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Assyrian king Shalmaneser IComments

Assyrian king Shalmaneser I

Assyrian king Shalmaneser I reigned from 1265 BC.

Hanigalbat (the Mitanni) had gained power and allied with the Akhlamus (Aramaeans) and Hittites. The Hittites provided not just military aid, but also used their enduring international power to force their vassals into imposing an embargo against Assyria. This prompted Shalmaneser I to re-conquer the Hanigalbat region, a reassertion of Assyria's growing importance that made the Hittite monarch regard Shalmaneser I (and his successor) as an equal, brother. In a departure from prior policy, Assyria did not just kill the conquered masses. Shalmaneser I allowed skilled and established merchant families to continue, feeding them into a government trading network that greatly benefited Assyria. Also, Shalmaneser I installed an Assyrian administration in the conquered Mittanni site at Tell Fakeryiah. His administration was implemented across upper Mesopotamia and possibly the upper Tigris as well. He appointed local elites and his own officials as saknu (governors) reporting to a sukkallu rabu (great vizier).

Also, people from the northern territories were deported en masse to labor in Assyria's agricultural fields: 14,400 captives were deported from Hanigalbat, each person blinded in one eye; 720 captives were deported from Shubru (likely north or within the Tur Abdin) in four gangs each under an Assyrian foreman with an overseer responsible for the whole; 99 people were deported from the land Nairi (north of the Tigris, west of Lake Van); and 174 were deported from Kadmukh (between Tigris and Tur Abdin) under two Assyrian officials. These detailed records are taken from administrative account of grain and wool rations so that the laborers could eat and make their own clothing. Assyria had very precise oranization at this point: regarding a construction campaign, the total of foreign workers and the seven Assyrian officials in charge of them amounted to exactly 1,000.

During the reign of Shalmaneser I (Adad-narari's son), Uruatri (later Urartu) was still a federation amongst the Armenian highlands. Shalmaneser I spoke of destroying 51 Uruatrian towns to squash their disruption of Assyrian hegemony. Some young men from Uruatri were enlisted into Assyria's service and relocated. This marks a new phase in Assyrian policy that led to groups of people being shifted around on an increasingly massive scale; these persons could have been just slaughtered, but it was in Assyria's economic interest to divide the people and let them live.