The Nimrud Slab

Nimrud Slab or Calah Orthostat (797 BCE): inscription by Assyrian king Adad-Nirari III, in which he describes his successes in the west.

Adad-Nirari III

In the first half of the ninth century BCE, the Assyrian kings Aššurnasirpal II (r.883-859) and Šalmaneser III (r. 858-824) had expanded the Assyrian Empire across the Euphrates to the Mediterranean Sea, adding what is now Syria. After that, there had been a crisis and the expansion had been interrupted, but Šalmaneser’s grandson Adad-Nirari III (r.811-783) resumed the western offensive.

Among the evidence are the Antakya Stela, the Tell al-Rimah Stela, and the Nimrud Slab (ANET3 281 = CoS 2.14G, which can be dated after 797 and was discovered in Calah or Nimrud. The Nimrud Slab, which is also known as the Calah Orthostat, was inscribed on a broken stone slab, which is now lost. Only the squeeze survives but it is interesting becaused it mentions tributes by the kings of Israel, Edom, the land of Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Damascus.

The translation offered here A. Leo Oppenheim (first half) and by K. Lawson Younger (second half).


The Nimrud Slab

[1-14] Property of Adad-Nirari, great king, legitimate king, king of the world, king of Assyria - a king whom Aššur; the king of the Igigi-gods had chosen already when he was a youngster, entrusting him with the position of a prince without rival; a king whose shepherding the made as agreeable to the people of Assyria as is the smell of the Plant of Life;a king whose throne they established firmly; the holy high priest and tireless caretaker of the temple é.sár.ra, who keeps up the rites of the sanctuary, who acts only upon the trust-inspiring oracles given by Ashur, his lord; who has made submit to his feet the princes within the four rims of the earth.

Conquering from the Siluna mountain of the Rising Sun, the countries Saban, Ellipi, Harhar, Araziash, Mesu, the country of the Medians, Gizilbunda in its full extent, the countries Munna, Persis, Allabria, Apdadana, Na'iri with all its regions, Andiu (which lies far away in the mountains) as far as the Great Sea of the Rising Sun, and from the banks of the Euphrates, the country of Hatti, Amurru in its full extent, the land of Tyre, the land of Sidon, the land of Israel, the land of Edom, the land of Philistia - I made them submit to my feet, imposing upon them tribute.

[15-21] I marched to the land of Damascus. I confined Mari', the king of Damascus, in the city of Damascus, his royal city. The fearful splendor of Aššur, my lord, overwhelmed him, and he submitted to me. He became my vassal. 2300 talents of silver, 20 talents of gold, 3000 talents of bronze, 5000 talents of iron, linen garments with multicolored trim, an ivory bed, a couch with inlaid ivory, his property and his possessions without number - I received inside his palace in Damascus, his royal city.

[22-24] The kings of the land of Chaldaea became my vassals. I imposed on them a tax and tribute in perpetuity. At Babylon, Borsippa, and Cuthah they delivered up the remnant offerings of the gods Bel, Nabu, and Nergal. I made pure sacrifice

[broken off]