

relief from central palace at nimrud of assyrian king tiglath pileser iii

~728 BC relief of Tiglath-Pileser III from the Central Palace at Nimrud. British Museum. Image by L. M. Clancy.


740 BC

Menahem renders tribute to Tiglath-Pileser III.

738 BC

Menahem again renders tribute to Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 15:10).

734 BC

Ahaz pays tribute to Tiglath-Pileser III.

732 BC

Campaigns of TIglath-Pileser III lead to the annexation of Damascus (2 Kings 15:30, 17:1).


His reign was followed by his son Shalmaneser V, then another son Tiglath-Pileser III.